Well it’s a new year, and what better way to kick off 2011 than talking about some amazing food by Thomas Keller?!? The more I cook from this book the more in love I am. I’m finding even the simplest of recipe is perfection and am becoming daring enough to try the more complicated endeavours. Well… almost daring enough.

This time around I started with the Chicken Pot Pie on page 24. I was stunned to realize that until this time I had never actually made a chicken pot pie. I love them… I’m not sure why I had never made my own before. But after this I’m going to from now on! It was hearty and comforting, a little time consuming but oh so worth the effort. The Bechamel was truly inspiring. So flavourful, so creamy… so good. I have to admit that I used skim milk instead of whole, but I still thought it was rich and wonderful.

Next up was the Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin from page 47. I find peppercorns a bit harsh when you buy peppercorn steak from the store – but this one was great! I was able to coat mine a little less, and hubby’s a little more, making everyone happy. I also loved the option of being able to lessen the bite of the peppercorns by steeping them in more oil.  This was also the first time I had ever cooked a steak in my oven rather than on a grill – very tasty, but I think I’ll wait for BBQ season before making this one again.

Ahhh the Wild Cod En Persillade (page 95) – it was like a repeat of the scallops. I don’t care for cod, but damn if Chef Keller didn’t change my mind. I realized my problem with the fish had always been the texture – there isn’t too much flavour to speak of. But adding the crispy outer persillade (a mixture of bread crumbs and parsley) changes everything. This was a quick, simple and amazing recipe. I know I’ll make it again and again.

Finally the Baked Beets (page 194) – Hubby LOVED these. They were tender, sweet and simply delish! Also, so easy. These were the simplest beets I think I have ever made. Honestly I only used red beets, and I only made 4 instead of 12 – but only because we are only 3 people and as much as I liked the beets eating anything for 4 days would get to be a bit much. Luckily this recipe was easy to make in smaller batches as well. If you’ve never tried beets – this is a great way to introduce yourself to a wonderful winter veg.

Next up!

Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup – page 121
Nantes Carrot Stew – page 190
Sautéed Red and Green Cabbage – page 198
Buttermilk Biscuits – page 276

Remember if you’d like your own copy of Ad Hoc At Home, you can win one by being a fan of Simply Fresh on Facebook! Canadian Residents only.

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