Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ad Hoc Inspiration

Whenever I would head over to the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC, I'd first stop at Union Square Café to check out their menu for the latest seasonal ingredients and preparations. Armed with inspiration, I'd then tackle the farmers' produce stands.

Now that I live in LA, my strategy must come from a different source. Lucky for me, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville, CA, recently started sending out their daily menu to email subscribers. Ad Hoc serves a daily single prix fixe menu of four courses featuring standout seasonal ingredients -- sometimes from the French Laundry garden itself.

Ad hoc's family-style approach makes for more straightforward (yet still sublime) dishes from Keller's arsenal. Great ideas abound -- but how you go about executing them is up to you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wild Rocky Mountain Asparagus

On a recent trek to the Harvey Gap Reservoir in Silt, Colorado, my father-in-law found himself in a patch of wild asparagus. Naturally, it ended up on the dinner table that night. His method: steamed and served with lemon butter.

As it's high season for this vegetable, the recently posted its compendium of asparagus recipes. One of my favorites is the asparagus risotto from Mark Bittman in 2007.