October 2009


The book is chosen, prepare yourselves…

Kitchenography is hosting the  November Cookbook Club and she has chosen Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud Cookbook: French-American Recipes for the Home Cook. Courses have been assigned and we are looking forward to it. Stay tuned for November updates.


As Elizabeth and Patrick O’Connell both said, the dinner was elegant and refined. I think it’s important to stress that we used two different books by Patrick O’Connell. Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington and The Inn at Little Washington. Both books have beautiful photos and while the latter focuses on the region, the restaurant and the food, the former is pure food.

Renee did not come through on the chintz decor that should have been  mandatory for this particular dinner party. Having eaten at The Inn, I must say that I prefer the larger portion sizes that we had at Renee’s to the tiny portions that we had at the Inn. Tasty, but tiny…

Elizabeth’s pasta dish was not tiny. It was big and bold and delicious, the tomato paste and mushrooms combined to make it velvety. I’ve never seen Aveline eat so much.

In the photos below you can see Renee’s baby bok choy. The sauce that Elizabeth was referring to was a caramelized rice vinegar sauce that was absolutely wonderful with the crispy rockfish and bok choy. Julie did a fantastic job on the soufflés and I was surprised at how tasty the corn salsa was with the fish. I love the other picture as Renee’s potholder matches the puffed up grit cakes.

As for the Rutabega-Apple Soup that Alayne made, it was tasty, creamy and smooth with a bit of a tang from the rutabega, sweetness from the maple syrup, sweet potato and butternut squash, and had just the right hint of spiciness with the addition of the cayenne. It was so good I made it for dinner again last night.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with the grapefruit tart (not that I didn’t finish my piece). It was very astringent and acidic, though it looked pretty.  I had thought the sugar and cream would tone it down but I think the grapefruit to orange juice ratio was too high, if I made it again I believe I’d either do 3/4 orange to 1/4 grapefruit juice or maybe just use 1/2 of the rind from the grapefruit, that may have been where the astringent taste came from. Sorry Alayne.

Woo hoo no more blogger!!! Thank you ladies for letting me switcheroo! So our crazy cooking night was at Renee’s house and we had a fantastic time. Here is the marinated shiitakes with vermicelli. This was a pretty lengthy appetizer recipe, and it didn’t help that I totally forgot tomatoes and had to run down to the Mexican market at 5:30! So it starts off with a tomato sauce, richened with paste and herbs de provence and sauteed onions. Then you saute the sliced mushrooms and let the whole thing marinade for awhile. The pasta is a sharp flavor contrast, as its sauce is comprised of soy sauce, five spice powder, ginger, sesame oil and scallions. I loved the pairings of these distinct flavors! It was eaten right up and I’m pretty sure Renee’s leftovers in her fridge are nearly gone!

Next was Alayne’s butternut squash soup. The flavors were enhanced with some rutabaga and sweet potato, some spiciness and lots of cream! An enhanced version of classic butternut squash soup for sure.

Here is our exciting array of dishes for the entree! The main was rockfish and bok choy with a insanely delicious caramelized sugar sauce. On the left is Julie’s grits souffles. Slightly fallen in the picture but a perfect eggy and light concoction. On the right is Tracy’s sweet corn relish, which was just so fresh and tasty it reminds me of my confetti salad (although totally different ingredients… but you know what I mean right??) These dishes went so well together and they were all very healthy!

And for our dessert, Joanne created a grapefruit and chocolate pecan crusted tart! The first bite of this instantly transported me back to Paris at the De La Tour restaurant when we had candied orange peels with our espresso. Even though it was a citrus dessert, it was still very rich and I could only eat half! The bright citrus flavor was my favorite part.

Next month is Daniel Boulud’s cookbook at Julie’s house! Can’t wait!

Thank you ladies for our new and improved blog site. I have been anticipating this site since the beginning of Cook Book Club over 2 years ago. Now we can all share our pictures and reviews of the books we cook from each month.

This month was at my house and we used two books both by Patrick O’Connell. We used Refined American Cuisine and The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook.I enjoyed all the food but was a little disappointed in the books themselves. we found at least two major errors in the books, I would not have expected this from a guy who is supposed to be very good at attention to detail.

I did not take many pictures of the food so hopefully everyone else can add those as well as the complete menu of what we cooked. What I would like to add is the new picture of us all. I am really luck to have suck great friends and to know such great cooks! I look forward to all the books and evening we will share.