Cut to the other night, when confidence (and a few inspirational episodes of Chopped and Top Chef) led to a renewed sense of courage and out came the sous vide!
For those of you unfamiliar with this technique, it involves placing your food in vacuum sealed plastic bags and then submerging those in a temperature regulated bath of continually circulating water. The results: perfectly cooked food!
It took a village (okay, 4 cooks) to figure out how to work the sealer.
Then into the water the bags went.
I knew this process could take a while to warm up to, so in the meantime, I prepared a carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas thanks to Smitten Kitchen. It kept our bellies full as we explored the instruction manual and Thomas Keller sous vide book, Under Pressure, that was also part of the original present.
We sous vided (okay, that's not a real verb) chicken, oranges and fennel. The end result was chicken breast with ouzo, fennel over fennel puree with marcona almonds and oranges.
I can't quite articulate how incredible the chicken turned out. Just cooked evenly and perfectly with no tough exterior. It was crazy good! And the fennel puree was my second favorite part of the meal.
For dessert, I made simple gluten free coconut snowballs and chocolate covered strawberries.
We drank lots of wine in order to prevent any spread of listeria (clearly the alcohol would kill off any unwanted bacteria, right?).
A ridiculously good meal. And we all survived, to my husband's delight.