I was shocked and, frankly, dismayed this morning when I looked at our calendar and saw that this coming week has NO free nights. While that in itself isn't unusual, it is unusual that I have left zero cooking nights at home for me and, thus, have no reason to go to the weekly farmers market. How sad.
But we went to the market anyway, if for no other reason than to take in the ambiance. And - this may not surprise you - we ended up buying quite a bit of food! Yes, for a week with no meals to plan. What were we thinking?
Our 'loot' included some beautiful "Purple Passion" asparagus (I had never seen it before), a bunch of sweet young leeks, some Arizona Sweets oranges, beautiful brown eggs, a round of goat cheese, a couple of baby English cucumbers and a slice of almond brioche from the French bakery (just so that we didn't faint from malnourishment).
While Susan and Towny were busily preparing their post on French laundry for The Modern Trobadors (and I mean actual dirty-clothing-going-into-water-to-get-the-stains-out laundry), I chose, instead, to muse on my favorite French Laundry. The other French Laundry. Yes, the Yountville restaurant of Thomas Keller.
I have never been there. I have tried, and tried to get reservations, and friends (thank you Mikey!) have tried for me, but to no avail. It is easier to get into NORAD! Mikey was so kind as to get me the Keller's tome, The French Laundry Cookbook, but I can assure you that my cooking his recipes will be nothing like the meal I dream of one day eating at The French Laundry.
I cannot remember if I have mentioned it or not, but I am newly enamored with a celebrity chef.
Generally, I don't jump on the bandwagon for a chef too easily. I always find some one thing or other that gives me pause for the praise. You know, the constant use of one ingredient or seasoning that makes everything taste the same... Or they sauce everything so that you can't even see what you are eating... Or, worst of all, the food is bland.
But not with Yotam Ottolenghi - I have yet to find a single flaw with his style, use of seasonings, myriad textures or unusual ingredient combinations.