Over the weekend, I had my family over to celebrate my father’s birthday. This meal was long overdue and I wanted to go all out for my dad.
Back in February, I bought all the ingredients to cook a fancy dinner with a variety of Thomas Keller recipe’s, the menu included:
- “Macaroni & Cheese” Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Creamy Lobster Broth and Marscapone-Enriched Orzo- The French Laundry Cookbook
- Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard Glaze Recipe
- Truffled Mashed Cauliflower
- Ad Hoc Brownies from the Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook
- Cream of Walnut Soup from The French Laundry Cookbook
I started to prepare the meal a few days in advance, then snowmeggedon hit, and my family was unable to make the drive, so my neighbors and my wife got treated to an unexpected gourmet meal.
While everything was delicious, recipe’s from the French Laundry Cookbook are a lot of work, I enjoy the work, but seriously, that mac and cheese had about 1,000 steps. I will say this, the lobster broth, was not hard to do, and it was amazing.
This weekend was the makeup dinner. I scaled back a bit, and made the following:
- Little Gem Salad – Spinach Salad with Grapefruit, Blood & Naval Oranges, toasted walnuts and a honey vinaigrette from Ad Hoc at Home
- Homemade Mac & Cheese with basil, Gruyere, two year old cheddar, and Monterrey Jack
- Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard Glaze
- Grilled Asparagus with Shallots and Lemon
- Grilled Arctic Char stuffed with lemon, garlic, parsley, and rosemary
- Ad Hoc Brownies from Ad Hoc at Home
And of course, plenty of wine. The meal turned out great, but looking at that menu, how many people do you think that should feed?
We only had 6 people for dinner. I can’t stop myself from cooking for an entire army every time we entertain. I always cook for double the amount of people, I can’t help myself.
Here is the recipe for the Ad Hoc Brownies.
Ad Hoc Brownies
From Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 6 ounces 61 to 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups)
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350F. We use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
- Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
- Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.
- Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)