My wonderful husband did not get me the InstaPot I asked for at Christmas. He is usually pretty good with presents and gets me either what I ask for, or something that is life-changing for me. Past gifts: curved shower rod (I hate touching a wet shower curtain), gel mat for the kitchen (my feet hurt when I do alot of cooking), door mat that says "Door bell broken, yell "Ding Dong" really loud (I asked for that one). So when he set a pile of gifts in my lap on Christmas morning, not one of them was big enough or heavy enough to be an InstaPot.
I admit, I was a bit crestfallen, sorry honey. Then I tore into the sparkly paper. Under the packages of eight bottles of vinegar (we make vinegar sodas with flavored balsamics...delicious, gut-healing, and cholesterol lowering to boot) was a moderately heavy rectangular box. In the box was an immersion cooker. I have seen this method of cooking on television, mainly on cooking competition shows. My reaction, after the initial "This is NOT and InstaPot!!" was "this is cool, I'm looking forward to trying it."
It wasn't until Christmas night that I had a chance to surf Pinterest for ideas, where my "this is cool" tuned into "I can't wait to try this thing!!" A trip with friends and our annual New Years Day crepe fest meant I had to wait a couple of weeks. Well, I didn't have to, but it took that long to finish off all the holiday left-overs.
Still had a couple of NY strips left in the freezer from the cow we bought last year, I researched a bunch of sous vide recipes for steak and combined them for dinner last night. One of the steaks was still half frozen, but I figured (correctly as it turns out) that it wouldn't matter. Here is how the immersion cooker works: you vacuum seal (with a machine or inside a zipper seal bag) the food you are cooking and immerse it in the water. You clip the cooker to the side of the pot and set the temperature and time and it circulates the water and keeps it at a consistent temperature. It is impossible to overcook the food. I have always been intimidated by cooking meat. It is expensive if you mess up. I've gotten more confident by the addition of a good meat thermometer to my kitchen, and through practice, I can tell by feel when pork chops are done. But I have stopped using my crock pot when I am not home because I have ruined more than one pork loin (how can it be tender and dry at the same time??) and burned beef roast at least twice. Sous vide, though...I can totally see me setting that up in the morning and walking away!
Last nights experiment was NY Strip, salted and peppered and sealed in a zip-top bag with a pat of butter, a sprig of thyme and a sprig of rosemary. Two of these, actually. Sous vide-ed (not sure if you can use that as a verb) at 135 degrees for about an hour and a half. I set the timer for 2 hours, but got really hungry and pulled it out when I couldn't wait anymore. My littlest had chopped up some mushrooms before her dinner, so those were ready and waiting. I set a cast iron skillet to heat up and pulled out the steaks from the bags and patted them dry with paper towels. Into the hot skillet with some oil and flipped after about a minute. In a nook in the pan, I put a pat of butter, a squeeze of garlic from the garlic press, and a few sprigs of thyme. The intention was to spoon the butter over the steaks while they cooked, but I couldn't manage that...aww, I have to try this again (read with heavy sarcasm). Steaks out of the pan and covered to rest, mushrooms in. Some salt and pepper, a little white wine and a splash of heavy cream and the mushrooms were "kickin" (Ken's words).
Oh. My. Goodness. The steaks were perfectly medium. Pink all the way through and cut like buttah. Three bites in and I cracked open a bottle of red wine. I have never felt like more of a food snob than I did last night! But I tell you, I am never again making a steak any other way! Sous Vide is the way to go! Check out my Pinterest board "Sous Vide" if you are wondering what I'm making next.
To my Hubby: Thank you, baby, best Christmas gift ever!! Wait...you really enjoyed that steak last night...was this gift for me, or for you?