Although I like my previous recipe for Cooking Pork Chops With The Anova Sous-Vide Cooker, I changed the recipe slightly to get a better sear on the pork chop without drying it out. Since my pork chops are about 1 inch thick, I cook the pork chops in my sous-vide cooker to a temperature of 135° for about 45 minutes. Then I heat a cast iron griddle to a medium high temperature for about ten minutes. This allows me to get the good, quick sear on the pork chops without too much of a temperature drop. When I sear the meat for about two minutes a side, the inside is done, and it looks like this.
There is nothing more disappointing to a foodie than to screw up a nice flank steak by either over or under cooking it. Part of the problem is that the flank steak varies in thickness so the thin part will end up being well done while the thick part is still raw. My solution was to use the Anova Sous-Vide Cooker to cook the steak to 120 degrees for about an hour and then finish it off in a pre-heated cast iron skillet at medium high temperature. That way you get a consistent pink meat to go with that great sear. We like to serve the steak with oven roasted red potatoes that have been brushed garlic olive oil and green beans.
This photo is of a jazzed up version of the Allrecipe Easy Meatloaf recipe I made recently. I wanted something with more flavors and it just so happened that I had some spicy Italian sausage and Poblano peppers in the fridge. So I replaced half of the ground beef with the sausage and added some sauteed Poblano and banana peppers. The peppers and sausage did not make the dish spicy but they did enhance the flavors over the standard recipe.
The best use for garden tomatoes is the never ending spaghetti sauce. Saute an onion in a little bit of olive oil. When it gets soft add a couple cloves of garlic and saute for thirty seconds. Then add roughly chopped tomatoes to taste and some bay leaves. At this time of year I cook all of the tomatoes that I picked. Simmer for a long time to intensify the flavor. When you have the tomato flavor where you want it you can add some freshly cut basil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, freshly ground pepper, and salt to taste.
At this time of the year I cook up new batches every week and add the leftover sauce to the new batch. My plan is to freeze a portion if I get too much sauce.
One of my favorite summer time recipes is the lasagna recipe from The Vegetarian Epicure: 262 Recipes. I started making this dish in the 1980s and it is such a good leftover dish. Like most lasagnas this is a Saturday dish especially if you make the marinara sauce from scratch with recently picked tomatoes. The dish is pretty simple with most of the culinary emphasis placed on the spinach-ricotta mixture. That mixture consists of 1 onion sauteed lightly in a tablespoon of olive oil with a little garlic thrown in at the end. In a big bowel you combined this mixture with 3 beaten eggs, 2 pounds of Ricotta cheese, and a quarter of a pound your favorite hard Italian cheese, and a 1 1/2 pounds of chopped spinach. My cheese of choice was Parmigiano Reggiano and fortunately my local Meijer was trying to get rid of some old spinach so I picked my way though two 10 ounce packages for the 1 and 1/2 pounds. The final trick was to cook the lasgana noodles al dente. The noodles need to be firm enough that you can pick them up with tongs. I lathered the noodles lightly with butter to keep them from sticking while I put the dish together. There is no reason to overcook the pasta when it is going in the oven for another hour. With all of the ingredients ready I preheated the oven to 350°, put the baking dish on a baking pan, and started layering in a 9 x 13 baking dish. First came the noodles, then the ricotta mixture, 1/2 pound of shredded mozzarella, and finally the marinara sauce. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place the dish on a baking pan. In my old age I decided that messy dishes like lasagna require a baking pan to keep the oven clean. For old farts like me it is a good way to prevent marital strife. Place the dish in the oven for 40 minutes before removing the foil. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes to set. Drink a glass of wine, grab a piece of hot, garlic toast, or make a very green, crisp salad. Lasagna can be messy if you try to cut it too early. Serve and enjoy!
Yesterday I had a hankering for pork chops so I was curious whether my sous-vide cooker could make me a better week night pork chop than the traditional method. I like my pork chops thick, juicy, and flavorful. For thick pork chops and tenderloins the thickness of the meat butts up against my self-imposed time limit of one and a half hours of cooking. If I cook pork with too much heat, the meat dries out. If I cook pork with too little heat, I have under-cooked pork. Since pork tenderloins were on sale for $1.99/lb. yesterday, I gave the sous-vide pork chop recipe from ChefSteps a shot at fixing my problems. Here is my version of his recipe.
- While I pre-heated the sous-vide water on the stove, I sliced several one inch pork chops, tossed a little pork chop seasoning on it for good measure, and briefly seared both sides in a pan over high heat.
- Then I put the chops in a Ziploc-style bag, put the bag in the water, and turned on the sous-vide cooker. I cooked the meats at 144° for 45 minutes. Since the water was pre-heated it only took a few minutes for it to get to the right temperature.
- Ten minutes before the meat is done I chopped some shallots and sautéed them in the pan over medium heat.
- When the timer went off for the meat I took the pork chops out of the bag and briefly seared them in the pan with the shallots.
- When the searing was done I moved the finished pork chops to the serving plate and added a little of a vegetable broth to the pan to make a little sauce to drizzle over the pork chops.
- Serve immediately!
The pork chops came out perfect and I like the simple shallot sauce. The outside of the pork chops had all of the flavor. The inside was cooked but still juicy. All of this was done in 45 minutes on a week night. Life is good!
This recipe is in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and you can see the video here. It is kind of like a jazzed up version of Fettuccini Alfredo with Prosciutto, peas, and Gruyere. Home made pasta cooked al dente. There were no leftovers.
My Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker arrived last week. I had already decided that I wanted to cook a steak in it as my first test so I was pretty lucky that I found T-Bone steaks on sale at Jungle Jim’s. The first problem I ran into was figuring why it was beeping at me and would not start circulating water. Then I noticed that there was a minimum water level etched on the base. With a little bit more water the I was able to set the temperature and water started circulating. When the temperature got up to 131°, I put the steaks in. A hour and a half later, I took it out of the water bath and prepped it with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. I let it sit while I finished preparing the side dishes. I seared the steaks on a pre-heated the cast iron skillet. Everything worked like a charm. The steaks had a nice sear and the inside of the steak was medium rare pink. The wife was impressed.
This is one of my favorite end of the growing season dishes when you still have an abundance of ripe tomatoes. This is the Simply Recipes version of the Tomato Pie. With fresh chopped tomatoes and basil from the garden this is the perfect end of the season dish. The tomatoes are topped with sautéed onions which is topped with a mixture of shredded cheese, mayonnaise, and a dash of hot sauce. Bake this dish for thirty minutes and you have wonderfully flavorful dish. There were no leftovers!
I made this tomato pie yesterday using this recipe from Simply Recipes. This is the time of the year we get creative with tomatoes and this meal was simply delicious!? I blanched some ripened tomatoes from the garden and removed the seeds and skin. Removing the seeds and liquid is the key lesson I learned from the first time I made this dish. Otherwise the dish gets too sloppy. While I was baking the pie crust I coarsely chopped the tomatoes and tossed them with some fresh cut basil leaves and some chopped red onion. If it looks like a very appealing tomato salad you are half way home. Next I added a splash of mayonnaise to two cups of shredded cheese in a mixing bowel and then mixed it with a little bit of Tabasco and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. By now the pie crust is ready and you can assemble the pie. After thirty minutes of baking you should have something like this picture.