This is a quick one. Two main ingredients. Eggs and Steak. There were other components on the plate but I chose to leave those out and focus on what I thought mattered… my devoted consistent passion for steak and eggs. Specially eggs.
This blog is no stranger to steak and eggs in fact, one of my most popular instagram posts was a photo a took for my article on steak and eggs. This time I come back with a little twist. Sous vide’ed yolks… if you’re into sous vide cooking you’ve probably already spend some time experimenting with cooking eggs. It’s a great exercise to get familiar with the technique. Yolks set at about 70C and whites set at about 80C. This 10 degree difference is what makes cooking eggs a challenge, specially if cooked sous vide. Specially when we introduce long cooking periods….but I digress… It’s a complex subject and right now I don’t have the time or the patience to get into it. Next post!
Ah, the lovely egg. Wait… the lovely 7 minute egg. Yes… Borderline soft-boiled. Borderline perfection. Soft-boiled egg is perfection. But not because of its imperfect status it means it isn’t perfect for perfection in cooking is borderline subjective too.
7 minutes in boiling water is probably as far as I would ever go about cooking a room temperature egg. After that, the sexiness levels start to drop rapidly. Chucked in ice water, the shells should come off rather easily. Served immediately, the egg should retain its elasticity and be extremely soft to bite into.
Pisto for those who don’t know what it is… it’s not a weapon, let’s start there. It’s not pesto either (although the french make pistou which is basically pesto). Ok, pisto is more closely related to ratatouille. It’s pretty much the same ingredients and preparation process and just like anything else, there are ton of variations and interpretations. Ingredients include tomatoes, bell peppers, courgettes, onions, garlic, I’m sure even eggplant makes the list. Everything is cooked in olive oil, slowly and gently sautéed and carefully fine tuned with sherry vinegar and salt.
Tonight I decided to leave out a few things and focus on a winning combination that I’ve known since I was little. Onion, garlic and bell peppers. Why would anyone leave tomatoes out of the equation. Ok.. so firstly, I didn’t have any and secondly… have you ever tried pisto with no tomatoes. If you haven’t you’ll be happily surprised. If you never had pisto before then you have only but winning chances here.
The summer pasta kick hasn’t stopped. My supply of homemade bacon keeps on giving. This bacon by the way, for those of you who haven’t been heard, was made with the belly of a pig featured in my butchering lesson post. Yes! I attended a butchering lesson and I have pork meat in my freezer to last me for a few more weeks. I have blood sausages, 2 different bacon slabs seasoned differently, a ton of pork fat, etc. July 4th was met with an impressive roasted pork shoulder also cooked with the same meat. So yeah, it’s been kind of a porky last month and a half.
Today I decided to try something different this time. I love cooking pasta but I find myself repeating the same 2 or 3 recipes I love. Pasta bolognese, seafood pasta and pasta al pomodoro. Sometimes I go crazy! and make carbonara or some random thing involving leftovers in my fridge… which by the way, happen to be usually pretty incredible… cooking with leftovers is one of my favorite things plus the freedom! Ok.. so back to this pasta. This can of sweet peas has been sitting in my pantry for weeks. I love sweet peas. I really do but they usually don’t scream pasta. I use them in cold pasta salads, in paella, as a side with mash potatoes, etc… but never pasta. But if there’s anything true about pasta is the fact that it can be paired with pretty much any ingredient I can think of… oh wait… just like bread, or rice, etc. Starches happen to be extremely friendly and super accommodating.
Not the first time this has been featured on this blog but why not blog about it again. This has to be one of the most underrated preparations of all time. I’m almost inclined to suggest it might be better than leaner tenderer cuts like loin meat. The process is long. It takes about a week to make but so does bacon. And you know how meat lovers feel about bacon… correct! So this 5-7 day curing/cooking adventure will definitely yield something that might far exceed your expectations. I mean… it’s chuck meat. Cheap, tough, you have to boil this thing for hours to make it edible. The magic of sous vide never shined this bright before. Chuck roast. So simple and a powerful statement about getting misunderstood ingredients to steal the show.. I mean this thing even dropped the mike.
Ok, yes, I got extremely lazy this time and chose the easy way out. Pork meat already marinaded… as in.. the marinade sits in the pack with the raw pork… roll your eyes all you want but it looked like heaven to me. I haven’t done this in at least 10 years. I remember back in my microwave-dinner days discovering Trader Joe’s. The dark ages, sure… but they had this carne asada deal that was: a . m . a . z . i . n. g… in my memories it is amazing, like when you explain to a younger person how awesome that original tv show V was…… watch it now. Ok.. moving on.
Overtime I got more a more interested in controlling more aspects of cooking including marinades and if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, that “interest” went well beyond marinades. But I couldn’t resist the convenience of grabbing a pack of pork with an extra ton of infused flavour and sear it and mix it with ramen noodles and a ton of chalula sauce. That right there pretty accurately describes what went down here. I mean, why bother posting a recipe for stuff like this. Seriously all it takes is 3 ingredients, one pot and welcome to the jungle. Going wrong ain’t an option.
Again I go MIA for a few weeks. The usual excuse: work gets in the way of me and the blog. I’ll eventually fix this situation but for now I can only work on my cooking/blogging with some restrictions and many interruptions. The good news: I relocated to LA and now I actually have a kitchen and all my kitchen gear out of storage. FINALLY. It’s awesome and the apartment gets a lot of sunlight which is a first. I can finally start doing more photography in natural light during the weekends. The other good news is that my new home is not even a block away from the awesome Marukai market on pico boulevard which leads me to…. shishamo. I had no idea what shishamo was until now. These beautiful sardine-looking fish are eaten whole after pan fried or deep fried. I didn’t use any batters but I think that’s my next shishamo project. They can make great appetizer or to garnish dishes. Their flavor has a ton of personality with sweet notes and a solid of presence.
Ok, this is a couple of weeks late but happy 4th of July to America! I had an amazing time celebrating with the people I love and the food I love. If you have been following this blog, just a day before the 4th of July I attended a butchering lesson, and I was eager to cook some of the pork bounty I had earned after 8 hours of hard work, sweat and blood, literally. Pork shoulder, slowly roasted in the oven, after a long and flavourful marinade overnight session fit the bill.
When I say 8 hours of hard work, I mean 8 hours. That’s how long it takes to butcher a whole pig the traditional way although I’m sure it goes faster without annoying photographers or eagerly curious students asking a bunch of silly questions like I found myself asking.
Before we go any further I want to warn you. I just participated in the killing of a pig. I also documented it with pictures. I will do my best to avoid excessively-graphic imagery but as you may know, the process of butchering an animal is a dramatic event so if you’re not comfortable with this kind of content kindly skip this post. I will stick to the facts and present this subject as mindfully and respectfully as possible and only to show and share my love and appreciation for food, cooking and all that it entails.
As a meat eater, I was feeling compelled to witness and participate in the butchering of an animal. I felt that without doing so… eating meat was just a convenient luxury, far removed from the harsh reality of taking life to feed people. I also wanted to participate out of respect for the animals and the butchering craft that I know so little about. I thought If I were to continue to eat meat, I needed exposure to the entire story. And not the theory which we can all look up somewhere. I needed to see what was really involved. There’s drama in the act of killing no matter how “humanely” the killing is carried out. Our butchering instructor minimized suffering and worked as swiftly as possible.
I’ve been busy at work and also looking for a new home here in LA. The search is over for now. I’m going to be renting out a place soon and by soon I mean in a week or so. I’ve been prepping for the move. I think I have pretty much everything ready. I’m excited to be living closer to work again and to have a bigger kitchen. The light inside the place is nice, soft but plentiful. So hopefully I will be doing a bit more natural light photography soon. I much rather use natural light but as you may know… I’m a late night cook. That’s when I have time.
I haven’t forgotten about my blog by the way. Pictures of food keep piling up on my hard drive week after week and I can’t seem to get in the rhythm of blogging or find a good window to do so. This is one hot summer in LA so my indoor kitchen cooking tends to be a bit more limited. No hot ovens or pots of boiling water but lots of sous vide cooking. I don’t have A/C in here either. I don’t have a yard or a grill so there’s that too. I’m thinking of getting an electric grill though. Something small, easy to clean and super hot. If you have any suggestions, please direct them my way.