I had set quite a goal for myself over the weekend and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it happen at all. Monday was a complete wash; the only thing I accomplished was making a grocery list and getting a few staples from the grocery store across the street. Yesterday, though, was a smashing success! I went to “the big grocery store“, “the hippie store“, and “the good bread store” (my son’s words). I thought for sure I’d be too tired to actually cook, however, I did my cooking, got a hair cut for the first time in months, scrubbed a bathroom, and went for a run. Yay!

I’m not going to post recipes for these for a couple of reasons: 1) I don’t want to. 2) I really want you to find Thomas Keller’s cookbooks for yourself. Not only do he and his co-authors explain the recipes in an easy-to-understand way, but there are pages and pages of techniques and culinary philosophy that will help you in your every-day cooking. I’ve found his books at used bookstores and on-line, so it’s not like I want you to go out and spend your kids’ college fund; I just want you to have these books in your arsenal. I’m just a home cook, someone who enjoys food and the cooking of that food. My cook books are dusted with flour, splattered with butter, and dog-eared. …all the patina of a useful cook book.

Here are some photos from the Braised Oxtails and Oyster Mushrooms:

...the most useful unit/challenge coin ever made. My husband's Battalion Commander gave me this after last deployment.
…the most useful unit/challenge coin ever made. My husband’s Battalion Commander gave me this after last deployment.
Ronnie the Owl stands port watch.
Ronnie the Owl stands port watch.
bay leaves and peppercorns add some oomph to the braising liquids
bay leaves and peppercorns add some oomph to the braising liquids
Braised meat and veg; the parchment paper lid (back ground) is just one of the handy and life-changing tips from Mr. Keller.
Braised meat and veg; the parchment paper lid (back ground) is just one of the handy and life-changing tips from Mr. Keller.

The Pot o’Goodness started off in the fridge the night before; I wanted all the flavors and tenderization to get a groove on. In the pot: five pieces of oxtail, po-tay-toes (in the manner of Samwise Gamgee), carrots, a bottle of porter, some Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, peppercorns, and a roast. We didn’t actually eat the oxtails (although, I may get brave later and try one), but the bone marrow that comes with the oxtails are culinary and flavorful gold! I’ve got savory, coffee-colored liquids with which to make beef broth the likes of which my kitchen has never seen. Homemade broth with marrow? Yes, please!

…and here are some snaps from making the Better Nutters:

yep. that's butter on a WW scale. You're Welcome. :)
yep. that’s butter on a WW scale. You’re Welcome. 🙂
I've never made buttercream icing before...I feel so brave!
I’ve never made buttercream icing before…I feel so brave!

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...if a person needed to live off of cookies, these would be the cookies for that happy job...
…if a person needed to live off of cookies, these would be the cookies for that happy job…

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Keller, Thomas and Sebastien Rouxel. Bouchon Bakery. New York, NY: Artisan, 2012.

Keller, Thomas and David Cruz. Ad Hoc at Home. New York, NY: Artisan, 2009.

 

…aaaaaaand some stats from my two-miler before bed. 🙂

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The recipes for today include some fluffy potato-cakey things with sauteed chicken and mushrooms, and possibley lemon macarons; also, I need to vacuum the upstairs, work on some laundry (does it ever stop??) and run three miles tonight. Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

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