Category Archives: Main Meals

Perfect Pizza!

I think it is quite obvious that I love food. Maybe a little too much, lately, as I become all-too familiar with skin tight dresses and the swimsuits of summer again.  However, there is one thing that I come back to time and time again – and that’s homemade pizza. I make it at least once a week, and more if I can find any excuse to. It’s delicious, fresh, and not altogether unhealthy since you’re making it from home without the unnecessary oils and questionable meat toppings. But most importantly, it’s probably the most all-encompassing comfort food I have ever known. Let’s talk about  Pizza Margherita.

First of all, it’s a bit of a process. But I don’t care because I love it that much. I don’t care that when I eat it I end up with a blob of fresh mozzarella on my lap, or that I burn my mouth every time, or that sauce gets all over my chin. I promise it’s worth it.

To make great pizza outside of owning a pizza oven, you’re going to need a pizza stone. Now, they aren’t glamorous. You buy them and they look pretty and new, but a well-used pizza stone is pretty ugly as time goes by. Cheese, sauce, olive oil, and dough all get stuck to it, and instantly burn in a 600 degree oven. Then, you scrape it off with a barbeque scraper, and call it a day. However, over time, that build-up of black char marks and character add incredible flavor to your dough, making it taste like a true wood-fired pizza.

A face only a mother can love: (before it was scraped with a bbq scraper)

While you’re doing everything else, you pop this bad boy into the oven at 550 (or higher, if your oven allows for it) and let it get HOT. It usually takes at least 40 minutes to truly heat up to 550, and then I let it hang out in there for another hour after that.

In the meantime, you make the dough. I’ll include a recipe below.

He’s hanging out in his bowl with a good coating of olive oil to keep from sticking. I usually let him rise for an hour or so. Then he looks like this!

As is the case with anything incredibly simple, the ingredients have to be outstanding. The fewer the ingredients, the more each one has to shine. That means that this pizza is a great time to pull out the best mozzarella you can find, the freshest basil available, and a completely delicious (hopefully homemade) pizza sauce.

My favourite mozzarella (so far!)

It’s the perfect combination of slightly sweet, salty, creamy, and still has a firm bite with a soft center. It’s in a bag of water, so you’ll need to drain that, and then pat it dry with paper towels.

When you’re using a pizza stone, you need a pizza peel to slide the dough onto the hot stone. It needs to be well floured to ensure the dough doesn’t stick. Take my word for that, because if it DOES stick, then you may or may not have the entire pizza end up face-down in your scorching hot oven, causing copious amounts of smoke to billow out while the smoke alarm is terrifying condo residents around you, all at 4am because you just can’t just eat pizza at a normal goddamn time, can you?

Not that I’m speaking from experience.

Basil!

When your dough is good to go, you’ll need to poke and prod it a bit into submission. I haven’t quite mastered the whole throw-the-dough-in-the-air-Italian-chef-style thing, so I stretch and mould it a bit to get it into  a relatively acceptable circle shape. The good thing about making pizza homemade is – it’s not supposed to look perfect, so don’t fret. If you have a lot of trouble, use a rolling pin. Generally though I like to just use my fingers, as it naturally forms air bubbles and dips within the dough that make it that much yummier for catching cheese and eating.

There are a few things that aren’t difficult, but necessary, to create a great pizza. You want to go easy on the sauce, because too much sauce can make the dough soggy. You need to ensure that the process of dressing the pizza happens quickly for a few reasons. One – because the longer the toppings sit on the dough, the soggier the dough will get, and two – because the dough will begin to stick to the pizza peel. So have your ingredients ready to go.

Here’s the pizza just prior to popping it in the oven. I give it a liberal sprinkling of sea salt and crack some fresh black pepper over the whole thing. You can add whatever else you like – chili flakes, habanero salt, etc. Just keep the toppings minimal. The more veggies and cheese you add, the more water content there will be, and water = soggy pizza.

Because the oven and stone are so hot at this point, the pizza won’t take long at all to cook. The dough actually instantly cooks when you place it on the stone – you can hear it when you put it down. I like to rotate my pizza after 3-4 minutes to avoid any hot spots in the oven cooking one side faster than the other. Then – voila! 7-8 minutes is all you need:

Simple and perfect. The only thing that made it better was strawberries dipped in creme fraiche and rolled in brown sugar for dessert 🙂

Summer is hereeeeeee!!!

Pizza dough

*note – I have no idea where I originally got the backbone for this dough recipe. I have been making the same one for years, and I keep adding and taking away things as I see fit. If you recognize it from somewhere, let me know and I’ll give credit where it’s due.

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, or italian tipo 00 flour. More for dusting and adjustments
  • 2 1/4th tsp of yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

sometimes I like to add a couple tsps of additional flavouring such as garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, etc.

  1. mix together the yeast, sugar, and water in a small bowl or measuring cup and let it sit to proof for 11-13 minutes
  2. mix together the flour, salt, proofed yeast mixture, EVOO, and any extra flavourings in a mixer fitted with a dough hook
  3. let the dough mix at medium-high speed for 10 minutes
  4. remove the dough and coat it with a tsp or so of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Place it in the same mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap for an hour or so in a warm place.

Margherita Pizza

  • pizza dough
  • pizza sauce (homemade or otherwise)
  • fresh mozzarella (I use Saputo brand)
  • fresh basil
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • flour
  • additional and optional flavour: chili flakes, flavoured salts, drizzle of good olive oil, fresh parmesan
  1. roll out your dough into a respectable circle shape. You will need to keep the surface well-floured to prevent sticking
  2. put the dough on the floured pizza peel, and, working fairly quickly, spread the sauce onto the dough. Add chunks or slices of the fresh mozzarella, and as much fresh basil as you want. Sprinkle sea salt on top, and add your fresh black pepper.
  3. make sure that the dough is sliding well on the pizza peel before trying to put it on the pizza stone. Once it’s sliding with ease, put it in your preheated 550 degree oven, directly on the pizza stone. Close the oven, and wait 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, gently slide the half-cooked pizza dough back onto your peel, and rotate it so that it cooks evenly in the oven. Leave it in for another 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to your liking!
  4. let it cool for several minutes before slicing

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I’m leavinnnnn on a jet planneee

Well, my time is up. I’m heading out of Belize in the very near future for a couple months in Toronto and then setting my sails towards Buenos Aires. I wanted this post to be about the one main lesson I’ve learned and taken away from living here: there are two sides to every coin.

I know, I know…hardly revolutionary.  Bear with me here.

The only other time I’ve been able to concretely recognize this lesson has been in my relationships. I’ve always known that I need a deep, passionate, connection with my significant other. I recognize that I crave someone who is opinionated and fierce and doesn’t back down from me. I want the kind of connection where you can’t take your eyes or mind or hands off of the other person. Unfortunately, with that comes a price, and (in my experience) this includes equally passionate fights over, occasionally, trivial things. It includes hard-headedness when sometimes a softer touch is required, and stubbornness for no particular reason at all.  It means that when I could opt for someone who will be consistent, routine, and perhaps a tad boring, I instead will end up pacing around my condo, just short of breathing fire, because goddamn it he is just so aggravating.

And Belize is the same. Sort of.

It still amazes me that I can be excited to leave a place so utterly beautiful. I know I’ll miss it. I’ll miss walking down the beach and having the breeze play with my hair. That sea breeze; there’s nothing quite like it, is there? I love taking off my sandals as I’m walking home from dinner in a dress just to feel the sand, still hot from the day, on my toes.  I love the hoards of extremely friendly, goofy stray dogs that often decide to run along side me while I’m jogging, tongues flapping in the wind.  I love how I’ve adjusted to the relaxed local attitude, where everything can simply be dealt with, “Manana, manana,” (tomorrow, tomorrow) instead of today.

But, then there’s the less shiny side of the coin. On this side, virtually everything you purchase here has a lifetime of, oh, about 2 days, before it cracks/breaks/snaps/chips/expires/dies. When you need something urgently repaired or dealt with, your concern is met with a very unconcerned local. “Manana! Manana.”

Here, the friendships, while fun, generally operate in a you-scratch-my-back-and-maybe-if-I-get-around-to-it-I’ll-scratch-yours? kind of way. The expats are all, without exception, running from something. You name it: legal, financial, matrimonial. For whatever reason, Belize seems to be a magnet for men and women who don’t want anything to ever be asked of them again.

The general lack of ambition and level of intoxication of the population here makes me walk around in a dreamy, sleepy state. I feel like the days just meld one into another, and if you’re not careful, time seems to slip you by at an alarming pace. But you know what? I am so relieved that I discovered this about myself at my young age.  I find that universally, when I tell people about where I’m living and what I do with my time, they all moan with jealously, “Oh God that sounds amazing. I wish I could find the time to do that.” And they’re right; it does sound amazing. Ultimately, though, I need a bit more. While I don’t want to partake in the rat-race any longer, I do crave a level of passion and ambition that simply will never exist here.

That, and: I miss sushi. God do I ever miss sushi.

So it’s time to leave. I have no regrets. I’ve learned so much about myself and had so many experiences. I went on a spear fishing trip that ended in roasting our catch over a hand-made fire to end my stay in Belize properly. It was amazing, exhausting, and delicious. Much like everything else here.

Our Catch:

The fruits of our labor:

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Jerk Lunch

            

When I was in grade six I had a crush on a boy. Not just a boy, the boy. He was two years older than me and anyone that recalls grade school knows just how huge of a social gap this poses. The eight graders were a whole new brand of cool. He was athletic, easy to talk to, and seemed to possess a worldly knowledge my lowly 11-year-old self had yet to amass. He was the basis of most of my conversations to giggling girlfriends at recess and sleepovers. I thought it was pretty impossible he would ever like me back, and resigned myself to playing soccer with him or listening to him talk about football instead of actually confessing my feelings.

We remained friends, although we haven’t spoken in quite some time now, and after my first year of University I came home and met up with a few old faces for beers. We were all reminiscing in a back-in-the-day fashion, and he turned to me, laughing, and said, “Man I had the biggest crush on you back then.”

You can imagine my reaction. My mouth hanging open, I sputtered, “You had a crush on me?”

“Well yeah,” he said, a bit sheepishly, “You didn’t know? Everyone knew.”

Unfortunately I didn’t learn from this lesson, and over the past few years I’ve still avoided truly talking about how I feel or asking questions when the answer terrifies me. Maybe I think it makes me weak to confess my fears. Maybe I’m just not as brave as I act. Whatever the reason, I’m sure it’s cost me quite a few opportunities, and I don’t intend on doing it anymore.

I’m tired of living in my head and wondering how people actually feel about me, or whether I’m doing a good job, or if I’m actualizing potential with opportunities. That’s it. No more. I’m going to start doing something revolutionary for me: I’m just going to ask. And I’m sure it’ll give me a few heartaches. I’m positive I’ll get answers I didn’t expect that hurt me or shock me. But, it still beats the hell out of ruminating endlessly by myself. I think, at the end of the day, it may make me a better person. Or at least a person willing to look critically at their flaws and attempt to improve them. We’ll see 🙂

I started today, out for lunch at a jerk restaurant. Turning to my boyfriend, I asked, “How would you rate us this week? Like on a scale of 1-10, 10 being I’m the best girlfriend in the world and you couldn’t be happier, what are we?”

He thought about it for a second and answered firmly, “8.5.” 

I asked what could change to make it a 10, and he pointed out a couple silly arguments we had had that I (and he) could have perhaps dealt with better. It was an excellent point, and I feel better knowing how to improve.

Lunch, by the way, was delicious. It came with (as always) the Belizean rice and beans side dish. 

We split a jerk platter for two; jerk chicken, pork, fish (snapper), and shrimp. Yum.

Mmmmm. Even better with a couple beers and an ocean view.

Try asking one hard question today (or opinion etc). Just one 🙂 And if you do, let me know how it goes.

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Creamy Pumpkin Penne

I went for an absolutely fantastic run yesterday, and just to sabotage myself I had to have something creamy and rich when I got in the door. I had purchased a can of pumpkin recently out of sheer intrigue (note: not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin) so I thought I’d throw it in. This turned out utterly delicious; it tasted similar to a very rich macaroni and cheese. You couldn’t really detect any pumpkin other than that gorgeous color.

Let’s get started; like all great things, this dish started with some bacon.

Slice it up. This dish made about 4 bowls of pasta (although if we’re being honest, with me at the table it was more like 2.5)

Get that going in a pan heated to medium until nice and browned. Once done, remove and set aside on a paper towel to drain, and pour off the majority of the bacon fat (but not all! We need it to sear the rest of our ingredients)

Ok. Next for the onion, sage, and garlic. Half an onion will do; and I’m a garlic fiend so the more the better.

Get the onion going in the pan with the bacon grease first. Medium-low should do it. Remember to season your onions with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper; this is called layering your seasoning and will result in a much tastier dish in the end.

Roughly chop about 6 leaves of sage, and dice the garlic.

When the onion is soft, toss in the garlic and sage.

It’s had enough time in the pan when it starts to smell fantastic; about 30 seconds to a minute. 

Then, grab some white wine and deglaze those brown bits! I’m using a sweet German wine here, but almost anything will do. 

Scrape the bottom of the pan, and let the wine simmer for about 30 seconds. Then grab your canned pumpkin and add it. I used about half of this can (or 3-4 large dollops)

Stir that around for a sec, and add another pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Now for the heavy cream; I added about 3/4 of this carton

Now to add back in the bacon

Here it’s still a little thick but we’ll be thinning it out with some of the starchy pasta water. It’s important right now to taste and adjust; it’s going to need a lottttttt of seasoning because pumpkin is quite bland. Keep in mind that the pasta water is slightly salty too so go easy on the salt until the finished product, but go crazy with the pepper. Then, add a couple pinches of cayenne (which I completely forgot to demonstrate) and a pinch of nutmeg, shown here:

Now for a bit of fresh parmesan reggiano. A good handful or two. 

Ok! Now take your al dente pasta, and add it directly into the sauce. Try to get some of the pasta water along the way; the starch helps the sauce be more…..saucy. Yeah. 

Stir together. Taste again. Adjust. 

Serve with a bit more parmesan on top. Enjoy 😉

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Beer Bistro

Beer Bistro is located at the great location of 18 King Street East; basically King and Yonge. The schtick is that they have an extensive beer menu (as the name suggests) and recommend pairings with each menu item. The crowd is largely young business types; it can get very busy on any given day with the after-work crowd.

We started off with a “Christmas beer” for my date, and *ahem*…..wine for me. I’ll admit; I’m not a huge beer drinker. I know I know. At Beer Bistro it seems fairly unacceptable to have wine. What can I say. 

The Christmas beer was no longer on the menu, however our server suggested it when my date said he wished he could have a maple syrup beer. Apparently this beer had notes of anise, cherry, and maple. To me, it only had notes of…bitter. And yeast. But my date loved it.

My wine. It was…mediocre. However I’ll try to reserve my judgement of wine at a beer restaurant. 

To start we decided to go with lamb sticky ribs. Although I was *very* curious about the horse steak tartare. My date…not so much.

It’s indicated on the menu that they are “smoked tender with coffee porter and molasses”

These were fall apart tender. You could really taste the smoke, however (and I’m being a bit picky because they *were* delicious) you couldn’t really taste the coffee or the molasses. Nor were they exactly sticky. Also; (again; picky) I have a problem with completely superfluous additions to the plate that don’t serve a purpose other than garnish. Case in point: this grilled lime. Interesting? Sure. However when you actually add it to a rib it adds nothing but an unpleasant bitter taste.

For our main meals, I chose the Autumn Ricotta Pasta. “Heirloom carrot, celery root and parsnip julienne, broccolini, tomatoes, belgian ale, whole wheat spaghetti and basil pesto – $16.59”

The pasta was perfectly cooked and the whole wheat was a good choice; the nutty flavor held up to the ricotta. Also, the vegetables were crisp tender. However, overall the dish was a little bland; could have used more salt and another interesting depth of flavor. Even something as simple as sauteed pancetta. 

My date chose to have the Gourmet Dog. “Featured homemade frankfurter sausage with accompaniments. Onion and multigrain beer-bun – $12.75”

So on that particular evening the gourmet dog consisted of a take on the chicken club: the sausage was chicken and bacon, and the toppings were tomato, lettuce, pickle, and mayonnaise. On the side is a mayo-based coleslaw. 

So, the actual sausage was pretty good. The bun was a great choice; it stood up really well to all the toppings without being too hard. There was a little too much mayo, and I felt like the whole sandwich could have used some zip. Maybe a garlic/lemon aioli? There was a lack of seasoning overall; note that the tomatoes aren’t seasoned. I’m partial to a vinegar based coleslaw in general, however in this case the mayo-based coleslaw was a poor choice and it was a tad bland. Mayo overload. My date said he would have been happier with just a tangy side salad instead.

Here was my date’s choice for his 2nd beer: I just had round 2 of the same wine. He raved about this one.

Random wall art

For dessert we decided to go with the dessert platter for two. Basically a chef’s selection of whatever is on hand that day. 

Ok so here we have an orange creme brulee. It had that trademark I’m-eating-a-great-creme-brulee crack when you tap it with your spoon. Perfect crust. The texture also had a very creamy, well executed consistency. However the flavor of the orange was completely overpowering and slightly bitter. Shame. 

Next we had a bourbon vanilla icecream. Unfortunately again the bourbon flavor was completely overpowering and actually unpleasant. I couldn’t taste vanilla at all. 

Next was a rocky road ice cream sandwich. The vanilla ice cream in the middle was yummy, however the cookie was almost impossible to break apart with a spoon (or even with a caveman-spearing motion with your fork). It tasted good, but honestly the effort was not worth the reward. I almost wonder if the chef had never actually tried to eat one him/herself. 

Next we have chocolate and raspberry mousse. The raspberry was very light, airy, and refreshing. Delicious! The dark chocolate mousse was just *slightly* too bitter. I’m a huge fan of very dark chocolate and regularly snack on 85%…however this just needed a touch of sugar. 

Finally we had the beer-skor bar icecream. Now *this* was great. You could really taste the beer however it was utterly delicious somehow in ice cream. There wasn’t too much skor or too little. Really they should just stick with making beer ice creams and skip the bourbon/rocky road. 

So, overall the highlight of the meal were the ribs for appetizer. The dessert was the most poorly executed course. The total bill (without tip) came to $101.06. The atmosphere was nice, and the server was very knowledgeable (and extremely tolerant of us taking pictures in a crowded restaurant :P). Is it somewhere I would go back to? Yeah probably, for a late-night meet-up with friends for a drink and an appetizer. It’s open until 2am Thursday-Saturday and is in a prime location of Toronto. Would I recommend it to any foodie friends with discerning palates? Probably not.

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Le Select Bistro

Le Select Bistro is an authentically french restaurant located at Wellington and Spadina, Toronto. I’ve been a couple times before and have enjoyed myself, and I thought it was time I went in with a critical eye. It’s also reasonably casual, so after a day of apartment-hunting in jeans and heels downtown I thought it a good choice. 

We started with a bottle of wine (above). It was a half-decent bottle of Sauvignon Blanc which was fairly overpriced. However, to order wine by the glass you need to choose between a 3oz taster, or a 5oz (??) full glass. Who only drinks a 5oz glass of wine?

Our appetizer was a cheese plate, with some very thin cranberry toasts to accompany

My complaint here is the variety. The Bleu on the far right was obviously distinct, however the Riopelle (softer in texture) and Tomme de Grosse Isle (semi-soft, milder) were too similar to be sharing a cheese plate, in my opinion. I would have appreciated something creamy and spreadable in texture (neither of these were) and perhaps something sharper. There were also far too few toasts, and I hate having to ask the server for more crostini while staring longingly at cheese which now has no vehicle into my mouth. Just upsetting.

Our main courses were a drastic improvement. My date chose Risotto a la Courge: with squash, sage, wine, and parmesan

This was excellent. *JUST* salty enough; as in, half a teaspoon more and it would have been inedible. The texture was perfect, and very rich. I asked my date what he thought, and he replied, “You know, I think I like your asiago risotto better.”

Smart man. But he lies 😉

I chose the Cassoulet: braised white beans with pork belly, lamb, duck, and sausage.

It was wonderful. The beans were perfect, and I’m not even a huge bean fan. The lamb was very tender, the pork belly melted in my mouth, and the duck perfectly cooked. My only complaint was the sausage; while it was seasoned well and tasted great, the casing was slightly too tough and I ended up removing it altogether.

We decided after much deliberation that we were far too full for dessert. Sadly. The entire experience was enjoyable, however. The server was fairly knowledgeable and helpful, although a little abrupt. The bill came to $110 or thereabouts, which is very affordable/not unreasonable. I think it’s worth checking out . Also note-worthy; according to their website you can bring your own bottle of wine for an $18 uncorking fee.

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Sous Vide Cooking: Trials and Tribulations

Well; here it is. The brand spankin’ new release of SousVide Supreme, and it’s alllll mine. SousVide literally means “under vacuum” in french, and refers to a method of vacuum packing your food. The SousVide Supreme is basically an incubator that regulates the temperature of water to cook your food to the desired temperature. The beauty of it is that meat (or whatever you choose to cook) remains very very moist because moisture has nowhere to go. Steak can be cooked to a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and eggs can be perfected so the yolks are utterly luscious and creamy. Poultry can be so deliciously moist and tender that you feel like you’re trying it for the first time. 

Chances are, if you’ve eaten at any really good restaurants in the last few years you’ve had something cooked sous vide. My first experience (that I’m aware of) was at Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas a couple years ago. They served me a steak as part of the tasting menu that was unlike any steak I’d had before. I barely even needed to use my knife. I asked if they could show me how they made it, and generously the chef demonstrated how he used the sous vide method and then finished the steak in a cast iron pan to achieve a perfect crust. I was blown away.

Until recently this method was fairly unachievable for the home cook; something to be reserved for fine dining restaurants. Enter SousVide Supreme. I am completely ecstatic to own one; this is easily one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. It retails for $499, which is extremely affordable when comparing it to the restaurant equivalent. You also need to own/purchase a food grade vacuum sealer, and those vary in price widely. I have a FoodSaver sealer and it was about $200. Vacuums can get extremely expensive (upwards in the thousands) but for my purposes I drew the line at the FoodSaver one. You can also purchase a hand-pump, however the better the vacuum is at removing air from the bag, the better your results will be. 

Unfortunately, because this is such a new concept for home-cooks to be broaching, there lacks any consistent literature or recipes for the SousVide Supreme. I’ve done a lot of research and came to the conclusion that I’ll just have to experiment with good ol’ trial and error. 

My first attempt at making steak, I followed the pamphlet guidelines provided with the SousVide Supreme. They recommend that for a rare steak, you should cook a 1″ piece of meat at 49C for an hour. How hard can that be? So, I lured a date into coming over to be my taste-tester. He picked up some fairly pricey steaks (bless him) and we got to work. I seasoned both sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and then vacuum packed it without any other adornments. I wanted to just taste the texture and quality of the meat without any extraneous variables. I cooked it for the recommended hour, removed it, let it rest for 10 minutes, then blowtorched the surface. Let it rest for another few minutes, and then proudly served it up to my date. He took the first bite and a look of pure confusion came over his face.

“Well?” I asked, “is it good? Like really really good?”

“Ummm.” He said, still chewing. “Well it’s….. ah. It’s…. interesting.” He swallowed. 

Interesting? What does that even mean?” I asked. I could see him trying to be delicate. After all he had just witnessed me vacuum seal a steak, simmer it for an hour, and then blowtorch it. Clearly I was invested in the process.

“You know, it’s a little chewy,” he responded tentatively. When he saw my eyes narrow he backtracked a bit. “Ok I mean, it’s not the chewiest steak I’ve ever had or anything.”

I grabbed the fork from him assuming his Neanderthal palate just wasn’t fully appreciating my sous vide steak. And I took a bite. I chewed it. And kept chewing it. And finally I swallowed it after assessing that it was now completely devoid of any steak flavor whatsoever. As my poor date attempted to console me, I proceeded to drink the majority of a bottle of wine while obsessively writing down possible things I did wrong. If I am one thing, it’s goddamn stubborn.

I got in touch with the extremely helpful Haas from No salad as a meal and he recommended that I cook the steak according to Thomas Keller’s guidelines: which is 59.5C for 45 minutes when dealing with a 400 gram piece of sirloin. Haas explained to me that he had used Keller’s temperature and the times from the SousVide Supreme pamphlet. Ok. Commence Trial #2. 

I cooked two steaks at 59.5C. The steaks were approximately 1.25 inches each, so I cooked them for an hour and 25 minutes according to the pamphlet cooking times. When I explained to Haas that my steak was completely lacking that beefy flavor, he suggested that perhaps I should sear it first to really lock in the steak flavor throughout the cooking process. So, I seared one of the steaks prior to cooking it, cooled it completely, and then vacuum sealed it. The other I didn’t sear prior to cooking it. 

Trial #2 was far more successful but still not great. The steaks were slightly too dry for my liking, although they had a wonderful beefy flavor. The consensus was that the steak that was not seared prior to cooking it was far more moist and did not have noticeably less flavor. 

Ok. Trial #3. I used two 1 inch steaks (NY striploin) and cut them into four pieces total after trimming them and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Then I sealed each piece with my vacuum sealer.

I put all four pieces in the SousVide Supreme simultaneously, at 59.5C. The plan was to remove one at 45 minutes, one at 55, one at 1:05, and one at 1:15 to note the differences.

Here is the first steak removed at 45 minutes. Note how unappetizing it looks: that’s completely normal, it just needs to be seared. I let it rest for 10 minutes.

Once rested, I put it in a stainless steel pan and topped it with a pat of butter. Then I blowtorched the exterior to get a crust. 

I let that rest again for about 5 minutes, just to ensure I wasn’t going to lose any moisture. I also sprinkled it with a pinch more salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Here’s the finished product. Note that with sous vide cooking, when you desire a medium steak (for example) the steak will be medium throughout. Meaning, it won’t have that characteristic pink middle surrounded by greyish-brown. It will be entirely pink but still have the texture of a medium steak. 

This steak was very good. Slightly lacking in flavor. Ok: Steak B taken out at 55 minutes – 

You can really see how moist Steak B was. It was very good. My taste-testing friend didn’t want to share it with me and kept sneaking bites between pictures, hence the interesting shape of this one 😛

Steak C, taken out at 1:05 minutes

This one was also very good, although just slightly drier than Steak B. 

Steak D, removed at 1:15 minutes

This was the least successful steak of the bunch. It was noticeably drier than both Steak A and Steak B.

Whew. Ok. I have eaten more steak than any human being ever should in the course of the last week. It’s still not perfect; I’m going to play around with times and temperatures to achieve a better version of Steak B. But, it’s a start.

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