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Call a spade a spade, and leave the real s’more alone
If it can’t melt, it’s not a s’more.
In an effort to promote healthier American snacking habits, the United States Department of Agriculture has created a new “alternative” recipe for s’mores that bears little resemblance to the summer staple.
The graham cracker remains, but we all know that’s not the heart of the sweet snack.
The new recipe, which replaces chocolate with strawberries and the melted marshmallow with low-fat yogurt, has been presented by the USDA as “Strawberry S’mores” with the following plug:
“This quick, easy, and mouth-watering recipe is a perfect afternoon snack for the early days of summer. Kids will love that they can make it themselves, and parents will love that it's an inexpensive and healthy treat!”
Although we have no problem with the concept of a healthy alternative to s’mores, we have a hard time believing that this new snack will pass muster as a relative of the classic combination, which will outlive us all. We’re all for healthy snacks, USDA, but let’s call a spade a spade — meaning, this isn’t a s’more any more than yogurt is a viable substitute for marshmallows. Come on.
Chaat Is More Than the Sum of Its Many Flavors
Hard to define but easy to crave, these Indian snacks have become a fascination for the Nashville chef Maneet Chauhan.
The chef Maneet Chauhan likes to think of chaat as an emotion. A single bite can be jolting, pucker-inducing and refreshing all at once, balancing sweet with salty, tangy with spicy, crunchy with creamy, demanding you come back for more.
The word chaat, she points out, is derived from the verb chaatna, “to lick” in Hindi and Urdu.
“You are licking your hands when the food is really good. That is what chaat is,” said Ms. Chauhan, who has devoted a whole cookbook to it, titled “Chaat,” co-written with Jody Eddy and scheduled to publish on Oct. 6.
Chaat, a genre of South Asian snacks, is more than just one dish or a set of ingredients. There are no exact ratios for making it, or a singular moment of the day to eat it.
Some variations follow a loose formula: a base ingredient, like papdi, or chopped potatoes, is layered with other elements, like chutneys (tamarind, cilantro and mint varieties are common), yogurt, sev, red chile powder and chaat masala (a pungent spice blend with a funk driven by black salt and amchur).
But more critical are the contrasts in textures and flavors. So is some kind of transformation, Ms. Chauhan said.
Chaat is about turning what’s on hand into a snack that’s greater than the sum of its parts. A samosa, for example, is not chaat by itself, she said. But chop one up and drizzle it with mint chutney, yogurt and sev, and suddenly it’s chaat.
Chaat is meant to be a sensory overload, she said. “You are hit from every aspect — colors, smells, sounds” — an experience not unlike walking through parts of India.
Ms. Chauhan, 43, who runs four restaurants in Nashville — Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Chaatable, Tansuo and the Mockingbird — grew up in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, in eastern India. She went out with her father every Wednesday to pick up freshly fried rounds of lentil-based kachori from a street vendor known as a chaat wallah.
When she traveled by train to visit family members in other parts of India, she would seek out the chaat wallahs set up right outside each station to get a taste for the local flavors. When writing her new cookbook, she and Ms. Eddy rode trains to seven states to eat chaat, sampling more than 600 dishes.
Some legends trace chaat’s origins to the 17th-century royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire in northern India, where cooks created flavorful, immunity-boosting snacks with spices and chiles after the emperor Shah Jahan fell ill. But descriptions of chaat variants like dahi vada, fritters soaked in yogurt, appear in literature from 500 B.C., according to K.T. Achaya’s “A Historical Dictionary in Indian Food.”
As it has evolved, chaat has come to represent the vastness of South Asian culinary traditions, while remaining accessible to anyone with a few rupees and an appetite.
“There are places you go in India where there will be a rickshaw wallah next to a Lamborghini, and the people are eating the same food,” Ms. Chauhan said. “It was the chaat wallahs who leveled the playing field.”
What to Cook This Weekend
Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.
- In this slow-cooker recipe for shrimp in purgatory, the spicy red pepper and tomato sauce develops its deep flavors over hours.
- Deploy some store-bought green chutney in this quick, saucy green masala chicken. could be good for dinner, and some blueberry muffins for breakfast.
- For dessert, watermelon granita? Or a poundcake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream?
- And for Memorial Day itself? You know we have many, many recipes for that.
“They are the people who brought to the forefront the regional cuisine of India, because whatever they are selling is what’s available locally.”
Ms. Chauhan’s favorites include puchkas (also known as pani puri or golgappa), deep-fried, one-bite rounds filled with flavored water, chutney and some mix of potatoes, onions and chickpeas and bhel puri (also called bhel or churumuri, among other names), puffed rice tossed with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, herbs and chutneys.
Chaat wallahs have also popularized more local specialties, like idli chaat, a South Indian variant with a base of chopped, often pan-fried idli doused in yogurt, crisp curry leaves and chutney. In northeastern India, where Chinese migrants settled three centuries ago, chaat wallahs sell Chinese bhel — deep-fried noodles tossed with scallions, onions, carrots and chile sauce.
Ms. Chauhan said chaat wallahs have influenced her as a chef far more than anyone in the restaurant industry has.
“With chefs, a lot of the times, everything is measured,” she said. But for chaat wallahs, many of whom hail from families with generations of vendors, “everything is instinctive. It’s the magic in their hands.”
She tries to channel that spirit into the seasonal chaat she serves at Chaatable, where dishes have included a cucumber-and-watermelon chaat dusted with chile powder and a squirt of lime juice, and strawberry chaat served with a tangy rhubarb chutney, mint and lemon raita. She has made chaat out of cornflakes, sesame sticks and tortilla chips.
“You can throw anything at me, and I can make a chaat out of it,” she said.
In that vein, her cookbook includes a recipe called Chaat Party, a buffet of fruits, vegetables, fried snacks, herbs, spices, yogurt and homemade chutneys — tamarind, green chile and mint-cilantro — that allows guests to build their own chaat.
It’s a recipe made for entertaining, an activity that is somewhat limited during the pandemic. Still, at home in Nashville with her husband, Vivek Deora, and their two young children, Ms. Chauhan has been hosting chaat parties with relatives over Zoom, even mailing her sister a “chaat kit” of prepared ingredients.
“I do think that chaat helps me form those guidelines for myself” as a cook, she said. Making any great dish, to her, is like making chaat — not following a specific set of rules, embracing contradictions.
“That imperfection is something which makes me very excited,” she said, waxing passionate about the wayward scattering of cilantro over the top of some kinds of chaat, and the way the spices and chutneys are messily tossed with everything else.
She paused and laughed. “I always get very emotional when I am talking about chaat.”
Recipes: Chaat Party | Tamarind Chutney | Cilantro-Mint Chutney | Green Chile Chutney
Easy Pickled Banana Peppers
Easy and sweet pickled banana peppers are one of life’s fine delicacies. This recipe is so fast and easy it’s silly. It’s tangy and salty and sweet and vinegary all at the perfect levels. When your pepper plants are loaded down with fruit this brine is a quick and easy way to get them to put up fast.
We had a great harvest of banana peppers this year. They are pretty consistent plants for us no matter where we have lived. Although in Oregon we did have to start covering them pretty early as the season is so short there.
We also got to experience our first real harvest of jalapenos and serrano peppers which was super exciting….we have done up many of the jalapenos in this same brine and have even done a few mixed jars to kick up the spice factor of the banana peppers.
The other thing that was totally unique here in Georgia was that because the season is so long we actually had banana peppers turn a beautiful array of colors for us.
Everything from light light yellow to deep orange and reds. The look absolutely stunning mixed together in the jars.
We eat these pickled banana peppers on everything, salads, sandwiches, if I’m feeling bold I even enjoy a few on a slice of pizza. One of my favorite things to do with them is to mix them up with some tuna and mayo and eat them with saltines. They also make great bribes and gifts for friends. We have to keep it hush hush how good they are or we wouldn’t have any left for ourselves.
This brine also works lovely for a quick sweet and tangy refrigerator pickle! Just slice up the cucumbers, cover with brine, and place them in the fridge.
Wondering what to do with all your pickled banana peppers? Check out all these ideas:
How to Cook Millet
Cooking millet is as simple as cooking quinoa or rice. Here&rsquos a quick guide:
- Sauté 1 cup dry millet and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat until you smell a slightly nutty aroma. (You can skip this step and just add the millet to boiling water instead, but this helps make the finished product more robust in flavor.)
- Add 2 cups water and raise the heat to medium.
- Add salt to taste. Only use a pinch if you&rsquore going to be topping the millet with a salty protein, stew or sauce.
- Bring the pot to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Once the millet is done cooking, it will be tender and the individual grains will look enlarged. Remove the lid, fluff it with a fork and turn off the heat. Serve when it&rsquos cool enough to eat.
The sweetest part of any formal meal is dessert, and enjoying a sweet bite to finish the Passover Seder is no different. Perhaps you have family recipes that have been passed down to you, including Passover classics like flourless chocolate cakes and macaroons similar to the delightful orange-flavored almond treats shown here. While cherished family recipes are undoubtably wonderful, sometimes you want to shake things up with fresh variations on time-honored Passover staples. If you're looking for a few delicious new recipes to add to your repertoire, you've come to the right place. Once you try our Passover desserts, you'll want to make them every year&mdashthey're that good!
First and foremost, as anyone who celebrates already knows, Passover desserts can't include wheat flour or dairy ingredients if you're serving a kosher menu. With that being said, they can be full of fresh fruits, dried fruits, ginger, honey, chocolate, and other tempting flavors. Each of the recipes ahead fits the bill for the holiday. If you're looking for a novel take on a flourless cake that everyone will enjoy, our Coconut Chiffon Cake is a light, delicate, and absolutely delicious option. Using whipped egg whites and coconut oil as a binder keeps this cake in line with dietary restrictions&mdashit's the same approach that's used when making our almond torte, which can also be made using kosher pareve margarine in place of butter.
Coconut also stars in the Passover classic that is the macaroon, and we have recipes that feature a thin layer of fine chocolate for an extra touch of sweetness. If you want to serve a fruit-based dessert, try our almond-coconut tart, which is filled with a luscious filling made with soy cream cheese. Looking for a playful sweet treat to close out your holiday meal? We've come up with recipes that use matzo in interesting ways, including a crumbled pie crust that comes together with just five ingredients.
Cooking a high quality steak at home can seem like a daunting task but thanks to this guide you’ll soon be able to create one that is perfectly cooked on the inside, features a dark and flavorful crust, and is juicy with a big bold beefy flavor. The keys to success are: Selecting the proper cuts, grades, thickness, and technique. Here’s how to can raise your game to steakhouse level and have your guests reeling in deliria.
At a glance: Selecting the right steak, prepping it, and cooking it
1) Buy the best grade of steak. You want something that has filigrees of fat woven through the meat called marbling. The top grade in most groceries is USDA Choice or Certified Angus which is USDA Choice or above. If you can special order it, and if you can afford it, get USDA Prime or Wagyu beef.
2) Select the proper thickness. 1.5″ thick bone-in grade ribeye is my favorite.
3) Dry brine. About two hours in advance, liberally salt both sides and put back in the fridge. Let the salt melt and be pulled into the meat. Salt tenderizes and amps up the flavor. No pepper yet.
4) Preheat. Setup a grill for 2-zone cooking with one side scorching hot and the other about 225°F, no water pans. If you are not familiar with the concept of 2-zone cooking, now is the time to learn this crucial technique.
5) Cook the interior. Place the meat on the indirect side, lid down. Add wood to the charcoal. This allows the meat’s interior to slowly warm up evenly and prevents the banding of colors with dark outer layers. This makes it more tender as it slowly cooks and adds smoke flavor . When you cook hot and fast there is no time for smoke to do its magic.
6) Flip. Stand by your grill and check the meat temp every 5 minutes or so with very thin probe very fast thermocouple thermometer. Flip it when it get to about 95°F. You don’t have to be precise on this. DO NOT rely on touch until you are very experienced.
7) Prepare to sear. When it hits 115°F interior, get the hot side as hot as you can. Take the meat off and add more lit coals if you need to. Or raise the coals closer to the cooking grate. Or fire up the sear burners. Now pat the exterior dry with paper towels. Don’t worry that you are wasting juice. A few drops lost will not hurt anything. We need the surface dry for the next step otherwise we will be steaming the surface, not searing it. Now paint the meat with rendered beef fat, clarified butter (whole butter has too much water), or vegetable oil. This prevents it from sticking to the grate, fries the surface, and enhances flavor.
8) Sear. Now move it to the hottest part of the grill and leave the lid open. We want the lid off so heat is concentrated on the exterior of one side at a time. We are working on the outside now, not the inside. Sear the exterior on one side for 3 to 5 minutes checking frequently and moving it a bit to prevent grill marks from burning the meat. This should get you a dark flavorful exterior. When you have the right color, paint the top with oil and flip the meat. Hit the dark side with oil and a few grinds of black pepper. We pepper it late in the game so the pepper doesn’t burn, but hot oils will extract its flavor.
9) Serve simple. No need to rest the meat. No fancy sauces. Make a Board Sauce at the most. My favorite sides are Warm French Potato Salad and Crunchy French Green Beans with a big red wine.
A deeper dive, beginning with the cuts
The prime steakhouses serve the best cuts, usually from the rib and loin area, along the spine of the steer. They are also the most expensive: ribeyes, porterhouses, T-bones, strip steaks, and cuts from the tenderloin such as chateaubriand and filet mignon. You can make darn tasty meals from the sirloin, round, flank, chuck, and other cuts, but these muscles are not as tender.
My preferences are the ribeye and strop. They are the best cuts for flavor and tenderness combined. They both come mainly from the same muscle, the longissimus dorsi, so arguing which is better is like debating which side of Sergeant Pepper’s is better. A lot of folks prefer meat from the tenderloin because it is the more tender, but they are also leaner than ribeyes so they don’t have the flavor fat brings to the party.
Click this to learn more about the Science of Beef Cuts.
I refer to the best steakhouses as prime steakhouses because USDA Prime is the grade of meat served in the best of them. You won’t find Prime in discount steakhouses in mall parking lots or in most groceries. USDA Prime beef is selected because it has a lot of marbling, thin hairline grains of fat that weave weblike through the fibers of protein. You can see it. Most Prime goes to restaurants.
Wagyu is a special breed of beef that produces highly marbled and flavorful meat. It is even rarer than Prime, but gaining in distribution. Rarest of all is genuine Japanese beef such as Kobe which is almost too fatty and costs as much as a small car. If you can’t find Prime in the store, and if you can afford it, ask your butchers. If you can give them a week advanced warning they can often order it. Wagyu is easily available online.
The next grade down from Prime is USDA Choice, and Choice is common in grocery stores. But not all choice is the same. Don’t just grab any old steak from the meat counter. Ask your butchers for help. Explain that you have a special dinner and you want the best looking cuts they can find. They will often be pleased to look in the back room for a particularly nice piece of meat or custom cut exactly what you want. I’ve made some killer steaks from Choice beef.
Click here to read my article on Beef Grades & Labels. I have links to some suppliers of great repute on our artisan food page.
For this technique, cuts 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick are best, but most grocery stores don’t sell steaks that thick. You have to get them custom cut. The method for cooking thick steaks is very different than the method for thin steaks. This is a crucial concept, and if you think about it, it makes sense. So I typically tell my butcher I want “boneless ribeyes, from the center of the roast, with the most marbling you can find, 1 1/2″ thick, and please try to make all steaks about the same thickness.”
Plan on 3/4 pound per adult for bone-in steak and 1/2 pound per adult for boneless steak. If there are leftovers they can go home with guests or make an appearance on a sandwich or salad the next night.
Some prime steakhouses use a secret mix of herbs and spices, the most famous being Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. But many prime steakhouses use only salt and pepper, and some use only salt. I’ve never seen one marinate the meat. Why? Seasonings sit on the surface and the scorching heat incinerates them. Marinades mask the steak’s natural flavors, they don’t penetrate very far, they don’t tenderize much, and if the meat’s surface is wet the heat makes steam and prevents crust formation. Click here to read more about how marinades do, and don’t work.
At home, dry brine by salting the steaks liberally on both sides at least an hour or two before cooking and put them back in the fridge. The salt helps the protein hold in moisture as well as enhance flavor. In the pictures here you can see the salt on the surface. Within 20 minutes you can see the moisture melt the salt, and before long, the salt has moved into the meat. See the pictures of steaks dry brining elsewhere on this page.
How to dry brine
Unless your doctor forbids you from using salt, use it. It really brings out the flavors. Salt is an amplifier. It is also an annihilator. Adding the right amount will amplify meat’s flavor. Add too much and it will make it inedible. It also holds in the moisture and denatures the proteins making the meat more tender and juicy.
Brining is a method of adding moisture and salt by soaking meat in salty water. But too much water can bloat a steak and dilute its beefiness. So here’s a technique popularized by Chef Judy Rodgers of San Francisco’s famous Zuni Cafe. It is illustrated in the photos of a boneless ribeye, above. Click here to read more about dry brining.
1) An hour or two before cooking pat the meat thoroughly dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle salt on on both sides of the meat. Put it back in the fridge. If you have a small wire grate that can hold the meat above a plate so air circulates, all the better. If not flip the meat after 30 to 60 minutes.
2) The salt draws out moisture which dissolves the salt. See how the meat has become shiny with moisture in the middle picture?
3) The meat reabsorbs the moisture (and much of the juices that have leaked out) bringing the salt in with it. Notice how the color of the fat at right has changed where the salt has soaked in.
Video: How Dry Brining Works
Here is is again in time lapse video:
Charcoal or gas? It’s the heat that matters most, not the fuel
Most prime steakhouses broil their meat with open flames from above, not below, fueled by gas, not charcoal or wood, and they can hit temps from 800 to 1000°F. To the right, you’ll see the broiler at David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago. They have a talented team of chefs, a purebred Angus bull in Kentucky who sires all their meat, and a impressive aging locker lined with what they say are 800 year old salt blocks from the Himalayas.
At prime steakhouses like Primehouse, meat sits on grates that allow cooks to raise and lower them if they want the meat closer or further from the flame. There are a few that use grills with flames from below, and still even fewer that use charcoal. Most don’t like fire from below because flareups from dripping fat that can burn the meat. Yes, the vaporization of the drippings can contribute to the flavor, but their impact is minor especially when you consider the short time it takes to cook most steaks.
I want all of you charcoal die hards who swear that you cannot grill with gas to note that almost all prime steakhouses broil from above at very high temps with gas, so clearly the secret of searing great steaks is the temp not the tool. The lesson is, if you can get a gas grill hot enough, you can sear steaks just as well with charcoal. Problem is, most gas grills cannot reach charcoal temperatures.
Getting the same results at home
The solution is to use two cooking temps, one for the interior and one for the exterior. We will begin by low temp smoke roasting the meat with the lid down and bring it up to about 115°F gently so the meat remains uniform in heat and color throughout. Then we will move it over high heat with the lid up and darken the exterior quickly, flipping often, so it doesn’t build up energy and overcook the interior. This method is called the “reverse sear” or “sear in the rear”.
Reverse searing produces more tender meat since low heat doesn’t bunch up the proteins. It also allows smoke to do its magic, and it allows enzymes to tenderize the meat. High temp cooking moves too quickly for smoke to flavor the meat. It can also deliver a crispier surface because the meat is served after coming off the high heat. But this method is a little tricky because you absolutely must have a precise thermometer and you really need to practice to get the timing right. Click here to read more about the concept and watch a fun video of Chef Jamie Purviance and Meathead cook dueling steaks seared both ways.
Now a word about grill marks. Grill marks are caused by the metal grill grates darkening the meat where they contact the surface. The metal heats rapidly and conducts heat to the surface more rapidly than the rest of the surface which cooks by radiant heat (see my article on the thermodynamics of cooking). Grill marks are flavorful and crunchy, and they look great (grate?). But the goal is to get the entire surface as dark as the grill marks. If the grill marks taste wonderful, why not give the same treatment to the whole surface?
So the goal is to give everything an even deep mahogany brown hue, as dark as possible without charring. For more, read my article on grill marks.
For this level of control, you need to calibrate your grill.
Make your own “Beef Love”
Chef Rick Gresh keeps a cup next to his grill with what he calls “beef love”, melted beef fat trimmed from his aged steaks. Gresh paints the steaks with it before they go into the dining room. I have taken his method one step farther. I paint the meat with beef love before it goes on the direct heat as well as before I serve. It enhances browning and brings great flavor to the party.
To make your own beef love, just ask your butcher for a pound of suet, the term they use for beef fat. Butchers trim pounds of it every day and throw it away. It won’t cost you anything. Take it home, chop it into cubes about 1/2″ and put them in a pot over medium heat to medium low. Put on the lid. After a few minutes you should see tallow (liquid suet) in the pot. If not, raise the heat slightly. After about 30 minutes most of the fat will have melted. There will be some fibrous matter that doesn’t melt, just throw it away. Pour the tallow into a heavy bottle, let it cool and solidify, and store it in the freezer. It will keep for months.
When it is time to cook your steaks, scoop off an ounce or two and melt it in a small pan. You can even melt it on the grill.
As an alternative, I have had great luck using rendered bacon fat, duck fat, and goose fat as beef love.
Cooking a steak on a small grill
You can accomplish the same thing on a small single burner gas grill, on a portable charcoal grill, or on an indirect pellet grill. Start cooking the interior by cooking at a low temp with the lid down. Then heat the grill as hot as possible and cook the exterior with the lid up.
Can I smoke steaks?
Feel free, but personally, I don’t care for the taste. You can do the first part of the reverse sear in a smoker, and then sear the crust, but for some reason that much smoke flavor doesn’t work for me. It just masks the beefiness.
Keep track of your steaks
I love these bamboo steak markers. They come in a pack of 500 and include five temperatures: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well. They are 3.5″ long and you insert their sharp points in the side of the steak so the meat can be flipped easily. If they don’t char, you can wash them and reuse them.
The great chef and educator Bruce Aidells, author of a number of superb cookbooks including the The Great Meat Cookbook, has produced a polished detailed video series on steak covering everything from selecting the meat to cooking it. It is a beautifully produced set of seven videos starting with selecting and buying beef and chock full of tips. It is produed by the website craftsy.com and they have an excellent learning platform for watching educational videos where you can pause and come back the next day to the exact spot you left off at, a place to take notes, study materials, discussion, recipes, etc. Click here for a preview.
If you like them medium to medium well
Not everyone likes their steaks on the red side. For those who like their meat cooked medium or more, use thinner steaks.
For skinny steaks, use the turntable method
The reverse sear works only on thicker cuts. For steaks 1″ or less, and my “turntable” method works beautifully. It even works on on skirt steaks for fajitas. The goals are the same, a dark crisp, crust, and tender juicy, medium-rare center. But because the meat is thinner, the path is different.
1) Season. Salt and pepper the meat on both sides an hour or two in advance so the salt can penetrate.
2) Dry. Make sure you pat the meat dry with paper towels before you put it on. Moisture creates steam and prevents browning.
3) Oil. Coat the meat with a thin layer of fat. It can be rendered beef fat, clarified butter, or vegetable oil. Oiling the meat is better than oiling the grates. When you oil grates it vaporizes almost instantly and can create an acrid smell. When oiled meat hits the grill, the cool meat keeps it from burning and the oil will heat up quickly and transmit heat. It will slightly fry the surface and help create crust. Don’t use unclarified butter. It contains too much water.
4) The A side. You should still setup for 2-zone cooking so you have a safe zone for steaks that finish quickly. Get the direct side screaming hot. Raise the charcoal right beneath the cooking surface. Leave the lid off. Put the meat over the hottest part of the grill. Keep this one side down, but, like a vinyl record turning on a turntable, rotate it slightly every 30 seconds to prevent the grates from branding and burning the surface and to allow all parts of the surface to brown evenly. You want the entire surface a uniform dark brown without grill marks . Click here to read why grill marks are not desirable on steaks.
5) The B side. Now here’s where things get weird. By the time you have the perfect crust on one side, heat is penetrating and the center is pretty close to perfect. If you flip the meat and sear the other side dark, you will overcook and destroy the steak. So flip the meat and cook the second side for only 1 minute! That’s more than long enough to kill any contaminants on the surface. Like an old fashioned vinyl record, the B side may not be as good as the Side A, it will be tan not brown, but Side A and the center will be perfect.
6) Serve. Remove the meat and serve immediately. Do not let the meat rest. Resting meat is probably a myth that you can see challenged here.
What to do once the steak gets off the grill
There is no need to rest the meat. It has been proven that this does nothing to improve juiciness. Don’t let it cool off and lose its crust. Serve it hot. Prime steakhouses like to let the meat speak for itself. You don’t see prime steakhouses putting A1 on the table, and if you ask for it, listen for cursing in the kitchen.
Some steakhouses like to place a daub of butter on the surface to add unctuousness, sometimes it is even an herbed butter or butter with shallots or mushrooms. Some chefs like to sprinkle large grain salt on the meat just before serving so you occasionally get big pops of salt. It’s a nice sensation, unless you encounter a bolder sized grain that breaks a tooth, but because this meat has been dry brined, and the salt is evenly distributed throughout, you could easily oversalt if you use a finishing salt just before serving.
If you absolutely have to dress up your steaks, try to keep it simple. My favorite is a Board Dressing. Rich red wine sauce is a classic, as is horseradish cream sauce, or chimichurri, but I prefer to save them for leaner cuts like flank steak or sirloin. I have a Japanese friend who once presented me with a great steak with tangy green wasabi paste, the horseradish-like root. I liked it a lot, but it seriously masked the natural goodness of the meat. In Argentina, herbaceous chimichurri sauce is everywhere. Caramelized onions, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, grilled red peppers, are also popular garnishes.
Some prime steakhouses, like Peter Luger in Brooklyn, cuts the meat off the porterhouse, slices the strip thin across the grain, and then reassembles the whole thing on the platter. This is also a nice approach if you have huge steaks and one person cannot eat a whole steak.
As you eat the first steak you cook with this method, you might discover that it is a little over or under cooked for your taste. Don’t be discouraged. Adjust the procedure to accommodate your tastes. You know how to get to Carnegie Hall.
What to serve with your steak
Let the steak be the center of the show. Meat and potatoes are an unbeatable combo, although rice is nice and couscous is cool. Try my really simple Warm French Potato Salad. Keep the veggies simple, like my Crunchy French Green Beans, or, since the grill is primed and ready, go for Grilled Asparagus.
Two things I insist on with my steaks: A big red wine and good friends.
Carving big steaks
Ribeyes, strips, and T-bones/porterhouses (porterhomes?) are bigger than ever because of improved breeding and feeding. Once upon a time such a steak was a big meal for one, but nowadays, if it is cut thick, even after shrinkage, a whole steak is more than a normal person can or should be eating at a sitting, unless he has just returned from the space station.
For example, Allen Brothers is selling 26 ounce (2″ bone-in) and 22 ounce (1.5″ bone-in) ribeyes (they’re fabulous). Their 1.5″ boneless is 16 ounces. Their porterhouses (tail on) are 2″ and weigh 36-38 ounces.
Sooooo, if that is the case, one ribeye is a good portion for two people and a porterhouse, after boning could be enough for three people. So the question then is, how to divide it?
First of all, I must confess, I usually cook a whole steak for each adult, and if there are leftovers, I insist they take them home. Then when I need help moving, I can call on them to help.
I slice my cold leftovers and make a steak sandwich or more often put the slices on a salad.
If I am serving wagyu, which is sooooo rich, I carve the steaks.
Ribeyes and strips have two problems to be solved. The bone, and the rib cap.
I normally prefer boneless ribeyes because the bone adds zero flavor and if I cook it properly the meat next to the bone can often be undercooked a bit. If I am dividing it for two, the bone just gets in the way and then I have to arm wrestle my wife to see who gets to gnaw on it and I’m tired of losing.
Besides, I hate paying the same price for bone as for meat. Also, although I never cook steaks indoors, even in winter, if you cook in a pan the bone can prevent the meat from contacting the pan and browning properly.
This leaves the problem of the rib cap, or the spinalis, the crescent shaped muscle that wraps around about 1/3 of the longissimus, the eye of the ribeye. The rib cap is more marbled than the eye, and because it is on the outside it usually is overcooked. That’s a shame because I think it is the best muscle on the animal.
I solve both problems by buying bone-in rib roasts. I then remove the rib rack, and that’s a meal right there. I smoke the back ribs Texas style. Then I remove the spinalis, and that’s a separate meal. It looks a bit like a salmon filet, and It can be grilled as such, or rolled.
That leaves the long tube of longissimus, the eye of the ribeye, and I cut that in 1.5 to 2″ steaks. The muscle tapers a bit, so the thin end is a good portion for one. The fat end is a big portion, and after cooking, slicing it is no problem because the spinalis is gone. I just cut it into strips about 3/4″ thick. Guests can easily cut that thickness into bite-size chunks. I collect the juices in a gravyboat.
Here’s a 1″ ribeye with a Board Sauce which is simply chopped herbs and olive oil. To get the meat juices to mix with the board sauce, I carve it.
Porterhouses and T-bones. I do it the Peter Luger method (below). Run the knife along the bone, remove the strip and filet, slice them in 3/4″ slices, reassemble them and slide them back along the bone, and serve. I bring the board around the table and they can stab whatever they want. It is an impressive presentation.
Cracking the Starbucks Code: Easy Homemade Sous Vide Egg Bites
Earlier this year, Starbucks introduced Sous Vide Egg Bites to the menu in response to customers’ requests for non-bready breakfast options. The Starbucks recipe development team chose sous vide cooking to devise a lineup of new breakfast recipes. And so, the sous vide egg bite was born. This also resulted in home cooks everywhere wanting to create their own versions. Food nerds everywhere fired up their Anova sous vide machines and begin deconstructing the recipe to recreate their own versions of these tasty breakfast bites.
Why Sous Vide Egg Bites?
Sous vide allowed Starbucks to provide a healthier breakfast alternative. It also enabled them to cook egg bites to perfectly velvety, creamy textures, every time. Starbucks can easily cook the sous vide egg bites, freeze them, then later reheat them to the exact same temperature without compromising the quality or texture! A sous vide immersion circulator like the Anova Precision Cooker makes it possible to cook sous vide at home. The device heats and circulates water to a precise temperature–down to the tenth of a degree. This guarantees consistent, perfectly-cooked results.
The Crowd Goes Wild for Sous Vide Egg Bites
Egg-sperimenting with the #anovafoodnerd Family
Jen Stone, one of our amazing #anovafoodnerd community members, was one of the first to crack the code. Known as @ketobabe on Instagram, she kept us posted with plenty of photos of her experiments and the resulting recipes for her sous vide egg bites. For her recipe, Jen suggested whisking together 10 – 12 eggs plus 1 – 1.5 cups of cream. She then poured this mixture into 125ml canning jars with a multitude of fillings and dropped into a 172ºF/77.8ºC bath with the Anova Precision Cooker attached for 90 minutes. The egg cups came out beautifully, and the discussion after that post was absolutely inspiring. It was clear that everybody wanted the ability to make these creamy, dense, cheesy little sous vide egg bites at home. But, they were looking for exact measurements and answers about reheating.
From Starbucks to the Anova Test Kitchen to Your Kitchen
- Bacon + gruyere + egg + salt
- Bacon + gruyere + egg + milk + salt
- Bacon + gruyere + egg + heavy cream + salt
- Bacon + gruyere + egg + neufchatel cheese + salt
- Gruyere + egg + neufchatel + salt
- Cottage cheese + egg white + roasted red pepper + green onion + salt + pepper
- Cottage cheese + neufchatel cheese + egg white + roasted red pepper + green onion + salt + pepper
- Egg + dairy-free pesto + bacon + roasted red pepper + green onion + salt
- Egg + broccoli + white onion + garlic + roasted red pepper + salt + pepper
We expected clear “winners” among all of the sous vide egg bite experiments. In actuality, every single one was mouthwateringly delectable. We sampled the Starbucks *after* we had tried our own version and every person who was able to make the comparison noticed the “extended-shelf-life” flavor that the purchased versions had.
We used small jars for these, but you can also use a muffin tin. For the on-the-go mini-jars, check Amazon: Ball Mason 4oz Quilted Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
What Are the Benefits of Making Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites at Home?
- The Anova sous vide egg bites taste simple, fresh, and fulfilling.
- We were able to put any given flavor combination together in less than 5 minutes of prep time and an hour of cooking.
- Technically pasteurized, they should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator unopened – though we doubt they’ll last that long without being eaten!
- You can control the texture, from fluffy to custard-like, and they’re all scrumptious.
- You can customize it. This recipe gives you the power to accommodate almost any dietary restriction (provided no egg allergy). Bring on your Paleo, Keto, dairy-free, low-carb, vegetarian masses – we’ve got you covered!
- Our most basic recipe has four whole-food ingredients. Their most basic recipe lists 8 major ingredients plus multiple starches and preservatives.
- You can cook a dozen sous vide egg bites at home for the same price as just ONE sous vide egg bite at Starbucks!
The Winning Sous Vide Egg Bite Recipes
Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites: Bacon & Gruyere
Savory with bacon and rich gruyere flavor, this are easy enough to make for every day but something you could serve to guests for a decadent brunch. I like to make an entire package of bacon anytime I make it by laying it on a parchment-lined sheet tray and baking at 400ºF/205ºC for 16 – 20 minutes, but you’ll only need 3 pieces for this recipe. Keep extra on hand for other days, or when you’re ready to make more egg bites!
Get the recipe for Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites with Bacon & Gruyere
Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites: Egg Whites with Roasted Red Pepper
These protein-packed egg white bites are rich in flavor from the roasted red pepper and green onion. You will look forward to breakfast more than ever before when you have these on hand to grab & go!
Get the recipe for Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites with Egg Whites & Roasted Red Pepper
Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites: Paleo Egg Bites
It is rather infrequent to encounter a composed egg dish without dairy added, but I wanted to do just that as well as incorporate some of my favorite vegetables! This recipe brings superfood broccoli to the forefront alongside caramelized onions and roasted peppers. So good!
Get the recipe for Anova Sous Vide Egg Bites: Paleo Egg Bites
More Handy Information
- You can replace the cream cheese with 1/2 c of milk for a more flan-like texture, 1/2 c heavy cream for something richer and fluffier, more akin to savory creme brûlée.
- For the Paleo option, we also tested a recipe with bacon, red pepper, onion, and 2 Tablespoons of dairy-free pesto from our sauce post. It was SUPER DELICIOUS!
- To make twice as many egg bites, double the recipe! Or triple it if you want three times as many. This is a very easy-to-scale, simple recipe.
- If you are not going to eat immediately, we do recommend chilling in an ice bath before putting in the refrigerator. This is not to “stop the cooking” as much as to ensure that the temperature in your fridge does not increase and affect the quality of your other foods.
- To reheat, you have multiple options. You can warm in a 140ºF/60ºC bath for 15 minutes, you can pop into the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds, or you can toast under the broiler. And this may be a little early to share, but the Anova Precision Oven is going to be IDEAL for warming these egg bites up with its complete control of both heat AND humidity!
- While making your own variations, experiment! Feel free to try any fillings that you want! Our one piece if advice is this: for the smoothest consistency, always use a blender or food processor for the eggs and dairy (or dairy replacement) that you choose to use.
Start Your Own Sous Vide Egg Bite ExperimentsStarbucks sous vide egg bites are super simple to make at home with a sous vide precision cooker. This nifty cooking tool isn’t just great for churning out breakfast bites that are better than the ones you get from the ‘Bucks. In fact, it’s also a wicked good way to make steak, chicken, veggies, and so much more. Learn more about the cooking device that’s changed the way a million people cook around the world, the Anova Precision Cooker.
"This recipe is wonderful! I've made the batter into a Bundt cake, muffins and as a loaf. It really doesn't matter which way you bake it, it's amazing! I let the cake sit for 24 hours, as it really gives a chance for the strawberries to meld in with the baked ingredients, so that it's moist and perfect.”
A pitcher of one of these delicious springtime cocktails can go along way, especially when it gets placed on a picnic table! Whether you are looking for the perfect spring wedding cocktail, a mothers day celebration or maybe a baby shower drink, these refreshing spring cocktails are sure to fit the bill!
We’ve done our best to include recipes here that use a range of alcohols. So whether you are a vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, or tequila kinda lady you will find a cocktail here t hat will be equal parts easy & delicious!
Blackberry Lavender Champagne Cocktail
This champagne cocktail gets a unique twist with a simple blackberry and lavender sauce that is super easy but looks stunning! Perfect for entertaining with delicious real ingredients. Get Recipe Here.
Raspberry Lemon Drop
This is such a simple and fun spring cocktail! Raspberries, lemon and a hint of fresh thyme make one of the best spring cocktails out there! Completely refreshing! Get Recipe Here.
Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail
This blood orange champagne cocktail is what you want if you are looking for the perfect spring champagne cocktails! Blood oranges are still at the tail end of their season and lend this beautiful ruby color to your drink! Get Recipe Here.
Peach Bellinis are here to claim the title of king of brunch! Mimosas are soooo last season! Frozen peaches lend their flavor here so you can totally sneak these in as a spring drink. Make them with fresh peaches as the summer comes on fully! Get Recipe Here.
Boozy Lavender Lemonade
Lavender and lemon, the perfect Spring flavor combination! These Lavender Lemonades are sure to be your new favorite way to relax this Spring! Made with vodka the alcohol blends right in making these as easy to drink as a hard lemonade but the lavender amps up all the complexity! Get Recipe Here.
Pink Champagne Margaritas
This drink just screams spring! These would be absolutely perfect to pair with your first grilling meal of the season. The perfect combination of pink lemonade and margarita, these are heavenly and oh so refreshing! Get Recipe Here.
Easy Pina Colada Recipe
There is something about pineapple and coconut that can transport you to a tropical paradise even if you can’t escape. A perfect spring cocktail to get you thinking about summer vibes! Pina Colada Recipe.
Grapefruit Mint Mojitos
Grapefruit Mint Mojitos are the perfect tasty twist to an old classic! Relax and refresh yourself with one of these tasty Spring Cocktails tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Cherry Blossom Cocktail
Spring is here! That means gorgeous budding flowers and what better way to get in the Spring Cocktail spirit than with a few of these Cherry Blossom Cocktails? Get Recipe Here.
Sweet Georgia Peach Smash
The perfect sweet flavors for a refreshing spring cocktail! These Sweet Georgia Peach Smash drinks are crazy delicious but they sure pack a punch! Get Recipe Here.
Blueberry Gin Sour Cocktail
Blueberry Gin Sour Cocktails, these are a sure winner at your next BBQ! Can’t wait? They are perfect for your backyard picnic table too! Get Recipe Here.
Rose Lemon Spritzer
Yummm! These Rose Lemon Spritzer cocktails are all the delicious flavors of the garden all jammed into one tasty glass! These are so pretty and would make an amazing baby shower cocktail ! Get Recipe Here.
Strawberry Chamomile Paloma
Strawberries are the perfect Spring snack and if you have a few extra growing in your garden, you might consider using them for one of these amazing Strawberry Chamomile Palomas tonight! Get Recipe Here.
White Peach Margaritas
White Peach Margaritas, as easy to make as they are easy to put away! This refreshing Spring Cocktail is sure to be a winner at your picnic table tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Sparkling Fruit Sangria
The extra bubbly nature of this Sparkling Fruit Sangria makes for one amazingly delicious combination of dessert and refreshment! This is Spring Cocktail perfection! Get Recipe Here.
Modern Mai Tai with Hibiscus and Thyme
Spruce up your Spring Cocktails with this tasty twist on an old classic! These Modern Mai Tai with Hibiscus and Thyme are sure to kick your taste buds into high gear tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Cucumber Kiwi Gimlet
Take your cucumber water to the next level tonight! This Cucumber Kiwi Gimlet is a grown-up refreshment right here! Get Recipe Here.
Rose Water Cointreau Fizz
These Rose Water Cointreau Fizz cocktails are light and refreshing and the perfect evening pick-me-up for a warm Spring day like today. Get Recipe Here.
Pomegranate Thyme Fizz Cocktail
Pomegranate Thyme Fizz Cocktails are sweet and aromatic, perfect for relaxing under the shade of your backyard tree on a gorgeous day like today! Get Recipe Here.
Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade
Why has no one ever thought of mixing pears into lemonade before? This amazing Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade recipe is guaranteed to please on the back porch tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Germain Kumquat Cocktail
The perfect mix of sweet and bitter, these Germain Kumquat Cocktails are the perfect way to relax and refresh yourself after a long day! Get Recipe Here.
Smoking Rose Paloma
These delicious Smoking Rose Palomas are here to steal the show tonight! This refreshing Spring Cocktail is the perfect way to end your day! Get Recipe Here.
Smoking Rose Paloma
These delicious Smoking Rose Palomas are here to steal the show tonight! This refreshing Spring Cocktail is the perfect way to end your day! Get Recipe Here.
Strawberry Jalapeno Lime Daquiri
Spring is strawberry season and there’s nothing better than a good frozen strawberry daiquiri! Get Recipe Here.
Lemon Drop Martini
This is the perfect spring cocktail with vodka and a zesty lemon simple syrup! It’s like drinking pure spring sunshine! Get Recipe Here.
Tropical Orange Blossom Cocktail
Let’s be honest, 2020 and 2021 have been a bit of a doozy. Pour yourself this tropical escape cocktail and sail away in your mind even if you can’t go on vacation yet! Get Recipe Here.
Rhubarb Blush Sour
If you love the taste of rhubarb like we do, then you are going to want to get your hands on one (or three) of these delicious Rhubarb Blush Sours after dinner tonight! Spring cocktails don’t get much tastier than this! Get Recipe Here.
Pineapple Dragon Fruit Margaritas
Have you ever had a Pineapple Dragon Fruit Margarita before? If not, you are missing out on a Spring Cocktail recipe that is to die for! Get hooked on these tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Delicious Pomegranate Gin Cocktail
Tangy and refreshing, what better way to take the edge off a long day than with one of these amazing Spring Cocktails? Try these Delicious Pomegranate Gin Cocktails for yourself tonight! Get Recipe Here.
These Fresh Spring Cocktails are all the best Spring flavors in one glass, fall in love at first sip tonight! Get Recipe Here.
Skinny Girl Cocktail
This Skinny Girl Cocktail isn’t just for the ladies, anyone would love a big frosty glass of this tasty Spring Cocktail on a warm day like today! Get Recipe Here.
Dessert recipes for the Kentucky Derby
Are you throwing a viewing party for the Kentucky Derby? Once you have your hat picked out, be sure to plan your menu. I highly suggest making mint julep cupcakes. They are inspired by the Derby’s signature cocktail and have a kick of bourbon in them as well! An easier, no bake recipe are my bourbon chocolate pecan truffles. Other popular desserts include chocolate pecan cookie bars and red rose cupcakes (for the Run of the Roses!)
Whether you watch the Kentucky Derby every year or you are attending your first derby-themed party with friends, I promise you these mini derby pies will be a hit.