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 Going Old School

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Yesterday, I attended a family reunion. It was a Sicilian love fest! I felt so fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents lived within blocks of each other. Stuck like glue everyone gathered including those who have gone before us thanks to old home movies which were shared on a big screen. 

The more remarkable story has to do with this lady who was in attendance. She is 89 years old. Her name is Miss Robbina. She is not a blood relative, but totally part of our family. Miss Robbina was my 6th grade teacher at McKinley School in Westfield, NJ. Over the years, she taught many of my cousins, siblings and nephews, as well. She raised us up. She engaged with our parents. They were a team of high expectations and a force to be reckoned with if:

  1. We were not doing our homework
  2. Misbehaving in class
  3. Not living up to our potential
  4. Late to class
  5. the list goes on…

As much as we might try to “divide and conquer” the adults they were always in control because they supported each other.  The teachers back then were extensions of our families. Bring back the good old days in our schools. 

Inspired by those I love most here is a family friendly recipe that was recently chosen as a winner in the Explore Cuisine recipe contest. With roasted cauliflower, salty capers and sweet golden raisins it’s an old school rustic recipe updated with red lentil penne.

Skillet Roasted Sicilian Cauliflower Red Lentil Penne

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 (8 oz) box Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Penne

½ large head of cauliflower, sliced into 3/4-inch planks

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed, drained

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook penne according to package directions reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid. Separate sliced cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of large unheated skillet. Add cauliflower in a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper flakes. Cover skillet and cook cauliflower over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove cover, stir cauliflower. Add golden raisins, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and parsley; toss well. Serve topped with pine nuts and parmesan.