Sous Vide Bacon in Pan Cooking

Sous Vide Bacon

A few weeks ago one of my favorite blogs, Serious Eats, did an article about overnight sous vide bacon. How could I not try this. Two of my favorite things, sous vide and bacon! This was the perfect opportunity to try out a new device that I got. I was fortunate enough to get some awesome sous vide magnets from SV Homewares. These are a great concept for pinning bags in your water bath down and to the sides of your water bath. As you can see in the pictures these are the little red things on the bath.

As I am sure all of you who have done anything sous vide have run into the problem with a bag trying to float or wanting to be able to organize your bags better. This is the perfect solution. You put the magnet on the bag and outside the container and then you can slide them around! These get an A in my book of creative things that are a great addition to your kitchen.

Sous Vide Magnets by SV Homewares

SV Homewares Sous Vide Magnets

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Gift Ideas for a Foodie

This time of the year can be a lot of fun. I absolutely love giving people gifts. I find a lot of joy in trying to find the perfect gift for friends and family. But at the same time it can be so difficult. So I have decided to write up a quick little gift guide for the perfect gift idea’s for any foodies or up and coming chefs in your life. So here we go, these are a few of my favorites

RawSpiceBar

This is a monthly subscription that is a really awesome service. You sign up for their service and they send you out a pack of 3 spices along with recipes on how to use them. All of the spices they use are sourced for quality and ground, mixed and toasted by chefs. It is a great way to try lots of new and exciting flavors. On top of that you don’t have to worry if you’re giving this to someone on a specific diet. They have packages for gluten free, paleo and all sorts of others. You can subscribe in a 1 month, 6 month or 12 month plans. You can sign up for yourself or you can set this up as a gift through them to someone else!

RawSpiceBar: $5 off your first subscription or any 6 or 12 month gift order, code: RAKFLAVOR

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Plated up Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet, Maybe a New Favorite

There has always been one thing in the meat department of the super market that has caught my eye. And at the same time that in intrigues me, it has scared the crap out of me. Yes by the title I am guessing you figured it out, chicken feet.

I know that for a lot of people feet are kind of a taboo ingredient. However as a chef I find that it is my duty to be open minded. So over the last couple of weeks one of my coworkers and I have been playing with new foods. And this week we tackled the one that neither one of us had tried. We had no idea where to even start with these things. But oh my gosh, did we hit the jackpot. So let me walk you through what we did.

So to start with we spent a good day talking and brainstorming what to do with them. We decided that we would sort of treat them as wings. And as I have recently just moved back from Portland, when I thought wings my mind instantly went to Pok Pok. One of the best wings that I have ever eaten.

So chicken feet are mostly just skin, tendons and cartilage. The decision was made we needed to give them a nice long cook to break them down. As many of you know, to me this screamed sous vide. I found the recipe for Pok Pok wings and sealed the feet in a bag with fish sauce, sugar and garlic.

Chicken Feet Sealed in Marinade

Chicken Feet Sealed in Marinade

After letting the feet sit in the marinade overnight. The next day I heated up the water bath to 170 F and dropped the wings in. I let them cook for around 12 hours and then checked them. They weren’t tender enough for my liking. The craziest thing is the amount of gelatin that was released from the feet after just a short time. Since I wasn’t happy with the tenderness I decided it was time to play the long game. So 72 total hours it was.

When I pulled the wings out of the water after the 72 hours you could see the difference. Nailed it! These were perfect and ready for the next step.

Feet Draining on Rack

Feet Draining on Rack

Pulling the wings out of the bag and getting all of the gelatin and sauce off of them was next. Placing them on a wire rack and resting them on a shelf over the stove to warm them seemed like the best option. Once we were happy with the amount sauce had come off of them we proceeded to coat them lightly in seasoned cornstarch. We heated up a pan of oil since we didn’t have a fryer to use.

While the oil was warming up we got the glaze ready. This was super simple. We browned off a little garlic and tossed in a little chili paste. Once the garlic was lightly browned and chili was blossomed I added in the leftover marinade. I brought that up to a boil and gave it a taste. So delicious.

Now that the oil was nice and hot I tossed in the feet in small batches. This was to insure that I could fry them up to just a nice golden brown without going to far. This is where it got a little bit gnarly. The smell that came off the feet when they hit the oil was a very potent fish sauce smell. But they browned up beautifully!

Feet Glazed and on a Plate

Feet Glazed and on a Plate

Once they were done they were placed them in a bowl and tossed them with the sauce. Because there was some sugar in the sauce and the fact that the gelatin level was so high it took on the look and feel of caramel. We tossed them in the bowl and them placed them on a plate and dug in. I will be the first to admit that I was a little nervous to eat the first one. But boy am I glad I did! This was a serious umami bomb in my mouth.

We did not take any of the bones out before we fried them. When eating them you had to eat around the bones , so it was very much like eating a chicken wing. The skin crisped up nicely and the caramely flavor was such a perfect combo. I can now say I have found a new favorite food, and that is chicken feet. I can’t wait until I am asked to bring a dish over to someones house. It will be these delicious feet.

Plated up Chicken Feet

Plated up Chicken Feet

So to give credit where it is due half of the reason these were as good as they were was because of the beautiful minds at Pok Pok. If you are ever close to one either in Portland or New York it is a must have. It will be one of the dinners that I will remember from my time in Portland for years to come. How I would have loved to have worked in that kitchen. Maybe someday I will. Until then I will continue to replicate those delicious wings. Thank you to Chef Andy Ricker and his crew for making this recipe available. I hope he sees this and enjoys that something a little different and crazy is being done with what he started!

Also you can find his website for Pok Pok here and a link to the recipe for his wings here! Please enjoy! Now go out and eat some feet people!

Logo on Grinder

Best Quality Pepper Grinder?

Well I know it has been a while since I have written anything. But I can honestly say that I have been in a bit of a cooking funk recently. However I am coming back around. I was recently contacted by a new company that is making a really high quality pepper grinder as well as salt grinders. Honestly I don’t know if I have ever used a pepper grinder that feels quite like this thing, and I mean that in the best possible way.

So the name of the company is Ellementt. And no that is not a misspelling! I was lucky enough that they sent me out one of the solid black pepper mills. They call this model that I received “The Station Chef”. It has a huge capacity for your pepper corns. There is so much consideration put into these that it will shock you.

Box of the Grinder

Box that the Pepper Grinder came in

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Where Has All the Passion Gone

Where has all the passion gone? This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately. I don’t know why I am having to ask this question, but I am. It seems to me, at least here, that there is a serious lack of it. Now I know that this industry can really break a person’s soul and will to cook. But beyond that why is it so hard to find people with passion, I mean REAL PASSION, anymore.

burnt

You can’t tell me that I am the only person that spends my free time thinking about food. Reading cookbooks, researching food, and experimenting with new foods and techniques. There is never a time where I have found myself thinking that I had nothing else to learn. This industry is constantly changing and evolving therefore constantly breading room for growth and knowledge. Continue reading

Cutting up broccoli on new Cotton and Dust cutting board

Best New Cutting Board

I have been super pumped about this company called Cotton and Dust that I have recently discovered. They make some of the most beautiful cutting boards I have seen. As we all know a cutting board is a very important part of home and professional kitchens. I have been fortunate enough to have several conversations with the owner, and let me tell you, this company is the real deal.

They have a couple of big things going for them. One of those things is the quality. They have the unique outlook of wanting to keep a tight control of quality over a mass produced inferior product. It seems to me these days companies think more about the almighty dollar over maintaining a quality product. The other truly unique thing about this company is the “Lifetime Reconditioning Guarantee“. They give you the option of sending your cutting board in once a year to get the cutting board looking like new again. The best part about this is the fact that they pay for shipping both ways. How about that for some amazing customer service! And on top of that, this doesn’t just apply to you, it is the lifetime of the actual cutting board.

So you can plan on passing this down through your family and whoever owns it can still send it back to them to get it reconditioned. A really special guarantee that shows you how much work and care they put into this product.

Cotton and Dust Logo

Cotton and Dust

Lets Talk Cutting Boards. Continue reading

Cotton and Dust - The Ella

Kitchen Essentials: Cutting Board

So where do you start when you’re picking out a cutting board for your kitchen? This is a great question because a cutting board is really an essential piece of equipment for making delicious food. There are a few things to think about when making this decision.

The one style of cutting board that always makes me cringe when I see it being used is a glass one. These are for decorative purposes only!!!! There is nothing worse for your knife then cutting on a hard surface such as glass or metal. Please if you are using a glass board put it away and go buy a real board.

Now that I have that off of my chest lets talk about what you should be looking at. As you probably know there are so many options out there. But lets start narrowing down your choices and answering some questions.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic: This is a decent option because of the ease of cleaning. Most of these say that they are dishwasher safe so that is one bonus of them. However they do have some downsides. One of those is they are usually really ugly. I don’t know if I have ever seen a plastic cutting board that I though “oh wow, that would look great in my kitchen”. This just doesn’t happen. I am surprised that we don’t see more decorative plastic cutting boards but most of them are just plain colors and the majority of them are just plain white. The other thing about them is the fact that the more you use them the more knife grooves and cuts you get in them. This is only a big deal because of the fact that this is when they start growing the nasty stuff. The last thing you want to do is contaminate the food you are cooking for your loved ones.

Worn Out Nasty Plastic Cutting Board

Worn Out Nasty Plastic Cutting Board

So what are the alternatives to a plastic cutting board? Well how about a beautiful wood board! They are so much nicer looking then a plastic cutting board. They come in all different sizes, shapes and made from different kinds of wood. Now I know that your probably thinking that wood is porous so doesn’t bacteria have a better chance of sticking to a wood board over a plastic cutting board? The answer to that is no! There was a study conducted by UC Davis that proves that and you can read all about it here! The other really cool thing about wood cutting boards is that unless you are using a huge cleaver and hacking at bones you will not notice knife marks on your cutting boards. The other really nice thing is that most of the wood cutting boards or chopping blocks are beautiful enough that you will want to keep them out on your counter! The once downside for most people is that the wood cutting boards usually run a little more on the expensive side. However they are a item that if treated right you will not have to replace them like you do with plastic boards. The only downside to them is the fact that they cannot be run through the dishwasher. However they are super easy to keep clean. Don’t let this keep you from looking at them as the better option.

Another question I get asked quite often is “Is a wood cutting board worse for my knives than a plastic one?” While this is a good question it has a very simple answer. Using your knives is going to dull them no matter if you using a plastic or a wood cutting board. So there is really no difference between the two. The main factor for that is the hardness of the steel of your blade but that is a article for a different time.

Cotton and Dust- The Hannah Grace

Cotton and Dust- The Hannah Grace

So when when you weigh out your options in my opinion it always goes to the wood cutting boards. Make sure you do your research and get a good one. If you are going to be spending the money make sure you’re getting a good one. There are some big name companies out there but they are not always the best option. One of the really popular ones is John Boos. I have had the opportunity to use them in the past and the only problem I have ever had is sometimes they tend to swell and split. There is nothing more disappointing then spending the money on a nice chopping block and having that happen.  I have recently had the pleasure of talking to the owner of Cotton and Dust, and I am thoroughly impressed with him. He has a great outlook on what he is making and wanting to keep the quality at the forefront. One of the really special things they offer is “Lifetime Reconditioning”. And upon talking to him he told me that this is the lifetime of the cutting board. He is making a cutting board that can be purchased and handed down to your family and still get it reconditioned. Not only does he have this great guarantee but he also makes some of the most beautiful cutting boards I have seen. I really encourage everyone to check his cutting boards out! Let’s make this the new standard of what every home kitchen should have. No more plastic cutting boards. Invest in a product that is made here in the US and a better quality then the mass produced counterparts.

Cotton and Dust - The Ella

Cotton and Dust – The Ella

Finished Lamb with sauce

Sous Vide Lamb Shank

Sorry for the long delay in a post. We have been seriously understaffed at work which has resulted in me having to work 6 days a week. As you know this is not the first time this has happened, it has been several times since I have moved back to Portland. While this is not a bad thing paycheck wise, it does have some serious downsides. One is the fact that I don’t have a lot of extra time to play around with food and write up posts about it. But here we go. Time to let you in on my amazing sous vide lamb shank! Continue reading

Plating the Tonnato

Vitello Tonnato

A couple of weeks ago at work I was lucky enough to be able to show off some cooking with an immersion circulator. The dish I was able to show off with was vitello Tonnato. This is a traditional veal dish with a tuna and caper sauce. Yes, I am aware that this sounds like a bit of a weird combination but trust me it is such a delicious pairing.

Veal Tenderloins

Veal Tenderloins

So to do this dish we were using a veal tenderloin that was cleaned of the silver skin and excess fat. Continue reading

Creme Brulee

Sous Vide Creme Brulee

This has been a question that I have been asked several times now. How in the world do you make a creme brulee in an immersion circulator. Well let me share the secrets to this delicious dessert and change the way you look at it forever.

So this is a super easy to do. You start with your favorite creme brulee recipe or you can use the one I am posting at the bottom of this post. Continue reading