Food based Friday Five!
1. Given a choice, and imagining that money and time were no object, would you rather cook dinner, eat out or order in?
Depends on my mood. I go through spells of eating out a lot, and after a while, I just want to eat something simple, like a fried egg with a bowl of rice and soy sauce. And takeout is nice if I’ve been really busy, I’m tired and I don’t feel like interacting with other humans.
2. What is the most elaborate meal you’ve ever prepared yourself or purchased at a restaurant?
I’ve prepared many multicourse meals at my friend Justin’s house, but I can’t remember them all now. I know that out of the French Laundry cookbook, we made butter poached lobster and lobster bisque. When Anne and I were practicing for an Iron Chef contest, we made something like 12 dishes for our guinea pigs… savory egg custards in their own shell with morel ragout (also out of French Laundry), pasta carbonara, strawberry pavlova with mascarpone sorbet, white and yellow nectarine and prosciutto salad, duck sausage with dried nectarines, nectarine and cardamon rice, nectarine chutney, nectarine ice cream, corn risotto, polenta cookies, corn ice cream (yech)… My own kitchen is tiny, so I don’t often prepare multicourse meals for guests. If I do, I stick to uncomplicated dishes so I can entertain. A common dinner party menu would be something like oysters on the half shell, cold vichysoisse, a tossed salad, seared duck breast (the only thing that’s not prepared ahead of time), lentils, a cheese plate and some kind of tart with homemade ice cream. If I do make something more complicated, it’s labeled as a “project” that produces excess product to share or eat later on, like cassoulet, braised oxtails, fresh pasta, puff pastry, macarons, etc. But the most complicated meal I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant is probably Pierre Gagnaire. Dude had some pretty bizarre stuff!
3. What food do you find yourself making and/or eating way too much?
I actually *like* repeating recipes over and over, and making subtle adjustments each time. After a while, the recipe become my own. But I probably eat too much chocolate and pastries.
5. Would you rather cook for someone else or have them cook for you? I’d rather cook for someone else. It’s pretty difficult for me to go into someone else’s kitchen while food is being prepared and resist meddling. Also, I’m just a control freak in the kitchen. It gets pretty obnoxious – “Ack! The mirepoix should be diced smaller! Those cookies need to be spaced evenly apart! What do you mean, you don’t have a microplane zester! Don’t you know that chervil is integral to fines herbes? We can’t use extra virgin olive oil to saute! “