December 2009 Archives

Barbecued Beef

bbq6.jpgOK, it's not exactly traditional, but it is low and slow, thanks to the sous vide. And it's really, really tender!

2.5 lb. bottom round beef

Trim the fat from the beef. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dry rub (see below).
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Vacuum seal and cook at 150°F for 18 hours.
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A surprisingly large amount of liquid comes out of the beef, which is why it looks a little dry above, but it's still super tender.
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Remove the from vacuum bag, drain, top with barbecue sauce, and put under the broiler for 3 - 5 minutes until the barbecue sauce browns.
bbq5.jpgServed with corn and a whole wheat and oat dinner roll.

Dry Barbecue Rub

This recipe makes about 1 cup of an excellent dry rub for barbecue.

1.300 oz. granulated sugar (3 tbsp.)
0.380 oz. brown sugar (1 tbsp.)
0.600 oz. kosher salt (2 tbsp.)
0.350 oz. cumin (2 tbsp.)
0.558 oz. coarsely ground pepper (2 tbsp.)
0.446 oz. chili powder (2 tbsp.)
1.000 oz. paprika (4 tbsp.)
0.052 oz. cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp.)

Combine all of the ingredients well. Store in a covered container in a cool, dry place.

Update: When I made a new batch of dry rub I increased the chili powder and cayenne to make it a little spicier.

Barbecue Sauce

Update: There is a slightly updated version in my updated recipe for barbecue sauce.

Makes 2 cups of excellent, spicy and sweet barbecue sauce. I make it ahead, divide, and freeze it because it should only be kept in the refrigerator for a week.

15 oz. ketchup (1 1/2 c.)
4.0 oz. cider vinegar (1/2 c.)
0.64 oz. Worcestershire sauce (2 tbsp.)
0.25 oz. dry mustard or ground mustard seed (2 tsp.)
0.10 oz. freshly ground black pepper (1 tsp.)
0.03 oz. cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp.)
0.03 oz. chili powder (1/4 tsp.)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
small amount of medium onion, minced (2 tbsp.)
3.0 oz. water
2.6 oz. light brown sugar (3/8 of a cup)

Stir until combined in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to simmer and simmer for 90 minutes.
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The dry rub and barbecue sauce are scaled from the excellent River Run Cookbook by Jimmy and Maya Kennedy and Marialisa Calta, pp. 195 - 196.






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Whole wheat and oat dinner rolls

rolls6.jpgMakes a dozen dinner rolls. The preparation is a little involved, requiring a portion of the dough to be made the day before, but the end result is worth it. Really, this is probably the best whole wheat-ish roll I've ever had.

Soaker

2.8 oz. oats, coarsely ground
4 oz. water @ 70°F

Use regular (not instant or quick) oats. I ground them for about 30 seconds in the food processor until coarsely ground. Add 4 oz. of water in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the next day.

Poolish

4.5 oz. whole wheat flour
0.02 oz. instant yeast (1/4 tsp.)
4.0 oz. water @ 70°F

Mix together the yeast, water, and whole wheat flour until a paste forms and all of the flour is hydrated, but not longer. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. Then put into the refrigerator overnight.

Dough

4 oz. bread flour or white whole wheat flour
2 oz. whole wheat flour
0.2 oz. salt
0.1 oz. instant yeast (1 tsp.)
1.0 oz. honey
0.3 oz. vegetable oil
1 egg lightly beaten

Remove the poolish from the refrigerator 1 hour before preparing the dough.

In the mixer bowl combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the poolish, soaker, honey, oil, and egg. Mix at low speed with the paddle attachment for 1 minute or until dough forms. Adjust consistency adding more water or flour.

Switch the mixer to the the dough hook and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

Lightly oil a bowl and a ball of dough to the bowl and roll to coat the dough lightly with oil. Cover with a towel and let rest for 2 to 3 hours until it doubles in size.
rolls1.jpgPunch down the dough and pinch off 2.0 oz. pieces and form into balls. There should be 12.
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Lightly grease a 10" cake pan and place the balls into the pan.Spritz with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap.
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Let proof for 90 minutes at room temperature.
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Preheat oven to 375°F. When hot, add the pan of rolls and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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This recipe is partially from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, from the Whole Wheat Bread recipe pp. 270-272.

Trivia: Cultured butter, which is very delicious, is made by adding Lactobacillus to cream. This actually makes it a closer relative to sour cream and crème fraîche than regular butter. I recommend putting a little cultured butter on one of these dinner rolls.

Update: I made another batch of these rolls and they are as good as I remembered:

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Update: I replaced the bread flour with King Arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour. It was an excellent replacement! The white whole wheat is 100 % whole grain, and because it's high-gluten it's a good replacement for the bread flour. I'm going to make it with the whole wheat flour (as listed above) and the white whole wheat instead of the bread flour, from now on. And that makes the recipe 100 % whole grain!


Lemon Gelato

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I was looking for a light and refreshing dessert to go with my duck pizza and decided to try making lemon gelato. I happened to have all of the ingredients in my refrigerator, and I thought my ice cream maker might be feeling lonely since I haven't used it in months.

Gelato does not keep well - even under ideal conditions it's best only for a couple days in the freezer due to it's significantly lower fat content than ice cream. And I'd never made it before, so I didn't know if it would work. So this is a very small recipe, more of a tester. It's probably 1 to 1.5 servings; I ate the whole thing because it was so good.

1 egg yolk
1.5 oz. granulated sugar
2 oz. heavy cream (35 % milk fat)
4 oz. whole milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

zest and juice of 1 lemon

One of the annoying things about making gelato and frozen custard is that you have to carefully heat the milk, sugar, and eggs. Fortunately, I can take the lazy route: mix the egg yolk and sugar, then add the cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Put all of the ingredients in a vacuum bag, and sous vide them for 20 minutes at 149°F. It should be possible to prepare multiple servings of this gelato custard base ahead of time, which I will investigate further in the future.
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When almost done, start the ice cream maker compressor to chill it.

When cooked, immediately cool the custard mixture in an ice bath.
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Zest the lemon peel. Mince the zest to avoid getting long strands of zest in the ice cream, a step that I did not know to do when I made this the first time.

Juice the lemon. Add the chilled custard mixture.

Transfer to the ice cream maker, turn on the beater, and make gelato! For this tiny batch it should only take 10 to 15 minutes.
gelato4.jpgMakes 8 fl. oz. (a half pint) of delicious lemon gelato. 1 to 1.5 servings.

pizza_done.jpg
roasted duck, fat removed, and cut into thin strips
one white onion
olive oil
4 oz. goat cheese
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. rosemary, chopped
salt
part whole wheat pizza crust

Peel and slice a white onion into thin strips.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and toss to coat evenly with oil. Lightly salt.

When onions begin to brown, lower the heat to low to medium low and cook until they reach a deep brown color. When done, transfer the onions from the sauté pan to a small bowl.

Add more olive oil to the sauté pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the garlic, chopped rosemary, and duck. Cook only for a minute to meld the flavors and get an even coating of oil over everything.
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Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Prepare a 10" pizza crust on a half sheet pan.

When I planned this recipe I didn't intend to make a tomato-based pizza. It was just going to be all of the other ingredients. However, when I went to make the pizza, I instinctively added 5.6 oz. tomato-based pizza sauce before I realized that I didn't intend to put it on this pizza. Oops. It was good, nonetheless.

Top with caramelized onions, the garlic, rosemary, and duck mixture. Add goat cheese.
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Bake until done, about 12 minutes.

Dessert was lemon gelato.



Part whole wheat pizza crust

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Makes 3 8 oz. servings (each makes a small 10" pizza)

10.0 oz. bread flour
  3.5 oz. whole wheat flour
  0.3 oz. salt
  0.1 oz. instant yeast
  1.3 oz. olive oil
  9.0 oz. cold water (refrigerator temperature, 40°F)

Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of the mixer.

Add the olive oil and water and mix with the paddle attachment until a ball of dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Adjust the flour so a good ball of dough forms.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the ball from the mixer to the counter top. Scale to three 8.0 oz. servings. Form the dough into three balls.

Lightly oil a plate and places dough balls on the plate. Spritz with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough retard in the refrigerator overnight.
dough_before.jpgThe next day, take the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before you want to cook your pizza.
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Flour the counter and place the dough ball on the counter. Form into a flat disk about 5 inches in diameter and 1/2" thick. Dust with flour, give a light spray of oil. Gently form or toss to make a finished pizza crust, about 10" in diameter.

The balls of pizza dough can be frozen. Let defrost in the refrigerator the night before you want to make pizza and use as you would refrigerated dough.



Cheeseburger (sous vide, sort of)

burger.jpgSince I often cook for one person I like to prepare, divide, and freeze food. One of many foods I prepare this way are burgers, because it's silly to start up the grill for one burger. Unfortunately, reheating a cooked frozen burger in the microwave is pretty much guaranteed to overcook the burger. The solution to this problem is sous vide!

I prepared and seasoned a 5.4 ounce (before cooking) no-antibiotic grass fed ground beef burger.

I seared off the burger on my grill for 1:30 to 2:00 on each side. This was just enough to brown the outside, though I have a high temperature infrared propane grill. The timing for charcoal is probably about the same, though it will probably take longer with an regular propane grill.

I then immediately froze the burgers to stop the cooking and vacuum sealed them after they were frozen solid (to avoid sucking out all of the juices). Safely in their air-tight pouch they'll last for months in the freezer.

The beauty of the sous vide is that all you need to do is drop the frozen pouch right into the cooker! OK, it's not exactly a quick meal since it needs to hang out for a while, about 30 minutes at 132°F (56°C) for medium rare. But I don't have to touch it, so I don't think that really counts as cooking time. And since all of the juices are inside the pouch, there's really nothing to clean up!


Roast Duck Breast with Pomegranate Chile Sauce

duck.jpg
This recipe is pretty much the recipe from Bon Appétit, December 2009, by Selma Brown Morrow, as listed here:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roast-Duck-Breasts-with-Pomegranate-Chile-Sauce-356341

Makes 2 servings

Pomegranate Sauce
Makes enough for at least 4 servings (possibly more).

1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. water
2 c. 100% pomegranate juice
2 c. chicken broth
4 large dried California chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground cumin (not toasted)
salt

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add juice, broth, and California chiles. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Puree in tightly covered blender or food processor until smooth, about a minute. Transfer to bowl. Whisk in adobo sauce, vinegar, and cumin. Season to taste with generous amount of coarse salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over low heat before using. Can be frozen.


Duck

1 lb. boneless duck breast, with skin
salt and pepper
ground coriander

Preheat oven to 400°F. Score skin of duck (don't cut into flesh) with 5 cuts in 1 direction; repeat in opposite direction, making diamond pattern. Sprinkle duck all over with coarse salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Heat an overproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add duck, skin side down. Cook duck until skin is crisp and deep brown, about 7 minutes. Turn duck over; cook 1 minute.

Pour off fat - I reserve it in a jar that I keep in my refrigerator. It occasionally makes an appearance in dishes like kale cooked in duck fat.

Transfer sauté pan to oven. Roast duck until cooked to 125°F internal temperature for medium rare, about 10-15 minutes.
duck_breast.jpgTransfer duck to cutting board. Let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice each breast crosswise on slight diagonal. Arrange slices on plates. Spoon sauce over.

One use for leftover duck is Roasted duck, caramelized onion, garlic, rosemary, and goat cheese pizza.

I later made this with polenta. Just drain the fat from the sauté pan before putting the duck into the oven into a second sauté pan. Cook the polenta 2:30 to 3:00 per side in the rendered duck fat and serve with the pomegranate sauce. Delicious!

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Baked Potato

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke several holes; I like to use a meat fork about 6 times per potato. Coat the potatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with kosher salt.

I prefer to use a small wire rack placed on a half sheet pan; this makes it easier to get the potatoes in and out of the oven, especially if you're sharing the oven with something else that you are cooking.
baked_potato.jpgIt should take about an hour to cook the potatoes at 350°F; it may take as long as 1:15.

I've seen cooking temperatures as low as 300°F for 1:30 to 1:45, so there is some flexibility if you want to cook something else with your potato.

Rosemary lamb pita with tzatziki

pita_final.jpgolive oil
4 oz. roasted lamb, cut into small strips
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper
tzatziki (yogurt, garlic, and cucumber sauce)
pita

Sauté the lamb, garlic, and rosemary. Salt and pepper to taste.
pita_lamb.jpgAdd half the cooked lamb and tzatziki to a pita, ideally a homemade pita.

Makes two small (5") pitas.

Here is is with yogurt dill sauce and lettuce on a homemade whole wheat pita:

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Tzatziki

tzatziki.jpg5.3 oz. Greek yogurt (plain)
2.5 oz. cucumber, peeled, seeded, and minced (1/2 cucumber)
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper

Finely mince the cucumbers, salt lightly, and allow to drain in a sieve for several minutes.

The recipe can be made with regular yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, however you would have to put regular yogurt in a sieve and let it drain for a half hour to get rid of excess water. You don't have to do that with the Greek yogurt.

Mix together the ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.

I used this sauce in my Rosemary lamb pita.

And in case you can't pronounce tzatziki, here's a tip from itmademyday.com: "At work we have a new employee. She's new to Canada and can't pronounce "tzatiki" so instead she asks "Would you like some sneaky sauce?" IMMD."

Pita Bread

pita_done.jpgThese pitas are so lightly and fluffy you won't be able to go back to the store-bought ones!

I also have a newer recipe that's whole wheat, and also has an easier preparation.

Makes 10 pitas, 5 inches in diameter

3.0 oz. water at 105°F
0.25 oz. granulated sugar (1 1/2 tsp.)
0.11 oz. instant yeast (1 tsp.)
7.0 oz. milk at 105°F
15.0 oz. bread flour (3 cups)
0.10 oz. salt (3/4 tsp.)

In a warmed mixer bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water and add the yeast. I used instant yeast, also known as "bread machine yeast" which comes in a jar, not the active dry yeast in a packet. Wait for the mixture to become foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add warmed milk, flour, and salt to the mixer bowl. Mix the ingredients until the dry ingredients have combined with the wet. With the kneading hook in the mixer, knead for 10 minutes.
pita_dough.jpgRemove the dough from the bowl, oil the bowl, return the dough to the bowl, then flip the dough over once. Allow to rise for 3 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
pita_risen.jpgPinch off 2.5 oz. pieces, there should be 10 of them. Form into balls and let rest for 10 minutes on a floured surface.
pita_balls.jpg Roll into 5 inches diameter circles. Arrange the rounds on a silpat on a half sheet pan, cover with a towel, and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm location. It should be possible to fit the 10 rounds on two sheets.
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Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Bake on the bottom rack for 4 to 5 minutes until puffed up.
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My recipe is a combination of these two recipes:
http://mideastfood.about.com/od/breadsrice/r/pitabreadrecipe.htm
http://momgrind.com/2009/02/26/pita-bread-recipe-homemade-soft-and-fabulous/







Pancakes

pancake.jpg1 egg
1/2 tbsp. sugar
8 fl. oz. milk (1 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. melted butter
5.0 oz. (by weight) all-purpose flour (1 cup)
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat griddle to 375°F.

Whisk the egg with sugar. Add milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter. Add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing as little as possible.

Add a little butter to the griddle. Use 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Makes about 8 pancakes.

Pictured above: pancakes, real Vermont maple syrup, Vermont Smoke & Cure breakfast sausage, and a mimosa.

Scaled and slightly modified from the Mark Bittman recipe in How to Cook Everything, as reproduced here: http://www.culinate.com/content/2770/Basic+Pancakes

I also discovered that these pancakes freeze fairly well.




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Shepherd's Pie

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There is a new recipe that I like much better at Shepherd's Pie #2.


I'm a firm believer that the shepherd's pie should be made with lamb, not ground beef. In particular, it should be made with leftover lamb roast and gravy. The dish is supposed to have come about because it was a good way to use the Sunday roast lamb leftovers.

3.0 lb. roasted lamb, cut into small strips
20 fl. oz. lamb gravy
2.5 lb. Yukon gold mashed potatoes
2.4 oz. frozen corn (about 1/2 cup)
2.0 oz. frozen peas (about 1/2 cup)

Add to a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish with the lamb on the bottom. Season the lamb again with salt and pepper.
lamb.jpgAdd the gravy.
gravy.jpgAdd the peas and corn. Top with mashed potatoes.
potato.jpgPlace on top of a sheet pan in case it bubbles over and cook at 400°F for 25 minutes or until the potatoes brown slightly.
done.jpgServes 4. The picture at the top of the page is half of a serving.

It is possible to freeze leftover shepherd's pie. The best way I've found is to freeze the baking dish for a 3 hours until it becomes frozen but still soft enough to cut into serving pieces. Vacuum seal the pieces. The vacuum sealing isn't so important for the freezing part, but it's the best way to reheat. Take the frozen bag and put into a pot of boiling water. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then simmer for 30 minutes. I never had any luck with the microwave (does bad things to the potato) or the oven (kind of dries it out).

frozen.jpgSide Note:

Though you probably can't tell from the pictures, I did a silly thing that I did in the preparation of this dish. I made it a day ahead, taking the pictures and then putting the baking dish into the refrigerator. The next day I realized that I forgot to add the corn and peas! I had to carefully peel off the mashed potatoes, put the vegetables in, then close it back up again. The finished product looked better than I would have expected!

Mashed Potatoes

delmonico.jpg

2.5 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1"-2" pieces
2.0 oz. butter
4.0 oz. heavy cream
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper

There is an updated version of this recipe with more pictures at Garlic mashed potatoes #2.

Bring potatoes and water to a boil, cook for 15-25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain.

Run the potatoes through a potato ricer. Add butter and let it melt. Add heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper.

It is possible to freeze mashed potatoes! The only way I've found to be acceptable is to chill the potatoes at least to refrigerator temperature and vacuum seal them. To reheat, bring a pot of water to boil, add the frozen bag of mashed potatoes, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Eggnog

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This is so delicious that I will never be able to drink eggnog out of a carton again!

Makes 3 6-ounce servings.

2 eggs, separated
1.7 oz. (by weight) superfine sugar (about 1/4 cup)
3 fl. oz, brandy
1.5 fl. oz. light rum
1.5 fl. oz. apricot or peach brandy
8 fl. oz. milk
3 fl. oz. heavy cream
Nutmeg

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick. Stir in the brandy, rum, apricot or peach brandy, milk and cream. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the eggnog. Dust with nutmeg and serve.

The original recipe called for peach brandy, but I didn't have any, so I substituted apricot brandy, which seemed to work fine. This recipe contains raw eggs, so there is a small possibility that it will kill you.

Scaled from the "Baltimore Eggnog" recipe from the House & Garden Drink Guide, November 1973, reproduced here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Baltimore-Eggnog-102325

Updated picture from Christmas Eve 2010. I did a better job beating my egg whites this time. My arm is still tired.

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Roasted lamb

DSC_0009.jpgMy roasted lamb. Part of it is for dinner, and part of it will be for shepherd's pie in a few days. You know, shepherd's pie is not supposed to be made with ground beef. If it was, it would be called cowherd's pie. Anyway...

4.75 lb. lamb roast

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Trim the excess fat from the lamb roast. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Put into a roasting pan.

DSC_0001.jpgDSC_0002.jpg

Roast for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Drizzle a small amount of soy sauce over the roast. Continue to roast. Cook until the internal temperature is 130°F, around 1 hour to 1:15.

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When done, remove the roast from the pan and let the roast rest for 20 minutes.

Keep the juices in the roasting pan as they will be used to make gravy. Strain the pan juices if necessary.

1.7 oz. (by weight) all-purpose flour
16 oz. water

Mix the water and flour together, add to the pan juices to make gravy. Heat over medium heat stirring constantly. Heat for at least three minutes after it reaches a simmer. Add a little soy sauce. The gravy is an essential part of the shepherd's pie.

Another good use for leftover roasted lamb is rosemary lamb pita with tzatziki.



Rigatoni with prosciutto and pepper vodka cream sauce

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DSC_0006.jpg1.5 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
9.2 oz. plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (3 large)
broccoli, steamed
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
red pepper flakes
1 oz. pepper vodka
0.5 oz. Parmesano Reggiano cheese, grated
0.5 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2.0 oz. heavy cream
salt and pepper
rigatoni

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Drop the tomatoes into the water for 30 to 45 seconds. Then remove and chill under cold water. This will make peeling the tomatoes much easier.

Salt the water and cook the pasta according to package directions.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.

Peel, seed, and dice the tomato.

Steam the broccoli.

Add add the olive oil to the hot sauté pan and briefly sauté the garlic, making sure it does not burn. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook for several minutes.

Add the pepper vodka. I used my own jalapeño and habanero infused vodka, though a prepared pepper vodka, such as Absolut pepar, also works fine.

Push the contents of the sauté pan to the side to make room for preparing the cream sauce. Add a portion of the cream and the cheese, and stir to make a sauce. Adjust the consistency as necessary by adding cream. Mix into the tomato/prosciutto. Add the broccoli. Add the cooked and drained pasta. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.



Salmon sous vide with maple soy glaze

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DSC_0004.jpgPre-heat the sous vide machine to 140°F.

Divide the salmon into serving-sized pieces and season the salmon with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Vacuum seal.

Cook for 15 minutes at 140°F for medium.


Maple/soy glaze (for fish)

4.0 oz. double strength fish stock (0.2 oz. More than Gourmet Fumet de Poisson Gold fish stock concentrate + 4.0 oz. water)
0.7 oz. white wine vinegar (2 tbsp.)
2.0 oz. maple syrup
1.0 oz. soy sauce
salt and pepper

Add all of the liquid ingredients to a sauté pan and reduce to somewhat thick glaze consistency. I did this in a sauté pan to make it easier to coat the fish in the glaze before serving. Serve with additional sauce.

Served with rice (white sushi rice), broccoli, and Anton Bauer Gmörk 2008 Grüner Veltliner. Very good - I'll definitely be making this again!
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Maple glazed pork chops sous vide

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final.jpg3 lb. boneless center cut pork roast
fresh thyme
garlic

Brine:
1.7 oz. (by weight) Kosher salt (non-iodized)
0.9 oz. (by weight) granulated sugar
8 oz. hot water
24 oz. cold water with ice

Prepare the brine by dissolving the sugar and salt in the hot water, then add ice and cold water to make 32 fl. oz.. Make sure the brine is below 40°F, refrigerating if necessary.

I started with a 3 pound boneless center-cut pork roast. It's necessary to do quite a bit of trimming to remove the top layer of fat, meat, and silver skin. I got five beautiful 1" thick boneless pork chops and a small piles of meaty trimmings and fat.

roast.jpgchops.jpgBrine the pork chops for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

I sautéed the pork trimmings which I cut into small pieces, vacuum seal, freeze, and save for stir-fry. There were 6 oz. of meaty trimmings.

Add a sprig of thyme, a clove of garlic, a little olive oil, and two pork chops to each vacuum bag. Vacuum seal the pork chops.
vac.jpgCook at 141°F for 4 hours. Because of the long cooking time, it's necessary to use a temperature above 140°F to avoid leaving the food in the danger zone (40°F  to 140°F) for too long, which can cause bacteria to multiply.

Remove the pork chops from the sous vide machine and let rest for 5 minutes.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sauté the pork chops until nicely browned, a few minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops from the pan, but keep the oil and any browned bits in the pan for making the sauce, below.
saute.jpg

Maple Glaze

8.0 oz. chicken stock
0.7 oz. red wine vinegar (2 tbsp.)
2.0 oz. maple syrup
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

For the chicken stock I used 0.2 oz. (by weight) More than Gourmet fond de Poulet gold dissolved in 8 oz. of hot water, though any 8 oz. of chicken stock should be fine. Add the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard. The sauce base can be prepared ahead to make the final preparation easier.

Deglaze the sauté pan with liquid mixture and reduce to a thick glaze.

Season with salt and pepper.

Return the pork chops to the pan briefly to coat. Serve with additional sauce.






Rib eye steak sous vide - leftovers edition

DSC_0006.jpgI only ate half of my steak yesterday, and I was curious to see how sous vide leftovers would work. The answer is: quite well!

I re-froze the steak then vacuum sealed it. I put the frozen bag directly into the sous vide machine which had been pre-heated to 132°F and heated for one hour.

The main problem with this technique is that you must be very careful with the amount of time the food stays in the danger zone (40°F to 140°F). Because cooking (1.5 hours), resting and cooling (1 hour) and reheating (1 hour) were all done in the danger zone, there's not a lot of room left in the four hour window.

It really works much better to sear the steak and then freeze it uncooked, since it takes about the same amount of time to cook as it does to reheat. But I've never had a reheated steak that was still a perfect medium rare before. It was pretty amazing!

I also froze and reheated the mashed potatoes. This turns out to be surprisingly tricky, though after some experimentation it's not the freezing that causes mashed potatoes to turn weird - it's the reheating. Microwave reheating: very bad. Vacuum sealing the potatoes and dropping a frozen bag into a pot of boiling water, bringing back to a boil, then reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes: excellent. This solves one of the major problems with making mashed potatoes for one, which is just way too much work. Being able to freeze and successfully reconstitute them will be nice.

Rib eye steak sous vide with peppercorn wine demi-glace

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One of the reasons I like sous vide cooking is that it's ideal for preparing food ahead and freezing. I often cook for one, so this saves a lot of effort, but it's just as useful for families with busy evening schedules.

The traditional way of making a steak sous vide is to put it in the vacuum bag seasoned but raw, then finish it off on the grill, broiler, or a sauté pan. This is a perfectly reasonable method of preparation, however I prefer this alternate technique for meals prepared ahead.

Season a steak. I made a 3/4" thick rib-eye seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of cayenne pepper. One of the great things about sous vide cooking a steak is that you can get thicker cuts of meat and still have them perfectly done all the way through.

Grill it over very high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared with nice grill marks. Put the steak in a vacuum bag but do not seal it yet. Put it in an ice bath (34°F) until chilled. You want to get the meat out of the danger zone (40°F to 140°F) as quickly as possible. You'll probably want to clip the bag to the edge of the ice bath to prevent it from falling in, since it's not sealed yet.

Remove from the ice bath and freeze for at least two hours. Add a small amount of butter to the bag, then vacuum seal. This is necessary with an external vacuum sealer to avoid sucking all of the juices out of the bag.

At this point, the beauty of this process is that you can just leave the steak in the freezer until you're ready to cook it days or weeks later. Or you can take it out and sous vide it right away.

A 1" thick steak should cook in about an half hour at 132°F from refrigerator temperature. Mine was thinner but partially frozen so it would probably take about the same length of time to cook through. I ended up cooking it for nearly an hour while preparing the sauce and sides with no ill effect, however. That's the beauty of sous vide!

I prepared the rest of the sides (mashed potatoes and broccoli) and the peppercorn sauce and served everything.


Peppercorn sauce

1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, cracked
1 oz. butter (1/4 stick)
1 small shallot, minced
4 oz. red wine
¾ oz. More than Gourmet demi-glace gold
4 oz. hot water

Put the whole black peppercorns in a plastic zip bag and beat with a mallet until cracked, but not as fine as ground pepper.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add the minced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, add a ¾ oz. (half of a small 1.5 oz. package) of the demi-glace concentrate to 4 oz. of hot water in another container and dissolve, stirring occasionally. This can be done using hot water from a teapot, in the microwave, etc.

Add the cracked peppercorns to the shallot and butter mixture.
Add the red wine to and increase the heat to high. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone, several minutes.

Add the demi-glace to the wine and shallot mixture and reduce again.

The leftovers were also very good reheated in the sous vide machine.

Welcome

Welcome to Rick's cooking and food blog. I really like to cook and also to take pictures of food, so here's where the two things come together along with recipes and tips.

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