August-September 2023 COTM - THOMAS KELLER MONTH

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.eatyourbooks.com/library/recipes?q=thomas%20keller&online-recipes=true

https://www.epicurious.com/search/thomas%20keller?content=recipe

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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MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM (ad hoc at home p. 320)

This recipe is easy enough to do if not easy on the wallet. First you heat whole milk and heavy cream with a bunch of fresh mint. Once it simmers you remove from heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. You strain the milk mixture into a new saucepan and add some sugar. Heat milk and sugar to just below a simmer. You add some sugar to 10 egg yolks in a large bowl. Wisk the sugar/eggs until thickened and looking lighter. Temper the eggs with the hot dairy mix and eventually combine it all in the bowl. Cook in a clean pot until mixture steams (stirring continuously) and then strain into a bowl placed on an ice bath. Chill until cold but preferably overnight. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s directions and add chopped chocolate chips at the end.

I followed the recipe as written. The only deviation was using mini chocolate chips instead of hand-chopped chocolate because I had them on hand and wanted to use them up. I made this for my sister as it is her favorite flavor of ice cream but there was some extra that didn’t fit in the quart container. I’ve made it 3 times now. The first and latest attempt were great. The second got all messed up because I was trying to rush the tempering process. This is a very good and smooth ice cream–presumably thanks to all of those egg yolks. It really tastes of fresh mint so I don’t think a child who is used to bright green ice cream with artificial mint flavor would love it. Adults who enjoy fresh mint will though.

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BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN (ad hoc at home p. 16)

I had to scale down this recipe as I live alone and am not about to fry 2 chickens’ worth of parts. I simply used 3 boneless skinless breasts since that’s what I had on hand. You make a brine of water, halved lemons, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, honey garlic, black peppercorns and kosher salt. Bring the brine to a boil, let cool, refrigerate, and then put your chicken parts in it. Keller says 12 hours is the max for brining or the chicken will become too salty.

Before frying remove chicken from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Let come up to room temperature. Then you mix up flour with some other seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper). Dredge chicken in the flour mixture, then coat with buttermilk, dredge in flour mixture again and finally fry in peanut or canola oil.

I wound up brining the chicken for closer to 24 hours rather than the 12 hours that TK calls for. I agree that it did make the chicken pretty salty. I LOVED how lemony it was though. I’d do a long brine with less salt in the future. It was tough for me to wait until the canola oil got good and hot before starting to fry. I was sure at any moment I was going to burn the apartment down. In the end the chicken was golden brown, juicy, and very flavorful if a bit too salty. I wouldn’t share it with anyone but I also won’t throw it out. It is good. Lesson learned about the balance between salt and brining time ratio.

I’ve never had success with any of my other fried chicken attempts. This one is a winner.

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CREAMED SUMMER CORN (ad hoc at home p. 189)

You cut corn kernels off of the cob and fry them in butter in a large skillet. Zest a lime, slice it in half, and add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice to the pan. Season with salt. Cook for 15-18 minutes until all liquid is evaporated. Then add heavy cream, cayenne pepper, and lime zest to the corn. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes and add another 1/4 cup of cream if needed. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle fresh chopped chives.

I can never turn down creamed corn in any form so I knew I had to try this recipe. It is good and I do like the lime bit which reminds me of elotes/esquites. It isn’t my favorite creamed corn recipe though. I won’t go out of my way to make it again.

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I made this recipe for a crowd one Xmas Eve, and we had Keller’s fried chicken and champagne. I remember how labor-intensive the chicken was but everyone including me thought it was worth the work.

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