Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Andrew's (Mom's) Kitchen, Salem, Oregon

      One of my favorite parts of the blogging experience is to journal about the different cultures, dining, and meals we've experienced.  Tonight is no exception.  Back in 2011 when my sister Debby and her family came up to undertake the re-roofing of mom's house I played the role of 'camp cook'.  I am sure it is mostly because Jim and their sons didn't want my 'out of shape caboose' up on the roof, but they knew I loved to cook and I did enjoy the challenge.  They seemed to love the meals:  Chicken Enchiladas, Beef Short Rib Lasagna, Cranberry Chicken, etc.  It was fun.     
      This trip, my nephew threw down his own gauntlet.....or spatula if you will.  Andrew Dikih is the Brewmeister at Seven Brides Brewery in Silverton, OR
and I can tell you that his wares are 'top notch'.  When he heard I was visiting he insisted on the role of Chef for the evening.  In fact he has been rehearsing the meal for him mom already.  My shoes may be smelly, but they aren't that big.  Debby invited all her children and spouses to dinner as we so seldom get together. 

      Andrew prepared a meal 'sous vide' method, which is cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for much longer than normal cooking times.  He selected a very nice piece of beef roast.  Once seasoned, it is vacuum sealed and placed in the crockpot.  Only water is added to the nearly full level of the pot. 
      Once the initial water temperature is stabilized in the crockpot, a temperature controlled power box is placed inline with the crockpot power plug and the wall socket.  A temperature probe is inserted in the crockpot which monitors the temperature and then controls power to the crockpot as needed.  This was set at 132 degrees.  Andrew started the meal at approximately 7 p.m. the night before.  The idea here is to break down the collagen material within the beef over a long period of time, rendering the meat as tender as can be. 
     Unfortunately, Deb's two daughters were unable to attend.  Kristina and her husband have full lives living in Portland working and attending school.  Anya is living and working for Hurst Magazine Corporation in Los Angeles.  Deb and I sous cheff'd the rest of the meal till Andrew arrived Wednesday evening.  .  He finished up the roast by cutting it from the vacuum seal and searing it in a very hot skillet for several minutes before slicing. 

      When finished with searing and resting it was sliced as thinly as possible.  Andrew also served up a delicious Aus Jus to go with the meat.  The meat was still very pink inside, yet done to perfection, as was Andrew.   
      Our meal consisted of the roast, roasted squash, sweet taters, onions, and Brussels sprouts,  roasted creamy Yukon Gold taters, and salad.  We finished off the evening with some creamy vanilla ice cream over slices of Apple Blueberry Cobbler. 
      When served the roast looked very much like a great cut of Prime on the inside, yet firm and warm to the palate.  It was perfect with a side of Horseradish Sauce, delicious!  I could have easily fooled into believing this was perfectly tender Prime Rib.  The texture and flavor were unparalleled.  The entire meal was to die for.  It was certainly very comforting to sit around the table and visit with sister and nephews I hadn't seen in several years.

      Andrew has a degree in Computer Science from Oregon State University, yet works at his first love......brewing.  His love of culinary science has been only recently, but I have to say this young man has a bright future wherever he decides to plant his flag.  Up to 3 days ago I had never heard of Sous Vide, yet this was easily the best piece of beef I have eaten in many years.  Tonight, Andrew was the Master Chef.  I doff my hat to him! 

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