Steak Florentine, Done Sous Vide

Steak Florentine

Steak Florentine is something very special, and it doesn’t require much more than a grill, to be honest. That said, I wanted to do something that was still a perfect steak and yet figure out how to do it sous vide (2 hours at 120 degrees F). I came close, but left the steak a little too long in the sous vide bath. So the result probably looks a little more brown than I wanted, but aside from that, the result was actually very good.

First, let’s talk about a steak Florentine. The traditional way is to start with a Porterhouse steak that’s about 2 inches thick, placed on a hot grill in a vertical position for about 20 minutes, then flipped on each side for about 5 minutes. After all that, the steak is still rare, believe it or not. There are some extras you can do with the steak, flavoring it with garlic or even rosemary, but int the end, the result is still just a beautifully grilled steak.

For my version, I skipped the vertical phase, using the sous vide to get the steak (which I rubbed with garlic) and used a grill to get the sides done, using maybe two minutes per side. The result, when stripped from the bone and sliced, had the very good Steak Florentine flavor and comparing it to other more traditional versions I think it worked well. As I said earlier, I’d probably remove the steak from the sous vide a bit earlier, but it really didn’t change the flavor at all.

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Just Right Today, Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

So I wanted to take another stab at tacos last week and the very best thing I had on hand was some chicken thighs, which were fresh and very juicy (if that’s a word I can use with chicken thighs). And when it was all done, I actually really liked these chicken tacos and wanted to share them here in Discovery Cooking

One of the great things about tacos is that almost anything goes in them (provided it has some Mexican flavors and loads of Chilis). Apart from that, almost anything else goes. The recipe below is how I did this little treat.

It also gives me a chance to do something else I’ve wanted to do for a couple of months, which is to explain what’s going on here at Discovery Cooking. Yes, I’ve moved to Cleveland, Ohio (well Sheffield Lake, anyway) and I’m really about a two-three block walk from the actual Lake Erie. And while that’s good, as is the fact I’m living by myself, which is interesting and occasionally something of a pain, it’s sort of changing the way I cook. I don’t generally have three or four people to cook for these days, and I’m still learning that part of the puzzle. So for now, I’ll probably be posting a little less as I reconfigure what I do here, and eventually, I’ll get back to a better posting schedule and I hope some new ideas. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, here are the chicken tacos. They’re very good.

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Chicken and Waffles — Sous Vide Edition

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and waffles apparently is a thing that goes way back, although I came across it only recently. I still haven’t figured out whether it’s a big breakfast or an interesting dinner. Either way, I guess it combines wonderful fried chicken, waffles and in my case, a very tasty bourbon-maple syrup topping. Oh yeah — it’s also done sous vide — which makes it just superb, in my opinion.

So for those who aren’t familiar with sous vide (are there people like that still?) we start out with the chicken, cooked sous vide at about 150 degrees for about two hours. For this recipe, I boned the chicken (except for the legs) before cooking with just a little oil and garlic. When that’s done, I used some flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, then fried the chicken until the breadcrumbs were just the right color. Because all the chicken is cooked to 150 degrees and left long enough to kill off any bacteria, it’s fresh and very juicy. 

While the recipe is cooking, I made the waffles, which are just the way the manufacturer says they should be, including a little buttermilk, then got to work on the bourbon and maple syrup mix, which is very easy but very flavorful. 

While I made this for dinner, chicken and waffles could easily cut down the chicken and make it into a quick breakfast.

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Curry Meatballs, Finally I Got It Right…

Curry Meatballs

Curry meatballs are something I’ve tried to make before and just didn’t care much for them. This time, the meatballs were delicious and it came together rather easily. In fact, now that I have a good idea what I’m doing, it may well be time to see if I can come up with some variations. This version really hits the spot though.

My original plan was to start with ground lamb, but, this being Cleveland, it seemed that finding lamb turned out to be much more of a hardship that one would hope. Yes, I can find it, but not without more time than I had on this particular day, so I opted instead for  beef, pork and veal, in what the butcher’s call a meatball mix. And rather than go through a lot of trying a lot of different ingredients (as I have in the past) I decided to try just a little coconut milk, a nice round of yellow (or golden) curry in a powder form. Add in lots of onions and garlic and, of course, some noodles.

The resulting curry meatballs were very, very good, even though the recipe turned out to be much simpler than I used to do, with less spectacular results. Sometime simpler is better, I guess.

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Foie Gras, Maybe for Brunch or Dinner

foie gras

Foie Gras is one of those things that, if you like it, there is almost nothing on the planet that will come even close to that flavor. And if you’re one of those that for many reasons don’t like it, well it does mean more for those of us who do. And when you have a lovely daughter who sends you two very large foie gras, that’s something to celebrate. 

This foie gras is set up to be either a brunch or dinner, combined with hash browns, a few sugar snap peas, plenty of bacon and a little parsley. It works very well in either capacity. The snap peas and bacon can be done a little ahead of time (I like to make my bacon with a little water. It works really well that way.) The hash browns get finished as close as you can to the foie gras, and it all comes together rather quickly on a plate.

The foie gras is a delicate thing to cook. First, get it warmed as close to room temperature as you can. Add a little salt and pepper. Then, using the highest heat you can get on your stove, sear it for two minutes on one side and just a minute or so on the other. That way, the foie gras stays nice and firm and doesn’t turn into liquid, which obviously is a real no-no. This is one of those lunches or dinners you will crave forever more.

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Turkey Vegetable Soup

Turkey Vegetable Soup

It’s getting to be soup time again. This is one of those things I like the most about cooking, getting a good hot soup made for those cool days when nothing else will do. The turkey vegetable soup in this recipe also gave me the time to try out my new One Pot, which makes a very creditable full-flavored soup,  in much less time than I thought it might take — about an hour, in fact.

The soup is straight forward, with some Asian-inspired vegetables and good old turkey thighs. The veggies were what I had on hand, so you can play around with them a bit, but generally, you want to pay attention to when you add them if you’re doing the soup in the normal way, adding them so that the cooking time works out right. And of course, the times for finishing up the soup should probably take at least two hours, with veggies going in  little later than in the One Pot. You can use whatever veggies you happen to have handy.

If you have a one pot, I generally put all the veggies in at once, near the beginning. The pressure cooker in the soup category on the One Pot uses a pressure setting and the veggies get done much faster and more evenly that way.

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Nice Little Sous Vide Chicken Breast Salad

Chicken Breast Salad

Chicken breasts can make, among lots of other things, a nice salad. And while many like the light, easy salad that you see almost everywhere, there also is a “more robust” kind of salad that I tend to like. If you really want a meal with a nice one or two chicken breast plopped on top, this is what I had in mind when I decided to fix a nice salad dinner.

This whole dish is really rather easy to make. All it really requires is a sauce made up of butter, vinegar, honey and maybe a little soy sauce to give it a color and add a little to the flavor. You’ve all heard me talk about sous vide on many occasions. But I will never make a chicken breast any other way (unless I’m cooking a whole chicken). If you’ve never had a sous vide breast, you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference it makes. Can you do this without? Yep. But if you can, get a sous vide. You’ll be glad you did. 

Once the sauce is made, and the chicken is done, all you really need to do is toss the breasts on a quick grill (or some other kind of grilling machine) with a little bit of the sauce and pull together as much salad as you’d like. When the grilling is done, all you need to do is pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken and onto the salad underneath, and you’re done.

Note: By the way, this is the 501st post to this recipe site and while I had no idea we would ever get this far, it is gratifying to know that we’ve done fairly well as recipe blogs go. Much has happened since the first post a little over three years ago and there is much more to do. Stick around. I hope it gets even better. 

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