ad hoc

Curry, any kind of curry, is comfort food to me.  And even though it is 87 degrees out today {UGH!} this was just too good to pass up.


I did make a couple of changes to the recipe:

  • The recipe calls for Spanish Pardina lentils, I only had brown {YUCK!} in the pantry.   I will use yellow next time.
  • I used two heaping teaspoons of Curry powder rather than the 1 teaspoon Keller called for.  I LIKE the flavor strong!
  • I made mine more of a stew and only used 4 cups chicken stock rather than 8.

You can find the recipe on page 121 of ad hoc at home, but I also found it HERE.

Of course, because I was making this soup/stew I also had to make the curry powder itself.  A foodie friend sent me a jar of curry powder and then sent me the recipe, which I subsequently lost. I never knew where it the recipe came from until…..


…I found it again – in ad hoc. {page 336}  I was so happy. Now I have a jar in the pantry ready to use.  There are 20 different spices in this mix,

  • allspice, anise, bay leaf, brown mustard seeds, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek seed, nutmeg, mace, black peppercorns, ginger, star anise, yellow mustard seeds, turmeric, paprika, flaky sea salt. {The only thing I didn’t have in the pantry was mace but since it is very similar to nutmeg in flavor, only stronger, I subbed in 1/2 nutmeg and 1/2 ground allspice.}

some whole some already ground,  and worth all the trouble to make it.  It is much more fragrant and tastier than what you can buy and the recipe makes about 1 cup of powder.

Okay,that ‘s the last recipe from ad hoc at home.  This has been fun this month cooking with Thomas Keller.  Next month I will be gone mostly so I’ll be back in June with……?

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).


Just two days left in April which means only two days left to try a few more of Keller’s recipes from ad hoc at home.  It’s been fun cooking through Thomas Keller’s book.  I still have several recipes marked but not as many as it was.


Last night I tried fritto misto. Defined it merely refers to small morsels of meat, seafood, or vegetables coated with batter and deep fried. Here in the south we deep fry anything but you won’t see deep fried veggies on any menu of Southern food.

This reminded me a lot of tempura frying.  The batter is a little heavier but the results are about the same.  In the recipe Keller lists 1 1/2 cups cold water.  I found it worked better with just a little more water for a thinner batter, but your choice.  The broccolini fried up the best. With the thin ‘branches’ there was more batter in between for fry up.


This was so good!  The veggies came out crispy but sogged up quickly if they weren’t eaten right away.  My one tip for you:  Don’t drain them on paper towels as Keller suggests but on a wire rack OVER paper towels.  They don’t get soggy as quickly.

The eggplant and squash were also very tasty.

Keller lists several choices to fry including carrots, fennel, mushrooms, and calarari rings. All of these would be great.

The recipe is on page 173 of ad hoc but I also found it HERE (if it comes up).

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

I don’t bake nearly as much as I used to.  It used to be once-a-week.  Now, it’s about…well, it’s once in a while.  And when I do I try to use less sugar.  We aren’t getting any younger and it is harder and harder to ‘work off’ the sweet treats.

But every once in a while we really want something sweet.  Last week we really wanted something so I made Keller’s Cheesecake – using Splenda and Stevia.  This week it is chocolate as in…



Keller says brownies remind him of family, comfort, and childhood.  I feel the same way.  Mom used to make brownies.  They were always a treat.  ALWAYS!

I made these using Splenda and Stevia as well.  Instead of 1 3/4 cup sugar I used an equal amount of Splenda and ADDED about 1/4 tsp of bulk Stevia.  INTENSE chocolate flavor (1 cup cocoa), just sweet enough, and very little guilt. Well, as little as you can have with 3 STICKS BUTTER!!.

The recipe is from Keller’s ad hoc at home. {page 303} Also found it on Pretty Simple Sweet.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

I remember the frozen pot pies mom used to serve for supper.  The crispy crust.  Lots of veggies (even tho’ I didn’t like the peas – and still don’t) and not a whole lot of meat.  Even after I was married I used to buy them because they were pretty good.  Funny thing is, Thomas Keller has the same memories which is why he developed his Chicken Pot Pie.


When I used to make pot pie i would simply thicken the broth the chicken and veggies had cooked in.  Keller uses a BECHAMEL sauce seasoned with parsley and thyme.  The chicken is shredded but the potatoes, celery, onions and carrots are nice and chunky which meant you could taste each one.  SO much better!  And the top comes out beautifully crispy and browned because of the egg wash.  


Definitely the recipe to use from now on.  It’s not hard to admit his ARE better than the frozen, but the memories are the same.  

The recipe is from Keller’s ad hoc at home.  (page 24).  I also found the recipe over at Friends. Food. Family

 “I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

These are tricky little devils, but well worth the watchful work.  Temp too high = burnt. Temp too low = soggy.  Chips too thin = burn quickly.  Chips to thick = soggy.  If you don’t get it JUST right…


I much prefer Sweet Potato Fries or Chips to regular potatoes..  They are sweet, lower in carbs, and better for you  Even if you fry them…..

All you have to do is slice a sweet potato – thin but not too thin – and fry them quickly.  Then sprinkle with Kosher salt.  DONE!!

My first batch burned quickly because I used the thinest setting on the Mandolin.  Way too thin.  The next setting was perfect but I had to cook them a little longer and really watch the heat because if it’s too hot…… cause if you fry them too long in too low heat they get greasy.

But I finally got it right.  And they were worth it.

The recipe is on page 232 of Keller’s ad hoc.

 “I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

I have found my new go-to CHEESECAKE.  Over the years I have had several recipes that I have used.  Junior’s, AB’s, Dorie’s.  And it seems every time I try a new one it becomes the best one.  Well, let me tell ya’ THIS one is it!  Probably!


Rich! Creamy! Rich!  Yes, that’s twice but it is THAT RICH!! And then drizzled with a little caramel! YES!!!


      1 cup graham cracker crumbs


      3 T granulated sugar


    5 T unsalted butter, melted


      1 lb (two packages) cream cheese (not reduced fat)


      8 oz mascarpone cheese


      1 cup granulated sugar


      4 large eggs


      2 large egg yolks


      2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)


      1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


      grated zest of one lemon


    1/4 cup plus 2 T heavy cream

Combine the ingredients for the crust and press into a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned, and set aside to cool.

Bring a pot of water to boil for a bath.  Combine the cheeses and sugar in your stand mixer and beat at low speed to mix, then raising to medium speed.  Beat for three minutes until light and smooth.  In a bowl, beat the eggs and the extra yolks. Add the lemon juice and slowly add to the cream cheese mixture, beating until combined, until there are no lumps. Add the lemon zest and the heavy cream and mix until well combined.

Wrap the springform pan in foil to prevent leaks.  Boil water in a pot (you should have started this before hand) and create a water bath. Put the springform pan in the water bath so that it goes up halfway on the sides of the pan on the outside. Fill the filling inside the cheesecake and bake for one hour at 325 until set and a light golden brown.

Allow to cool in the water bath, as the water cools (so it cools slowly and does not crack {mine still cracked a little around the edge}). Then refrigerate and serve chilled.   {ad hoc page 313}

I looked everywhere for Mascarpone but was unable to find it.  Tags for it, yes, cartons of it, no.  So I made my own and it came out just fine.

THIS is one of the best cheese cakes to come out of my kitchen. You HAVE to try this one if you love cheesecake!

 “I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

As if I really NEED a new cookbook, but this one was on special and I had heard so many good things about it I had to try – Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home. Nancy has made so many good dishes from it. Phyl had ordered it. Kayte was cooking from it, and so was Marthe. Lots of my buddies on Twitter had gotten it for Christmas. I just HAD to add this one to my collection. So popular it is that this month’s avatar for Twitter was a recipe from Keller. (Mine was the chicken pot pie.) Recently several of us decided to try one of the recipes and compare notes.

    meatballs with pappardelle

I have discovered that many of Keller’s recipes often include two or more stages of other recipes. This one, for example, included making Pappardelle and Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce. The easiest way to handle it is to do it in stages. So I made the sauce first, the pasta the next day, and the meatballs on the day of the meal. NO SWEAT!!

The Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce was sooo good. I had never made one with a vinegar and really liked the flavor. Red wine vinegar, fennel {which I left out – not a fan} onions, leeks. The recipe also called for canned San Marzano tomatoes which are not available here. I had some tomatoes canned from last summer’s garden. They worked just fine. But beware – this sauce takes about 3 hours to put together. Worth. Every. Hour!!

Pappardelle are large, very broad fettuccine. The name derives from the verb “pappare,” to gobble up. [Thanks, Wikipedea]

I have made pappardelle before, but not Keller’s recipe. 14 egg yolks. YES!! 14!! I made 1/2 of the dough and it was plenty for the meal. The only problem I had with the pasta was it was rather sticky. Trying to cut it up was difficult. If I had sprinkled more flour on it as I rolled it up to cut that might not have been a problem. Next time!!

So, let’s talk Meatballs!!

If you like simple meatballs, this is not the recipe for you.

The meatballs are HUGE. 12 meatballs ( about 1/4 cup of mix each.)from almost 3 lbs of mixed meats – veal, boston butt, sirloin, and chuck – all ground and mixed together. The meatballs are stuffed with mozarella cheese before they are baked. Parsley, garlic, onion are also part of the mix. I froze 1/2 of the meatballs and cooked the other 6. I wanted to like them, but they just didn’t have much flavor. I think they just needed more seasoning than Keller called for. I would definitely up the salt/pepper and add in some garlic and/or onion powder. But they were fun to make. I usually make little meatballs for sketti, etc., Each one of these is a meal in itself which is how many people serve them. The meatballs with the sauce and the pappardelle on the side. Perfect meal. Not quick Not easy. But lots of potential for being very tasty.

If you want to try them Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet made them back in March of 2010.

My cooking and baking have improved so much over the last year. And I contribute ALL of it to my friends in Twitterland!!! We often do TwitterBakes, or TwitterCooks. Sometimes we are all together and some times it is more of a Rolling TwitterBake!! We ask questions, share our mistakes and our triumphs, just have fun cooking together far apart (That makes sense to me!!)
For awhile we have been timing our avatars together. Flatbread, cookies, nut/fruit bread. Well you get the picture. This year we are doing Chef avatars. We cook/bake one recipe from that month’s chef and post the pic as the avatar. This month it is Thomas Keller because many of us found it under the tree this Christmas or already had it. Since we didn’t have a lot of time I wanted something quick {which doesn’t happen often with Keller!!}

      Chicken Potpie

…slightly adapted from ad hoc at home by Thomas Keller

Basic Pie Crust {I used Keller’s but if you have a favorite…..}

1 cup 1/2-inch pieces red-skinned potatoes
1 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces carrots (cut on the diagonal)
12 white pearl onions {couldn’t find any, used BIG pieces of yellow onion}
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
24 black peppercorns
1 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces of celery (cut on the diagonal)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken {I used Turkey.}

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
Pinch of cayenne

1 egg, beaten

Roll out the dough, place one piece in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate and the second on a baking sheet, and refrigerate.
Put the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate small saucepans with water to cover and add 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, and 8 peppercorns to each pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain the vegetables, discard the bay, thyme, and peppercorns, and spread on a baking sheet. Cut the onions in half.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water.
Blanch the celery until just crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, transfer to the ice bath, and chill just until cold. Drain and add to the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; adjust the heat as needed so that the mixture does not brown.
Whisk in the milk, lower the heat to keep the bechamel at a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 30 to 40 minutes; move the whisk over the bottom and into the corners of the pan to be sure the bechamel doesn’t burn.
Position the oven racks in the lower third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Strain the bechamel through a fine-mesh conical strainer into a spouted measuring cup. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and cayenne.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator.
Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie shell.
Pour the bechamel over them. At this point, if the top crust is too hard to shape, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Moisten the rim of pie shell with some of the beaten egg.
Cover the filling with the top crust and press the edges of the dough together to seal.
Trim away the excess dough that overhangs the rim. Brush the top crust with the egg.
Cut a small vent in the center of the dough with a small cutter or the tip of a paring knife to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is a rich golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If necessary, move the pie to the center rack during the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the crust. On the other hand, if crust is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the potpie into 6 wedges and serve warm.

1/2 recipe of everything (except the pie crust) gave me plenty for 5 mini pot pies.

As I leaned in to take a picture of the pot pie warm out of the oven all I could smell was the butter in the incredibly flaky crust. It was absolutely heady!! But then there are 2 1/2 sticks of butter in the pastry. The filling veggies were nice and crisp rather than soft and uninviting. I will put more bechemel in the pies next time. I was afraid I would have too much sauce and actually ended up with too little. 1/2 of the bechemel recipe was just about perfect for 3 mini pies.

All in all it was a delightful foray into ad hoc for the first time. It was easy, fairly quick {for Keller}, and so very pretty to look at. Oh, and delicious!!!

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