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First Sous Vide Failure

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

I cooked the flat iron steak last night until this morning for 12 hours at 134F and cooled it quickly in an ice bath this morning so I could heat it up, sear it, and serve it for dinner tonight.  Lesson learned, since flat iron is quite a well marbled piece of meat 12 hours was FAR too long, it was one notch from being mush and simply couldn’t be eaten.   We live to learn, next time 2 hours tops for the flat iron.

The 24 hour flank turned out to be a winner though.  I still need to tweak the seasonings a little, but it was tender almost fillet like.

Tomorrow night I’m going to do a chicken breast and this weekend will be salmon. More on the way…

Categories: General

Sous Vide Experiments Continue

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Lamb Sous Vide Pan Seared in unsaled butter and finished with blowtorch

Tonight I sous vide Ontario lamb chops at 134F for 2 hours, they were great!  Mint and garlic marinade penetrated the meat like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  After this I’m excited to try a rack of lamb.

I also picked up hunk of flank steak as well as a flat iron.  I’m very curious on the flat iron since it has a great amount of connective tissue I expect it will sous vide very well, time will tell.

Currently have the chimichurri marinated flank steak in the SousVide Supreme and will be cooking it for about 30 hours.  Not sure how I’ll sear it, might use the pan, but the blowtorch is proving very effective.   Will be making fajitas with it for tomorrow night’s dinner.

I get most of my meat at Medium Rare, they’re at Dundas & Kipling and are my go to butcher.  If you’re looking for very good premium meat, I can’t recommend them enough.

I’m going to give salmon and chicken a go later in the week, a man can only eat so much red meat!

SousVide Supreme Unboxing & First Use

February 6, 2010 2 comments
SousVide Supreme

SousVide Supreme

Before I get into the SousVide Supreme I believe a little tutorial on sous vide cooking is in order.  Sous vide is French for “under vacuum” and is a culinary technique where by food is cooking for longer periods of time under precise degree accurate temperature control.  Think of it as effectively like poaching but under much more lab quality temperature control.  Food is placed in vacuum bags and left in a water bath at exact temperatures for prolonged periods of time.   Many foods can be cooked sous vide from beef, chicken and pork to fish, seafood and vegetables, as a result of cooking under a vacuum seal there is little air and flavours are locked into the food.

Another benefit of sous vide cooking is how forgiving the technique is; it’s almost impossible to overcook foods.  Take a 1″ steak, cook it for 1 hour at 130F and you’ll have a medium rare steak, hold it in the water bath for 8 hours and you’ll still have a medium rare steak.  How?  Simple, the water is being held at EXACTLY 130F so the meat can’t cook beyond that temperature.  This is particularly beneficial for seafood which can be tricky to get “just right.”

So you might be asking yourself why you haven’t been cooking sous vide at home for years?  Simple, cost.  The typical equipment required to cook sous vide are lab quality thermal circulators from companies such as PolyScience cost well over $1000, and look like lab equipment.  The SousVide Supreme is the first home appliance designed for cooking sous vide, at $450 it’s not a cheap home appliance but far from the $1000+ that a PolyScience re-circulator costs.

PolyScience Immersion Circulator

Now onto business, unboxing:

The box.

Box opened

Box Removed.

The SousVide Supreme

None of what I’ve read about SousVide Supreme online covers the build quality; after all when you’re paying $450 for a counter top appliance there are certain levels of quality one expects.  I’ve got to admit to being a little disappointed with respect to the build quality of the SousVide Supreme.  It’s not poorly built but it seems like costs were cut.  The lid is quite thin, and doesn’t scream “expensive” – The plastic handles are cheap plastic too.  I don’t think anyone would say it costs $450 if they had to guess.

SousVide Supreme Control Panel

I’m not a fan of membrane keyboard/keys and the unfortunately this is what the SousVide Supreme uses.  They work well enough but expect they’ll wear out, like all membrane keyboards do, eventually.  Granted the buttons on the SousVide Supreme won’t get used very often but is again something that doesn’t scream $450 appliance.  Build materials matter, but in the end I’ll leave it up to the food to decide over all verdict.

First Cooking Experience

Amazing Egg Yolk, whites not so much. Cooked @ 147F for 45 minutes

As I was out of vacuum bags I decided to try a boiled egg, heated the unit up to 147F, placed 4 eggs inside and waited the 45 minutes.  The whites didn’t turn out anything but runny and rather awful, the yolks were nothing short of amazing with a constancy more like Nutella than typical yolk.  Very good, but with runny whites not very appealing, this will obviously become an experiment of heat:time and trying to find the correct combination.  I tried leaving one of the eggs in a little longer and raising the temp to 150F but that simply resulted in harder yolks, but still nice, with a barely more solidified white.

The experiment continues…

Blowtorched Sous Vide Tenderloin

Blowtorched Sous Vide Tenderloin

I made sous vide beef tenderloin in butter tonight. Cooked it for 1h15m with some butter, salt, garlic and pepper.  I then used my blow torch to crust over the steak getting a great Maillard effect.  The final product was PERFECTLY cooked; there is no way with a grill one could duplicate the consistency that sous vide brings to the table, pardon the pun.  My only regret is the choice of meat, we just happen to have some tenderlion in the fridge so I wasn’t going to let it waste, but tenderloin isn’t a very flavourful cut, and that was VERY evident cooked in this manner.  It was good, but nothing terribly special.

Medium Rare Sous Vide Tenderloin

Tomorrow, perhaps some flank, tri-tip, rack of lamb or maybe some scallops?