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.
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.
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.
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.