Next up: Sous Vide Ribeye

One of the things I have really wanted to try out is making a ribeye cooked sous vide. There are so many reasons that I have wanted to try this method. One is the control of the internal temperature of the meat without over cooking it. How can you not love the idea of the perfect steak every time. And also being able to seal and cook your steak and then just pop it open and sear it off to finish it. I mean really it is a great way to be able to quickly cook your steak and still have it look so beautiful in the middle.

My plan is to seal it with the flavors that I want for the finished product. I am going to seal it with a nice pat of Kerrygold Irish butter, garlic, salt, pepper and a sprig of fresh thyme. I will then cooked this with the immersion circulator to a perfect medium rare, 52 C. for an hour to get the internal temperature to the desired point.

Seared Ribeyes

Seared Ribeyes

I started by getting my steaks from a local butcher, Greenfield Meat, and I have to say they were absolutely beautiful! I cooked them up in the immersion circulator for an hour and then seared them in a pan with the herbs I packed them with, garlic and butter. I decided to make a mushroom whiskey cream sauce.

Whiskey and Cream

Whiskey and Cream

All I did for the sauce was saute some sweet onions with a little garlic. I then deglazed the pan with the whiskey and lit it up! Then I added the cream added a little salt and pepper and reduced it down to a nice thick sauce.

Mushroom Whiskey Cream Sauce

Mushroom Whiskey Cream Sauce

After I seared the steaks off I topped off with a little of the sauce. This turned out amazing and added such a delicious flavor to the steak. Not only did it add a lot of flavor but it also really complimented the seasoning of the steak. I also roasted up some Parmesan potatoes.

Seared Steak with Mushroom Whiskey Cream Sauce and Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

Seared Steak with Mushroom Whiskey Cream Sauce and Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

As you can see unlike the traditional grilled steak it is a perfect pink all of the way through with just the slightest brown ring around the outside from searing it off in the pan. I think out of all of the steaks that I have cooked and eaten that this was the best, most tender and juicy steak I have ever eaten. Now I cant credit all of this to the way it was cooked but I do think that it had a large part in that.

Sous Vide Ribeye

Sous Vide Ribeye

When push comes to shove I would say that this may be the best way I have ever cooked. I will be doing this again and I can’t wait to try another steak. Maybe I will try a different cut next time to see how big of a difference it makes on them. It seems to me that every time I cook something with the immersion circulator it just amazes me. The textures and flavors that you can get out of it are so different and amazing.

Bacon Slices

Quest for the Perfect Burger

Is there such a thing as the “perfect burger”? If your anything like me, every time you eat a burger you have that thought of “I wish there was something that made me want to eat that again”. It seems like every time I have a hamburger from somewhere I am let down. Either they are to greasy or really bland. But lets be honest, a really good flavorful burger is not something that is that difficult. All you really have to do is add a few basic spices and flavors to make the “Ultimate Burger”. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you take your next burger to mouth watering heights.

So we all know that a great burger can be one of the best things out there. Cooking a burger is one of the things that can get anybodies mouth watering. It all starts with the meat. In my eyes you don’t need to go crazy and get the best ground meat you can, but the better the meat the more flavor your burgers will have. I personally like to use ground sirloin when I can but most of the time I just buy the ground beef at my local Costco.

 

Ground Beef

Ground Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing that I have discovered thanks to Nom Nom Paleo is the perfect ccombinationof add ins to my burger. I start with dicing up some cremini mushrooms and then saute them up with a little salt and pepper. Cook them up until all of the water has cooked out of them and they are nice and caramelized. This adds that beautiful umami flavor to the burger as well as some extra texture.

Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini Mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to dice up some bacon. Oh that’s right, bacon! You can never go wrong with adding bacon into your burger. Now most of the time you see this added as an extra and just laid over the top of the cooked patty. But here is the secret. If you add this into your burger you can get away with getting a leaner grind of meat, because we are going to add it into the ground beef. Start by dicing up you bacon into a nice small to medium dice depending on taste. Then take the bacon and toss it in a bowl with the ground beef and cooled, cooked mushrooms. Add a good healthy pinch of salt or two and a generous amount of black pepper.

Bacon Slices

Bacon Slices

We are almost ready to form the patty! Mix all of your ingredients together, the key is to just mix it enough to get everything mixed without over working it. Your burgers will cook up much more tender and juicy this way. Once you get the burgers mixed up start forming them into patties and feel free to make them as large or as small as you want. A really tasty addition to your burger that I got from the Ideas in Food blog is to cut a nice fat piece of onion top of your patty.

Onion On Top of Burger

Onion On Top of Burger

This is a really great idea and adds not only a great look but also some really great flavor! Since you have already thoroughly seasoned your burger there is no need to add any more seasoning to it. Just throw that delicious burger on a nice hot grill and cook it to what ever temperature you like. Just remember that you have raw bacon in it and I have found that even if you cook it almost well done it is still nice and juicy!

I promise you that if you try all of these ideas out you will have a mouth watering burger that your friends will be dying for you to cook again!

I am going to try making one of these up and cooking it sous vide and then just searing it off in a hot pan just to see how it comes out. I have a feeling it will be just as delicious but the cook in me wants to know what the difference would be like. Remember that playing with your food is not a bad thing!

 

Musubi: Give it a shot. I promise you won’t be disappointed

So many people cringe when they hear the word “Spam”. Put that in front of a crazy sounding word like musubi and then people really weird out. But for those of us who have been enlightened to just how fabulous an ingredient spam is, and our mouths start watering as soon as we hear it. Now I don’t pretend to know or understand how or what it is, but what I can tell you is that it is salty, tender and crispy and super flavorful.

Cans of Spam

Cans of Spam

So what is spam musubi? Well my experience with it is a marinated slice of spam that is then fried and pressed onto a block of sushi rice seasoned with a little furikake and a strap of nori. I have experienced a few different versions of this Hawaiian delicacy, but today I will share with you my version of it.

Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi

So one thing that I find an essential piece of equipment to properly make it is a musubi press. This is simply just a plastic mold that has a plunger to press it with. You can buy them at Asian markets or online at places like Amazon here. These help you get the rice molded to the right shape and press it to the right density. Now if you don’t have a way to get one of these cool tools you can use the spam can itself. You can cut the can down and use it as a mold. It is obviously the right size to hold a piece of spam. I have done this myself but find that you can’t get the consistency that you can with the press.

So from my experience there are 2 important parts to making your musubi really great. The first is to use sushi rice that is seasoned just like if you were going to make sushi. The second key is to give the spam a nice cook in a saute pan. Nothing makes spam better than getting a nice sear on it and rendering a little of the fat out of it. I usually always buy the reduced sodium spam so that it is not quite as salty, but the best part is there are a ton of different flavors that you can try and play around with.

Now there are lots of different ways I have seen the spam prepared. I have found the one that works the best for me and the one I love the most is to take equal parts soy sauce and oyster sauce and a little bit of sugar as well. Mix that up in a bowl with a whisk trying to get the sugar dissolved as much as possible. Cut you spam into the desired thickness, I like it about a 1/4 inch thick, and place in the mix, I like to let it marinade for at least 30 mins if not longer. I then pull it out and put it into a warm but not sizzling hot pan. I like to sear mine in a medium heat pan so that I don’t scorch the remaining marinade. With all the sugars in the sauce it tends to burn easily.

Once you have your spam cooked and cooling it’s time to prepare the nori. This is as simple as cutting a sheet into strips. I prefer strips that are between a half and three quarters of an inch wide. I have seen some where it is closer to an inch and a half or so wide. After you have that prepared it is as simple as placing a strip down putting your press over it, placing a slice of your spam down and then adding in rice. Then you take the plunger from your press and put some pressure on it, compacting it to as tight as you want. Then slide it out of your press and fold your nori strip around to the bottom.

That is how simple it is to make yourself a big old plate of one of the most delicious appetizers or meals that you can make. Every time I have made these they are always a huge hit. If you are leery about buying one of the most delicious cans of meat on the planet then give this a try. I promise that you will not be disappointed if you try this and that you will fall in love with the glorious can of spam!

 

Dedicated to John “Keoni” Tyler. Always enjoyed eating your food and listening to you sing in your kitchen. The memory of your food and love of cooking will live on. RIP

Sous Vide Salmon Experimentation

I picked up some beautiful wild caught Coho Salmon this weekend and have decided to have some fun with it! Oh you guessed it, more sous vide fun!

Coho Salmon Fillets

Coho Salmon Fillets

I decided to go with a play on one of the ideas that I put in a previous post about ways to cook salmon. I mixed up a little red miso paste, soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil. I then mixed that up and put it in an ice cube tray and froze it, so that it would be easier to seal in my FoodSaver. I set my sealer to the gentle sealing and moist contents in hopes that it would not crush my salmon.

Salmon and Marinade Sealed up.

Salmon and Marinade Sealed up.

I cooked the salmon with the Sansaire immersion circulator that I borrowed from work at 55 C for about 30 minutes. It came out cooked through but still super moist and tender. I had left the skin on the salmon with the thought that when I pulled it out I would throw it in a hot pan and crisp the skin up quickly. I think the next time I do this I would cook it at a lower temperature to under cook it a little so that I could sear it more without the worry of over cooking it and drying it out.

Salmon Sealed and Cooking

Salmon Sealed and Cooking

The marinade, which later turned into the sauce, was a great addition and added a lot of great flavor to the fish. One of the really cool things that not only did the sauce add flavor to the fish but the fish also imparted a beautiful flavor to the sauce. It added a nice light salmon flavor back to the sauce that gave kind of an ocean-y flavor that was oddly comforting.

Finished Salmon with Sauce

Finished Salmon with Sauce

For the sauce to finish I simply took the liquid from the sealed bags and put them in a pan and started to reduce it. When it started to get to the consistency and thickness that I was looking for I finished it with some salt and pepper and a knob of butter to round it out. Then I just took some green onion and cut it as a nice thin bias to add a little color as well as that beautiful bright flavor.

A couple of things that I have learned from my experiments in cooking sous vide, is that it is important to season your protein before sealing it and not relying on the sauces or marinades to add enough to it. Secondly with the salmon it seemed like the shorter the cook time the more aggressive you need to be with your seasoning and sauce.

Now on to the next experiment, which will be either trying something with potatoes or move on to the rib-eye’s!!

Addicted to Sous Vide

After using an immersion circulator and having some amazing success I have to admit that I am finding myself constantly thinking about other things that I can do with it, some might even say that I have become addicted to sous vide cooking. Of coarse I am also finding myself somewhat limited due to my food-saver not working well to seal any kind of liquid. You can try freezing the liquid you are wanting to use and that works well as long as it has no ingredients that don’t freeze. But that is the fun part, trying to work around that fact. One of these days I will be able to get a better sealer and I won’t find myself in this predicament. I have found a great website which has some stuff to do with the immersion circulator called ChefSteps. Not only do they offer some really cool classes that you can take online but they also have some really cool recipes. I know one of the things on my list of things to make from that site is some nacho cheese sauce. I mean who doesn’t love some liquid cheese to dip some chips in. The best part of it is the fact that it is real cheese so you don’t have to feel as guilty eating it.

I am also thinking about picking up some beautiful salmon and maybe some rib eye steaks. I have some really great ideas for cooking both of those and from what I have seen from doing some reading the results will be nothing short of amazing.
I think the coolest thing that I have seen from learning more and experimenting with cooking sous vide has not only been the amazing results but the reaction to the finished product. I have had so many positive and shocking comments about how good things my tests have come out. I could not have been happier with the outcome of my short ribs. I won’t lie, that one had me extremely nervous. I had never tried anything like it and I took my first batch into my coworkers.There is nothing more nerve wracking then taking an unproven, untested recipe to a group of people that you are trying to impress. But this is why I love cooking so much, the look on people’s faces when they eat something you made and its a home-run! I have had an onslaught of requests to make those again. I am thinking I will have to do a much bigger batch of those next time. First I will have to figure out a better way to seal in my marinade.

Sealed up Rib Eye

Sealed up Rib Eye

It is so much fun thinking of new things to try cooking with this method and I cannot wait to do more of it. It is now just a matter of putting all of these thoughts and together and making something delicious out of them. I need to get a notebook to start putting all of these ideas down on paper to create room for more. I love the R&D process of cooking and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. The best way to prefect something is to try it and see if it works, and failure is part of that. In trying new things you can’t be afraid to fail, the key is to learn from those and figure out what you can do the next time to make it that much better.

Salmon Sealed and ready to go!

Salmon Sealed and ready to go!

Time to go pick up some ingredients and get to cooking!

Cooking Salmon: Pro Tips

Are you tired of putting the same old thing on your salmon and cooking it the same way? It is so easy to get stuck in a rut with ingredients and the way we cook things. I think that cooking salmon is one of the things that this happens with the most. So many times you just see it grilled or sprinkled with some lemon pepper.  This is such a blank canvas of an ingredient with so many exciting possibilities. Lets take a look some new exciting options for the next time you want to impress someone with this stunning piece of fish.

Boring Lemon Pepper Salmon

Boring Lemon Pepper Salmon

Sometimes the classics or standards are a really great way to start things out. For example cedar plank salmon, a really great way to impart some good flavor. The key to this is to do something to elevate it. You can do something fun to it like a nice marinade and take it any direction. You can go all kinds of different routes with the flavor of a marinade, such as doing something Asian inspired or something to balance the smokiness with a sweeter flavor. As strange as it is I like doing a marinade of maple syrup, water and salt. I would let that go for a couple of hours then throw it on a plank and cook it to a nice medium rare. I would then finish it with a new salt that I have discovered working at Sur La Table that is a alderwood smoked salt. It has a really intense smoke flavor and I think a nice sprinkle of that to finish it would be a beautiful touch.

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

One of my other favorites for salmon would be a nice miso glazed salmon. It is a super simple preparation but oh so delicious. It is as simple as mixing some miso paste, which you can pick up at your local asian market, soy sauce, water and a little bit of brown sugar. put all of that in a bowl and give it a good mix to combine it. Place you salmon in a dish and baste the salmon with you miso glaze and you can either toss that in a pan and cook it or put it in a oven save dish and toss it in the oven. Make sure you baste it as your cooking it to the desired doneness. I would finish that with a nice thin bias cut of a green onion sprinkled over the top or some nice fine minced chives.

Miso Glazed Salmon

Miso Glazed Salmon

One of the newer and really excited methods is called uni-lateral cooking. This one might not be a favorite for some people. It is essentially putting a piece of salmon down in the pan skin side down and not flipping it at all. You basically get all the best textures of salmon. The crispy skin a nice cooked salmon and the top layer being raw. This is a simple method that you can do it is easily accomplished by using a non stick pan and a little bit of oil. Start by putting it in a hot pan skin on and skin side down. You just let it go and a medium heat and let it cook until you can see it is cooked a little over half way up the side of the fish. Remember that when you pull it off the heat it will continue to cook a little bit. The best part of this method is that it is really a beautiful presentation and you get to experience the salmon in all of its best forms.

Uni-Lateral Salmon

Uni-Lateral Salmon

One other way to prepare salmon, which is the one I want to try next, is to cook it sous vide. This can be as simple as putting some olive oil in the back and maybe a little thyme ( or whatever herb/herbs you want) and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then cooking it at 125 f. for about 20 mins. Best part about sous vide is that you can go longer without the fear of over cooking your fish.

No matter how you decide to go salmon is such a great ingredient and you have so many options for cooking it. Have some fun and don’t forget that the experimentation is the exciting part of cooking. You never know when you will stumble across a delicious new combo and change the way you think of salmon for all time to come!

R & D on Sous Vide

So now that I have used the Sansaire Immersion Circulator to successfully make some amazing eggs, I am in the process of doing a little R & D on what to make next. So let the sous vide R & D begin!

I am either going to go with some steaks or do something that will take a bit longer to pull of and do something like 72 hr short ribs. Personally I am kind of leaning towards the ribs just because I can take them into work and share them.

So the biggest problem that I run into is that since I do not have a fancy Polyscience Chamber Sealer, unless someone wants to hook me up with one, is that the Food Saver has issues with liquids in bags. But I think I have figured out a solution to this issue by making the liquid for a broth or brine and freezing it in ice cube trays and sealing frozen cubes of liquid in the bags.The drawback to this is that if the liquid you are using has ingredients that don’t like to freeze, such as the mirin that I am using, it still makes it difficult to freeze. Just another reason that I need to get a chamber sealer.

Short ribs sealed with a marinade

Short ribs sealed with a marinade

I picked up some short ribs today and am planning on sealing them with a liquid similar to bulgogi flavors to cook the ribs in. I think that this will be a really nice complimenting flavor.

New School Sitting on Old SchoolSansaire at work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am planning on cooking these for roughly 72 hours in the water bath. When they are finished I will reduce the sauce down and finish it with a knob of butter a long with flash frying them to add a nice crispy texture to them as well.

The finished product came out looking like this:

Right out of the sealed bag

Ribs Right Out of the Bag

 

The flavor was absolutely amazing. It had a beautiful balance of sweet and savory and the meat was perfectly cooked so that it was falling off the bones. I could not be happier with the results from my first attempt cooking meat with a long cook. Well worth the wait even with as hard as it was knowing that it was cooking like it was.

After I opened it up I poured the sauce into a pan to reduce it finishing it with a knob of butter:

Reducing the Sauce

Reducing the Sauce

I then fried them just long enough to brown up the outside of the ribs and give it a little extra with out pulling to much moisture out of them.

Sauced up finished ribs.

Sauced up finished ribs.

And one last picture of what the inside of the ribs looked like. So delicious and tender.

The Final Product.

The Final Product.

As for the Sansaire, I could not be happier with the performance of this machine. It was so quiet and seemed to really hold the temperature very consistently. I now believe that this is something that I will have to get for myself as soon as possible. As my ribs were cooking I kept thinking of all of the other great things that I could do with this. And at a very affordable rate I would not hesitate to recommend this to anybody. If you want to pick one up here you go!

Thanks to my manager Neil at Sur La Table for letting me try this out and I cannot wait to get one for my own. If you have any things that you would like to see done sous vide let me know. I would love to try to work one some other amazing recipes to test out and share.

 

My Kitchen Wishlist

I get asked a lot what is something that I really want to add to my collection of kitchen gadgets is. I think right now the one thing at the top of my wish list is a Polyscience Chamber Sealer. I currently have a sealer but it doesn’t have a good way to seal any kind of a liquid. Now this wouldn’t be a huge deal but the only way to seal in a marinade is to freeze it first, that being said if you have any ingredient that doesn’t like to freeze aka mirin then you are in for a world of hurt. So if anybody would like to help me on my quest for a chamber sealer please let me know. I will gladly accept any help.

chamber-vacuum-sealer-300
The next thing on my list would be a nice personal fryer. There are so many uses for one on a regular basis. The problem with some of the ones out there is the fact that there is not a easy way to clean them. And as we all know if it isn’t easy to clean it usually does not get cleaned. Beyond that I think the other thing I would really like to add to my kitchen is a induction burner as well as a really beautiful set of Demeyere pans. I have recently had my eye’s open to them working classes at Sur La Table. I had no idea just how amazing of a difference they would make. I can honestly say that I cannot imagine cooking with any other type of pan.They are so beautiful and easy to clean. I don’t know where they have been all my life but after discovering them I fell I need to own a set of them.

Of coarse this is a ever expanding list and working at Sur La Table I get to see and try out a lot of really cool new stuff constantly. You can always find new things and new ingredients that you want to work with. And this does not even scrape the surface if you want to add cookbooks to the list. With my fascination with getting a chamber sealer and immersion circulator I think I need to look into getting the Modernist cuisine at home set ASAP as well.