Using sous vide to butter poach root vegetables is an easy process that makes creating side dishes a breeze! Just toss some chopped vegetables into a sous vide bag with some butter, thyme, and cumin, then give them a quick cook at 183°F (83.9°C). Top them off with some coarse sea salt, lemon and oregano and you're all set!
Heating peaches with sous vide softens them up slightly, resulting in a tender snack. Adding some bourbon and cinnamon to the bag infuses them with rich flavor, which some chopped almonds, molasses and fresh mint rounds out.
Using sous vide to lightly poach tomatoes results in a tender and moist side dish. The tomatoes are just heated through, not broken down, so cooking them at almost any low temperature works well. I usually serve them with steaks so I cook them at 131°F (55°C) because I toss them in with the steaks at the end of their cooking time.
Mango curries are sweet, fruity and spicy, and they pair wonderfully with roasted meats such as pork loin or chicken breasts. This curry recipe is one of my favorites and I use it on many week day meals, but if I'm having a party or nice dinner I like to fancy it up some by turning it into a hot foam that blows away my friends!
Chicken salad is a classic summer dish, but sometimes it can be a little dry and bland, and no amount of mayonnaise can save it. Using sous vide to cook the chicken is a great first step, resulting in always moist and tender meat. To bump up the flavor, I turn to fruit chutney and curry powder. Then I round it out and add a ton of texture with diced celery, carrots, grapes, apples and pecans. It's a dynamic, flavorful dish that everyone loves.
Cauliflower might be on the bland side, but when sous vided then combined with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper, it turns into a flavorful and filling side. With the addition of tart lime juice and spicy jalapeño pepper it's a complex dish that comes together in no time.
Earthy beets are a great combination with bright oranges and rich goat cheese. It is rounded out with some sweet balsamic vinegar and woody toasted walnuts. Beets work great with sous vide and turn out tender without drying out any.
This dish hinges on using the sweetest fresh corn and sous viding it. The sweetness of corn combined with the kick of ancho pepper powder with some sourness from feta cheese and lime zest makes for an amazing between-meals snack. Corn can vary widely in its tenderness, so it's often best to try a kernel raw before cooking it. This will give you an idea of how sweet and tender it already is and can inform your cooking time.
This sous vide pickling recipe uses a higher temperature to soften up the vegetables. It works great with carrots, green beans, and other tougher vegetables. The timing varies based on the vegetable, but following the general guidelines in the Cooking by Tenderness article will help give you an idea. Personally, I usually go a little shorter so the vegetables have more crunch to them. You can also mix up the spices and herbs to create your own flavor profiles.
I seasoned the sous vide pork loin with salt, sealed it, and cooked it at 140°F (60°C) for about 3 hours. It usually takes 2 to 4 hours but you can use my Sous Vide Timing Ruler for an exact time, or my beef, lamb and pork pasteurization chart. I finished off with a light sear to add a little color and then cut it into 1" (2.5cm) slices. I picked an olive medley and a freekeh salad to complement this simple sous vide pork loin.
Fruit compotes, jams, and marmalades are real easy to make with sous vide. Simply put some fruit, with any pits or inedible skin removed, into a bag with some sugar and acid then cook it up to an hour or two and you are good to go.
Even though cranberries are a staple for Thanksgiving sauces they are often overlooked for more traditional sauces. Their combination of tartness and mild fruitiness is a great complement to many BBQ sauces. I like to serve this BBQ on a smoked and sous vided brisket.
The fruity cherry notes in this infusion complement the spicy rye and tone down its bite. The cinnamon and clove also contribute background flavors to round out the infusion. The resulting infusion can be enjoyed over ice or mixed into cocktails.
Rum punch is a strong, fruity drink that is best sipped on the beach! This infusion takes many of the common rum punch flavors and infuses them directly in the rum. I like to
serve the resulting infusion with a splash of orange juice and pineapple juice.
The light, fruity flavors of apples and pears complement the herbal notes from the gin, resulting in a rounded infusion full of flavors. The infused gin is great in martinis and holds up well to other complex cocktails.
Making your own infusion allows you to produce the exact flavors you are looking for. This peach brandy recipe infuses the sweetness and fruity flavors from ripe peaches into brandy. It also works well with other fruits or berries.
I often use a few splashes of this vinegar to brighten up the
dish by adding even more freshness with the infusion of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange peels. It's a perfect topping to drizzle on salads or add to cocktails to provide some sour notes.
I use a whipping siphon process to quickly infuse gin with tonic flavors, resulting in a tart alcohol that isn't watered down. Infusing grapefruit adds acidity and citrus notes while cinchona bark adds the quinine tonic flavor.
In this infusion the sweet and tart flavor of blackberries pairs wonderfully with the slightly spicy and herbal basil. It is a fruity, flavorful addition to many cocktails and is especially tasty in rum punch or as a liqueur.
The star of most of my parties is meat and this blackberry-peach wrapped sous vided pork offering is no exception! It makes a fun presentation besides the additional sweetness and flavor from roasting the fruit complements the pork perfectly.
This crostini recipe infuses the heat, smokiness and flavor of dried chiles into canola oil, which is then thickened into a foam. It is also a good topping for grilled meats or as a spicy spread for fresh bread. The process of infusing oil with flavors before thickening it leads to countless variations you can adapt to any dish.
Tequila has a bad reputation as a party drink but you can tame it if you replace the shots with this sophisticated cocktail. The paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail and is much more common than a margarita south of the border. It is usually made with tequila and a grapefruit soda, such as squirt, served over ice, and is both easy to make and delicious.
One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.
There are many different types of foams you can make using different modernist ingredients and foaming methods. This foam resembles bubbles and is made with xanthan gum and Versawhip that has been aerated with an aquarium pump. It's a pretty unique way to make bubbles and they are very interesting.
One interesting use of modernist gelling is to create pliable gel sheets. These gel sheets are made by adding a combination of agar agar and gelatin to a flavored liquid and letting it set. The agar and gelatin add both elasticity for strength and a nice brittleness for flavor release. The ratio of the two ingredient will determine the final characteristic of the gel sheets.
Summer isn't exactly apple season, but at both farmer's markets and grocery stores many varieties are available year-round. Here in Central California we've had quite a bit of cool weather from late May through June and into July. For me, cool weather means comfort food, and baked apples fall right into that category.
Summer is upon us and my thoughts have turned to berries, and cherries, and luscious stone fruits. I love to combine the sweetest fruit of the season with a simple yet elegant sauce such as Italian zabaglione (or sabayon, as it is known in France).
I am crazy for the sweet-tart, floral flavor of passion fruit. Although my garden produces just about every kind of fruit, it's a few degrees too cold during the winter months in Carmel Valley to grow this divine tropical fruit. I know, because I've tried and failed on two occasions.
Pears are one of my least loved fruits when eaten out of hand, but when they're poached in butter, sugar, vanilla, and spice, well, that's another story. Normally, you immerse the pears in a flavorful liquid, such as wine or sugar syrup, and cook them on the stove top. Then, after they're poached, the cooking liquid needs to be reduced to concentrate its flavors.
Caramel is my favorite thing, especially combined with chocolate, but I like it unadulterated, too, in all of its many forms. Dulce de leche, Spanish for "sweet milk" is on my list of must-have condiments. I always have a jar or two in my over-crowded fridge because it's very versatile and great for last-minute desserts. Sometimes I'll treat myself a spoonful right from the jar if there's nothing else on hand to satisfy a sudden caramel craving.
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