I love to cook. That’s a lie, but I do love to watch other people cook. I’ve been watching cooking shows since the days of Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on PBS. Today I’m obsessed with The Food Network – especially “Chopped.” I could watch that show for days.
But since we all need a little less screen-time, I decided to go live with my cooking curiosities. Last week The North Andover Country Club put on a cooking demonstration led by their knowledgeable and charming sous chef, C. Ross. I was accompanied by a few friends – a good thing since otherwise I might never have dragged myself out the door on a weeknight (2 teenage daughters=tired=old=I don’t care, I love staying in).
C. Ross opened with a beautiful serving of sushi. He shared that mastering sushi rice at home involves three very important ingredients: rice vinegar, salt and, to my surprise, sugar. It was delicious.
He upped the presentation by showing us how to make the prettiest wasabi shell.
Even my friend Maureen, who typically doesn’t eat sushi, enjoyed her tasting. Way to go Mo!
How to cook sous vide
For the entrée, we were enlightened about a cooking method called sous vide. It involves food placed in air-tight plastic bags, then submerged in a temperature controlled water bath. The end result is food cooked to an ideal temperature with ultimate moisture retention. Imagine flawless sous vide steak, salmon, chicken, eggs or veggies. No more hockey-puck filets for this girl! The concept behind the sous vide technique is that you heat the food just enough for it to reach the desired doneness, essentially eliminating the risk of over or under cooking.
On this night we were having sous vide chicken flavored with blood orange, thyme and a touch of salt. Once out of the water bath, C. Ross gave it a quick sear to give it that crispy exterior we all love, meanwhile the center remained juicy and full of flavor.
Served with tender, sous vide carrots and the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten; I figured I couldn’t possibly ask for more.
But then out came my absolute favorite dessert, crème brulee. This was again prepared sous vide and although I was already stuffed, I savored every last bite.
This was an entertaining night that made me happy I’d gotten out, enjoyed a great dinner and learned something new. By the end, I declared C. Ross to be the next Food Network Star!
Interested in a Sous Vide machine?
I researched sous vide equipment online and found that Williams-Sonoma has a device that may just make my 2016 Christmas list.
Who knows, between all of the Tasty videos on Facebook and fun nights like this, I may end up loving cooking after all!