Tag Archives: cooking

The science of steak

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is my go to guy for food stuff on the internet. He’s amazing. He likes busting food myths with the power of science for the betterment of us all.

Last week he turned his powers to a subject dear to my heart.

Steak.

Delicious steak.

Busting seven myths including the “you should only turn a steak once” myth…

The reality is that multiple flipping will not only get your steak to cook faster—up to 30% faster!—but will actually cause it to cookmore evenly, as well. This is because—as food scientist and writer Harold McGee has explained—by flipping frequently, the meat on any given side will neither heat up nor cool down significantly with each turn. If you imagine that you can flip your steak infinitely fast, then you can see that what ends up happening is that you approximate cooking the steak simultaneously from both sides, but at a gentler pace. Gentler cooking = more even cooking.

While it’s true that it takes a bit longer over the hot side of the grill to build up the same level of crust in a multi-flipper steak, the fact that it cooks more evenly means that you can cook over the hot side a bit longer, without the risk of burning the outside before the center cooks. You can also avoid creating a harsh temperature gradient inside the meat, as you would if you were to cook it entirely over the hot side without flipping.

Turducken 2012 (part 2): The proof is in the eating…

So we left part one with the turbaconucken (a turducken wrapped in bacon) sitting in the fridge ready for cooking and eating. And I don’t want to leave you hanging – it was tasty. And we’re all still alive. So it must have been cooked to bacteria killing perfection.

It started off in our oven at home – glazed with the butter/maple glaze. Uncovered for the first 20 minutes or so, and then under a foil tent – to be honest, I probably blackened it a little more than I would’ve liked. I wanted to be able to see the cooking thermometer.

We moved it to mum and dad’s, and their Weber, where it was introduced to dad’s smart probe – a bluetooth probe that sends an updated temperature to your iPhone in real time. The target number was 180 degrees Fahrenheit  And we got there. Sliced the turbaconucken, and served it up. To some acclaim. It’s fantastic as leftovers too.

The Christmas Turbaconucken 2012: Part One

I’ve always wanted to cook a turducken. Or, wrapped in bacon, a Turbaconucken. It’s a chicken, stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. So this is one to tick off the bucket list.

I don’t have the mad deboning skillz to produce a fully-fledged bird shaped delight. So this year I settled for a Turbaconucken Roll.

I’m cooking it tomorrow, with a maple glaze for our family Christmas. So I’ll post some photos, and if required, a post-mortem, tomorrow.

Special thanks to my sister Susie, her boyfriend Rohan, and my patient wife for bringing this all together.

But here’s our ingredients:

Meat

  • Turkey breast x 4
  • Duck breast (de-skinned – I’m attempting to turn the skin into some duck salt) x 4
  • Chicken breast x 4
  • 500gm Bacon Rashers

Stuffing

  • Breadcrumbs (we just cooked some white bread in the oven for a while and then food processed them).
  • Egg x 3
  • Butter (soft or melted)
  • Garlic
  • Pistachio Dukkah

We didn’t have any onions. So I put quite a bit of garlic in.

Split stuffing into three bowls…

  • 1st bowl – add 1 Jar Cranberry Sauce
  • 2nd bowl – add 3/4 Jar Plum Sauce
  • 3rd bowl – add nothing.

Glaze

  • Equal parts Maple Syrup and Butter.

I also picked up some cooking string to bring this all together.

Method.

  • Mix the ingredients of the stuffing together in a big bowl.
  • Bash the life out of the meat until it is as flat as you can get it.
  • Lay out a grid of string.
  • Lay Bacon rashers in a square.
  • Lay out the Turkey fillets – inside the bacon rashers (ie with some bacon overhanging on all sides).
  • Apply layer of Cranberry stuffing.
  • Lay out Duck fillets.
  • Apply layer of Plum stuffing.
  • Lay out Chicken breasts
  • Apply a pile of plain stuffing “on the fold” of the square you’ve made.
  • Fold like a taco.
  • Tie strings together until you’ve got a nice package.

We wrapped ours in glad wrap. Like a sausage. And I’ll be cooking it in the oven tomorrow. I have a meat thermometer.

I found this post particularly useful.

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On instagramming your food

Instagram was down yesterday. Along with a bunch of other bits of the internet that are hosted on Amazon’s servers.

I like Instagram (my username is nmcampbell and you can check out my profile using the nifty webstagram service), it’s almost exclusively my camera app of choice for cafe reviews on thebeanstalker.com. I take a lot of photos of Soph, and a lot of photos of food. So now, when I read this McSweeney’s Open Letter to people who take pictures of food on Instagram I feel a bit bad.

“You proceed to take various angled shots of the avocado being sliced, the blueberries getting washed, and your bearded boyfriend plucking feathers from the partridges because the Farmer’s Market only sold them with feathers, because plucking out the feathers themselves would be too mean and they’re the nice kind of farmers who kill with love. And now that your meal looks professional and Alexandra Gaurnaschelli would approve of it (but Scott Conant would totally get the one piece of undercooked bird) there is a great final product shot taken, complete with two Coronas because you were feeling summery.”

That’s me. Here are some instagram photos of our dinners last week.

Guilty as charged.

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Food fun from around the interwebs…

Rather than posting all of these separately, here are some food related stories I currently have in my queue of stuff to blog.

Peel garlic in 10 seconds

I want to try this. It’s amazing.

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from SAVEUR.com on Vimeo.

Make your own marshmallows

Serious Eats has a quick run down on making marshmallows.

I had no idea it was this easy. I probably should have. I know plenty of people who have made marshmallows – but the home made version has never really struck me as being as good for toasting, or putting in hot chocolate.

Make a biscuit bowl

This has been doing the rounds – but it seems so much smarter than trying to make a bowl in the inside side of a muffin tray…

Wilton.com has a recipe for biscuit bowl success.

Cheeseburgers at home

Maybe it was self discipline, maybe I just forgot – but I didn’t take advantage of the amazing $1 cheeseburger happy hour deal that McDonalds was running as a birthday celebration.

Lifehacker tried to figure out how much it would cost to make a cheeseburger at home. They calculated the cost at $1.38. That’s a cheap lunch.

Some “Babushka” knives

These don’t just look cool – they’re conceptually cool in their use of Fibonacci ratios.

Details on Design Sojourn. You can buy ’em for millions (well, hundreds) on Amazon.com
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How to make homemade bacon salt

Delicious. Season your food with some home style bacon salt thanks to the Wannabe Chef. This looks amazing.

“Transfer the bacon to a food processor and process until there are only small chunks and a paste begins to form. Add in the sea salt and ground pepper(note: whole peppercorns will not break up in the food processor) and continue to process until the salt breaks up into smaller pieces and mixes with the bacon. Transfer to an airtight jar and keep in the refrigerator when not using.”

Via Lifehacker.

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I had a brilliant idea…

I’m currently working on a little project that may take up some of my discretionary blog related time, but hopefully will produce some blog related fruit. And since I can’t keep a secret. I’ll tell you.

If, like the majority of my current traffic, you’ve only been reading here for a short time, you may have missed all the fun of my scambaiting efforts. Check them out. They’re probably the best bits of original content I’ve ever produced… For the uninitiated – scambaiting is when you deliberately lead on the people who send you scam emails, you know, the ones promising you a marriage with a beautiful African girl, or untold riches from some deceased estate…

I worked pretty hard to get a photo of a scammer holding a sign with a Bible verse on it. It was a long road. A journey. But it paid off.

My new venture is a Scambaiter’s Recipe Book. It will doubtless be a pastiche of hastily googled recipes submitted by scammers upon request. But it will be a recipe book made up of recipes sent to me by scammers, representing the cuisine of their country of choice. I will then, if the ingredients aren’t too outlandish, cook the recipe and take a photograph of it.

I’ve sent off my first batch of requests. I’ll let you know how I go.

History Cookbook: Is what it says it is

So you’re holding a Viking themed party, but don’t know what to cook. That’s a dilemma. You could cook some beancakes. Yum.

Here are the ingredients.

broad beans, in their pods
stoneground flour
goats milk
honey
optional: hazelnuts and linseeds

If that doesn’t excite you then get on board the history train and find something that does. There are dishes from prehistoric time through to today.