Categories
bakeries Best of Inuyaki chocolate dessert recipes Thomas Keller

Christmas Cookies – Thomas Keller Oreos

If you’ve ever been to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, chances are you’ve seen or eaten one of his famous TKOs, a.k.a. Thomas Keller Oreos (below).


TKO

Like most of Keller’s food, his take on the classic Oreo is a textbook example of refined simplicity — white chocolate ganache sandwiched between two chocolate shortbread cookies. They’re one of our favorite cookies, and I thought it would be fun to make them for Christmas presents.


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The Las Vegas NBC affiliate, KVBC, posted the TKO recipe on their Web site, which I thought was odd, but then I remembered that Keller opened a Bouchon Bakery in The Venetian a few years ago. We lengthened the the baking time from 8 minutes to 20 minutes after an unsuccessful first batch and the 20-minute baking time worked out much better. We also made a seasonal, mint-flavored TKO by adding some mint extract, peppermint extract and green food coloring to the ganache.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 pound (4 sticks) butter
18 oz (by weight) all purpose flour
12 oz (by weight) sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
6 oz Cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cream butter with paddle on mixer until smooth, then add sugar and mix until combined, scraping down the mixing bowl.
3. Sift dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and work dough until just combines. (it should look kind of like brown sand)
4. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick. Cut each cookie with scalloped cutter.
5. Bake at 325 F for approximately 20 minutes
6. Let cookies cool and then sandwich together with the following filling:

GANACHE FILLING
4 oz white chocolate (cut into small pieces or buy white chocolate chips)
1 oz heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon mint extract (optional, for mint filling)
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional, for mint filling)
green food coloring (optional, for mint filling)

DIRECTIONS
Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate, then mix until emulsified. Allow ganache to set up for at least an hour before using. Ganache should be spreadable, kind of like peanut butter.

To make the mint ganache, add mint extracts to ganache along with food coloring just before placing between the chocolate shortbread cookies.

The white chocolate ganache is perishable, so if you’re making these, make sure their consumed within three days. This can be difficult, because these cookies are really rich and it’s sometimes hard to eat just one. Enjoy!

Categories
Best of Inuyaki entertainment recipes Thomas Keller

Confit Byaldi (a.k.a. Ratatouille a la Remy)

In the movie Ratatouille, Pixar succeeded in making animated food almost as delectable as the real thing. By seeking the technical assistance of Thomas Keller, one of the world’s greatest and most meticulous chefs, Pixar gave the movie instant credibility to food lovers, critics and chefs around the world.


ratatouille

Remy the Rat’s ratatouille (above) is technically Keller’s interpretation of Confit Byaldi, a Turkish dish with the same flavor profile as ratatouille. We made the dish this weekend in preparation for Thanksgiving, and it’s definitely going on our menu. The recipe, originally published in the New York Times, follows the pictures.


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INGREDIENTS
FOR PIPERADE

½ red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
½ yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
½ orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12oz. total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
½ a bay leaf
Kosher salt

FOR VEGETABLES
1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 116-inch rounds
1 Japanese eggplant, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 116-inch rounds
1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 116-inch rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 116-inch rounds
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
18 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR VINAIGRETTE
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

DIRECTIONS
1. For piperade, heat oven to 450F. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.

2. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

3. For vegetables, heat oven to 275F. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that ¼ inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.

4. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350F oven until warm.)

5. For vinaigrette, combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

6. To serve, heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings

Categories
Ad Hoc pork reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc (10.07.07)

We’ve been trying to stay away from Ad Hoc until my birthday (and fried chicken night) on the 22nd, but last weekend, my friend Patty called and said she was going to be in the Bay Area before going home to Thailand, and she really wanted to go to Ad Hoc. Who was I to refuse?


Garbure
cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage
sweet potatoes and butternut squash

~

Snake River Farms
Braised Pork Short Ribs

on faro with toasted pecans, shaved celery
and splenda apple sauce

~

Gubeen
spiced concord grape jelly
baguette croutons

~

Ice Cream Sundaes
candied pecans, fresh blueberries
chocolate and caramel sauce

This particular visit was notable because the cheese course ended up being a pseudo-chemistry lesson. Gubeen, a pungent cow’s milk cheese from Ireland, was paired with a spicy housemade Concord grape jelly and crispy baguette croutons. Gubeen smells and tastes kinda like garbage, and eating it on its own wasn’t very pleasant. I almost didn’t want to try another bite. But when you combine the Gubeen with the jelly and the croutons, you see why this pairing works. The jelly was more like a grape syrup with a hint of cayenne for heat, and it cut the intensity of the Gubeen, making it a lot more palatable. It’s definitely not the best cheese course I’ve had at Ad Hoc, but it was certainly the most interesting.


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This was also the first time I’ve had soup as a starter at Ad Hoc. The Garbure, a light soup featuring cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, was hearty and delicous without being too filling. The main course was Snake River Farms pork short ribs, which were excellent. Prepared sous vide, the pork was juicy and tender and the sweet apple flavor really came through. The rib bones were also included, which contained some of the best fatty meat of the evening. It was served on top of faro, a barley-like “supergrain” that apparently fed the ancient Egyptians, but a vegetable side dish was nowhere to be found, which was unusual for Ad Hoc. Some greens would have been nice.

All in all, another solid meal at Ad Hoc, but I’m really looking forward to my birthday fried chicken.

INFORMATION
Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
707.944.2487

Categories
Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes sous vide

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken (Sous Vide Version)

UPDATE 2/25/08: This recipe is now just a proof of concept. It works, but I think the original recipe, which I’ve modified to include sous vide steps and other tweaks, is a lot better, and taking the time to make the brine makes a huge difference. I’ll leave this recipe up for archival purposes, but for best results, see the original post.

Last week, we made Ad Hoc’s Fried Chicken by following the recipe to the letter, and it was beautiful, juicy and crispy. However, the entire process was a bit complicated because the brine has to cook and then cool completely before using it. A friend suggested cooking the chicken sous vide to ensure its juiciness and allow the flavor of lemon and herbs to be infused into the meat as it’s cooking in the bag. After removing from the water bath, simply dry off the meat, then dredge and fry it to finish it off.


Fried Chicken (sous vide)

BRINE INGREDIENTS
1 gallon cold water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar

SOUS VIDE INGREDIENTS
1 lemon, thinly sliced
ground black pepper
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1-3 pounds of chicken thighs

DREDGE INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Simply mix 1 gallon of cold water with 1/3 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of Kosher salt. Add chicken to the brine making sure chicken is completely submerged and store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse the chicken and pat dry. Lightly pepper both sides of the chicken.
  3. Add two pieces of chicken to each vacuum bag. Place a slice of lemon on the skin side of each thigh.

  4. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

  5. Place a sprig of rosemary and thyme on the bone side of the each thigh. Vacuum seal the bag.

  6. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

    • Process the chicken at 160F/71.1C for around two hours.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and dry them off.
    • Dip the chicken pieces in buttermilk and then dredge them in flour.
    • Fry in 350-375 degree oil until skin is brown and crispy.
    Categories
    Ad Hoc Best of Inuyaki chicken fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

    Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe!

    When I heard that Ad Hoc’s lemon-brined fried chicken recipe was in Food & Wine magazine, I got extremely excited. Normally, I wouldn’t go to the trouble of making this because I’d rather go to Ad Hoc (picture below) and spare myself the work, but I just had to see if I could pull this off.

    Buttermilk Fried Chicken

    Excerpt from Entertaining Napa Style in Food & Wine magazine:

    To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. “Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month,” Keller says, “people have a wonderful sense of anticipation.”

    UPDATE (2/25/08)
    I’ve had the chance to make this fried chicken a lot in the last few months and have basically finalized it for myself in the updated recipe below. I’ve included a sous vide step, an updated ingredient list and double dredging. If you want to see the original recipe, see the link to Food & Wine magazine above.

    ACTIVE TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
    SERVES: 8

    INGREDIENTS
    16 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (I prefer dark meat, substitute as desired)
    Cooking oil for frying (peanut if you have it.)
    Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

    BRINE INGREDIENTS
    1 gallon cold water
    1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
    12 bay leaves
    1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
    2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    3 large rosemary sprigs
    1 small bunch of thyme
    1 small bunch of parsley
    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

    DREDGE INGREDIENTS
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    2 teaspoons paprika
    ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 cups buttermilk

    DIRECTIONS

    1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

      Lemony Brine
    2. Drain and rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is really dry and that you scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin.
    3. If you want to sous vide the chicken before frying, add two to three pieces of chicken to each Foodsaver bag, then vacuum and seal the bags. Place the chicken at 140F/60C water bath for at least 1 hour. Otherwise, skip to step 5.
    4. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure chicken is very dry.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ground black pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or use a wire rack. Let sit for 20 minutes and then redredge the chicken in buttermilk and flour before frying.

      The Dredge
    6. In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 360F. Use enough oil to deep fry the chicken. If you want, you can also pan fry the chicken, as seen below. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden and crunchy and the internal temperature is 160F/60C (about 20 minutes).

      Note: If you cooked the chicken sous vide, you can really just trust your judgement and fry until you’re statisfied with the color of the crust since the chicken is already cooked.


      Turn the chicken once
    7. Transfer the chicken to cooling rack to drain, and keep warm in a low oven (175–200F) while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

      Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken

    SOUS VIDE NOTES

    • Cooking the chicken sous vide ensures that it’s moist and tender.
    • 140F/60C may seem like a low temp for the chicken (160F/71.1C is considered “safe”), but the internal temperature of the chicken will rise when it’s being fried.

    GENERAL NOTES

    • Chicken should be at room temperature when you’re ready to cook.
    • You can add herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.) to the oil as it’s heating to infuse it with flavor and then use the same herbs as a garnish.
    • This fried chicken is great the next day, cold and straight out of the refrigerator.
    • See comments below for more tips…some come straight from the source!
    Categories
    Ad Hoc beef reviews sous vide Thomas Keller

    Ad Hoc (06.30.07)

    Washington Street is an unassuming country road in the Napa Valley that also happens to be the epicenter of Thomas Keller’s culinary empire. His flagship restaurant, The French Laundry, put Yountville on the map, but Keller also operates Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and the happy accident down the street known as Ad Hoc.

    As its name implies, Ad Hoc was supposed to be a temporary six-month experiment before Keller opened a restaurant specializing in gourmet burgers and wine. But Ad Hoc proved to be so popular that it’s now become a permanent member of Keller’s restaurant family, and the “burgers and bottles” concept was put on the back burner.

     


    ad hoc
     

    Under the leadership of Chef Dave Cruz, Ad Hoc serves a different four-course set menu every night, showcasing the best of American comfort food, including braised beef short ribs, roasted Kurobuta pork, hangar steaks and their legendary fried chicken. Each meal consists of a salad course, main course, cheese course and dessert. If you finish your meal and want a bit more, you can always ask for seconds and they’ll happily bring you more. Wine selections are plentiful, and the young, energetic staff is happy to help you pick an appropriate wine.

    When we arrived, I got excited when I saw that we were getting braised beef short ribs. I didn’t really care about anything else on the menu because there are only a few things I love in this world more than a braised beef short rib. This evening’s menu:

     


    Frisee and Mache Salad
    shredded Liberty Farms duck leg shaved celery, cornichons, fried capers,
    duck skin cracklins and a creamy garlic dressing 

    ~

    Braised Beef Short Ribs
    baby leeks and fennel, fingerling potatoes, sofrito,
    orange zest and spanish black olives

    ~

    Cana de Oveja
    camembert with K & J Farms nectarines

    ~

    Mixed Berries and Cream
    house-made granola


    The Frisee and Mache Salad was excellent, especially when you consider that I’m not much of a duck fan because I usually find it too fatty and the flavor can be overwhelming. But this duck leg was the exact opposite; it was succulent and flavorful without dominating the salad, and I forgot I was eating duck for a second. Fried capers were a revelation…they look like they burst open, kind of like miniature bits of fresh green popcorn (or would that be pop-capers?). The duck skin cracklins were a great substitute for bacon bits; there’s nothing like crunchy fried bird skin is there?

     

    The main course of Braised Beef Short Ribs was an eye-opening entree. Our waiter said the meat was braised for 48 hours, which was confusing to me until one of our dining companions revealed that it was technically a sous vide. I had no idea what a sous vide was at the time, but soon learned that this technique produces some of the most delectable meat I’ve ever eaten. Cutting into the meat was like moving a hot knife through butter, but the meat didn’t fall apart. Each slice of meat melted in my mouth and had a really rich, beefy flavor with a hint of citrus from the orange zest. Not only was this among the finest meat dishes I’ve ever eaten, it made me curious enough about sous vide to explore the possibilities of doing it at home.

    The cheese course consisted of Camembert wedges and slices of the freshest nectarines I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. You tend to forget how good fresh fruit really tastes if your only source is the local Safeway.

    Dessert was a seemingly simple Mixed Berries and Cream with delicious house-made granola from Bouchon Bakery. The twist here is that the whipped cream is mixed with a little creme fraiche and buttermilk, which made it more decadent than one might think possible. I never thought I would go ga-ga over a blueberry and raspberry parfait, but in the right hands, anything can be positively sinful.

    Ad Hoc’s casual atmosphere and easy-going staff make it easy to relax and enjoy a truly superb meal. What’s most striking about the dining experience was the simplicity of the food. It’s basically comfort food that’s been refined or redefined by using different techniques and fresher ingredients that elevate it to a higher level. If Ad Hoc is the low-hanging fruit in the Keller kingdom, then I can only imagine how good the food is at Bouchon and The French Laundry.

    I think I’ll start saving my pennies now.

    INFORMATION
    Ad Hoc
    6476 Washington St.
    Yountville, CA 94599 map
    707.944.2487
    Ad Hoc on Urbanspoon