We had much to celebrate this past Sunday! Kai & Hillari have been married 12 years; it was a beautiful day at the park for the most popular summer concert of the season; and we were with friends who share our love of cooking, all culminating in an amazing Thomas Keller-inspired picnic and entertaining summer evening.
Kai reminded us it was two years ago to the day that he and Hill dined at The French Laundry in Napa for their 10th wedding anniversary. Most of us have a few of Keller's cookbooks, and it was definitely time for John and I to try a few more recipes from our complete collection.
Coronado Concert in the Park
"Cooking Keller" Menu
Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chips
Iceberg Lettuce Slices
with blue cheese dressing, oven-roasted tomatoes, bacon, and brioche croutons
Fall Salad, in Summer
Baby lettuce, leeks, Parmesan, Mango, Pine nuts, Prosciutto
Pork and Beans
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs
with olives, lemon, and fennel
Creamed Baby Spinach
Chicken Pot Pie
Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Gateau Aux Amandes, Compote de Fraises et de Rubarbe
Entertainment by Rockola
My Cream of Cauliflower Soup, with Red and Golden Beet Chips, and Rustic Country Bread Croutons, from Ad Hoc at Home
John's Iceberg Lettuce Slices, Keller's gourmet version of Wedge Salad was wonderful with homemade blue cheese dressing, sweet oven-roasted tomatoes, bacon lardons, and brioche croutons. This recipe was also from Ad Hoc at Home, but Food & Wine has published a simplified version of the recipe, here.
Brad popped in about noon, with a print out of Fall Salad, from Eating/sf blog, inquiring about persimmons and where to find them. I saw the title of the recipe and commented that he may have a difficult time finding them during the summer. We looked up substitutes, which included mango, so Bradley got to work on his Fall Salad, in summer. He proudly blanched his leeks and toasted his pine nuts - it was quite nice.
Kai planned ahead early in the week and ordered heirloom Borlotti beans for his dish from Keller's source, Rancho Gordo. After tasting Kai's Pork & Beans, I now understand the all the fuss about these beans and I will be ordering some soon! Keller's Pork & Beans recipe was featured in the latest issue of Men's Journal.
Alec & Nina have been cooking quite a bit from their Ad Hoc at Home. Alec prepared Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives, Lemon and Fennel, and Nina complemented the dish with Creamed Spinach. Oh my! I'm making this Chicken dish, pronto! Carolyn Jung, over at Food Gal, describes this dish with such artful precision, I won't even attempt it! She also provides the recipe.
Brandon is in town for a few weeks visiting Sparks, and he stepped right up to the plate with Potatoes Pave and Chicken Pot Pie.
Jack and Sandra discovered the recipe for Keller's Spanglish, created for the movie of the same name, and presented a platter of at least a dozen Splanglish sandwiches! However, as J.J. Schnebel explains, Keller did not simply take a BLT sandwich and add cheese and a fried egg to it. It's all about the placement of the bacon and, of course, the egg must be just runny enough so that the yolk is almost a sauce spilling over and through the toasted pain de campagne bread. Schneble's article and the Spanglish recipe can be found here, but don't look at the calories and fat grams!
For dessert, mom commissioned me to prepare Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, from Bouchon. I've created a second post, here, dedicated to these very almondy-Amaretto enhanced cakes, including the recipe.
Our second dessert, from Ad Hoc at Home, Dean's Apple Fritters
After dinner and dessert, we continued drinking wine, of course, and danced the night away...
Thomas Keller Cookbooks:
Links to a few other Thomas Keller recipes/links on There's a Newf in My Soup!