Last week, I ran a personal best at the Boston Marathon -- 3:29:38, six minutes faster than my previous fastest marathon -- and two days later my birthday made me the youngest in a new age division (45-49). Clearly, a celebration was in order.
Special occasions and special friends deserve special food. One of my dearest friends, and the one who's been instrumental in my recent running successes, has a fond memory of vol-au-vents, special occasion food indeed.
As luck would have it, I've been collecting a series of books, The Good Cook: Techniques & Recipes that were published by Time Life in the late 1970's. They were edited by Richard Olney and include detailed instructions and classic recipes. Some of the books are relatively easy to come by on Amazon or Ebay. Others are pricey and difficult to find. I currently own fifteen of them. On the cover of Hors d'Oeuvre happens to be a picture of vol-au-vents, and inside there's a step-by-step tutorial.
If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. Right? Because you know, just buying empty puff pastry shells in the frozen section of the supermarket would be a hellavalot easier. Let's just say that mine came out looking "charmingly homemade".