I'm behind in my Ad Hoc at Home reporting.
Monday, Isabel and I made Thomas Keller's flatbread which looked simple, but -- to our shock -- wasn't. You mix a yeast dough, let it rise, and roll it in a pasta machine until you have several miles of gossamer that you brush with olive oil, top with salt and spices, and bake in painfully small batches until golden and crispy.
Isabel: "He always makes the recipes incredibly annoying and then the results are amazing." These feathery crackers were amazing -- restaurant amazing. I will never, ever, bake them again.
We were baking and topping flatbreads for at least an hour, which gave us lots of time to catch up. That's important with a teenager. She told me she thought both the male leads in Letters to Juliet were "ugly." I dissented. I told her Vanessa Redgrave was actually more famous than Amanda Seyfried. We agreed that The Office was better before Jim and Pam got married and we're both glad Tim Riggins ditched San Antonio State.
I felt good about the conversation.
More dishes cooked out of Ad Hoc at Home in recent days:
-Cornish game hens.
Very plain recipe -- just some butter smeared under the skin. I didn't truss, though Keller tells you to, which is why they looked sloppy. I couldn't find string. They tasted like roasted chicken, which is what they are, except they cost $10.99 each and you need one per person.
-Braised pork belly.
Cheap! Especially when you buy your belly at the Chinese market. First you brine the belly and while you're brining it, make Keller's elaborate beef stock. More on this all-day roasting-simmering-skimming ordeal some other time. Then you braise the belly in the beef stock and when it's tender, you press the belly in the refrigerator (plate, weighted can) overnight so it compresses into a compact and pretty package. Reheat, serve. Due to the pressing, I guess, this was less fatty and unctuous than pork belly usually is, which probably makes it more palatable to most people. I was disappointed.
On the side: caramelized fennel. Very nice.
There's more to report, including a dark horse contender in the chocolate chip cookie testing! But this morning I have to rent a truck and drive to Acampo to pick up a calf hutch for our goats. Attractive, no? I'm glad the fence is done. We bring home our second goat tomorrow. When the breeder told me her name was Pastry, I knew she was the one.