Crocodile Tail Steak Sous Vide 55C 3h : Vanilla : Fennel : Pedro Ximenez Vinegar Reduction

25 Sep

 

img_1898_ccCrocodile is the true chicken of the sea in my opinion. I’ve been testing out a few recipes with this ingredient (can be bought at certain stores here in Vancouver, frozen of course). The flavor is fairly unique but if you asked anyone who’s had it before, they would probably say it tastes like chicken and fish at the same time. And that’s a fairly accurate description in some ways. The flavor of a crocodile steak is wonderful and coming from a creature that doesn’t have that many fans out there, is quite remarkable how tasty it is!

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For this recipe I opted to cook the croc steak sous vide. It took a few tries to get a nice texture, and I could probably experiment more. Crocodile tail meat is very lean which usually means, cook it fast! I did what pretty much I do every time I want to cook something new, turn to the internet and google stuff up. I couldn’t find much about how to cook this thing. Maybe one sous vide video recipe, but the information wasn’t clear… I gave up. I researched more traditional recipes,

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I found some stews, and also, some recipes that called for a quick sear and done. Kinda contradicting  really. I figured I’d skip any stewing avenues and focus on the fast approach. The first test was directly over a hot searing pan. The result, was ok… but too chewy, like really chewy. I wouldn’t serve that to anyone. I might have overcooked it. For the rest of my testing I turned to a more reliable approach, sous vide:

My sous vide tests were as follows:

62C 3h. Really dry, dryer than my pan test.

47C 1h. Really chewy, but moist… ok.., getting somewhere.

55C 3h. Tender and moist. Nice texture. I stopped my testing. Ran out of croc steaks. 

But I would like to try 52 3h. I have a feeling it could be better. Anyways, here is the rest of the recipe, hope you enjoy: Continue reading

Pan Roasted Sablefish (from British Columbia) : Asparagus Puree : Saffron Potatoes : Paprika

24 Sep

 

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The weather finally turns cooler around here in BC, and the disposition to cook and write about food and cooking seems to be coming back (It was extremely hot!) but anyways, this is a recipe I prepared a around july, right at the beginning of the horrible hot weather season, which in turn offered some of the best fresh vegetables and fruits I’ve had in a while. The quality of summer produce here in Vancouver is incredible and so is the fish. I can’t get over how good the quality of the fish is here.

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Sablefish is wonderful and like most fish (if not all) require very little hocus-pocus in the kitchen. Salt, and some gentle heat and it’s done. Most fish can be cooked to 50C (around 125F) which is around the temperature of hot tap water. I’ve cooked fish using this hot water in a couple of occasions. Ok, back on track. This time I decided to pan roast it, which I find a lot of fun. Getting the skin crispy and the fish cooked will require some practice but is’t actually fairly easy. Again, the use of a thermometer is highly recommended, or if you have a sous vide bath. Then, that’s a no brainer. But let’s stick to traditional cooking methods on this post. Continue reading

The International Summer Night Market in Richmond

21 Aug

It’s been a few months since my last post. It has been a very hot summer here in Vancouver and perhaps that had to do with my not keeping up with cooking or mainly the blogging aspect of that. The cooking hasn’t stopped  and neither has taking photos or learning new things in the kitchen though, but finding the energy to gather photos and notes.. and do the write ups… and post has been a little difficult (not to mention that I’ve been absolutely obsessed with chess lately). I’m working on a few new recipes, which I will be posting soon. Last sunday, I visited a very interesting place. The International Summer Night Market in Richmond.

 

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There were about 200  food stands (maybe I’m exaggerating but it felt like there were millions of them) and anything imaginably edible being cooked. The food was phenomenal and the place was packed.  I particularly enjoyed the amount of seafood and fish being prepared. The most popular stand in the whole place though was the “rotato” stand. I wish I had taken a photo of it, but it was impossible to get near this thing without getting hurt by the hungry hordes. And if you haven’t seen a rotato (which I hadn’t until then)  It’s basically… potato chips.I love it. Here are some of the photos I managed to take without dropping my phone in a vat of frying oil. It almost happened a couple times actually.  Here’s a link in case anyone is interested in learning more about this market:  http://www.summernightmarket.com

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Continue reading

Short Ribs Sous Vide 72h 54C : Wine Reduction : Chimichurri : Garlic Sprouts

13 Jun

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I like it when the ingredients drive the recipe. I found these beautiful short ribs at the store and immediately dropped whatever cooking plans I had previously.   I picked a few more things for the wine reduction as well. 72 hours later, I picked the rest of the ingredients, like the garnishes and such. After such a long cooking time at low temperature, short ribs are literally transformed into something that’s hard to describe here. They more closely resembled rib eye with an intense meaty flavor. Tender and juicy, with an amazing texture. My previous experiences cooking short ribs had been by braising them in wine, vegetables and stock in the oven for a few hours. This approach yields fall of the bone, delicious results. The meat though, is overcooked in order to break down the connective tissue within a reasonable time.  At 54 degrees celsius, the time required to achieve the same is about 3 days. Cooking the meat sous vide, allows for something otherwise impossible to achieve traditionally. The meat will be medium rare. You can also adjust the temperature and cooking time to achieve a number of different doneness levels and textures to suit your preference.

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I finally work a bit on the lighting setup in my kitchen and went back to using my speedlite flash which I really really like. Back to handheld photography (yay) which is super fast and flexible (getting on a tripod is a good option when shooting with natural light, the only option if you want sharp pictures really). I had to use a little remote trigger for the speedlite so it wouldn’t have to be mounted on the camera which can be very restrictive and how I usually have taken the photos for most of my previous posts. I also chose my 105mm sigma macro lens for this post, mainly because I love close up photography and macrophotography, but I also wanted to plate a smaller portion for the final dish. Appetizer style.  Continue reading

Boeuf Bourguignon Sous Vide : 24h : 60c

7 Jun

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I’ve posted about beef bourguignon in the past, but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking of trying a different approach. Since this sous vide-meat kick doesn’t seem to end, I figured I’d try something fun. Making it sous vide. I was curious to see how this would turn out. I had to rearrange the order in which things are done (traditionally) in order to incorporate the technique, but I think I have a fairly easy procedure that allows making adjustments easily and control the final result without stress.

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Also, the meat can be cooked to medium or medium rare, which is unusual for any traditional stew in which the cooking temperatures for the meat can reach the boiling point. Even the temperatures in slow cookers at the warm setting cook at over 70C which is technically well done. In this example, the meat is cooked to medium at a gentle 60C for 24 hours.  Continue reading

Sous Vide Rib Eye Steak : Madeira BBQ Sauce : Navy bean puree : Ratatouille

25 May

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It’s been a few weeks since my last post. I’ve been working on a few recipes that need some fine tuning and definitely some planning for when it comes to plating. Some food can be plated easily, like pasta for example. This dish I’m working on is a pasta dish, but it does not look pretty on the plate, I’ve tried a couple of ideas, nothing has worked… hopefully I can figure it out and post it soon. It is really delicious, and I’m not just saying that, oysters and pasta, in a Pernod and green peppercorn sauce… yeah, I rest my case! Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of meat using my immersion circulator and I figured I would show signs of activity by posting a tasty recipe before I go back in the lab and experiment some more with this Pernod sauce (there’s a real fairy in the bottle btw).  Another problem I’ve been facing lately is related to photography.

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I usually do all the photography using a flash unit, and bounce surfaces (the white walls of my kitchen mostly) but since I moved to this new apartment, I haven’t been able to recreate similar lighting conditions (walls aren’t white), and the photos turn harsh and contrasty, with unappetizing highlights and strange white balance issues. I’m still working on how to sort this out, I have bought some reflectors and diffusers, but still photos are coming out looking… bad. Luckily for me, in Vancouver, the sun sets around 9pm during the spring/summer, so I have plenty of natural light coming through the windows, and nothing better than sun light for photography. If I could take all my photos using sunlight I would, but I usually cook at night. Anyways, today, rib eye steak it is! Continue reading

Top Sirloin “Roast” Sous Vide : 14 hour 55C-131F

1 May

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Cold cuts. I love this stuff. Cold roast beef. Awesome. Top Sirloin makes a pretty damn good roast beef. Add sous vide into the equation. Super awesome. I’ve been meaning to do more sous vide cooking lately but I tend to get lazy.. the bag, the timing, this and that.. really all excuses. Cooking sous vide is extremely easy. This roast seemed like the perfect candidate for a nice, long and gentle cooking approach. I shouldn’t use the term roast, because really the meat was never roasted in the oven, but I will. Cast iron skillet did a pretty good job of searing the outside. The water bath did a pretty amazing job a cooking it medium rare evenly and even helping tenderize this cut a bit. It tends to be slightly chewier than the tenderloin. At least the one I got a the store. How do I know? I cut a small portion, pan seared it, tried it, it seemed a bit tough. Didn’t want the meat to turn to mush either, so  I cooked it roughly for about 12-14 hours which did the trick.

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In the photos, as I mentioned, the “roast” beef is cold out of the fridge, hence the peculiar dry appearance. But that’s because the collagen and the fats are in a solid estate. Apply a little heat from say, a panini press… unleash the juiciness One more thing I did was. I sliced the meat into about 3mm round, cut against the grain. Sprinkled it with salt and pepper, generously, and let it rest overnight in the fridge. The next day it was delicious, a bit on the saltier side, which is perfect in my opinion. Continue reading

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