The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak (J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats)
"As you can see, the steak cooked for just one hour stretches and pulls when you tear it. This gives the steak a pleasant amount of chew. It's still tender, but it tastes like a steak. By the time we hit four hours, that chew has been reduced a bit. Connective tissue has broken down and individual muscle fibrils split apart easily instead of sticking together, though a four-hour steak is still pretty decent."[more inside]
OK, this is a single-recipe post, but if you would like to host a steak dinner for more than like two people and get sous-vide-like results with less hassle and equipment, here's what you do: Freeze the steaks, sear them hot, then stick them in a low oven for an hour. Nathan Myhrvold (Modernist Cuisine) explains.
The Pressure Cooker Makes A Comeback. "Pressure cookers are exploding—in a good way—into home and restaurant kitchens. I discovered the joys of pressure cooking last year while reviewing Modernist Cuisine, the 2,348-page encyclopedia of avant-garde cuisine by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. He argues that pressure cookers are the perfect vessel for making stock, and he's right. Pressure cooking extracts more flavors from the primary materials and keeps them in the pot, where they condense back into a rich, full-bodied liquid. I was blown away by the chicken stock I made the first time I used a pressure cooker. But I didn't stop there. I followed a few of Myhrvold's other suggestions and soon discovered that pressure cookers make superior, stir-free risotto—cooked through, but with a pleasant hint of resistance—after just five-and-a-half minutes at pressure. Braised short ribs are similarly sublime, fork tender without being mushy, and bathed in a broth with an intense, concentrated beef flavor. They went from being a Sunday afternoon project to a supper I could prepare after work on weeknights. Emboldened by success, I even went so far as to pressure cook a surprisingly moist lemon-mascarpone cheesecake." [more inside]
Combining two of Metafilter's favorite topics, Scientific American has an edited excerpt from Modernist Cuisine on the arbitrary and political nature of food safety guidelines. Yes, AskMetafilter, you can (probably) eat that!