Month: April 2011

Beer Cooler Sous Vide Grilled Rack of Lamb

I am obsessed with Kenji Alt’s Beer Cooler Sous Vide Hack, using a cooler full of hot water to cook meat to a perfect medium-rare. In the last two months I’ve used it on strip loin steaks, tri-tip, thick-cut pork chops and top sirloin roasts. *The only disappointing result has been pork chops. They were good, but they weren’t noticeably better than regular pork chops. My favorite reaction was from my mom, who is passionate about medium-rare beef. On her birthday, as I lugged a cooler full of hot water and top sirloin roasts into her house, I explained sous vide cooking. She didn’t get it. I tried again; it still wasn’t making sense to her. I pulled the roasts out of their baggies, and gave them a quick sear on the grill. Mom was grabbing pieces off the cutting board as fast as I could slice them. “Michael,” she said, “I still don’t understand it works, but this is perfectly cooked.” I felt like The Good Son. For Easter, I tried my new favorite …

All-Clad Factory Sale: Summer 2011

All-Clad Factory Sale: Summer 2011The dates for this summer’s All-Clad factory sale have been announced, so I’m posting my usual heads-up to my readers… All-Clad’s factory is located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Twice a year, on the first weekend in June and December, All-Clad holds a factory seconds sale at the Washington County Fair and Expo Center. The 2011 summer sale is Friday June 3rd and Saturday June 4th. Hours are Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s the link to the location of the sale: Washington County Fair and Expo Center. This is about a two hour drive from the Akron area. You get prices from 40% to 70% off on factory seconds. In most cases, the damage is just cosmetic; a little scratching on the stainless, or a lid handle that’s a bit offset from center. They have most of their line of cookware available, but not all, and some favorites (like the 12″ stainless fry pan, and its lid) are hard to find. Overall, …

Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs, Cuban Style

After our endless winter, we finally had a warm snap this weekend. The temperature went from the forties on Friday to a high of 78*F on Sunday. I had to grill. My local grocery store had extra-meaty slabs of baby back ribs on sale. I’m not used to this – when I started grilling, you had to double check the packages, to make sure you didn’t get shiners – ribs where the meat had been cut down to the bone, and the shiny ribs were showing through. Now they’re selling “extra meaty” ribs. I had to get some. I was wandering around the La Caja China website, looking at yet another barbecue toy I desperately want, but can’t justify. *I can hear the conversation now. “Yes, dear, I really needed this charcoal fired roasting box. Why? So I could cook a whole pig. And ten chickens.  But who’s counting…what’s that dear? For who? You don’t think the five of us can finish eighty pounds of pork?” Even though I won’t buy the roasting box, thoughts …

Weeknight Tomato Sauce

When my grand scheme for dinner falls apart, spaghetti with tomato sauce is my backup plan. I always have a few onions, some garlic, and canned tomatoes at hand.*One of the keys to making dinner every night is having a backup plan. After a long day at work, the temptress of pizza delivery is whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Instead of reaching for the phone, I reach for the dried pasta and a can of tomatoes. My tomato sauce recipe has evolved over the last few years. I started out with olive oil, diced onion, garlic, and diced tomatoes, and simmered until thick. Then two things happened: I read about Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce [h/t smittenkitchen.com]  I had kids Marcella’s sauce taught me to use butter instead of olive oil, for the rich taste that only butter seems to have.*OK, butter and pork fat. But pork fat seemed excessive. The other trick I learned from Marcella (and one the kids reinforced) is using a halved onion instead of diced onion. The halved onion gives …

What Do I Do With: The Electric Pressure Cooker Question

[Update 2015-02-08]: Things change. Nowadays, my favorite pressure cooker is an electric PC. See my post: What Pressure Cooker Should I Buy? This post is a little different from my usual “what do I do with” questions. Instead of an ingredient, I’m asking you, my loyal readers, about a kitchen appliance. I occasionally receive email from a reader, asking about electric pressure cookers. I have never used one; all my pressure cookers have been stove top models. I vaguely remember reading that stove top models are better than electrics, but I couldn’t remember why. I decided to research electric pressure cookers; the next time I’m asked, I want a better answer than “because that’s how I’ve always done it.” Electric pressure cookers seem like a good alternate to stove top models. I like the idea of set it and forget it pressure cooking…set the timer, then get on to something else. No messing with getting the burner to the right heat to hold the pressure. Also, a pressure cooker with a timed delay feature sounded …

Rotisserie Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce

I cook a lot of chicken on my rotisserie. Usually, I keep it simple. I dry brine the chicken, add a little fresh ground black pepper, and I’m done. Occasionally, when I’m feeling fancy, I stuff herbs under the skin. This time around, though, I wanted something more. I was looking for something different than my usual roast chicken, without adding a lot of extra work. Luckily, I bought myself a subscription to Canal House Cooking for Christmas. I’ve been enjoying Melissa and Chris’s recipes and pictures so much that I went back and bought all their back issues. (There were only three- it wasn’t that big a deal.) And, in one of the books, they had a recipe for roast teriyaki chicken. I had my inspiration – but why roast the chicken when I could rotisserie it? Rotisserie teriyaki chicken is exactly what I was looking for. Teriyaki sauce has simple, pantry ingredients and takes all of three minutes to make. Don’t let the simplicity of the sauce fool you, though – it adds …

Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Italian Style

My recipe for slow cooker Italian pot roast evolved from a recipe in Cook’s Country magazine. Cook’s Country is part of the America’s Test Kitchen empire, and the younger sibling of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I look forward to new issues of Cook’s Country in large part because of their Slow Cooker column. It’s fascinating to see what the…um…extraordinarily thorough* test kitchen has come up with. Cook’s Country has slow cooker recipes that don’t compromise flavor for ease of use.*Sometimes they run off the rails in their quest for a perfect recipe. But I’m glad they’re out there, pushing the envelope. Someone has to lead the fight against recipes with canned mushroom soup in them. I was thrilled when they released Slow Cooker Revolution. This cookbook compiles all those Cook’s Country recipes I love, plus hundreds of other slow cooker recipes they’ve been working on in the test kitchen. Finally, I have a cookbook I can refer people to when they ask about slow cooking.*It was worth the price just for the picture of the “wall …