Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cooking with Wes, #1
I had the distinct pleasure of cooking with my 13 year old friend Wes yesterday. Wes was here working with Greg, learning the basics of how to use a cutting tool on shearling while I was getting ready to have a going away dinner for a friend last night. He got bored with cutting fabric out and so came down right when I discovered that I didn't have enough flour to make chocolate chip cookies. I sat him down and told him that when he wanted to make something, but didn't have the right ingredients, there is always something hidden in the cupboards that will be a fine replacement. So today, we made oatmeal milk chocolate chip cookies! My other word of advice to Wes was to always use milk chocolate chips, Ghirardelli if possible. The chips are bigger and richer and one doesn't need to eat too many to feel satisfied. I put Wes in charge of the chips (bad idea) and also the placement of the cookie dough on the cookie sheets (he got better as time went on) My cookie recipe is below:
2 sticks butter (melted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2/3rds cup flour
1 1/2 cup-2 cups quick cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pkg Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
Combine the butter and sugar and then add the egg yolk. Sift together dry ingredients and add to butter mix, combine and then add vanilla and chips.
spoon onto cookie trays and place in 350 degree oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Cool and eat....mmmmmmm
What I did was make chipwiches with vanilla ice cream and two cookies. Its very elegant and rustic thing to serve on a cold night.
I saw Wes's mom today and she told me that Wes refuses to buy anything but Shirardelli milk chocolate chips for their cookies anymore.....another successful work is done on this project!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I can't seem to go anywhere without someone saying that its time to update my blog! I guess thats good, but the pressure...oh the pressure!

We went to a birthday party on Saturday night that was billed as a potluck appetizer party. I was all set to go and had made 60 risotto cakes that needed to be cooked before the party...then we had a brown out because of that nasty storm. Our lights worked, but on about 1/2 power. The furnace didn't work, nor did the stove or the washing machine. I was SOL for the party and now stuck with all these risotto cakes!

Anyway, we picked up a fruit party tray at Hannaford and arrived at the party amid probably 20 trays of sushi! Everyone had the same idea.

I invited some people over on Sunday night for a dinner of risotto cakes and something else...1/2 of the invitees forgot (It was quite a party) and some others were tired and sick....a terrible thing to be at the beginning of the work week. So I fried up the cakes and found that they were really oily...the oil was super hot, but the cakes were still sopping it up. I tried to bake them, and they came out nice and golden brown, but now they weren't as moist as they should be. It was a dilemma. We decided that the cakes were way too much work and that I'm going to stick with plain ole risotto...which is awesome made with champagne, chicken stock, and sauteed leeks.

At least the shepard's pie with the whole wheat biscuit crust was a hit....even Wes, the vegetable hating 13 year old, thought it was delicious...though he was really bummed that there was no dessert.

Back from my trip down the coast from Maine to Florida. Last weekend as I said, I attended a private function at Per Se, Thomas Keller's restaurant at the Time Warner building in New York. According to their website, reservations are accepted two months in advance! They have three prix fixe menus all costing $210.00.
We had dinner in West, one of their private function rooms. We must have had six tables of 12 people and there were at least two servers per table. The room was filled with fresh flower arrangements and all the tables were white...white tablecloths, white plates, white napkins, etc.
We had a four course meal planned which seemed to be a mixture of seafood, vegetables, and meat. Our server discretly asked each diner whether any of us had dietary restrictions. I was given courses of vegetables and pasta instead of the salmon and scallops that the other diners had.
Portions were more European than American. I left feeling that I'd eaten, but not feeling totally full or over indulged as one does in some restaurants. My first course was a small rectangle of celery root with candied cranberries, julienned greens, and a light vinegrette. It was a lovely two bites of food that gave me just a taste of what was to come. Everyone else at the table had a sauteed scallop.
Next came a small dish of porcini raviolli with a beurre blanc and truffle foam. It was a beautiful dish. The others at the table had salmon. The main course was a medallion of lamb that was tender and perfectly cooked. Our dessert was a rectangular sliver of chocolate decadence with a decoration of 24carat gold leaf (the only gold leaf that is edible) with a dolop of fresh lemon sorbet and dark chocolate smear on the plate.
After coffee and tea, the cookies came out....and one of the wealthiest women I have ever met took four chocolate cookies, wrapped them up in her napkin and shoved them in her purse..."for bedtime" she whispered to me. When we left, we were handed two chocolate brownies in a Per Se bag.
I have to say that I was so impressed with the service. Glasses were always filled, 6 different kinds of bread and two types of butter were offered by the bread server, and the food was so delicious and fresh. An amazing place.