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Ad Hoc at Home Unknown Binding – 2010


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Artisan Publishers (2010)
  • ASIN: B005C1H79Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,295,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Get this book and cook better than your annoying aunt that thinks they can make the best _______ in the world.
EclecticKim
The recipes are stunning, the cooking tips the best I've read in a cookbook, and the pictures are lovely and actually very helpful.
MattSF
Most of the ingredients in the book are relatively standard, and sources are provided for the few esoteric ingredients.
C. Fletcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

422 of 429 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mitchell on October 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I've only had Thomas Keller's ad hoc for a short time, I ready love it and have found many things that make it a must-buy if you're a lover of food or books about food. Keller's quote on the back of the book really sums up the theme of this book: "...a big collection of family meals and everyday staples, delicious approachable food, recipes that are doable at home. No immersion circulator required. No complicated garnishes. I promise!"

Keller delivers on this promise in ad hoc. The book assumes far less prerequisite knowledge than his other books, The French Laundry, Bouchon, and Under Pressure. In fact, the first section of the book is called "Becoming a better chef," and Keller outlines the techniques, ingredients, and tools that can help anyone become a better home cook.

I own all 3 of Keller's other books, and regularly cook from them. This is, by far, the most accessible book for the casual home cook. The recipes in here can easily be made as weeknight meals--most don't require any excessive time demands or preparation. Many of the recipes are dishes you're probably familiar with: chicken pot pie, fried chicken, braised short ribs, beef stroganoff, apple fritters, chocolate brownies, etc. But, this being a Thomas Keller book, many of these classic dishes are refined and made more elegant. For example, his beef stroganoff uses fresh cremini mushrooms, creme fraiche, braised short ribs, and pappardelle pasta. All of the recipes I've made have turned out perfectly so far, which has been the case with his previous books.

Consistent with his previous books, the look of ad hoc is beautiful. It's also a nice change to see Keller's fun side featured, and he's displayed in a number of whimsical photographs throughout the book, warning you: "shh...
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323 of 332 people found the following review helpful By C. Fletcher on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As Ruth Reichl recently said on Fresh Air, if it's four o'clock at work, and you're trying to decide what to have for dinner, you've already half-lost the battle. You can't start out from that position with most of the recipes in this book. What I'm trying to say is that these recipes take something most cookbooks and even television shows that are about food avoid: time and advanced planning. Most of the recipes contain sub-recipes. Most of the chicken and pork dishes require brining, and many dishes require some type of stock. However, most of the time consuming processes in the book don't require much active time, but they do require planning. I'm not putting this up as a negative. In fact, so many wonderful things about cooking simply require time. My first Thomas Keller cookbook was Bouchon, and some of the more time-consuming components used there (soffritto, tomato confit (in Ad Hoc oven roasted tomatoes), garlic confit, duck confit, preserved lemons, peeled shelled fava beans before blanching) make an appearance in this cookbook as well. The first reaction I had to cooking things for more than four hours, which some of these require in total time, was incredulity. Seriously? MORE than four hours? Having eaten at TK's restaurants I put my trust in him, and I learned how wonderful things happen when food is given time.

If you've been cooking for many years some of the tips you may have known: put a towel under your cutting board, you only really need four knives, some salts weigh differently; however, others will most likely be new if you haven't cooked out of TK's other cookbooks. Thinking back on the difficulties I had when I first started cooking, how I wish all of these things had been spelled out to me as clearly and as simply as they are in this book.
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166 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Neel Gandhi on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is humbling. That's the best way I can put it. I adore the premise of the book. A celebrated chef sharing home cooked recipes that inspired him to create his world class restaurant in Yountville.

Lets take the famous fried chicken recipe. It doesn't start with a simple set of ingredients and steps on how to do it. It first will train you on how to use the basic tools in your repertoire. Then it will take you through the process of choosing the right ingredients and how to manage them (think spice dating). Then comes the crucial part of choosing the right bird. Then cutting the bird so it will walk you through the various ways of cutting the chicken and how it will impact various meals you will prepare on your own and through this book.

The best thing about this book is that it will teach you to be a better chef with the recipes you are already familiar with and cooking on a daily basis as well as introduce you to a wealth of recipes that will truly expand your horizons. Truly a masterpiece.
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171 of 201 people found the following review helpful By Otis Maxwell VINE VOICE on February 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've worked in restaurants and understand the concept of preparing a "staff meal" in which great ingredients plus last night's leftovers are used imaginatively to make a meal for the employees. Keller explains at one point that is the inspiration for Ad Hoc and for this cookbook, and therein lies the problem.

If you have never baked or fried a chicken or brined a cut of pork, you'll find directions here. But you can find equally good and less fussy recipes in the Joy of Cooking or another more encyclopedic/basic source. Some of what's here is solid home-cooking advice, but other dishes are astonishingly high in fats. If I'm going to clog my arteries I'd rather find a more creative way to do it.

Also, hidden in the recipes are a number of specialty ingredients that make it difficult to reproduce Keller's methods without a lot of advance mail-order shopping. And while some dishes can be made "ad hoc" or on the spur of the moment, others depend on advance preparation of enhancements such as pickled vegetables or spice mixes. Actually I love Keller's pickling section and that, plus the pictures, comes close to justifying the purchase of the book. But understand what you are getting, and not.
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More About the Author

Thomas Keller, author of The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, Under Pressure, and Ad Hoc at Home has been honored with innumerable awards, from an honorary doctorate to outstanding restaurateur to chef of the year (for successive years). His two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants, French Laundry and Per Se, continue to vie for best restaurant in America and for ranking among the top five eateries in the world. Ad Hoc, his casual family-style restaurant, opened in 2006.

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