Showing posts from February, 2010

Seared Tuna With Saltimbocca Beans

This picture demonstrates two things.  The first is that I continue to suck at food photography.  Second, my knife was too dull.  But I am not here to talk to you about the tuna, my knife skills or my photography skills.  The star of this show was the beans.   Technically, I think these beans were born out of the echos of the Internet.  First, I adapted the IdeasInFood pasta hydration technique for the beans.  echo. I took sorted and washed beans and soaked them in prosciutto stock.  After that, they went into a 180F water bath.  The flavor of the broth really came through, and the beans had an edamame like texture.  echo. After I had the beans, my mind went to Saltimbocca I had recently.  I diced up some fresh mozzarella and drizzled on some sage oil.  Prosciutto.  Then I open up my rss newsreader. echo.

The SFSR Mugaritz Stagières Knife Fund

On February 14, a fire broke out at Mugaritz , a modernist/progressive restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.  While no one was injured or died in the fire, three stagieres lost their knives in the fire.  Stagieres are unpaid apprentices, and their knives were not covered by the restaurant's insurance.  This form of apprenticeship is also essential to both passing down the craft and also to keep many top restaurants running.  This might not seem like a big deal to you, but let's remember that these stagieres are unpaid , probably didn't have a lot of money to begin with, need knives to continue down their career path, and that quality knives are expensive . Which is why I was really psyched to see that Doc Sconz set up a fund over at first giving to help these cooks land on their feet. As of 7:45PM EST on February 24th, 2010, Doc, through Slow Food USA has raised $485.00.  My goal is to triple it in a single week.  Here is how you can help: Donate money via the fir

SousVide Supreme: My Review of The Gizmodo Review

I love gizmodo .  So, it is extremely frustrating to see a Gizmodo food review for a Sous Vide product that could have been a lot better.  While I am sure my review has plenty of flaws, and I am sure this will result in me having thrown stones in my own glass house, I just couldn't let this go. Most of the review is really spent dissecting sous vide as a method of cooking and not the actual appliance.  For each protein the author reviews,  he discusses the advantages and disadvantages, which really has nothing to do with the SousVide Supreme.  He then ends each protein review with a rating of "Worth It / Draw / Not Worth It" ratings based on whether or not it produces the best results .  I fundamentally disagree with this approach because there isn't a singular best result for a given protein.  Another issue with this approach is that it is biased by the author's skill in the kitchen. Did I mention that none of this has anything to do with the appliance it

Fresh Meals Magic Update Now With Preview Pics

Frank Hsu updated me via email on a couple on pricing and also gave me a couple of preview pics to use. Oh look... Here's one now with some tasty flank steak! There are two models for the FMM.  A 110V/1500W version and a 220W/2000W version.  Both come with an adjustable air pump and your choice of either an 18L pot or a 12L pot. With the 18L pot, the pricing is $159, with the 12L pot the pricing is $150.  The 220V/2000W costs an extra $20.  Additional pots are available at $29/$20 respectively.

Fresh Meals Magic: A PID Controlled Immersion Circulator

I've been cooking sous vide at home for awhile now. I currently use a Sous Vide Magic 1500  connected to a Black and Decker RC880 Rice cooker. This is the classic PID controller DIY setup and continues to be the cheapest way to cook sous vide. For approximately 150$, you get a device that allows you to regulate the temperature of water in a rice cooker. One of the biggest perceived issues when cooking with a PID controller is heat distribution. Rice cookers heat from the bottom (and potentially unevenly) leaving the water closer to the heating element warmer than water further away. PolyScience recently studied this in their stir or not to stir experiment, which I have already written about. Good news! Almost on cue, the FreshMealsMagic (FMM) is FreshMealsSolutions' answer to those challenges. It is ...  a submersible bubbler/heater. A submersi-bub-bluh-huh-wha-wha?  Chill out! The FMM is a green disc that can be placed inside of any heat-safe container. The

Molecular Gastronomy, It's Not Dead Yet!

I hate the molecular gastronomy debate.  My real job world has several similar nomenclature debates and the truth is people hate labels, especially when the label is either outgrown, foisted upon them or develops a negative connotation.  The Molecular Gastronomy nomenclature debate is pure inside baseball. The truth is, there really aren't a gazillion restaurants that really fall under the umbrella of this movement... Molecular Gastronomy, Molecular Cuisine, Progressive Cuisine, techno-emotional, Spanish avant-garde, call it what you will.  The idea that this is a tremendous movement is really something perpetuated by the culinary zeitgeist.  Don't get me wrong, this is a movement that exists, and inside of that movement are a good number of chefs and restaurants that execute to varying levels of success.  But, the reason it is talked about so frequently is because it makes for an interesting story.  Interesting stories get read.  As a result, people start to think about arch

Roasted Garlic Powder: Perfect For Sous Vide Cooking

I have always used garlic powder.  I am pretty heavy handed with it.  It used to be my salt.  After starting to cook sous vide, that love has been rekindled.  This is because most advice around sous vide discourages the use of fresh garlic.  According to baldwind : "Finally, raw garlic produces very pronounced and unpleasant results and powdered garlic (in very small quantities) should be substituted." After reading that, I set out to make garlic powder.  It is ridiculously simple, and like all things culinary, when you can control it, you can make it better.  In this case, you have three major wins: Before you begin making garlic powder, you can control the quality of the garlic.  Like most spices you buy, it is hard to determine original quality and how long it has been deteriorating on a grocery shelf or storeroom. Roasting.  You can bring the noise by roasting the garlic.  When you compare the aroma and flavor of your homemade roasted garlic to whatever you have be

SousVide Supreme: Review/WrapUp

I had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to tinker with the SousVide Supreme.  I made a lot of great meals with it, and overall have few complaints.  Before I get to those, lets talk about the good. The Good Stuff Simplicity.   It works.  Out of the box.  You fill it with water, set the temperature and it goes.  No need to do any calibration.  You don't even really need the manual to operate the thing to get great results. Aesthetics.   The SVS looks like a kitchen appliance.  The meth cooker-y stylings of the PID controller do not work for everyone's kitchen.  This can get further complicated if you are trying to control a large rice cooker.  Rack.  The rack is useful for keeping higher temperature, longer cooking time items submerged under water.   The Neutrals Lid.  The lid feels kind of cheap and water collects underneath creating a weird seal.  The plus side of the lid is that when I was done cooking I could use the lid as a tray for whatever goodies I h