Cook the Book: Ad Hoc at Home

20091228adhocathome.jpg2009 was filled with so many wonderful cookbooks but Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated and well-received. Right now it's sitting happily on Amazon's best seller list alongside other media sensations of 2009, including the Twilight Saga, Sarah Palin's biography, and the latest from Dan Brown.

Not bad for a cookbook written by a chef who doesn't double as a television personality.

Thomas Keller has been making his presence known since he took over the Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry. Winning international accolades and three Michelin stars, Keller helped transform his unique style of American cooking into something that was taken seriously not only here but all over the world.

Even if you haven't had the pleasure of dining at The French Laundry or Per Se, chances are you've seen or heard about his playful signature dishes, Oysters and Pearls, and Coffee and Doughnuts.

After years of fine dining and indulgently epic pre-fixe menus Keller decided to open a restaurant that served the simple comfort food he enjoyed cooking on his days off. Ad Hoc started out as an experiment, a temporary casual restaurant that served simple family-style meals, a dining experience more similar to eating at home than at a restaurant.

This temporary project was so successful it became a full-fledged restaurant with rotating weekly menus and dishes to fantastically well-received that the next logical step could only be publishing a cookbook.

Ad Hoc at Home is filled with recipes for the dishes served at its namesake restaurant, including that incredible Fried Chicken that was good enough to warrant a make-at-home mix. Similar to other cookbooks written by restaurant chefs for home-style foods, the recipes accessible but punctuated with tips and techniques that only come from years of cooking behind the line.

Keller keeps the book plenty lighthearted with informative and oftentimes hilarious photos of himself in front of a blackboard, reminding you to let your meat rest and professing his love for the saucing spoon.

This week we are going to share some of Keller's favorite home-style meals with you. Keller's Michelin-starred signature dishes might not lie within the pages of Ad Hoc but you will find delicious, approachable recipes that are entirely doable and have no need for fancy restaurant-style equipment. It's going to be a week of haute comfort food from America's most talked-about chef and I for one can't wait to get cooking.

Win 'Ad Hoc at Home'

Thanks to the generous folks over at Artisan Books, we are giving away five (5) copies of Ad Hoc at Home this week. All you have to do is tell us about your favorite neighborhood restaurant in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, February 15 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.