Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rosy Roast Beef


One of my favorite things to eat is Roast Beef but it has to be Rosy Pink!!! So often people or deli's improperly prepare what should be a delicious scrumptious piece of meat. The mistake they make is simply misunderstanding convective heat. Convection is simply the transfer of heat from one place to another by movement of fluids. I am often asked how to make a perfect rare roast and of course I am always happy to share my opinions and knowledge.
There are varying opinions about the perfect temperature to cook a roast beef at and how long. I am here to tell you most of its bunk. My favorite mythical way of cooking is minutes per pound. I.E Rare 11 min per lb , Medium 14 Min per lb etc etc. Meats  come in different sizes and girths for the minutes per pound to be useful or accurate. 

The best way to tell when meat is done is taking the internal temp of the meat. Here is another bad piece of info.  Several website I have been to have claimed that cooking a piece of meat to an internal temp of 140 F is considered rare, Medium 160 F and Well done is at 175 F. This is wrong too. In my opinion an internal temp of  160 F degrees is well done and 120-125 F is rare. If you go to wikipedia this confirms my opinion.  

First of all chose the right cut. The right cut for perfect roast beef is top round. It's a lean cut of meat and when cooked properly it makes perfect Roast Beef. Roast beef cold cuts should be tender and flavorful, cut paper thin, and rosy pink throughout.  How do you achieve those types of results at home?  Low and slow is the answer. If you want a Roast Beef that is rosy all the way through it has to be cooked very low and I mean low like 200 degrees. If you were to cook it at 325 or higher you could get a rosy roast beef but only 1/3 or less  would be pink in the center. In addition,  cooking at higher temps increases Carry over cooking which we do not want and will destroy your roast.   

This is what you do. Coat your meat with a very thin layer of oil. Smother it with your favorite spices. That was simple, right? Place your roast on a rack in a roasting pan in a preheated oven and cook at 200 degrees until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 116 degrees. Once the temp is reached take roast out of oven and set aside and turn oven up to 500 degrees and preheat for about 30 minutes or so. I know 116 F is ultra rare but we are not done yet. OK, once the oven preheats return your roast to the oven for about 10 minutes to caramelize the outside.  Note: I prefer a Dry-Brine. If you choose a Dry-Brine technique you should it should sit in the refrigerator for about 3 days covered in your favorite stuff.

 After your meat has rested the internal temp will raise slightly. The hope is not to go over 125 F. An internal temp of 125 F is a very rosy pink Roast Beef.  A technique I use to confront the rising temp is to place roast in a deep freeze ASAP just long enough to stop the rising temp.

If you have a pro-slicing machine you must use it!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Heavenly Bacon?


I have written about bacon before on a previous blog called My Love of Bacon but why do it again?  Because it's bacon!!! Some of you may not know the history of bacon but at one time it referred to all pork products.  To most people Bacon refers to Pork (belly of the Pig) and a small percentage of us now know that it can be any meat that is cured and smoked.  There is Lamb Bacon , Turkey Bacon, Beef Bacon and several other cousins varieties.  Canadian Bacon which comes from the eye loin which comes pre-cooked.  There is bacon square that comes from the jowl of the pig also called Guanciale.  How about the Italian version called Pancetta which is cured but not smoke and is rolled like a salami.   

Bringing home the bacon is a common term that refers to bringing home a paycheck and or money but that was not always the original meaning.  In the 12th Century, a church in the English town of Dunmow promised a side of bacon to any married man who could sear before the Congregation and God that had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day.  I have also found references to the man swearing also to his marital fidelity.  

Words are suppose to have definitions but in reality words really only have meaning because they change over time.  But bacon remains a constant because it tastes so damn good.

By now you all know that I do not eat Pork or for that matter Treif so I have set out on a quest to make that best non-pork version.  I will never be done.   I have so many ideas!!! 

This time I went with a Boneless Short Rib because the fat content and flavor should meet the profile I am looking for.  The short ribs weighed in at 1924 grams or 4 1/4 lbs. Last time I used a Beef Plate and although good it was hard to come by and slightly on the tough side.  On the next bacon experiment  I will see if I can get a hold of a Veal plate which should be much more tender.  

The recipe I developed is based on my palate and sense of smell.  I have a great palate and my sense of smell is incredible.  

What make this recipe unique from the others is I used a hint Cloves and Star Anise

Ingredients calculated by percentage of meat weight.  And where necessary I rounded up or down.  
Note 1: The weight of meat plus fat is 100%. All ingredients to be added are expressed as a percentage of the weight of meat plus fat. Percentages can be used to standardize recipes regardless of batch size.  All weights are metric. 
Note 2: No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Example- Meat weight 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 X 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 X 3.5 =83.755 grams. 

Cure # 1  0.25% 5g 
SALT 3.50% 68g
DEXTROSE 1.50% 30g
BROWN SUGAR 2.70% 50g
BAY LEAF 0.03% .6g
PEPPERCORN 0.50% 10g
GARLIC 1.50% 30g
MAPLE SYRUP 3.60% 70g
CLOVES 0.06% 1g

First thing:Measure and mix the salt and cure and set aside. Next measure the rest of ingredients and set aside. Coat meat thoroughly with Salt and cure mixture. Next coat with rest of ingredients. 

Vacuum sealed and ready for cooler. It will cure for about two weeks than I will cold smoke.  

This is how I cold smoke the Bacon.  I used this wonder inexpensive device know as A-MAZE-N-PELLET SMOKER.  I cold smoked the bacon for 5 hours. 


But what did I learn from this batch? Next time I will use a higher percentage of Maple syrup, 
Star Anise and Whole cloves.  And if I can get my hands on a Veal Beef Plate I will use that cut of meat. 

Not your Mama's Matzah!!!!

JosephusHomemade Matzah

Works of Flavius Josephus
Makes Two -Three round Matzahs

Josephus Flavius was a famous Jewish historian of the first century at the time of the Second Temple destruction.  If Josephus had come across this Matzah recipe, he would have included it in his writings.

2 Cups of Bread Flour ( or 2 cups of your favorite non-gluten flour)
½ Tsp finely ground fresh pepper                                         
2 Lg eggs slightly beaten
1½ Tbl Honey
1 Tbl Olive Oil
¼ Cup Water
1 Lg Onion finely chopped (size of corn kernels)
(Roasted Garlic optional)
Kosher Salt
Cheese Cloth
Some more Olive Oil on the side

Optional- Use Schmaltz and Gribenes. Saute your onions in Schmaltz and add your Gribenes to the final dough recipe.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone use it.  Alternatively, use some unglazed ceramic tiles.  Use a cookie tray if you do not have any of the above. 

Sauté the Onion in some butter and olive oil on a very small flame until the onions are caramelized. The onions should be very dark in color but not burnt.  When you initially toss in your onions add some
Kosher Salt to the onions (½ tsp), which will help draw out some of the moisture.  After several minutes, toss in about ½ tsp of sugar, which will help with the caramelizing. 

An optional technique that I use to drain the Onions is to put them in cheese cloth. After they have cooled slightly squeeze out the remaining moisture and oil/butter.   In addition
I make the onions the day before and after I have squeezed all I can I put them in a sieve weighed down with something heavy and refrigerate till the next day so I can get out every last bit of moisture and oil/butter.

To your beaten eggs add the pepper, Honey, Olive Oil, water, and caramelized onions (mix thoroughly especially if onions were refrigerated over night).  In a large bowl toss in 1½ cups of the flour, make a well and add your egg mixture.  Make your Matzah dough and use the reserved ½ flour to bring the dough together.  You may need more or less flour depending on the humidity of your kitchen.  Knead your dough for about 8-15 minutes until it springs back when you shove your thumb into it.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.  Resting the dough will relax the gluten and make it easier to roll out.  Using a rolling pin roll out your dough to your desired shape and size.  Take a fork and pierce the dough making sure to go all the way
through.  Do this on both sides and make sure you cover the whole Matzah full of holes.  Using a pastry brush lightly brush dough on one side with olive oil and sprinkle with just a little bit of kosher salt and transfer using a Pizza Peel ( I pierce and prepare
dough on the Pizza Peel for easy transfer).  If you plan to use a cookie sheet, make sure to use parchment paper.  If using a pizza stone you will need to cook it about 3-5 minutes and if you’re not using a stone it might require a longer cooking time. 

Note: I like weighting the final dough and than scaling it in using a scale.  My preference is 7-9 oz little dough balls to be rolled out into little Matzahs.                                   
I.E I usually make a lot of Matzah's so lets say I make 8 lbs of dough which yields 128 oz, that give me 16  8 oz Matzahs.   Lots of eating.