The first time I made garlic confit I was 9. Ok, that’s a lie I was at least 38 but still very young at heart due to a high intake of healthy garlic throughout the years. Anyway, during those early garlic-confit days, I was obsessed with French technique and was collecting a bunch of second-hand books which I would usually buy at Alibris (if you still read physical books and don’t care about buying new this is a cool site to check out). One of those books happened to be Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. I didn’t even know what the term “confit” meant when I came across Keller’s garlic concoction (it means cooking something very gently in fat). Right away I got out my smallest saucepan and a skillet to diffuse the harsh heat of my stove, some olive oil, and an awesome head of garlic skins on. The gentlest cooking I had done until then. I didn’t even know what would come out of the pan. About an hour later, my cooking world would change forever. Garlic confit is hard to describe. It’s sweet and creamy (like butter) and perhaps garlicky but in the gentlest of ways. Amazing. Great on toast, add it to sauces, soups, over steak, chicken. I mean, it’s garlic, it goes anywhere!
I’ve talked about making fermented hot sauces in the past and I will continue to talk about it because it’s an awesome subject. If you love hot sauces and are the DIY type then this one is for you. Fermenting anything at home is extremely simple and that’s no different for making fermented sauces. I’ve made sure the method explained here is the simplest and easiest you can find, period. It also relies on dried chiles which are more readily available than their fresh counter parts. I will go over how to deal with fresh pepper substitutions at the end of the tutorial (super easy). For now let’s assume you have your dried peppers ready to go and a few other things. I will also suggest not using smoked peppers for now. Smoke can hinder/slow-down fermentation significantly so let’s stick to dried peppers. If you’re feeling adventurous or have experience dealing with these go for it, experiment away and hit me back with your findings, Let’s make some hot sauce!
Hey, guys, I’ve been gone for some time so a few updates: This cooking blog is not going away! (more annoying blog writing coming up! ) in fact, I just purchased a new theme and I’m planning the makeover to happen sometime this summer (northern hemisphere summer time). I’m also moving to a new apartment with much better kitchen lighting (natural and awesome). I will also have the ability to grill outside which is amazing considering how much I love it and how long I haven’t done it. So, all in all, a pretty outstanding setup for blogging and cooking so I hope I can get things back on track with more food experimentation, sous vide recipes and just cooking fun in general. I have a couple of really cool products to review as well so I will get into that in the next few days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a quick one. Two main ingredients. Eggs and Steak. There were other components on the plate but I chose to leave those out and focus on what I thought mattered… my devoted consistent passion for steak and eggs. Specially eggs.
This blog is no stranger to steak and eggs in fact, one of my most popular instagram posts was a photo a took for my article on steak and eggs. This time I come back with a little twist. Sous vide’ed yolks… if you’re into sous vide cooking you’ve probably already spend some time experimenting with cooking eggs. It’s a great exercise to get familiar with the technique. Yolks set at about 70C and whites set at about 80C. This 10 degree difference is what makes cooking eggs a challenge, specially if cooked sous vide. Specially when we introduce long cooking periods….but I digress… It’s a complex subject and right now I don’t have the time or the patience to get into it. Next post!
Pisto for those who don’t know what it is… it’s not a weapon, let’s start there. It’s not pesto either (although the french make pistou which is basically pesto). Ok, pisto is more closely related to ratatouille. It’s pretty much the same ingredients and preparation process and just like anything else, there are ton of variations and interpretations. Ingredients include tomatoes, bell peppers, courgettes, onions, garlic, I’m sure even eggplant makes the list. Everything is cooked in olive oil, slowly and gently sautéed and carefully fine tuned with sherry vinegar and salt.
Tonight I decided to leave out a few things and focus on a winning combination that I’ve known since I was little. Onion, garlic and bell peppers. Why would anyone leave tomatoes out of the equation. Ok.. so firstly, I didn’t have any and secondly… have you ever tried pisto with no tomatoes. If you haven’t you’ll be happily surprised. If you never had pisto before then you have only but winning chances here.
What about this Boneless Leg of Lamb Easter dinner dish?It’s almost Halloween.
It’s never too late to post your easter dinner pics! Actually, it is super late to be talking really BUT never too late to be talking about the best thing I ever had for easter dinner ever, oh no. I’m in the middle of a big overhaul operation on this blog, so it is no surprise that my posting capability has been crippled… but I don’t quit, oh no. I bring you a brief but delicious post on eater lamb. No recipe needed. Really, just get yourself a nice and beautiful boneless leg of lamb, between 4-6 pounds. Pierce the meat all over with a paring knife (about 30-40 incisions) to allow any marinade to go in quicker and work its magic. Marinate overnight in garlic, COFFEE, rosemary and salt (about a Tbs of each). Push some marinade into the meat with your fingers. Yeah, remember those incisions? I know… it’s getting a little pornographic at this point but that’s the deal. Antioxidants are important in the curing process….coffee….rosemary….. They can subdue that gamy flavour if you don’t like it AND they are perfect flavour accents. Cook it sous vide as indicated in the title. 140F for 10 hours. Rinse, pat dry with paper towels and sear in very hot oil on all sides until a deep golden glorious crusty heaven emerges. Pair with a minty yogurt sauce. Use whole milk greek yogurt, fresh mint, a touch of garlic paste and a good and generous splash of lemon juice…..and a touch of dill. You should be in business.