HOLIDAY BREAK

I haven’t been to work since last Thursday so I’ve been enjoying my time off since then. On most days I wake up very late in the afternoon, which shouldn’t surprise many of you. As I’m older now, I tend to wake up around 9am or 10am but I kinda force myself to stay in bed and look at the Internet. Eventually, I fall back asleep for anywhere between one to three hours. If anything, I am using this break to get well-rested.

On the weekend, I saw my family quite a bit. I had dim sum with my parents on Saturday. Of note, to get to dim sum, I rode the Evergreen extension to the Skytrain line for the first time. It was very exciting for me as I’ve watched this project progress from it’s beginnings about three years ago all the way to the opening. There’s a new station located quite close to my parents’ home and the dim sum restaurant is right across the street from another station.

On Sunday, I had turkey dinner with my immediate family and some friends. Dinner was delicious and while I didn’t overly stuff my face with food, I certainly was not shy about eating what I thought were the tastiest offerings of the evening. It may sound odd but I wound up eating a lot of chow mein and strawberry shortcake (not all at once).

I also have to mention that I’ve been cooking quite a bit (at least for me) during the break. On Friday, I picked up the sous vide machine that I wrote about here. On Saturday evening, I tried making sous vide steak. I bought the cheapest cut of beef I could find at my local Safeway. I wound up buying some top sirloin cap steaks. These were priced at $14/kg, which you can compare that to the tenderloin steaks which I saw were being sold at $44/kg. The steaks came out amazing. They were uniformly medium-rare from edge to edge, something that would be nearly impossible with a grilled or pan-fried steak. I was also shocked at how juicy it was. The sous vide method allows steaks to retain much more moisture so the meat doesn’t dry out. My steak was very tender and incredibly delicious, especially if you consider I spent less than $4 on it. Rather writing more about these steaks, look at some pictures here.

After the success of the steak, I eagerly awaited the stores to open back up so I could pick up more raw ingredients. I bought some skinless and boneless chicken breasts and a wild salmon fillet. I made two chicken breasts last night. I’ve rarely cooked white chicken meat in my time but these sous vide chicken breasts were the most moist and juicy ones I’ve ever prepared. Still, I think I could have done better. I cooked them at 145 degrees F but I think if I drop the temperature down to 140 or slightly less, they will taste even better. I have three more breasts in the fridge, so I’ll adjust the cooking accordingly.

This evening I tried making the salmon fillet with the sous vide method. I’ll admit I got a little apprehensive about ensuring the salmon was completely safe to eat. As such, I cooked it at 140 degrees F for about 90 minutes which basically pasteurizes the salmon and also would kill any parasites in it, if any were there to begin with. The salmon came out fine and was full of flavour but it was a bit too flaky and dry for my liking. Now that I think about it, the fillet was previously frozen so the odds are if any parasites were in the fillet, they would have already been killed. Next time I’ll lower the temperature closer to 130 degrees F or slightly below that. At lower temperatures, the salmon should come out juicier, less flaky, and more buttery smooth.

Beyond steak, chicken, and salmon, I have my sights set on sous vide scrambled eggs. I know it sounds odd but apparently scrambled eggs done sous vide style is amazing.

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