Sous Vide Cooking Give Away

Recently, I was asked, “What is the intent of my blog?” My response, “To share something that I love.”

For as long as I have been cooking and baking, I still get excited about food. It’s a continuous learning process that never gets boring. I still love creating new recipes. I still love to read cookbooks like novels. I still search the grocery store aisles for new products and it’s not unheard of for me to drive miles out of my way seeking the best, the freshest and the most exotic ingredients. People who know me understand that vacation time includes a stroll through a local market for foodie souvenirs and perhaps a cooking class to better understand the regional cuisine.

So, it was with great joy that I accepted an invitation to the International Sous Vide Association (ISVA) Summit last summer to learn a new cooking technique. This was exciting stuff with new food possibilities. To be honest, before the conference, I wasn’t at all familiar with cooking food under vacuum in a temperature-controlled water bath. In fact, I don’t think I ever even ate anything cooked that way. In my ignorance, I was pretty sure that only very high-end restaurants were serving sous vide. The French Laundry, Alinea and Per Se were not in my budget nor were the cost of the immersion circulator (sous vide machine) and accessories. I had a lot to learn.

And the conference delivered. In an ongoing flow over 2 ½ days I was immersed in a wonderful world of knowledgeable speakers and vendors. I was captivated by the enthusiasm of not only the professional chefs, but also that of the home cooks and even BBQ guys. The conference had something for everyone including sessions on sous vide science, history, cooking demos and food photography plus lots to eat and drink.

The overwhelming take-away from the conference is that this type of cooking has indeed trickled down to the home kitchen for a number of good reasons. First and foremost, it is affordable. I purchased a highly rated immersion circulator for under $115.00 at the conference. A large stockpot, some heavy-duty Ziploc bags and a clip (things I already had in my kitchen) complete the tools needed. Second, precision cooking insures whatever it is you are making comes out consistently great. I can guarantee that my sous vide steak will be cooked to my perfectly juicy 134 degrees or your perfect 130 degrees every time.

In addition, I can set it and forget it. There is no hovering over an immersion circulator like you would a stove. Big bonus is that the machine itself is compact and takes up little room in my already crowded cabinets. Further, it is great for batch cooking on the weekends for those who are working and want to come home and fix dinner in just a few minutes. Grab your sous vide steak from the fridge and give it a quick sear in a pan or on the grill and dinner is done. Finally, just about anything from entrees to desserts (maybe not popcorn) can be cooked sous vide. There are plenty of cookbooks and recipes on the subject available including a new book I happen to have a recipe in. Champions of Sous Vide (available on Amazon) is a collection of 75 delicious recipes including a mouth-watering photo of each plus the best tips and steps from 2 dozen sous vide enthusiasts. Would you like a copy? Lucky you! I am giving the book away on my Instagram page.

So, is sous vide cooking for everyone? I don’t know. Like my favorite knife or skillet, I look at it as one more option in my kitchen toolbox as well as a new way to think about and experiment with food. If you would like to learn more about sous vide cooking be sure to check out the ISVA web site and consider attending the 2020 conference in San Francisco. And if you are ready to give sous vide cooking a try shop around for an immersion circulator and read reviews. You can find a really nice one for the home cook or professional here.

This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. I purchased the book to give away.

Now for the GIVE AWAY: Go to my Instagram page @goodgriefcook and look for the photo of the cookbook and follow the very simple instructions. Good luck. ❤

Good Grief A Beach House

It’s been 3,079 days since I lost my son and two years to the day, I bought a beach house because of a rock. Yes, you read it. A rock, but not just any rock. Seriously, grief makes one do crazy, impulsive things that you never thought you would or could. It’s true. 

If you follow the blog, I suspect you already know the effect the rock had on me, but for the others, let me explain. I believe my son died before he was ready to go and with that keeps a presence here. There wasn’t a day that went by that he did not end a conversation with an “I love you” and thus he continues to show himself to me with an occasional heart sign. I call these moments “whoosh” and along with seeing a heart I feel a squeeze in my chest as if he is hugging me.

So, it was two years ago while on a vacation I happened upon a house just a few doors down from our rental that was for sale. Just for fun, my husband and I took a walk through the house never intending to buy it, but as we were leaving the property there was this rock nestled in the crushed shells of the driveway. I gravitated to it and my husband immediately said, “he wants us to buy this house.” The rest is history.

The beach house has been a large part of the grief journey not only for me, but for my husband. The property is a stunning, peaceful wildlife refuge on one side with gentle ocean waves on the other. Surrounded by nature it’s a birder’s paradise with nesting osprey, herons and eagles plus all the sea creatures one can imagine.

There is also an 8-point buck that hangs out. He is here.

Swayed by emotion? Trust your instincts. Find your refuge.

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Warm, but overcast, yesterday was the perfect day for strawberry picking with my family. Highland Farms in West Chester, PA is the place to go for all sorts of fruit picking throughout the year. The scent of strawberries was in the air as we approached the field.

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photo by Caitlin

Do your littles watch the show Daniel Tiger? Annabelle loves the animated Mr. Rodgers version and on one episode Daniel and his friends go “fruit-picking”. My Annabelle could not wait to try it. She ate as much as she picked and was covered in warm strawberry juice by the time we were done. Want to have some fun? Go pick some berries!

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photo by Caitlin

Fresh picked berries are at their peak of sweetness compared to the more tart berries found in the grocery store, so less sugar is needed for the perfect pie. Make sure your filling is really bubbling (see video below) before you pull it from the oven to insure all the juices gel and don’t leave a soupy mess when the pie is cut. If the crust edge is over-browning then cover it with a pie shield or foil.

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Find a pie dough recipe here. It’s my favorite go to recipe and enough for a double crust, so wrap and freeze half of it for another time or just bake two pies.

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best baking buddy ever

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie dough for a single crust pie

2 tablespoons gingersnap crumbs

Crisp Topping

½ cup all purpose flour

¼  cup brown sugar

¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into cubes

Filling

4 cups of fresh picked strawberries, slice large ones in half

2 cups sliced (1/2-inch thick) fresh picked rhubarb

2 tablespons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

¼ cup all purpose flour

Heat oven to 400F. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge.  (Roll out dough scraps and cut shapes for decoration. Sprinkle shapes with sugar, if desired.)

Sprinkle cookie crumbs over bottom of pie shell and chill while preparing topping and filling. For topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl working the butter into the dry ingredients until clumps form. Chill it. For Filling: Place berries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Drizzle with heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla; gently toss to coat. Add sugar and flour; toss again. Spoon into pie shell. Sprinkle crisp mixture over the top. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until pie is bubbling and crust and topping are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature or serve just slightly warm.