Unprocessed: Day 3 & why Thomas Keller improves all things

Ad Hoc at Home, by Chef Thomas Keller

Today, over my garden omelet and coffee, I scoured the internet and my collection of cookbooks for recipes. The goals were to find dishes that were low maintenance, kept in the fridge, travelled well and were of course, unprocessed.

Surprisingly, Chef Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook yielded more practical,  prep-ahead meals than five other cook books and a web search combined. (Warning: I have a ridiculous crush on Thomas Keller. Be ready for a lot of his work this month.)


This weeks lunch menu will be built around leftovers from Thomas Keller’s “deceptively simple” roast chicken and roasted root vegetables, made Sunday night and stashed in the fridge.

The roast chicken has a great flavor and serves well warm or cold. Keller’s recipe calls for carrots, potatoes, turnips and rutabaga with the bird. I opted for carrots, onions, red potatoes and sweet potatoes, mostly because those items from the market were about to go bad. (Warning: roasted root veggies, though wonderful warm with salt, do not serve very well cold.)

Learn to make TK’s roasted chicken, á la family meal, courtesy of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. (I have a crush on him too.)


Carrots and celery with homemade ranch will be a staple snack this week. Homemade ranch was already one of my favorite things and normally I use my variation (2 parts mayo or aioli to one part buttermilk, seasoned with one clove chopped garlic and a pinch each of chives, salt, coarse pepper, parsley and cayenne) but I decided to give TK’s recipe for buttermilk dressing a try in the spirit of my Keller theme. (It’s on page 182 of the book and includes mint, among other things)

Positives of homemade ranch dressing – cheaper in the long run and it’s infinitely better than the goopy, chicken-finger dip you buy at the grocery store

Negatives of homemade ranch dressing – shelf life on this, when refrigerated, varies wildly based on the freshness of your original ingredients (learned that one the hard way)


Breakfast won’t have as much Four-Star Chef flair. However, all of this will be about 2 weeks worth of breakfast plus quite a few snacks at a total cost of about $15, minus the brie. (The cheese is horrifically expensive, but I make it last forever, because life without brie isn’t worth living)

Breakfasts this week will include some combination of:

  • apples
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • greek yogurt (more on the adventure of homemade yogurt later)
  • toasted raw oats (living in my desk at work)
  • brie
  • almonds (also living in my desk at work)
  • Farmers Market wheat bread
  • peanut butter (only ground peanuts and salt, made less than an hour from home)

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