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



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This dish easily wins the award for one of the fastest, easiest and most delicious recipes out there.  Total time – 45 minutes, which includes 10 minutes to peel and devein shrimp.  I bet most people have all the ingredients in their cabinet, except the shrimp.  :o)

Prep time:  10-15 minutes
Cook time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb. raw shrimp (20-25 count), peeled and deveined
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup butter
½ onion or 1 shallot, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 14.5 ounce cans of Red Gold, Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh basil
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
1 lb. capellini, cooked al dente, drained – reserve a few tablespoons of the cooked pasta water*
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Good quality Romano or Parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shaved or grated

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and oil.  Add chopped onion (or shallot), garlic and red pepper flakes.  Reduce heat to low and cook until onions are soft and transparent, about 10 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes, fresh thyme, basil, black pepper and chicken stock.  Increase heat to medium low and continue cooking 20-30 minutes.  Add raw shrimp, cook until shrimp turns pink, about 5 minutes.  Add heavy cream and reserved pasta water, simmer 2-3 minutes.

Place cooked pasta in a large serving bowl, pour sauce over pasta and top with fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese.

*Make sure you GENEROUSLY salt the pasta water before cooking your pasta, about 2-3 tablespoons.

Buon Appetito!

 

Capellini with Tomatoes and Shrimp


Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day! Just how easy is it to make Beef Wellington? Check out my blog!!!

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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 holiday! 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…

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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!


With Chinese New Year right around the corner (Monday, February 8th) what better way to celebrate this occasion,  then with some fall off the bone, flavorful, easy to make, Chinese Ribs.

I was in the mood for something different last night for dinner when I decided to make these ribs.  I hadn’t had them in a very long time.  What a great surprise to see my daughter Jenny go back 2 times for more ribs.  These really are “finger lickin’ good”!

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Cut one rack of ribs (I used baby back) into individual pieces.  Lightly salt and pepper ribs.

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Place 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet or or dutch oven skillet with oil.  Add ribs and brown on all sides over medium high heat.  Deglaze  ribs with 1 ¼ cups of your favorite Sake….I used DSC_0003

Add ½ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of ginger, and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer for 2 hours or until the meat pulls away easily from the bones.

Remove ribs from skillet and place on a sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

DSC_0009Add 1 tablespoon Karo® light syrup, 2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce, ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds to skillet.  Stir until heated throughly.DSC_0007

Using a silicone pastry brush, brush glaze over ribs and place under broiler for 2-4 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

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Click below to download the recipe:

Chinese Braised Ribs

Hope you enjoy these “finger lickin'” ribs as much as we do!

Buon Appetito!

Chinese Braised Ribs


According to Wikipedia “November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar. November retained its name (from the Latin novem meaning “nine”) when January and February were added to the Roman calendar. November is a month of spring in the Southern Hemisphere and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere”.  But to me, November means, football games, family holiday gatherings, raking leaves, cooler temperatures, and comfort food.

Wasn’t that long ago that I discovered (I know what you are thinking) spaghetti squash.  I REALLY don’t know why it took me so long either!  Well, this recipe is sure to delight everyone in your family, its the perfect “comfort” food for this time of the year.  And did I say, easy!  What you will need:

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 lb. large (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Weber N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning
¼ cup white wine, one that you would also drink :o)
¼ cup chicken stock
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, if desired
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds.  Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from oven, cool and remove squash using a fork.  You can use the skin as a vessel for the casserole, if desired.

In a large skillet, melt butter and oil over medium heat.  Add chopped shallot, garlic and Cajun Seasoning.  Cook until shallots are transparent, about 5-10 minutes.  Add peeled shrimp and cook until slightly pink, about 2-3 minutes.  Deglaze pan with white wine.  Add chicken stock, heavy cream and capers.  Remove from heat.

Place shredded squash in a casserole dish (or the reserved skins).  Top squash with shallot/cream mixture, add fresh parsley, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Bake 10-15 minutes, or until top is golden in color.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Scampi

Baked Spaghetti Squash-Cajun Shrimp Casserole

You will love that one!  Now for the dessert…..

Crust:
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling:
4 eggs
1 ½ cups Karo® Light corn Syrup
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
For Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt with an electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly and evenly into a greased baking sheet (15 x 10 inches).

Bake crust 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

For Filling:
Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, pumpkin pie spice,  and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in pecans.

Pour over hot crust, spread evenly.

Bake 25 minutes at 350°F until filling is firm around the edges and slightly firm in center. Cool completely on wire rack before serving.

Pumpkin Peach Pie Bars

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars

Buon Appetito!

Happy November – Baked Spaghetti Squash-Cajun Shrimp Casserole with Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars for Dessert