At Home with Sous Vide: A New Cookbook You Can Help Make Happen

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An Aussie sous vide pioneer is crowdsourcing a new cookbook. At the time of this post, he only needed a couple of hundred dollars to meet his goal. It’s definitely worth checking out, and if you feel so moved, helping him hit his target.

The aforementioned pioneer, Dale Prentice, has written the text for the book, with lots of insight in to sous vide cooking and tricks for best results. The recipes are by Dale and contributions from chefs and bloggers from around the world. They have some amazing contributors and a truly diverse set of recipes for sous vide cooks of every level.

Photo by author Dale Prentice.

Photo by author Dale Prentice.

Contributing chefs: Bruno Goussalt, Nathan Myhrvold, Wylie Dufresne, Shannon Bennett, Phillipe Mouchel, Stefan Cosser, Brad Farmerie, Spencer Patrick, Jarrod Hudson, Martin Boetz, Shane Delia, Anthony Fullerton, Mark Ebbels, James Blight, Patrick Dang, George Diamond, Dallas Cuddy, Kirby Craig, Adam Draper, Pablo Tordesilla, Ryan Clift, Michael Ryan, Jason Logsdon, J.Kenji Lopez-Alt, Harold and Christine Fleming, Raymond Capaldi, Christine Manfield, Florent Gerardin, Joe Strybel, Wayne Smith, Garen Maskal, Roberto Cortez, Andrew Dargue, Tom Randalph, Darren Purchase, Madalene Bonvini-Hamel and David Roberts.

Support Cooking – At Home with Sous Vide.

UPDATE: 30 September — The project hit its initial funding goal yesterday, but you still have a few days to contribute if you’d like one of the available donor perks.

I’ve got a date with Blondie!

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Blondies on the stem. Or is it stalk?

Blondies on the stem. Or is it stalk?

I’ve never been a huge fan of dates (either the social or the foodstuff variety), but for a couple or three weeks every year, I go date crazy. Forget everything you think you know about dates. These little darlings have the crunch of an apple, the astringency of quince (at least at first), and the sweetness of honey at the back of the palate. For about one more week this season, depending on where you live, you may have access to these lovely little gems, and I most heartily recommend picking a few up, if only for the experience of tasting something you likely have never tasted before. According to a couple of the local growers (and this thesis was supported by a manager at Hadley’s, a date mecca on the road to Palm Springs), these not-quite-fully-ripe dates are known as “blondies,” and most of them are shipped off to Japan, where they fetch top dollar… or top yen. If you leave them to hang around, their sugar content increases, their skin softens, and they turn into the dates you know and love (or don’t depending on your taste).

Blondies in a bottle

Blondies in a bottle

I pickled a bunch of them a couple of weeks ago, and I’m curious as to how they will taste when they are ready. Stay tuned. In the interim, go and find your own blondie.

The Incredible Hulk in a glass

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The Bride and I were dining at Paiche, an excellent (and highly recommended) new restaurant in Marina del Rey, whose menu offers several intriguing non-alcoholic concoctions. As designated driver that evening, I recused myself from their wonderful wine list, but I wouldn’t settle for fizzy water as my sole potable, so I selected a drink they call The Incredible Hulk. [Cue the ever-litigious Disney (who now owns Marvel Entertainment), likely into its third draft of a cease-and-desist order; by the time you get to the restaurant, it may be called The Bruce (or David) Banner, or something else entirely.]

The Incredible Hulk consists of five simple ingredients: parsley, cactus, orange juice, pineapple juice, and celery. [Here’s a mnemonic for the ingredient list: CC POP.] Living as I do in the Los Angeles area, rounding up some cactus (known at the Mexican grocery store as nopales) was no big deal, and the rest of the items are available anywhere. I kinda cheated and bought pineapple juice and orange juice, rather than making them myself from fresh fruit, as I suspect the restaurant does. I revved up the old Vita-Mixer and ground up six large celery stalks, a pound of chopped nopales (do NOT buy the pickled version or the ones packed in brine for this!), and a bunch of curly parsley with the bottom inch of the stems removed.

Incredible Hulk sits on stove top without fear

Incredible Hulk sits on stove top without fear

I’ve discovered that adding a citrus juice (or any acidic juice) to cactus juice causes foam to rise more or less immediately, so don’t worry if that happens; you can skim it off or discard it. I just mixed it back in. I prefer my juice a little “greener” than the one Paiche serves, so I used less of the orange-pineapple juice blend than they do, but you can experiment to find your sweet (or not-so-sweet) spot.

Looking for vodka in all the wrong places

Looking for vodka in all the wrong places

THE INCREDIBLE HULK
1 bunch parsley
1 pound nopales (cactus), chopped
6 large celery stalks
32 oz. orange juice
32 oz. pineapple juice

Blend greens and a little bit of the orange and pineapple juices (mixed 50-50) in a Vita-Mixer (you’ll need a pretty powerful blender or food processor to deal with the pulpiness of the celery and nopales) until smooth. [You will likely have to do this in two or three batches.] Strain if you wish (I didn’t). Pour half a glass of the greens mixture into a glass with an equal amount of orange-pineapple juice. Stir and serve over ice. Go on rampage. “Hulk smash!”

A refreshing glass of the delicious beverage

A refreshing glass of the delicious beverage