A Look Back

As this year comes to a close I wanted to take a step back and take a look back at the year that was and the journey to get to this point. As I look back I realize how much I need to be thankful for. Overall I have had a good year, even among all of the rough spots. This is more of a overall thing not just over the last year. I am extremely lucky to have a great support system around me. I need to first off thank my parents, I would not be where I am today with out them. They have been a huge help and an inspiration to me over the years and always supportive of me. There is no way I can truly thank them for all they have done for me.

Also my Grandpa. I know it has been a hard year for him with the loss of my Grandma. I don’t know if my Grandpa realizes how much of an influence that he has been not only in my life but also in my love of cooking. He created one of the best spaghetti sauce’s that I have ever  had! He has a real knack in the kitchen with the amazing desserts and bread that he loves making. I just wish I was able to spend more time with him!

My Grandparents

My Grandparents

In this year I went out of my comfort zone and attempted to move to Maui as many of you probably know. Sadly due to some circumstance, that adventure did not work out. I am proud of the fact that I gave it a whirl and wish that it had worked out and I was sitting on a nice beach writing this.

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I also want to give a big thank you to one of my closest friend and one of the only people I would ever want to open a restaurant with. My beloved Jodi. I don’t know that I ever would have ever made it through school without having met her.  She is the one person that during school I felt I could talk to and to this day I wish I lived closer to her so that I could spend more time with her! One day I know we will be running a restaurant together.

Jodi and Me at Graduation

Jodi and Me at Graduation

I have been lucky enough to strike up a relationship with David from Polyscience, and I don’t think it is a mystery how much I love everything they make! I am seriously in love would cooking things sous vide and the Discovery Immersion Circulator that I recently purchased through him has been a real game changer. And I put it through a great work out at Christmas and was amazed at how it preformed. Now it is time to start saving up for my “Unicorn” and get myself the Polyscience Chamber Sealer.

Discovery Display

Discovery Display

I am also so thankful for the opportunity that I have been given by Sur La Table to teach cooking classes. I have always thought that teaching cooking classes would be a really fun thing to do, but I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do. There is nothing more satisfying than teaching someone how to make delicious food and the look on their face when they taste something they made that is delicious is priceless. Not only that but I seriously have the greatest boss, my Resident Chef Daisy! She has been so much fun to work for and with over the last half of this year. I could not be happier in my job there and cannot wait to see what the future holds!

There are so many people that I need to thank but I don’t want to ramble on and on. I am really looking forward to this next year and seeing what new adventures are in store for me. This blog has been a blast and I will continue to write and share. I hope that you all have a safe and happy new year. Please be responsible. Having fun doesn’t mean you need to risk your own life or others!

 

RIP 2014!

Christmas Eve Feast

It is amazing how fast time seems to move these days. I can’t believe that I am sitting here and it is already Christmas Eve. I thought in the spirit of giving, I would share the dinner I made for my family tonight! So you have been warned that there is about to be a lot delicious food and pictures to be shared of my Christmas Eve Feast!

So to start with I will let you in on my menu. So to start with we decided that we would have a couple of lightly smoked oysters on the half shell to start things off with. We picked up some oysters at our local seafood supplier. Nice simple prep on them with some panko and a little butter and then toss them on the smoker for a few minutes to get them lightly cooked and a little of the smokey flavor.

Oysters Ready to Smoke

Oysters Ready to Smoke

I got this sweet oyster pan at Sur La Table, it is cast iron with spots to hold the oysters. Worked perfectly, and made it so much easier than foil in a pie pan.

Oysters Lightly Smoked

Oysters Lightly Smoked

Next up was the main dish and the side. I had picked up about 20 lbs of short ribs from a local butcher, and they were beautiful!

20 Lbs Of Short Ribs

20 Lbs Of Short Ribs

I made up my Momofuku inspired marinade and sealed them up with my Foodsaver. Now if you have ever tried to seal any kind of a liquid that won’t freeze you can understand the frustration that went through trying to use a foodsaver for 20 lbs of ribs with a liquid marinade. I cooked them for 72 hrs and pulled them out this morning.

My Ribs 72 Hours Later

My Ribs 72 Hours Later

I cooked them at 56 C. for the first 60 hours and then bumped it up to 62.5 C for the last 12 hours. They were all sealed with a marinade that I will include at the bottom of this post.

Along with the ribs I decided to do some sous vide potatoes with duck fat. So for those I just cut up a bunch of Yukon Gold’s and put them in a bag with duck fat, garlic, salt and pepper. I cooked them at about 82 C for around 45 mins. I then pulled them out and tossed them in a warm pan to add some color and a little texture.

Sealed Duck Fat Potatoes

Sealed Duck Fat Potatoes

I had done a preperation of these in a class I taught at Sur La Table and they were a huge hit. I thought it would be a great fit with my ribs.

Potatoes in my Discovery Immersion Circulator

Potatoes in my Discovery Immersion Circulator

At this point I have to just take a quick break and say how impressed I have been with my Polyscience Discovery Immersion Circulator. It is so quiet and so consistent. After running for close to 85 hours straight and going up and down for each of the different dishes it preformed like a champ. Now back to dinner.

My next coarse after all of the above was going to be Creme Brulee. One of my all time favorite desserts and always a great thing to finish a nice meal with. Now since you can probably see my theme with the meal so far you can probably guess where I am going to go with this next……. Yes you guessed it, with my immersion circulator. I had never seen or heard of this but I saw it on one of my favorite sites, Chef Steps.

Creme Brulee Ready to Go in the Immersion Circulator

Creme Brulee Ready to Go in the Immersion Circulator

Mixed up my custard and put it into some small Mason Jars and dropped these in for about a hour then pulled them out to chill. Fingers crossed at this point that it was actually going to work.

Now for the fun part of finishing it all up and getting it on plates. So first thing I did was put my ribs and sauce in a pan and got them on the heat to start warming up. Next I got pans on for the potatoes, and when the pans were hot I put them in the pan.

Pans On Stove Finishing Up

Pans On Stove Finishing Up

Once the potatoes were crispy I pulled them out of the pan and used the reserved duck fat to sear the ribs and just get a little bit of a crust on the out side. Meanwhile I reduced the sauce down and adjusted the seasoning, then finished it with a knob of butter. Adds a beautiful sheen as well as a nice rich flavor. Once that was done it was time to eat!

Plated up Dinner

Plated up Dinner

All of that cooking done, we sat down and enjoyed an amazingly delicious dinner. The potatoes were silky inside and nice and crispy on the outside. The ribs were cooked to the point where the fat literally melts in your mouth and the meat was so flavorful and delicious. My sauce was a little sweeter than I had hoped it would be but still with the beef it balanced it out nicely. After we ate that we took a break for a Christmas movie it was time for dessert!

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

Oh the joy that flooded over me when my Creme Brulee was set up like I was hoping. And is there anything better than tapping your spoon on that layer of sugar and then cracking through it. It tasted epic, the richness of it with the amazing vanilla taste. Along with the incredible silky smooth texture and the crunch of the caramelized sugar. It was a perfect finish to the day and the meal.

This was one of my all time favorite meals. I can’t wait to do this again and see what else I can come up with!

 

Short Rib Marinade

Sugar

Water

Apple Juice

Mirin

Soy Sauce

Sesame Oil

Onion

Carrots

Garlic

Add all to a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for at least 15 minutes. Strain and cool and then add to bags of ribs. Seal and cook. Save Sauce at the end to reduce for sauce. You can reduce the sugar to make it a little less sweet.

 

My Newest Cookbook

Well today is a very happy day for me. I just received my copy of Modernist Cuisine!! I am so excited, and cannot wait to dive into it and get to cooking.

Moderninst Cuisine At Home

Moderninst Cuisine At Home

If you follow me on twitter you know how excited I have been since I knew that I was getting Modernist Cuisine At Home. Well it finally came to me yesterday, and all I can say is MIND BLOWN! Not only do they have some mind blowing concepts and recipes but the photography is simply beautiful.

A shot of whats in the book

A shot of whats in the book

I love the fact that they show equipment cut in half so you can see the internal workings of it but then there is little tips on how to do things like make a square burger patty.

A shot of whats in the book

A shot of whats in the book

The crazy thing is that when you mention “Modernist Cuisine” people instantly think that it is some complex and unobtainable method of cooking. I will admit that if you look at the recipes and see all the measurements in grams that it is a little intimidating. But when you really look at them, they are so simple. It is just a different way of cooking, and making sure you have the right equipment at home in your kitchen.

The best part is that not only do you get a beautiful book but it also comes with a great kitchen companion guide. So instead of having to take a huge book that you would devastated if it got dirty, you get a great spiral bound book that you can take with you to cook with.

The Companion Cookbook

The Companion Cookbook

It has all of the stuff covered in the book but instead of a lot of the fluff of pictures you just get simple recipes and ingredients. This book, from what I have looked through, has opened up my mind to a whole new thought process when cooking. I am super excited to dive further into it and glean more from it. Another really cool thing to see in this book is the use of MSG. I know that there is a lot of talk about how bad it is but in my eyes MSG stands for “makes stuff good”! I have realized that there are a few more pieces of kitchen equipment that I need to get such as a pressure cooker, iSi whipping siphon and a few more odds and ends.

If you are a foodie and love cookbooks and cooking I think this is a must have to add to your collection of books. You can order it here. Next on my list is Alinea!

My Next Project

I realized this morning that it has been a little while since I posted anything on here. I have simply been running around so much I honestly have not had any time to write. I have been trying to think about what my next project will be. I know one of my upcoming big projects is going to be to cook up a bunch more of my highly requested short ribs again. I am ordering my short ribs ASAP in hopes of getting enough to not only make them for my family but also for some of my friends.

The Final Product.

72 Hour Short Ribs.

Short term though I am thinking about getting myself a bunch of eggs and trying to prefect cooking eggs with my immersion circulator. I need to find that balance of getting the whites cooked with still keeping the yolk runny. I have a couple of different things that I would like to try for that. I also just ordered, and am waiting to receive my copy of “Modernist Cuisine at Home” and am super excited to get that and browse through for some crazy ideas to try.

Something that I have been doing has been researching how to make the perfect french fry using an immersion circulator. It looks like there are some really cool methods for doing this that I will be testing out as well.

One thing that I know will be happening this week though is cooking some potatoes in some duck fat. I taught a class a week or so ago where we did this. It is super simple, just cutting the potatoes up and putting them in a bag with some duck fat and seasoning. Cooking them for about a hour and then simply saute them to a nice golden brown. So easy, and please can you really go wrong with cooking something in duck fat?! Only way that might be even better than that would be to cook them up in some bacon fat instead!!

So if there was anybody that out there was worried that I had stopped posting you have nothing to worry about, I am still here just trying to get set up for the next amazing thing to cook. And as always if you have an idea of something that you would like to see me try please leave a comment or send me a email.