Some people become free spirits the moment they enter the kitchen. And let me be clear about this, I am not one of them. I was the seven-year-old who, when baking cookies, decided that salt could be substituted for sugar because, you know, they pretty much look the same.
In this fashion, I learned to cook by falling, getting up, and trying again. To this day I continue to crave organization and structure in the kitchen. I follow recipes so closely at times that I’m pretty sure if a step said “spread sauce on face”, I would do just that.
Enter the Eleven Madison Park Cookbook…
It is, in a word, stunning. Luminous photographs grace the sturdy matte paper making it a perfect book for both kitchen and coffee table.
Written by Chef Daniel Humm and manager Will Guidara, it’s exactly what you would expect from the award winning restaurant located on countless bucket lists. The recipes focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients and although they are geared towards a higher kitchen skill (and kitchen gadget budget) there’s a lot that the average home cook can take away. The layering of the flavors and the attention to detail is inspiring, walking a beautifully fine line between simple and complex. It’s the kind of cookbook that makes you want to be a better cook, sending you back into the kitchen to try and try again.
Oh, and it can be yours!
Just leave me a comment either here and/or on my facebook page and let me know that you want it. I’ll pick a winner at random and make an announcement a week from today.
**Update! Congrats to Jaclyn from Cooking Classy for winning this giveaway. Check out her lovely site whenever you have a chance!!
When I first read through this cookbook, I thought, 1) its gorgeous and 2) I will never in my life be able to cook anything from it. However, upon second glance, I noticed that there are a lot of recipes, and pieces of recipes, that are just perfect for any home cook. Take these Gougères, for example. They are nothing short of dreamy with a light custardy crumb. And although I followed the recipe (as usual) to a tee, there are a lot of options to de-fancify them. For instance, regular old sea salt will do just fine in place of the fleur de sel, and I would imagine that a sharp cheddar would replace the Gruyere beautifully. The excess dough freezes well too. I divided mine up between several baggies making it perfect for pulling out to defrost whenever the mood strikes.
2/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups bread flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup cream
Fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil with the butter, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne. Add the flour and incorporate with a spoon as the mixture thickens. Cook the dough on the stove for about 2 minutes over medium heat.
Place 1 cup of the Gruyere in a medium bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cooked dough to the cheese and mix until the dough stops steaming.
In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and cream. Add the egg mixture 1/3 cup at a time to the dough. Fully incorporate each addition before adding the next.
After all of the eggs have been incorporated, transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. To do this you can either use a piping bag, fitted with a pastry tip with a 1/2 inch round opening, or simply scoop the Gougères into silver-dollar-sized heaps. Top each Gougère with a pinch of the remaining 2 tablespoons Gruyere and a sprinkle the fleur de sel. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.