Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 05-12-15

Service Included

If you read my emails much you'll know I'm a restaurant fanatic. I found a book written by a girl that was a head waiter at Per Se, Thomas Keller's super Hoity Toity restaurant in New York. The book is called "Service Included" She applied for the job before the restaurant opened and she tells the story about all of the things she had to learn, to be able to do the job. They took French lessons so they could pronounce the menu, they took wine lessons, table setting lessons, even ballet lessons so they could learn to walk and bend to serve correctly… you must glide through the restaurant, not walk like a horse. There is also a big list of rules: Everybody must wear black lace-up shoes, and no toes, even the women. No perfume, or dial soap or anything that gives you a smell. After you serve a table you can never say "Enjoy" or "Bon Appetit" or "Have a good one"… none of that, just put the food down, tell the guests what it is, in perfect French if needed, and walk away…. PK (wife) and I went to dinner in Harbor Town. The review in the paper said "They pay close attention to details"… OK, we know all about details, we'll see. It's a very nice restaurant, all of the waiters wear short white jackets, there are red velvet chairs and the plates have a 3 inch bright red rim. There are candles and small flower arrangements on each table. It felt like a very expensive restaurant from the 60's. I expected them to have Duck a l'orange on the menu. As soon as our waiter came to the table we were all over her, watching every move. When she left to get water PK said "Did you see her shoes?".. "No I missed them, I'll see when she comes back." Turns out she was from Poland so even if she didn't use perfect French, it sounded like she did. I ordered a glass of wine. She opened the bottle at the table and poured a full glass and walked away. I liked that she didn't do the wine ritual of pouring 2 teaspoons of wine in the glass and waiting for me to swirl it, check the color, taste, and slurp. If the wine is bad, it will be just as bad with a full glass, and they will pitch the whole bottle either way. The wine was great, but she never showed me the label…. Strike 1! … She brought the first course, put it down, smiled and said "Enjoy".. Strike 2! ... Bread came non-stop, they changed forks and knives several times, they served sorbet in the middle. I kept waiting for her to pull out her crumb knife (all hoity toity waiters have them to get bread crumbs off the table. Then we saw her shoes, nice but .. Strike 3!!!!! .. By the time we left it was about Strike 12 .. She didn't have a chance.  I tipped her extra, she did a great Job.

God's like that: People think that God is watching every move we make just so he can catch us doing something wrong, just so he can point a finger and tell you how bad you screwed up. He's not. He's watching because he cares, just like a mother watches her child, he wants to be part of every moment of our lives, be happy when you're happy, be sad when you're sad. Don't ask him to leave. He won't.

I wonder if anybody still serves Duck A l'Orange? (you have to say that like inspector Cluso) …


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

Most people don't like turnips because they've never tasted one ... Here's your chance.

Turnip Casserole with Porcini Crumb Topping

3 cups heavy cream
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds small turnips, peeled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, coarsely chopped ((or any chopped mushroom)
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat the oven to 375° and butter a shallow 2-quart ceramic baking dish. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Whisk in the garlic and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Using a mandoline, slice the turnips crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Arrange half of the turnip slices in the prepared baking dish, overlapping them slightly. Pour half of the cream mixture over the turnips and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the grated cheese on top. Repeat with the remaining turnip slices and cream. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the turnips are tender.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the porcini until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add the panko and pulse 4 times. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Remove the casserole from the oven and uncover. Sprinkle the porcini crumbs evenly over the top and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cream is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.


Posted by Mack Oates at 3:41 PM