Do You Ever Crosstrain?

Today Wahine is still off on a girls’ weekend, and I’m baching it. Other than chores, pretty boring.

So I decided to do some different things, and do them differently. I chose to do a dry ribeye sous vide to 120F (about an hour) while I made twice-baked potatoes with roasted garlic, bacon and gorgonzola and a small SV pouch of minted baby frozen peas., The steak went out of the thyme seasoned bag to cool and dry, then into the freezer until it had rigor mortis. THEN it went into a thick SS disk pan for the sear–on an induction hob. The peas deglazed the steak’s leavings while it rested.

It was a fun change of pace to use methods and tools of which I’m less than fond.


We’re you fond of the fond?:joy:

I’ll see myself out now.


I’m wondering if in my younger days I could have made a tight little four-course affair in the time it took you to do all of that. Maybe not even in my younger days…

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Yeah, it was tres fiddly.

Still, it’s useful–when sh*!!ing all over the SV method–to actually know what one is talking about.

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Sous vide reminds me of a woodworking friend who bought a whole CNC router set up to make solid-body electric guitars. He downloaded a template for some classical guitar shape, positioned a blank of wood where the computer would expect it to be, hit “start” and watched somebody else’s brilliant craftsmanship at work (the blokes who came up with CNC routing). It certainly works, but one feels more the spectator than the principal.

You should read David Pye’s book The Nature and Art of Workmanship. It is not about cooking per se, but really applies to any kind of craft activity. It is the “workmanship of risk” that makes any craft endeavor worthwhile and fulfilling. In blunt terms, if you can’t eff it up, then any idiot can do it. Pye puts it rather more elegantly.

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You make it sound like SV is like merely pushing a button to get a finished dish. It’s not.

The better analogy is to modern ovens that are thermostatically controlled. Would you prefer a less-predictable, more “artistic” wood- or coal-fired range where the temperatures are always in flux?

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One of these days I’ll relate the entire story of my father importing and installing a French solid-fuel stove from France into our kitchen in Sunflower, Mississippi in the late 1960s. So, the short answer is yes. If I were running a bakery on razor thin margins, maybe not.

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I too prefer what Dickens called “the red hot tyrant”, but not because it produces better food or is easier or more consistent. Somewhere I still have a few bags of good western PA anthracite coal.

Fire when ready on the stove story.

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Long and involved. Told it, I think, on the old Chowhound forum – my mother was a French war bride and all of that. Let me gather myself and compose it again. It might be next week. The girls have been out of town but fly back in later tonight. Things get busy…

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For some reason, probably stemming from salad for dinner, this made me Google "How does the Palm cook steaks? ". Since home is not a restaurant kitchen, it was a pointless question, but they did provide a recipe they seemed to think highly of. Just about as fiddly. I have always loved their steaks and those at Ruth’s Chris. Being in Texas during my expense account years I did not get to make the rounds in NYC. I am sure they are wonderful. People who say, “I never have steak out because I can make it at home” are missing out. Extremely high quality steak cooked black and blue under restaurant level heat cannot be duplicated at home. You can come close, but the people I know who say this do not seem to be able to approximate the experience.

I just remembered … my dad took me to the original Palm in NYC. I seem to recall, besides the steak, a lobster so big it should have been displayed at the Natural History Museum.

Our Ruth Chris’ isn’t much to write home about. The last 2 times I was there were disappointing. It’s not on my list to return to.

I thought this was going to be some putrid thread about exercise.

Thank God it was about eating instead.


Well I haven’t been to a Ruth’s in 45 years or a Palm in 35. Both are great memories, but probably were less than the memories convey. I did, however, pick up a classic combination at The Palm in DC: Bombay martinis, rare ribeye, hash browns, creamed spinach, no wine, no dessert, and an espresso to top it off. I think there was a wedge salad in there, but I don’t recall for sure.

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My idea of a perfect dinner!

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