I have a kitchen in my basement...or VIVA la VIDE!!

one of the things I love most about cooking is the experimentation process. I get a pretty big kick out of trying new dishes, but I also really like trying new ways to prepare things, whether it be deconstructing a dish and finding out an easier way to get the same (or better) results, or whether it involves a new tool that might help the process. A couple of weeks ago, i picked up a vacuum sealer. I had always wanted one of these and was elated to find one at tuesday morning for like 75 percent off (they might still have one left, bottom shelf). So for, 25 clams, i was halfway to making myself a sous-vide rig (you can buy this one, of course, but it is wicked expensive, and I just can't abide by that.). I had heard of people making their own setups with slow cookers and was pretty intrigued. I already had the crock pot, so I filled it with water and set it to low. While i was waiting for it to heat up, I vacuum sealed a goose breast that i rubbed with some coriander, caraway seeds, and cumin seeds that I had pulverized in my molcajete, also drizzled some olive oil in there too. Once Crocky had heated up, I just dropped the sealed goose breast in the water and let it hang out for about 3 hours. How sous-vide works is this: You take out all the oxygen that can touch what you are cooking and bathe it in a really even heat. What does this mean? Well, a really delicious, end product that has lost virtually no flavor in the cooking process. A quick sear helps out the appearance of meat greatly when you use this process (otherwise, you end up with something that looks, well, kind of gross). The goose breast was a really even pink the whole way through, and I was pretty happy with the results, this being my first try and all. I'm anxious to see how this process works on a thick steak, like a tenderloin...
Also tried my hand at making gnocchi. If you've never had it before, it's basically pasta that has been made with the addition of potatoes (however, you can also make semolina gnocchi, but for the sake of time we will stick to the potato version for this post). It turned out pretty good. It was a good vehicle for a creamy sauce with some lacinato kale and peppers.
ok, otherstuff:
We received our kitchen cabinets over the weekend and are now waiting on some estimates from a plumber as we have to get a gas line put in, etc, etc, blah, blah...(can you tell I'm getting impatient here:) Papa DISH and i are going to try our hand at installing them ourselves. Hopefully with my nerves of steel (obvious joke) and his unfaltering enthusiasm (My dad is pretty pumped for this project, for reals), we can make fairly short work of it.
Also: finally solved the rubiks cube. whoever said that thing was for 8 year olds was a nutjob.
Also Also: am going to be without a sink for almost a month. just know that if you come over for dinner, I probably washed your dishes with my shampoo...
oh yeah, almost forgot (for melissa)
Quick chicken stock:
at least 2 chicken backs/wing tips/etc, hacked into 2 inch pieces (invest in a heavy cleaver, save your chef's knives from getting chipped. (It's crucial to hack these up as the marrow is what gives the stock that hearty robust flavor (i save mine in the fridge until i have enough)
1 onion.
couple bay leaves
salt (start with 1/2 tsp, you just want a little in here, most likely, you will be adding this to other dishes that you will also salt)
water to cover
heat up a stockpot on med, and then saute the chicken back pieces with the onion until you get a little color going on. turn heat to low, then cover and sweat ingredients for about 5-8 minutes. increase heat to high, add water, salt, and bay leaves. bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cover and simmer until rich and flavorful (about 30 min). skim foam, strain, and discard solids. or, if you are like me, pick over the carcass and make something chickeny (there's still some meat on that bone, son!)


Melissa said...

Thanks for the info Steve. Made some this morning and it's stupid simple with great results! Lets see more kitchen pictures (remodel in progress).

Chris said...

I don't know if you can use this for your application but I hang cabinets with this method. Easy and strong.


Have fun with your Dad!