Sous Vide at Home, a Salad and Ahi alla Pesto

Sous Vide  - the device and a book -  my Christmas present to myself.  Cheers!! Fun with a new appliance.  At least it takes up very little room when not in use.  I did try McGivering this technique, without too much success a number of years ago.  There are now amazing  and inexpensive tools for doing sous vide at home, like the restaurants do it.  The handy tool clamps onto a large pot of water, circulating and heating it to an exact temperature, programmed to cook for the set time. You probably know all this, but it was only recently brought to my attention.  Sous-Vide at Home, by Lisa Q. Fetterman, is the bomb!.

So far I've done the poached eggs, beets marinated in various good things and ahi in pesto.  Looking forward to making duck confit without loads of duck fat, tempering chocolate and infusing liqueurs.

Her book is full of very tempting photos, gorgeous actually, which help in encouraging one to press on with mastering a new technique. Lots of great recipes and tips on using the device.

I did poached eggs first just because they are the easiest, and it's something I never seemed to get right.  No need to bag them, they go into the temperature regulated water bath, shell and all, then cook til the timer stops the process.  There was a pretty short learning curve, getting used to programming the instrument correctly.  Some devices have an ap so you can control everything from your iphone.  I like being more hands on myself.

So, to do the Beet Salad with Gouda and Pistachios, I first cooked the beets in a bag with the marinade. When they were done, I let them cool at room temperature, then put in the fridge for serving the next day.

Beet Salad with Gouda and Pistachios

A few substitutions were made, as we were out of ginger, I dug up some galangal.  No fennel fronds, so I used arugula, roasted salted cashews instead of pistachios, and like that.  The marinade cooking along with the beets made for a sweet infusion of flavors.

And, the ahi tuna was perfection. Just the right texture, and softly tender. I zip-locked it in with a pesto marinade, and served over some rice. Very nice.

This post will link up with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend cooking event and to the January Foodies Read Challenge.  Join in for some good book recommendations and recipes, and or contribute your own.


Cooking Roman for Feast of Sorrow

We at Cook the Books Club have been reading Feast of Sorrow, by Crystal King.  This, our current bimonthly selection is being hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats.  Ms. King has written an excellent novel for anyone interested in ancient Roman history, food or just some fascinating reading.  It's a fictional memoir, based on the life of an individual, historical gourmet, Marcus Gavius Apicius, even though not much is really known about him, and his imagined head chef, a slave named Thrasius.  It begins in 1 BCE, the 26th year of Augustus Caesar's reign. The author has certainly done her research, everything rings true, often horrifyingly so. 

From the publishers:
"Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, Crystal King’s seminal debut features the man who inspired the world’s oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.