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  #1   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 11:13
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Default Sous vide

I saw this once on a cooking show. Someone made eggs keep them at 140 degrees exactly, in water, in their shell, using some piece of precise medical equipment. Anyway, they were supposedly extremely tasty cooked that way.

So I was on Amazon and I ran across this book: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressur...34116762&sr=8-1
And just now this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/m.../14CRYOVAC.html
Quote:
''I was in JoŽl's kitchen,'' Goussault said, referring to JoŽl Robuchon, one of France's most revered chefs, ''and he was cooking eggs, so I tested the temperature; I put in my probe, and it was 64.5. I asked him how he knew this, and he just said that was how he liked it best.''

After 45 minutes, the chef removed the egg from the water and Goussault cracked it over his plate. I had never seen an egg like this: the whites and yolk, cooked to precisely the same consistency, spilled out like a wobbly custard, and Goussault, using a spoon, began pulling the whites from the yolk. The yolk was bright and creamy and stood up like a marshmallow. ''You see, you see!'' Goussault said. ''It's all about the temperature.''

Fascinating!
Quote:
''More than anything, the vegetables and the proteins taste remarkably more like themselves,'' Dan Barber, the chef and owner of Blue Hill, wrote in an e-mail message. ''When it comes to things like artichokes, steaming and boiling and braising are fine, but there's a great loss of liquid as it cooks -- which is another way of saying a great loss of flavor because the juice of the artichoke itself, while mostly water, is very flavorful. Sous vide eliminates this loss, and hence the sensation that you're tasting a true artichoke -- not just a delicious artichoke, but an artichoke the way it was intended to taste.''

Last edited by Nancy LC : Sun, Feb-08-09 at 11:19.
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  #2   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 11:33
bike2work bike2work is offline
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I'm fascinated too, but by all reports, this one is not for home cooks. Keller himself says he wrote this book for professionals only, and if you saw his book The French Laundry, you'd see that his idea of what home cooks can do is very expensive, idealistic, and time-consuming (like 18 hours per meal). In that book he says he adapted his recipes for home cooks. There was a website called French Laundry at Home -- she spent her entire weekend, every weekend cooking a couple recipes out of that book.

Sous vide equipment costs many thousands of dollars.
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  #3   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 11:38
bike2work bike2work is offline
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  #4   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 11:39
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Default

http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html

Another web page.

Yeah, I'm realizing it's not for home cooking... yet.

But I wonder if there are techniques one could adopt. For instance the eggs cooked at a precise temperature. You don't need a vacuum sealer for that since eggs have their own packaging. But if you had a good oven you could put the eggs in a water bath and set the oven temperature for what you want.

I think I'll have to try that. Although hmm... I don't think my oven can be turned down low enough.
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  #5   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 11:40
bike2work bike2work is offline
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  #6   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 14:11
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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It'd be so cool if we could do this ourselves. Sounds like a great way to pre-prepare meals.
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  #7   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 14:26
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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I wish my crockpot had a precise temperature control.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 14:30
bike2work bike2work is offline
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Plan: Fung-inspired fasting
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I agree. And the steak sounds so perfectly cooked. There's just no way to do it right with conventional cooking: you invariably end up with 1/3 of each side overcooked, so 2/3 of the whole steak is overcooked. With sous vide, it's evenly medium-rare all the way through and then they give it 30 seconds over a wood fire for flavor and grill marks.

There are some pseudo sous vide methods out there. Chef Michel Richard cooks chicken breast for chicken salad by wrapping it in safe plastic wrap, submerging it in warm water, and keeping it at the exactly right temp for hours by adjusting the heat with ice cubes and the stoves flame. But you have to really watch it closely because it can't go off by more than a degree. It's in his book Happy in the Kitchen.

Grant Achatz (of Alinea fame) has some psuedo sous vide recipes too -- and demos on youtube. I can find them if you'd like. He puts food in ziplock bags and does it very slowly on the stovetop as well. But at one point he's says that this is really more like using a crock pot than like sous vide.

And didn't the maker of ziplock bags warn strongly against this? There was a ziplock omelette recipe flying around the web that the ziplock people denounced for emissions from the plastic, as I remember it anyway.
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Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 18:41
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awriter awriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy LC
Yeah, I'm realizing it's not for home cooking... yet.

Sous Vide (wrote about it in a post a month or so ago) is great, and there ARE things you can do to approximate, if you're willing to spend the time and some money. Not thousands.

Quote:
the eggs cooked at a precise temperature. You don't need a vacuum sealer for that since eggs have their own packaging. But if you had a good oven you could put the eggs in a water bath and set the oven temperature for what you want. I don't think my oven can be turned down low enough.

That was 64.5 CELSIUS - not Farenheit! That would be 148 F. - which makes sense since most Sous Vide is cooked at 140 F or above. It's the under 140 F cooking (if held for too long a time) that can lead to trouble.

That Sharp Convection/Microwave I wrote about earlier would definitely work since it's also a slow cooker that will go as low as 140 for up to 4 hours. The water bath part is a bit trickier, since the water temp would probably not match the temp of the air in the oven - but it's worth playing with. Think I'll try that with some eggs this week.

As for things like steak, you don't even need a vacuum sealer (though I have one, and a probe thermometer that might work for that).

You can do a type of Sous Vide by heating fat like Suet to, say, 130 F for 'rare' - and completely submerging a steak in it until the steak reaches that temp. It would be unbelievably juicy and uniformly cooked from end to end. If you flavored the oil with garlic, for instance........ YUM. Would work for other meats and vegetables as well.

Lisa
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  #10   ^
Old Sun, Feb-08-09, 19:04
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Really? Interesting! Do you think the temperature is pretty accurate and steady?

I was thinking my poached eggs are almost sous vide (without the vacuum), as I hold them at just before a simmer. They are really good too, quite creamy without any of the chalkiness fried egg yolks get.
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  #11   ^
Old Mon, Feb-09-09, 09:13
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awriter awriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy LC
Interesting! Do you think the temperature is pretty accurate and steady?

Do you mean in the convection/microwave? It appears to be accurate. Steady is another issue. Convection helps with accuracy and steadiness because the hot air is constantly circulated throughout the oven. However, as with all ovens, it works by bringing temps up to a certain point, and then turning off the 'burner' until it drops to a certain point, which turns it on again. "Keeping Constant" is probably one of the main reasons the commercial sous vide equipment is so expensive.

The bigger problem, I think, is knowing when a food has reached the magic number! If you're doing eggs in the shell, for instance, without a chart created by someone who's gone before, how would you know? Do I let the egg go for an hour? Fifteen minutes? Etc.

Quote:
I was thinking my poached eggs are almost sous vide (without the vacuum), as I hold them at just before a simmer. They are really good too, quite creamy without any of the chalkiness fried egg yolks get.

Good point. And of course you can see the eggs themselves when you poach, and you know when they are 'done'. Still, I've got plenty of eggs so I'm going to try it in the shell, in a simple water bath. I've got a special 'simmer' burner on my range.

First I'll simply try to keep water at 148 degrees (using my probe and moving the pot on and off the burner as required) and put in room temperature eggs. Every five or ten minutes I'll take an egg out and put it in the palm of my hand. Within a few seconds either the egg will still feel cold, or it will have reached the temp of the water (which I'll also put on my palm as a baseline). I'll try and get the egg temp as close to the water temp by feel as I can before cracking the shell to check on the contents.

Worse case: I'll put an undercooked egg in a the micro with some butter for a few seconds and eat it. And I'll have a few more eggs still in the water, and will continue to time and test. May take me an hour or two to eat breakfast; the reverse of IF, I guess.

If I can get this to work, I'll then try it in a water bath in the convection/microwave for the same time and see what differences, if any, occur. More delicious eggs I'll be forced to eat. And then I think I'll try again on the range, this time 'poaching' the eggs in a 148 degree butter bath. Ah, the sacrifices we make for science!
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  #12   ^
Old Mon, Feb-09-09, 12:22
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Plan: Paleo 99.5%
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Quote:
The bigger problem, I think, is knowing when a food has reached the magic number! If you're doing eggs in the shell, for instance, without a chart created by someone who's gone before, how would you know? Do I let the egg go for an hour? Fifteen minutes? Etc.

I think the reason they use water for this is that once you get the water to the proper temperature it doesn't matter how long you leave the food there. It won't get hotter than the surrounding water and thus, if the water isn't too hot, it won't overcook even if you leave it there for hours.

At least, that's how Alton Brown explained it in: Mission Poachable
Quote:
TD: What is perfect internal temperature for fish?
AB: Well, 140 give or take.
TD: Leave water at 140. You can put the fish in all day long.


It's the overheating of proteins that squeezes out water and causes meat/fish/eggs to get dry.

I have a temperature probe in my microwave. I could potentially do it in there... but kind of afraid of the egg exploding. Besides, microwaves are weird in that they might heat the egg more than the water.
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  #13   ^
Old Mon, Feb-09-09, 13:29
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IslandGirl IslandGirl is offline
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True enough, since fats and sugars heat at a greater rate than, say, water in the microwave, it's pretty reasonable that proteins have another rate yet again, and of course meats are mixed fat and protein, etc. etc.


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  #14   ^
Old Mon, Feb-09-09, 14:11
awriter's Avatar
awriter awriter is offline
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Plan: Kwasniewski Ratios
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Progress: 84%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy LC
I think the reason they use water for this is that once you get the water to the proper temperature it doesn't matter how long you leave the food there. It won't get hotter than the surrounding water and thus, if the water isn't too hot, it won't overcook even if you leave it there for hours.

Sorry I wasn't clearer. I understand that leaving a cooked egg at 140 won't overcook it. I just don't know how long it will take that egg to reach 140 in the first place. Some of the links posted in the thread have been helpful as to times, but they don't give the sizes of eggs, for instance, to reach those times. I'm guessing they don't use jumbo, so I'll have to just do trial and error at first, and keep my own logs.

Lisa
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  #15   ^
Old Mon, Feb-09-09, 15:11
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Posts: 45,240
 
Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Stats: 210/170/160 Female 67.5"
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I have no idea either although they mentioned that one guy left them for 45 minutes in his circulating somethingorother.

It seems like a lot of energy just to heat a few eggs!

I wish I had skills in electronics like some of my brothers. I'd rejigger my crockpot. Gosh, been daydreaming about this all day.
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