Author: Norm King

Beef Trimmings Brown Stock/Gravy

If you have read our recipe on SOUS VIDE TRI-TIP, or our article on WHOLE TOP ROUND, you may be in possession of some trim from one of these this sub-primal cuts of meat. Usually casually discarded, this commentary demonstrates how to turn these trimmings into a richly flavored stock or sauce. Stereotypes Chefs and even newly dedicated “foodies” cringe awkwardly when they hear the word “gravy.” Gravy gets no respect–we tend to think of it as a sauce made by people who don’t know how to make sauce. Reluctantly tolerating use of the “G” word on Thanksgiving day, we do so...

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Every Escoffier has a Carême…

NORM KING·SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2018 Many of us know that August Escoffier is usually considered to be the originator of classical French cuisine. This causes a certain amount of confusion. Actually, Escoffier’s role was more to “codify” a style/method/philosophy of cooking that already existed. Most people and even most chefs have never heard of Marie-Antoine Carême. Carême was a (male) celebrity chef long before Puck, Flay, Lagasse et al, even before Escoffier. Gastronomic historians consider Carême to be the FIRST celebrity chef. Of course, the global, 24/7 media machine that we have today didn’t exist in the 18th and 19th centuries. A chef famous in Paris could be totally unknown in Lyon, less than a hundred miles away. Born in 1784 and the youngest of 16 children, Carême’s parents abandoned him in 1794. It was the height of the French Revolution and things were tough. Carême worked as an unskilled laborer in a neighborhood café and then apprenticed in a pastry shop at the tender (but typical) age of 14. Eventually, he became quite well known for his creativity, and himself codified traditional recipes in literature. Carême died of respiratory illness at the age of 48–what we call emphysema. Stoves were charcoal fired back then, and chefs were routinely exposed to the toxic fumes–rather like if we stood over an open barbecue all day. Chef Carême died eleven years...

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Sous Vide: Reheating/retherming

Sous vide teaches us some very important things. More science is directly applied to sous vide than to most of the other more familiar methods of cooking. This is not to say that other methods of cooking are not dependent on science. Using scientific method to make food safe to eat is almost always the purpose of applying heat to it in the first place. Only after that can we move on to the goals of tenderness, flavor, and appearance. Many of us know that Baldwin’s tables are dedicated to safety, safety, and more safety. Familiarity with HACCP plans and USDA guidelines bring us to the understanding that food can spend only so much time in the “temperature danger zone.” The zone ranges from 40 F/4 C to somewhere around 125 F/ 52 C. Food should not spend more than four hours in this danger zone. That four hour clock ticks while the food is travelling from 40 F/4 C to 125 F/ 52 C. But that clock also ticks as the food travels from 125 F/ 52 C to 40 F/4 C. I find myself reminding people of this a lot. It usually takes longer to heat UP than it does to cool DOWN because iced water shocking removes energy faster than the sous vide bath can apply it. So far so good. The four hour rule is...

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Sous Vide: Beef Sub-Primals; Eye of Round

  Don’t believe your eyes…of round… The eye of round looks really good. The shape is uniform, there is usually marble apparent. Not an awful lot of trimming seems to be required. If we didn’t know better, we might let ourselves believe it was like a filet/tenderloin, just waiting to be cut into steaks. But like I said in a recent article about New Yorks and rib eyes, selecting steaks on the basis of overall appearance is not always a good idea. For lack of a less jargonistic way of saying it, some of the ugliest steaks make for some...

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