The other day I received a lovely surprise in the mail. Some dear friends of mine sent me Thomas Keller’s new cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. Besides having absolutely stunning photography, I noticed a few techniques featured in this book that I have never used. I was intrigued, since who else would you want to learn a few new techniques from other than Thomas Keller? I wouldn’t say the recipes were as inspiring like in The French Laundry Cookbook, but they are not supposed to be. This is about creating first rate family-style meals—the Thomas Keller way.
On Saturday, I set out to dig into the cookbook and challenge myself. I actually followed the directions (which is challenging in a different way) and made a few recipes from the book. Here is the menu:
In a nutshell, the new techniques used in the cauliflower soup (parchment lid) and blowtorching the prime rib and the meringue were great additions to my repertoire. However, I don’t know if all the nuances that Keller introduces are worth the effort. For example, the garlic croutons that go on top of the soup required a garlic oil that took 40 minutes to cook. In the future, I would just sauté the croutons with some smashed garlic, butter and oil and remove the garlic after 5 minutes. It may not come out as nuanced but it would save 40 minutes.
This book is not for the beginner but would be a great addition to the home chef’s library as a reference on great classic technique. I'll definitely refer to it again and I'll definitely be making this menu again!
We enjoyed a Falanghina from Campania with the soup and a 2000 Chateau Malescot St. Exupery, Margaux, France (a garagiste-style Bordeaux). The Margaux was a wine WU shipped quite a few years ago. It was smooth, had great integrity and had legs to go a few more years in the cellar.
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.