the simplest hot sauce known to man

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: 

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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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saffron pasta with squid and scallops

saffron pasta with squid and scallops @ thatothercookingblog.com

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. 

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octopus and squid in farro-sotto

octopus and squid in farro-sotto

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. 

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My first time being published!

A few months ago a received and email from Callisto Media.  They’re located in San Francisco and they publish books. Lots of books. They were interested in talking to me about the possibility of writing and photographing a cookbook on sous vide cooking. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I got to being even considered for something like that. Of course my answer was yes and we scheduled a phone call in the upcoming days. I really liked them from the get go. They were pretty clear about their approach to publishing, their schedule, deadlines, process, etc, etc, etc. I went on and on about cooking and sous vide and photography, etc, etc. With my crazy work schedule I feared I would not be able to write and photograph (not to mention do all the cooking) in the proposed timetable. So I took a few days to think about it and was pretty honest about being concerned with delivering the writing and the photos on time. They understood, and the conversation almost stalled at that point. I suggested only doing the photography to what they seemed opened to but they needed to regroup and come back to me with a verdict. 

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a simple ratatouille tart

I’m one of the worst food blogger out there. I abandon my site constantly. Neglect it for extended periods of time and when I do post I have typos and writing mistakes everywhere. I rarely provide photos of the process. I can’t stay focused on the subject in question and find it extremely hard to provide a recipe since it’s not how I cook. If you’re still here thank you for putting up with all this crap. I could make some promises that I will try to address some of these things but I won’t. I simply don’t have the time to work a full-time job and maintain my blog the way I want to. I’m not gonna give up now either, although it has crossed my mind lately but that would be even more lame so I’m just going to continue with my efforts and hopefully provide some useful content from time to time.  We’ve been through a lot since 2013 and there’s really no point in throwing the towel now. Happy holiday season… end of rant… #1. 

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spooky saffron and squid ink fresh pasta with mussels

spooky saffron and squid ink fresh pasta with mussels @ thatothercookingblog.com

Hey guys, so Halloween came and went… so happy belated Halloween to those who care. I’ve never cooked anything special for this day before so I decided I’d try and make some Halloween themed food to switch it up a bit… which really is more about making something up that matches some colours than it is about cooking anything traditional during this time. I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of candy in a basket and take a photo either… which would have been more fitting and would have been ok except for the fact that October 31st is also my girlfriend’s birthday, I had (willingly… or more like… yay, another excuse to cook something!!!) to prepare something a bit more elaborate. I also just recently bought the kitchenAid pasta maker attachment, not that I need any excuses to use it because I’m totally obsessed with that thing.

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Christmas Bolognese Pasta

If you know or you know of somebody that holds the true original recipe for bolognese sauce please report back in the comment section if you can. I’m really curious. A simple google search returned over 200,000 result and after checking the first 2 pages of results it was obvious everybody has their own idea of what an authentic bolognese ragu should be. There are obviously the usual suspects in the ingredients list which I tried to keep in mind but seriously, cooking by most common denominator ingredients is plain boring, at least to me. 

The absolutely required ingredients in bolognese ragu.

hmm…. meat? I think that’s mainly it. Which kind? well… in today’s world beef because it’s easier to find although historically veal is probably more proper. Pancetta can also be found in pretty much all the recipes I looked at. Then we have the aromatics like onion, celery and carrots. Carrots being fairly popular and onions being in pretty much all the recipes. Wine? hit or miss really. Milk? yep… another one that is popular but not standard. Garlic for sure. Nutmeg… yep. I think nutmeg is probably the only spice being added to this sauce in modern times. No bay leaves apparently. Pork? yep, it does appear but not consistently. Stock? yep… here and there although I should say.. if I can avoid it I will refrain from using stock unless absolutely necessary in a recipe.  

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swordfish tacos sous vide… the ugly truth.

I don’t know about this title but I had to start somewhere and it is in fact related to how I feel about what I’m about to cover here. I have basically redefined the way I eat over the years of cooking which pretty much landed me in the sous vide cooking world.  That taught me many things about food and what heat does to it. It also changed the way I see cooking in that now I do my best to applying the least amount of heat possible still placing all of my attention in flavor and texture. Each ingredient and preparation has therefor a very specific cooking time and temperature, etc, etc. You know all about that sous vide stuff, let’s move on. 

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My previous swordfish taco test. 

If you have been tuning in lately you probably noticed my post about sous vide swordfish tacos from a few weeks ago. Well, I couldn’t let it go. I did more research and found that on average the cooking temperature suggested for cooking it was a couple of degrees lower. Now, if you’re not familiar with sous vide cooking, a few degrees can mean the world. Yes, that applies to traditional cooking as well but it’s a lot more difficult to quantify or even reproduce. But sous vide cooking is all about precision and it is fairly easy to experiment with different cooking temperatures, take notes (the whole purpose of this blog 4 years ago, not recipes, not food photography, cooking notes)  and compare. 

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