Are there any plans to have a lesson on sous-vide cooking? Or has anyone had experience with this technique?
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This is something I too would be interested in. I was at Costco today and almost bought a FoodSaver so that I could experiment with sous-vide techniques.
I've read that sous-vide is the best way to trap aromas in foods, i.e. if a room smells really great, then a lot of the aroma has escaped into the air. I've never tried it though, so I don't know if aromas are actually intensified this way.
Seeing as what we experience as flavour is the combination of taste on your tongue and the aroma experienced by your nose, sous-vide really piqued my interest (many things I've read say that much of what we perceive as taste is 70-90% aroma).
Reference: The Flavor Bible
PS. I got this book for Christmas after seeing it mentioned in one of the book threads on Rouxbe, and it really is awesome.
My first experience with sous-vide at home was with a friend who is a professional chef. He cooked some venison which was incredible. There is an appliance that looks like it would help the home cook: http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/?ref=gas00005&gclid=CJa2oJaF954CFRKjagodlFIuUw
I have not tried the Sousvide Supreme, but it might be an option. It is also sold at Sur La Table in the States.
I thought so. Having been trained as a physicist, I find the techniques used by "molecular gastronomists" fascinating (I'm aware that many chefs shun this term, I too find it a bit alienating). I've been experimenting with spherification (alginate, etc.) and emulsification (lecithin, etc.) techniques. Also had a little fun with some liquid Nitrogen.
Couldn't hurt to ask though I suspected this would be your answer. Definitely can't fault you for that. I'm still learning fundamentals so I appreciate your focused stance. Keep up the good work Rouxbe.
My initial thoughts, after a week as the owner of a new Sousvide Supreme, is that this may be the best single kitchen purchase I've made in years. The results I've achieved in my fledgling experiments with the process have been even better than I'd been led to expect. In particular, the combination of sous vide salmon coupled with a sauce I put together based on suggestions I found here was simply the best single dish I've ever prepared. I loved it, and even better, the folks who shared my meal raved about it.
Like any tool, the technique can be both used and misused. It's well worth checking out.
I agree with Dawn: learn the basics of cooking really well first. Then branch out, experiment, and see where it fits into your life.
My initial observations are:
* It is amazing;
* It is expensive to do properly;
*It requires an extraordinary degree of foresight, planning, and organization: think days not hours;
* There are health and safety aspects you need to take on board: think botulism;
* You will never cook a better steak.
If you are serious, read Thomas Keller's "Under Pressure". The practical advice is sound. The recipes are utterly fascinating but make no concessions to the home cook: strictly for professional kitchens, but if they strike your imagination, go for it.
We recently remodeled the kitchenand put in a Miele Steam Oven which is perfect for Sous vide. I can cook from 105 - 212 degrees. Pricey gadget but raises the bar for home gourmet chef. I also is perfect for canning which I will do tomorrow with veal stock. Canning is so easy and pre-sterilizes jars too.
Douglas Baldwins book SOUS VIDE FOR THE HOME COOK gives the necessary temps in an easy to read book about proper pasteurization but not about canning. I found a University site that recommends canning meat and soup at 212 and compares the different methods for canning.
Save your dough, oven costs about $3000 with taxes but worth every penny.
This oven rocks. No microwave in our house!
I've been tinkering with this for a couple of years and have found that a slow cooker plus a relatively inexpensive temperature controller (like this one -- http://freshmealssolutions.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=73&Itemid=100086) works very well for keeping the water bath at a pretty consistent temperature (+/- 1F or so). And assuming you already own a slow cooker, it's about 1/3 the Sous Vide Supreme is a fairly low risk way of getting started. Also, there is a good app for the iPad called Sous Vide Dash that helps calculate optimal temperature and time for various food types.
One problem I've had is with air expansion in the bag which causes the bag to float and heat unevenly. I use a Foodsaver vacuum sealer and appear to get a good seal, but have this problem nearly half the time. I end up weighing the bags down, but would much rather find a way to just get a more complete seal. If anyone has any suggestions (short of a $900+ chamber sealer, I would be grateful.
Oh, and the comment above about never having a better steak is spot on!
I've made makeshift sous vide entrecote a couple of times, it costs the equivalent of a dollar or two and produces a beautifully cooked steak: Get some heatproof ziplock bags, a straw, a big pot and a thermometer (I use the one I use for deep frying etc). Fill the pot with water, put it on your stove and get the temperature to where you want it. I use 55C/130F. Season the steak to your liking and put it in the ziplock bag. Close the bag almost entirely, then expel as much air as you can. Finally, put in the straw and simply suck out as much air as possible and quickly seal the bag. You don't need perfect vacuum, you only need to draw out enough air for the bag to sink and for the steak to be as much in contact with water as possible.
Drop the bag in the pot and leave it for an hour or more. On my induction stove top I typically have to adjust the booster +1/-1 every half hour or so to keep the temperature at a steady +/- 2 degrees Celsius, which is good enough for steak. After an hour or more, drop the steak in a hot frying pan for 30-60 seconds on each side to caramelize it. Then enjoy the most evenly cooked steak you've ever had :)
If you like meat, and you want cheap cuts... wow! Chuck steak, more tender than tenderloin, and rare to boot.
I have recently gone vegetarian, but I strongly recommend it for any meat eater... get some chuck eye steaks from a quality butcher, set it to 131F, dry the steaks, season with your favorite steak spices (I love a good freshly ground montreal steak spice blend), vac it with a small bit of butter (a tsp will do wonders), and toss it in. 2-3 days at this temp, and you will have the best tasting steak you have ever had.
The trick is when you take it out, you need to pat dry the steak, heat up a pan so it is nice and ready, little oil, and toss the DRY steak in. It will sear, flip and sear again. I used a kitchen torch to sear the parts that I could not get to sear in the pan. Do not spend a lot of time in the pan - more than 2 minutes, and you are overdoing it.
I have also done things such as dill carrots cooked for 2-3 hours. Carrots with dill sprigs and lemon zest for about 2-3 hours at 180F. They came out tender and delicious, with a wonderful flavor all the way through.
I also played with some potato cubes. Cubed a potato - perfect little 1inch cubes, and sealed em with some butter and roasted garlic - just a lil. Tossed them in (cant remember the exact time), but they came out delicious. I seared each side gently with a bit of hot oil in a pan, and flipped them with tongs. They looked amazing on the plate, and were flavored to the core.
If you have a couple hundred bucks, I say go for it.