A meal of experiments for friends

I have wanted to sous vide steak for a while. It seemed like something that didn't make sense for a random Tuesday, and Carrie's not a big steak fan anyway. With Carrie out of town this weekend I invited some of my old UT Cycling team friends over for supper, to catch up, and to play some video games.

One cannot have only steak for a meal, so I decided to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. I had always wanted to do this, so out to the internet I went. I decided to base my batch off of Alton Brown's baked macaroni and cheese.

I went with a raw, grass-fed milk sharp cheddar and some grass-fed whole milk. You basically make a Béchamel sauce, which is a white butter roux with milk added to it, essentially. Then you make this into a Mornay sauce by mixing in the shredded cheese.


I dropped the onions and garlic from Alton's recipe, but I did keep the paprika (I used a sweet, smoked variety) and I used some of the "magic" organic salt-free herb and spice blend from Costco. (Don't laugh, this stuff is amazing.) I mixed in the al dente shells, poured the combined mixture into a pie plate, and topped with a mixture of panko with more of the shredded cheddar.


Now that the mac and cheese was ready to go, I could turn my attention to the steak. I had acquired three really pretty grass-fed NY strips, and was hopeful that the sous vide would have them come out a perfect medium-well. The chart stated that a bath of 58˚C for anywhere 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes would produce quality results. After a quick sear on each side, I bagged them up and into the bath they went.


After the steaks were done, I gave them a really quick sear to recrust the outside, and kicked up the sous vide to 85˚C to cook some green beans out of the garden. The macaroni was also done from the oven, so I pulled that out to find a nice brown crust on top where the panko and the shredded cheese had fused to make something wonderful. We had some mini-brioches (alas, those were definitely store bought) to round out the meal. All-in-all I was very pleased with everything, and it seemed like everybody enjoyed it.


I would like to tinker with the macaroni and cheese recipe a little bit. For example, I didn't add the egg to the sauce, as I wanted it more saucy and less custardy, but that might be an interesting option to try. Also, the sharp cheddar was very pronounced, which I like. But it may be a more general crowd pleaser with a milder cheddar. Once I get it dialed in I'll post the specifics here.

After the dinner, we played BROFORCE, which was one of the most fun group video games I had played in a long time. The character names are absolutely fantastic. I mean, with an opening screen like this you know it's going to be good: