August-September 2023 COTM - THOMAS KELLER MONTH

It’s August, and it’s THOMAS KELLER MONTH here on COTM. All Thomas Keller cookbooks are in play. This includes The French Laundry Cookbook (1999), Bouchon (2004), Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide (2008), Ad Hoc at Home (2009), Bouchon Bakery (2012), and The French Laundry, Per Se (2020). There are some other books out there that are compilations, but I think that covers the original titles.


To report on a dish, please start with the name of the recipe in ALL CAPS. Since we have more than one book in the mix, follow it with the book title and page number. If you are the first to report on a recipe, post your report as a reply to this thread. If someone else has already posted on the recipe, post your report as a reply to theirs.

Remember, all our COTM threads remain open for new reports. You can find them in the COTM archive.

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Will be interesting to see what people choose to make.

I have TFL Cookbook, but have never felt motivated to cook from it (too fussy / too many components).

Bouchon, on the other hand, I have made some delicious (and simple) things from.

Had some failures from Under Pressure, to my surprise.

WIll be looking through Bouchon and Ad Hoc to see what appeals using ingredients I currently have access to.

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Here’s a good site for recipes:

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The reason I nominated TK this month was because I’ve had the Quiche Lorraine from Bouchon on my list to make for over a decade. I even purchased a special pan to make it. I’ve read about your making it, and been overwhelmed with FOMO. Now I feel compelled to do it. The die is cast.

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SAVORY BUTTERMILK BELGIAN WAFFLES WITH CHIVE AND BACON

Easing into Thomas Keller week with savory waffles.

The dish was inspired by one served at Bouchon Bistro. For the waffles, I used the Thomas Keller recipe which came with my All Clad waffle maker (ingredients below), adding ½ c. chopped bacon and ½ c. chopped chives. We had them with fried eggs and maple syrup for breakfast, but my understanding is it was served at the restaurant with roast chicken, which sounds quite tasty to me.

The waffles were delicious. I can easily see making them again.

Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Belgian Waffles - Makes 8 Belgian waffles:

1 ½ c. AP flour

2 t. baking powder

½ t. baking soda

½ t. kosher salt

3 large eggs, beaten

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ c. buttermilk

As a variation, with the waffle maker he also suggested an Eggs Benedict version, with smoked ham, fried eggs and Mornay sauce.

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Yum! This is making me consider getting a waffle maker…

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Lol. I bought the waffle maker at Willams Sonoma. The first time I plugged it in and turned it on, it sizzled and expired in a plume of smoke. I exchanged it, and the replacement has been working hard for probably 15 years ever since. Mine makes two waffles, sometimes I wish I had bought the one which makes four.

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I’ve made that recipe twice. One was a resounding success. And super delicious. The other was a complete failure. My crust broke and spilled egg custard all over my very hot oven. I had scrambled eggs INSIDE the oven. It took SO long to clean completely.

If it works it is great. If it doesn’t, I’d have a cake pan under it while baking and not a sheet pan. You want something that’s not shallow, but has some depth. Ha! Ask me how I know!

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Great tip - thanks!

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:joy:

I do recommend reading the SK version I mentioned for potential pitfalls (and entertainment).

What I love about this quiche is the texture of the custard and the proportion of egg to crust – a lot more of the former. The custard has a delicate, chawanmushi-esque texture because the ratio of liquid to egg is a lot higher than standard (2/3c liquid per egg vs 1/3 to 1/2c). However, this means it is a trickier custard to set.

For this reason, imho it is worth using a crust you are already comfortable with for the first attempt, as the butter crust in the recipe is itself tricky. especially in hot weather (hindsight is 20/20, of course I went whole hog the first time and later wished otherwise).

Here is a tiny 1-egg version of this quiche where I used an oil crust:

I once baked 3 of these in large pyrex bowls so I could pop the lids on to transport them to a bachelorette weekend at a rented ski house. One was Lorraine, one mushroom, and the third plain. I removed the quiches intact from the bowls, sliced them, and then placed on a sheet pan to reheat – the crust crisped up in the time it took the custard to warm through.

Other notes:
I rarely use cream if I’m making it just for myself: whole milk sets the custard fine. I have also (successfully) used some proportion of other liquids to enhance the flavor or texture – whole greek yogurt, sour cream, kefir, buttermilk.
Don’t pour the last of the batter in until you have the pan (on a sheet pan or in another larger pan) on the oven rack – this is a to-the-brim situation!
Do blend the batter to aerate, it makes a difference.
The mix-in proportion is high here, with everything just held together by the custard – I love this, but if you like more egg than mushroom / bacon, adjust accordingly.

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Thanks so much for posting your insight and links, Saregama - so helpful! Your mini quiche looks lovely.

I’ve been debating starting with a more familiar crust. Less authentic, perhaps, but probably more likely to garner good results the first go around. We’re booked up for the next couple of weeks, but I plan to tackle this dish mid-month.

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For those without access to any of the books, plenty of his recipes are online, both from the books and otherwise.

A few groups for starters:

https://www.thegourmetreview.com/category/celebrity-chef-recipes/celebrity-chef-recipes-browse-by-chef/thomas-keller-celebrity-chef-recipes-browse-by-chef/

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/pages/thomas-keller.html

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Also, for anyone who belongs to a public library that includes Hoopla for on-demand ebooks, Hoopla has all of TK’s books.

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I have a few recipes on the agenda for this week. I really wanted to attempt the beef stroganoff recipe but she sheer price of the ingredients made it a hard NOPE for 1 person living by themself. So far I have fried chicken, meatballs with paparadelle, creamed corn, and mint chip ice cream in the plan. We shall see.

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MEATBALLS (without) PAPPARDELLE

I have to apologize in advance for modifying the recipe so much. I was working with what I had.

You start by sauteing onion and garlic until soft and then set them aside. Next you are supposed to grind beef sirloin, beef chuck, pork butt, and veal shoulder and combine them. You then add the onion, garlic, homemade Dried Bread Crumbs (recipe in back), fresh parsley, and an egg and mix gently to combine. You form the meat mixture into 12 balls and then add a cube of fresh mozzarella in the center of each. Bake the meatballs on a rack over a baking sheet for 15-18 minutes. Serve with oven-roasted tomato sauce over pasta.

I don’t have a meat grinder nor do I have access to different specific ground meats so I used a pound of ground beef and like a pound and a half of meatloaf mix (beef/pork/veal). I used regular Italian bread crumbs instead of making my own. (why do I keep that old bread in the freezer if I won’t use it?) I also used 2 eggs because 1 did not seem to be enough IMO for that amount of meat and ingredients.

I wanted them to get nice and brown so I let them bake at 425 for closer to 25 minutes rather than 15-18. I knew it was time to take them out of the oven when the cheese started leaking out of the meatballs. And those things were like the size of a hamburger. Not even kidding. 1 was totally enough for me along with a small amount of penne and the roasted tomato sauce.

Yes these were good. I am confident enough that they are tasty that I left a container in my neighbor’s fridge. Would I go out of my way to make them again? Probably not but with all of the adjustments I had to make I can’t say I truly made them in the first place.

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OVEN-ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

You cook chopped onion, leeks, fennel, and garlic for like 45 minutes until softened and starting to caramelize. Then you add brown sugar and red wine vinegar and cook for 20 minutes. Finally you add a sachet (fresh thyme, black peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove), season with salt and pepper, and cook for a further hour and a half.

This is another recipe that I had to fudge. I was NOT going to pay $5+ for a leek and I didn’t have any onions. (what the hell?) The initial cook was just fennel and garlic and the garlic got darker than it probably should have. I only had crushed tomatoes so that’s what I used. I did add some onion powder to try to get that flavor in there. I skipped the sachet entirely.

This recipe wasn’t difficult–just very time consuming. I have an aversion to fennel after being tricked a couple of times at my Italian grandmother’s house on a holiday. She’d put out crudite and I always mistook the fennel for celery. Yuck. I thought I’d regret putting it in the sauce but I don’t. It was good.

This sauce (or my version of it anyway) is very good. If you are stuck in the house for awhile give it a whirl.

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Which book are these recipes from?

the meatballs and sauce are from Ad Hoc at Home

I make that recipe often, with our family tomato sauce, and they’re always a hit. I do make the meatballs much smaller. My disher holds 2 tbsp. and they’re the perfect size for us. I usually get about 36 meatballs out of a batch this way. The mozzarella is cut into about 1 cm cubes. One egg is enough for the recipe using listed quantities and my breadcrumbs are panko, because that’s what’s in the pantry. The meatballs freeze very well in the sauce. I need to make another batch soon and will post when I do.

Good choice for a Keller recipe. :slight_smile:

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I forgot to say when the tomatoes get added. They go in at the last step when you add the sachet and after the brown sugar and vinegar have been absorbed.

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