The Chef Series Unit

Polyscience wins again!

So as you all know I am a huge fan of my immersion circulators. Well folks I have just upgraded to the big daddy of the Polyscience units. I picked up the “Chef” series. Let me just tell you, Polyscience wins again!!!! This unit is amazing. Not only is the look amazing but the extra power it brings with the heater and the motor is amazing. When I first hooked this bad boy up I used the same 5 gallon cambro container I normally use. The motor on this unit was so strong that it was creating a vortex and sucking in air.

One of the really cool features is that it has controls on both the back and front that allows you to control the rate the water flows. After adjusting the flow rate I was amazed at how fast it heated up the water bath. This was mind blowing!

So lets start with what I experienced as I opened up the box it was shipped to me in. It came in a pretty plain brown box. Once I opened that box up I was greeted by a beautiful black shiny box with some amazing pictures on it as you can see in this picture.

Box of the Polyscience Chef Series

Polyscience “Chef” Series Box

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Finished Plate of Belly

Playing with Pork Belly

In the past I had played around with pork belly. Specifically testing different times and temperatures. Well I had another chunk of belly in the freezer so I decided to cook up a little something for the fella’s at work.

Well since I had already determined that my preference for belly was cooking it at 160 f for 16 hours, it was just a matter of what to do with it. Deciding that I wanted to put a little bit of an Asian spin on my flavors here is what I did.

I tossed the pork belly in a bag with some soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, real wasabi powder and a little nori furakake. The reason for adding the furakake was because I was hoping to get a big umami punch from it. Having sealed this up in the bag I dropped it in the water and let it go.

Finished Up side of Pork Belly

Finished Pork Belly

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Sliced and layered tongue side by side

Another Round of Beef Tongue

A while back I had done an article on sous vide beef tongue. So I thought it was time for another round of beef tongue. Again the plan was to sous vide it to start with. But I wanted to try to replicate a dish I had eaten before.

The first time I had ever eaten tongue was at a little basque restaurant here in town. It was a really amazing and eye opening experience. So to start with I sealed my beef tongue up in a bag simply seasoned with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

I didn’t want to go to heavy handed on the way it was seasoned because I wanted the flavor of the beef to speak for itself. Once I got it all sealed up I heated up my water bath to 170 F. My plan was to cook it the same way that I did the last tongue. However I wish looking back that I would have gone a longer time. I only cooked it for around 10 hours.

This time around the beef tongue that I got was significantly bigger. If I had gone just a little bit longer I think it would have had a slightly better texture and flavor. Now having said that it still turned out amazingly tender and delicious. Continue reading

Sealed Akaushi Steaks

Playing with Some New Steaks

One of the great parts about living in Idaho is all of the great beef we have access to. Well recently I was made aware of a new source and a new kind of beef. Enter the Akaushi beef, roughly translated to “Red Cow”. This is a Japanese Waygu cattle breed that produces richly marbled and tender meat. What’s better is that it is being raised locally and is grass fed. Lets check out some new steaks and see how they compare to your average steak.

Now how could I not want to jump on this band wagon and get my hands on some of this amazing beef.  Well you guessed it, I went and picked some up. And you can tell by the pictures just how beautiful these steaks are marbled.

Sealed Akaushi Steaks

The Marbling on These Steaks is Amazing!

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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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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

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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

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