Wednesday, December 29, 2010

more from the nocturnal kitchen, ad hoc style

yes, more night time, indoor pictures. le sigh.
on the up side, full of deliciousness :)

first, a box of daifuku from a family friend...
a delicious rainbow of colors.
soft, chewy mochi enveloping a sweet azuki filling,
covered in things like toasted rice and sesame seeds!!

for one of my christmas gifts from my dad, i got thomas keller's ad hoc at home. so excited! it's a beautifully heavy book, big glossy pages filled with classic recipes i have only heard about. i spent a few nights looking at the gorgeous, mouth-watering photos and learning tips for improving execution within the kitchen. i've skimmed only about half of the book so far, and can't wait to learn all i can from it :) thanks dad!

tonight i prepared my family a dinner using recipes from the book, or inspired by the book. 

the 4 recipes that acted as my muses:

iceberg lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing
purée of garlic potatoes
honey-glazed cipollini onions
peppercorn-crusted beef tenderloin

usually, i am not a fan of iceberg lettuce. a proselytizing salad, i must say!! even my dad, who is normally not a huge fan of salads in general, loved the "fork and knife" quality of this one. the thyme on the oven-roasted tomatoes was great, and all of the textures worked very well together. i didn't render the fat off the bacon as called for, since bacon is better crispy, in my opinion.

i forgot to serve this with chives, whoops. this recipe was only inspired by the garlic purée from AHAH, i did not want to make garlic confit (sorry) since i prefer a sharper garlic taste. i simply used some of the techniques described in his recipe to prepare my regular garlic mashed potatoes. they were fantastic as always!

i couldn't find cipollini onions at the king soopers i went to, so i went ahead and applied the basic technique and ingredients to white pearl onions. still turned out wonderfully.. though i think i let the glaze reduce a bit too much so it was distributed throughout the dish in clumps. but a great accompaniment to the main course!

this meat was so tender and delicious. wow, this is the first time i haven't messed up a steak prepared in the kitchen (as opposed to on the grill). the peppercorns were steeped in oil so they weren't overwhelmingly spicy, but rather provided a nice crunch and textural contrast to the soft chewy flesh. a beautiful crimson color on the inside. these were made only with salt and pepper, and still tasted quite good.

a beautiful meal, a fresh yet classic take on meat and potatoes. comfort good, so delicious.

what other adventures will thomas keller take me on? we shall soon find out!!