April 10, 2008

A Keller-Inspired Taste of Yellow...

Thomas Keller. The James Beard Foundation's best California Chef in 1996. Best American Chef in 1997. Not one but two Michelin three-star restaurants under his stewardship. And from everything I've read, it looks like he runs the the quintessential 5S, lean six sigma kitchen.

I received Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook as a housewarming gift, and it's occupied a prestigious spot on my cookbook shelf ever since. It's my culinary equivalent of special occasion jewelry... it's there, waiting for an event momentous enough to merit employing it.

Well this April is an especially significant month of celebration. The perfect opportunity for Keller to make his debut in my kitchen. And I can't think of a better event to kick off my Keller-inspired month than Barbara's Taste of Yellow event in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation's LiveStrong Day 2008.

As I mentioned in my contribution to last year's event, I love the fact that Lance has chosen yellow as the color of cancer awareness. Yellow is loud. It's vivacious. It's nobody's corner-sitting wallflower.

So in honor of LiveStrong Day 2008 I've turned to Keller and his Lemon Sabayon Pine Nut Tart, because as anyone surviving cancer will tell you, each day is a special occasion and a cause for celebration. And as we went through the process of making the tart (John's help was critical in the 15-20 minutes of constant whisking the sabayon required), I decided that Keller's recipe and his approach to preparing food pair beautifully with the spirit of LiveStrong. Keller pulls you firmly into the moment, forcing focus on the task at hand rather than dwelling on what has already happened or fretting about what's to come in much the same way a cancer diagnosis pushes the patient and everyone it touches into the here-and-now, living and enjoying every possible experience. The honor and respect with which Mr. Keller approaches each ingredient and each step in the process mirrors the way a cancer survivor savors each hour, each day for the blessings it brings.

And while what emerged from my oven is probably a bit more rustic than what you'd see on a plate at the French Laundry, I'm proud to offer it in honor of my cancer surviving friends and family.

Want to try it yourself? You can find the recipe here.

From the archives...
In 2006 I took my first look at a local/organic/sustainable diet and I haven't looked back.
In 2007 I contemplated the subtle and not-so-subtle impacts children have on holiday celebrations.

Others who've cooked this one with Keller:
I'm with Carol, the smell of the pine nut and vanilla tart shell as it evolves is transcending.
Tanya of Expat Chow found this Keller a keeper.
Mrs. VJW opted for a taste of green with her key lime rendition.

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dobetter said...

Impressive! I agree, a Keller cookbook is to be cherished. Well done. Looks perfect for Live Strong.

Y said...

Sounds and looks like an awesome tart. I have the book but haven't tried the recipe before.

Barbara said...

A lovely post Dolores. The tart does look fabulous too. Thanks for supporting LiveSTRONG With A Taste OF Yellow.

Tony said...

Good Job! :)