Wednesday, December 16, 2009

angus tenderloin with sausaged-mashed potatoes and balsamic soaked cippolini onions

joshua robot came over for dinner last night and brought some really awesome ceramic plates by the very talented autumn higgins, out of portland.

just as an experiment in a normal cooking setting (as in trying to turn out a meal in about an hour, and not slow cooking, and not a tough cut of meat), rubbed two small angus tenderloin cuts in salt, pepper, crushed garlic and fresh thyme, vacuum sealed them in plastic bags, and threw them in the thermal immersion circulator at 115-degrees F for about an hour. the goal was to either partially cook them or to at least infuse the flavor of the seasonings into the meat.

quartered two large russet potatoes length-wise, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. placed the sliced potatoes in a 425-degree oven on a baking sheet, covered in parchment paper, until fork tender, flipping them at some point. threw the potatoes in a mixing bowl with 3T. of butter, 1 clove of garlic, and fresh thyme (all of which had been mashed together in a mortar and pestle, making a compound butter of sorts). mashed the potatoes by hand, adding some chicken stock, and a splash of milk. removed a link of the garlic sausage from the casing and sauteed the meat in a little vegetable oil until cooked. added the sausage to the mashed potato mixture, once the mash consistency seemed good. a splash of sherry vinegar, and a little salt and pepper to taste finished these off.

peeled, and removed the ends from a handful of cippolini onions. melted a few tablespoons of butter in a sautee pan and browned both cut sides of the small onions until they were a little bit tender and had some good coloring. placed the hot onions in a small prep bowl containing about 1c. of balsamic vinegar and let sit covered until the meal was ready to plate.

pulled the tenderloin cuts from the circulator and removed the chunks of garlic from the surface of the meat. in a very hot skillet, seared off both sides of the steaks in butter with a few sprigs of thyme, basting as necessary. pulled the steaks when they felt right, tented with foil on a plate and let sit for a few minutes.

removed the onions from the balsamic soak, and plated everything up.

[notes: the flavor was nicely infused into the cuts of meat, but with such a tender cut, it seemed unecessary. it's possible that the hour or so in sous vide produced a more uniform tenderness in the meat, but it's hard to tell. haven't been cooking/eating much beef. probably because pork is better.]

fresh garlic sausage with sauteed kale, pan-seared bacon cornbread, and thyme sawmill gravy

stuffed some garlic sausage the night before (with vadim and peter), with pork scraps (from last weeks butchering extravaganza), olive oil poached garlic, garlic powder, fresh garlic salt, pepper, and thyme. cooked the sausage in a skillet with a few drops of vegetable oil until both sides were brown, then sliced in half and seared them, cut side down, in the skillet until lightly browned. removed the sausage from heat and set aside, covered.

soaked some kale in cold water, dried, and sliced into thin strips. sauteed two finely chopped shallots in 2T. butter, with a pinch of salt, pepper, cayenne, and mustard powder, until tender, then deglased with 1/2c. chicken stock and let reduce slightly. added kale, and sauteed until tender, then removed the pan from heat and added 2T. of sherry vinegar, tossed and let sit until ready to plate.

had some leftover reinhart bacon cornbread from the night before. sliced the cornbread into 3/4 pads, smothered in butter and seared in a dry sautee pan until brown and crisp.

added 1T. of lard to the skillet (still containing the drippings from the sausage), and put it back on heat. poured 1c. of chicken stock into the skillet, with a pinch of salt, pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. put about 1T. of flour into the skillet and stirred constantly until thick. poured the gravy through a sieve and discarded the bits.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sous vide experiment: perfectly well-done chuck fillet

sous vide experiment: perfectly well-done chuck fillet, originally uploaded by aarn! +15th December, 2009+.

rigged up a thermal immersion circulator from random parts from the electronics lab and a 6-qt crock pot. vacuum sealed a 1.5-lb chuck fillet in a plastic bag with a few sprigs of tarragon and two crushed cloves of garlic. placed the bag in the 146-degree bath of the circulator for 3.5-hrs (70-mm thick cut @ 146-deg bath temp - according to baldwin's practical guide to sous vide cooking). the cut came out perfectly well-done, uniformly cooked, and juicy. ideally the cut would have been cooked to a lower temperature and then finished on high heat, but those kind of luxuries don't exist when you are running an experiment at your office.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"the pig & the butcher": akimenko meats x quarter productions

akimenko meats x lickmybalsamic - pig day!, originally uploaded by aarn! +14th December, 2009+.

a little change of format here. i've been spending a lot of time learning, cooking, and working on new foods and ventures. a good friend of mine, vadim, of the future akimenko meats, our friend steve from quarter productions, and lick my balsamic, teamed up with 10 other individuals to finance the purchase of an entire pig. we then rented out a professional kitchen and had a video shoot while vadim took the animal apart. this is the second time in the last few months that i have seen the complete breakdown of a pig, and each time it has been an amazing experience. steve managed to capture the art as well as the passion that is involved in such an activity (when done right) in his video "the pig & the butcher." big thanks to everyone who helped finance this (enjoy your meat!) and everyone who was involved. in the last week since the butchering, cuts of meat have been cured, rubbed, smoked, baked, sous vide, pulled, deep fried, and frozen. at this point only about 1-lb of the 211-lb pig has gone to waste. a picture set of the butchering can be found here.