Yep… hot sauce making has taken over my life and so has fermentation. If you haven’t tried either and are hesitant well.. put that hesitation aside and dive in. In my opinion fermented hot sauces are superior in taste to their vinegar-acidified counterparts. There’s that extra complexity in the flavor that just can’t be described. And I’m not even gonna get into the whole healthy aspect of eating fermented foods. I’ll leave it at… probiotic, etc, etc. This is gonna be a really quick post guys… there’s seriously nothing to it. Let’s make some awesome hot sauce.
One important fact, at least important to me: This is the 4th taco post on this blog which could possibly be interpreted as a lack of interest in the subject. Quite the opposite. Tacos are a pretty standard in my daily diet, specially recently. I love them. As you know, they’re easy to make and there are so few rules involved that they’re also almost anxiety free, specially if you fear the criticism of the purists out there. I don’t mean to oversimplify them. There are successful and disastrous tacos out there but if you keep things simple, work with good ingredients and follow good cooking technique expect success. If you want to take a look at some more convoluted and risky if not exciting taco recipes… check out my sous vide lamb shoulder asada tacos or my second taco recipe, the wonderful sous vide swordfish taco. Anyways, get about 20 shrimps at the store and follow me.
Making mayo at home is one of those practices that have fallen out of fashion. The whole raw egg/salmonella thing can be intimidating but it’s pretty easy to find pasteurized eggs in groceries stores. If you can’t find them you could still pasteurize them at home but it will require sous vide gear. If you’re interested you should check out my article on sous vide egg pasteurization which also deals with mayo pasteurization which in a nutshell talks about listeria and salmonella safe log reduction levels by application of heat bellow egg setting temperature. But if you wanna skip all that hassle, try getting pasteurized eggs.
I haven’t reviewed many products on my blog but I’m always happy to do it, specially if they’re closely related to my cooking. Sous vide cooking can be daunting specially if you have never done it. It requires gear which isn’t necessarily cheap. Immersion circulators are becoming more affordable these days but still are in the $200 range. I remember when I started cooking sous vide a few years ago, these would easily go around $1000 which is why I decided to build my own from scratch for less than $100 but thats a story for another time.
Yikes! that was a long post title! I always struggle with post titles. I wanna summarize what the post is about and not come off entirely lame yet pay attention to SEO hocus-pocus, etc.. but you be the judge. Now, if you don’t care for that sorta thing, I mean, blog post titles… and you want to instead try something really cool and awesome in the kitchen, today is a fortunate day. Both passion for cooking sous vide and my renewed passion for home fermentation come together here in the nicest of ways. If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve posted about hot sauces recently. About a month ago I changed my approach and stopped using vinegar all together for making hot sauce, switching my attention over to lactic acid instead. Lacto-fermentation not only preserves foods in an acidic environment that welcomes good bacteria and good yeast even good molds, it also has a tremendous impact in flavor and texture. I figured I could take advantage of this and combine it with a popular sous vide preparation: Garlic Confit.
Venezuelans like their tender cuts of beef lean and medium rare. No fancy seasonings or brines, etc… just salt, maybe pepper. A great golden crust is a must and that’s pretty much it. When it comes to side dishes… delicious fried yucca is pretty common and so are a few fresh sauces. We like guacamoles and guasacacas, chimichurris are also pretty standard. Now when it comes to bread, that’s hardly ever there. Instead we have mini arepas which are a traditional staple of steak houses back home. Always deep fried and always paired with a cool bowl of natilla which is similar to crema latina. Depending on where you live you might easily find natilla/crema latina or not at all. Sour cream is a close substitution.
I love lacto-fermented vegetables. Homemade sauerkraut and kimchi are fun to make and one of the first things I got into when I started this cooking blog. Along with bread making, vegetable fermentation has always been fascinating to me. Recently I’ve started experimenting with a broader spectrum of vegetables, spices, seasonings… the combinations are endless and the flavor profile that can be achieved are incredibly complex. Fermentation, aside from all the health benefits and the preservation perks simply makes things taste awesome.
I haven’t found a lot of information on the matter. Seems a bit odd considering how much importance people give to the “cook until juices run clear” rule in a time when sous vide cooking is becoming more popular but maybe that’s just me not crawling the web more thoroughly. If you’ve seen any good source of info let me know please… and I gotta warn yah, this post is probably a little graphic and off-putting but if you’ve been reading this blog…it happens.
If you’ve ever cooked pork loin this way you know it makes a terrific cold-cut. It also makes me wish I owned one of those fancy meat slicers. Since it’s cooked sous vide it’s extremely juicy. Some of that juiciness comes from gelatine/collagen so in order to get extreme juiciness you probably wanna apply some heat. I’ve prepared pork this way in past occasions (see my previous boneless pork centre loin sous vide post) usually sticking to pasteurization-to-core cooking times which are usually less than 12 hours but out of convenience I decided to let it go overnight. I was a little worried the long cooking time would have a negative impact on the texture but to my surprise it was actually an improvement. Another thing worth mentioning is that one if not the most important reason behind me buying this meat was the beautiful fat layer covering the top of it. I had to. There was nothing I could do.
I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while and finally today found the time and the will power. This time I decided to photograph it instead of eating it before I could grab my camera. Beef stews are quite possibly my all time favorite thing to cook/eat/snort/drink/stare at during cold days and I’m documenting this recipe just in time before the hot weather returns to California and ruins one of the greatest winters this state has ever seen. The whole ritual is extremely relaxing and the outcome well… as you know… who doesn’t love a good beef stew. I thought about a sous vide version… but nah… I wanted that comfort factor pretty high.