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Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Patricia Reitz

Sous Vide Filet Mignon - ButterYum -- 

Sous Vide Filet Mignon - ButterYum -- 

Sous Vide (pronounced SOO-VEED) is a French technique for cooking food under water using one of these circulators, at a very precise temperature, without fear of overcooking, resulting in foods that are cooked perfectly every single time - something which can be very difficult to achieve with traditional cooking methods, especially when cooking expensive steaks like the ones I'll be showing you today.  We're talking the kind of perfection you find at a fancy French restaurant (which happens to be where the sous vide technique was perfected), only way cheaper and you can do it yourself any time you feel like it.  Here's how. 

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Start with 12-inch thick filet mignon steaks, a couple cloves of sliced garlic, and some butter.  

Note:  I purchased a 4-pound whole beef tenderloin at Costco, which was enough to feed my husband and me for 3 meals (plus a little snacking between meals), and it cost less than what we would have spent going out for dinner at a nice steakhouse just once.  And I didn't have to worry about over cooking them at all - I knew they were going to be perfect!  

Back to the steaks, tie them around the equator with kitchen twine to help the super tender meat keep a nice shape.  Be careful when doing this - the meat is so tender that you can actually damage it if you pull the twine too tight.

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Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

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Place the prepared filet mignon steaks in a sealable bag with sliced garlic and a pat of butter (amounts listed in the recipe below).  Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Sous Vide literally translated mean 'under vacuum', and a lot of things cooked via this method are placed in vacuum sealed bags, but the term can be a little misleading because you don't actually have to vacuum seal foods in order to cook sous vide.  Any food-safe bag that can be sealed, and can withstand the desired temperature water you plan to submerge it in, can be used so long as you remove as much air as possible.  Removing the air is important for two reasons.  1) so the bag will stay submerged (air would make it float), and 2) to reduce the oxygen in the bag which prohibits oxidation and the growth of many kinds of bacteria. 

Place the container of choice on a heat-proof surface.  I used a stockpot, but you can use just about any vessel that will tolerate the temperature water you'll be using.  Place the sous vide circulator in a vessel - it should be large enough to hold the circulator and enough water to fully submerge the sealed bag with room for the water to move around.  There's a minimum and maximum level indicator on the side of the circulator so fill the vessel with enough water to fall between those two levels. 

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    Set the cooking time and temperature you choose.  My model is set manually, but you can also get models that can be programmed using an app on your smartphone.

    I cooked my filet mignon steaks at 138F (medium-rare) for 2 hours, but I could have held them at that temperature for up to 8 hours without worrying about them overcooking.  That left me with plenty of time to set the table, arrange the flowers, and make the sides.  No stress!

    A word of caution - the cooking vessel will be filled with very hot water for an extended period of time so be sure to place it on a heat-proof surface and in a safe location away from pets or children.


    Beef Doneness Chart

    • 125-130F (52-55C) = Rare
    • 130-140F (55-60C) = Medium Rare
    • 140-150F (60-65C) = Medium
    • 150-155F (65-69C) = Medium Well

     

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    Place the sealed bag in the vessel.

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    You may not need to do this, clipping the bag to the side of the cooking vessel will keep the bag from blocking the circulator's water flow.

    So what do you do if you need one medium-rare steak and one medium-well steak?  Simple - place each steak in its own sealed bag.  Cook the first steak at the higher temperature for 2 hours, then reprogram the circulator to the lower temp.  When the water reaches the lower temperature, add the 2nd steak.  After 2 hours, remove both steaks at the same time.  The first steak won't be negatively affected by hanging out in the lower temperature water while the second steak was cooking.  Love that!

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    Ok, remove the bag from the hot water when the cooking time is up.  You can see the steaks don't really look like they're ready to eat, but we're going to fix that.

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    Heat a skillet until it's screaming hot.  I like to use cast iron for this.  Add a drizzle of oil and a good pat of butter.

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    Remove the steaks from the bag.  Pat them dry and remove any bits of garlic.  Reserve the garlic slices and any juices that have collected in the bag.  Add the steaks to the screaming hot skillet and let them sear on each side for 30-60 seconds per side.

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    Oh my - I wish you could smell my house right now!

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    Once the steaks have seared, place them on a plate to rest.  You can make a quick pan sauce by adding the reserved garlic and juices from the sous vide bag to the hot skillet.  Stir and scrape up any seared bits from the pan and let the mixture bubble away and reduce for a minute or two, then turn off the heat and swirl in a pat butter.  

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    Seriously, just look at that, will you?  It's not gray around the edges and raw in the center.  It's cooked to absolute perfection - the entire thing - from one side to the other - perfect.  You'd never ever be able to achieve that in a skillet or on the grill.  Heck, I've worked with professional chefs who can't cook a steak that well. 

    And the flavor?  Forghettaboutit - absolutely perfect in every single way you can imagine.  Super tender, juicy, buttery, garlicky, and absolutely luscious... in a word, phenomenal.  

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    I kind of wish I could share this with you, but that would mean less for me so let's just say I hope you'll get a sous vide circulator and give it a try.  I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

    And be sure to check back because I'll be posting a lot of sous vide recipes in the future -savory and sweet things.  I can't wait!  

    Items used to make this recipe:


    Sous Vide Filet MIgnon

    makes 4 filet mignon steaks

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 4 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks, tied
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

    Directions

    1. Prepare filets by tying each around the equator with kitchen twine, being careful to not wrap it too tightly which could rip through the tender meat.
    2. Evenly sprinkle the kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper on both sides of the filets.
    3. Place filets, 1 tablespoon of butter, and sliced garlic in a sous vide or heavy duty zipper bag, being sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
    4. Place sous vide circulator in a vessel and fill with water according to manufacturer's directions; set temperature and cooking time (I set mine for 138F for 2 hours - use temperature guide decide how you'd like your filets cooked).
    5. Place sealed bag in water, being sure bag is fully submerged and clip bag to side of container to keep it from blocking the circulator pump.
    6. When the sous vide time is done, remove sealed bag from water.
    7. Preheat cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot.
    8. Add remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the skillet and sear filets for 30-60 seconds on each side; remove to a platter.
    9. Immediately pour the juices from the sous vide bag into the hot skillet and whisk for about 1 minute; add the remaining butter and whisk until melted, then pour over steaks and enjoy!

    Simple Heart Cookies

    Patricia Reitz

    Simple Heart Cookies - ButterYum --

    Simple Heart Cookies - ButterYum --

    You don't need the skills of a pastry chef to make these adorable cookies - with just a few simple tools, you can make them too!  Follow me into the kitchen and I'll show you how it's done. 

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    To begin, you'll need waxed paper, a rolling pin, rolling guides (1/8-inch and 1/16-inch thicknesses to make these cookies)....

    How to make professional looking heart / Valentine's Day cookies with no skills!  Recipe and how-to photos.

    And fondant plunger cutters.  The large heart cutter is available in this set, and the small one came from this set.  If you want a large heart that can be personalized to say anything, check out this set.

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    You'll also need some good quality fondant.  Some of the brands available in my area that I like are satin ice, fondarific, duff goldman, and fat daddios.  I do not care for wilton. 

    I always keep white fondant on hand because I can custom color it any way I like, but it's also nice to keep darker colors on hand (red, brown, black) because it's hard to achieve the deep saturation mixing gel colors in manually.

    (this isn't a necessary tool, but it sure is handy) 

    When I'm working with large quantities of fondant, I keep it in a bread proofing box set at 90F (keeping the fondant sealed in an airtight container the whole time).  When I'm ready to work with the fondant, it's warm enough that I can roll it easily without first having to knead it until it's soft and workable.

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    Love my bread proofing box from Brod & Taylor.  It's great for proofing bread dough, of course, but it has a temperature range of 70-120F, so it's good for making yogurt, melting chocolate, and keeping tempered chocolate in temper too.  The newest model has a temperature range of 70-195F

    Best cookie decorating hack ever! 

    Alright, while the fondant is still warm and soft, roll it out between two layers of waxed paper (1/16-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut shapes and imprint designs.  

    How to decorate cookies with fondant

    Remove scraps and allow fondant shapes to sit at room temperature until needed (they'll firm up as they rest).  Do this step before baking the cookiesbecause you'll want them ready to go when the cookies come out of the oven.

    Check out this clever way to use fondant plunger cutters.

    For the cookies:  roll cookie dough between two layers of waxed paper (1/8-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut out shapes (no need to imprint the designs here).

    Note:  If the cookie dough cutouts get too soft to move without getting distorted, slide the waxed paper onto a sheet pan and pop it in the fridge to firm the dough before transferring the cutouts to a silpat lined half sheet pan to bake as directed (as shown in this graham cracker post I shared a number of years ago).

    The easiest way to decorate cookies ever!  

    Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place the prepared fondant cutouts on top. 

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    As the cookies cool, the residual heat will melt the fondant cutouts just enough that they will bond to the cookies.   

    Awesome cookie hack

    Items used to make this recipe:


    CHOCOLATE CUTOUT COOKIES

    makes 40-60 cookies

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    Directions

    To make the cookie dough:

    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the BeaterBlade attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 30 seconds.
    3. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine.  
    4. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated. 
    5. Remove dough from mixer bowl and wrap well with plastic wrap; chill for 1-3 hours.  
    6. Preheat oven to 375F. 
    7. Roll each dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness between 2 layers of wax paper. 
    8. Cut out desired shapes with plunger cutters, without plunging the design into the cutout (dust cutter in flour if needed).  
    9. Chill dough before transferring cutouts to sheet pan to prevent distorting. 
    10. Place cookies 2-inches apart on silpat lined sheet pan.
    11. Bake for 6-8 minutes; remove from oven and top with fondant cutouts (cut to 1/16-inch thick) that have the design pressed into them.   
    12. Cool completely before serving.  Store in airtight container between with wax paper between layers.

    Note:  Recipe makes 40-60 cookies, depending on size.  Plan to use about 1/2 pound fondant (I like to buy white fondant so I can color it any way I like).  Fondant cutouts can be made a day or more in advance if stored on wax or parchment paper in an airtight container.  If the cookies cool before fondant toppers are applied, you can warm the cookies for a few seconds in the microwave (but I recommend applying the fondant to cookies as soon as they come out of the oven).

    Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick

    Patricia Reitz

    Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick - ButterYum

    Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick - ButterYum

    Help!  I can't stop eating these things.  I'm not even kidding - they're totally addictive!  Why have I waited so long to try them?   Feel free to increase, decrease, or omit the cayenne to suit your taste.

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    Start by preheating the oven to 400F.  Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas, then dry them well with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.  Place them o a rimmed half sheet pan and give the pan a shake to spread them out a bit.  Pop in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then give the chickpeas a toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

    Time to mix up the flavorings.  Whisk together extra virgin olive oil (a good, fruity one), garlic salt, and cayenne pepper. 

    This teeny-tiny whisk makes me happy. 

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    After the chickpeas have been in the oven for 30 minutes, drizzle the olive oil mixture over them and toss well to coat.  Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool before crunching and munching on them.   

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    I’m telling you, make extra because they’re going to disappear fast!  But in the event you should find yourself with leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.   

    Items used to make this recipe:


    Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick

    makes 2 cups

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and dried
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. Dry rinsed chickpeas well and place on a rimmed half sheet pan. 
    3. Roast in the center of preheated oven for 15 minutes; toss chickpeas and roast another 15 minutes. 
    4. Combine olive oil, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper; drizzle over chickpeas and return to oven for 15 minutes. 
    5. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.  

    Note:  To make the chickpeas extra crispy, roast them for 15 minutes longer than stated in the recipe (for a grand total of 60 minutes), but watch them carefully so they don't burn.