Sous vide steak

Sous vide is my favorite way to cook steak. It takes away all the questions and uncertainty – is my steak cooked enough? Is it still too raw? Is it ready? With the sous vide, steak comes out perfectly cooked every single time. Also, the steaks can be sous vide  earlier in the day and kept in the fridge stick in the fridge until you are ready to sear or grill before serving.

The Food Lab has a very comprehensive guide on the science and technique behind sous viding. This guide has a lot of information and if this is your first time sous viding steak, I would recommend reading through the guide. For myself, I prefer my steaks medium rare, so I always set my sous vide cooker to 130°F.

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Ingredients:
Sous Vide Steak:
2 steaks of your choice (pictured are sirloin cap steaks)
2 cloves garlic smashed
1 tablespoon salted butter
Salt & Pepper

To finish:
2 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic smashed
Salt & Pepper

  1. Set the sous vide machine to 130°F (or desired temperature) into pot or container with water filled to the required level.
  2. Generously salt and pepper the steaks on both sides and place into ziplock bag along with the garlic and butter. Press out as much air as possible from the ziplock bag before the bag is sealed.
  3. Once the sous vide machine hits its target temperature, place the seal bags into the water. If the bag floats, there is too much air left in the bag. To reseal, use the water displacement method. Alternatively, sometimes if it is just floating a little bit, I throw a pyrex measuring cup on top of the bag and keep it submerged.
  4. For medium rare steak, sous vide between 1 and 2.5 hours at 130°F.
  5. When the steaks are cooked to your liking, remove from the water.
  6. When ready to serve, remove steaks from bags and pat dry. Generously salt and pepper.
  7. In a pan, heat up oil until it starts to smoke. Gently place seasoned steak into the pan to sear. Add butter and smashed garlic cloves. Sear each side for about 15 seconds to develop a crust around the steak.
  8. Place steak into a plate and cover to rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve! 

 

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Rolled Katsu

Last Fall, I found out that my neighbour owned an air fryer and she was gracious enough to let me borrow it! I had so much fun experimenting with it. I fried everything from chicken strips to fried oysters to using it as a roaster. Everything cooked up so quickly! I even managed to roast a cheese stuff chicken breast wrapped in bacon in just under 10 minutes!!!

One of the favorite things I made was a Rolled Katsu. I found my inspiration from the “Japanese Soul Cooking” cook book by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat which has a lot of great recipes for Japanese comfort food like oyakodon, curries, Japanese style pasta dishes to more challenging recipes for tonkatsu ramen! The recipes for the most part utilize easily attainable ingredients which makes these dishes achievable no matter what is available in your local supermarket!

When I made this, I did a whole step by step instavideo on it but of course, I didn’t take any pictures!!! Ugh…here is a photo from the book so you have a sense of what it should look like.

Adjustments made from the original recipe – thick cut pork belly instead of thin strips of pork belly because I wanted the meatiness and chew. The recipe calls for “green yuzu kosho” which I could not find at the supermarket so I substituted with a yuzu juice and mustard mixture. Lastly, I added perilla leaves for color and flavour. 

Servings – 2
Ingredients:
4 Thick strips of pork belly
2 Tablespoon yuzu juice
1  Tablespoon grainy mustard
8 Perilla leaves, cut in half lengthwise
Salt & pepper

Breading:
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 Cup flour
1 Cup Panko bread crumbs

To Serve:
Steamed rice
Shaved cabbage

Preparation:
1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
2. In a small bowl, mix the yuzu juice and mustard together.
3. On a clean surface, lay the pork belly strips out flat. Gently salt and pepper on both side.
4. Brush a layer of the yuzu mustard mixture on one side of the pork belly.
5. Place the perilla leaves in a row on the pork belly.
6. Roll the strip of pork belly up like you would a cinnamon roll. Piece a toothpick through the roll to hold the roll in place. You now have a Katsu roll!
7. Dredge the Katsu roll in the flour, egg, and finally in panko bread crumbs.
8. Place into air fryer and air fry for 8 minutes.
9. Serve with rice and shredded cabbage and garnish with green onions if desired.

Linguine Vongole

So I was looking through my drafts and found this post that I started back in January 2016! All the photos you see were already uploaded and organized… so how lazy was I???

Vongole is one of Orion’s all time favourite dishes. Whenever we are at a restaurant, he has to order it and when we are at home, he requests it. He’s very lucky that we live next to a grocery store that sells fresh seafood so his cravings are always satisfied. In truth, I also don’t mind making this for him as it’s super easy to make and requires very few ingredients. Usually I have everything but the clams on hand.

The recipe I used was from The Food Lab cookbook by Kenji Lopez-Alt. I was hoping to find the recipe from the Serious Eats website but I couldn’t find a comparable recipe to the one in the book so I’ll regurgitate some of the directions from the book here.


  

Feeds 4

– 2 pounds of manila clams*
– 6 tablespoons of olive oil
– 12 cloves of garlic (4 smashed, 4 thinly sliced, 4 minced)
– 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1/2 dry white wine
– 2 tablespoon butter
– 4 servings of pasta
– 1/4 chopped fresh parsley
– 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– salt
– black pepper

* To get rid of the sand in the clams, place into a large bowl and fill with cold water. With your hands, agitate the clams by stirring them quickly in a circular motion. Pour water out and repeat 3  to 4 times or until the water starts running clear. 

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. In a deep pan, heat oil and the smashed garlic cloves over medium high heat. When the garlic is sizzling, reduce heat down to medium low. Keep sizzling until garlic is golden brown, discard the smashed garlic.
  3. Return heat to high heat. Add sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook and stir until the garlic begins to turn pale golden brown. At this point, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add clams, butter, and wine into the pan, cover, and cook. Shake the pan occasionally until the clams open, about 6 minutes).
  5. Once the clams are cooked (shells are opened, discard any clams that do not open), transfer the clams into a bowl. Leave the sauce in the pan and remove from heat.
  6. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is about 80% cooked, fully softened but with a slight bite. Transfer the pasta into the sauce. Return pan to  medium heat. Mix the pasta until the pasta is fully cooked and sauce is absorbed. If needed, add a little bit of pasta water to loosen the sauce.
  7. Stir in the claims, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve!

Chili wontons

I have been cooking a lot since January. Believe it or not, I’ve made huge progress in depleting my existing food source. What this also means is that I’ve gone through all the ingredients that are second nature to my cooking style – thinking pasta, asian noodles, boneless cuts of meat. The items I have remaining in my freezer and pantry are starting to prove to be a bit more challenging and require more thought and more grocery purchases.

Today I am going to share with you the meal I had the past two days – chili wontons! I made it on Thursday night with my friends, enjoyed it so much, I decided to make a second batch last night for dinner and to freeze the rest for future meals! This is a fairly simple recipes and I had most of the items on hand in my freezer and pantry! I only needed to purchase a few ingredients – wonton skins, green onion, ginger, and garlic.

These wontons are based on a recipe from the Chinese Sichuan Food blog. I love her recipes and am looking forward to trying more! I followed pretty true to course her recipe but doubled the batch so I would have extra and substituted black pepper powder for white pepper power.

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Feeds 4

Wontons:
– 1 pound ground pork
– 1/2 pound shrimp, minced
– 1 egg to bind
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
– 2 tablespoons sesame oil
– 2 teaspoon minced ginger (I grated my ginger to make sure it was consistent and fine)
– 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or 2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce)
– 1/2 teaspoon sugar
– white pepper to taste
– salt to taste
– wonton skins

Chili sauce – the ratio below is for one serving
– 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
– 1/2 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
– 1/4 tablespoon sesame oil
– 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green onions
– chili oil to taste
– dash of white pepper to taste
– salt to taste
– pinch of sugar

*All the above can be adjusted to taste, there is no right or wrong proportions in my opinion. I personally love white pepper so I’m fairly heavy handed with it as you can see the photo below. 

  1. Combine all the ingredients listed above into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir to combine until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wonton skin.
  4. Wet two sides of the wonton skin with a bit of water. Fold over to create a diamond, pinch sides to create seal to enclose the filling. Fold wonton to tuck the two ends together.
  5. Boil water in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, drop wontons in one by one. When the wontons float to the top, they are ready.
  6. Combine all the ingredients for the chili sauce in the serving bowl, stir well.
  7. Toss cooked wontons in the servings bowl to coat. Garnish with more green onions and enjoy!

January 2018 – Pantry inventory

This is my inventory list as of January 3, 2018. It was really satisfying putting this down on paper and even more satisfying to cross items off the list! Having an inventory list has also been really helpful in helping me meal plan AND save money and space.

Freezer items:
– 3  x homemade shrimp broth
– 2 x homemade chicken broth
– assorted squid and shrimp balls
– 1/2 bag scallops
– 2 x ground pork (1 lb pack)
– 1 x short rib
– 1 x hanging tender
– 2 x pig trotters
– 1 x pork butt steak
– 2 x pork belly
– 1 x pork bone
– 1 x sirloin cap steak
– 1 x salmon candy
– cheese buns
– chicken empanadas

Carbs/Grains/Legumes:
– Glutinous rice
– Rice vermicelli
– Moroccan cous cous
– Basmatic rice
– Farro
– Black lentils
– Parpardelle
– Dosa mix
– Veggie Pasta
– Split peas
– Millet
– Somen

Canned Goods: (surprisingly little)
– 1 x whole tomatoes
– 1 x diced tomatoes
– 1 x grass jelly
– 1 x black beans
– 1 x coconut milk
– 1 x chicken broth
– 1 x green chiles

Flour:
– AP flour
– Masa – corn flour
– Cake & pastry flour
– Coconut flour
– Glutinous flour
– Chickpea flour
– Semolina flour
– Tempura powder
– Rice flour
– Spice cake mix

Baking items:
– White sugar
– Brown sugar
– Icing sugar
– 2 x light brown sugar
– Turbinado raw sugar
– Chinese sugar
– Coca powder
– Baking powder
– Rolled oats
– Chocolate chips
– Dates
– Baking spray
– Vanilla extract
– Red food coloring
– Cocoa nibs
– 100% pure chocolate

It’s been a really long time…

I’ve been mentally telling, yelling, screaming at myself to start blogging. But the longer I didn’t write, the harder it was for me to get back into it. I contemplated starting a brand new page, new name…but really, I think that was just my way of procrastinating. So here I am on a sunny Sunday afternoon, while everyone is watching Superbowl, I have gathered up my courage to log in to write down all my thoughts and my theme for 2018.

So without further ado, my all around mantra for 2018 is *DRUM ROLL PLEASE* – REDUCE. I am the first to admit that I have so much stuff. I have lots of food, make up, skin care, clothing, you name it, I probably have it and then some. Living in the condo does not afford me or my things much space hence my goal this year is to use what I have and not to purchase something if I have a reasonable substitute for it. I mean that should be easy right, my pantry already looks like an aisle out of grocery store.

I spent the better part of January going through my pantry and organizing my things into categories – carbs (including pasta, rice, grains, legumes), instant things (canned goods, instant noodles), flour (how the heck did i accumulate 9 different types of flours?), baking items, SNACKS oh so many cookies I have been given, and unopened jars (think jams, jellies, mustard, sauce etc). OH AND BEFORE I FORGET, 4 TUBS OF PROTEIN POWDER? But whyyyyy… ugh.

Areas I have not even dealt with include my tea supply and my many many spices. Fun fact, I have two boxes full of spices, one box more common North American cooking spices, and the other box, my asian spices. On top of that, I have another large ziplock bag full of Chinese spices that my mother donated to me.

My freezer is another treasure chest waiting to be raided. A running joke amongst those who have seen my freezer is that I never have to worry in a natural disaster … I have enough food in there to last… well a while. I will at some point include list of all the items I’ve hoarded over the years. Currently, they are chicken scratched in my little handy day planner.

After one month of organizing, documenting, and not buying anything other than the necessary items – think milk, eggs, fruits and veggies, I feel really great! We’ve definitely spent less on weekly groceries since I plan my meals ahead based on what protein I have my freezer and what carb I can use to pair with it. I’ve been only cooking about once or twice a week doing most of my meal prep on Sundays leaving me with more time during the week to well.. relax and now to share my recipes? Today I have already made  loaf of bread (new interest!) and have a pork curry going in the slow cooker. Recipes to come eventually :)!

That’s all from me today. I’m going to download lightroom now and deal with my bajillion photos on my phone that are waiting to be edited.

 

 

Prosciutto mozzarella and endive “caprese”

It’s the middle of January in Vancouver, cold, wet, and dreary. I rarely see the sun these days, usually when I wake up it is gray out and when I head home from work it’s black, not gray, but pitch black out. All I want to do is crawl onto my couch and chill out for the reminder of the night with my box of take out. Very little desire to cook and even less to blog (I have good excuses I swear!!!).

Now I find myself sitting here in an airport bar drinking away and trying to pass time after finding out my flight has been delay when I got to the airport (an hour and forty-five minutes to go as of NOW), I think to myself, why not write a little post to share. By write, I mean bombard you with pictures. This one is a pretty self explanatory post – prosciutto, mozzarella and endives – that’s it (and a bit of pepper, balsamic and evoo)!

The inspiration behind this dish is the traditional caprese salad. Orion LOVES caprese salad, give the man some tomatoes and mozzarella or just lots of mozzarella and he’s a happy camper. He’s always inclined to order it at a restaurant and I’m like you know it’s just tomatoes and cheese right? Anyhow, this past weekend we went on a little field trip to Granville Island to pick up some of his beloved mozzarella and prosciutto and to our horror but not to our surprise, the tomatoes were absolute crap. Remember we are in the dead of winter, so no surprises here. The boy was devastated, clutching tightly onto his cheese and meat staring helplessly at the lifeless tomatoes. My heart hurt for him. I look around the produce area anxiously hoping to find a suitable replacement when my eyes spied the crate of endives. Endives! Why not?! They are the perfect vessel in shape and taste. The bitterness of the endive leaf counteract the saltiness of the prosciutto and with a touch of balsamic and olive oil, the dish came together better than I could imagine. So there you have it, an endive caprese – who would have thought?!

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, if you can’t find tomatoes for your caprese, get some endives instead. Or just skip the tomatoes and get the endives because 1) they are freaking delicious and 2) you can pick them up with your fingers! Yay to finger food!!