Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So I have been on the fence about eating Paleo lately. I tried it for a week and felt pretty good but it's difficult for me to give up so many great cooking alternatives. I have been going back and forth. Committing to it will take me finding something delicious recipes that can take place of the home made pizza, pasta, and sourdough bread that I have grown to love as I learned how to cook.

That is not the point of this post... The point of this post, well, is to post my dinner tonight and hopefully inspire you guys to try something that you haven't done. Ideally I would like to have taken more pictures but sometimes it's difficult with dirty hands covered in Myoglobin... No that's not blood that's covering your vacuum sealed meat, that's a compound called Myoglobin. It is sort of similar.

That's besides the point. Saturday night I went to Costco with meat on my mind. I used to work at a nice butcher shop and when we ran outta meat the boss would send somebody in plain clothes to pick up Costco meat to supplement our low stock. Costco has good meat! and it's at a great price if you know how to break it down.

Don't buy the $19.99/lb already butchered beef tenderloin, it's easy to do it yourself.

I ended up leaving costco with a whole beef tenderloin, a mandolin that I've been lacking in my kitchen, and some good beers.

The beef tenderloin I purchased was a little above 6 pounds. For those of you who do not know, this cut of meat contains the Filet Mignon, a Filet tail, and depending on how you cut it it will also contain a Chateaubriand Steak. Keep in mind as we're reading this that I have pretty limited experience. I never broke down these cuts while working at the butcher shop. I merely glanced into the back room as I estimated how much a pound of ground beef was before I threw it on the scale and packaged it for our customers. 

Either way this is what I started with. Cutting boards and 8 Inch chef's knife for size (boning knife would be ideal but I don't have one because I just spent 60 dollars on steak).

This is the beer I was talking about. It's a very carbonated delicious Weiss bier (White Beer) Belgian style with a high alcohol content. To me it tastes closer to a champagne than any typical beer you'd order at the local bar. It's definitely something I only buy to enjoy and I mean every other month or so.

So Like I said above... I didn't get any pictures of breaking down the beef tenderloin because my hands were covered in cow juice but to be honest all I did was watch about 3 or 4 videos of professionals breaking down a beef tenderloin on youtube. There are plenty of videos to watch and I won't recommend how to find one because they're all over the place and in general it's pretty straight forward.

This is what I had when I was done breaking it down. In my left hand I have two large vacuum sealed Filet Mignons. On the top right of the cutting board is the Chateaubriand, on the bottom left is the top of the cut that the filet comes off, instead of trying to get another tiny filet out of this piece I decided to leave it intact for a large steak later on. In the middle of the cutting board is the tail of the filet cut. I made an accidental cut in the process and chopped off a chunk I didn't mean to. On the left side of the cutting board are two filets that I haven't vacuum sealed yet.

In the bowl on the right are all of the fat trimmings, silver skin and, depending on what you want to do with it, it also might have the chain, which is a strip of fat that runs along the tenderloin. It's got some good chunks of meet on it so afterward I vacuum sealed it seperately and froze it so someday down the road I could thaw it, cut out the chunks of meat for chili or maybe make a cheap steak sandwich. I will take the fat trimmings and other meat scraps and make beef stock down the road or if I ever buy a hand crank meat grinder maybe I could make some hamburger patties. 

These are two of the better filet mignon I got. The one on the bottom I ended up cooking tonight.

I recently acquired a Sous Vide machine as you might have seen in my first blog post. Sous Vide has proven itself, to me at least, to be the best way to cook steak. Now this is debatable for filet because it can be argued that filet will be tender however you cook it but maybe I just wanted to use my new cooking device.

The first thing I did was bring out the blow torch.

I seared it pretty hard on both sides using a propane torch. It doesn't impart any propane flavor like I thought it would during my trial run of some new york strips earlier in the week so I didn't hesitate to use it again, who doesn't want to use a blow torch to sear their meat. On www.chefsteps.com I watched a video about sous vide steak that said it was better to sear before hand because if you do it unevenly then the act of cooking the steak sous vide will even out the uneven burn from the torch. It also causes the Maillard reaction which produces flavorful juices for the steak to cook in. Here is the crust I produced.

Afterwards I vacuum sealed this piece of meat after adding a few turns of rock salt and large crushed black peppercorn. I also add a little bit of butter and a splash of olive oil because the filet cut is so lean it benefits from added fat.

I add the vacuum sealed bag to my sous vide device and in the mean time I heat up some left over mashed potatoes ( Now here is where I know I'm breaking the Paleo diet but hey! I haven't cheated at all today and I'm going by the 85/15 method).

While it's in the machine I also I also throw some asparagus on a baking sheet with a splash of olive oil and some citrus sea salt. Baked asparagus tastes amazing with some citrus added and I can not find my microplane for the life of me so instead I splash it with some lemon juice. Hardly a replacement for orange zest which is even better than lemon but I am only thinking about my steak at this point. I bake the asparagus at 400 for 15 minutes, throwing it in so that it comes out the same time my steak does.

Here is my final meal...

 No the vacuum sealed cooked meat doesn't look as appetizing as it does coming off the grill but the taste is just incredible.

 The color of the meat changes somewhere in this series of pictures because I added the flash. I believe this is the last picture w/o the flash.

Thanks for reading and I hope you learned something.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm a 26 year old male and I've been teaching myself how to cook over the past 3 years. It doesn't feel like anybody has come to me and stood out as a role model as somebody to learn from/under so my method has been to research the foods I love online and then find recipes ranging from simple to complex then start working my way up.

I think it first started with Pad Thai. I wanted to learn how to make Pad Thai so I found a simple (and unknowingly) americanized version of Pad Thai that I could try to make at home. It was more like peanut butter noodles but it was delicious and I began to try making other foods I really loved. Next I made my first calzone and then came steak, bread, pizza, pasta et cetera...

I have essentially always been self taught from resources found on the internet and I believe it has served me well. I have no intentions of becoming a chef or cook as a career. I get flustered when I am trying to coordinate two or three dishes to come out at the same time, let alone 10 or 20. I hate being rushed when cooking. Going slow and trying to attain the best result possible is what I enjoy.

Thanks for reading the intro. Here is my first post... I'll be posting some pictures from past creations when I get the opportunity, you'll see how I've progressed.

Tonight I followed an amazing youtube tutorial found here.


Everything went well. I tried to scale the recipe down by one third because I didn't want to use a whole bottle of red wine. I wasn't sure if I should serve it hot or cold so I let it cool down a little bit and then put a cold scoop of ice cream on the side. The temperature difference between the two left an unusual but refreshing contrast not often found with a sweet fruit dish.

Thanks for viewing.