Keep Calm and Color On! Color your Dry Aged Feast

As you prepare for the holidays, sometimes you need a break and a little imagination to put on that perfect feast.  Our artist came up with this view of your holiday dry aged feast.

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Take a break from the hard work preparing the feast.  Chill out and color!  Print this delectable drawing of a dry aging standing rib roast. Bring out the crayons, colored pencils, watercolors–gather around the pre-feast table as a family and picture that perfect meal together.

If you are still planning for the New Years’ dinner, we’d like suggest you consider a 4-5 dry aged tenderloin, complete with seasoned crusting.  Just check out the six tenderloin recipes for this application of UMAi Dry® to “quick” dry aging delicious filet mignon or Chateaubriand.

You will find recipes for the following:

  • Fresh Herb and Garlic
  • Black Cherry and Black Pepper
  • Coffee Spice
  • Rosemary Almond
  • Fennel Seed and Rosemary
  • Chanterelle and Tarragon

We hope that you find new inspiration in this fresh idea for dry aging.  Tenderloin is already plenty tender, but dry aging for just four to five days will deepen the beefy flavor and allow the seasoning to form the perfect crust.

Wishing you and yours a memorable dry aged feast!

Steak Can Fend Off Heart Disease?

Yes, you read right.

Steak may actually repair your heart.

New research published in the journal Nutrition indicates that consuming meat can positively impact your heart.  “The impact is the same as if you were to stop smoking, cut back on your sodium intake, or exercise more,” explained Korin Miller in For a Healthier Heart, Eat … Steak? on Yahoo Health in August of 2015.

Heathy Heart article

Researchers were looking at intake of seven amino acids (the building blocks of protein) recognized as possessing heart-healthy properties.

In a comparative study of twins, researchers found that the twin with the healthier heart consumed more of the amino acids found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy, beans, lentils, broccoli, and spinach.

In our bodies, amino acids help generate new tissue and repair damaged tissue.  Researchers found that consuming more amino acids from meat (glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine) resulted in less-stiff arteries.

These same animal-based amino acids were also linked to lower blood pressure. “Since both high blood pressure and stiff arteries are linked to heart disease, researchers concluded that getting more amino acids in your diet — from meat and plants — can have a positive impact on your heart,” Miller summarized.

The thing to keep in mind is that a little goes a long way.  A palm-sized steak (3 ounces) provides enough of the essential amino acids to be beneficial to heart hearth.

ASK MAUREEN: Don’t Mistake Oxygen for Air; or UMAi Dry® for a Vacuum Bag

Everyday we receive emails and phone calls from customers asking for information, advice, reassurance.  Our front line “BagLady” Maureen provides knowledgeable answers in an ever-patient manner.  Her many years as a teacher are a tremendous asset.

In her honor, we introduce “ASK MAUREEN.”  This column will share Maureen’s answers to “life’s persistent questions.”

Today, a very, very common question:

  • I’m confused….does air get in or only out of the umai dry bags? what is “oxygen exchange”? J

Hello, J.

What you need to understand is that “air” is not the same as “oxygen.”  There are two reasons we emphasize that UMAi Dry® is oxygen-permeable:

1)  Oxygen helps produce good dry aged results.

2)  Oxygen prevents the scary anaerobic bacteria that can form within vacuum packaged food.

If you  are vacuum packaging food, you absolutely MUST remove all air or risk spoilage of the food or dangerous conditions within the bag.  UMAi Dry® does not pose that risk.

UMAi Dry® is applied with a vacuum sealer only to pull the bag into best contact with the moist surface of the meat—not to form a vacuum.  It is the bond that forms between that meat surface and UMAi Dry®  that is the key.  You only need 75-80% of the surface to bond with UMAi Dry® for consistent, reliable results.

Initially, UMAi Dry® will appear to hold a vacuum, meaning it keeps “air” out.  However, it allows oxygen molecules to pass through the material, just as it allows moisture to release.   It is like a membrane—protecting the meat, but not “suffocating” it. The enzymes in the meat get the oxygen they need to tenderize and improve the flavor during dry aging.

While you can breathe both oxygen and air, it is the oxygen that will keep you alive.  Similarly, while you can seal a piece of meat into both UMAi Dry® and a vacuum bag, it is the UMAi Dry® that allows the meat to transform like fine wine.

Hope this helps!

Maureen

Sous Vide Cooking Guarantees a Perfect Steak Every Time

Congratulations! Dry aging done! Your ribeye, striploin or sirloin is ready. Now it’s time to trim the “bark” off, cut it into steaks, and get ready to enjoy, share or preserve to savor over time.

Steak lover beware: Dry aged steak cooks faster than “wet-aged” steak. With the lower water content, there is none of the weep and shrivel to indicate doneness. Time has provided tenderness that you don’t want to unintentionally turn to shoe leather.

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The ultimate way to cook a steak is sous vide, under vacuum in a controlled temperature water bath. Once the meat has reached the desired temperature of the bath, the meat is cooked perfectly edge to edge. Polish the steak off with a quick sear on a grill or frying pan. This is the secret to a perfect steak.

Freezing dry aged steaks:
Dry aged steaks freeze very well with minimal impact on taste or texture. Because of the reduced moisture content, dry aged steaks are less susceptible than wet aged steaks to freeze damage that is a result of water crystal formation. Simply vacuum seal your dry aged steaks into vacuum/sous vide bags and place them in the freezer. For best results, thaw the steaks very slowly in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before grilling or cooking sous vide. You might want “hot tub” the steaks in lukewarm water for an hour or so before cooking so you know they are just right when you toss them on the grill.

Cooking dry aged steaks:
Dry aged steaks tend to cook faster than wet aged steaks because there is just less water in them to “bring to a boil.” The steak will reach doneness in much less time. So, keep an eye on those steaks, use a quick read thermometer, and pull them off before they reach temp to let the carry over do the trick.

Many chefs will quick sear the steak before vacuum packing with a pat of butter and some seasoning. When you sous vide this way, the flavors expand and penetrate the meat delectably. Sous vide cooking is your best guarantee of steak perfection—exact temperature, ideal texture, complete nutritional value and maximum flavor.

One great resource on the web, ChefSteps.com, offers a great visual guide to temperature and doneness. They also offer online video classes on how to cook perfect proteins and more sous vide.  Check out their Map of Sous Vide Cooking:

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Making modifications to Foodsaver

Richard who is an UMAi Dry user, came up with a solution to a problem that many UMAi Dry users face when trying to seal a large 16-22 lb piece of beef using a basic household vacuum sealer like this Foodsaver V2244. This solution allows the user to have more control over the sealing process. Here is Richard’s account:

I recently decided to modify my vacuum sealer so that I no longer am dependent on the automated sealing feature. The sealer I use for the Umai dry bags is a Foodsaver V2244, a pretty basic model.
This vacuum sealer has the pretty much standard controls. One button starts the vacuum and then seals automatically. A second button either stops the vacuum and seals the bag, or simply seals the the bag (for adding a second seal or making bags from the roll material). Some units have more controls, but all should have these two basic functions.
These sealers have a pressure switch which controls when the vacuum is stopped and the seal is made. The assumption from the manufacturer is that the bag has the small channels embossed into the bags which allows the air to escape. The Umai dry bags don’t have these, so occasionally, or more frequently even, the bags form enough of an air tight seal just beyond the unit to allow the pressure switch to actuate the sealing step even though there’s still air in the bag.
Remove, or disable this switch and the vacuum pump will run continuously until you press the seal button. This will allow you to take the time to massage the air out of the bag and make the seal when you are satisfied wit the degree of air removed from the bag.
Of course you loose the automated vacuum sealing feature and probably any warranty you had on the unit.
Removing the switch on my unit was quite easy. Once the unit was opened by removing the bottom there was easy access to the controls. There’s not much in these units. A vacuum pump, a pressure switch, some tubing, a small electric control circuit to time the sealing bar heater/pump operation.
On this unit there is a small tubing which runs from the vacuum pump to a “T”. From the “T” the tubing continues the the sealing chamber as well as a vacuum switch.
Now, here, there are two ways to disable the automation:
1. Remove the vacuum switch from the vacuum tubing altogether. This is what I opted for since this unit is dedicated to dry bags.
2. Add a toggle switch to the circuit which effectively removes the vacuum switch from the control circuit. The toggle switch would let you choose between manual or automatic vacuum/sealing. This may be a better (albeit more work) choice if you use the unit for regular kitchen duty as well as for the dry bags. Depending on the sealer and how the vacuum switch is incorporated it may require some soldering on a circuit board.

Of my unit preventing the switch from being used was simple. Since the tubing from the pump goes to a “T”, and there was enough tubing to to go straight from the pump to the sealing chamber – I simply removed the tubing from the “T” and connected the pump directly to the sealing chamber. The vacuum switch is still in the unit but no longer connected to the vacuum pump. When using the unit the switch never sees vacuum and so the pump will continue to run until you initiate the seal, or the pump overheats.

You still need the vac-mouse to keep some flow across the unit’s gaskets.

A lot of words for a 5 minute job, here are some photos:

V2244 Sealer before modification

V2244 Sealer before modification

Foodsaver V2244 modification tools you needFoodsaver V2244 internals before modification Foodsaver V2244 internals after modificationFoodsaver V2244 after modification

Dry aging beef in UMAi Dry bag is real dry aging

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Dry aged Beef is a result of a process of dry aging: During Dry Aging the following happens:

  1. The word Dry means: Moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a mature beef flavor
  2. The word Aging means: Meat’s natural enzymes break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle thereby tenderizing it

Dry aging using UMAi Dry Bag accomplishes both of these goals as concluded by numerous scientific studies conducted by Kansas State University and Auburn University

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Processing/Dry-aging-using-vacuum-packaging-provides-savings

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174009002484

The results from these studies has shown that Dry Aging using UMAi Dry Bags achieves the unique nutty, buttery Dry Aged Flavor and the texture tender enough to cut with a fork.

Dry aging has been typically done with half carcasses of beef hung in cold storage lockers for 14 – 35 days following slaughter.

The half carcasses were typically wrapped in cheese cloth like material to prevent insects and other pests from reaching them.  For most restaurants, households and food safety conscious people that type of dry aging is not an option today.

Subprimal steak cuts of beef, such as whole striploins (NY strip), 7-rib ribeye (bone-in or boneless) sections, top rounds (sirloin) can be dry aged in open air. However, in restaurant and household environments the need for special designated coolers, sanitation concerns, smells coming from dry aging beef, cross contamination of flavors and microorganisms make the open air process quite problematic.

The UMAi Dry Bag provides an isolated environment for the beef to dry age. There is no need for special coolers and special sanitation/cleaning. The UMAi Dry Bag provides the protection that most consumers desire in the Dry Aging process.

The Process of Dry Ageing in UMAi Dry Bag received the National Restaurant Association Food and Beverage Innovation Award in 2011.

UMAi Dry bags are sold successfully in over 70 countries worldwide.

So is UMAi Dry bags real dry aging? Try it out and judge for yourself.

Stop throwing away food and money!

Whether you’ve made too much food for your family or it’s going bad because no one will eat it, you know you need to cut down on the pounds of food going from the fridge to the trash bin every day.

This article from LifeHacker could be a food (and money) saver!

Plus, check out UMAi Preserve — the easy way to store food so it won’t spoil as quickly in the first place!

UMAi Preserve pouches to seal in freshness and flavor.  These bags are different from UMAi Dry.  They provide an excellent barrier for both oxygen and moisture vapor transmission.  Perfect for leftovers!  You can also store fish, poultry, cheese, snacks for on the road, personal items that should not get wet on camping trips and so much more!