Two of the most awesome people in the world, BW and PW, went on a trip to Las Vegas last year and, while there, purchased a fantastic Christmas present for me during their dinner at a restaurant I would love to go to*:
Yes, that's right, Thomas Keller's Bouchon Cookbook. But wait, it gets better...look at this:
Oh, hells yeah - it's the one with his autograph! What up, bitches? Now, as any good culinary-student-turned-at-home-cook (yes, I realize that's the opposite of what should actually happen), Thomas Keller is one of my idols. I guess he's the idol of a lot of chefs and home cooks, though. Look at French Laundry at Home for just one example of the many people who respect and admire him (and crazily cook all of his recipes!). I've read so much about him, including many of Michael Ruhlman's books, the numerous articles, and blog posts. My dream is to go to Napa Valley to drink wine for a week straight and eat at The French Laundry (you and me, BW!!). His dishes are known to be incredibly innovative and playful, while invoking familiar, comforting foods, kind of the opposite of what I enjoy cooking and eating (simple, flavorful comfort foods that invoke, well, comfort foods), so it's probably no surprise that I'm in complete awe of Keller and other like him. I could never do what he does. His culinary mind, probably his whole mind, is so well beyond anything creative I could ever come up with.
Which is why I'm going to attempt to cook a lovely meal from the book for BW and PW as a thank you for this awesome present (date and time TBD). I may not be as creative as, well, probably most of the chefs and cooks in the world, but I went to culinary school, I should be able to follow a recipe or three, right? Gosh, I hope so...otherwise this is going to be pretty embarrassing. And, lucky for you all, I'm going to totally document every culinary debacle and triumph - just for you.
So, the menu:
First Course - Scallops with Citrus-Braised Endive (page 168)
Second Course - Chicken in a Pot (page 200)
Third Course - Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote (page 282)
First Course - Mussels with Leeks and Red Verjus (page 167)
Second Course - Skirt Steak with Caramelized Shallots and Red Wine Jus (page 209)
Third Course - Chocolate Terrine with Custard Sauce and Pistachios (page 289)
Whatever three dishes BW and PW pick (or a combo of the above) when we have our Lasagna Throwdown (B. Flay style).
(To be fair, I'll probably make some of the vegetable dishes in the book, too, but I'll wait on those until I figure out what main dishes I'm going to make).
OK, this is not going to be a regular thing...there's no way I have the time to cook all the foods from this cookbook, and, even if I did, I absolutely do not have the money to do so. Maybe once I have that awesome job in charge of craft services for "The Office," have seduced and married Ed Helms with my mac and cheese, and he can provide the funding for my cooking whims, I'll blog my way through my cookbook collection. For now, it's a three-course menu.
So, vote on the menu you want me to cook, or leave a suggestion. I'll attempt to cook almost anything (the only limiting factor is what I can find in central NJ), so the sky's almost the limit.
*They also awesomely stole the menu from their dinner for me, too...holla!