Cooking large cuts of meat should not be just for celebrations, but if there is only one or two people in the house it can be a daunting task to take on that kilo (2lb) of pork shoulder. I love pulled pork but after the first 4 sandwiches it can get a bit tiresome which is why I wrote Leftovers by Design. Hopefully, this book will show you the best method to cook ham, beef, pork and chicken then follow up with delicious recipes to utilize all that work in the best way.
I always enjoyed cooking but when Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking was released I purchased it from the first print run and had it shipped to the UK, which is another story (search for stupid in my blog archives). This changed my way of cooking because it introduced me to sous vide and pressure cooking. I purchased my first water bath about 10 years ago and it was the size of a microwave oven and cost several hundred pounds (dollars). After tinkering around with cooking steaks, which is a good enough reason to by a water bath, I graduated to larger and longer cooks of pork shoulder and roast beef which are two of the stars of the book.
A couple of years later, with my waistline increasing, I stumbled across The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better. I read the entire book in a weekend, and it changed my way of eating. The book promotes SANE eating by looking at the type of food you are eating and not just the calorie content. The diet contains no sugar or starches because starch is transformed to sugar by your body. Only foods with a low glycaemic index are allowed and high protein content foods are encouraged with a few bits of low fructose fruit thrown in for balance. It is kind of like KETO but not as militant. For example, in this book I substitute cauliflower for potatoes, konjac flour for noodles or rice, and make tortillas from chickpea flour which is loaded with protein.
There was a cross over from the modernist cooking methods to satisfy some of the SANE requirements when it comes to gravy and sauces. Normally gravy is based on a rue made from flour and butter and then flavoured with meat juices. To eliminate the flour, I use xanthan gum to thicken the meat juice for gravy. This gravy has the added benefit of being extremely stable and can be enhanced to create further sauces for stir fry, meat pie or Mexican cooking without flour or sugar. SANE eating has taught me to read labels of anything I pick up in the store and I bet the Chinese cooking sauce you have in your cupboard has sugar as one of the first three ingredients.
Why is now the time for this cookbook? I think that Sous Vide is at its tipping point where it is going to become mainstream in the home and not just the realm of food geeks and restaurants. If you shop around the price of circulators and vacuum packing equipment is now in reach of that gift you can give a cook who has everything. The beef and pulled pork sous vide recipes are so simple and fool proof that anyone can create great feasts. With the increased popularity of Instant Pot, pressure cooking has become popular again and long gone are the days of a bomb tick tick ticking on your grandma’s stovetop. The ham pressure cooked in apple juice is quick and makes great leftovers. I never thought that cutting a whole chicken in half would change the cooking time so dramatically, but I only cook spatchcocked chicken now for less than an hour. These cooking methods produce what I believe the best tasting, cost effective meat for your table. But what do you do with the leftovers? That is the goal of this cookbook, to free you to cook these main recipes knowing you have more excellent recipes in the wings to do an encore instead of stuffing it in your freezer.
I cooked for my family of four when my children were young, but my circumstances changed and then I was on my own. To try and be part of my children’s social life I joined Facebook, and to participate instead of just lurking, I started to write about some of the food I was cooking. One of the chaps at work who was a Facebook friend said I should write a blog so I could share to a larger crowd so www.cutcookeat.com was born (see archive). I faithfully blogged for several years, and then other things took over in my life. This last year during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic my team at work decided to do a cooking contest. I dusted off my blog and entered two new blog entries for the first time in six years. The work I did on those entries made me remember how much I loved cooking, writing, and photographing food so I decided to write this cookbook. I decided that to do the entire book myself including all the photography, art work, layout and self-publish it using Amazon KDP. Hopefully this will be the first of many now that I have got through the learning curves.