Make friends with chefs. Better yet, make friends with “retired” chefs that are done with the long hours and the dissatisfying pay. Get especially tight with those that have recovered from jadedness and are now expressing their culinary creativity at their own leisure. The result is usually innovative and hyper delicious dinner parties where amateurs can pick up a trick or two.
Weston is that friend of mine. He moved into the wine world after tossing his apron in and has obtained his WSET level 3 certification. One night, he invited a group of serious wine and food enthusiasts into his home. We proceeded to blind-taste over 16 bottles of wines (I lost count…) and paired them with munchies that we brought along.
The star of the evening was Weston’s main course, a mind-blowingly succulent and marbled rib eye roast. He prepared it by marinating it in miso paste and horseradish and cooked it sous vide in his homemade insulated immersion circulator container.
After cooking it sous vide (under vacuum) for 7 hours, he removed it from the package and browned the surface with a blowtorch. This is a food nerd at his best with his kitchen toys.
Weston carved the roast into “steaks” which were, without surprise, cooked to absolute, consistent perfection. The marbled fat just began to melt into the tender muscle and oozed in our mouths upon each bite. The mild miso’s umami penetrated the roast without overpowering the natural beef flavour. After a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, we winos dove right in with our forks and forwent every last ounce of our manners.
The sous vide cooking process now common place in many restaurant kitchens but have you attempted it at home?
There are already a few sous vide tutorials out there. Here, Weston shares his pointers on how to construct an insulated container for his immersion circulator with common hardware store items. The insulated container traps escaping heat to keep the water at a more constant temperature, which prevents the motor from over-working .
How to make your own Insulated Immersion Circulator Container:
- Obtain a plastic “1:1” restaurant insert with lid at a food equipment store
- Purchase some insulating “bubble wrap”, used for hot water tank and some HVAC waterproof metallic tape from the hardware store
- Wrap the exterior of the restaurant insert with the “bubble wrap” and secure with the waterproof tape. Do likewise to the top of the lid.
Immersion circulator before insulating. See how heat can escape so easily? Courtesy of Weston
This little trick can save a lot energy when the food is cooked over such a long duration of time.
Lastly, here are a few more shots of the goodies from the wine-soaked evening of face stuffing.
Rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes
Apple tarte tatin
Cheers to uncompromising, food and wine loving friends!