amazing fermented habanero hot sauce

amazing fermented habanero hot sauce

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.

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cooking chicken sous vide and pink juices

cooking chicken sous vide and pink juices

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. 

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pork centre loin sous vide : 57C 12h : 5% sugar %5 salt

pork centre loin sous vide : 57C 12h : 5% sugar %5 salt

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.

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Easy Guinness Beef Stew

Easy Guinness Beef Stew

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. 

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chicken thigh confit sous vide 12h 62C

chicken thigh confit sous vide 12h 62C

This is a really fun one to try and it’s delicious. I usually cook a bunch of them and store them. They can be refrigerated for days and months if you freeze them as long as you keep them in the vacuum sealed bags. A quick sear it’s all it takes just before serving and you’re done.

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pork tenderloin sous vide 58C 3hr and mango habanero sauce

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.

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incredible mango habanero sauce

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. 

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the simplest hot sauce known to man

Homemade is best.

After the fist batch I couldn’t but regret not having done this before. If you think those hot sauces at the store have anything on homemade stuff, think again and the beautiful thing is: Hot sauces are extremely basic and easy to make. Just a few ingredients and cooking is really optional. In fact 1 ingredient is all that’s required. Fresh hot chiles,  puree them and that alone is already a killer hot sauce. Add salt and you have a seasoned sauce. Add liquid and control the consistency. Add salt and season it… trust me, 1-3% is more than enough.

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eggs: the vinegar trick

steak and eggs

Ok, this is more of a question than an informative post. I can’t remember where but recently I came across a simple cooking tip that somehow I had missed all these years. No, it’s not the one about vinegar and poaching eggs… although that one is cool too… this one could have come in handy a million times. I’m talking about using a little bit of vinegar in the boiling water when hard boiling or soft boiling eggs. The shells are supposed to come of pretty easily. Some of my friends went like “oh yeah, first thing they teach you in cooking school” Well… not all that well documented elsewhere, or is it just me?? Anyways, I’ve tried it a few times and seems to work but maybe I got lucky and got friendly egg shells.  Have you tried it? I would love to know if this is pretty standard. It puzzles me that not a single cookbook I own mentions this.  If this continues to work… best cooking tip ever. 

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sous vide salmon with steamed rice and broccoli. 50C 40 mins.

sous vide salmon with steamed rice and broccoli

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

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