Friday, November 27, 2009

angelenos: bouchon is now open.

as we pulled up to the valet, the name 'Bouchon' unassumingly stood out from its dark burgundy background of the valet umbrella. we were greeted by five valet men, handsomely suited in the latest in valet fashions and stood at each door of the car eagerly awaiting for us to exit. in a calm voice they spoke, "good evening. welcome to bouchon." the statement was simple but you knew that what was about to come would be one of elegance and class. Thomas Keller needs no introduction. he has become known by far more than just those in the industry as one of the best chefs in the world. knowing that we would soon be experiencing the food of a man who has been awarded countless michelin stars, best chef titles and high honors from the james beard foundation, your heart (and stomach) skipped a beat.

as we walked into the restaurant, erykah badu's "back in the day" streamed across the eatery speakers. somewhat of an odd choice in music, going to show that keller obviously was trying to fit his restaurant into the hip LA scene. somewhat disappointing, but nonetheless, did not diminish the excitement of eating keller's masterful food.

keller's menu brings you back to the basics of artful cooking. no frills, just extreme attention to detail. coupled with the elegant (yet hip) ambiance, it's the kind of place that makes you feel like you have to sit with your back a little bit straighter and your speak just a little bit more proper.

beignets de brandade de morue

frisee aux lardons et oeuf poche

plats des cotes de boeuf
gigot d'Agneau

steak frites

saumon poele

poulet roti grand-mere

valrhona chocholate bouchons

tarte au citron

235 n. canon dr
los angeles, ca 90036
(310) 271-9910

bon appétit~!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

mashed potato casserole w/ smoked gouda and bacon

a few months back, i was lucky enough to have an amazing opportunity to take a cooking class at the bon appetit test kitchen in the los angeles office. the class is not offered to the public and is exclusive to advertising/marketing partners. i had only heard about it through co-workers but when i was invited to participate, my heart fluttered. it was a no brainer and i was there in a flash with my whisk in hand.

when we arrived, we were pleasantly greeted with a glass of wine and an array of appetizers to nosh on, prepared by the test kitchen chefs themselves. asparagus + mushroom tarts. fig + onion bruschetta. pizza with potatoes + tapenade. if it ended there, i would've been a happy camper. but then we were asked to head over to the kitchen with our aprons on and select a food station to cook at. each station had its own mise en place already prepared and the entire group cooked and baked fifteen different dishes such as spice-rubbed beef tenderloin, mixed greens with tangerine and fennel, thai black cod with beets and chinese broccoli, lime shortbread cookies with white chocolate and almonds and so much more! (all the recipes are from bon appetit magazine and can be found on

afterwards, we all sat together and dug into our creations family style and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. all the dishes were fantastic but one stood out from the rest. mashed potato casserole with smoked gouda and bacon. oh yes. it was as good as it sounds. its rich. its creamy. its decadent. no gravy needed here! so i thought i share this recipe with all of you in lieu of thanksgiving. this is a terrific side dish for any occassion but if you want to show off your cooking skills to your family and friends this holiday season...sprinkle some gouda and bacon love into your dish.

mise en place

mashed potato casserole w/ smoked gouda and bacon
recipe from bon appetit
makes 6 to 8 servings

6 slices of thick-cut smoked applewood bacon
3 large green onions, finely chopped
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1.5 inch thick rounds
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 stick butter
2 cups coarsely grated smoked gouda, divided

butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

cook bacon in a skillet until golden brown and crisp. transfer to paper towels to drain. chop the bacon and toss with green onions.

place potatoes in large pot and add enough cold water to cover. sprinkle with salt. cover and boil with lid slightly ajar until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 mins. to test doneness, poke the center of a potato round with a knife. if it goes in smoothly then its done. drain well and return the potatoes back on the stove. continue to cook on low heat, stirring often until potatoes are dry and light film forms on bottom of the pot, about 2 mins. add in sour cream, milk and butter to the pot. using a potato masher, mash until smooth. stir in 1 1/2 cups of the gouda cheese and almost all of the bacon and green onion mixture, reserving about 2 tablespoon of bacon/green onions. season with salt and pepper. mix well. spread potato mixture in prepared baking dish. sprinkle remaining gouda over the top. (this can be prepared ahead of time. cover and chill potato mixture and remaining bacon mixture separately)

preheat oven to 375 degrees. bake potatoes until cheese melts and edges of potatoes are bubbling, about 30 mins (40 mins if chilled). sprinkle reserved bacon mixture over and serve hot.

i promise you, this will be a crowd favorite. hope you have a great thanksgiving holiday.

bon appétit~!

more holiday recipes: