Tonight we’re hosting our monthly Book Club meeting. Fifteen lady friends are flocking to the house, and we’re going to discuss the book Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. It’s a delicious autobiographical romp through the culinary life and times of the former New York Times restaurant critic. So my umemployed ass spent the day elbow deep in butternut squash and vacuuming like a mo-fo. Fun times!
Seriously—I’m excited about the book…but I’m most excited about what we’re going to eat! Since I have lots of spare time on my hands, I decided to go all-out for tonight’s menu, which is inspired by one of Ruth’s visits to a posh New York restaurant. The menu is as follows:
June Cleaver’s Book Club Menu
Gougéres with Prosecco
Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Bacon and Walnuts
Linguine with Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Butter
Genuine New York Cheesecake
As you can see, I’ve already made a batch (cauldron) of Butternut Squash Soup. I have decided to rename it “Bane of My Existence Soup.” That sea of orange is the result of peeling, gutting, chopping, and roasting no fewer than 4 butternut squash. It was like Halloween up in my kitchen! Add to that peeling and chopping three vidalia onions and roasting four huge heads of garlic, PLUS pureeing the lot with a stick blender. Seriously…it’s not that hard, just time consuming. It’s a wonderful time-killer if you’re unemployed. 😉
Then there’s the gougéres. That’s faincy for cheese puffs. There’s a whole fairly involved process to making these, which is worth a whole blog itself, so i won’t half-ass it here. But after you get the dough ready, you have to pipe it into little circles so they bake into puffs. I don’t own a pastry bag, which doesn’t bother me. However, what wreaths me in shame is that I had to borrow a technique from Sandra Lee (GASP!) and (i’m feeling faint) snip the corner off a ziploc bag and use that to pipe the puffs. I know…I know…I am embarrassed and sorry to subject you to such filth on this blog. I usually try to keep a PG-13 rating here, but this Sandy Lee tip has me feeling dirty.
As for the cheesecake…well, it’s awfully craggy. It got a nice sour cream glaze, but then I got retarded with the Saran Wrap (I HATE that stuff and absolutely cannot work it) and got it stuck in the glaze, which messed it up. The brand I used is called Stretch-Tite. Really? Stretch-Tite? Stretch tight my ass. Plastic wrap is the devil’s product and that’s all there is to it.
Oh, the pasta! I don’t want to jinx myself, but I am absolutely quivering with excitement over this pasta. I’m basing the recipe on one from Ina Garten, which she describes as (no joke) “OMG is this delicious!” The fact that Barefoot actually typed the abbreviation “OMG” is kinda lame but indicative of how impressed she was by her own cooking. I had to go to four places before I found black truffle butter. Fresh Market was my hero…and the price was great! Only $6 for three ounces. But I digress. Sautéed wild mushrooms (including those pretty orange chantrelles). Roasted fresh garlic. Shallots. Heavy cream. And truffle butter. OMG it IS going to be delicious! You know what I’m doing? Asking for mischief! Cross your fingers and wish me luck!
PS: Wish US Luck!
Kitchen Mischief is going on the road! Matthew and I are catering an event this weekend for 75 guests. We are even getting fancy chef jackets made! Watch for upcoming posts chronicling the insanity that occurs as we crank out some delicious dishes (and hopefully avoid major mischief!)…