On the Line: Austin Lee of Itriya Cafe, Part Three

Categories: On the Line
Photo by Mary Pastrana

Do-it-yourself sous vide utilizing a beer cooler was all we had to read. Austin Lee takes a cooking method normally reserved for uppity establishments and brings it to a level that doesn't require an internet search. He leaves the pasta and cheese options up to the cook, because some of us are cheesier than others. Have a good weekend.

Read our interview with Austin Lee of Itriya Cafe, Part Two.
And now, on to Part Three

Chicken Alfredo

Serves one

Sous Vide Chicken Introduction

I'm aware most people won't have a sous vide machine at home. Fear not. There are many simple hacks to achieve the same results, in which a simple search on Google should provide adequate answers. This technique I'm sharing is simple and easy to do, it just takes a little time and consideration.

Necessary equipment

A small beer cooler
A zip lock bag (big enough to hold the chicken breast)

Sous vide chicken ingredients

2 6-8 ounce chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
1 basil leaf
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Sous vide directions

Lay the chicken breast flat on a plate and season generously with the celery salt, salt and pepper. The key to seasoning evenly is to sprinkle from as high up as possible.

Cut the garlic into thin slivers and lay a sliver of garlic and basil on the middle of the top of the breast. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each breast. Carefully place the breasts into a zip lock bag and seal from one end to the other, but leaving about a centimeter at the end open.

Now place that zip lock bag into a container of ice water with the opening barely above the surface of the water. This will push the air out of the bag from the small opening. Carefully push the bag down and seal it before the water flows into the opening. It won't be perfect, but most of the air should be out of the bag.

Depending on the size of the beer cooler, you will need enough water to fill up most of the cooler. Place a pot of water over medium flame and heat until it reaches 150-degrees. Pour this water into the beer cooler and drop the zip locked chicken breast in. Check the temperature. You want an optimum temperature of 140 to 145-degrees. If it is too cold add some boiling water to bring up the water to the right temperature.

Now close the beer cooler and it will sit in the water for a minimum of an hour and thirty-five minutes. Check the temperature of the water every so often and add more boiling water as it cools, but the cooler does a great job in insulating heat.

After an hour and thirty minutes, take out the chicken breast. It should be cooked all the way through. It would ideal to briefly mark the chicken with grill marks on a hot grill or a nice sear in a hot pan for a minute of two, to give it a beautiful color, but the breast should retain plenty of flavor and be moist throughout.

Alfredo sauce ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 quart half-and-half
.8 ounces all-purpose flour
.8 ounces butter
.75 ounce chicken base
Parmesan cheese to taste
Cheese scraps

Alfredo sauce directions:

First make the roux by heating a saute pan and adding the butter and the flour. As the butter melts, whisk the flour, creating a paste. Cook on medium heat, mixing and stirring constantly, until the roux becomes a light blonde color.

In a small stock pot, add the oil and garlic and cook on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant (approximately 2 minutes).

Add the half and half and chicken base (we use chicken stock, but chicken base is an acceptable substitute for home use).

When the half and half comes to a simmer, whisk in the roux. It is quite important to whisk thoroughly as to make sure the bottom of the pan doesn't burn and the roux is incorporated well into the cream.

Let it simmer until the sauce thickens to a desired consistency.

From here it's all about personalization. We use high quality Parmesan rinds from our Parmesan wheels to instill umami and the fragrance of cheese. We also use the skin from smoked mozzarella for a hint of smoky fragrance. At home, feel free to add however much Parmesan cheese and any other cheeses you see fit. Cooking is about customization and experimentation.

Serve with your favorite cooked pasta and add the chicken breast on top.

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Location Info

Itriya Cafe - CLOSED

2740 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help
James Chen
James Chen

Good morning, 

My name is James Chen and I am the Business Development Manager for theCulinary Research Education Academy. I am writing to follow up on previouslyexpressed interest in sous-vide and seeing if there was interest in taking CREA's 3-day sous-vide training class withDr. Bruno Goussault.

We have recentlyopened up a class to take place July 10th through 12th, 2012 in theWashington, D.C. area. The cost per person is $2,400 for the 3-daytraining and the application form is attached. This would be ideal if youwanted 1-4 chefs to attend. We do, however offer a group class for a groupof up to 7 attendees at the location of your choice. The cost of the grouptraining program is $8,700. For the group class, we have the availabledates of August 7th through 9th, 2012.  

During the trainingyou will learn the origin and evolution of sous-vide; the why-and-how it madeits way into the kitchens of the world’s top Chefs. You will learn the reasonfor which there is a right temperature to cook each different product and howto put it into practice using your own recipes. You will learn to master thetimes and temperatures to control the color, tenderness and flavor of yourproduct. Part of the training is devoted to learning about the right equipment:How to select, calibrate, utilize and maintain them. There is no single way tocook sous-vide and because scientists love experimenting as much as chefs, mostof the time is dedicated to hands-on training. Under the direction of our ChiefScientist, you can experiment and taste to discover the many possibilitiessous-vide has to offer. Over the three days you will see these techniques asthey are applied to meat, poultry, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruits, sauces,herbs and aromatics. Lastly, the focuses will be on microbiology, bacteria,good food safety and shelf-life in order to achieve the best quality and thesafest products. The class is mix of lecture & hands on activitieswhich leads to a very informative and fulfilling experience.

Regarding the HACCP Plan, also necessary for the Health Department, we providea 2-day service. The first day is about training your team to use, maintain andupdate a HACCP plan, particularly regarding the sous-vide technique. The secondday is about building your HACCP plan for your recipes made sous-vide, with theChef, Sous Chef and persons who will be involved in the sous-vide process inyour kitchen. The total cost is $5,000 for HACCP Plan plus travel expenses and2-night hotel lodging. Our specialty is the sous-vide technology, we do notprovide the HACCP Plan without a three-day sous-vide training. If you areinterested in getting the training & HACCP plan we can look at a packagefor better pricing.  I have attached a blank HACCP agreement here for yourreview.


Please do not hesitateto contact me if you have any additional questions.  I look forward tohearing from you soon!

Warm regards,

James ChenBusiness Development Manager -- CREAjchen@cuisinesolution:disqus s.com

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