A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘Bouchon’

Ham It Up

In Food on September 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

If I had to pick just one sandwich to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be this one: ham, butter, mustard, baguette. Sounds simple enough but this sandwich is all about the details. First, my father has the butcher slice regular old Boars Head ham as thin as prosciutto. Nothing fancy, but when sliced paper thin it becomes something very special. Next, he slices up a baguette from Bouchon Bakery and slathers with salted butter.

Finally, the sandwiches get a generous lashing of Mendocino Hot & Sweet Mustard, which truly makes the sandwich. Each time I visit, I stock up on mustard but now I need look no further than the 405. I just spied this very jar at Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart.

Virtuous Quinoa

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

Following a very naughty girls lunch yesterday with Anne and Booth at Bouchon in Beverly Hills—that started with Krug and ended with crème caramel and all manner of butter-drenched goodness in between—I’m mending my ways with a pious lunch today. At the beginning of each week I make a big bowl of red quinoa to keep in the fridge so that I can scoop out half a cup for lunch and add whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Quinoa is one of those super foods—a complete protein, so it’s almost like having a big red, juicy steak but without the fat or guilt. For this version, I chopped up pea tendrils, green onions, a leftover grilled chicken breast, sprinkled some crumbled feta and tossed with half a cup of quinoa and a tablespoon of Bragg’s Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing (recommended by nutritionist Ashley Koff).

It’s a virtuous lunch, which leaves room in life and your waistline for Vouvray-drenched moments like these:

Thank you, Anne, for sharing these photos and being so fabulous that they sent out FOUR desserts. We love you!

Naughty, but Nice

In Food on November 25, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Oh my, my. This morning I braved a prodigious line at La Brea Bakery and managed to secure the very last loaf of brioche. I had George behind the counter (he is the BEST) slice half of it, and leave the remaining half intact so as not to dry out. Tonight we’ll be having sliced brioche with a pot of foie gras that my parents brought down from Bouchon Napa Valley. The rest of the brioche will be hosting turkey/stuffing sandwiches on Friday. That is, if little Sabine (my parents’ new puppy) doesn’t make off with the brioche first…

Mixed Messages

In Food on June 24, 2009 at 8:07 am

phil_drum

Here’s a dinner conversation that took place recently with my husband in a restaurant in Belgium:

What I said: “I’ve never heard so much Phil Collins in my life.”

What he heard: “I’ve never had so much self confidence in my life.”

The bottom line is that bad music can quickly derail a conversation. Conversely, when I stop to think about it, some of my best dinners have taken place in restaurants with killer soundtracks: Momofuku’s mix of Bowie, Modest Mouse, Wilco; Pizzeria Mozza’s classic rock with the Stones and Who in heavy rotation; and then as cliché as it might seem, Billie Holiday moodily piping through the speakers at Bouchon in Napa Valley. What’s better than bistro fare with blues?

Herb Salad

In Food, Recipes on April 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

lettuce

What can I say? I love this herb salad, and I make some version of it a couple times a week. It’s especially good at providing a bright counterpoint when you’re serving something heavier like pasta or risotto, or alongside potatoes dauphinoise. The inspiration comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville. Keller uses herbs that are more subtle in flavor, and the vinaigrette is light and refreshing (note: it uses canola oil instead of olive oil; red wine vinegar instead of balsamic). Or to quote Keller himself on Epicurious.com:

This salad is all about freshness. Use plenty of freshly picked fines herbes: parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil; harder herbs, such as savory, rosemary, and marjoram, would be too strong. Finish it with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Bouchon Herb Salad

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bibb Lettuce Salad

Head of Butter (Bibb) Lettuce

Tarragon, chopped

Italian parsley, chopped

Chives, chopped

Chervil, chopped

Canola oil

Red wine vinegar

Dijon mustard 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon juice, fresh squeezed

Cut off core of butter lettuce, and then tear up leaves and place in bowl of cold water to refresh them and remove any dirt, then lift out and spin-dry in a salad spinner.

To make vinaigrette, mix three parts canola oil, one part red wine vinegar, and a dollop of dijon mustard in a blender for 15 seconds. 

cuisinart

Place the leaves in a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, chives, and 1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley, tarragon, and chervil. Then toss gently with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Perfect Roast Chicken

In Food on March 24, 2009 at 7:59 am

roastchicken

A couple weeks ago my friend Hugh blogged about Mary’s Free-Range California Bronze Heritage Chickens on GastroKid. They are, as Hugh says, “the best danged whole chicken you can buy in a supermarket.” They’re available at Whole Foods, and the fantastic news is that they’ve lowered their prices yet again to $2.69/lb! (Not so long ago, they fetched double the price and were worth it then.)

heritagebird

For the past few years I’ve been roasting chickens à la Zuni Café, which involves salting the hell out of them and letting them sit under plastic wrap in the fridge for 24-48 hours before roasting at high heat. It’s a great go-to method, and produces deliciously crispy skin.

But last night I discovered an even better method. I have to attribute the ridiculous success of this chicken as much to the simplicity of technique from—who else?—Thomas Keller, as to the bird itself. Keller has famously said that his last meal would be a roast chicken, and his Bouchon cookbook features a somewhat involved version that requires a six-hour brine, but epicurious.com has Keller’s abbreviated method that requires nothing but a lot of salt, a little pepper and a bit of fresh thyme and twine. 

Crank up the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the bird and thoroughly pat dry inside and out. Salt and pepper the inside, and then truss the bird with kitchen twine. Then sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the bird and a few twists of pepper. No butter. No herbs. Just salt and pepper. 

truss

Roast the chicken without basting for 50-60 minutes, until the oven gets kinda smoky and the skin is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven (careful of spattering hot fat) and add chopped fresh thyme to the pan, then baste with all those lovely fatty, thyme-scented juices. Let rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes, and then slather with a pat of good butter and serve with a healthy dollop of spicy dijon mustard. The flavor of this bird was mind-blowing—my husband swore, and then asked if we could roast a chicken every week (note: we do). But I know what he means. It was like tasting something new and intoxicating for the very first time. It was that good.

chickenlegs

The Mighty Duck (Liver)

In Food on January 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm

foiegras

Over the holidays, my parents served a jar of this INSANE foie gras de canard (a sinful pâté made from fattened duck liver that often results in angry conversations and a lot of soul searching every time you eat it, and you swear you’ll never eat it again, but then you just can’t stop eating it) from Bouchon in Yountville. It’s the best I’ve had—here or in France—but until Thomas Keller opens a Bouchon satellite in Beverly Hills later this year, I may have to try making my own. I have a copy of the Bouchon Cookbook and could get my hands on a lobe of fresh Hudson Valley foie gras and rendered duck fat over at Surfas. But has anyone tried this at home? I’ve made simple chicken liver pâté, but this looks like a pretty intense four-day project.