To my readers, a belated apology. My wife has been ill, my house has had power and aircon issues, and when your house is broken, it becomes hard to cook and write about food. So we’ll talk a little sous-vide, things that have been building up, stuff I’ve observed, and the occasional incidental that may only pertain to the Snellville GA area as opposed to the much larger world of sous-vide cooking.

Gogi Brothers has closed. I enjoyed my stay there, but I was about the only one I know of who had a positive experience there. If you can’t please customers, it’s hard to stay open.

Fung Mei, which for a while was missing its Sichuan chef, has one now, and their version of “Shan City chicken” (Fung Mei calls it E1 on the Sichuan menu) is exceptionally good right now.

Fung Mei’s “E1” was blow you away good this last Father’s day.

Concerning the dish dry fried green beans: can anyone explain to me the move from spicing with Sichuan peppercorns to a less fiery garlic based set of ingredients? The garlic flavored green beans are good. but not as insanely good as the green beans I had on this visit to Fung Mei.

For the 4th, I prepped a pair of buffalo sirloins. This 8 ounce cut is rapidly becoming my go-to when I want a steak I don’t have to think about. Reliability, tenderness, rich flavors, and serving size about right are driving this. 3 to 5 hours at 131 with dry spices, and these meats are good to go.

Buffalo sirloins are grass fed and very reliable in a sous-vide pot.

When spicing more than one piece of meat, it’s faster if you’ll spice all of them at once on one side, flip all of them, and spice the other side. This approach saves time. Keeping a pot around on the stove, with scalding hot water, also makes it faster to equilibrate the sous-vide pot.

Bottom round roast, 16 hour sous-vide.

Recently I worked up another roast, this time a bottom round roast. I was going to cook it 30 hours, but cut the time short, to about 16 hours, when I found this article on a 10 hour bottom round roast. It ended up a nice cut of meat, some chew but definitely more tender than a stove roasted meat.

I’m beginning to think the 10-24 hour time frame is best for these kinds of meats, regardless. You’re guaranteed something you can eat and not think about it. The longer you go, the more likely it is you’ll get meats with a sawdust texture.

The malty chocolate overtones in this beer make it a creative alternative to another American pale ale or an overhopped IPA.

If you like malt forward beers, you might want to give New Belgium’s 1554 a try, whose malty chocolate overtones make it an alternative to yet another IPA.

Finally, for those of you who are interested in monitoring electricity use, or do some minor electrical work on your own, let’s introduce the common current clamp. Versions of these are available at Home Depot or Lowe’s, or can be purchased for about 50 dollars on Amazon.

A current clamp. It can be more useful to the cook than you might imagine.

The current clamp above came with this temperature probe. Claimed range is less than or equal to 400 C, plus minus 2.5 C.

This one, an Amazon purchase, comes with a temperature probe. That’s what lifts it above the fray for the interested cook. It becomes a dual purpose tool. The accuracy of this probe is 2.5 C, and that’s yet another way to double check the accuracy of your sous-vide device.

Triple checking the temperature in my sous-vide pot.

It could also be used as the main temperature probe in a beer cooler sous vide setup (see also here).

Got back from Christmas and New Years. It was a difficult holiday as almost everyone ended up with flu. My brother did not; he lives in Shanghai these days, working as a financial consultant. A few things he said I thought were of interest.

  • American restaurant service. “You can’t get service like this in restaurants in China.” That led to the discussion of new immigrants (or in the crude vernacular, fobs), and how long term residents of San Francisco’s Chinatown feel about them.
  • American serving size. “The biggest in the world.” The size of Americans surprised him, after all the years overseas.
  • The diversity of ethnic Chinese foods. He’s very fond of Xinjiang cooking – western Chinese cooking, from the Muslim provinces. “You can’t get that kind of cooking in the states.” Northeast Chinese cooking has a lot of dumplings and noodle dishes. The food seen in the States is largely Cantonese.
  • He was a little surprised at the Sichuan foods I could describe to him. He could name them once described.
  • Not food related but interesting nonetheless: though China has a booming economy, there  is still a lot of unemployment there. It’s hard to put 1.3 billion people to work. Cities of course, are huge. A city of 6 or 7 million people is a smaller city in China.

The diversity of food in northwest Louisiana surprised me a little. Good cheeses, good beers are available in decent sized towns, much less cities. Some of the convenience foods available were new to me:

I’d never thought of canning a roux before.

Locally, I tried these dishes at Fung Mei (yu xiang eggplant (i.e. eggplant with spicy garlic sauce) and shredded crispy duck) and they both were really good.