Author: Norm King

Every Day Barbecue Sauce

There are millions of recipes out there for BBQ sauce, with fancy names and long lists of ingredients. Everybody takes pride in their own particular recipe, which baffles me when they insist that I share mine with them. I don’t keep a recipe for BBQ sauce around, and I have probably never made it the same way twice anyway. It may depend on what I have on hand, I may shop ingredients for it, or I may be too tired to really care one way or the other. Chefs are tired a lot of the time. Regardless of the circumstance, it’s going to go something like this: Ingredients: Ketchup, 1 cup/225 ml. Worcestershire sauce, 1/3 cup/80 ml or thereabouts. Sugar, 1 Tablespoon or thereabouts. Vinegar, white but any kind will do, 1/3 cup/80 ml or thereabouts. Garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon or thereabouts. Optional ingredients: Tabasco or Durkees or Frank’s or Buffalo wing sauce or one of those. Onion powder. Liquid smoke, less is more. Pineapple juice to replace sugar. Tomato paste instead of ketchup, but then you really have to increase the amounts of the other stuff to make it real. You’re going to need some water too. Tamarind paste instead of Worcestershire. Anchovies, that’s right, anchovies. Soy sauce, not a big...

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Catalina Vinaigrette/Tomato Oil

This sauce/dressing shares some similarities with what we used to call “French Dressing,” but it is not really French. These days you see it on the shelves referred to usually as “Catalina Dressing,” but it is probably not from Catalina either, wherever that is. This sauce is unique in that it is technically an emulsion, but is intended to eventually “break” somewhat. This releases a tomato colored oil that floats on the top, which has its own purpose(s). Tools needed: Stick blender or generic blender. Squirt bottles. Ingredients: Ketchup, 1 cup/225 ml. White vinegar, 0.5 cups/110 ml. White sugar, 0.5 cups/110 ml. Water, 0.5 cups/110 ml. Garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon. Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tablespoon. Salt, a pinch. Vegetable oil, 2 cups. Procedure: In a blender, or with a stick blender, combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, water, garlic powder, Worcstershire and salt. With motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly. Store in a squirt bottle....

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Purple Surple

This thick syrup is used any time and anywhere that you want to add a sweet acidic note to any dish–great with chicken and pork, for example. Ingredients: Black grapes, 1 lb/450 g. Blueberries or blackberries, 1 lb/450 g. Plums, any kind, any color, 1 lb/450 g. Sugar, 2 cups/4oo g. Procedure: Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil in a small sauce pan–be careful not to scorch. A microwave oven can also be used. Run through a food mill to remove pits, stems, and peels. Check for thickness and return to sauce pan or microwave oven to...

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Sous Vide: Beef Stroganoff

 Authenticists need not apply Food is like politics: It is easy to get people to argue about it. Regardless of the position taken, most people have no idea what they are talking about. In most cases, the outcome doesn’t even matter. Everything from what goes into a “real” club sandwich to what does NOT go into an “authentic” Marinara sauce has been, is, and will forever be debated with great enthusiasm and no resolution. Who can define “real”? And so it is with Beef Stroganoff. Is it a stew? Is it a sauté? What color is it supposed to...

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Sous Vide: The Retherm–Stove Top Beef Stew

The price of success No matter how good your sous vide processed BEEF comes out, it is almost inevitable that you will find yourself with surplus on occasion. The alternative would mean you ran out before you finished feeding your family or guests. Even chefs must submit to some inaccuracies in production volume. Cold sandwiches and soups are popular candidates for recycling what I steadfastly refuse to call “left overs,” but there are other options too. Let me stew on this for a minute Here’s an obvious one that has been sadly relegated to either the frozen food section of...

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Sous Vide: Shrimp/Prawn Salad with Avocado and Grilled Celery Heart

Bridging the gulf shrimp Those familiar with my work have probably noticed that I almost never use sous vide to process seafood. This is not because I do not like “fruits de mere.” This is because sous vide really does not offer much benefit to most of the oceans’ citizens. With the exception of octopus, maritime proteins don’t usually require tenderization–quite the opposite, actually. Steps are taken in the cooking processes to PREVENT tenderization. Beyond that, pasteurizing seafood doesn’t really extend the shelf life very much, so scratch that. That leaves us with uniform appearance of doneness all the...

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