Thursday, November 18, 2004

My First French Laundry Meal - Yabba Dabba Do!

No, I didn't make it to the United State's most famous restaurant, yet, but why travel all the way to Napa when you have a friend in Marin who'll slave over a hot stove for a few days cooking you a meal from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook instead?

Last night, we had such a friend, who blew me away with an incredible dinner.

The Menu
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, based on a Tra Vigne Recipe
Roasted Rib Steak with Golden Chanterelles, Pommes Anna and Bordelaise Sauce from the French Laundry cookbook
Green Salad and very smelly cheese

raw meat
D prepped the meat himself a day earlier. It looked beautiful before he even started cooking it.
Fred a) doesn't care much for soup, b) won't go anywhere a squash unless it is called a courgette c) generally turns up his nose at sweet things. I was consequently amazed that he loved this bowlful of soup, made with butternut squash that had been roasted with sugar, balsalmic and dark, unsulphured molasses. I can't blame him though, it was absolutely delicious, the melange of flavours was so subtle and I couldn't help feeling a large twinge of disappointment once my bowl was empty.
potatoes ana potatoes ana
D's mandolin had broken so he spent hours engineering the paper-thin potato slices by hand. We were pleased when he told us that the Kyocera ceramic knife we gave him for his birthday earlier this year came in very handy for the task.
potatoes ana potatoes ana
Cooking this kind of meal is out of my league. Clarifying butter, spending hours making veal stock. D explained the processes to me. Cooking the stock for ages before adding more liquid then reducing all over again. "What is the liquid you add?", I asked. "Chicken stock", he replied. Then it dawned on me..."So you have to make the chicken stock in order to make the veal stock?!" Oh yes, but of course you have to start with the chicken a day earlier...
raw meat
Dinner as served. Delicious. As good as many a fine restaurant. Potatoes Ana, by the way, are layered with prunes.

Superb dinner, heartfelt thanks to Chef extraordinnaire, D and his lovely wife K. Bon voyage and best of luck to them on their journey Down Under.
My First French Laundry Meal - Yabba Dabba Do!


  • At 19/11/04 10:36, Blogger Delphine said…

    There is nothing like sharing a perfect diner with good friends.

    Le paradis!

  • At 19/11/04 12:49, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yummers! It looks divine! What a fabulous menu too and the sources, non pareil. Btw...this is Viv ;-D

  • At 19/11/04 21:03, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Quite the lucky girl, aren't you?

    Would that I had the patience to make a meal like that. But then, who would do the dishes???

  • At 20/11/04 10:04, Blogger Sam said…

    Gibby - you know, I did promise to cook you dinner sometime and I haven't forgotten, honest. But I am sorry. It is not going to be anwhere in the same league as this meal was. (You'll have a choice, Bangers and Mash or Indian, remember?)

    Anon - Yes I am lucky. Very lucky, especially as my gracious hosts wouldn't let us help clear up afterwards, although they do have a dishwasher which may have helped a little! This was truly the most incredible home-cooked meal I have tasted in my entire life which goes to show that the effort does pay off. It really puts the food in a different league. As for me, I'm going to remain firmly in the "home cook" category (as opposed to "home chef" category!)


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