Culinary Experiments Late-July 2014 Edition

by the other theo

I managed to do two interesting bits of cooking in the last couple weeks:

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First off, we have grilled double thick pork chops sous vide.  This was a combination of three different recipes, based largely on what I had on hand at the time:

  1. The sort of “master recipe” that gave the basic idea of what I wanted to do came courtesy of Williams-Sonoma. I liked using the dry brine with fresh herbs and little fat in the sous vide package.
  2. For the dry brine, I substituted salt, pepper, and a dry rub found on page 263 of The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly.  I happened to have some of this leftover.
  3. For the herbs, I used some fresh herbs on hand (thyme, sage, and rosemary), along with some shallot much the a sous vide steak recipe from Serious Eats.

I think it fell together reasonably well.   The most important thing about the meat was how juicy it all was.  Grilled pork chops can often become dry, and a little tough.   Consistency varied some, but some parts of the meat practically melted in my mouth and the rest was more tender that I expected, all without a brine.

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My second effort was a go-to recipe for skirt steak from Serious Eats.  The novel part of this recipe was the La Honda Cabernet Sauvignon I paired with the beef.   My recent venture into the Santa Cruz Mountains left me with lingering curiosity about how the pepper-y reds I tasted on that trip would be away from a marathon wine tasting and how they would pair with food.   The La Honda has some of the qualities I remembered in wines made nearby, but this was balanced with enough fruit to be interesting.   I also discovered that the temperatures on the warm day of the tasting were likely doing few favors — the wine likes to be a little cooler to help keep those acid-flavors in check.

In the end, it was not what I would usually think of in a Napa-style California Cab, but it went well with the spicy beef.

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