I just had a birthday and thanks to Facebook there was no way my husband was forgetting (not that he ever has, I would never let him). What to get me is usually met with panic, frustration and sheer terror. I am a 'little' hard to shop for and as my birthday falls a mere week before christmas. I insist that he does not combine gifts, but this year that is exactly what he said he was going to do. Gasp, an eleven year rule broken just like that. But as luck or karma would have it, "it's more expensive" present didn't have an appropriate delivery by date so he had to alter his strategy and break up the gift giving into two segments.
My gift was Thomas Keller's ad hoc at home: family-style recipes cookbook. Something my husband knew I would appreciate, would spend hours pouring through looking for tips, tricks and inspiration. 'ad hoc' is collection of recipes based on Keller's food from the restaurant of the same name. The philosophy is to use fresh in season produce for family style meals, one four course menu each day. 'ad hoc' is in good company with the French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon (my second favourite restaurant). True to the family-style nature both my husband and I can share this book. He was even the first to make a recipe from it, giving me another invaluable gift, mummy time.
I don't know if ad hoc at home was ever part of the original intent but here it is now in my collection. I may not ever get the "it's more expensive" present, I'll have to wait and see how Christmas plays out, but this simple thoughtful gift will get a prominent place amongst my other cookbooks. Already it is getting stains and spills and all the other tell tale signs that a book is well loved.
For dinner last night my husband made chanterelle mushrooms: with pea shoots as a bed for seared Qualicum Beach scallops and a buttery fat laden pommes anna.
*as a note, Keller suggests Pan-Roasted Halibut from his book. However, we are consciously eating seafood that does not have a high environmental impact on our fisheries and though Halibut on the pacific coast is a safe choice if we don't know where it comes from, we avoided it all together.
photos by me.