Hello everyone! I know I've been silent for... well... a long while, if I'm honest! A combination of three young kids, a bad back, and a potent flu season, had me completely out of commission. There is some good news, though: even with the lack of online cooking presence, I have still been working at developing new recipes, and discovering new techniques. I hope this newest post makes up for my absence.
I think (well, I hope!) many of us can relate to the chaos that goes on before a big holiday dinner. A two page grocery list, frantic polishing of silverware, much time slaving over the stove, followed by that last-minute panicked trip back to the market for the ingredient that was NOT marked on the gigantic list. This year's winner was kosher salt; how could I forget SALT?! The frenzy of preparation, combined with herding children, and - eventually - even spending time enjoying your friends & family, can feel like a Sisyphean task. It's always worth it once everyone is gathered around a beautifully laden table, but what a feeling of relief once it's actually done! It's over! We made it! ...Pass the wine!
This year we had a large Passover dinner, and it felt like it would be more of the same kind of frenetic buildup. Add in a bad back, a broken crock-pot, and about four hours before dinnertime - no water (this ended up being a plumbing issue that resulted in a lot of confused repair people, an excavator, and lots of big holes in my yard). Sure. No biggie. Aaaaaggggghhhhhhh!
Did you hear that "Aargh"? My freaked out yell scared birds six blocks away. Still, even with all of the craziness, the one thing that was easy-peasy: Cooking the main dish. No mess. No watching. I could focus (translation: "panic") over other elements, but no concern over the star of the meal. We cooked the most flavorful, tender, and gigantic, rib roast in our fantastic new sous vide machine. It was a life saver, and is literally the easiest method of cooking that I've ever tried.
Sous vide literally translates to "cooking under vacuum". It's so simple, but the results are stunning. You vacuum seal your food, place in a container of water, then use a heated water circulator (sous vide machine) to gently & consistently heat the food at a constant temperature. In our case, the end product was a delicious, unbelievably tender, and evenly cooked rib roast, cooked to the exact temperature I wanted all the way through. This technique is easier than using a crock-pot, and has completely changed my everyday dinners and party preparations.
You. Need. This. Machine. This, along with a proper set of sharp knives, and a Kitchen Aid mixer, should be the essential tools in your kitchen. We've used it to make lots of different proteins, and it is stunning. Sous vide salmon is buttery and delicious, sous vide chicken is soft and juicy, and sous vide steaks are always cooked to a perfect temperature and then you just lightly sear to serve.