Reverse-Seared Steak

I love beef, it’s rich and packed with flavors and essential nutrients, and among all the dishes one can make with beef, steak is my favorite. There are many ways to cook a steak, a grilled steak is always great because the charred grill marks just add that perfect amount of smokiness, but not everyone has a grill and most griddles don’t get to a high enough temp to cook the steak & char the surface properly. The pan-seared steak is another classic, it’s simple and effortless, the full contact with the pan allows short cooking time and creates a lot of “fond” (the bits that stick to the pan) which if you deglaze it with some wine or stock, make a great sauce. However, there is still too much moisture in the meat, thus preventing the pan reaching a high temp and makes the surface soggy. And for both method to work properly, the meat must be allowed to rest to achieve even cooking, and a lot of the juiciness of the steak is lost during that time. The solution to fix the problems of both method is called “Reverse-Searing”, you roasted it first in a low temp oven to cook it, then sear it to create the crust, this way, you don’t need a big grill because all you need is an oven, meat thermometer, and pan.

There are 3 main advantages if you reverse sear a steak:

  • Less “gray ring” – for those who enjoy a good tender, rare or medium rare steak, there’s nothing worse than a gray ring of well-done meat wrapping around the tender juicy goodness. The slow cook in oven allow the meat to cook more evenly, kinda like sous vide, with an all pink cross section
  • Better browning: By cooking it in an oven, most moisture on the surface is removed so the outer surface can be browned perfectly! This is why I prefer severe searing than sous vide because when you sous vide a steak and then sear it, the surface is too wet for a pan to reach a high temp for browning
  • Easier & cheaper: With this, you have more time, for people who sear or grill their steak, a rare to a medium rare might just be 30 sec difference in cook time, whereas the low temp oven extends that to about 10 min. Also, you don’t need a big grill or an expensive sous vide machine which costs about 100+ USD, all you need is an oven, a meat thermometer (about 10 USD), and a pan

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1 – Prep:

Choose the right meat, even though almost any cut of steak works, my personal favorite is a thin 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick cut rib eye, it is both flavorful and tender, and marbling of fat makes it super juicy, a nice thick strip would also work well for reverse searing. Season your meat generously with salt and black pepper, then place them on a baking rack over a roasting tray. Preheat the oven to about 120°C or 250°F, you can set it to any temp as long as it’s within the 93°C/200°F – 135°C/275°F, lower temp allows the meat to cook more evenly, but it takes a lot longer.

Step 2 – Slow Roasting:

Place the entire tray in the oven, and roast until the center temperature hits about 5°C/10°F below the final temperature at which you’d like to serve the meat, this would take any time from 30 min to 1 h, really depends on the cut you use. Try to get the temp once every 8 min or so. Also, you need a good/accurate thermometer for this process, but there’s no need to break the banks for one, a small usually costs thermal-pen less than 10 USD and is very reliable.

Step 3 – Searing:

About 2 min before the steaks reach 5°C/10°F below the ideal temp, heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over high heat, you want the oil to smoke just a little bit, which means the temperature is at about 200°C/400°F. Add the steaks with a tablespoon of butter and cook it until it’s nicely browned on the first side, which should take about 45 seconds. Flip the steak and cook the second side, and don’t forget about hold it sideways to near their edges.

Step 4 – Serving:

DO NOT REST! Cut it up and serve it straight away, the steak is already evenly cooked in the oven, so there’s no need to rest the meat!

 

 

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Make Pizza at Home (Part 2: Oven)

Who doesn’t love pizza? Although it’s always nice to grab a slice at your favorite local pizza shop, making your own at home can be better. After this, say goodbye to frozen pizzas and takeouts, because this is going to be easy and absolutely delicious!

In the part two of this post, we will be focusing on the process of baking pizza in a home oven. If you want to know how to make the perfect dough, you can read about it here: Make Pizza at Home (Part 1: Dough).

The problem of making a great pizza and the perfect crust at home is the limitation of temperature. A home oven maxes out about 260C or 500F degrees, which is very low compare to a commercial oven or a wood fired oven which can reach about 425C or 800F. So, how to fix that?

If you look around online, you can find an expensive pizza oven or a pizza stone, but to be honest, all you need is a cast iron pan. Place the cast iron pan upside down in the oven, heat up the oven at the maximum temperature, at around 260C or 500F, let the pan heat up. Then place whatever pizza you want to make on a thing pizza tray, place the pizza tray on top of the bottom of the heated cast iron pan, let it bake for 4 to 5 min, then turn on broil for 1 min.

This creates a very crunchy crust because the hot cast iron pan can directly heat up the pizza from the bottom, and the thick bottom provides an even, high heat. The time can be adjusted base on the thickness of the pizza, so if you are aiming for a thin & crispy, 3 min is perfect, and if you are making an American pizza, 4.5 min will do the job.

Make Pizza at Home (Part 1: Dough)

Who doesn’t love pizza? Although it’s always nice to grab a slice at your favorite local pizza shop, making your own at home can be better. After this, say goodbye to frozen pizzas and takeouts, because this is going to be easy and absolutely delicious!

In the part one of this post, we will be focusing on the dough, since its the base of the pizza. This includes the ingredients, technics that will help you make an easy and fast pizza dough at home.

The one thing and the only thing that matters in the making of the pizza dough in the flour, this is not saying the yeast or the water isn’t important, however, they have very minimal effects on the dough as long as you use the correct amount.

While most recipes call for Italian “00” flour, they are quite hard to track down, not so much in Europe, but rest of the world. If you live in the U.S., they can be found in most high-end grocery stores, but in most other places, you can only find them in import stores, and they can be quite pricey at times.

So after many research and experiments with different mixtures and ratios of flours, this ratio will produce, for me personly, the best crust, and the one that’s the closest to a ’00’ flour pizza dough.

You need:

  1. A kitchen scale with “gram” as a unit (if you are from the U.S., that’s the unit everyone else uses on this planet, is about 1/28 of an ounce. In my personal opinion, weight is more accurate than volume for things like flour since they do compress)
  2. 300 g of  strong flour (it is also called strong bread flour in some places, they are very common)
  3. 200 g of white flour (just normal flour)
  4. 320 g of warm water (sometimes volume aren’t very accurate)
  5. 7 g of active dry yeast
  6. 3 g of sea salt

How to make this:

  1. Mix the flours and salt in a mixing bowl
  2. Measure 320 grams of warm water, pour in the yeast and mix evenly. This way, you allow the yeast to wake up and do their thing
  3. Mix the two together, if you have a stand mixer, just use the dough hook attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you will need it to knead it by hand
  4. To knead the dough, use your hand to fix one end, pull the other end outward and then fold in, repeat it 20 to 40 times
  5. Divide the dough into 4 equal sizes, cover and let it sit and rise for 45 min to one hour

Next time, we will be talking about how to bake the pizza using a home oven.

Sashimi/Defrosting Fish

Though it is nice to just have a fresh piece of sushi grade fish, most of the time, it’s very hard to find them. So, once in a while, you need to use a frozen piece of fish. Here’s a way to defrost fish without losing the texture.

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You need:

  • 4 cups Water
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lb frozen fish (tuna or salmon)

How to do this:

  1. Wash your hands and clean the work surface
  2. Mix the sugar, salt, and water in a brine, add more salt if needed
  3. Quickly soak the fish in the brine for 5 min, dry it with paper towels, wrap it with ceramic wraps, and place it in the fridge for 8 hours
  4. Take it out and use it when you need it, it can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours

You can use this for poke, sushi, or sashimi