Showing posts from March, 2014

Tools of the Trade: Heat Gun

A few posts back I mentioned crisping up my duck breast using a heat gun . I was talking with CookingForEngineers and he mentioned that his wife bought him a heat gun for purposes of work around the house but he mentioned that he's used it for some alternate culinary uses. This compelled me of course to pick one up (I think I spent around $40 at the local big box hardware store). There's a low and high setting, you can set the gun as low as 250F or as high as 1350F. It's like (ok it is) a variable heat blow dryer. Typically you use a heat gun for paint drying, pipe thawing, paint removal, shrink wrapping, the list is pretty long basically anything that requires hot dry air. And when we're talking 1350F that's hotter than I can get my green egg and for $40 bucks I was willing to give it a shot. Here's what I figured out: you gotta hold the heat gun pretty close to the subject in order to achieve the desired heat concentration. As you can see it's a

Roasted Bento

Today's bento theme is: Roasting. The application of dry heat to meat and vegetables to prepare a dish. A lot of the time, roasting is associated with low heat longer cooking but it's not limited to low and slow, sometimes you can apply the technique in a high temperature setting (usually on tender cuts of meat). But for the most part low and slow gets you a lot of flavor without having to stand and watch over a dish. In vegetables you get the sugars to caramelize, root vegetables get nice and tender. For tough or large cuts of meat it gives it time to break down collagen and connective tissue so it becomes "fall apart" tender. The key is retaining moisture. A lot of time you either sear (in the case of meat) or slather in fat or oil to help in that process. In this case, I did neither....  This recipe came from listening to NPR on my commute home, it was a "copy cat/fast food fakeout" recipe for a roasted chicken. The idea seemed sound, you put on a d

Valentines day bento

I know it's a few weeks late, but this was a pre-Valentines day bento that I made my for my wife. (duck breast blows the budget for my normal bento list of people) I marinated a duck breast in a hoison, plum, ginger sauce and then sous vide-ed them for about two hours. I actually ran a test with a Anova immersion circulator head to head against my new Nomiku. (I'll post details later) Then I used a heat gun (thanks for the suggestion from CookingForEngineers ) to broil the duck breast. Finally I topped it with a little pat of foie gras mousse. To keep with the asian theme I put together a bit of sesame fried rice. I used sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and a bit of scallion for flavor and aroma. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower with garlic and red chili Finally I sautéed Chayote in a bit of butter.