48 Hour Sous Vide Chuck

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I can be inspired by something I’ve seen on the Internet. At this point, I don’t even remember what that inspiration was, but it was there once, I swear it.
Sous Vide Chuck
I’m a huge fan of the ultra-beefy taste of chuck. It’s what meat is meant to be. However, it can be a little chewy unless it’s cooked for long periods of time…like days.

Funny how this works, but sous-vide is just the ticket! A full 48 hours at 130°F did the trick. Continue reading

Sous Vide NY Strips and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

And so it came to pass that most glorious spousal unit actually asked for a sous vide steak. We’re making some progress!
Steak and Cheezy Potatoes!
She’s a meat and potatoes sort, so I asked her how she wanted the taters.

“Mashed. With cheese.” says she.
“Hmmm. Well, that’s different. What kind of cheese?” I asked stupidly.
“Cream cheese and Cheez Whiz®.”

Whatever. If that’s the price I pay to get her to buy into sous vide rather than just indulging my experiments, so be it.
Getting Ready for a Bath!
The steaks are on the left. Italian sausage in two-packs, then an 8 lb pork shoulder. In all, fourteen pounds of flesh.

She just rolls her eyes realizing this monster sous vide rig will now be on the counter (again) for days.
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Tomatoes

Posted by johngl

I don’t  understand it: how can people not like tomatoes? Even an Iowa farm girl like the most glorious spousal unit doesn’t like them. My step-brother doesn’t like them. One of my best friends doesn’t like them. They all consume pasta sauce, catchup, ketchup, pizza sauce, even Bloody Marys with great zeal. What’s up with all the tomato hate?

Micro Tomatoes

I mean really, how could you not like these cute little micro-sized ‘maters? About the same size as a good-sized pea, these little jewels grow wild here in Texas. I have them all over the yard thanks to hungry birds who eat them and redeposit the seeds along with a bit of fertilizer. If you start with one plant, you’ll have ten the following year.

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Guest Post: Gnocchi Demystified

Posted by Norm King

Born in Louisiana to a military family, I was destined to travel…Colorado, Nebraska, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, France, Switzerland, Corsica, New Jersey, Florida, Washington, and Oregon, I called all of these places home–some of them 2 or 3 times.  Traveling as much as we did, we spent our share of time in restaurants, it was our respite from the mild horror of picking up and leaving after finally getting settled in somewhere…I guess it was inevitable that I would end up working in restaurants — it was the closest thing to home that I knew!

So, that’s what I did.  Chain Restaurants first, then Culinary School, then, French/Swiss/German, Italian, Seafood (lots of those), Steakhouses, Private Clubs, Nouvelle Cuisine, then, Lake Tahoe Hotels, Reno Hotels, and Vegas Hotels (Caesars, most notably).

I can’t bear Food Reality Shows, but I guess lawyers don’t watch “Law and Order,” either.  I never met a food I didn’t like, but I won’t try insects (Honey, notwithstanding).  My little adventure has taken place almost entirely in, around, or thinking about food and restaurants. My long time addiction to Nicotine (finally kicked) shortened my tenure as a full time Chef, but my career is hardly over.  I’m busier than ever, paying forward what I have seen and what I have learned to anyone who will listen. What a long, strange trip it’s been, as they say.

Gnocchi

It’s a freakin’ dumpling, what’s the big deal? Well, for some people, Italian and otherwise, the origins, meanings, recipes, and identities of Gnocchi are not only a big deal, but a deal breaker for friendship and respect. Most people are adept at avoiding workplace discussions about religion and politics. But once chefs start talking about Gnocchi, the uninitiated should take cover and roll cameras—the drama is about to begin!

Eggs or no eggs? This question alone has destroyed otherwise established alliances…what shape? Short cylinders or fork rolled? Should the potatoes be mashed hot or cold? Or should they be ground? Or grated? Or Screened? Or Riced? Nutmeg, or no nutmeg? Bolognese, Marinara, or Gorgonzola sauce? You get the idea.

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Making MicroChips: Part 2 (Microwaved Potato Chips)

Posted by johngl

After doing some yard work, I felt like having a snack. And, since I didn’t quite finish out my MicroChip experiments, it seemed like a likely union.

If you’re too lazy to read the earlier post, I’ll just say that I was working on a BBQ version of the chipset and certain organic materials were browning too quickly.

One minute pre-cook

I seasoned these chips (both sides) with my bbq rib rub after one minute at full power in the microwave, the theory being that since the seasoning, which contains sugar, would be less likely to burn.

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Making MicroChips (Microwaved Potato Chips)

Posted by johngl

It was about noon today and I’d just finished my weekend dose of Health and Relaxation in a Glass when I ran across a facebook link posted by a good friend of mine whom I shall refer to as Brittany. If it weren’t for her, I would miss out on all sorts of stuff out there on the interwebs. Anyway, since I’ve never tried nuking thinly sliced potatoes, I thought I’d give it a shot. I mean really, it’s only a potato. I know, it’s a terrible thing to waste, but you only live once.

MicroChips in full splendor!

As it turned out, I didn’t waste a thing!

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Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato…Salad?

Posted by johngl

What I really really wanted for lunch today was a BLT sandwich.  I had a couple of fresh tomatoes fresh off the vine, some applewood-smoked bacon that my friend BigDMcC left here after our Venison-sausage-stuffed-quail paella efforts (a future post), and some fresh baby arugula that most glorious spousal unit picked up.

I finished off my Jamaican Blue Mountain French-pressed coffee and headed for the kitchen.

“I want a BLT for lunch,” says I.

“We don’t have anything that even resembles bread” says most glorious spousal unit.

“Well…crap!”

Bacon, arugula, chicken, and tomato salad

Oh well, I guess it’s salad time.

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Sous Vide Ribeye, Gnocchi “Tater Tots” & Glazed Carrots

Posted by johngl

In one of her forays into the wonders of our freezer, the most glorious spousal unit made a brilliant discovery: a very large bone-in 2″ thick sous vide ribeye that was leftover (unopened) from a dinner gathering that took place a few months ago.

Ribeye, tots, and carrots

Since all I had to do was thaw and sear-off the steak, I could focus on some more unusual side dishes like carrots braised in beer and gnocchi “tater tots.”

It was quite a lot of fun not having to focus on the meat…

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Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Swiss Chard

Posted by johngl

Even here in Austin, we had a tough winter this year.  Temps in the low teens killed off a bunch of my plants: avocado, pequin peppers, poinsettias, aloe, agave, a 25 year old schefflera, and mango all dead. But the Swiss chard? Two bought it, but one pulled through.

Swiss Chard, a survivor!

In celebration, I ate it…along with some additional organic Swiss chard from the local market and some pork tenderloin the most glorious spousal unit found in the freezer.

The freezer. What a fascinating place. Stuff can get lost in there for years. But every once in a while we’ll find something that’s still edible.

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Duck Burgers (with Foie Gras) — Labor Day Finale

Posted by johngl

Labor Day is upon us!  Time to wrap up this Burger Quest.

You might wonder: Why would anyone in their right mind grind a duck into burger meat?

Well, I like duck and I think duck is under-appreciated in this part of the world.  Why not burgers?  We burger everything else! Is it really such a stretch?  I’ve roasted it, confit’d it, grilled it, and made stock out of it.  I hadn’t yet tried burgering it (spell check is trying to turn “burgering” into “buggering” which would give that last statement a whole new meaning).

So when Brittany (aka: Stems) suggested that for my finale, I should do “duck burgers and fries cooked in duck fat” it took about 10 seconds before I said: “OK! You’ve got something there.”

I hereby introduce to the world: The Maple Leaf Farms Duck Burger!

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Burger! With fries cooked in duck fat!

What do you mean it looks just like a hamburger?  Of course it does, that is the whole point.

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