Hey, Puddy

For tonight’s dinner the pork shoulder steak I bought at the farmers’ market yesterday gave me something to focus on, and I had it pretty well figured out by dinner time; a few last details inspired by fridge and garden rounded it out into an excellent season-spanning meal. I brined the meat in kimchi juice, then cooked it sous-vide at 65˚ C for two hours. Meanwhile, I took a jar of the most recent kimchi, (which is actually sauerkraut, since it’s only cabbage and carrot) and braised it in a pan in which I had rendered and crisped lardons of the penultimate slice of homemade bacon. In addition, I put a cup of whole triticale into the rice cooker and made a reduction sauce of cherry juice, balsamic vinegar, and brown rice syrup. While all of this was going on, I made mash with thinnings of the galia endive that we love best in this form, and which is growing in well for fall and winter.

All was ready pretty much at once, which is nice, and the various intense flavors made for a compelling variety of different bite combinations. I seared the meat up in a pan with a little of the rendered bacon fat in it, and used the crispy filaments of fat that remained as a garnish for the plates. The bacon added a nice supporting porkiness that helped the meat find extra favor with the cabbage, and the sweet/tangy sauce, nutty grains and bitter, garlicky mash provided a full spectrum of flavors and textures on the plate. As with so many other meals, a Pleiades XVI was absolutely perfect with this; I’m still in mourning that it will never be made again. If you see any in a store (for about $25) BUY IT. (This goes for any Pleiades, but earlier vintages are scarce as hen’s teeth these days) You will thank me later. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until I run out- it is, for the money, hands down the Best Wine in America.

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  1. Zen Chef
    September 19

    Oh man, you have a sous-vide machine at home? You’re hardcore!
    That’s a pretty intense meal right there. You should start an underground restaurant in Brooklyn.

    I totally agree on the Pleiades. Great stuff.

  2. genevelyn
    September 19

    your food’s colors are always so vivid on the plate–sometimes I wonder if you retouch them.

  3. peter
    September 19

    Zen: I have thought about it. It could still happen…

    Genevelyn: No, I don’t retouch. But a bright red flower and bright green mash can kind of amp up a plate.

  4. Zoomie
    September 19

    I’ll keep an eye peeled for the Pleiades and hope I get lucky…

  5. peter
    September 19

    Zoomie: He makes it in Bolinas, so you should be able to find it pretty easily.

  6. The Spiteful Chef
    September 19

    I read about the sous vide business. Also the anti-griddle. These are both things I now want. I can’t find a wedding registry that will allow me to add these two items.

    I bet they have Pleiades at our local grocery store here in the taint I like to call “Texas.” Because nobody would recognize its quality to purchase it. They have billboards here that say “Lone Star Beer: Anything Else is Treason.” I have tested this, time and again, and haven’t been hauled to a Texas jail yet. This is fortunate, because my zipgun-making skillz are rusty.

  7. cook eat FRET
    September 19

    just emailed my local wine guy re: the wine of many vowels. it’s a long shot but you never know.

    if i am in the wine store buying a few cases to stock up for the winter, can i call you… or email you a list and you can narrow it down – or something… i need a wine friend.

  8. peter
    September 20

    Spite: Welcome. Search “scientific water bath” on ebay. Let me know if you have more questions. There are other esoteric gadgets that I want more than an antigriddle. Like a decent stove, for one.

    Claudia: Absolutely. Email me for my number. I can also try to get you on his mailing list (though it may already be sold out.)

  9. Heather
    September 20

    Eh, I thought I already commented.

    I have tried a poor man’s sous-vide by just using the gas at the lowest setting and giving it a swirl every now and again. It was okay, but the salmon would’ve benefited from being bagged separately.

  10. peter
    September 20

    Salmon is tricky, because it does best at around 112-114˚ F which is hard to do on a stove.

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