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The Food Guy: Bone up on your sous vide skills

So remember that amazing bone marrow dish from South Hills Market & Café that I wrote about last week?

And remember how I also mentioned that local restaurant supplier Buzz Food Service was opening its doors to the public so folks could come in and purchase some of the same quality meats served in their favorite restaurants?

Then I connected the two, lamenting: “Now if only Buzz would have some of those delicious bones for sale?”

Well, it looks like Christmas is coming early for The Food Guy.

“Great description of our upcoming Gourmet Holiday Pre-Sale,” tweeted Buzz President Dickinson Gould. “And @WVFoodGuy, we’ll have some bone marrow canoes, for the truly adventurous!”

Score! Don’t be surprised if I’m the first in line.

The event will be from noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at 4818 Kanawha Blvd. E. between Malden and Rand.

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If I do get my hands on some of those bones, I know exactly what I’m going to do with them, too.

After last week’s column ran, South Hills Market Chef Rich Arbaugh reached out to thank me for complimenting his dish — and shared a tip on how he prepared it.

“I sous vide it, then roast it,” he told me.

Sous what?

If that sounds French to you, you’re right.

Pronounced “sue veed,” it’s a method of cooking that is popular in France (and gaining favor here) in which foods are sealed in airtight bags and cooked in a water bath at lower temperatures for longer periods of time.

Sous means “under” and vide means “vacuum,” so food (usually meat) is literally placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and simmered under water until done. Because the bag locks in 100 percent of its juices and flavor, the cooked food that emerges is generally more tender, moist, tasty and healthy, since it’s not cooked in oils or fats and heavy sauces aren’t needed to jazz it up.

At least that’s what they say. I’ve never tried it myself, but may have to give it a whirl now. If you do, too, here are a few tips I snagged from Extra Virgin, an Arlington-based restaurant that specializes in modern Italian cuisine:

n You can invest in a fancy sous vide immersion heater, but a big pot of heated water works, too. There are also special sous vide cooking bags available, but most home cooks use heavy-duty resealable freezer bags. (Just make sure the air is squeezed out and they’re sealed tight!)

n You should try to cook the food at the same temperature at which it will be served. That’s in the 140-160 range for most meats, but keep it under about 185 degrees regardless to reap the full benefits of this “low and slow” method.

n Both time and temperature will affect the outcome of what you’re making, so definitely do some quick research to get a better idea of precise sous vide cooking times.

n Always heat your water up to the desired temperature before adding the bags of food that will be cooked.

Happy sous viding!

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Although it’s coming after the fact, I’d still like to give a shout-out to local Pizza Hut restaurants, which delivered hundreds of free pizzas to local police, fire stations, community centers, hospitals and other locations during last Tuesday’s “Day of Giving.”

Statewide, 35 locations gave away more than 1,700 pizzas to these deserving groups.

Nicely played, Pizza Hut.

And P.S. — while I tend to favor more gourmet pies these days, I will forever be weak-in-the-knees for your delicious, buttery, crispy-on-the-outside but fluffy-on-the-inside pan crust perfection.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy/. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by e-mail at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”

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