Nom Nom Paleo

Grilled Sous Vide Grass Fed T-Bone Steak

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Sous viding grass fed beef used to be the bane of my existence but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Here’s how I made some T-bone steaks in my water oven:

I seasoned the steaks with some salt, pepper, and Arizona Dreaming seasoning before vacuum-sealing them. I stored them in the fridge overnight because I like to salt my meat well in advance of cooking it. The next day, I filled and pre-heated my SousVide Supreme to 130 F (for medium-rare steaks). I plopped in my steak packets for about 2 hours (the minimal time Douglas Baldwin recommends to pasteurize the meat). Then, I removed them from the bath and dried the meat thoroughly with paper towels.

You can save the reserved cooking liquid in the bags as the base for gravies or to flavor sautéed vegetables. 

I asked my dear hubby to grill the steaks on our gas grill over high heat for about 1 minute 30 seconds on each side.

With a nice sear on the outside…

…they look more appetizing, huh?

When it’s sliced, the steak is perfectly pink all the way through.

Sous vide is an awesome way to cook meats…

Sous Vide Trader Joe’s Seasoned Frenched Rack of Lamb

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Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite grocery stores. I always find lots of cool, reasonably priced items such as Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% cocoa chocolate bars, Kerrygold butter, broccoli slaw, and ready-to-cook prepped produce. Once in a while, I find a dud but those are few and far between.

The other day while I was rummaging through TJ’s freezer section, I came across vacuum-sealed packets of seasoned Frenched lamb racks.

Not only were all the ingredients Paleo-approved but I bet I could dunk these packets straight from the freezer — and still in their packaging — into my SousVide Supreme. Score!

(No SousVide Supreme? No problem! Serious Eats shows you how to make perfect lamb racks with a DIY beer cooler sous vide contraption.)

Today, I finally tested my hypothesis. Before going to bed this morning, I filled up my water oven and set the temperature at 130 F (for medium rare chops). The night before, I’d transferred the lamb racks from the freezer to the fridge but they were still pretty solid. I asked my mom, who was babysitting the kids, to add the two packets of lamb racks to the SousVide Supreme at 4:00 p.m.

I let the lamb racks cook for about 2 hours and then I removed them from the bath and dried them off with paper towels.

Then, I heated a couple of tablespoons of lard in a large cast iron skillet over high heat and seared off each rack.

I sliced them up and they were uniformly pink and moist throughout.

The seasoning wasn’t bad but it was a little heavy-handed with the rosemary. Also, unlike roasting or grilling, the blobs of fat don’t render away when you sous vide so I just eat around them.

Enough bitching already! Overall, the results were great because you can get perfectly-cooked yummy lamb chops on the table with minimal work! I’ll definitely keep a rack or two in my freezer as emergency back-up protein.

Day 20 of Whole30 Eats

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Another day, another dollar, right? That’s what I keep reminding myself during my workweek.

Tonight, I didn’t get hungry until around 2:00 a.m. (since I had stuffed myself with lamb burger when I woke up). For my “lunch,” I’d packed some sous vide chicken breasts with shredded carrots and nuked frozen broccoli. Since it was kind of bland and low-fat, I ate it with liberal amounts of Primavera salsa and homemade guacamole.

For snack, I ate what I’ve eaten all week: raw veggies, Aubergine dip, coconut flakes, and macadmia nuts.

"Dinner" at work (~7:00 a.m.) was a leftover box of shredded roasted chicken thighs and sautéed kale.

When I returned home, we didn’t have to take our older rugrat to school because of the MLK holiday, but I was a busy bee nonetheless.

Before going to bed, I seasoned and vacuum sealed some Wild King Salmon fillets…

…and I also seasoned (with fajita and taco seasoning, salt, and pepper) and vacuum sealed a grass fed top sirloin steak. The plan was to pop this hunk ‘o meat in the SousVide Supreme after I finished cooking my sous vide salmon.

I stored all my vacuum packed goodies in the fridge, filled my SousVide Supreme with water, and set the temperature to 125 F. Then, I stumbled to my bedroom and got some sleep.

When I woke up at 5:00 p.m., I prepped some veggies (carrots, butternut squash, and onions) for roasting and popped them in the oven (400 F convection roast).

About 25 minutes later, I dumped the salmon fillet packets into my preheated SousVide Supreme and set the timer for 20 minutes.

Then, I washed a bunch of chard and beet greens and sautéed them with thinly sliced shallots in some melted lard.

When the salmon was finished cooking, so were the roasted veggies (~45 minutes total).

 

Here’s my dinner plate:

After I removed the salmon from the SousVide Supreme, I cranked up the heat to 130 F and I plopped in the top sirloin steak I’d vacuum sealed in the morning. I’m going to let the steak bathe in the hot water for 24 hours and then sear it off for dinner tomorrow.

While I practiced some deadlifts in the garage, Fitbomb helped pack my meals for work.

And then I set off into the night. (Sounds more exciting when I put it that way, doesn’t it?)

I was hungry a few hours later (at 10:30 p.m.) so I snacked on the macadamia nuts and a small container of sauerkraut (not the whole jar).

Sounds like a wack snack combination, but that’s what I ate.

Hacking Your Own Sous Vide Machine

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It’s no secret that I love my SousVide Supreme.

It’s perfect for daily meal planning, emergency meals, and prepping lots of protein when I’m throwing a party. As long as you know the final serving temperature and the minimum cooking time for the item your making, you’re golden. Just fill it with agua, set the temperature, dump in your vacuum-sealed food, and forget it. The machine has such a large capacity that you can cook lots of meat which you can freeze for many months or refrigerate for up to a week. It’s perfect for those of us who crave good eats but can’t afford to slave over a hot stove every night. Using a water oven has completely revolutionized the way I cook, and I’m constantly extolling its virtues to whoever will listen.

And it’s not just ‘cause I’m a windbag.

Unfortunately, sous vide machinery can cost mucho dinero: thousands for commercial-grade and hundreds for home-use models (e.g. SousVideMagic and SousVide Supreme — even the smaller SousVide Supreme Demi ain’t exactly cheap). However, if you’re a 21st century MacGyver, you can MAKE your own sous vide contraptions!

Make Magazine just posted in-depth, step-by-step instructions on how to construct your own sous vide immersion cooker. This project costs only about $75 and after 5-6 hours of tinkering, you end up with a nifty

portable device that heats and circulates water while maintaining a temperature accurate within 0.1°C. And unlike the SousVide Supreme, it mounts easily onto larger containers, up to about 15 gallons, for greater cooking capacity.

Since I’m not mechanically inclined, I’d never attempt a DIY sous vide machine. I’d rather plunk down the dough than risk electrocution (me + water + electricity = quick, horrific death and bad hair). But for all you engineers out there, game on!

Seventy-five bucks still too steep? The cheapest DIY sous vide apparatus is the beer cooler get-up described on the Serious Eats website back in April.

For about $25, you can transform a lowly plastic beer cooler into your very own reliable water bath!!! Why the three exclamation points? ‘Cause this is a very big deal: With this cheapo hack, your cooking results are INDISTINGUISHABLE from those you’d get when cooking with a SousVide Supreme or other pricey water bath gear. Yes, you’ll have to more frequently monitor your food during the cooking process, but at least you won’t run the risk of accidentally electrocuting yourself to death. 

(Lifehacker has an even better method on how to rejigger a beer cooler into a sous vide cooker. Click here for instructions.)

What? You don’t want to shell out for a vacuum sealer, either? Quit yer whining! You don’t need one if you use the Ziploc water displacement method shown in Douglas Baldwin's video.

So what are you waiting for? Get your sous vide on!