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Archive for August, 2013

Product Spotlight: The SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane Culinary

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A growing trend, sous vide cooking (pronounced “soo-veed”) involves using submerging vacuum-sealed food in pouches into a precisely-controlled water bath held at a constant temperature. The SousVide Supreme is the world’s first water oven designed specifically to bring the extraordinary sous vide cooking method into the home kitchen.

We recently had a chance to try out the sous vide method of cooking at home using the SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane Culinary (the Canadian distributor). We decided to give it a try using bone-in rib steaks. Our triple AAA steaks were thawed from frozen and 1.5″ inches thick. We powered up the SousVide Supreme, and set the temperature to 57 Degrees Celsius. While the machine got up to temperature, we seasoned the steak with the montreal steak spice. We placed the steak into the provided vacuum seal pouches, along with a piece of butter. We sealed the steaks using the provided SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer. Once the Supreme reached temperature, we submerged the steaks into the water bath, set the timer on the unit for 60 minutes, and placed the cover.

After an hour, the timer went off and the meat was ready to be removed. We pull out the steak from the water bath, and cut open the pouches. The meat came out looking extremely tender and perfectly cooked. One thing about SousVide cooking is that unlike traditional methods it doesn’t brown or sear the meat. As a result, although ready to eat, the meat can sometimes look unappetizing. A quick sear will easily remedy this.

We chose to sear our steak on the grill. With the barbecue set at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, we placed the steak on the grill for just a few minutes to make grill marks and a perfect sear. Although not required by the SousVide cooking method, we let the steaks rest for a few minutes before cutting into them.

The meat was perfectly cooked, succulent, tender, and juicy. We served it alongside roasted potatoes, eggplant parmigiana and caesar salad. The SousVide is an easy and precise way to cook meats, fish, vegetables and more, perfectly every time. Looking forward to cooking with the SousVide Supreme again!

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The SousVide Supreme kit we used was the SousVide Supreme Deluxe Promo Package (which retails for $549.00). The promo package includes everything you need to start cooking sous vide today, including the SousVide Supreme water oven, vacuum sealer, pouches, the Easy Sous Vide cookbook, and more. The push-button simple SousVide Supreme allows anyone to prepare meals with maximum flavour and nutrition that will be cooked to perfection and ready when you are. The result is food of incomparable taste and texture:  steak perfectly cooked edge-to-edge, vibrant vegetables, juicy tender chicken breasts, and ribs with the meat literally falling off the bone.

The steps to sous vide cooking are simple: season and vacuum-seal your food, drop it into the SousVide Supreme at the desired temperature, and walk away. Unlike the hostile high temperatures of stovetop, oven, or grill, the SousVide Supreme gently and precisely cooks food to its perfect serving temperature and cannot overcook.  Foolproof gourmet results with push-button simplicity.

SousVide Supreme Features:

  • Hands-off, time-saving meal preparation. Just set it and walk away
  • Easy and foolproof. Never overcook a meal again. Perfect results, every time.
  • Gourmet taste. Capture the full, TRUE flavor of foods
  • Saves you money. Tenderizes inexpensive cuts.
  • Added nutritional value. Natural juices and nutrients are retained in the food-safe vacuum seal bag.
  • Easy clean-up. No messy pots and pans. Just empty and wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.
  • Energy-efficient operation. Uses energy equivalent to a 60W light bulb once at target temperature. Quiet operation.
  • Precise temperature control to 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius)

SousVide Supreme Tips and Tricks:

One of the best things about the SousVide Supreme and sous vide cooking in general is that it is very simple to create gourmet meals at home with minimal hands-on time and almost no risk of overcooking! Cedarlane Culinary shares a handful of tricks and tips that will help you cook SousVide successfully one your very first attempts.

Cooking Times and Temperatures

  • Pork chops or tenderloin at 60 degrees C for a couple of hours at least.
  • Steaks and Chicken breasts can do for an hour. Medium rare steak is 57 degrees C and Chicken should be done at 64 degrees C.
  • Beef roast at 57 or a couple degrees higher if you like a bit more well done. Do for 4-8 hours.

Sealing & Cooking Liquids and Liquid-Rich Foods

  • If the liquid or sauce is freezable, put it in the freezer beforehand to solidify it and add it to your pouch of food while in it’s frozen state. It won’t take long to start melting once the pouch is in your SousVide Supreme and it won’t give you any issues during sealing.
  • Our preferred method is to take advantage of all 3 button on the vacuum sealer (Vacuum seal, Cancel, and Seal Only). Prepare your pouch as you normally would and hit the Vacuum Seal button. Once the majority of the air is removed you will start to see the liquid being pulled up the pouch. At this point quickly press the ‘Cancel’ button, followed immediately by the ‘Seal Only’ button. This will maximize the amount of air removed while stopping the suction before the bag is sealed and before any liquid can reach the top of the pouch.
  • A third option is to use the Archimedes Principle of Water Displacement in which you fill your sink or container with water, and submerge the pouch before using the ‘Seal Only’ button to close the pouch. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also combine Tips 2 and 3 to remove as much air as possible before sealing.

Sealing ‘Bone-In’ Meats

  • If you’re having trouble sealing meats with the bone left in because the bone is puncturing the pouch, use some tinfoil to wrap around the exposed bone area before sealing. This will protect the pouch from any sharp edges that may pose a concern.

Searing Afterwards

  • One thing you want to remember after you remove the food from the pouch and before searing on the grill, in a pan, or with a blowtorch, is to pat the surface of your food with a paper towel to remove the moisture on the exterior of your food. You want to sear it for a very short amount of time (20-30 seconds per side) on very high heat and if there is a lot of moisture on the exterior of the food, it will take longer to evaporate this moisture and you will need to sear it longer to achieve the exterior browning you desire. This added time can quickly start overcooking the interior and can ruin the amazing results you just achieved by cooking it sous vide.

For Sous Vide Recipes, Cooking Tips, Industry News and more like Cedarlane Culinary on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. If you are interested in purchasing a SousVide Supreme or learning more, please contact Cedarlane Culinary.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

86’d at The Drake Hotel’s Wild Blueberry Bacchanal

Alexa Clark, www.unsweetened.ca, Wild Blueberry Association of North America.

Photo Credit: Alexa Clark, www.unsweetened.ca, Wild Blueberry Association of North America

At last month’s 86’d Wild Blueberry Bacchanal held at The Drake Hotel, Heather Mordue from L’Unita restaurant was the crowd favourite with her delicious wild blueberry Nanaimo bars (above).

The competition had dishes featuring wild blueberries going head to head for guests to sample and vote. Michelle Edgar of The Sweet Escape presented a wild blueberry cheesecake éclair, while Farzam Fallah of Richmond Station, created a duck liver mousse on deep fried French toast with a wild blueberry whiskey sauce.

thevandyksAlong with the sweet and savoury blueberry treats, an original cocktail, The Van Dyk’s, was crafted by Drake mixologist, Gord Hannah.

The Van Dyk’s

Featuring Van Dyk’s 100 per cent wild blueberry juice, by Gord Hannah, Mixologist at The Drake Hotel.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 muddled grapefruit
  • 1.5 oz Maker’s Mark
  • .5 oz Creme de Violet
  • 1.5 oz Van Dyk’s wild blueberry juice*
  • .25 oz lemongrass syrup

Preparation:

  1. Shake ingredients with ice, serve in rocks glass over ice.
  2. Garnish with grapefruit peel and frozen wild blueberries.

The Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) is an international trade association of growers and processors of wild blueberries from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Maine, dedicated to bringing the wild blueberry health story and unique wild advantages to consumers and the trade worldwide. For recipes, nutritional information or to learn more about wild blueberries visit wildblueberries.com or follow @WildBBerries4U on Twitter.

86’d at The Drake takes place Monday Nights at The Drake Hotel and is hosted by Ivy Knight, publisher of Swallow Daily.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

Eat Up TO Alumni Cheesewerks and Hot Bunzz Team Up for the Ex!

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Heading to the CNE this year? Griffin Gastro are running craft beer and wine lounge featuring Cheesewerks, the pairing partner for food in this zone. Cheesewerks has teamed up with fellow Eat Up TO alumni Hot Bunzz for a special EX themed “ColloborationZZ” offering, a Mac & Cheese bun.

The bun itself is Hot Bunzz’s traditional brioche style dough but added in is some cracked peppercorn as an homage to the bread Kevin Durkee at Cheesewerks uses for his traditional mac. Packed into the bun is a combination of cavitappi pasta, curds, double smoked Balderson cheddar and Cheesewerks’ Bechemel sauce. Once the bun is cooked its topped with a brush of bechemel, breadcrumb, black pepper and a topping of more smoked cheddar.

This is the first in what they hope will be a line of collaborative products between the two brands. Both are super excited as this is a great alternative for CNE goers instead of the typical fried offerings found each year.

We are proud that Eat Up TO was able to foster this great collaboration, and look forward to future creative mashups from Hot Bunzz and Cheesewerks, and our other alumni.

Cheesewerks is located at 56 Bathurst Street in Toronto. Visit cheesewerks.com and like them on Facebook and follow them Twitter.

Hot Bunzz is located at 21 St. Clair Ave. W., inside the Urban Bistro. Follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

The 19th Annual Toronto’s Festival of Beer

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Toronto’s Festival of Beer, frequently referred to as Beerfest, is an annual event taking place on Exhibition grounds in Toronto. The festival celebrates Canada’s rich brewing history, featuring over 200 brands including many Ontario craft breweries. The 19th annual Festival of Beer took place July 26-28th.

With entry you are provided a glass to use for sampling. This year’s glass was an impressive and hefty glass beer mug. Sampling tokens were available for $1 each. At most vendors, samples were 1 token for a half glass (4 oz.) or 2 tokens for a full glass (8 oz.). We attempted to work our way through the festival.

Some of our beer highlights included:

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A noticeable change at the festival over the past few years has been the increase of quality food offerings. Here were some of our favourite food finds:

  • Fidel Gastro (@FidelGastrosFacebook) was serving up a mix of his famous sandwiches including the Gorgeous Jorge (pulled pork, peanut butter, bacon jam and pig crackling) and Lisa Marie menu favourites like the Alabama Tailgaters (smoked bacon wrapped beef carpaccio, cheese and kimchi).
  • Melt Grilled Cheese (@MeltgrilledchzFacebook) was dishing up ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwiches including the decadent Tattooed Chicken (cheddar, mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon, herbed tomato and garlic aioli).
  • Rock Lobster Food Co. (@RockLobsterFoodFacebook) had their popular lobster rolls (also available as tacos). Unfortunately, festival favourite “pickle on a stick” were all sold out by the time we got there.
  • Pizzeria Libretto (@PizzaLibretto / Facebook). Rocco Agostino was serving up pizza pies as quickly as they came out of the wood fired oven.
  • The International Centre’s Crafting Fuzion had one of the most interesting offerings, the Seoul Bandido Nacho Libre, a Korean-Mexican mashup featuring pork bulgogi and kimchi.

We also bumped into our Eat Up TO friends from FoodShootr (@FoodShootrApp / Facebook) in the social media lounge (which was sponsored in part by Neal Brothers and NOW Magazine). FoodShootr has just released version 2.0 of their app and were at the festival capturing the festivities. The images above are FoodShootr‘s foodie finds at the fest.

Another great festival year. We’re looking forward to the next one!

For more information visit beerfestival.ca, follow @TOBeerFestival on Twitter and like TOBeerFestival on Facebook.

August 13, 2013 | By | Reply More

LobsterAnywhere.com: Fresh Lobster, Overnight Delivery

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The following is a true story.

It started with a direct message on Twitter.

May 29:

Joe: “Hi, it’s Joe from lobsteranywhere.com. Would you like to try our seafood and blog about it?”

Who wouldn’t. So I wrote Joe back.

Me: “Thanks for your interest! We’d love to try your seafood and blog about it. We are located in Toronto Canada. Do you ship up here?”

Unfortunately, Lobster Anywhere doesn’t ship to Canada yet. So I contacted a friend, Dave, who lives in Los Angeles.

Me: “Would you like some lobster? Joe from Lobster Anywhere offered to send over some lobster for us to try and blog about.”

Dave along with his girlfriend Sarah, eagerly accepted.

June 3:

As the big day approached, I followed up to make sure that Dave was ready to receive the Lobster.

Me: “Will you be around on Wednesday? The lobster is gonna be delivered. But you’ll have to be there during the day.”

Dave: “I think so.”

Me: “Ok. I’ll give your number to the Fedex guy. Tell Sarah to plan to cook Lobster on Wednesday!”

I gave Joe the go ahead. The lobster was on it’s way.

Lobster-Anywhere

June 5:

The big day arrived. The lobster was being delivered. That’s when the emails started:

Sarah: “They are alive?? I am not killing them. and we don’t have the proper tools to take the claws off and stuff. What are we supposed to do?”

Me: “Hahaha. This is all part of the experience. Take lots of pictures! 😉 You have to cook them live. You just throw them in a pot of boiling water. Here’s a guide. I don’t think you need any special tools. Once it’s ready, you just break them open with your hands. Make sure you have lots of melted butter on hand! So jealous…

Sarah: “We don’t have a pot that big! I was going to grill them I thought they would be frozen. Seriously I can not kill them, I can’t do it. If I had known they would be alive I would have been better prepared.”

Me: “There must be someone you know who can cook a lobster… It’s really easy!”

Dave: “Yeah. Sarah’s dad is more then happy to cook them.”

Sarah’s father was on his way home from San Francisco. He picked up the LobsterAnywhere package that afternoon and brought it home with him to San Diego.

June 7:

It seemed as though everything worked out perfectly. Dave and Sarah didn’t have to cook live lobsters and Sarah’s parents lucked out with an amazing dinner. I was just waiting on the pictures for this blog post when I received another message.

Dave: “Way to blow it. That package had 2 lobster tails, some clam chowder and a blueberry pie. We would have totally eaten that!”

Me: “They didn’t say what they were sending. They just said lobster.”

Dave: “Bit of a difference between what was in the box and live lobsters.”

Me: “Hahaha. That’s pretty funny. Next time you should prob open the box. Did Sarah’s parents enjoy their meal?”

Dave: “I’m not going open a box of live lobsters if I can’t cook them. Besides they came just before Sarah’s dad picked them up. Which was great timing.”

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Sarah’s Dad:

“We have lobster at home often. We normally will grill the tails over our outside grill but we followed the cooking instructions provided by Lobster Anywhere and boiled them for about 7-8 minutes.  This turns them the bright red that lobster are famous for.  We served the tails with warm drawn butter, some vegetables and a Sauvignon Blanc wine. They were perfectly cooked (using the instructions) and they did taste yummy.”

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Lobster Anywhere

For lobster lovers everywhere. Lobster Anywhere is the spot for lobster delivered next day via air. Since 1999 LobsterAnywhere.com has shipped the finest Live Maine lobster, lobster tails, and New England clam Chowder to customers coast-to-coast.

Lobster Anywhere specializes in lobster and seafood gift packages. All of their gourmet gifts include free overnight delivery and a how to cook lobster manual.

Lobsteranywhere.com also does indeed ship live Maine lobster, any time of the year. Their live lobster gift packages come complete with steel crackers and forks wrapped in fine red and white checkered cotton napkins, step-by-step cooking instructions, fresh lemon and lobster cooking instructions.

Lobster-sweetheartThe package received was close to the Sweetheart Cove for Two; the only difference being it had the Blueberry tart vs. the heart-shaped chocolate truffles.

Sweetheart Cove for Two

Light the candles, melt the butter and crack into two genuine cold-water lobster tails direct from the North Atlantic.

Select a dinner with their 6-7 oz cold-water tails or supersize with their colossal 16-20 oz. tails.

Warm-up with their chef prepared New England clam chowder for two. And for the grand finale you’ll fall for their heart-shaped chocolate truffles.

Lobster Anywhere offers free overnight delivery, anywhere in USA

For more information visit lobsteranywhere.com.

August 6, 2013 | By | Reply More