I wanted to test myself.

I cook all the time foods that I more or less know how to do.

This time it would be different. I would cook out of hard-core cookbooks, with techniques I didn’t know.

I would also cook like a restaurant — prepare things ahead of time, and then finish them up at the last moment.

And I would make many courses. Ten to be precise.

The theme? End of summer, beginning of fall.

The cookbooks? The French Laundry and Alinea.

The time it takes one to prepare all of this? Two days.

The menu (the pictures are blurry because we lowered the lights way too much in the dinning room):

first four coursesAmuse bouche: Crispy tuiles with whipped creme fraiche and salmon tartare (French Laundry)
First course: Chicken with shallots and cider in a maple skewer (Alinea — the original recipe is with pheasant, but that was too expensive).
Second course: Duck breast, pumpkin soup, banana and lots of garnishes (Alinea)
Third course: Mullet with macadamia nut gazpacho (this is the only course that did not come from one of the books)

second setFourth course: Cherry tomatoes, tomato coulis, tomato ice cream and galic tuile (French laundry)
Fifth course: Oysters and Pearls (French Laundry, and with a cheaper caviar than osetra)
Sixth course (palate cleanser): Pear, eucalyptus, mint (Alinea)
Seventh course: Pork two ways, corn bread pudding, sage, honey (Alinea)

Desktop2Dessert 1: Liquid caramel popcorn (Alinea)
Dessert 2: Rhubarb, fennel, strawberry, orange, mascarpone ice cream (French Laundry)

My thoughts?

The work was worth it. If I could go back, I’d remove the fish course. The liquid popcorn tasted awesome. I loved the crispy fried chicken and cider dish. The pear thing was a flavor combination that hits you out of left field.

Some of the comments by the diners:

“Liquid popcorn is such a homer dish…can’t be bothered to chew”
“agh, agh, agh (upon trying the pear and eucalyptus dish”
“pork is a delicious beast”

I’ll write more detailed posts later about some of the recipes, and my thoughts.


5 thoughts on “Bacchanal

  1. Pingback: Poetic Digressions « me-an-der

  2. ayesha

    Did you cook all this yourself?? Wow, I am super impressed that you challenged yourself this way. My question is,how do you source all these ingredients (eucalyptus), and afford them?

  3. nicoeats Post author

    There’s a hippy co-op store nearby that sells spices by bulk, and their selection is huge…i found eucalyptus leaves, juniper berries, agar, and just about anything i can think of.

    I asked everyone to chip in 10 bucks for ingredients, and there were only a few expensive things (caviar and oysters). It still amazes me how cheap sometimes things are in the US. I remember paying 4-5 bucks in Canada for a pound of butter, whereas here i can get it for 2 bucks!

    1. ayesha

      I was thinking that the meats, the fish, macadamias…
      It’s good that things in the US are cheap though. You are right, things like butter are expensive…so I just buy salted, even though it’s not as good. I’ve made a couple of over-salted cakes because of this…lol.


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