Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Surf and Turf Bento

It's been two tortuous weeks of no cooking for me. The rest was probably really good for me, but to be in the kitchen cooking again felt really good. It's my way of relaxing and having fun. Besides I'm a busy body, for two weeks there was a giant hole in my schedule where I had absolutely nothing to do it was freaking me out. Anyhow I digress, I had plenty of themes queued up but being so close to Valentine's day I figure it would be nice to send my diners a valentine's day dinner surf and turf style. I managed to save a few bucks in the previous few bentos so it allowed me to do a splurge this week. I kept the menu easy to make sure I don't over do it on my first week back. And of course I had my new toy, which I'll post more on in a bit.

I can't say enough about my new found love of sous vide cooking. You really need to click into the photo to the right. Can you see it? It's a medium rare steak with maybe a 1 millimeter brown top. The whole thing is tender and melts in your mouth. I know this won't re-heat well, I'm just anxious to have folks over to the house to taste a perfect steak. If you don't know what sous vide is, let me give you the quick overview. I'm planning on doing a detailed post of the sous vide supreme I just acquired and it will have more detail. Basically you take (in this case) a steak, put on whatever seasoning, vacuum seal it in a bag and dump it in a water bath at the perfect temperature you wish the whole thing to get to and wait a few hours. It's simplistic but generally speaking you lose nothing to the pan, nothing to evaporation, yes you still cook from the exterior in, but you're just slowly bringing it to the right temperature rather than violently overheating the outside to get the inside to cook. Ok more on this later I promise. Just take it from me, it's awesome and can be applied to lots of things.


Ok enough about sous vide what exactly was the main entree? Steak Au Poivre with a Shallot and Wine Demi-Glace. Ok It's *almost* Steak Au Poivre, The peppercorns fell off during the sous vide bath so I went with blackpepper and salt to try to form a nice crust (which it did) and put together a nice Shallot wine demi-glace reduction. No, I didn't create a classic demi-glace I cheated and went with re-constituting some concentrate very very tasty. I wish that I was able to get together the peppercorn crust, that would have made this perfect, but I'm very happy with the results. Again, the Sous Vide Supreme produced an amazing steak. My only regret is the reheat will destroy the perfect medium rare. I'll have to work on that one. I had some extra and carved off a small piece to taste this morning and even cold it was delightful.

Next we have Sage seared sea scallops salad with raspberry vinaigrette. For the Surf I went with a seared sage dusted scallop. It blackened more than I would have liked but the resulting salad was pretty good. The sweet scallops offset the bitter spring mix and vinaigrette, and I managed to get the scallops to a perfect temperature, so assuming no re-heat attempts this should be a really great salad. The beautiful red from the raspberries go well with the valentine theme, lots of herbs in this one so it's very fragrant too. Let's see what my diners have to say, but I think they'll be happy with the results.


Needed some starch and filling so I went with a Spinach and Parmesan Orzo, easy dish to put together some prep on the carrots, onions and spinach and just waitin for the pasta to come together. A little parmesan brought some salt into the equation, I refrained from adding more as I tend to have a heavy hand with salt. I love the texture of orzo, being that it looks like rice, I always have the expectation that it would be more "toothy" except it's soft because it's pasta.



Last but never least, what Valentine's day bento would be complete without some Chocolate Covered Strawberries. I did a familiar tuxedo with white and semi-sweet here. I'll confess it's not my best detail work, but I was in a bit of a hurry. But it's a nice special touch I can bring to my bentoers. Hopefully my co-workers will enjoy the extras tomorrow.





I'm very glad to be back. This bento took no time at all because I cut down to six portions. I'm sad I can't cook for everyone, but the previous schedule was killing me, and as much as I'd like to please everyone that just isn't always possible.

Box Contents
  • Steak Au Poivre with Shallot Wine Demi-Glace
  • Sage Seared Sea Scallop salad with Raspberry Vinnaigrette
  • Spinach Parmesan Orzo
  • Chocolate dipped Strawberries

4 comments:

Stuart HA said...

Very glad to have you back. This sounds delicious. Can't wait to tuck in tomorrow

Ironjack said...

Lemme know what ya think!

Yabbajonk said...

This bento was unreal from start to finish.

I did take a risk and reheated the steak for 1 minute in a low wattage microwave and it just came out perfect - I cannot say enough for the sous vide.

Scallops: perfection.
Decapitated butlers: perfect
Raspberry vinegrette: delecious but had undergone gelation at serving time
Orzo: Words cannot describe...

Ironjack said...

Yay! A happy eater. Actually the vinaigrette jelly is probably a result of a cold refridgerator causing the olive oil to solidify. Room temp it for a little bit and shake it up and you'll be fine.