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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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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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

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

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

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

Grilled Octopus on Marinara Sauce

Experiments with Sous Vide Octopus

I decided this week I needed to get my cooking and experimenting groove back. So on my days off I decided to pick up an octopus. My goal, techniques and experiments with sous vide octopus. Now getting an octopus isn’t as easy as running down to the local grocery store and picking one up at the seafood counter. So I got to take a trip to one of my favorite stores, Uwajimaya. Oh how I can get lost in that store. I really need to go in there some time with someone that can tell me what everything is. However I really love shopping there. They have such an amazing seafood department as well as the deli.

Left to Right: Buddah's Hand, Finger Limes, Octopus

Left to Right: Buddah’s Hand, Finger Limes, Octopus

So I grabbed my octopus right off and then decided that I wanted to walk through the produce section. I found two things that I have always wanted to try, finger limes and Buddha’s hand. Finger limes have been something that have always intrigued me. When you cut them open they expose a bunch of little spheres of  flavor delight. Buddha’s hand is another citrus which is known for its amazing scent and the zest is often used in desserts and drinks. Continue reading

The dishes that Wai-Man and I cooked up

Our Version of “Chopped”

Our own version of “Chopped”

For the last few weeks instead of having a class on Tuesday’s we have been doing a cooking demo. It has been a lot of fun. Not only does it allow us to use up extra product and keep it from going bad but it has also allowed me to do some cooking. So the premise behind these demos is to take things out of the fridge and trying to make dishes out of them. I have really enjoyed this process because it has made me really do some creative cooking!

So this last demo we did had a little twist to it. Myself and my assistant, Wai-Man, had a cook off with a tray of ingredients that was wrapped in foil, so we had no idea what was on it. It was in essence our own version of “Chopped” without the prize money!

Now to what was on the tray, because i’m sure your wanting to know what we had to work with. When we unwrapped the tray there was a chicken breast, a shot of bourbon, a Fresno chilli, a 1/4 head of red cabbage, a couple of slice of bacon, 2 red potatoes, and a granny smith apple, and the real brain teaser was 2 amareti cookies. So many good ingredients, and so many possibilities. The only thing that threw a wrench into all plans was the cookies. They are delicious on their own, sweet and crispy, but a tough thing to work into a savory dish.

Now we were just planning on having a nice friendly cook off, however the people that were there watching us cook decided that it was necessary for us to have a time limit. So we set the time limit at 25 mins, enough time to get everything cooked but also keep a little pressure on us. Continue reading