Home > Cooking, Eating > The Bitch is Back – and she brought a friend!

The Bitch is Back – and she brought a friend!

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear Chef Bourdain;

For Christmas I served a crown roast of pork. I used a recipe I found from Gourmet Magazine. It was made with a marjoram and sage stuffing – but I modified that to go along better with sauce bearnaise by using thyme and tarragon instead. I also repeated your gratin dauphinoise.

Why does this pork have a crown? Hail to the king, baby.

But the real triumph was the bearnaise. I corrected my previous mistakes; for Christmas I got a metal mixing bowl, and I used that in a properly simmering double-boiler. Also, I chopped the shallots much finer, though maybe using the food processor was a bit of a cheat. Actually, I can chop an onion or a shallot pretty quickly now, so I feel like I’ve learned something there, too.

I was ably assisted by Dummy The Cat, who reminded me over and over again what’s become my catch-phrase in this project – “Don’t fuck up the meez.” I mean, when you’ve got a cat poking her nose in your prep, you make extra sure that it’s all measured out and safely stowed. As a result, I was able to pull off dinner for 12, never lose my cool, and keep the kitchen basically neat while working. So much so that Dummy’s predations were minimized, and when MLF got home from visiting family, she said, “Wow. Everything actually looks pretty clean.” Chef – I did not fuck up my meez.

Assistant to assitant-chef Bourdain.

Anyway, the bearnaise came out just perfectly. The egg yolks never got close to curdling, and the sauce thickened up as beautifully as could be with the butter. It was a gorgeous emulsion, and it kept in a thermos for an hour and than another few hours on the table without breaking. This morning we had a little leftovers, and the sauce was still firm and delicious. It was well received at the table, too. I don’t have the greatest experience with bearnaise in the world, but it was easily the best I’ve had, anyway.

People seemed quite taken with the dolphinnoise, too, which I jazzed up with a little bit of white truffle oil.  Unlike last time, I put the herbs in a sachet – which you don’t call for in your recipe, but makes fishing them out after boiling the potatoes in cream quite a bit easier.

So in short, the stuff I made that came from elsewhere was good but not fantastic, whereas everything out of the good book was really excellent. I didn’t make anything I hadn’t tried before, but like you said, I’m going to fuck up the bearnaise the first time, so just try it again. And lo – it worked! Somehow we squeezed 12 people into our little house for Christmas dinner – but the crowd wasn’t a burden, but a pleasure. Somehow this big family is all really close. No one fights, they all sit down to share genuine affection, love and…dare I say it? Joy. Yes, joy. What goes better with joy than pork, cream, butter, and cheese, I ask you?

Nothing chef. Nothing at all. I hope your Christmas was just as merry – I’m sure your dinner was!

Merry Christmas;


Categories: Cooking, Eating
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