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.
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.
And we’re back with some more sous vide cooking! A few things about pork tenderloin. It’s delicious but only if cooked properly otherwise is just boring. Cooking this cut with traditional methods requires some practice and a thermometer but if you’re looking for that medium rare finish and a pasteurized product then going sous vide is the easiest (and possibly the only practical …) way of getting there.
Since we’re in the topic of hot sauces lately, I couldn’t wait to try a homemade sweet hot sauce. For the first time I bought habanero chiles and I’m so glad I did. These little guys pack a TON of heat scoring about 100K units in the scoville scale. Sweet bell peppers score zero and say arbol peppers score about 30K to give you some idea of how spicy they are(Check out this wonderful arbol chile hot sauce from last week btw!!!)
Proceed with caution.
Since habaneros pack a ton of heat please proceed with caution if you haven’t used them before or if you aren’t used to super spicy stuff but keep in mind, this recipe yields a moderate/medium hot sauce. Most recipes I found online instructed removing the seeds but that’s removing the fun in a way. Most of the heat comes with the seeds… I get it though… habaneros can be scary hot.
Let me start by saying I’m not hot sauce expert but I’m familiar. In fact I’ve only been hooked on hot chiles and hot sauces fairly recently. I have only tried a few store brands and there are some good ones out there but I find an issue with most: A pretty high sodium content. That’s cool, I love salt too but mayo for example has a salt concentration of about 3% and tastes perfect, so is a high sodium content really necessary for making an awesome hot sauce? Check the following sodium concentration from a random hot sauce selection:
I don’t cook at lot of fish sous vide. There’s really no good excuse other than maybe with proper technique similar results can be achieved and less gear is involved. But if you really want to experience the true potential of fish, cooking it sous vide renders an absolutely perfect and delicate finish. I’ve probably mentioned it already but for years I hated salmon. Every single time I had it, no matter where, the story was simply the same. Dry stuff.
Some fish can withstand heat better than others but most fish will easily overcook and if you aren’t obsessed with temperature control over the stove then chances are you’re over going to overcook the poor thing. Poaching and steaming are safer bets in most cases. Of course searing one side to get those beautiful and delicious golden notes or getting that crispy skin will require applying a ton of heat butI won’t go into details about this today because it isn’t trivial and depending on the fish the approach might differ a bit. But if you’re itching to know perhaps follow the same approach you would as searing a steak in general. I’d also suggest working with a non stick pan here. Fish meat is too delicate to risk cooking on a regular pan but it works if you’re careful and polymerize the bottom properly.
Rainy California. Bring it.
40% of the state of California has been declared drought free. Not entirely sure what that means but it has been raining a ton lately and we can only hope it continues to rain for a bit longer. I love it. It’s unusual but we needed some real rain around here but enough weather talk now.
Intimidated by cooking seafood? WHAT?
How about making some killer seafood pasta? Are you intimidated by cooking seafood but you love it and wish you could make seafood dishes at home? (you should do the late night infomercial voice from the 90’s) Well.. cooking seafood it’s pretty easy. Geoduck might be tricky and abalone requires some specific skills. Live lobster also presents some challenges but the more common seafood found at the store it’s pretty simple, specially squid and scallops. Requires little seasoning and cooks very quickly and it’s this very last thing that makes it a bit intimidating to cook specially if you’re picky about food and texture.
First of all, happy new year guys! I’m loving it so far. Got my mom and aunt visiting and it’s raining outside. I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking, at least not the kind of cooking I usually do for the blog. Cameras, flashes, all this sous vide stuff… I think I would freak my mother out. So that will have to wait and in the meantime I’ll stick to the things they’re more comfortable with. But today’s recipe ain’t one of those. This is something I cooked a few weeks ago before they showed up and I wanted to share with you. It was my first time cooking farro and I will definitely be introducing more farro into my future food adventures. It’s has an awesome sweet taste, the texture is rather unique and a nice change from using rice all the time.