This past Christmas I purchased an Anova Precision Cooker for my son, Rob, who loves to cook.  He was very skeptical when he opened the box and asked “what is it”?  Well, just what exactly is a precision cooker you might ask…..it’s an immersion circulator that is used to cook sous vide….and what is sous vide cooking?

Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” and refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a temperature controlled water bath. However, that’s a bit of a misnomer. You don’t need to vacuum seal your food to cook sous vide. Instead, this technique is really about bringing food to a very precise temperature and holding it there for a period of time, which is why we refer to the technique as “precision cooking.”

Chefs around the world use sous vide cooking to prepare food to the perfect level of doneness while also retaining its nutrients, but the technique isn’t just limited to high end restaurants. In recent years, affordable countertop sous vide equipment like the Anova Precision Cooker have made sous vide cooking available for home use.

To cook sous vide, first prepare your food of choice — it can be anything from a steak or a chicken breast to corn on the cob — then place it in a plastic vacuum-sealed or zipper lock bag. Attach your immersion circulator to a pot of water and set the desired time and temperature. Clip your sealed bag of food to the pot and let it cook, the circulator moves water around the pot, ensuring a consistent temperature throughout. Once your food has finished cooking, you can sear it, serve it, or even save it for later. It’s simple, convenient, and produces professional quality results every time.” 

It didn’t take Rob very long to perfect the sous vide technique.  He would always call me or text me and tell me how fantastic all the food was that he made with the Anova.  I have to admit,  I was jealous!!!  Here are some pictures of just a few of his creations, burgers, steaks, rack of lamb…..Yum!

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This past Mother’s Day I posted a link to Anova on Facebook and made a subtle hint about it making a great gift for mom.  WOW…..did it work!  I was so excited when Rob & Cecile sent me the Anova….I couldn’t wait to try it out.  So far I have made burgers, steaks, and boneless beef tips.  All have been wonderful.  I have been itching at the bit to try baby back ribs.  Well, its the bit…..

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THE RUB

Then seal and add to pot:

Now the fun part, turn the Anova cooker on and set the temperature to 145F and the timer on for 20 (YES 20) hours and forget about it…..

20 Hours Later:

Remove the bags of ribs from the pan.  Ribs can be placed in the refrigerator if not ready to use them right away (but take them out and let them come to room temperature before finishing).

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Now comes the really fun part….light the grill (or you can use a grill pan or place the ribs on a sheet pan and place under the broiler).

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Once the charcoal is hot (around 350F) place the ribs on the grill, presentation side down,  for 2-3 minutes, turn the ribs over and baste with your favorite BBQ Sauce (we love Weber Spicy).  Close lid and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.  Remove ribs from grill, serve…

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Definitely the MOST tender, moist, flavorful ribs I have ever had.  The hint of smoke was perfect, the meat didn’t fall off the bones (that’s a Memphis no-no).  ” Properly cooked ribs will pull cleanly off the bone with your teeth, but they will still have some resilience and chew, like a properly cooked steak, but not be tough.”

Here’s the recipe….enjoy and Buon Appetito!

Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs

The Rub:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Weber Smokey Mesquite Seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
liquid smoke

Mix all dry ingredients together until combined. Sprinkle over both sides of ribs. Set ribs aside for 1 to 2 hours.

Divide ribs into 3 pieces. Place each piece in a zip lock or food saver bag and place a few drops of liquid smoke into each bag. Place sealed bags in preheated water bath for 20 hours, set at 145°F.

Remove ribs from bath. Place on a grill pan, under the broiler, or on a hot grill for 3-5 minutes per side. Baste with your favorite BBQ Sauce, if desired.

Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs


Happy Valentines Day!

One of my favorite meals to make on Valentines Day or any other special love day is “Beef Wellington” This classic dish is so easy to make and doesn’t really take long either. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family has over many holidays!  Happy Valentines Day!

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Mushroom Mixture:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine

Wellington:
4 prime cut filet mignons, 4-6 ounce in size, 1 1/2” thick
freshly ground sea salt & coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Egg wash, 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water

Wine Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 package Beef Demi Glace, 2.6 ounces
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, add butter and melt. Add the shallots & garlic, saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until wine has evaporated.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Generously sprinkle both sides of filets with salt & pepper. Place in hot skillet and sear filets on all sides until brown. Remove from skillet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry large enough to wrap around the beef. Divide mushroom mixture in fourths and place in center of pastry. Top mushrooms with filet. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Wrap filet with pastry cutting off any extra (use the extra for topping wellington with shapes or initials).
Place seam side down on baking sheet and top wellington with egg wash. Bake 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden on top. Use an instant read thermometer for accurate meat temperature (125 for rare, 130 for medium) let meat rest 5 minutes before serving.
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add demi glace and red wine. Cook until mixture is reduced by half. Add heavy cream. Serve immediately. Place wine sauce on a serving dish and top with beef wellington.
Buon Appetito!


Succulent Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail is one of the easiest things to make.  Most people make one basic mistake at home, they overcook the shrimp.   Follow these easy directions and you will always have the most succulent shrimp!

1 lb. 21-25 count AMERICAN Shrimp (the count # is how many shrimp in one pound), peeled & deveined
1 tablespoon Webers® Boston Bay Seasoning
2 cups cold water
Ice bath (ice cubes & cold water)
½ cup shredded lettuce (for plating)
Lemon wedges for garnish, if desired

Ice Bath for Shrimp

Ice Bath For Shrimp

Cocktail Sauce:

½ cup ketchup
¼ cup horseradish
Juice of ½ a lemon
2-3 dashes of tobasco sauce
1 teaspoon Webers ® Boston Bay Seasoning

Place the water and Boston Bay Seasoning in a medium sized sauce pan over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Immediately add the shrimp.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Drain shrimp and place into the ice bath (this prevents further cooking).  Drain the shrimp when cooled (about 30-60 seconds).  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a small mixing bowl add all the cocktail sauce ingredients, mix until well blended.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve:  Place shredded lettuce in cocktail glass, top with shrimp, and drizzle with cocktail sauce.  This recipe serves 4.

The

What You Will Need

Years ago I started working as a cooking instructor at The Viking Cooking School in Memphis, TN.  I learned so many great things about cooking, styles, techniques, short cuts, knife skills, etc.  But one of my favorite things that I learned was how to cook the best steak at home.  We always use to go out for steak, Ruth’s Chris was our favorite steakhouse.  I can proudly say that we haven’t been back there in many years.  Once again, you too can make the best steak ever at home.  You only need a few ingredients for the steak, but I like to add a wine reduction sauce with mushrooms as well.

There are several key techniques for making the best steak at home:

  • Start with “USDA Prime Beef” Filet (yes, it’s worth the $$$)
  • Take steaks out of the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking
  • Wrap steak(s) with butchers twine (sold in every grocery store)
  • Season steaks 30 minutes before cooking
  • Generously rub steaks with extra virgin olive oil
  • Use good quality sea salt (I like grey and pink)
  • Freshly ground peppercorns are a must!
  • Prepare grill 30 minutes in advance
  • Bring grill up to the hottest temperature possible before cooking steaks
    Hottest Temperature

    Hottest Temperature

    Grilling Steaks

    Grilling Steaks

  • Use a meat thermometer!  (Unless you’ve been cooking steaks for a while and can tell their doneness using the “touch” technique.
  • Let the cooked steaks rest!  Cover with aluminum foil for 3-5 minutes, this prevents juices from escaping and keeps the meat moist and flavorful.

    Let Steaks Rest

    Let Steaks Rest

Portobello Mushroom Sauce:Deglaze Pan with Brandy

You'll never go back to your favorite steakhouse again!

You’ll never go back to your favorite steakhouse again!

Buon Appetito!

Buon Appetito!

Succulent Shrimp Cocktail and the “Perfect” Filet Mignon” – July & August Calendar Photos


Thank you all for supporting my blog…2014 in review. 2015 will be even bigger and better!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.



2015 Galena’s Cucina Calendars

Just in time for the holidays, the perfect gift for that “foodie” in your life.  Monthly recipes along with beautiful photos.  Now available for ordering, first 25 orders will receive a free recipe collection. Special price of $12.95 plus shipping and handling.

Deliveries will be available after November 20, 2014.  Click on the “Order Form” to place your order.

Order Form

Galena's Cucina 2015 Calendars

Galena’s Cucina 2015 Calendars