Friday, April 30, 2010

It doesn't look that great on his plate

Owen:  "This is one of the best dinners of my entire life!"

Tipsy: "Really?"

Owen: "Well, that you've cooked."

The other night we had an all-Ad Hoc At Home menu:

-sauteed chicken breasts with tarragon
-asparagus with tomato and bacon stew
-mint chocolate chip ice cream

Chicken breasts: Make a curry powder by grinding together 20 spices (17 if your pantry is lacking, which it will be) and use to season chicken. Let chicken rest in refrigerator for 2 hours. Or 1 hour if you failed to read the recipe carefully earlier in the day. Pound chicken until very skinny. Cook in oil in a hot skillet then keep warm in the oven while you make an incredible sauce with tarragon, butter, shallots and wine. Bathed in this sauce, the chicken breasts will be so richly flavored you'll forget you're eating chicken breasts.

Asparagus: Cook slab bacon chunks until they've rendered their fat, remove to a paper towel and occasionally pop one in your mouth while you use drippings as base for a tomato sauce. Keller calls for canned San Marzano tomatoes, but ordinary tomatoes will suffice when you can't find San Marzano tomatoes at the supermarket. Puree half of this sauce then add it back to the pan along with the few remaining bacon chunks. Cook the asparagus in a skillet with some stock, arrange on a platter, and pour the sauce on top. Watch in amazement as your children devour their vegetables.
Ice cream: Steep fresh mint leaves in milk and cream. Strain. Mix with ten (!) egg yolks and sugar and cook to make a custard. Chill. Freeze in ice cream machine and add finely minced chocolate towards the end of this process. Abandon all self-control and eat a pint of stupendous, satiny ice cream before you wash all the dishes. 

And there were a lot of dishes. But it was one heckuva dinner.


  1. "Bathed in this sauce, the chicken breasts will be so richly flavored you'll forget you're eating chicken breasts."

    This just sold me. Pretty sure I'll be buying the book this weekend.

  2. The qualifier of "Well, that you've cooked." That is terrific stuff right there.

    I want that ice cream.

  3. You are definitely on your game today Tipsy. But I agree with Layne -- Owen's qualifier was killer.

  4. I am always looking for great chicken breast recipes since my husband doesn't like them as much as I do. So I googled the recipe and found it in the NY Times. Thanks!

  5. I'm going a little ice cream nuts this week and have a spare package of Thin Mints handy. hmmm.

    Also, as a lurker, I just wanted to say that one of the reasons I love to read your blog is that you write so warmly and thoughtfully about your relationship with your kids--they seem like great people and it really seems like you all know how to enjoy one another. Your post about your nephew was one of my favorites and will be used as a model for many future episodes of cool-aunt-ness on my part.

  6. Ad Hoc just came in for me at the library. I'm a little scared of it already.

  7. Will you perchance sometime share your secret(s) for not becoming hugely fat?

  8. Here here to Kate's post! That's why I like food blogs (and yours in particular). I feel like I'm eating butter, bacon and ice cream, but I'm not.

  9. here's the recipe on nytimes:

    looks like they adapted it to use a standard pre-mixed curry powder to make it easier. i'm going to try it!

  10. He really does love his egg yolks, doesn't he? Husband wanted to make pasta last night and so looked up the Keller recipe. FOURTEEN egg yolks?!?! I assumed it must have been a recipe for five pounds of pasta, but no. Suffice to say he went with a different recipe.

  11. This is the only thing I've ever read that's made me want to cook from Ad Hoc.