I promised you something more uplifting and light after my last blog, and here it is, by somewhat popular demand, (one person actually asked for more), here is a continuation of my New Culinary Rules, A Culinary Manifesto. As always, these are my opinions and my opinions only. Make no mistake, I am not asking for yours. I am completely right in my universe, and if you disagree with me, that's ok, even though you're wrong. The world is a better place if we listen to each other's opinions and still coexist peacefully.
#1 Immersion Circulators and Sous Vide in general is only good for large batch professional cooking situations; holding cooked food at a certain temperature to keep tender and moist until service. They are absolutely useless in every sense of the word for any home cooking application, and frankly, fucking stupid in my honest opinion, and this is why:
I have an idea, let's put two gallons of water, (a finite resource, ever see Mad Max? Water scarcity is real motherfucker), in a large pot that takes up space on your counter and heat it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which should only take about 30 minutes. Once that occurs, lets take a $28/# rib eye steak and vacuum seal it in a thick non-recyclable bag and submerge it in the bucket of 120 degree water for another 30 minutes. So far that is an hour that I will never get back and I still haven't eaten that delicious steak, much less smelled it cooking, because it is sealed in the aforementioned bag. FML. Now, before you devour that piece of glorious cow lets get your cast iron pan out and get it screaming hot on the stove. (So now we have to wash my cast iron too?!?)
Now, season that steak with beautiful kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, (more on black pepper later), and put some oil in that pan with a touch (1 tbsp) of unsalted butter as well. Cook that steak until the maillard reaction occurs. Flip that sucker and put another pat of butter down, wait a minute and take that steak out of the pan to rest for about 5 minutes. After a total of 1:15 minutes you finally get to eat your steak and you killed someone of dehydration with your unnecessary and thoughtless waste of water. See? Stupid. I'm actually sick of writing about it, imagine how annoyed I would be if I actually had to do it.
And if you do braised items, say Lamb shank, you will cook it for 24 hours or longer and the results are never as good when you do it the way nature and Escoffier intended. And talk about a waste of time and costly resources. Maybe I can I get Greenpeace or the Vegans to speak out on how Sous Vide is choking our planet. They seem to have plenty of time on their hands to bully people about food, why not make this time well-spent for once?
But I digress.
Get your beautiful beef out of the fridge, bring it to room temp if you have time, but if not, it's not that big of a deal. Remember you're hungry. Get out your cast iron pan, butter, oil, salt and pepper. Heat your pan to screaming hot, season your steak liberally with salt and pepper, place it in the pan, repeat with the butter before and after you flip, cook to an internal temp of 125, or about 2-3 minutes a side. Rest Five minutes and devour. About a total of 25 minutes from fridge to belly, and no one dies of dehydration.
You may say that the meat in the circulator is more tender. I say buy better meat, and why do we have canine teeth in the first place? Get over yourself.
People cook fish in the circulator using the same process, same stupid procedure, same stupid results.
#2 Molecular Gastronomy has its place, for about five chefs in the whole world. Its a different way to think about food and if cuisine is truly an art, those five Chefs are artists. If you're a Chef reading my blog, you're not one of them, trust me. The rest of us are simply noble craftsmen. Put down the sodium alginate and pick up some TCM if you need to scratch your science geek itch. You'll make some delicious charcuterie and we wont have to suffer through your passion fruit spheres.
#3 This one really grinds my gears.
Stop calling food something that it isn't.
No, Chef, Puffball mushrooms are mushrooms, not scallops.
Beets and mushroom duxelle is not a substitute for beef in your "Beef" wellington
Vegan Charcuterie is just fucking crudité
There is no such thing as vegan mussels, bacon or scallops.
Stop calling your food something that it isn't. Vegans are the worst when it comes to this, like they want to try and hide the fact that they eat nothing but vegetables. It is ok to be a vegetarian, vegetables are delicious. Why do they need to call it a steak, to make them feel better about themselves? Or is it because they really miss meat and they are going against their nature in not consuming it? And don't even get me started on Beyond Beef, stick your seitan where the sun don't shine.
#4 There is nothing instant about the Instant pot. Don't get me wrong, it's versatility earns it a place in my kitchen cabinet, but it takes about 40 minutes to braise anything tender, not instant.
You'll get better flavor using the old school technique, but the Instant pot is faster and beats the hell out of that stupid immersion circulator any day.
#5 Air-fryers are just counter top convection ovens. You know what's better than "air" frying? Fat frying of any kind. Another piece of useless home equipment.
An aside: Did you ever think about the fact that when you're breading chicken and dipping it in egg wash you are actually bathing it in the embryos of it's unborn children? I love that feeling.
#6 If you are going to make ketchup in-house, make sure you take it out of the box; for the love of all that is holy, use unique ingredients. I for one don't want to try your heirloom tomato ketchup with your truffle parmesan fries. You know who does tomato ketchup better than anyone else? The good people at Heinz, and they have been doing it for over 100 years. That's what I want with your fries, (and a ramekin of Hellman's mayo too, please. )
#7 The only type of black pepper you should use is fresh ground, Tellicherry if available. With pepper, as with most foodstuffs, freshness matters. And the only thing white pepper is good for is lining the bottom of the trash.
Sticking with the theme...
#8 The only white chocolate I accept is Jason Williams, the point guard on the Sacramento Kings in the 90's. That kid had a handle and great court vision, if it wasn't for Big Shot Bob and one bad call they would have won an NBA Championship. White chocolate as a candy or to be considered chocolate is an abomination. It is not chocolate in any way. It is sugar, cocoa butter and lecithin. MMMMM I love lecithin. In all seriousness, that shit is gross. Hard pass.
Still with the theme...
#9 I love chocolate. But I only buy quality chocolate. It is less processed and doesn't taste like child (slave) labor.
#10 The notion of VIP's in restaurants is archaic and should be done away with. Why is one person more important than another? This goes for all restaurants, fast casual to three star Michelin, get rid of the restaurant hierarchy. With food prices skyrocketing, eating out in general is getting to be a luxury, so lets all just be grateful for the fact that we can still do this, as most of the line employees that work there probably can't afford it.
#11 Because, you know, eleven. And this is the most important one.
When we do go out to eat we need to be kind no matter what. Be kind to everyone. The staff is doing their best to make you happy. Being kind is easy and free and it makes everyone's experience more enjoyable. If you can't be kind, patient and understanding, don't go out, sit your crabby ass at home with your Swanson's Hungry Man where you belong.
There is going to be a big change coming to your local mom and pop restaurants, you know, those restaurants that you say you want to support, and for them to survive, you will need to go along with the changes and not pitch a fit. So if they change their hours, understand that it is for them to get to see their kids more. If they charge more for food, it is so their cook has good health insurance and a livable wage, not to mention that they don't want to serve you garbage and want to keep up the quality. Every human being who works deserves a livable wage. If we don't support them, we will all be stuck with Chilis and Olive Garden and that is not a industry, let alone a society, that I want any part of.
There you have it, the next eleven rules of my Culinary Manifesto, and if you know me, there will be more. This was not done to piss anyone off, just to make you think. We are better as a society when we all work towards the same goal. Our food chain as well as our society as a whole requires everyone's attention.
Until next week,