Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Guest post: Better living through chemistry - sous vide

January 18, 2008 4 comments

From my son, mathematician and Renaissance man:

Sous vide was an industrial process (and later a restaurant process)
developed to more efficiently cook foods while keeping their juices in the food.  It allows you to cook at a temperature which more finely tunes what parts of the food are being broken down.  In the example above, the steak is cooked at a temperature too low to coagulate the muscle proteins, but at a temperature high enough to break down the collagen into gelatin.  Rare steak’s toughness is usually caused by collagen, and well-done steaks are tough because of the coagulation of muscle proteins.  Check out the pictures on the page

“Perfect steak with DIY “sous vide” cooking

The result is (allegedly) an incredibly tender steak that tastes quite rare.  You can also use this technique to make “boiled” eggs (cooked in 65C water) which have a firm yolk, and soft whites.  Apparently you can also create vegetables that taste fresh, but have a cooked texture (the temperature varies with the egetable).  In this case, the temp is too low to break down flavoring chemicals, but high enough to partially dissolve down the cellulose in the cell walls.  Some vegetables (like carrots, onions and sweet potatoes) also have enzymes which turn starch into sugar at an accelerated rate at high temperature, but is deactivated by high temperatures.  So, cooked in this way, you can end up with very sweet vegetables, with better nutrition than traditionally cooked vegetables.

Needless to say, after I did some reading about it, I bought a probe thermometer on amazon.  I will be experimenting with this!

And later…

I got my probe thermometer in the mail today.  First I “boiled” some eggs at 64-66C for 75 minutes.  The results were then served on toast.
A creamy, perfectly semisoft yolk, together with light, mildly runny whites.  Delicious.  Milly described them as her “dream boiled eggs”. Then I went to Schnucks, got a 12oz sirloin, and cooked it at 60C for 45 minutes inside of an oven bag with a little soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and some pepper.  (The vinegar was chosen to reduce the growth of bacteria, just in case.  Also because it’s good.)  Then I took the steak out, melted some butter in a very hot skillet, and grilled the outside until it was a crispy brown.  Just below the surface of the steak, I found a gorgeous tender pink meat.  It was incredibly
tender—never once did I find myself with an unpleasant piece of gristle in my mouth, it all just melted.  I feel like my whole life, I
wanted to eat this steak, and now I have.

Man that steak was good.  I wish I was eating it right now…

Categories: Food, Reviews

To:  McDonald’s strategic suits

December 13, 2006 16 comments

From: a customer

It looked OK in the picture: eggs, cheese, bacon, and a grilled “English muffin” (which a pair of Mormon missionaries from England once assured me is a complete misnomer).  It should be edible so long as one has the foresight to request the omission of that congealed driveway-spackle you call “cheese”.

As a side note, write down this word: “Cheddar”.  Look it up.  Your customers will thank you.

But even without the cheese-like substance, the muffin was soggy, and had raisins in it!  What the hell were you thinking?  I like raisins, but where on Earth did you get the idea that raisins go with bacon and eggs?

Maybe, not on Earth.  Under those corporate suits, are you aliens?  Perhaps you should learn more about the food that Earthlings eat when not driven by starvation.  Which, I would certainly have to be, afore I ever consume another “McGriddle sandwich”.

Categories: Food, Reviews

But it’s for my health!

October 30, 2006 1 comment

There are three separate research programs going on to investigate the effects of tumeric in the body: it has anti-imflammatory properties that could help arthritis, blocks another protein that causes cancer, and may fight cystic fibrosis.  That’s some grub.

That’s shaping up to a pretty strong argument to have lunch at the Indian buffet sometime this week.  Mmmmmm…. chicken tandoori…

Categories: Food, Reviews


August 17, 2006 5 comments

I don’t feel like writing anything this evening, so instead, have a sundae:

(Click for full frame and large view)

The point of making your own sundae is to get exactly what you want, so change this to your own favorite ingredients.  Here are mine: bottom scoop is Breyer’s Vanilla Swiss Almond.  Apply light glaze of Nescafe Ice Java syrup (real mocha) and second scoop of Breyer’s Natural Vanilla.  Add thin top glaze of same syrup, 1 perfect walnut half, 5 perfect roasted salted cashews, and put back in freezer for 1/2 hour.

Categories: Food, Reviews

Way better than Coke

January 23, 2005 Comments off

We get this Sangria-flavored soda from our friendly Mexican-food store. 

The brand is “Sangria Senorial” and it is a product of Mexico.  It is a spicy soda flavored like sangria wine, but has no alcohol.  You may not be able to find it in your local mini-mart or vending machine, but it is definitely worth the search.  Try pre-chilling the glass in the freezer.

I like it with tacos, which are a favorite in our house.  MrsDOF makes up the spicy meat and beans, and I fry the corn tortilla shells on a griddle, plus cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, lettuce, and sour cream.  Mmmmmmm!

Another treat I like from that store is their ice-cream bars – real pieces of fruit in them – but it’s January and colder’n the dickens out there.  So ice cream bars will have to wait for warmer weather.

Categories: Food, Reviews