The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School, Kathleen Flinn.
One of the joys of being a book lover is that people always can find me great birthday presents. Especially true since I have lots and lots of different interests. These presents have formed the kernels of dozens of collections, everything from mountaineering to nishigoi to Antarctica to book collecting itself.
A few years ago I attended a week long Boot Camp course at the Culinary Institute of America, and published my notes on the Internet. As a result, I have a collection of books on attending cooking schools, and this is one of the very best of the genre. Kathleen Flinn is a very experienced writer with a 1000 articles to her credit. She got fired from a job and decided to take a year off to attend Le Cordon Bleu Paris. I am absolutely delighted that she did so -- and then used her writing skills to put together this funny, informative, joyous love story -- for food, for learning, for Paris, for a partner. A wonderful read.
Very highly recommended.
Flinn has followed up with a one way blog on Amazon in which she reports on her recent activities, in particular her current book tour, including a recent interview on the Leonard Lopate show. She came across as a charming, down to earth, fascinating person on the radio. She also maintains an excellent web page, which includes some of her recipes from her book.
Lapin ou poulet à la moutarde
Rabbit or chicken with mustard sauce
You can make this dish with either rabbit or bone-in chicken thighs. Rabbit is similar to the dark meat of chicken, but with a gamier flavor. Traditionally, you'd drink white wine with this, perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pouilly-Fumé. But if you're [partial to red wine, try a soft one such as a Pinot Noir.
This dish pairs nicely with simple green beans. In cold weather, I add in cream for a richer dish. Serves six.
2 ' pounds (1 kg) rabbit pieces or chicken thighs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
3 shallots, finely chopped (about ' cup)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ' cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup (75 ml) brandy
2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock
Five sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
2/3 cup (150 ml) heavy cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the meat, in batches if necessary. Remove meat from the pan and drain the oil. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, apply a generous coat of mustard to each; set aside.
Over medium heat in the same pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic. Add the brandy and chicken stock, and simmer until slightly reduced. Add the bay leaf. Return the chicken or rabbit pieces to the pan. Cover and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 160°F / 75°C degrees. Remove the meat and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Put the pan on medium heat and bring the pan juices to a simmer for about five minutes until slightly reduced, skimming off any fat from the surface. (Rabbit is oilier than chicken and will require significant skimming.) Add the remaining two tablespoons of mustard and the cream (if using) and let simmer for about seven to 10 minutes until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Once thickened, pour sauce through a fine mesh sieve, pressing it through with a spatula to get as much liquid as possible. Check seasonings and adjust, adding salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the sauce over the chicken or rabbit pieces.