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Robots for cooking and robots for playing

 Oh, what a weekend. Under the weather for most of it, I still had to get to the high school for quite a spell to ‘assist’ my son Tyler’s robotics club.
Me? Assist a robotics club? I chortle at the idea; I was more of a cheerleader and pizza provider, and while I’m on that, many thanks to Bob Beck at DeNovo’s for helping us with those. They were a much needed boost for the kids’ morale by Monday. Saturday was an eleven hour day and Sunday was long as well.
The kids, mentors and a few parents worked night and day on the robot, getting it ready for the regional competition in Baltimore, and it is a cool piece of hardware. I am a proud Papa, especially when I conjure up the images of our six-year old being dragged on his belly by the beast with a grin from ear to ear.
But the weekend is over and it is time to start thinking about food again.
With my mind on robots and truth be told guitars (a side habit along with the piano), sometimes it is difficult to get back to food. After all, food is probably 75 percent of my waking hours between teaching it, cooking at home and writing about it.
Then there is the blog and website. Sometimes it makes my head spin, but more and more people are approaching me to tell me they like and sometimes dislike the articles, and that is great; it makes it all worth it.
Today we cooked a buffet and offered up an amazingly simple plate of freshly mashed potatoes, fresh broccoli with a butter lemon sauce and sous vide beef with a glace made by Chef Craig, our community volunteer, which was to die for.
Sous Vide, French for “Under Vacuum”, is a cooking method where vacuum packed foods are slow-poached in a carefully controlled water bath.  The bath is kept within .1 degree to make sure that is remains safe and controlled.
Pictured is our commercial sous vide setup, and it can be yours for the low, low price of around $1,800 which places it a notch or two out of most people’s price range.
Instead, you can use a home model known as the Sous Vide Supreme (and no, I am not sponsored by them).
Craig owns own and I can attest that the finished product rivals anything from our commercial rig. For around $299 you can buy the Demi I believe and it should be sufficient for normal home-usage.
I know that this is a fairly exclusive recipe as many people won’t have vacuum packers or sous vide cookers, but it is still an important cooking technique to address, so I wanted to point it out.
It works. It is delicious, and from proteins to vegetables, the array of foods that you can cook sous vide will keep you occupied for months. Then, it becomes second nature.
Yes, it’s just as much fun as a high school robotics club!
Sous Vide Steak
My apologies again if this excludes you
Serves 6
1.5# lifter steak or other tough but lean cut
Melted butter, as needed
Olive oil, as needed
S&P to taste
Fresh thyme and rosemary
Slather (good lord I love that word; we heard it when I was working an AIPAC convention a few years ago and it still makes me smile) the steak with the butter and oil and season liberally
Grill the steak on a blazing fire until nicely marked on the outside but still raw on the inside
Vacuum pack the steak and if cooking immediately, place in a 135F water bath (please use an immersion circulator or Sous Vide Supreme for this.  Don’t hold me responsible if you decide to try this willy-nilly on the stovetop.  Keep it safe)
If you are going to cook it later, chill it in an ice bath immediately to stifle pathogenic growth.  This is vital to protect against the rampage of anaerobic germs
If you are ready for cooking, let the steak cook in your sous vide setup for 26 hours
Remove from the bag and slice to serve immediately or chill in an icebath for reheating in the sous vide at a later time
Your tough steak will now eat like butter.  This is truly a fabulous cooking method and one you should think about pursuing if you love to cook