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Cookbook of the Month April 2013 is AD HOC AT HOME/THOMAS KELLER MONTH

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Chowhound has spoken. After a voting period only marginally less exciting than the race for the White House, Thomas Keller has been chosen as this month's choice.

If you want to relive the voting experience, the thread is here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894307

I don't have any of the books, so feel free to point out any errors! To minimise the number of posts, I've split Ad Hoc at Home into three separate threads, Bouchon Bakery has its own thread, and the three remaining books, which I think people are less likely to cook from, are sharing a thread. I hope this works!

AD HOC AT HOME: Poultry, Meat, Fish:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896488

AD HOC AT HOME: Soups, Salads, Veggies and Sides:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896490

AD HOC AT HOME: Lifesavers, Breads, Crackers and Cheese, Dessert:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896491

BOUCHON BAKERY: All recipes:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896493

THE FRENCH LAUNDRY, BOUCHON and UNDER PRESSURE:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896494

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  1. Well, I certainly plan to bake from Keller's latest book, "Bouchon Bakery."

    1. The TOC is viewable in Amazon. I don't have the book either, otherwise I would email you the info. My suggestion would be to combine some of topics together, i.e. Poultry and Meat, pgs. 12 - 77. This way the thread doesn't become unwieldy early on.

      Thanks for organizing gg.

      9 Replies
      1. re: beetlebug

        I did see that, but I'm a bit confused about some of the chapters. For example, what is The Accidental Restaurant and Lifesavers. Do they have recipes? Ditto for Becoming a better cook.

        1. re: greedygirl

          Ah, I see what you mean, some of the chapters might not apply.
          Someone who already has the book will surely post here soon.

          I think gummy Lifesavers (do they have Lifesavers candies in the UK?) can be soaked in vodka to great and delicious effect. That's the only Lifesaver recipe I know ;-)

          1. re: blue room

            Funny, when I read the chapter title "Lifesavers" I immediately thought of recipes one could pull together effortlessly, Very quickly, for a last minute guest or extra dish. Recipes that would save the meal, so to speak... recipes everyone should know how to cook.

            1. re: Gio

              Yes, that's what I thought too -- or maybe helpful hints and fixes, that kind of thing. Being silly about preparing the Lifesavers..
              By the way, I'm happy to send any Ad Hoc recipe your way once my copy arrives, just ask. Tho' I know, it's not the same as leafing through a book at your leisure.

              1. re: blue room

                Many thanks for that BR. I don't think I'm able to "leaf through" just yet so your offer is welcome!

                BTW: I guess I was being too literal... I can't wrap my mind around gummy lifesavers in vodka, never mind my teeth.

            2. re: blue room

              No Lifesavers in the UK, but I get the general idea. In fact, I could sink one right now.

              1. re: greedygirl

                I am!

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Funnily enough, I'm not surprised!

            3. re: greedygirl

              The Accidental Restaurant is just a story about how they opened Ad Hoc - no recipes. Becoming a Better Cook has instructions on how to - you guessed it - improve your cooking skills. No recipes there either.

              Lifesavers does have recipes. It's all about preserving - chutneys, marmalades, etc.

          2. If helpful, here is a list of the chapters:
            Intro, Becoming a better cook, Poultry, Meat, Fish, The Accidental Restaurant, Soups, Salads, Veggies and Sides, Lifesavers, Bread Crackers Cheese, Desserts, Basics.

            1. Thanks again, greedygirl! These months go fast, don't they?

              And yes, you can see the actual page you need from the book at Amazon. Click through a few to see it.

              http://www.amazon.com/Ad-Hoc-Home-Tho...

              1. Thanks GG! In addition to the threads for the main book can we have more than one thread for the others? I think bouchon bakery should have its own thread, and French laundry and sous vide can go together. Not sure about bouchon - I plan to cook from that some - does anyone else?

                17 Replies
                1. re: Westminstress

                  I do plan to cook from Bouchon, have just this morning ordered the book, along with Ad Hoc.
                  (Shocking lack of desserts in Every Grain of Rice!)

                  1. re: Westminstress

                    I do plan to cook from Bouchon & Bouchon Bakery. Probably not from TFL although I will be getting it from the library.

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      Ad Hoc and French Laundry are backed up in my library--it seems doubtful that I'll receive them by the end of April, darn it! Web recipes just don't strike my fancy.
                      Bouchon (& Bakery) are available, however, so I would definitely be attempting at least a few recipes. I've given myself a 'rule' to cook--and review--at least three recipes from any given COTM, even (and perhaps especially) if it's not one I would normally go for. I've definitely found gems that I never would have tried otherwise by doing it this way (Plenty comes to mind) so who knows what I might be missing out on by not participating!
                      Very glad to have adjunct threads for these circumstances!

                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        My "rule" or goal, maybe is 10 per book, in a month that's one every three days. (I'm retired, have more time than breadwinners/parents/students etc.)
                        They don't have to be dinner, as in a main meat. A plate of cookies or salad dressing is OK.

                        1. re: blue room

                          blue room,

                          I'm in the same situation but am much less ambitious than you! I look forward to your posts. There are people here with full time jobs and little ones who just amaze me!

                          1. re: ItalianNana

                            "There are people here with full time jobs and little ones who just amaze me!"

                            Hey, I have no job, no kids, no responsibilities,
                            and I can't keep the living room floor vacuumed! I DO NOT know how they do it!

                            1. re: blue room

                              Well, for one thing, I never get around to vacuuming the living room floor. Far more interesting to invest that time and energy in the kitchen. Hah! ;-)

                              1. re: geekmom

                                Agreed. Vacuuming, what's that? You should see my kitchen floors when I'm finished working in there. Yikes.

                                1. re: geekmom

                                  My mother has a pillow crocheted with "Boring women have clean houses." Never have to worry about her seeing the state of my house!

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    That should be my mantra.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      My mother is obsessed with cleaning and her house is always immaculate. Me, I employ a cleaner!

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        But even with maids you have to pick up before they come. I dread maids day because of it (if you have a little one you'll see what I mean - stuff *everywhere*).

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Our cleaner is lovely, but she tells me what to do!

                                  2. re: blue room

                                    Laughed out loud at that! I could make a long list of "things I just can't mange since I retired" but it would force me to admit I simply do a lot more of what I enjoy and a lot less of what I don't and that doesn't jibe with the image I'm trying to create! :-D

                                2. re: blue room

                                  My goal, with a book I'm excited about, is two a week. Don't usually end up doing that much, but I do try. Unfortunately LulusDad goes away a lot, and not a lot of cooking gets done then.

                                3. re: Allegra_K

                                  AllegraK

                                  That's a very positive method. I have a hunch you have found gems in many areas of your life with that attitude.

                                4. re: Westminstress

                                  If nobody plans to cook much from French Laundry and Sous Vide, then I think it would be fine to put Bouchon in with them, so there would be 2 adjunct threads, one for Bouchon Bakery and one for all other Thomas Keller books. I think lots of people are likely to want to cook from BB, since it seems it is an *excellent* baking book, and over time we will be glad for that book to have its own thread.

                                5. This a link to a list of on-line recipes from Ad Hoc At Home...

                                  http://www.thedeliciouslife.com/thoma...

                                  Click on the photo to go to the recipe. Then there are many more recipes in that post... just scroll down the page til you see them.

                                  28 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Ad Hoc Pan-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Sauteed Broccolini with Garlic and Chile Flakes:
                                    http://bruyette.blogspot.com/2010/10/...

                                    Pan-Seared Duck Breast:
                                    http://mixbakestir.com/2010/05/16/pan...

                                    Ad Hoc at Home: Hamburgers:
                                    http://www.katecooksthebooks.com/book...

                                    Meatballs with Pappardelle:
                                    http://troublewithtoast.wordpress.com...

                                    Sautéed Lamb Loin Chops from Thomas Keller’s ‘Ad Hoc at Home’:
                                    http://onerecipedaily.com/sauteed-lam...

                                    Rack of Pork Arista:
                                    http://familychefmate.blogspot.com/20...

                                    Rubbed & Glazed Pork Spare Ribs:
                                    http://msihua.com/2011/06/rubbed-glaz...

                                    Slow Roasted Veal Shank:
                                    http://tenderandflaky.blogspot.com/20...

                                    Garlic Confit:
                                    http://www.thedeliciouslife.com/thoma...

                                    Ad Hoc Carrot Cupcakes:
                                    http://www.treats-sf.com/2011/03/ad-h...

                                    Thomas Keller's Devil's Food Cupcakes and White Cupcakes:
                                    http://adoseoffrosting.blogspot.com/2...

                                    Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc" Brownies and Bouchon's Parisienne Gnocchi
                                    http://www.ouichefnetwork.com/oui_che...

                                    Mushroom Conserva:
                                    http://labellecuisine.com/archives/ve...
                                    Plus a bunch of other recipes.

                                    Ad Hoc Smashed Roasted Marble Potatoes:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Sautéed Lamb Loin Chops:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc’s Whole Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables;
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chips:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Summer Vegetable Gratin:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto, Fried Bread, Poached Pgg, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Brioche:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Summer Vegetable Gratin:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Breaded Veal Cutlets:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    Ad Hoc Torn Croutons:
                                    http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Thank you for this! Although I can't get the book in my library and don't want to commit to buying such a big and expensive book, I'd be happy to sample through some of the recipes available online.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Recipes from Thomas Keller at Epicurious.com...
                                        http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Gio,

                                          "Ad Hoc Pan-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers:
                                          http://foodiemcfooderson.wordpress.co...
                                          This one was terrific reading. I empathized utterly with this cook. Oddly, I'm now determined to make this recipe as it has flavors I adore. I'm going to scout out the grilled pequillo peppers and piment d'Espelett. I think my last batch of chicken stock is good enough, but just in case I'm going to bribe the Nob Hill butcher to source me some backs and feet! Heehee

                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                            That had my name on it as well, IN. I already have the Espelette and I Think I have the pequillos in the pantry. In any case, I was searching for recipes I thought I'd cook and then thought I'd share...

                                            I...don't...know.. IN. Bribery? COTM? Same sentence? Doesn't compute.... OTOH paying for services received may do.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Gio--did you find the piquillo peppers around here? It is one ingredient I have yet to track down, but it keeps popping up in books and tv (MR. QN has recently "discovered" the Jose Andres "Made in Spain" series)....so now I'm determined to find some...

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                Qianning, After a search of my pantry G found we don't have any piquillos. In fact I haven't even started looking for them yet. I've been laid low by a recurring RA problem. I'm just hoping I can continue with this great adventure, and trying to stay as positive as I can. So I'm making sure I choose recipes G will be able to (or want to) cook w/o my help. (I haven't gone downstairs since Tuesday!)

                                                ETA: Mail order may be the thing to do for the peppers or get lucky at TJMaxx,,, Amazon has them at $37.++/12 pack:
                                                http://www.amazon.com/DeLallo-Grilled...

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Gio sorry to hear the RA isn't letting up, really hoping you feel better soon.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Gio, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles! Hope you feel better soon....

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Gio, I'm sorry you've been unwell...sending positive vibes out there for you! Hope to see you back in the kitchen soon...

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        That's terrible, Gio! I hope you feel better very soon. Would you consider a stairway elevator for your house? Obviously pricy, but maybe there are bargains to be had in a wider search?
                                                        http://www.ameriglide.com/

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          This is certainly an option we've been considering. Many thanks, Roxlet!

                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                      Good luck to you too!

                                                      I could tell you a few tales of trips to the emergency room (oysters on Christmas Day....bad idea....) and near misses with burning pans and such...

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        This is so annoying....the above post with the oyster reference was supposed to be in reply to ItalianNana below.

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          Q: I can't believe they haven't fixed that bug yet...how irritating!

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        Is anyone else noticing that a lot of the recipes/dishes in "Ad Hoc at Home" are very much things one sees on upper-mid range restaurant menus these days? Or am I hallucinating...

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          I thought exactly the same thing about the recipes sounding like things I've seen on the menu in upper-mid range restaurants. Unfortunately they aren't the things I tend to order.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            Exactly.

                                                            I'm kind of wondering if it is a chicken or an egg thing. Are these recipes that other restauranteurs have "copied" from Keller, or did he include this sort of recipe because he knows its whats "hot".

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              With the economy in the tanks for this past half decade, I think everyone thinks what we all want is comfort food. The weird thing is, we're all saying, "This is the kind of stuff I'm seeing in restaurants"...when I'm out at these restaurants, I don't order this kind of stuff because I think, "Heck, I can do that at home." Now the truth is, I've never cooked a Thomas Keller recipe that failed me, or eaten a dish at a TK restaurant that failed me. Nevertheless, this stuff just doesn't excite me.

                                                              Except fried chicken. I don't cook that at home.

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                Beautifully put, as usual, TDQ. I want something that will wow me at a restaurant - that has flavors I wouldnt' tend to do at home. But the truth of the matter is, these days I have more a more exciting spice rack than I think a lot of the restaurants do. Oh, and not being a meat eater? Note to restaurants: that does *not* mean that I don't want lots of flavor.

                                                                And for the record, my husband and I love Bouchon, and eat at it every time we're in Yountville, so it isn't that I'm not a fan.

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  You know TDQ, that's why I rarely eat out at "non-ethnic" restaurants... I feel like most of what's on the menu is something I can make at home. Why would I order roast chicken at a restaurant when I can make a great one at home? If it's my birthday I'll do it, but mostly I tend to lean towards ethnic eating when I go out since that's not as easy to do at home. Oh, and cheeseburgers... especially in the winter. I can manage a pretty good cheeseburger on the grill at home but there's just something else about one that's done on a flat top in a burger joint :) Ditto on the fried chicken too.

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            Gio,

                                                            Perhaps I should have used the term "sweet talk." Heehee

                                                            1. re: ItalianNana

                                                              Well, you know, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..."

                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                          More Ad Hoc Recipes:
                                                          Green Bean and Potato Salad | with mission figs and Iberico ham
                                                          This is not an exact recipe. Everything but the Iberico is here, though. Someone will supply the iberico directions, I'm sure...
                                                          http://fiveoclockfood.blogspot.com/20...

                                                          Mushroom and Leek salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Radishes
                                                          Plus:Mushroom Conserva and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
                                                          http://cookingwithhoover.blogspot.com...

                                                          Thomas Keller’s Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic
                                                          http://amynadeau.wordpress.com/2011/0...

                                                          Thomas Keller’s Coleslaw
                                                          http://amynadeau.wordpress.com/2011/0...

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            For the Green Bean & Potato Salad, the original recipe calls for about 3 oz of iberico ham or prosciutto. The blogger has taken big liberties with the directions but I expect the end product you would get is pretty close.

                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                              Thanks GM... I was hoping!

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            Thanks very much Gio. I may try a few of these.

                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                              'Welcome, Delys. There are many more upthread a little...

                                                        3. I just made my reservations for fried chicken Monday at Ad Hoc towards the end of April! Perfect timing to be cooking from the book.

                                                          And, I will also probably choose one recipe from Bouchon Bakery to bake in April.

                                                          1. GG, just FYI, there are two Bouchon books, "Bouchon" and "Bouchon Bakery".

                                                            I've got AHaH and that's what I'll be focusing on next month.

                                                            Here's a link to the listing of all online TK recipes that have been indexed in EYB: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              "...there are two Bouchon books, "Bouchon" and "Bouchon Bakery".

                                                              Wha? Which one did I just buy? I had no idea there are two, must go investigate, thank you TDQ.

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                ohoh I hope you bought the one you want!

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  Phew! not too late to cancel, I smacked Bouchon outta there and ordered Bouchon Bakery. So glad I saw your post, too bad I'm so careless.

                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                    Wow! Just in the nick of time!

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                            2. Here are some online Keller recipes, for those without access to Keller books in April:

                                                              chicken breasts w tarragon http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                              tomato confit http://www.marthastewart.com/318889/t...

                                                              baby back ribs http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink...

                                                              pecan sandies www.7x7.com/eat-drink/thomas-kellers-...

                                                              cornbread stuffing/dressing (gluten free) http://sfist.com/2012/11/21/stuffing.php

                                                              grilled cheese www.menshealth.com/nutrition/grilled-...

                                                              five meals: rack of lamb, skirt steak w red wine sauce & caramelized shallots, roast chicken, pork and beans, BLT with melted cheese and fried egg http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/p...

                                                              beef stroganoff http://momofukufor2.com/2010/04/thoma...

                                                              ratatouille http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

                                                              summer vegetable gratin http://www.pickledplum.net/2012/08/ve...

                                                              Thanksgiving menu http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for...

                                                              None in this list, but there are also several recipes online from Bouchon Bakery, which I agree should have its own thread.

                                                              Also, quite a bit of Ad Hoc at Home is available on Google Books.

                                                              33 Replies
                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                Thank you for this list ellabee. I won't be able to buy the book this month (just paid a bunch of taxes, ugh), but at least this way maybe I can make a dish or two.

                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                  Thanks ellabee. Does anyone know which book the ratatouille recipe comes from? Is it AHAH? I'm guessing it is.

                                                                  1. re: Frizzle

                                                                    Going by the recipe listings at Eat Your Books, it's not from Ad Hoc at Home, Bouchon, or The French Laundry. Unless he calls it something other than ratatouille, which I can't imagine. Will do an ingredient search and report back.

                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                      I've just been googling. I think it's called confit byaldi and is in The French Laundry book. Smitten Kitchen has even got a post on her blog covering it.

                                                                      1. re: Frizzle

                                                                        Thanks, Frizzle. Further study of the Eat Your Books recipe listings for The French Laundry reveals that the eggplant-pepper-etc confit is an internal part of 'Roasted guinea fowl en crèpinette de byaldi with pan jus'. Have just looked up what a crèpinette is, and am laughing weakly... Ad Hoc at Home certainly seems like a walk in the park compared to TFL!

                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                          There's a very funny blog where someone cooks their way through The French Laundry. It's also seriously impressive!

                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                            Here's the blog, Carol Cooks Keller. This post starts at the end of January 2007 and goes through December 2008 but I think she started before that. I read the blog as Carol cooked and it was both hilarious and frustraing... for her and for me vicariously. Even so it's a great read. She went on to cook through Alinea...

                                                                            http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/...

                                                                            ETA: The Alinea blog:

                                                                            http://alineaathome.typepad.com/aline...

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              That's great Gio, thanks for sharing! I just read a little on p.1 but her little rant about TK's egg cartons had me laughing out loud. I'll definitely return to it. Thanks!

                                                                        2. re: Frizzle

                                                                          A bit of trivia: the confit byaldi is the ratatouille in the movie Ratatouille. There's an extra on the DVD of Keller making it (precisely and super-rapidly slicing everything super-thin by hand, naturally).

                                                                          He was a consultant to the producers on the workings of a French restaurant kitchen, and contributed recipes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f103z...

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            Love this fact. Thanks for telling us.

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              Very interesting Caitlin, thanks for sharing!! I had no idea!

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                Watching the rat make the ratatouille was really fun to watch. Almost as fun as watching TK make it in the extras on the DVD. It's worth watching the movie just to admire the Remy's (the rat's) cooking skills.

                                                                          2. re: Frizzle

                                                                            The recipe was printed in the NY Times a few years back. I've had the recipe bookmarked for ages, but haven't gotten off my duff to make it. Here's the link:
                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/din...

                                                                          3. re: ellabee

                                                                            Here are a few more online recipes from Ad Hoc at Home (via Eat Your Books, where I've been tagging recipes while I wait for my copy of the book to arrive):

                                                                            crispy braised chicken thighs w olives, lemon & fennel http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                                                            leek bread pudding http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/din...

                                                                            fennel mustard http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/fe...

                                                                            blueberry cobbler http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

                                                                            banana bread pudding http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                                                            chocolate chip cookies http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/daily...

                                                                            The man has a thing for piment d'Espelette, no lie. If it's available where you are, go for it. I'm an enthusiast of paprikas and peppers, so may order some just to see what the attraction is.

                                                                            Also: Madras curry powder. There are several recipes online; this one seems close to Keller's and makes a manageably small amount: http://www.grouprecipes.com/88890/mad...

                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                              Here's a link to the entire population of Thomas Keller "online recipes" that have been indexed by eyb. http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                                              You don't have to be a member of EYB to use it. I've already posted this link, but I guess it got lost in the shuffle.

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                Thanks TDQ. I didn't vote because I didn't think I would get a much of a chance to cook during April and wasn't keen on purchasing any of the books but I really want to try and fit at least a couple of recipes in. This is very helpful.

                                                                                1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                  You are welcome. I have to say, I just flipped through AHaH from cover to cover hoping to tag a few recipes to try and was a) annoyed by the sheer, ridiculous, unwieldy size of this book and b) just not that inspired, especially after I cross out all of the out-of-season recipes.

                                                                                  Everything sounds delicious, and I'd be delighted to eat it if Thomas Keller (or any of you hounds) cooked it for me, but there isn't a lot I really got excited about. It's not as if there was nothing to tag, but it's not to the point where the book is porcupiney from yellow sticky notes, either.

                                                                                  I think I'm going to poke through the online recipes and see if some appeal to me. Maybe the crazy oversizedness of the book is interfering with my feeling inspired, as in "just trying to get this book to fit comfortably in my lap so I can flip through it is a hassle, I'll bet that cauliflower soup with fried beet chips is too!"

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I pulled the book off my shelf last weekend TDQ and reported a similar experience in the voting thread. This was the only book of the 4 nominees that I owned (I know, a shock to me too!) but I wasn't convinced I'd be inspired to cook enough from it for it to earn my vote. In the end I abstained.

                                                                                    What I found especially frustrating was the number of recipes with one, two, three or more other recipes within it. On those rare occasions that I do have the time to cook in this manner, this isn't the likely to be the kind of food I'd be inclined to make that type of investment in. I'd be more enticed to try a complex ethnic dish that's new to me or a favourite restaurant dish that requires learning a new technique or two. Compounding the issue of the multi-recipe within recipe issue was the sheer size of this book. I hate flipping back and forth at the best of times and can only imagine how frustrated I'd become doing it w this beast of a book!

                                                                                    That said, there are some recipes I saw that I can try and mr bc is keen to say good-bye to the current COTM since he's not as much of a fan of Chinese food as I am so I imagine he'll find a dish or two he'd like me to make.

                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      Oh, well, when I said to my husband last night, "I can't find anything I feel like cooking from this book," he said, "List the recipes off for me."

                                                                                      So, I said:

                                                                                      "Dinner for dad (barbecued chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens, followed by strawberry shortcake)..."

                                                                                      And he said, "That sounds good!"

                                                                                      And I said, "Buttermilk fried chicken"

                                                                                      And he said, "THAT SOUNDS GOOD!"

                                                                                      And I said, "You know I don't deep fry"

                                                                                      And he said, "I'll do it!"

                                                                                      I shrugged him off, then "Pan-roasted chicken with sweet sausage and peppers"

                                                                                      He said, "I'd eat that!"

                                                                                      Me: "Whole roasted chicken on a bed of root vegetables"

                                                                                      Him: "What's wrong with that?"

                                                                                      Me: "I don't feel like chopping up all those vegetables..."

                                                                                      HAHAHA! Lazy butt, me. Maybe I shouldn't try to choose recipes when I'm tired.

                                                                                      Anyway, my point is, this book appears to be husband-friendly, at least Chez-TDQ.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        When you make those TDQ, could you make extras for me...those all sound mr bc-friendly as well!!

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Husband friendly, but I definitely see what you mean.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Just peruse the book on an empty stomach; that always does the trick for me!

                                                                                            My spouse would enjoy those dinners very much as well.

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              "this book appears to be husband-friendly"; funny that you write that TDQ, I came home with my library copy yesterday. Mr. QN immediately took to it, leafing through and saying "this will be a great month for me, but isn't it going to be a lot of work for you?" Sigh. He's at least as good of a cook as I am, so I'm trying to figure out how to make Mr. QN honorary April COTM chef.

                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                quinning

                                                                                                Hahaha good luck, girl. After reading a few of the recipes I'm corralling my husband, who can't boil water, to do the scut work. If he doesn't injure himself or burn the house down I'll reward him with some Ad Hoc dishes.

                                                                                    2. re: ellabee

                                                                                      If one is willing to throw caution to the wind (calorie-wise), that leek bread pudding, one of the few recipes I've tried, is absolutely divine.

                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                        Oh that does sound good ncw...thanks!

                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                          This is one I have been DYING to try but I haven't found an occasion that justifies the carbs and calories. Perhaps Easter, although we'll be hosting my husband's picky daughters so I would probably end up eating the whole dish myself!

                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                            I agree, it is wonderful!

                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                              I am making the leek bread pudding for Easter at my sisters. We need to leave too early sunday am to bake it in the morning and her oven will be in full use. So I will make it Saturday afternoon. Question is how does it fare reheated the next day? I am hoping that with all the cream and cheese and other good things it will still be very tasty the next day.

                                                                                              1. re: ElsieB

                                                                                                I'm doing the same on Easter, Elsie.

                                                                                                I'll tell you my experience with bread pudding. Generally, I'm not a huge fan of sweet or savory. The leeks and cheese elevated this to something special, however, and I loved it. I made it for a meal with 7-8 people, and it was not piping hot when it got served, but still pretty warm. I don't remember how much we might have had leftover, but if we did, no doubt my husband, the resident bread pudding lover, ate it cold. I don't think that will do for your Easter dinner (though it is not bad at room temp; I'm thinking about all the quiche I've eaten at room temp).

                                                                                                I have reheated bp in the microwave, but I think letting it come to room temp and then reheating it, covered, in a 325F (or so) oven would be your best option. That's how I handle bread dressing/stuffing (or previously baked lasagne).

                                                                                                Really, whatever improvisations you might have to make, I don't see how it could be bad.

                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  I agree and thank you for the suggestions. Between the bp recipe and I am making a crepe cake, my fridge is bursting with heavy cream:) ah, well, it is Easter dinner!

                                                                                                  1. re: ElsieB

                                                                                                    Good to hear I am not the only one with a quart (and a little extra) of heavy cream in the fridge. (My SIL and her husband are arriving tomorrow for a long visit, and she's going to freak out when she sees that--she is a fat-phobe; I, on the other hand, am enamored with all things fat, cream, cheese, butter . . . I know they'll love the leek bread pudding, though--and I figure I'm doing them a favor by serving something she wouldn't make at home except possibly with low-fat products.)
                                                                                                    I'm with you: it's once a year!

                                                                                          2. re: ellabee

                                                                                            As above with Gio, thanks for compiling these!

                                                                                          3. I am just about to come back to Home Cooking after a several month-long vacation (from the site, not from a trip to Bali)...My problem is that I have a lot of trouble with Thomas Keller. I bought his first one - can't remember the title, big, loads o' photos book which I took to Moe's Books in Berkeley to trade. I had a bunch of other cookbooks too. They took all the other books and asked me, upon getting to the Keller, whether I wanted it back because they wouldn't take it in trade. Apparently so many other customers had attempted to get trade credit that they had overstocked. I said I didn't want it and the guy tossed it into a discard bin.

                                                                                            I am looking forward to anything by Keller that claims to be for "home" cooking. Will check it out of the library.

                                                                                            PS: Thanks so much to those posters providing links, etc.!

                                                                                            1. posting so I can find this thread again. March has been a horrid month; maybe things will be calmer in April.

                                                                                              1. Sticking my toe in ...

                                                                                                1. I don't see it mentioned here so I'll note that Serious Eats selected Ad Hoc At Home for it's Cook The Book feature when it came out. You'll find links to the following recipes here:

                                                                                                  Buttermilk Fried Chicken

                                                                                                  Chocolate Chip Cookies

                                                                                                  Pineapple Upside Down Cake

                                                                                                  Candied Pecans and Herbed Toast

                                                                                                  Blowtorched Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream

                                                                                                  Chicken Breasts with Tarragon

                                                                                                  Tomato-Basil Marmalade

                                                                                                  http://www.seriouseats.com/cgi-bin/mt...

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    Serious Eats also did a bake the book with Bouchon Bakery. Since Serious Eats is indexed on EYB, you can get all of the Keller "Cook the Book" and "Bake the Book" online recipe links here: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      That's great to know TDQ, I enjoy reading the CTB experiences and I did break down and order Bouchon Bakery yesterday. The Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks reviews really piqued my interest and while some of the detailed instruction in TK's cook books isn't what I'm looking for at this point, I did resolve to bake more this year and I think I'll appreciate the precision of the Bakery book. I'd forgotten about the adjunct threads and figured this now gave me the perfect excuse to move the book from my Wishlist to my cart.

                                                                                                      We'll see how that goes though. If I'm not successful I may just resign myself to trekking across the continent and picking up my TK baking in Napa! (and returning the book to its rightful owner!!)

                                                                                                  2. Has anyone here made the Fried Chicken from AHAH?

                                                                                                    TDQ's post above made me think that if this was a recipe folks raved about, I just might be inclined to make it. I have to admit, I've never had much luck w fried chicken. Nor is it something I've made very often though. I tend to find the batter gets too dark by the time the meat is cooked. I've even tried starting the chx in the pan then finishing it in the oven. If this is a winner technique though I'd be willing to dive in. Who doesn't love fried chicken??

                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      There's a whole thread on it:
                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871598

                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                        Wow! Thanks so much emily, that's amazing. I really appreciate your pointing us to that!!

                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                        I made it once. It was great, but a lot of work:
                                                                                                        Day 1: make brine
                                                                                                        Day 2: cut up chicken & put in brine (I had my butcher cut the chicken up for me, so at least I didn't have to do that part!)
                                                                                                        Day 3: set an alarm in a big panic because TK says you absolutely must NOT leave the chicken in the brine for more than 12h. Pat the chicken dry. Let it sit for ages to come to room temp. Mix up the batter. While cooking chicken, waste ages trying to get the oil to go to the right temperature and freaking well STAY there already. ;-)

                                                                                                        The end result? Totally worth it. We had some guests for dinner and they thought it was fantastic. But I wouldn't cook this probably more than once a year, unless I had a more reliable deep frying method.

                                                                                                        I'm going to go and read that thread that emily posted now!

                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                          That's really, really helpful geekmom...thank-you so much for posting. That sounds like it needs to be planned w military precision!!

                                                                                                          I was interested to see TK pan fries his chx vs deep fries. I recently invested in a deep fryer after reading some compelling posts on the Cookware thread. What appealed to me was the ability to keep the oil at a consistent temperature and, also the fact that a frier would minimize splatter and mess. In the past I suspect my chicken has failed because I've pan fried it and, haven't been able to maintain a constant temp. Now, I do have a new cooktop since I last tried to make it so that too may be a factor. I wonder if there's a reason TK doesn't deep fry?

                                                                                                          btw, the thread emily shared also contains a link to yet another thread on TK's Fried Chicken....who knew!!

                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                            I might actually be this lazy: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5611...

                                                                                                            ETA:

                                                                                                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                                                            THe Williams Sonoma description refers to a "savory" coating. For a moment there, I thought it said "a sacred coating".

                                                                                                            It sure sounds awfully good. :)

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              Lazy? I say nay nay!! Love it TDQ, I may just join you!! ; - )

                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                              I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa the other day where she visited Ad Hoc (or rather Addendum, the takeout shack) for their fried chicken. I thought it was interesting that in the restaurant, the chicken is deep fried, not pan fried.

                                                                                                              I'm thinking of getting a deep fryer so I don't have to fiddle with the oil temp on the stove all the time.

                                                                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                                                                That is interesting emily...very interesting. I'm going to pull my book and see if he explains his choice at all. I'm wondering if he suggests pan frying since everyone would have a pan but not everyone would have a deep fryer? It would certainly make life easier to use that.

                                                                                                                If you do decide to purchase one, there's lots of good info on the Cookware thread and it seems like even more posts have emerged since I made my purchase! I do remember that folks suggested getting one that you could remove the liner and put it in the dishwasher and also that you get a unit that allows you to drain the oil.

                                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                Well, he calls for "oil for deep frying" in the list of ingredients and "at least" two inches of oil (although he says it shouldn't come up any higher than 1/3 of the side of the pot).

                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                  Ok, this was bothering me--I thought maybe Keller had an alternate fried chicken recipe out there that was different from what's in the book. But I'm guessing now that what he's referring to in the book is what many people call "shallow frying," which, if I understand correctly, would be frying without fully submerging in oil although there's still a fair amount of oil (what I've always called deep frying).

                                                                                                                  What I understand as pan-frying is cooking something in a skillet over relatively high heat with very little oil, but that comes only from my friend's grandmother, who used to make a delicious dish that she referred to as "pan fried chicken," but it didn't have a coating. The first time I had it, I was expecting, however, what I know simply as "fried chicken"--floured or battered and crisp on the outside.

                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                    You're almost there, NCW. Shallow frying is the opposite of deep frying. When we shallow fry we use about 3 T oil instead 3 or 4 inches or more.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      Would that be the same as pan frying, Gio? I'm so curious, suddenly, about all these terms, most of which I hadn't given a second thought. I started thinking about all the ways I've used the term "pan fried"--and realize they don't always refer to the same technique!

                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                        Yes it would be the same as pan frying. In fact I said we used
                                                                                                                        about 3 T oil but it's probably more like 1 1/2 T to start and if during the cooking there's a need for a bit more we add it...

                                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  I've made the fried chix recipe twice. The first time, from scratch. The second time, using the Ad Hoc fried chicken pack sold at William Sonoma. The pack has 2 ready made mixes for the brine and the seasoning needed for the flour mixture. A little more expensive, but it saves you a lot of time. Results for both are equally good. My family LOVES when I make this fried chicken but I hate cooking it and feel guilty eating it. That said, if you are going to spend your calories on fried chicken, this is the recipe to use. The extra steps yield excellent results.

                                                                                                                3. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                  I've made it twice, and I would agree, lot of work, but excellent flavor from the brine. My experience was much like geek mom's.

                                                                                                                4. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  I have made it on several occasions and the chicken is quite delicious. The buttermilk produces sheets of perfectly crisped skin without being too heavy. The challenge as Geekmom indicated is keeping the oil at the right temp when cooking on the stovetop in a dutch oven. A hi-temp thermometer is essential here. Now if only there were a way to keep the leftovers crispy!

                                                                                                                  1. re: cstancook

                                                                                                                    cstancook you've definitely piqued my interest in this dish. Your description of the textures had me salivating. Thanks for the inspiration!!

                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                    I make it a couple of times a month. It's the best fried chicken I have ever had.

                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                      That is impressive!

                                                                                                                  3. For those of you with Bouchon Bakery, would you consider these recipes to be pretty complicated for the ones who may be slightly... err, inept ...in the baking department? Or are there foolproof ones available in there as well?

                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                      I read somewhere (San Francisco Chroncle, I think) that the recipes in the book build on themselves and get progressively more complicated, but that if you follow the recipes in order from beginning to end, it's almost like a course in baking. So, if you're like me and you want to pluck Bouchon's amazing croissant recipe from the middle of the book, and you're a beginning-level baker, you might have to struggle a bit...

                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        Yeah, I'm likely to leap right in like that too, as I often do in life. I once picked up some piano sheet music of Debussy's 'La Cathedrale Engloutie' even though my skills were pitiful at best, and I'd imagine that home-made puff pastry or croissants would be no different. What's life without a little struggle? The triumphs are that much more satisfying!
                                                                                                                        Thanks for the info!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                          Love love love that there is a Debussy shout-out on this thread.

                                                                                                                          Gabba gabba hey!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                            OMG Allegra... Debussy's 'La Cathedrale Engloutie' was one of the pieces I Had to study and play with my demanding music teacher, Maestro Salvatore Sullo, concert pianist who taught Chick Corea as well. It was difficult at best... but I managed. Huge chords!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              One of my absolute favourite pieces. Ever. I only wish I could play it!

                                                                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg5hvG...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                Well, you know. "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice."

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  I love this group of food enthusiasts even more now!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                    AllegraK

                                                                                                                                    I am soooo impressed and love your willingness to leap out of the frying pan into the...uh fat. I'm going that route too. I only ever got so far as Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and that was 50 years ago!! :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the kind words, ItalianNana! My unwillingness to accept limitations has gotten me into trouble more than once.....

                                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                          There are plenty of simple recipes for cookies, muffins, coffee cakes, etc., as well as more challenging ones for puff pastry and croissants. The bread recipes will drive you nuts. HOWEVER, the instructions, illustrations, and photographs are perhaps the best of any baking book I've ever read. Pick a recipe and read it carefully several times. Make sure that you have the right ingredients/equipment. Re-read the recipe before you begin, and follow it religiously. You will be greatly rewarded.

                                                                                                                        3. Question: Why does this man use canola oil instead of olive oil?
                                                                                                                          Answer: ??

                                                                                                                          (I do not like canola!)

                                                                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                            Because that what many restaurants use - cheap and flavourless :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              If canola is the same as rapeseed, you can get gourmet cold-pressed versions these days which are quite "cheffy".

                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                Curiously, I do have organic, non-GMO, etc, canola. But... after using it 3 or 4 times I hate the fishy smell and feel it taints the enjoyment of the food. Others feel the same way.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  I can't stand canola oil. One of the many reasons I don't eat in restaurants all the much. To me, it tastes of aging fish which I don't consider to be a great profile. I simply substitute.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                    If I cook any of the recipes I'll substitute too. EVOO probably. I do note that he uses peanut oil to shallow fry in a few recipes...

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    I once made the mistake of cooking doughnuts in the same canola oil the next day. Eww. I think the smell gets worse when you reheat the oil. I've never bought it again and stick to peanut or grapeseed oil.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      I'm with you, Gio; gave it up a few years ago. When I need a really neutral oil, I use grapeseed oil (stored in fridge because I go through it more slowly). For 90% of my cooking, I use olive oil that stays by the stove; a bottle lasts about two months.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                        Hah, I always thought that I was imagining the fishy smell--glad to know my olfactory senses are top-notch and I am not, in fact, losing my mind.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                          I wonder if some of us (including me) perceiving a fishy smell in canola oil is like how others (not me) perceive a soapy taste in cilantro. That is, a physiological difference between us. I have always been astounded to see canola oil recommended in cookbooks as being "neutral" tasting, when to me it is anything but. For deep frying, I like a refined safflower oil. It has a high smoke point and a truly neutral taste (to me).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                            I;ve wondered that too MelMM; I am, forgive a canola fan, but Mr. QN not, he is also someone who is not too keen on several of the brassica vegetables, whereas I love them, and "they" say perception of bitterness in the brasicas has a physiological basis. How true/tested, I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                              Interesting. Like you I do perceive a fishy smell with canola. I do not perceive a soapy taste with cilantro. Questions, questions. Perplexing too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                A friend of mine always claimed that sushi ginger tasted soapy -- any correlation I wonder...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                There is hope for cilantro haters! I was so put off by the stuff that I'd pull it out of any food I found it in and couldn't abide the taste. But about 15 years ago i started cooking with it, and suddenly loved it. Now I can't get enough, and am somewhat astonished that my daughter eats it without a second thought. So ... for those who hate it, just give it another try and 6 months later another try and so on, and truly, I think eventually you will love it. Nowadays I can't imagine life without it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                  Interesting! I don't perceive a fishy taste with canola, nor a soapy taste with cilantro (love the stuff!), but do not try to get me to eat flax! That to me, tastes like rotten fish! Whole flax isn't a problem, but the cracked/ground or flax oil are gag-inducing. Everyone I know thinks I'm making it up because they can't taste it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                    Hmm... I wonder. I smell the fish smell. I couldn't ever figure out what it was until I saw a post here that someone else smelled fishiness when using canola oil so I realized it wasn't just me, and I wasn't crazy :) I never tasted it in the food, just smelled it, especially after the cooking was done. I just switched back to using vegetable oil even when the recipe calls for canola, and all is well.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                      Canola smells "off" to me. I don't use it. Cilantro is soap to me if I bite into a leaf. In a dish I can do small amounts for flavor if its minced and well dispersed. Fortunately DH is also afflicted re cilantro. We love Mexican food.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                        This is fascinating. I don't currently use canola oil--olive, grapeseed,and peanut cover most of my needs--but I did for years and never detected a fishy smell (or knew others did). And I loved cilantro the first time I tasted it.
                                                                                                                                                        I used to use safflower oil; not sure when/why I stopped. I never notice it in the market anymore, but I'm sure it's there.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                      I also detect fishiness in canola and sub in olive, unless frying where I'll use peanut or coconut - but I still haven't found a good sub in cakes or things where I want a very very neutral oil. I've been subbing in melted butter or other things (yogurt...) ever since I discovered that canola was the source of the off taste in my baking, but melted butter often changes the final texture/greasiness. I keep meaning to try sunflower, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                        I've been very happy with organic sunflower oil or grapeseed oil for baking. I think sunflower may have a better (more healthful) mix of fats than grapeseed, but both work great for uses where you want something completely neutral, without the unpleasantness of canola.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      When I was given the book as a gift a couple yrs ago I was horrified that such a high level chef as TK thought canola oil was fine. I sent and email to him inquiring about this (nasty) oil that he was recommending. An assistant sent me a reply defending the wonderfulness of canola.....I find it disgusting and don't like the origins either. But it it the oil of choice for lots of restaurants:(

                                                                                                                                                  2. It is a truly great book! There are some fussy parts, but there are also great, un-stuffy, easy recipes to be made. Ad Hoc is a relatively casual restaurant, and that is reflected in the style of the cookbook.
                                                                                                                                                    I love the lentil and sweet potato soup with bacon recipe. I've also made the flatbread, which was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                    1. It's April in England, so I've posted the threads so we can get going. They can be found here:

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896488

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896490

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896491

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896493

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896494

                                                                                                                                                      I don't have any of the books, so feel free to point out any errors! To minimise the number of posts, I've split Ad Hoc at Home into three separate threads, Bouchon Bakery has its own thread, and the three remaining books, which I think people are less likely to cook from, are sharing a thread. I hope this works!

                                                                                                                                                      I have asked the mods to incorporate this post into the OP as this thread has many links to online recipes, as well as some useful discussion. I guess this might not happen until after the holiday though - so please bear with me.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much gg, and I love the idea of using this as the OP thread for the month. Happy April!! No joke! ; - )

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for doing that so quickly, oh lovely mods. Happy Easter!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Thanks GG.

                                                                                                                                                          Also, very glad to see that COTM is back to having a separate top-line space on the Home Cooking board. Sure makes it easier to find things.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I picked up both Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery from the library today. A word of warning to those who will be walking home with those hefty objects: bring a cart! Holy moly, those two books combined with another I picked up made for a very interesting trek home, as I simultaneously lugged and balanced the tomes whilst picking carefully along the icy sidewalks. Quite the arm workout, I tell you!
                                                                                                                                                            After a quick flip through Bakery, I guess I better get used to carrying all that extra weight around, 'cause those eclairs look irresistible and I can see this being not too kind on the ole' waistline by the end of the month....

                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                              That's why the books are so large. They double as weights so you can work out after eating all the delicious rich food :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                Lol.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                Don't get me started on the overblown, unmanageable proportions of Ad Hoc at Home! I'm sorry to hear this afflicts Keller's other books as well. And I extend my sympathies to all chowhounds who are participating by way of the books this month. The format does no favors to the content.

                                                                                                                                                                Okay, too late -- I've started. Ad Hoc at Home is the most unwieldy, irritating cookbook I've ever cooked from in my life. By far. It weighs *five and a half pounds*. Larousse effing Gastronomique doesn't even make it to five pounds. I hear and empathize with complaints about David Thompson's Thai Food, but it's a full pound lighter than this big hunk of highly coated paper. The weight is entirely due to the overscaled pages with oceans of white space, plus the heaviness of the paper stock; the total number of pages (~350) and recipes (~275) is reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                I grant that because the pages are as wide as they are tall (about a foot each way), they do lie flat, even near the beginning or end of the book. Which is a good thing, because you'll be using the index a lot -- there's no page-numbered list of the recipes anywhere, either in the main table of contents or the chapter opening.

                                                                                                                                                                Which brings me to the single most frustrating and enraging design flaw of a book filled with them: page numbers in a tiny font, POSITIONED AT THE (bottom) CENTER OF THE PAGE. Given AHAH's oversized pages, that puts them almost six inches away from the edge, impossible to read while riffling the pages to locate a spot. On top of that, four out of every ten pages lack any page numbers because of full-page image printing requirements.

                                                                                                                                                                And Ad Hoc at Home does force you to flip around because of the number of sub-recipes. The book's heaviness and difficulty of locating pages make this unpleasant, even if done in a leisurely planning session to schedule preps that will make the next few weeks of TK cooking easier -- for sure don't try to do it during actual cooking. Here's a particularly eqregious example: Waldorf salad on page 153 (unnumbered due to the clever graphic of salad ingredients) calls for blue cheese dressing p.182 which calls for aioli p.333 which calls for oil from the garlic confit p.266. Okay then!

                                                                                                                                                                One possible design benefit of all that white space and so many all-graphic pages would be the flexibility to keep any two-page recipes on facing pages. But no, on many occasions the designers force the reader to flip the page, and sometimes *several* pages (of images!), to get to the rest of the instructions.

                                                                                                                                                                Sadly, two other newly arrived cookbooks from authors I respect share some of AHAH's design failures, taking them several steps down in usability from the same writers' previous books. Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy is overscaled, weighs four pounds, and has the page numbers centered and in smallish print. Though the food is lavishly illustrated, there are no pictures at all of many of the less common vegetables and herbs mentioned -- yet it is being marketed as a reference. Jerry Traunfeld's Herbal Kitchen lacks page numbers for half the pages, needlessly forces several recipes onto non-facing pages, and omits page numbers in the list of recipes that opens each chapter. (And shares with AHAH unattractively larger-than-life images of food.)

                                                                                                                                                                This month has put me back on my previous path: no cookbooks come here to live without my having looked over a copy in person. I'm very glad not to have spent more than twenty bucks to acquire AHAH; although I've already learned quite a bit and am certain to benefit further from reading and using it, I doubt very much that I'll want to keep it around.

                                                                                                                                                                I guess Keller is really selling to the coffee-table and went-to-the-restaurant market. Speaking of selling, which I don't care for in a keeper cookbook, there are also plugs for specific equipment.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I made the correct decision not to buy this book. Thanks for your assessment, ellabee. There's no way I could be hoisting the book and flipping pages in my current condition. My pet peeves with some of the more over-designed cookbooks are the light print and minuscule font size. There are several cookbooks on my shelves that I know I won't be using again for the very same reasons you state about AHAH.

                                                                                                                                                                  I've amassed quite a nice collection of TK's on-line recipes from which I intend to oook that will suit us quite nicely. It ought to be enough for us to enjoy all the good things from Mr. Keller and his reknowned restaurant with none of the incovenience.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                    Amen to that rant, ellabee! I am with you on the page numbers especially. I've kind of resigned myself to the shape and size of the book; I have to keep it open on the dining room table in order to have counter space available to actually, you know, COOK. But those page numbers are a PITA! I do have one cookbook that's actually worse, though, which is "Tartine" from the bakery of the same name in San Francisco. Lovely book, but the page numbers are about 4 inches up the side of the page in a very pale peach-coloured tiny font. Very very difficult to flip through the book.

                                                                                                                                                                    You hit the nail on the head that this is a cookbook aimed at the coffee table market; I bet they're banking on a large percentage of buyers not actually ever cooking from the books. It does seem like people are demanding more of that arty kind of food writing these days, with the proliferation of irritating lifestyle food blogs that have so many photos of things that aren't food that you can't even find the recipes in the posts, and I frequently see complaints in Amazon comments about lack of photos in cookbooks too.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                      Bummer. Tartine has been on my wishlist for awhile, but if it's WORSE than the TK books, I think I'll strike it.

                                                                                                                                                                      I hate the arty books. I prefer they sell a combo-set cookbook/coffee table book rather than these giant, unweildy cookbooks. Alford and Duguid, David Thompson, Thomas Keller...

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend Tartine to you, because while everything I've made has been tasty, nothing has been OMG-Standout and I've had serious Issues with several of the recipes. The most recent of those would be the oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookies which spread out ALL OVER my baking sheet to form a single flat mass of cookie. I followed the instructions precisely so I don't think it was user error... I think they should have made it mandatory to freeze the dough and slice it, instead of putting it as a suggestion. The preamble describes them as "delicate" and "light" which had all of us laughing as we munched on the gigantic, falling-apart cookie segments I hacked off the mass. I probably won't ever make those cookies again.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry about your cookies. How very disappointing. Now I can double-strike the book of my wishlist!

                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                      I believe I complained loudly about his in the voting thread. :)

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                        I so agree with everything that you have described. It is so annoying I have actually considered taking a razor blade to the pages I want to work from.... sacrilege I know which is why I haven't done it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                          The placement of the numbers thing is something that drives me crazy. I thought I was the only one.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                          Just discovered a handy use of Ad Hoc at Home's ridiculous weight: to flatten a parchment lid cut from a roll of paper. By the time I need it tomorrow, it should be subdued!

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Where should I put reviews for the basics section of Ad Hoc? It is at the very end of the book, after desserts, but not part of that section.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                            geek has put some basics in the dessert thread, so I will follow suit. Good a place as any.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. For those of us that prefer to cook, especially baking, with weights, I share the frustration that so few of the ingredients include how much they weight. We all know that Keller uses a scale. Many of us use a scale. But from what I have read, the editors didn't want to insist on a scale to cook from this book. _sigh_

                                                                                                                                                                            I am slowly but surely, adding weights to recipes in the Ad Hoc and Bouchon bakery books using the King Arthur table. Since I use their flour, this works very well for me. Perhaps this will help others dive in?

                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                              I can appreciate not wanting to scare people off by insisting on a scale. But it's not that hard to include both cups/tablespoons and weight-based measurements. Lots of cookbook writers do it; it amazes me that AHAH would not be among those books. It seriously makes no sense to me. OK, time to move on from this issue. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                what a useful link, thanks smt