Monday, August 31, 2009

How to Fix a Broken Hollandaise

The Eggs Benedict Florentine you see here was posted on my Twitter page during our trip down to the Santa Maria Inn. It was delicious, but it reminded me of my days, long, long ago, as a brunch cook dealing with the nightmare of the end-of-the-service broken hollandaise.

It's the ultimate Murphy's Law in the kitchen, the hollandaise is fine until you get down to those last few orders and then it "breaks." The egg and butter separate, and you are basically screwed.

As a young cook I remember feverishly whisking up a small, new batch of sauce as the rest of the table's food was going out. I don't remember when, but eventually someone showed me how to save a broken hollandaise, and my life has been significantly better since.

I was doing a little practice for my shoot tomorrow in LA with Brand New Entertainment, and was playing around with making and breaking a hollandaise sauce, so I decided to turn on the camera for a quick little demo. Enjoy!



Make Your Own Eggs Benedict


Check out my old, but still effective video recipe for Eggs Benedict. I cover the poaching, the hollandaise, and the final plating.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Left My Heart Santa Maria

Literally – it exploded from all the barbecued beef I ate, and had to be replaced. Michele and I just got back from an incredible weekend in the Santa Maria Valley. The weather was hot, but beautiful. The food was amazing, and the people we met could not have been nicer.

I'm only back in San Francisco for one day before heading down to LA for my big shoot with the creative geniuses at Brand New Entertainment. I don't have time to post them yet, but I filmed three great recipes, and took tons of pictures I can't wait to share!

We stayed at the Historic Santa Maria Inn where I filmed Chef Alex Araizaga making a very unique salmon recipe featuring a sauce using the area's famous strawberries.

We also had the great pleasure of watching Paul and Susan Righetti make a traditional Santa Maria Barbecued tri tip meal, complete with pinquito beans, grilled garlic bread, and a wonderful salsa.

Susan's family runs the venerable Far Western Tavern, one of the best known S
anta Maria-style barbecue restaurants in the area, and she also sells a complete line of local artisan products on her website, Susie Q’s Brand.

Not only did we get treated to an amazing lunch, but she let me film her making the beans and salsa, and Paul will be starring in a video recipe showing the "real" way to do a Santa Maria tri tip.

It was an amazing afternoon! As if that wasn't enough, later in the evening we were able to dine at the Far Western Tavern. We had such a wonderful meal, including an unforgettable plate of barbecued
sweetbreads served with cocktail sauce.

We also got to have dinner at the world famous Hitching Post, where Michele and I enjoyed one of the best steak dinners of our lives. I had a 15-oz top sirloin that was so juicy, so flavorful, and so uniquely flavored by the intoxicating scent of the red oak fire that it defies description.

I'd like to offer a very special thank you to Christopher Weir who set the trip up, and was a perfect host. Christopher works with the Santa Maria Visitors Bureau and they could not have had a better representative. When we arrived at the Santa Maria Inn there was a gift basket with local wine, fresh strawberries, and a welcome letter from the Mayor!

Like I said, when I get back from LA, I will post the videos and more photos/info from this very special trip to California's beautiful central coast. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Heading South to Tri Tip Nirvana

We're just about to leave for Santa Maria, California for a weekend expedition to research and report on this area's famous (borderline mythical) barbecued tri tip.

Sunset Magazine once called this red oak roasted beef, "the best barbecue in the world." Sure, I could just take their word for it, but I decided to arrange a little excursion to investigate for myself.

I'll be interviewing the local tri tip aristocracy to learn the real history, recipes and techniques.

I've already posted my versions of the barbecued tri tip and the Santa Maria-style pinquito beans (pictured here with links to the videos), which I love, but I may have to make a few alterations once I see how they're truly supposed to be done. Stay tuned!

By the way, I'll be tweeting away during the trip, so if you're not already following me on Twitter, here is a link to get connected! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nothing Says "Welcome Home" Like Stuffed Squash!

There's nothing like arriving somewhere after a long trip and being greeted with something beautiful and delicious.

The beautiful would be my wife Michele, the delicious was a plate of stuffed pattypan squash.

These sweet, tender summer squash were stuffed with rice and Merguez, a spicy lamb sausage from North Africa. She roasted them with tomato and chicken stock, and they were truly amazing! It might not be until next week, but I will film this recipe for sure! Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My "I'm Back Baby!" Bordelaise Sauce

I just got back into San Francisco last night after a fun, hot, and too-short visit with my family in upstate New York. It's hard to keep posting new video recipes when you've been traveling as much as I have, but luckily I had some footage saved from a delicious Bordelaise sauce I made when we tested the dry-aged beef.

Bordelaise sauce is one of those classic old school sauces that many chefs learn in culinary school, and then unless they end up working in a traditional French restaurant, or m
aybe some large hotel, they don't really make on a regular basis. It's a shame since this is such a fantastic sauce, and really very easy to make. When you factor in the availability of really good, really affordable red wine at the local market, this sauce makes even more sense.

The one key ingredient you'll need to track down is a nice rich (and real) veal stock. Many of your higher-end grocery chains now sell it, but you may have to ask a local butcher to find you some. There are NO thickeners in this sauce. It is simply reduced until concentrated. Substituting beef broth just will not cut it, since we are relying on the gelatin in the stock to give us the beautiful sticky viscosity the sauce is known for.

I mention in the video that real, classic Bordelaise usually calls for the addition of beef marrow to add richness to the sauce. I've had it that way, and it is wonderful, but this version is very nice also, even without that unctuous addition.

One problem with this post is no real "money shot." I was so busy that day with filming the potatoes and dry-aged beef test that I never took any decent pictures of the sauce! That explains the flickr photo I found (credits below), and recycled photo from the dry-age post. Photo esthetics notwithstanding, this is a great sauce recipe, which I hope you try soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 tsp butter
4 large shallots
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup good red wine
2 cups real veal stock

Top Photo (c) Flickr user adactio
Steak on Fork Photo (c) ChezUs

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tres Leches Cake — A Perfect Example of Why You Shouldn’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

On a recent gourmet getaway to Aspen, I had the pleasure of tasting a fantastic Tres Leches cake at the Hotel Jerome (pictured below). Chef Christopher Keating, crediting his wife for the recipe, explained it was one of the items that he just couldn’t take off the dessert menu. As I made my way through the moist, milky goodness, I knew why — this was a great cake.

I'm sure I'd had it before, but I couldn't recall where or when, so it was like tasting it for the firs
t time. Normally a soggy cake would not be a good thing, but here it's genius. The cake is soaked with a sweet milk syrup made from condensed milk, evaporated milk, and half and half (hence the name, Tres Leches). It's like eating cake and drinking milk, but in the same bite!

I won't pretend this version is better than the Hotel Jerome's made-from-scratch recipe, but since this is my Mom's version, it's at least a tie. She would have normally made this from scratch also, but time was short, and the humidity was high (life-threateningly high), so she used a yellow box cake mix, which worked just fine.

Whenever I post an ethnic recipe like this, I like to research the name and history. Here I didn’t bother, since the cakes origins are so obvious once you see how it's made. So, with no facts to back up my story, here is how the Tres Leches cake was born.

Somewhere in either Mexico or Nicaragua, someone made a cake. They were going to serve it with milk, as people tend to do, but something happened which caused the milk to spill on to the cake. Not wanting to waste a good piece of cake, soggy though it may be, the Mexican or Nicaraguan cook served it anyway. People loved it, and eventually a sweet tres leches (three-milk) syrup was developed for soaking the spongy cake.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Whether you make a cake from scratch, or use Pauline's shortcut, give this delicious dessert a try! Enjoy.



Ingredients:
For the Tres Leches-
1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half and half
For the Cake-
1 box yellow caked mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
shortening to grease pan

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Magic of Puff Pastry

One video recipe I plan on tackling soon is puff pastry. This very special dough is readily available in our grocery store's frozen foods case, but it's a recipe that any foodie must try at least once.

This is from Vah-Chef, Sanjay Thumma, who does a great job explaining the process. I will do the recipe in US measurements, so don't worry about converting the metric measurements he gives.

If you've tried to make puff pastry yourself, I'd love to hear your experiences, and also pass along any recipes you found successful.

By the way, I'll be flying back to San Francisco on Tuesday, so things should be returning back to whatever normal is on this blog. If I've not responded to a comment or email, I've either not had time, or simply missed it -- so try again. Thanks and enjoy!



Photo (c) Flickr user foooooey

Friday, August 21, 2009

Porkporken ™

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce my latest creation… Porkporken™! This meaty monstrosity was inspired by the perfectly preposterous Turducken, which is a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken.

This is the porkification of that idea, and features a whole pork loin roast stuffed with a whole pork tenderloin.

This has to rank right up there with the dumbest ideas I've ever had, since there's really no go
od reason to stuff a pork loin with a whole pork tenderloin, other than just to see what would happen.

Having said that, it was pretty damn tasty, and proved visually entertaining for the guests. Between the two pieces of pork I used a savory rosemary, sage, and garlic bread dressing. It slow-roasted for 2 hours over a mirepoix, basted occasionally with the pan drippings.

I didn't film its creation, but something tells me you'll be seeing this on the blog at some point. By the way, alternative names to Porkporken™ include Porkenstein, and Death by Pork.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A CHEF JOHN'S ON THE ROAD RERUN: Grilled Lemon Yogurt Chicken - Featuring the Marinade that's Been Making Chicken Delicious for Over 4,000 Years

I'm still in New York and unable to post any new material, so here's a rerun of one of my favorite summer chicken recipes. It's perfect for the grill, or can be baked in the oven. What follows is the original post which aired on August 4, 2008...

Yogurt has been used as a marinade since it was first invented, over 4,000 years ago, in Turkey, Central Europe, or the Balkans, d
epending on who you ask. The important thing is that any cooking technique or recipe that survives that long is probably pretty damn good. This video recipe for a simple, but super succulent, grilled lemon and yogurt chicken is just that.

There is something special about what yogurt does to chicken waiting for its smoky,
sizzling time over the charcoal. It imparts a tangy flavor that lifts all the other flavorings. It tenderizes slightly, without turning the meat into mush. It grills to a caramelized dark brown without tasting burnt. And, there are not many fat-free ingredients that will have people begging for your "secret" recipe.

In the video I use a large cut-up chicken, which I encourage you to do yourself. In case you missed it, here is the link to the "how to cut up a chicken with scissors" video clip. The only thing I did different for this recipe was use a large sharp knife to cut the breasts in half - and also separated the thigh and the drumstick.

This is one of those grilled chicken recipes that is just as delicious served cold, in a salad, or gnawed right off the bone at a picnic. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 big chicken
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp Herbs from Provence (or any dried Italian, or Greek herb blend - rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp harissa or other hot sauce
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mr. Potato Head's Truffled Potato Gratin

I am Mr. Potato head. No, not because of my rather large cranium (hey, it has to be big to fit my huge brain), but because my thoughts are so often centered on potatoes.

Some people daydream about winning the lottery, or being hired as Scarlett Johansson's personal masseuse; I sit and dream about new potato side dishes like this one.

This amazing truffled potato gratin recipe was the star of my recent dry-aged steaks dinner, and was probably the best potato side dish I've had all year.

I love potatoes so much that when I'm looking at a menu in a restaurant, I will actually order my entrée based on what the potato is. I don't care what the main course is, if I see this potato gratin as the accompaniment, that's what I'm getting.

If you've never had truffles before, and are wondering what all the fuss is about, then this is the recipe to try for experiencing the real magic of these fabulous fungi. The great thing about this recipe is you don't need a fortune worth of fresh truffles to make it, thanks to an Italian cheese called sottocenere.

Sottocenere is a semi-soft, fairly mild cheese that's studded with fragrant truffles. When baked into a potato gratin like we've done here, you get the full punch of truffle flavor and aroma, but at a fraction of the cost.

Before you start whining about not being able to find it, check out your nearest big city's best cheese shop -- they can get it. If a store imports Italian cheeses they will have access to this miracle of mycological cheese making.

Speaking of mushrooms, I used a mix of brown and lobster mushrooms, which worked very nicely, but this recipe will be spectacular with any mushroom.

If you can find some wild mushrooms like morel, chanterelle, porcini, or lobster, use them -- but if you can't, use regular supermarket mushrooms and you will still be rewarded with a very memorable potato side dish. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 oz sottocenere cheese, grated
2 cups cream
1 cup chicken broth

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Take on Foie Gras

This very interesting lecture is from the Taste3 conference, and features chef Dan Barber talking about a farm in Spain that has developed a more humane way to produce foie gras. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Defense of Foie Gras

This video from Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations is dedicated to a recent commenter named Matt, who wrote:
"I love your site Chef John but if you ever use Foie Gras in any recipe I swear I'll never come back here."

I hope he took my advice to stop visiting the site immediately. I mean, why wait until I post a foie gras video to stop coming? I love foie gras, and think that anyone who works to get it banned is a sanctimonious ignoramus well-intentioned, but misguided.

A fan named Lysa saw the comment and sent me this video. I thought I'd post it to show some of you how foie gras is processed, at this farm at least, and more importantly to give "half the peace sign" some good-natured ribbing to Matt and his pious peeps like minded friends.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Kinder and Gentler Barbecue Chicken Recipe

It's one of the saddest sights of the summer barbecue season; a picnic table platter piled high with black, burnt barbecue chicken. Actually, the chicken isn’t burnt, that's probably juicy and delicious, it's the barbecue sauce on the skin that has incinerated.

Pouring barbecue sauce on an already cooked piece of chicken, while much safer, just isn’t the same. That's chicken with barbecue sauce on it, not barbecued chicken. When it comes to barbecued chicken, everyone wants that nice thick glaze of sauce attached to the skin, and the only way to
do it, is brush it on as it cooks.

Therein lies the problem. Because of the sugar content, it only takes a minute for a barbecue sauce to go from brick-red to solid black. This video recipe shows my fairly simple solution to the problem. I just "mark" the chicken's vulnerable skin side, then cook it all the way through in a closed grill, brushing on the glaze as it cooks.

In addition to seeing how not to burn chicken, you'll also see a slash and marinade pre-grill prep that adds to this recipe's overall deliciousness. This will work with any prepared barbecue sauce, but is especially good with San Francisco-style barbecue sauce.

What is San Francisco-style barbecue sauce? That's a great question! Soon you will be able to buy my very first prepared food product. Michele and I have been working on this sauce recipe for years, and it's finally ready to unveil.

Of course, I can't give you the exact recipe, but it’s a traditional American barbecue sauce base kicked-up with spices from around the world, as well as three of San Francisco's favorite things; red wine, chocolate, and coffee. It is an incredible sauce, and you be seeing it here soon!

In the meantime, use your favorite barbecue sauce recipe or brand and give this a try. Enjoy!



2 chicken halves
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp San Francisco-style barbecue sauce, plus more for brushing
2 cloves crushed garlic

For the rub:
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tuesday Tease: Barbecued Chicken

I'm flying to New York today, but wanted to post this little tease before I take off. The beautiful bird you see here is from an upcoming video recipe for my version of barbecued chicken. I have a great method for doing this without it turning completely black. I will upload it shortly after I land and settle in (assuming my arms aren't too tired). Stay tuned!

When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes…

I'm heading back east as explained in the last post, so all I have for you today is a rerun of fried green tomatoes.

I hear this hasn’t been a great year for tomatoes, but no matter what the weather, or how terrible your crop is doing; you can always count on lots of firm green tomatoes.

If you've never had fried green tomatoes, I say give them a try -- you may love them, but then again, they have a very unique flavor, so there's a chance you won't care for the warm, crispy tartness of it all. There's only one way to know.

I've posted the video here, but to read the original post, and get the ingredients, please click here! Enjoy!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Aw, Miso Busy, Barramundi Longtime

If you got my borderline culturally insensitive reference to a really bad late-eighties hip hop band's song title, then good for you. If you didn't, trust me, you're really better off for it.

To say I'm busy right now would be a huge unde
rstatement, but I'm too busy to think of a more accurate way to put it. As you may know, I just got back from a press trip to Vail and Aspen, and have articles to write for About.com. This weekend is chock-full of SF Chefs. Food. Wine. coverage, and more articles to write, after which I leave Monday for a two-week trip to western New York.

After a couple weeks catching up with family and friends (and eating chicken wings, iceberg lettuce, and garbage plates), I return to San Francisco for just a couple days before driving down to Santa Maria, California for a three-day Tri-Tip expedition (which you will be hearing much more about).

After returning from the land of barbecued beef and pinquito beans, I have only a couple days to catch my breath before flying down to LA to meet my "people," aka Brand New Entertainment, to do some filming on what may be the first step towards becoming the Bret Michaels of unscripted food television.

I will continue to post from the road as much as possible. Of course, as often happens when I travel, I will probably be doing some impromptu video production along the way. So stay tuned for that, and please bear with me on the email/comment replies, or lack there of.

Okay, on to the recipe du jour! This miso-glazed recipe features Barramundi, a mild, flaky white-
fleshed fish that you'll probably be seeing more and more due to it's reputation as a sustainable, eco-friendly seafood.

It's showing up in grocery store frozen seafood cases, and chances are you'll run across some soon. If you do, buy it and make this recipe.

By the way, you have to love Wikipedia for finding out where a food's name comes from. According to God knows who, Barramundi is a loanword from a Queenslander Australian language of the Rockhampton area meaning, "large-scaled river fish". Of course it is.

This super-simple recipe uses a miso glaze which is very popular with restaurant chefs, but not a common home cook ingredient. Miso is a traditional Japanese sauce made with rice, soybeans, and sometimes barley, which is fermented with salt and the fungus, Aspergillus oryzae. Sounds good, right? It is, don't be afraid!

This glaze can be used on lots of different fish, so if you can't find Barramundi, any firm white fish fillets will work. I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!



Miso Glaze Ingredients:
2 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce

Fish photo (c) Flickr user NeilsPhotography

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chef Martin Yan's 18 Second Chicken

Chef Martin Yan is famous for being able to cut up a chicken in 18 seconds. I captured this at the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event (they really need to do something about those periods). I used my little Flip cam, and couldn’t get too close, but it's still kind of fun to watch. If you look up at the mirror above the stage, you can sort of see what he is doing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When it Rains it Pours (Wine and Delicious Gourmet Food!)

As soon as I get off the plane from my gourmet getaway to Colorado, I begin covering another major food event. SF Chefs. Food. Wine., which begins on Thursday, August 6th, and runs through the 9th, is hoping to become the premier annual culinary event San Francisco has been lacking.

As a longtime resident, I've always thought that for a city with such an incredibly rich culinary tradition, San Francisco should have its very own signature annual food and wine event. Hopefully, this event will turn out to be exactly that.

San Francisco's Union Square will be home to the main tasting tent where chefs, wine makers and local farmers will feature the best in sustainable foods and local products. A long, eclectic schedule of classes and seminars will also be offered in nearby hotels and restaurants, allowing patrons to interact with chefs, vintners, distillers, ranchers, food authors, and other culinary experts.

I'll be attending the Thursday night San Francisco Chronicle "Rising Stars" Opening Reception, as well as many other events throughout the weekend. In addition to being on the lookout for standout dishes and recipes to create videos with, I'll be taking lots of pictures so you can see what promises to be some very beautiful food.

If you live in the SF/Bay Area and were looking for a great reason to go besides the food and drink, this event will be supporting four local charities; San Francisco Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, and Project Open Hand.

For ticket and schedule information please check out the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. website.

Ham and Cheese – Chef Rahm Fama Makes Mozzarella Fresca

Last night I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at The Lodge at Vail's signature restaurant, The Wildflower. Before dinner Executive Chef Rahm Fama treated us to a very enjoyable demonstration on how he makes his fresh mozzarella cheese.

The charismatic chef clearly enjoys interacting with the guests, and not only was knowledgeable and technically skilled, but also had just the right amount of "ham" in him to turn what could have been a tiresome demonstration into an engaging and entertaining performance.

I was able to film the presentation with my little Flip cam, so pardon the low-end production value in the video I've posted below. I need to thank fellow press member Allan Lynch for allowing me to use some of his footage. I had some momentary battery issues, but luckily Allan was also capturing the scene.

After the demo we enjoyed a very impressive dinner at what's considered by many the best restaurant in Vail. I will be posting some beautiful photos of the food Chef Fama prepared for us, including a simple amuse bouche made with the fresh mozzarella.

By the way, those of you following me on Twitter got a few sneak previews (did that foie gras look amazing, or what?) If you're not already following me, here is the link. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dry-Aging Steaks at Home – The Final Chapter: I Think It Worked

Here's the final post in the dry-aging steaks at home saga. What follows is my honest opinion on the results, as well as a fairly pointless video showing me finishing the project.

Admittedly, there isn't much to learn from the video, but since some of you seemed genuinely interested I figured you'd want to see the finale.

By the way, if you read my last
post you know I'm in Vail, CO being wined and dined by RockResorts, so I did this voiceover in the hotel room with a voice you only get at 8,000 feet.

When I first considered how to test my dry-aged steaks, I was thinking of the standard "taste it with an un-aged steak and compare" method. Seemed logical, but then I thought of somet
hing even better -- why not taste it next a higher-grade, professionally dry-aged steak?

This would be the true test. Would my steaks have the same taste and texture as the real deal? As I've already stated in previous blogs, there's really no debate about whether a dry-aged steak is a superior eating experience to a conventional steak, so it seemed anticlimactic to taste them side-by-side just to say, "hmmm…the steak aged two-weeks is more tender and flavorful." What a shocker.

So, instead I bought a thick, well-aged steak from the same butcher, using the same beef as the whole loin I'd bought. Not only that, but I decided to make it even more of a challenge and bought "Prime" grade steak. The battle was on. Would my home-aged, "Choice" grade steaks match up against a "Prime" grade steak aged by an expert?

First of all, the Drybags clearly worked exactly as advertised. The surface was hard and leathery, as you can see in my short video, and the meat had definitely undergone a slow, controlled drying process.

The loin smelled exactly like the aged steak I've worked with in the past, which is to say it had a faint, meaty musk that I would describe, as strange as it may sound, as very pleasant. After trimming off the hard, dried exterior, the color of the meat was a beautiful deep, dark red. As promised the bag allowed moisture to escape, yet sealed it from the outside environment, so no spoilage occurred.

The steaks were coated with freshly ground black pepper and allowed to come to room temperature. After a generous application of kosher salt, they were cooked over charcoal to medium-rare (internal temp of 130 degrees F). After resting, I sliced up the "Prime" dry-aged steak from the butcher. We tasted, and it was predictably fabulous.

We then cut into my steaks, and I'm happy to report the results were pretty impressive. I found the meat tender and flavorful, and comparable to the professionally aged beef. Lenny and Denise from ChezUs joined us to assist in the tasting, and along with my wife Michele, we had four experienced palates on the case.

The final verdict was; two of us though the steaks were comparable, one thought the quality of the butcher's steak was slightly better, and one definitely preferred the home dry-aged steak more.

So, there you have it. As to
whether the Drybags are an effective way to age your own steaks at home, the answer is a definite yes. Should you get one? I can't answer that -- these are matters of taste -- while I feel strongly dry-aged steaks are better, you may not.

If you love dry-aged steak, and want to eat it more often, without the expense of the steakhouse it may be a good investment. It's worth noting that it also comes with smaller bags for regular vacuum packing, so that could factor into your decision.

Thanks to Drybag Steak for letting me test the product out. It was a fun experiment, and the final product was quite luxurious.

If you want more info, or have specific questions, please refer to the Drybag Steak website.

Professional food bloggers do not live by old beef alone! In addition to the steaks you see here, the rest of the menu included:
- Frog Hollow peach, basil, and mozzeralla fresca crostini
- Prosciutto and argula on baguette
- Roasted cipollini onions
- Watercress salad with marinated early girl tomatoes
- Sottocenere truffle cheese and lobster mushroom pomme dauphinoise (I filmed this, so stay tuned for that video soon!)
- Two sauces: classic Bordelaise sauce, and not so classic "Béarnaise" aioli.




First Three Photos (c) ChezUs

Where's the Beef?

I've always wanted to use that headline! I have to apologize -- I promised to post the dry-aged beef review today, but I left this morning for a three-day business trip to Vail/Aspen and I had a problem with my flight, which caused me to arrive much later than planned.

I wanted to finish and upload the beefy goodness before the first event this evening, but because of the late arrival there was no time, so I'll do it tomorrow. Hey, it's not like you're waiting for some great new recipe.

I'm currently at the amazingly beautiful Arrabelle, one the most luxurious hotels in Vail. The management team at RockResorts is trying to get the word out about some very interesting programs regarding culinary sustainability, as well as earth-friendly changes to the spas and guest rooms.

I was invited on the press trip to check it out and report back (I know, tough work). Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Coming Soon: Dry-Aged Steak Test Results

Spoiler alert: they were great! I'll have a more detailed report tomorrow, but the Drybags worked great, and the hunk of beef I sealed two weeks ago produced some very delicious steaks.

By the way, as I cut into the 3rd slice, I got a little shock...my strip loin was turning into a rib eye! A commenter had said it looked like a rib roast, but since it came from a butcher, and was priced and labeled as "strip loin," and the end piece was definitely a NY strip, well, I assumed I was aging a strip loin. I'm going to show the butcher the photos and ask why my roast was part NY and part rib eye. Also, great eyes by the viewer who identified it in the first video (I believe I called him a fool, which I
must now retract). Stay tuned!