Friday, October 10, 2008

"Cornets" -- Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraîche


You guys, this is a really hard post to write.

I keep typing, then deleting... then typing more slowly... and stopping to just watch the cursor on the screen blink on and off after each word I type.

I don't even want to think about, when I'm done writing this, how long I'm going to stare at the "Publish Post" button at the bottom of the screen when all the writing is done and let the little hand-shaped cursor linger over that.

Make fun all you want of little miss sarcastic here getting all sappy and goopy, but having to actually sit down and write this post is weird and strange and much more difficult than I ever could have imagined.

I spent almost an hour this morning staring at pages 316 and 317 of my copy of The French Laundry Cookbook... gliding my finger left to right under each line as I read and re-read the title and corresponding page number of each dish....seeing my checkmarks (some in black pen, some in blue pen) indicating which dishes I'd already done, hoping that maybe, possibly, (please oh please oh please) I'd see a small blank space and find that I'd missed one. But I didn't. With this dish, I'd done them all. Cooked all 100 dishes in this book, and a few extras to boot.

I closed the book, laid it on the wooden butcher block you've seen in so many of my photos, stood there with my hands pressed down on the cover of it, and just cried.

It wasn't a big weepy, ugly cry... it was a quieter "wow" and a "whew" kind of cry. And after about 15 seconds, I saw my reflection in the kitchen window and had to laugh at myself because it's been the most amazing ride, hasn't it? I knew I'd been heavily invested in this project for quite some time, but instead of bursting into tears, I really thought I'd feel joyful, jubilant, celebratory, accomplished and victorious. And I do. I just have a dorky way of showing it.

I've known for a long time that I wanted this dish to be the last one I cooked and the last one I posted, since it's one of the first things (along with the gougères) you're served at The French Laundry and Per Se when you sit down to eat.

In fact, now that I think about it, it's almost a year to the day that I ate at Per Se for the very first time, and got to hold one of these cornets in my hand... unwrapping the perfect little, white napkin from the cone, and making sure I got the salmon tartare, red onion crème fraîche, and the top centimeter of the cone into my mouth in the first bite. I remember saying to myself, "Stop. Think. Taste. Remember. Because you're going to make these one day, and they need to be great. This is one dish you cannot and must not screw up."

I had the cornets again the second time I went to Per Se for dinner, and then again the third time, when I went there for the Under Pressure book preview luncheon. That time, as I stood in the front lobby-lounge area at Per Se, meeting journalists, writers, publishers, and others I'd long admired, one of the servers brought around a beautiful tray with white napkin-wrapped salmon tartare cornets nestled inside. With a glass of champagne in my left hand, I picked up a cornet in my right hand and just stared at it for a few seconds. I thought about whose job it was to perfectly fold and then perfectly wrap all those little napkins around the cones. I thought about how many of those tiny savory cones must get made every week, and if any ever break, or are they all perfect every single time. And I thought about how lucky I was to be in this place, seeing Thomas Keller just a few feet away talking to his publisher, Ann Bramson, before the sous vide demonstration was to begin... and I thought, how in the hell did I get to be this lucky?

I took a bite of that cornet, unwrapped the napkin from the rest and finished it in the second bite, and magically, someone appeared by my side to take the napkin from my hands. That was, without a doubt, my favorite cornet of all... until I made my own. Granted, I also had them in August when I ate at The French Laundry and Per Se, and they were lovely. But there's something about having eaten something so perfect and playful in the most amazing context surrounded by people who wow and amaze you, and then being able to replicate it in the most perfect way I am capable of that really made me feel like I'd accomplished something pretty freakin' amazing. Because it wasn't about just making these cornets and having them be phenomenal, it was also about having them serve as the perfect ending to what really has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

* * * * *

In the past few years, I've seen a number of online and literary accounts of people trying to make these cornets, and read all about the burned fingertips and cracked or burned cones, the alternate methods of serving the tartare on a flat tuille instead, the frustration others experienced in plating and serving them, and figured it would be one, big, colossal FAIL when it came time for me to make them.

I was so happy to be proven wrong.

The first thing I did was make the stencil for the cornets. I needed a 4" diameter ring, and a deli container lid with the center cut out worked perfectly. I lined it up on a plastic binder divider tab thingamabob, traced a circle, and cut out a stencil on that.

Next, I made the batter for the cornets. Big disclaimer here: I did not follow the exact instructions in the book, because I'd heard from a number of very experienced people (and saw a video of Thomas using the Cuisinart for this step; link below) that you can make this batter in a food processor and it works out nicely. So, I decided to give it a whirl and see how I fared. I put the butter into the food processor and zapped it around until it was smooth and almost like mayonnaise in texture, then added the flour, sugar, salt, and egg whites, and pulsed it until everything was combined and smooth, and there were no chunks or lumps.

I placed the stencil onto a Silpat and spread the batter using an offset spatula. Note, you will see a little glob of butter in one of the rounds below.... so I guess I kind of lied about my zapping it around the food processor until there were no lumps. Ooopsie.

I sprinkled some poppyseeds onto the rounds (couldn't find black sesame seeds anywhere)...

... and put them in a 400-degree oven for 4 minutes. At the four-minute mark, I opened the oven, pulled out the baking sheet and put it on the open oven door so I could keep the rounds warm while I used an offset spatula to lift the edge and then flip each one WITH MY BARE HANDS HELLO HOT BUTTER, and then rolled them around the cornet molds (also called cream horn molds or cornucopia molds). The book's explanation of how to do this step is pretty straightforward, but this video of Thomas making the original tuna tartare cornets on the Jewish Television Network might help if you're stuck. It's a really great demo of how you roll these suckers, and you get to see the master at work, which is always a treat. [Thanks to all of you who also emailed me that link over the past 8 or 9 months. You're right; it IS helpful to see.]

You'll see above that one of them has a hole in the cone -- that's where that lump of butter was. So, when you're doing these at home (and you really should do these at home), make sure you don't have any lumps, bumps, or clumps of butter, or else it will melt and leave you with a hole in your cornet. And that would be bad. Very bad.

I put the cornets back in the oven so they could finish baking -- another three and a half minutes -- took them out, let them rest for about 45 seconds, then removed them from the baking sheet WITH MY BARE HANDS HOT CONES BURNY FINGERTIPS AAAAUUUGGGGHHH, and put them on a paper towel to cool to room temperature.

After just 30 seconds on the paper towels, I removed the molds from the finished cornets and used them on the next batch already in the oven. Make no mistake, and in case you missed my not-so-subtle clues, these things are hotty hot hot when you handle them, especially when you have to flip and roll the rounds around the molds. Using gloves is not an option, because you need to be able to work directly with them to get them to wrap and roll tight against the mold. In my experience, the best tool for doing this step expeditiously, yet carefully, is to repeat a lot of swear words in a mantra as you're doing it. Turn those swear words into a song. Or a chant. Or a haiku. Whatever works for you. But for me? I needed to let a few expletives fly to get the job done. Sorry, Mom, but it's true.

When all the cornets had cooled to room temperature, I stored them in an airtight container until I was ready to serve them.

The next thing I did was prepare the salmon tartare.

I minced that lovely 6-ounce piece of salmon belly and put it in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon oil, minced chives, minced shallots and a pinch or two of salt, then mixed it together before covering it with foil and refrigerating it for about an hour.

The last thing I needed to make was the red onion crème fraîche. I put some crème fraîche in a mixing bowl and whisked it by hand until it had soft peaks.

Then, I rinsed the minced red onion under cold water for a few seconds, dried them on paper towels, and gently folded them into the crème fraîche.

I added a pinch or two of salt and white pepper to this mixture as well. I made a little more than the book instructed because I knew I wanted to use some as an omelet filling the next morning for breakfast, along with the leftover salmon I knew I'd have because I upped the quantities a smidge on that part, as well.

I called my friends... my loyal neighbors who are my most trusted tasters, and who have eaten nearly every single dish you've read about on this blog... and gave them the two-minute warning to come on over.

During that time, I used a ziploc bag to pipe red onion crème fraîche into each cone, topped it with a little scoop of salmon tartare which I then topped with a chive tip.

I had 22 in all (one cone had a hole in it, and I dropped one on the floor), and served them in a test-tube rack I found online at some bizarro homeschool supply web site (which I now just realized totally explains all the bizaro fundamentalist catalogs and literature offers I'm getting in the mail):

Here's a close up of the very first one I made:

Not too shabby, huh?

I went back and re-read one of my old posts about when I had these at Per Se and found this:

Salmon Tartare Cornets: I really wish there were words to describe how good these are. Note to self: Ummm, you'd better figure out what those words are by the time you make these.

And you know what? I finally did find the words to describe how good these are:


Absolutely perfect.

You gotta make 'em yourself to know what I mean, and to know what they taste like. It's worth it, I promise.

Up Next: French Laundry at Home Lists and Menu Suggestions (and what I think will be a very cool giveaway opportunity)

King Arthur flour
Domino sugar
David's kosher salt
365 organic butter
Eggs from Smith Meadows Farm
Poppyseeds, chives, shallot, red onion, white pepper from the TPSS Co-op
Salmon from BlackSalt
Monini olive oil
O lemon oil
Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. crème fraîche

Music to Cook By: Earth Wind & Fire; Essential Earth Wind & Fire. There's just something so happy and wonderful about a giant, groovy 70s band with a full horn section and an overall sound I just love. When I was in elementary school, my friend, Molly, and I used to play her parents' Earth Wind & Fire records full blast on the record player as we jumped on the sofa and danced around the living room (but not jumping so hard we'd make the record skip), pretending we were on American Bandstand and Soul Train, with our Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers (root beer!) hanging around our necks. I don't know how you could listen to "Got To Get You Into My Life" and not want to dance around your own kitchen, you know?

Read My Previous Post: Velouté of Bittersweet Chocolate with Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream


Unknown said...


Just wanted to say thanks for undertaking such a massive project and sharing it with us! I can't wait for the Alinea project :)

krysta said...

oh carol! i've been reading for so long and don't comment often but i read this post so slowly just to savor your accomplishment. job well done... bravo.

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Girl, if you weren't moving on to another book I would be bawling right now (and I am a little choked up, even so).

I can't believe it's over!

What a fabulous accomplishment. You deserve every fabulous part of it. :)

Brad McDonald said...

Thanks and congrats again Carol. It been a fun ride and you've been a huge encouragement to my kitchen adventures.

Anonymous said...

{sigh} Can't believe it's over...

An amazing recreation of the cornets; and, having done tuiles for desserts for 5 years, it's amazing that my fingertips still have feeling, so I share your pain.

On to Alinea!

Rachel Luxemburg said...

Congratulations on an amazing achievement, Carol!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I've been following your blog for ages - I really love it. I'm sorry to see the end of the French Laundry cookbook but am looking forward to reading about your experiences with the Alinea one.
Best of luck,

Natty said...

Wow. What an incredible post. I felt my heart leaping along with you. I'm inspired to try this! Thank you for this entire project. You've created something wonderful here.

Victoria said...

I turned on my computer this morning, went to iGoogle, and there in my Reader was the alert that this post was waiting for me to read.

My first reaction was "Oh, no. It's here," and I - for a few seconds - just stared at it. It was sort of like looking at a letter before opening it knowing there was big news inside - you got accepted at school (or not), you passed your boards (or not), etc. You know what I mean.

But, of course, I clicked; it's a great post and the conclusion of your fabulous accomplishment.

Thank goodness you've got another HUGE project ahead. I checked out Alinea, the book, two days ago. Whew. Get ready. I know I am.

Congratulations on FLAH. It has been wonderful to follow you. Good luck with Alinea. I can't wait.

Marmoset said...

Hi Carol

I've come to this blog quite late, but have been religiously catching up on it over the last few weeks and all I can say is: amazing.

Incidentally, I was introduced to FL by a friend of mine also called Carol, and the first dish she tried was the sea bass with parsnip puree and saffron mussel sauce and she burnt her hands while preparing the fish. The meal was lovely but she spent the entire time at the dining table sipping a martini through a straw to wash down the pain killers while both her hands were submerged in bowls of ice. So, it was with much cringing and displaced hilarity to read about your burnt hands ordeal, which I am sure and hope you've fully recovered from.

I shall be going to the FL in a month for dinner, and while I'll be savouring every bite, I'll also remember snippets of your commentary which should make for an unforgettable experience.

Looking forward to the Alinea project!


Anonymous said...

Thanks to you I went out and bought this book. I think we have done one thing from it, his bistro book is more in our line of eating, but we know it is there taunting.

Good luck on your next project.

Sarah said...

Congrats on completing this massive project! I love the way you write and look forward to your next endeavor!

Finla said...

WOw just beautiful.
And elegant too.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an awesome accomplishment. I've enjoyed reading about it every step of the way.


Southern Skies Coffee Roasters said...

It's been a great ride. Congratulations.

Your blog is the reason that I started using Google reader.

I can't wait to see the Alinea project.

Anonymous said...

Carol, huge congratulations on completing this huge, amazing, life-changing project.

I can't wait to see what you do with Alinea as well as with all the other stuff you've got simmering away.

Marcie said...

It's been great watching you cook through this book! I can't wait for what you do next!

Beth said...

What fun! Thank you so much for letting us in on this journey! I found your blog at about recipe 50 (it seems) and have been addicted ever since. Like another commenter, you are how and why I found and started using Google Reader! This might be the first recipe I try when I get my hands on a copy of FL. Seriously. I'll make my husband handle the hot things, he has fire-proof hands.

I also wanted to say THANK you for the lists you will be putting up. I've been hoping you would help us out with what you thought were the easiest, hardest, most fulfilling, yummiest, etc recipes! I'll be with you for your next project!

I know this is super long already, but I did want to say that you are why I've started getting much more adventurous in the kitchen. I'm very young with a very young family and 3 out of 4 times I try a new recipe it fails. My mom is one BA when it comes to cooking, so I feel like I have big shoes to fill and am really having so much fun learning and trying thanks mostly to the inspiration I get from you. Sounds trite and hokey, but it's still true! Thanks Carol!

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes after reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures in cooking with us. I can't wait for the next chapter. Thanks again.

Sara said...

Congratulations! Your cornets look perfect.

Micah Johnson said...

Thank you so much for doing this and being such an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

This blog has been such great fun to read--it felt like we all were there in the kitchen with you, rocking out to your EXCELLENT taste in music and laughing along. Can't wait for the next one. Thanks, Carol!!

Anonymous said...

Although I always look forward to reading your blog, today I was sad to see it and read it with a lump in my throat. Silly, since I know you'll be continuing with another awesome project, but I'm a big sap.

Congratulations on finishing such an awesome project that has kept so many of us intrigued and coming back to find out what you've done next, and cracking up along with you for those that didn't go so well (my favorite being the donuts that looked like chicken legs!!).

Don't make us wait too long for the Alinea project!!!

Anonymous said...

It's very sad that this is the last recipe. You have come so far from the first recipe. We've been with you for the high and low moments. . . we've cried and we've laughed. . . As sad as this is to end we look forward to a new beginning with Alinea. We're with you for the ride.
I just received notification that my copy of Alinea is on its way and look forward to following along with you and perhaps cooking along, if I dare.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chuckles. I hate the net-expression LOL. I did find myself emitting an audible chuckle at my desk regarding your fundamentalist spam from the home school supply folks. I was wondering if you were going to "Keller" it up a bit and serve it in some special way. The test-tube holder was brilliant, as was the musical choice: EWF's GTGYITML. I do want to see a Throw-Down between you and Nick (at foodieatfifteen) with the Alinea project. This was a "hottie hot hot" way to finish the French Laundry project.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, carol. Looking forward to the menu tips. Would love to put together a couple courses at once around this lovely book.

Anonymous said...

Ain't love great!
Thank you so much.
I'll enjoy Alinea with you too.
Prashant Watchmaker

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Carol! It's been a great ride for all of us readers and we can't wait for Alinea. Thank you!

Chris said...

More inspiration than anyone person should be able to provide.
Thanks Carol for all the great post.

Anonymous said...

So so awesome that you had a perfect ending to your FL journey. I'm so excited for you to start your Alinea blog.

Unknown said...

What you have done here is really special. I wish someone would do this for EVERY cookbook. I can't tell you how many recipes I have in books that have wildly wrong temperatures or times, impossible ingredients, important steps missing, or just turn out bad food. By doing this and getting the attention of the authors I believe that you have single-handedly helped to elevate cookbooks (and thus cooking) everywhere. If it is possible that someone out there in cyberspace will blog every recipe in your book it really provides a motivation to edit carefully and maybe to try the recipes as they are written (and not just from memory) before going to press. You have proven that someone can and will do that (starting with the greats no less) and I would not be surprised if others follow and the effects of what you have done here are tasted in kitchens for decades to come. Congratulations on finishing and thank you for sharing.

Not to be creepy or anything (it IS the Internet) but since you're done what would you think about putting up a picture of yourself? I think a few of your readers might like to see who's been guiding us on this adventure. (Unless this end means that you are planning to work through "Charcuterie" or "Bouchon" starting Monday!)


Anonymous said...

Remember the story you told about the concert you went to in a crowded tent or some such? And you stood next to the people with the pig feet? I tell people that story often. Because I think it's really funny.

You've done an awesome thing and I'm glad that you shared it with us.

Anonymous said...

my chef friend just directed to me to your site because instead of attempting to get a reservation at french laundry for my husband's 30th birthday, i will be attempting to recreate these dishes at home due to the economy completely tanking and the lack of extraneous funds for the cross country trip and extravagant meal.

thank you so much for taking time to document this entire process, i can't even take the time to update my own blog in this manner!

though i was just introduced to your site at the end of your french laundry journey, i will definitely become an avid reader and supporter in your next gastronomic journey blogfest =P


Anonymous said...

Hurray! You did it! You cooked the book. How awesome is that?

Way to go for getting the cornets right. I, too, have read that these are difficult to do....but not for you. You aced 'em! They'r beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a truly great accomplishment! Can't wait to follow along with your next endeavor.

K.S. said...

Carol, this has been so much fun to read - I feel like I've been on this adventure with you (although really you've done all the work). Anyhow, congratulations and thanks. I look forward to reading about your next project!

Renee Shuman-Powell said...

So sad :( but also happy :) becuase I can't wait for the next project this time I will cook along. When and where will it be?

Brett Douville said...

Congratulations! It has been absolutely amazing reading this blog... I'm a long way from having the patience to make a lot of these dishes, but reading your adventures has at least helped me realize that "a long way" doesn't mean "infinity"


PS. You didn't really describe attempting to use the Cuisinart as "giving it a whirl" did you? Oh, yep, you did. :)

oh so hungry said...

Dear Carol,

There is so much to say, and it can all be summed up with thank you, but that is so inadequate!

Many times I've checked out FLAH even though I knew you hadn't posted something new is the last, oh, 30 minutes, or so, but it always made me smile or inspired me.

Your wonderful blog has enlightened the spirit as well as the culinary curiousity.

The only time I regretted checking out FLAH was today! There they were THE CORNETS!!!! But then I knew this day would come... Not only are they not shabby, they are gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous and well worth the scorched digits.

Two best parts to this: you are leaving FLAH up and running so we can search on it and continue enjoying AND we are on to Alinea!!!

This is going to be a wild ride!

Thanks for taking us with you!!!

-- TB said...

Carol, thank you so much and you totally rock! I'm glad you've gotten so much from your experience because you've certainly inspired - I've started blogging, finally, and of course I've been cooking out of "the book" along with you (but not all of them you nut ;-p).

This is my first, and will be my only, comment - congratulations on your mighty achievement. My absolute best wishes to you for many more grand adventures!

The Italian Dish said...

I've enjoyed each every post you have written. You've made me laugh and wowed me many times. I will be following you over to Alinea. Can't wait.

Liz T. said...

Wow. I can't believe it. Any chance of going back and re-trying some of the recipes that didn't go so well the first time? Huh? I thought not. Oh well.

Aside from rocking the cook-through blog concept, you've also inspired a whole new generation of cook-through bloggers, which in turn inspired me to start a blog about cook-through blogs. I think you'll be pleased at what's going on over there.

Cheers, and can't wait for you to tackle Alinea!

Ryan said...

Beautiful work. Congrats!

Anonymous said...


For nearly a year this has been a treasured spot on my favorites list. Where I knew that if I checked (many days more than once) and something new was posted it would be several minutes of reading that would make me smile, and inspire me, and be thankful that you decided to share all of this. Because of your example, I kept going on big projects, I cooked dishes that required more than three steps and a big pan, and I would think that when I was working away that it was a great time to dig out some album I haven't listened to...well since there were albums instead of CDs.

I will admit that over time, as you gained a bigger following, I felt a ping of remorse that the secret I had found was no longer a secret. But you richly deserve the glory (and melon baller) that has come your way.

Congratulations. I can't tell you how relieved I am that you will keep going. Thank you for sharing the experience with us, and thank you for letting us into your life enough to understand that not much separates you from us except a little more ambition, a little more natural talent, and a very clean fridge.

Anonymous said...

I saw it... your last post... and almost, almost, wept. As with everyone here...I say congratulations. cheers to you and see you on Alinea!

Sharon said...

Even though i'm really looking forward to Alinea, I am still sniffling a little. I have loved this blog, and can't wait to dig into the next one!!

Mollie said...

To end with a beginning. How perfect. Congratulations and I can't wait for the next blog!

Anonymous said...

Kalepa ta kala, Carol. The difficult is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What an inspiration this has been Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip through the French Laundry! Believe it or not, you convinced me to order it, and Voice of a Chef(?). They just came in and I told Carol to keep them away from me and give them to me for Christmas. I am sure I am not the only convert due to your work. Thanks for the ride and I look forward to the next adventure that you will share with us.

Carol called Emelyn this morning and she told her that you had posted the last recipe so I had to stop what I was doing to check it out.

You are an amazing talent!!!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the completion of your mission, and thank you for sharing it with us.

Although with all the swearing that is involved in making these, I think I'd have to go with "I've Been So Mad Latley" by Betty Blowtorch to do a sing along during the burny-fingers part of making these....

Lesley S said...

Went to Bouchon last week when I was in Las Vegas, closed my eyes and imagined I was in Napa and that I could just walk out the door and the French Laundry would be there. And then I took my first bit of the Pate and returned to the present moment with a big smile. I'm off to buy the Bouchon cookbook and work my slow way through it. You are an inspiration, a gifted writer, a comedienne, the kind of friend your friends are no doubt very happy to have, and I can't wait for Alinea so make sure you post about it here when it starts so my Reader will let me know :)

Anonymous said...

I would cry too... At least you have a new project to look forward to. If that doesn't prove to be enough fun you can always come to Hanover and make carrot brunois. :-)

Anonymous said...

Well done! I agree that the cornets are HOT but they are so worth the singed fingers. Just a lovely post. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm obviously a classic procrastinator myself, because I started reading FLAH at Staff Lasagna and have yet to really make a comment (even though you're right around the corner from Chez Sassy here in SS,MD.)

I have to tell you I have enjoyed every delicious word immensely. My husband and I are HUGE foodies and we look forward with pleasure to every post you write for the humor, candor, and accomplishment you bring to every one. And for the fabulous photos of the process-- I swear I have more than a few times thought of your angles when snapping a shot of something I've accomplished in the kitchen.

Congratulations on an immense accomplishment, through which you've brought us immense amounts of pleasure and excitement, not to mention enlightenment. I'm looking forward to reading your adventures through Alinea, and can't wait to see what else is cooking!

Anonymous said...

We are so proud of your accomplishment. We've always known you will meet any challenge, whether of your choosing or not.
Now I would like to place an order for the Blymire Thanksgiving dinner, starting with "cornets".

Anonymous said...

=(! I love reading your and I shall miss reading about your adventures (I'm living vicariously through your blog lol)!

But anyways, good luck with the Alinea cookbook and I shall read that too =D!

Unknown said...


For the truly lazy among us, can you suggest another "base" that would work well if you don't want to do the cornets? If I can get away with something like little puff pasty squares, I might do these as a more "adult" appetizer option for my nephew's birthday party this weekend (already planning on mini potato skins).

sylvie1950 said...

Brings back memories of my visit to th French Laundry this past May. This course was one of the eating adventurews I truly looked forward to and they delivered. Not sure that I would attempt to make these but you do give me inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I've been putting off marking this post as 'read' in my RSS feed because I don't want it to end. My Alinea book will hopefully be here on the 15th and I'm going to try to follow along with you. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Those cornets are BEAUTIMUS!!!

I can't believe the time went by that fast, but look at all you've accomplished and how many people you have that totally adore your ass.

Because of you, I picked up the Alinea cookbook yesterday because I cannot WAIT to see you work your magic with your wonderful, witty writing, great pics and share with the family you have acquired on this blog!

Am I going to try making anything from it? HAYLE nawl. But I will be looking at the pictures. No wonder they call this shit food porn. LOL


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on making it through the entire FL! I've enjoyed the vicarious trip with you and have even been inspired to try some of the recipes. My friend and I jointly bought the book (because we knew neither of us would ever justify it only for ourself) and we've tried different recipes. What I love most about your blog, aside from the witty remarks, is your step by step approach. You clearly explain and show in pictures what is happening, which is so helpful in attempting a challenging recipe with no prior skill. Thanks for helping me become a much more competent cook and opening my eyes to even bigger food treats.

Maggie said...

Wow, congratulations.

Heather Broad said...

Congratulations, Carol. I look forward to Alinea!

lauren said...

Cant wait to read Alinea at home but I'll truly miss your words and ruminations on TFL cookbook!

Steven said...

Its always bitter sweet to finish a labor of love- But, as you have said- A new one is beginning. I feel somehow lucky that I am late to this party- because as I read backwards through everything to catch up, (Easier now that your standing still!)I get to experience the joys you had even though I know the ending- Is that cheating? Ah well- if it is, its all good. Sort of like seeing the movie- THEN reading the book- and catching all the parts they left out or didn't do justice to- Does that make any sense? It works in my head, anyway. Thank for taking this on- and making it such a fun journey.

Maya said...

I recently discovered your blog and when I had about of flu I read all your posts from the beginning till the end. It's so impressive. I really admire the way you've pushed yourself. And your tone of voice is just right!

I'm waiting for the first few Alinea entries so I can decide whether or not to by the book. (Christmas gift to myself?) On this side of the pond Alinea hasn't reached the general audience yet.

I hope you keep it up, I really admire the commitment and effort you've put into this!

Thanks for hours and hours of joy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It's been a ride and such an inspiration. I'll never cook out of the FL without thinking of you.

Cannot wait to see a favorites list. I might just have to challenge myself to cook through them.

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog relatively recently and have had such a wonderful time reading your current and past posts. A recent transplant to CA from DC I have to say your sense of humor alleviates some of my homesickness! Thanks and congratulations! I am just so glad you have your next project all lined up!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a fabulous culinary ride! I can't wait for your Alinea project :)

Anonymous said...

Who ever knows for sure what's going to happen when you start a new adventure. Thanks for sharing the ride. And thanks also for re-igniting my passion for cooking by turning me on to The FL Cookbook

Anonymous said...

From a chronic lurker.... I am amazed, in awe and thankful. You've been a joy to follow. I can't wait for the Alinea project. I'm sure it too will be challenging, rewarding and wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your fabulous blog religiously ever since I found out about your project, over a year ago. Some posts I go back and read again and again because they make me giggle so much - specifically the lobster jelly. Gah! Thank you for sharing your incredible culinary journey with us.

Anne said...

Wow. Congratulations on your enormous accomplishment. More congratulations on doing it with style, wit, humor and honesty. Your blog has been such an enjoyable read and I've passed it on to so many people who feel the same way.

Thanks for taking me along with you! I can't wait for your next project!!!

Anna Banana said...

This is the recipe that made me ask WHY I asked for the FL cookbook for Christmas. Sure it looked delicious, and even though I'm an experienced, adventurous cook, I thought No One could make it at home. I shut the book and didn't open it again until I found your blog. I still haven't made this, but have made many of the recipes and am determined to try this one too. Thank you!

Zmajek said...

Just my luck to discover your blog when you write your last entry! I have to say i was happy to read you will be moving on to another book, your writing is great and i love the fact that you take photos of the process, i was waiting for a blog like that for a looong time, i'm glad i found yours and i'm glad i have a lot to read even between your new posts. :) best of luck to you!

pdxblogmommy said...

Root Beer Lip Smackers....yeah man!

Since I don't believe that many people reading this blog will try these cornets (though I know they're worth trying) due to the finger burning cussing scene you've implanted in our brains, I wonder if you could sub the cone from hell with a sesame seed filled Bugle?

Metro ------> On to Alinea. :-)

Alice Q. Foodie said...

It's the end of an era! We had these at the Gourmet Institute's opening cocktail party last year, and they were amazing with champagne. Looking forward to the "extras" coming up!

Hank said...

Congratulations on completing this project, and thanks for doing it! I looked forward to reading each of your posts, and I'm sad to see it end. A brilliant job. Needless to say, I'm eagerly awaiting Alinea at Home.

Anonymous said...

I'm standing and applauding. What an accomplishment!! You did it with such winning style, formidable tenacity, and great good humor. And the music? Just perfect. I hope you'll leave this blog up long enough for the rest of us to catch up to you. Very best wishes for your next project!

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Carol!
I have read every blog entry here from beginning to end and have never posted. Why? Because I was sure anything I could possibly say would be so inane, so small, given the vast challenge you were undertaking.

This has been like church for me, a place to go, to be humbled, to speak quietly, to learn about people, food, music, challenges, bravery, courage and laughter.

Thank you.

I will be following recipe by recipe with Alinea, eager to learn more of life's good things.

Rhonda said...


Congratulations on an outstanding Job. Magnificent work, truly magnificent! Looking forward to Alinea at Home.

Anonymous said...

Carol, Congrats. Have started to dive back into the FL as a result of your mammoth undertaking. Can't believe that you didn't go out with My Way by Sinatra!!!!
All the best with Alinea. Know little of the restaurant or the book but previous comments lead me to think that you will be in for a rough ride!!!!
Andy, Manchester, England

amber said...

congratulations!! i'm so glad i found this blog while you were still in the midst of it. you are a true inspiration and i look forward to all of your future projects. cheers to you!! :)

Unknown said...

You are pretty amazing. Reading your posts has kept me busy while I was ignoring my law school professors. Thank you, but please start Alinea soon, I'm not sure I can survive Federal Income Tax or Secured Transactions much longer...

Erika said...

Oh wow, those look great! I have made these, I had to make molds out of foil the first time because somehow no one had them!! Since then I found out where the restaurant supply open to the public place is, and I'm good to go. I also made them with smoked salmon instead of fresh once, with outstanding results. I saw a holder made for sushi hand rolls on Korin's website, haven't pulled the trigger on that purchase quite yet.
I am sad to see the end of this blog project.... but am REALLY looking forward to the next!!

Anonymous said...

Having stumbled in here about six months into the project (and then going back to read what I'd missed), I have to say: what a long, strange (but wonderful) trip it's been. I look forward to boarding the next adventure train.


Anonymous said...

Amazing work Carol! I've been an avid reader for several months now (too bad I didn't find you earlier!). Your work on this mammoth undertaking has been really inspirational. I can't believe that you are going to tackle Alinea!!!! Just when we thought you weren't THAT crazy ;)

Half Baked said...

I'm rather new to your blog but am so intrigued and looking forward to the Alinea project! You're a brave soul!!
Well done on the French Laundry!

mary grimm said...

Lots of comments! I know I'm being repetitive but just had to chime in to say how glad and sorry I am that you've reached the last recipe. And I'm looking forward to your new venture.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You are probably the only person in the world who can say "I cooked every dish in The French Laundry Cookbook."

You are amazing. I wish I had half your courage and gumption.

Anonymous said...

I know there are one or two more posts to come, but I just have to say now that you are an incredible writer, and I am so excited that you're doing the Alinea book next. I've learned so much from you, and from this blog, over the past year. You have NO idea.

::::: standing and applauding ::::::

Anonymous said...

Carol, it seems like everything's been said, so I'll just keep it simple: thank you.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I got a little choked up when we saw this post in our feed reader. We got TFLC as a wedding present 5 years ago and never got around to cooking from it until a chef friend of ours told us about your blog. Now, we cook from it together, and it's been amazing. Thank you.

~ Mike and Allison

Cynthia A. said...


Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Carol. Thank you for the ride of our lives.

Deeba PAB said...

That is an awesome post. I read it very S L O W L Y, & had it running like a film in my head, hot butter & all. Thanks for making this huge effort turn into's been a wonderful read. Have a great 2009! Cheers Deeba

Amelia PS said...

outstanding motivation and results. wow. thi was the one recipe from the book that i really wanted to make.