Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dinner the Modernist Way: Squash Soup, Flat Iron Steak and Roasted Potatoes

Well, this whole Modernist Cuisine thing has got me hooked. At first it looks like a lot of effort, especially if you come to it by way of Thomas Keller and Ferran AdriĆ . But in reality a lot of things require less effort than their conventional counterparts. This meal is a good example - the hardest part is peeling the squash - everything else is "set and forget".

Squash Soup

Recipe Adapted From Modernist Cuisine At Home
  • 500 grams Butternut Squash, peeled and diced
  • 18 grams Lemongrass, sliced thin
  • 113 grams Unsalted Butter
  • 30 grams Water
  • 5 grams Salt
  • 2.5 grams Baking Soda
  • Coconut Milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Over medium heat melt the butter in the pressure cooker.
  2. Combine the water, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
  3. Add the squash, lemongrass, and salt mixture to the pressure cooker. Mix well.
  4. Seal the pressure cooker and cook at 15 psi for 20 minutes. If you're using an electric pressure cooker like mine, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Carefully shake the pressure cooker two or three times while cooking to prevent sticking.

  6. Cooked Squash

  7. When the cooking time has elapsed, carefully release the pressure and transfer the contents to a blender.
  8. Blend at high speed, adding enough coconut milk to produce a smooth creamy soup.
  9. Strain through a fine sieve (this removes any woody bits of the lemon grass) and serve hot.

Perfect Steak

Sous Vide Flat Iron Steak

Recipe by Michael Callahan
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 Flat Iron steak, about 1.25 lb
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Mustard powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat your water bath to 130 F.
  2. Carefully trim the steak, removing excess fat and connective tissue.
  3. Combine the vinegar, garlic powder, olive oil and mustard in a container large enough to hold the steak.
  4. Add the steak and turn to coat it with the marinade.
  5. Allow steak to marinate 30 minutes.
  6. Vacuum seal the steak.
  7. Cook in the water bath for 3 hours
  8. Remove the steak from the cooking bag and wipe it dry.
  9. Quickly sear the steak, about 30 seconds on each side.
  10. Slice thin across the grain and serve hot.

Roasted Potatoes

Recipe by William Colsher
Yield: 2 servings
  • 8-10 Small "new" potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  2. Halve or quarter the potatoes.
  3. Combine salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat with oil and seasonings.

  5. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and tender.
  6. Serve hot.


Pressure Cooker: 1) Modernist recipes typically specify 15 PSI for pressure cooking. However, most electric pressure cookers (like mine) only come up to 11 PSI on their "high" setting. They work perfectly but do require a little extra time. I cooked the squash in this recipe for 30 minutes with excellent results.  2) You cannot make this recipe in an old fashioned "jiggler weight" cooker. You'll lose too much steam and the squash will burn.

Butternut Squash: 500 grams is about half a typical butternut squash. The extra can be frozen.

Coconut Milk: How much you need will depend on how moist the squash is. I ended up using almost the whole 12 oz can.

Flat Iron Steak: A typical flat iron steak is about 1.25 - 1.75 pounds. Because very little weight is lost when cooking sous vide you can get 4 "normal" servings from a single steak. After the cooking is complete you can just toss half in the freezer with the left over squash.

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