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Complete meal from French Laundry cookbook, need some help, pairings, etc.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I took back my Day at ElBulli (not)cookbook and got the French Laundry Cookbook. It's awesome. I really dig it. It's really shows the "perfectionist" that Mr. Keller is that's for sure! (with all the stocks, "quick" sauces, powders, etc)

some things in it are a little crazy/less practical for the home cook (a few days to prep things, ingredients, etc)....but for the most part, I dig the whole book.

So tonight is my dinner night, NRatched has a long day today, so looking to knock it outta the park.

I'm going to do the Parmesean Crisps with Goat cheese mouse for a little pre-dinner bite....

for main (or first, not sure yet) I'm going to do the white truffle risotto (although instead of shaved white truffles, I'm going to do a wild mushroom ragout on top)

for dessert, i'm going to sway from the book perhaps (haven't decided yet) and just glaze some pears in some brownsugar:butter 4:3 and put a dallop of marscapone as I have some left over i need to use up, with a sprinkle of balsamic.

I thought about doing something else, but not sure what "light" i can do either before or after the risotto. I don't have a protien, but it's going to be a rich "menu" as it is. you're thoughts? (if you have an idea from the FL CB, that would be neat)

going to whole foods in 2 hours to pick up my ingredients.

Also, I'd like to make a predinner cocktail.......something a little traditional, something i can find in a Mr. Boston guide...that might go well with the parmesean crisps/goat cheese. NRatched doesn't care for dark liqours (ryes, etc) but likes vodka drinks, tequilla (patron silver), and bacardi silver. Not opposed to champaines, etc. but silly to open a bottle for just a pre-dinner drink for 2.

also, a wine suggestion/recommendation for the risotto? What stands up to truffled anything? white/red? italian? we've been big fans of a particular Ghemme (cheap nebbiolo wine) lately, not sure if i can find it in the store though.

p.s. I know about french laundry at home blog, i dig that too.
post #2 of 13
I think it would do really well with a selection of meats and cheeses either before or after the risotto. A nice proscuitto or serrano, a nice coppa, nothing too spicy paired with parmesan drizzled with balsamico, and your favorite goat cheese. As Herbert always says "you always need a good goat cheese in your cheese platter."

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
hmm..definitely an idea.
post #4 of 13
Meat and cheeses would do me just fine. What your dinner actually needs is a salad course. Eventhough it's not particularly a heavy meal, the acidity would help to balance it out. Oh what do I know.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #5 of 13
I've had a coupla Nebiolos that smell like truffles. That'd make a good match with the mushroom ragu.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
headed to whole foods now.

pictures and news at 10. (what else am I going to do during the debate besides drink and fiddle around online?)
post #7 of 13

Hope I didn't miss you

Sorry, I probably just missed you. That is one of my favorite cookbooks. His mindset is amazing and the book is a good read, recipes or no.

I would suggest a Pink Champagne for the start. Francois Montand is spectacular and the price makes it OK to only have 2 glasses, although I guarantee you drink the whole thing. Tiny bubbles, strawberry, veerrryy tasty.

How about his oysters and pearls for something light? A bit of work, but probably worth it. Or if you could find some nice heirloom tomatoes, and dress them with a high end olive oil, salt, fresh pepper, a few drops of balsamic and a fresh, local triple creme...just a thought.

How about an Austrian Veltliner to go with the risotto? There is one "Wolfgang Concerto Gruner" '07. Unreal balance, a fantastic wine with food or on it's own, if you can find it.

Good luck.
post #8 of 13
With respect for Mapiva who has very good taste, meat and cheese aka "cold cuts" is not a good follower for risotto -- especially since you started with a parmesan crisp. Too much cheese, and a cold meat is too informal. You have to make up your mind as to whether the risotto is a main or a starter. If it's a main (which is a good idea), some sort of salad would be a good idea. Otherwise, you might consider a piece of grilled chicken as a main, along with an appropriate vegetable. Your meal is lacking in both proteins and greens. It's all starch so far.

I'd suggest using seafood either before or after, but know you too well.

A Pinot Grigio would be fine with the risotto. Considering how much the risotto will have going on, a Chardonnay might be perfect and would be my choice.

If you have a good blender, make frozen Hemingway daiquiris to start. The pale pink is a lovely color to serve to a lady -- and the tart astringency will presage your dinner well. If not, shake a vodka gimlet, and serve it up with a cherry. When you shake drinks, it's important to let them sit a bit before shaking to let the ice begin to melt and dilute the cocktail -- otherwise it will taste too strong as it warms up. A minute, while you garnish and otherwise prepare the glasses is enough.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I almost bit off more than I can chew, but pulled off a great dinner nonetheless. I was selfish and wanted to try a Parisian gnocchi for a before the mushroom risotto....

Parmesan crisps east...... cups...tough. First try yielded awesome crisps, no cups....second try, I got some "cups" (you have to be iron man to handle that hot cheese, thank god my callouses are seasoned)

got to use one of my new microplane zesters. awesome.

everyone should own one of these!



although, following the recipe to let it sit 30 seconds, was not the right thing to do....they crisped up too fast...no cups from this batch. I learned that using this mini-muffin tin and working ON the oven door, fast, with burnt callouses and a spatula....was the ticket.

Ok, so the gnocchi? failure. just too rushed, and too mushy. i think i would have been better off freezing after poaching and using the next day. just throwing them in the fridge then in the saute pan wasn't a good idea.

in any case....here are some pics.

I picked up some PA Bluefoots, chanterelles, and some shitakes. (them bluefoots were 37$ a lb!)

best. risotto. I. (and NRatched) ever. tasted. I don't really even like mushrooms all that much, but the ragout (a half glass red wine, some homemade chicken stock i used for the risotto, and some heavy cream) was also great! Ok, it was a pretty good tie for a risotto I had at Gramercy Tavern a couple of months ago...:D
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Indeed it did. Instead of being selfish and wanting to just try to make the gnocchi to see if i could, I should have just had a side of greens. lack of protein was ok for tonight as the mushroom ragout, was pretty hearty.
post #11 of 13
Man you're getting good at this cooking thing McMurphy! :)
post #12 of 13
A quick comment on the parmesan crisps - you may get slightly better results turning the muffin pan over and draping the hot cheese over the bottom of the cups. I love parmesan crisps, often throw in another bit of whatever cheese is on hand. Usually I just serve as flat, wafer type things, but the few times I've tried cups it seems that you get more consistently flat bottoms by draping them over, rather than into.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
yeah, figured that out the hard way even after reading the write-up on the french laundry at home blog!

I didn't end up doing a special wine or cocktail either, just a cabernet we both like.
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