How to recognize you’ve completely lost control of the foodie beast inside you, part 374: as a birthday present, you wish yourself a day free of any other obligation to work on a gourmet five course menus you’ve been dreaming of for months.
Guilty as charged. I did it, and that bank robbery last week? Me.
I’m not kidding (apart the bank, sadly). That’s exactly what I did for my last birthday, months ago. When you have a little kitchen-curious kid, you can simply forget spending more than ten minutes in the kitchen before those little pudgy fingers will start poking around, pinching ingredients and generally distracting you from your knife work at great risk of chopping your fingers instead of the herbs. No problem as far as everyday cooking goes. Baking remains undisturbed, it can even be more fun with a kid around. Fancy a la minute cooking, requiring fast movements and concentrations, on the other hand is really out of question. You couldn’t imagine a kid strolling through Bourdain’s kitchen, could you?
So, for my birthday I begged for a cooking childfree weekend, just for once. For a series of unfortunate events (no Lemony Thingy though), my cooking day kept shifting in the future, till a nice cold December day arrived, almost nine months later.
My battle plan set since months, I started preparing a week before. Hand made chocolate truffles (Pierre Herme’s recipe) to go with coffee, comfit of duck legs perfumed with Chinese spices, to be molten chocolate cakes frozen and ready to go: everything ready. Feeling between silly and cool I wrote down a complete prep list for the big day way in advance. On day X, after the last minute ingredients shopping, I started making fresh bread rolls, and worked my way through all the ingredients, getting them ready to cook: vegetables cleaned and blanched, ravioli made, infused oils strained and so on till the last little detail.
I definitely exaggerated with the planning: I ended up with too much time on my hands, enough to read through a rather famous cookbook and get pissed off about it (more about that soon enough), before the actual cooking. To cut a long story short, here the menu I ended up cooking:
Appetizer: herbed crème fraiche, crudités and toasted, five spices-coated, almonds.
Soup: truffled bean soup with shrimps a la plancha
Main: Duck leg comfit in a sour cherry sauce served with sautéed spinach amd wild rice
Dessert: Molten chocolate cake
Coffe, truffles and cookies.
Coming up: a few recipes…