Archive for the ‘Maundering’ Category

Pot-au-feu, aka Giant Pot of Glistening Meat

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Dear Chef Bourdain;

In your cookbook, you call Pot-au-Feu “soul food for socialists”. I still don’t know what the fuck that means. But I can say it proved to me that when French people use common or cheap cuts of meat to create a tender, delicious dish – American people will end up spending a lot of money to create a tender, delicious dish. What’s cheap in the countryside of France (or at Les Halles in Paris) is devilishly expensive in Los Angeles, if it’s even available. So for Pot-au-Feu, I had to make some substitutions, and they were generally more expensive than the cheap cuts I couldn’t find. But the end result? Well, here it is:

Glistening Pile of Meat

Read more…

Categories: Cooking, Eating, Maundering, Prep

Meaty Meat McMeaterson

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Dear Chef Bourdain;

This weekend it’ll be tart alsacienne and potatoes dauphinois. That last one is a serious bitch to pronounce if you’re not French. I think it means “Prince potatoes” but I’m going to call it The-Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Potatoes.  But a friend of my lovely fiancee’s will be coming to dinner on Monday night, so since I’m already making a tart and I got a pie pan and tart pan, I’m going to go ahead and pre-make a pie shell for use Monday.

Now, MLF’s (My Love Fiancee) friend is a fairly bohemian lass, who designs latex and fetish clothing for a living. I assumed she was a vegetarian, and despaired of finding anything veggie-friendly in your cookbook. I know how you feel about vegetarians, but dude, I live in Los Angeles. We can’t discriminate out here, it’s just a numbers thing. And even your salads have meat, Chef!

As it turns out she’s not a vegetarian and so all is well. I’m thinking I’ll Coq-au-vin and potatoes gratin and then…some kind of veggie. As discussed, your cookbook isn’t the greatest for that. Sunday I’ve got the day to myself so it’s a perfect day to tackle a more time-consuming project like the coq-au-vin.  Of course, that also means I’ll be drinking alone. Because you can’t make coq-au-vin without drinking, am I right? Even Assistant Chef Bourdain will be out of town. Not that he’s a great drinking companion – such a lightweight.

I’ll work something out, I’m sure. Heck, it involves chicken, wine and pie, so it can’t be too bad a day!

I’m ready to coq some vin;


Categories: Maundering

Stock Day

October 21, 2010 4 comments

Dear Chef Bourdain;

I know, I said my next post would be some sweet, sweet knife-porn. Which isn’t anywhere as dirty as you’d think. In fact, somebody somewhere just googled their way into something a *lot* different than what they were looking for. Anyway, this isn’t about knives, it’s about stock.

I’ve always used the stuff that comes in those flimsy waxed boxes, but the once or twice I’ve made my own stock,  it was palpably better; and that was just chicken. So I’m …somewhat excited that this coming Sunday is going to be stock and demi-glace day. I’m going to make some chicken stock, and dark veal stock. I’ve only got one stock pot big enough, so for one day that’s enough. Oh, and some demi-glace, too.

Unusually for Los Angeles, it’s been cool and rainy this week. This is what we’d call Winter weather, but anywhere would be like…early Fall. But that’s pretty much perfect for making a good soup. My woman will be off at a baby shower for her sister-in-law, so it’ll just be me and Assistant Chef  Bourdain (my dog) in the house making stock and drinking the left over wine. I’m going to start the day at the Venice farmer’s market to look for some good, locally sourced veggies in season, too. Maybe they’ll have some veal bones, too – but if not, the local Whole Foods does. I have mixed feelings about Whole Foods – they do have some good ingredients, but they’re heavily priced and owned by a deep Right Wing Libertarian who stands for almost everything I’m against.

But hey, any business is owned, by definition, by either a corporation or a business-owner, almost all of whom have a vested interest in making a profit and relatively few in being responsible community partners. So I’m just going to get the best stuff I can get wherever I can get it, and try my best to get it local and in-season. Fortunately California has an awful lot of really amazing stuff locally. In your book you sneer at Californian strawberries, but I have to say, we grow a mean berry out here, and they only have to come from Ventura, which is the next county over. Local enough for me!

I’m also going to grow my own thyme and parsley. Well, I say “I” but what I really mean fiancee, who unlike me is capable of growing more than just a cactus or succulent, unlike me. Her parents have a bay tree in their yard, too, so we have all the fresh bay leaves we might ever need. And that’s what I need to make “bouqet garni” which is in, I might point out, every damn recipe in your book. What’s up with that? I mean, if there’s going to be one thing in everything I make, it would probably be garlic.

But you, sir, are the chef. So I’ll do it your way and see how it turns out. Especially the parts where it says “and drink excessive amounts of good burgundy”. I’ll have to just brace myself, and do as you instruct.

Into your hands, I commend myself, Chef – now let’s fuckin’ cook!


(again, obligatory f-bomb.)

Reading the Book

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Dear Chef Bourdain;

Thanks to the good graces of Amazon, I got the hardbound edition of your book delivered to my house yesterday. In the evening, and when inevitably I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep, it made good reading.

Initial observations – I’m going to be eating a crapload of mussels, apparently. You have at least five recipes for mussels. I think that’s going to be the hard part for me, since I don’t really like mussels, and vaguely fear them- my mother developed a spontaneous and deathly allergy to them in her 30’s, despite loving them all her life. But I’m in this to follow through, dagnabbit, so mussels I shall eat.

On another note, Chef – I’ll be quoting your book here, but I’m not going to reproduce your recipes in whole. There’s the obvious legal reasons; while quoting for the purpose of criticism is clearly “fair use” and legal – flat out copying them  isn’t criticism, it’s just reproduction.  (Not that kind of reproduction, sicko.) Also, I figure it’s probably  not just you, Chef Bourdain, that’s reading this. Actually, I figure you’re not reading this at all. Who, then, am I talking to? Mysteries abound. Maybe I’ll start calling the dog “Chef Bourdain” and just solve the problem!

Anyway, to anyone else who is reading this and following along – get the book! Here it is, Les Halles Cookbook, on Either that, or contrive to have yourself invited over for dinner. I understand the cook takes good wine as bribes.

Next up, I’m going to talk about knives, as well as start to pick my first few recipes and look for ingredients.



Categories: Maundering
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