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  1. Those interested in the Modernist Cuisine book should check out this exclusive look at the book, including excerpts and a Q&A with the team!
  2. eG: We've talked a lot about the three italicized words in this excerpt: “So the question is really: why does blowing on a hot liquid make it evaporate faster? The answer is the wispy layer of ‘steam’ (fog, actually) that covers the top of the cup.” For someone who points to fog and says, “there’s steam,” that phrase is a very friendly way to say “Nope.” The book is full of such gentle pushes off a cliff. Can you talk about this Firesign-friendly, if disorienting, “Everything You Know Is Wrong” instructional strategy? MC: There’s a difference between ideas that are technically wrong but mostly harmless, and those that are dangerously wrong. As long as you don’t stick your hand in the invisible steam between the spout of a tea kettle and the fog a few inches away from it (thinking that the air there is cool), confusing fog for steam is mostly harmless, albeit amazingly common. In contrast, the equally common notion that you can make ground beef safe to eat by cooking it to a particular temperature irrespective of how long you hold it there is a dangerously wrong idea, and our chapters on Microbiology and Food Safety Rules give it all the emphasis it deserves. Because cooking is a complex and ubiquitous activity, it is full of folklore. In many cases the observation in the lore is true, but few cooks understand why it is true. And in many cases the lore is simply untrue. Throughout Modernist Cuisine, the authors tackle conventional wisdom of this sort wherever science can help explain what is really going on.
  3. eG: The ethos of science threads through the book like a guiding principle. One example appears on page 1·288, in a seemingly throwaway introductory clause: “So the question is really:” It appears that part of the mission of the book is to ask the reader to consider precisely which question they “really” are asking. Indeed, many of the breakout sections start with a question, as if finding just the right question—a precision critical to experimental science—is something you want to teach. Why was this question asking so important to the mission of the book? MC: Modernist Cuisine is designed in part to teach cooks the science that is most relevant to creative cooking, and to show them how to apply it in the kitchen. Just giving readers the facts doesn’t accomplish this; scientific thinking is much more than mere factual knowledge. It is driven by curiosity, a healthy skepticism of folklore, a willingness to experiment, and the ability to reason through the implications of how multiple phenomena at work will interact in the situation at hand. So wherever possible, we invite readers to follow us through the though process of reasoning out what is going on in situations where normal intuition fails. That makes for less didactic writing that is more fun to read, and at the same time shows by example how you can figure things out for yourself.
  4. Sidebar on “The Physics of Why We Blow on Hot Food,” page 1·288 in chapter 5 on Heat and Energy eG: In the midst of the extensive, detailed section about heat, you return to a deceptively simple moment that everyone’s familiar with: blowing on soup in a spoon. (Nice mince on the mirepoix, btw.) Throughout chapter 6 on "The Physics of Food and Water," there’s much discussion about why water is so “weird.” But here in chapter 5, water makes an early appearance. Why the rush? MC: The answer is in the title: most of us think of this common act as blowing on hot food—not blowing on wet food. It’s only natural for people to think, as many do, that this works because you are somehow blowing the heat off the food. But as the first paragraph in the sidebar suggests, that mechanism doesn’t really make sense if you stop and think about it. This is a common misconception about heat transfer. So we placed it near the end of the heat chapter, two pages before we formally introduce the concept of the latent heat of vaporization, which is the tremendous amount of energy that water consumes (and thus removes from cooling food) when it transforms from liquid to vapor.
  5. eG: Readers familiar with information design will detect a bit of Harry Beck, a bit of Edward Tufte, and a bit of Dorling Kindersley, with the voice of Charles Joseph Minard echoing in the background. Talk about how you chose to design the information that this enterprise delivers and the antecedents that were most important to you. MC: From the outset of the project in 2006, Nathan had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish with the annotated cutaway illustrations. We worked with several designers, who drew on their experiences developing illustrations for National Geographic, Scientific American, The New York Times, and other publications as they explored the design space for those signature layouts. The desire to let the central photos sing led us to a fairly sparse design for the cutaways, and that set a style we carried through into the other kinds of illustrations. Wayt (the editor in chief) and Mark (the art director and lead designer) had previously worked together for many years at Scientific American on features that often used intricate infographics to explain sophisticated science or technology. They drew on that experience and some of the illustrators they had worked with at the magazine in guiding the information design of the art in Modernist Cuisine. The eight pages here, excerpted from various chapters in volumes 1, 2, 3, and 5, were selected to illustrate the way in which the authors of Modernist Cuisine not only explain a fundamental principle or phenomena at work in the kitchen, but also provide concrete examples of its relevance in a variety of cooking situations; they then go on to demonstrate how to turn it to your advantage and to apply that knowledge in a fully developed recipe. The pages in this example are a few of the many in the book that touch on the crucial role that the evaporation of water plays in cooking, on how a cook can exert some control over evaporation (in this case by using a pressure cooker), and how that technique can be used to make an excellent, modern version of a classic dish (pigeon en salmis).
  6. eG: Checking in at ~2,400 pages, the structure of the book could easily be overwhelming and unwieldy, but we’ve found that it is just the opposite. What organizing principles did you use to keep this thing wieldy? MC: The first principle is that structure matters. We spent a full year building and refining the outline for the book. Once we sketched out all the pieces the authors wanted to include, we tried to find the optimal solution for that jigsaw puzzle that would introduce concepts in a logical order while minimizing overlap and outright redundancy among the chapters. There is of course no perfect solution to this puzzle; some phenomena, like the movement of heat and the evaporation of water, are so common and crucial to virtually all cooking that they inevitably pop up throughout the book. So a second principle we relied on was to make liberal use of cross references. We took care to explain fundamentals like these thoroughly in the early chapters of the book, and added pointers to those pages whenever we briefly recapitulated the salient points in later sections. A third principle was to avoid long jumps that would break up the continuity of the main narrative. We weren’t always able to achieve our goal of limiting a jump to no more than four pages, but we always looked for design solutions that keep interruptions to the body text short enough that readers don’t get disoriented. In some chapters, particularly in volume 4, this results in the chapters falling naturally into an organizational pattern that puts the main narrative first, followed by groups of parametric recipes and the example recipes that illustrate them.
  7. eG: We’re interested on what’s sliding around the cutting room floor. What did you leave out? Why? MC: The outline for Modernist Cuisine started out far less ambitious than what we ended up producing, but eventually grew to include even more topics that we were able to fit into the book. Early on, we decided to focus on savory cooking and not to attempt to cover pastries and desserts as well. At one point in the development of the outline, however, we had penciled in sections on the physiology and cognitive science of taste and smell, such as the mechanics of eating, how we learn to like flavor, the importance of cultural context in defining what a meal ought to be, and the roles of sight, sound, and muscular feedback in the emergent sensory experience we call flavor. Some of the elements planned for this section did make it into the book, including sidebars on the fallacy of the notion that the tongue is divided into areas specialized for distinct tastes, why some people don’t like the smell of truffles, how foie gras and dog food perform surprisingly similarly in blind taste tests, and how to properly conduct a taste comparison trial. But many of the elements planned for that section were eventually cut from the outline. Similarly, we ended up not including a chapter we had tentatively planned on kinetics and reactions rates, which would have covered many of the nitty-gritty details of chemistry in the kitchen. The authors decided instead to discuss the most relevant of those concepts as they came up in other chapters.
  8. eG: General reaction to the book often starts with the question: why isn’t this an e-book? Help us understand why a centuries-old technology was necessary to communicate your 21st century vision. MC: Ink on paper is a far superior medium to pixels on a screen for so many aspects of what we hope to accomplish with Modernist Cuisine. We use large, sharp, brilliant photographs to draw readers into a topic and sustain their interest in ways that text alone simply can’t. Color e-readers like the iPad didn’t exist in 2007 when we had to select a platform for our design. But even if they had, a large-format print book using Chroma Centric inks and stochastic screening would have been the right choice. Consider, for example, the way we use a cross sectional view of a baking turkey to explain all that goes on in this famously tricky holiday dish. The annotations that explain the crucial importance of the wet-bulb temperature (more on this later), the formation of a desiccation zone, and the several different ways heat moves through the bird could seem intimidating if they stood as text alone. On a small 10-inch-diagonal screen, the cutaway image would be far less stunning, and we would have much less space around it to place annotations than we do in the 24-inch-diagonal space of a two-page spread. With our high-quality paper and printing, the text is a pleasure to read—an important feature in a 2,438-page book of more a million words—and the dynamic range of the photographs is fantastic, with blacks as deep as the abyss and detail that pushes the limits of the acuity of human vision. The technology to reproduce this experience on a screen does not yet exist. Books have the additional important advantage of being portable and power-free. Trying to actually cook from one of our 100 illustrated step-by-step technique guides or one of our 1,500+ recipes would be a hassle if you had to haul a monitor around your kitchen. Our kitchen manual is completely water resistant; an iPad, not so much. Finally, we settled on print because, thanks in large part to all the advances in digital technology, it’s never been easier to make a paper book. All of our text, photography, layout, prepress, and even printing-plate creation was handled digitally—it was all bits up to the point where lasers actually carved into metal. It’s also never been easier to sell a paper book. Because of the unusual physical heft of Modernist Cuisine, the vast majority of copies preordered so far were sold online, and we fully expect that trend to continue. A great deal of the explosion in awareness about the book is due directly to the power of online social media, such as eGullet.
  9. Q&A with the Modernist Cuisine Team The Society for Culinary Arts and Letters is thrilled to be able to offer this Q&A with the team behind Modernist Cuisine: The Art & Science of Cooking. This ground-breaking multivolume work has spawned two discussion topics, one focusing on the book and one devoted to cooking with the book. In this topic, we will have the unprecedented opportunity to explore the book's development, design, and production with the team that made it happen. The book authors -- Nathan Myhrvold (Society member nathanm), Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet -- worked with editor-in-chief Wayt Gibbs to answer several questions we posed. The team also shares for the first time a multipage arc of content that traverses several volumes across a crucial content area: how understanding the weirdness of water can benefit your understanding of cooking. (Please click on the thumbnails of each page below to see a larger image.) What follows provides an opportunity to get to know Modernist Cuisine that much better, a book that many are hailing as one of the most important publications in the history of cooking. In addition to the excerpts and initial Q&As, Wayt Gibbs will respond on behalf of the MC team to your questions. We hope that you enjoy this opportunity to take a glimpse at this remarkable book.
  10. 2011: Lior (2011): Food, Glorious Food: From Cold Labaneh to hot Levivot: December 17 -25, 2011 nikkib (2011): Stingray sambal, singapore slings and big trouble in Little India...: November 13 - 19, 2011 mgaretz (2011): A mixed bag of cooking, eating and commentary from Northern California: November 7 - 12, 2011 Panaderia Canadiense (2011): Cuy, Colada, and eating with the dead in Ambato, Ecuador: October 30 - November 6, 2011 Percyn (2011): A behind the scenes look into an Indian Parsi household: October 23 - 29, 2011 Alcuin (2011): In the middle - Eating & Drinking on the Isthmus: October 16 -23, 2011 CaliPoutine (2011): Surviving and Thriving in the Land of Chains: October 16 - 22, 2011 ScottyBoy (2011): Cooking, eating and riding a bike on the better side of the bay: Sept 18 - 29, 2011 nolnacs (2011): Pork, peaches and pie. Saying goodbye to summer in Philadelphia: Sept 10 - 17, 2011 EatNopales (2011): Quest for Grilled Quail wrestling Frog Legs perched on a Cactus Paddle: Sept 2 - 9, 2011 SobaAddict70 (2011) : Of Hobbits and Hurricanes: August 26 - 31, 2011 rarerollingobject (2011) : Mealtimes at the University of Woolloomooloo: July 23 - August 1, 2011 Zeemanb (2011) : A sweetbread or so north of "Winter's Bone"...: July 17 - 25, 2011 Peter the eater (2011) : More Maritimes: July 11 - 18, 2011 Frogprincesse (2011) : From tartines to tikis: July 3 - 11, 2011 Toolprincess (2011) : Food adventures from North Carolina : June 26 - July 3, 2011 bmdaniel (2011): Going off the diet in Dallas and Chicago : June 18 - 26, 2011 pastameshugana (2011): Looking for an Oasis in a Culinary Desert : June 6 - 12, 2011 SobaAddict70 (2011) : Market basket blogging : May 28 - June 6, 2011 genkinaonna (2011) : Carts, Cakes, and Coffee in and around the City of Rose : May 22- 29, 2011 heidih (2011) : A slice of life in the South Bay of Los Angeles : April 30 - May 8, 2011 Pam R (2011) : Passover Part III : April 17 - 25, 2011 haresfur (2011) : not exactly bush tucker : April 9 - 16. 2011 PopsicleToze (2011) : Honeysuckles and Huckleberries... Food from the Louisiana Countryside : March 21 - 27, 2011 robirdstx (2011) : My Spring Break: By The Bay And Through The Pass : March 13 - 21, 2011 Pierogi (2011) : Rollin' the bon temps on the Left Coast : March 5 - 13, 2011 lesliec (2011) : Beef, boots and other stories : February 13 - 20, 2011 nakji (2011) : Gong Xi Fa Cai - goodbye Tiger; hello Rabbit : January 30 - February 6, 2011 johnder, slkinsey, weinoo (2011): A tale of two boroughs : January 23 - 30, 2011 nickrey (2011) : Classical/Modernist: It's all Jazz in the City : January 9-16, 2011 Shelby (2011) : From the field to the table. : January 2 - 9, 2011
  11. External links There are many other resources besides this eG Forums topic, and we've gathered the best of them here. Sous Vide Books Society member Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine Society member Douglas Baldwin's Sous Vide for the Home Cook Thomas Keller's Under Pressure Joan Roca and Salvador Brugues's Sous Vide Cuisine Books That Incorporate Sous Vide Techniques Society member Grant Achatz's Alinea Cookbook Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen Alain Ducasse's Grand Livre de Cuisine Heston Blumenthal's Big Fat Duck Cookbook Jill Norman's Cook's Book Blogs & Websites Nathan Myhrvold's book has an affiliated website, ModernistCuisine.com. There you can find videos, illustrations, and some discussion of content, which will continue to expand past the book's publication date. Douglas Baldwin's book started as a website, A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, where a great deal of useful information can be found. Dave Arnold and Nils Noren of the French Culinary Institute maintain the fantastic CookingIssues website, and there are many useful posts there on sous vide cooking, including primers one and two on sous vide and low-temp cooking. Select "sous vide" from the dropdown "Category" menu on the right of any page. Some other useful resources include: The Ideas in Food blog by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot Sous Vide at Home by Peter Black Fresh Meal Solutions's Guide to PID Control for SV Cooking Daniel Humm videos of SV technique Serious Eats Sous Vide Primer Sous Vide Kitchen Sous Vide wiki SousVideCooking.org La Cocina al Vacío (text in Spanish) La Cocina al Vacío index translated into English CookingConcepts.com Articles Mainstream media has done a generally poor job communicating just what SV cooking is about, but here's a list of articles so you can judge for yourself: Hesser "Under Pressure" article in NYT Magazine, August 2005. 2005 Slate article on SV cooking. Washington Post 2005 article on SV/LTLT cooking in the DC area. SF Chronicle SV article May 2007. Wired article on Nathan and "obscure culinary discussion forum eGullet." WSJ on Trying SV at Home, Aug 2008. Sydney Morning Herald SV article, August 2009. NY Times on Nathan's book, November 2009. NY Times on SV Supreme, December 2009.
  12. Miscellaneous Meats buffalo/bison tenderloin 60C/140F 6.5h; also see buffalo/bison 60C/140F 20+m pork, veal, & beef cheeks; also see this post squab 60C/140F 2h venison 65C/149F 20m
  13. Eggs & Dairy What are some good times and temps for eggs SV? Does egg size matter in SV cooking? What is the perfect egg? See also The Perfect Egg topic. egg 63.5C/146.4F 55-65m eggs 64C/147F 75m and more egg, scrambled 72C/162F overnight eggs 64C/147F; see also this discussion of 60C/140F and 64C/147F overnight eggs egg, Momofuku fried-poached 45C/113F 45m then fried yogurt making caramelized yogurt 76.5C/170F 24h from Alexander Talbot of IdeasInFood; also see the 82C/180F 24h version custards 83C/181F creme brulée 175F/80C ice cream base 82C/180F 1h hollandaise; also see this hollandaise topic (70C/158F 8m)
  14. Vegetables, Fruit, Roots, & Grains Are vegetables well suited to SV? Are green vegetables? What exactly happens when you cook a vegetable SV? Also see this discussion and this overview of cooking vegetables at 85C/185F. More on vegetable temps here and here. Can you use garlic in SV cooking? Brussel sprouts SV: yes or no? What about SV fruit? Also see this discussion. How can you use a vacuum to compress fruits and vegetables? How about plaintains? What to do with apples? Has anyone made candied fruit SV? How can you use banana leaves SV? Anyone making rice? Paella? What about oatmeal, porridge, and other grains? Can you do pasta SV? Also see this discussion. Can you cook tamales SV? Recipes artichokes 88C/190F 45-50m artichokes 85C/185F 45-60m Also see this eG Forums topic on cooking artichokes SV. asparagus 65.5C/150F 10-15m? asparagus, white 85C/185F 20m carrots 83C/181F 1h corn on the cob 85C/185F 90m mushrooms 85C/185F 1h pears 70C/158F 5h peas 80C/176F 30m potatoes, fingerling potatoes, retrograde starch mashed pumpkin 85C/185F 60m quince 85C/185F 60m quince rhubarb tomatoes, cherry 85C/185F 40m
  15. Fish Is SV an effective technique for fish preparation, or is it fundamentally flawed? What's a good white-fleshed fish for SV? Can you make shrimp and scallops SV? What are the best temps for fish mi cuit -- and what are the safety concerns? Also see this eG Forums topic on salmon mi cuit and killing, uh, tapeworm larvae. What can you do with SV salmon skin? How can you crisp fish skin? What are some approaches and concerns with low-temp salmon preparations? My SV fish is cold. What gives? How should one approach abalone? How should one approach larger clams (geoducks & razors)? Recipes cod 50C/122F 12m eel 55C/131F 2.5h grouper 61C/142F 15m halibut 54.5C/130F 1h halibut 59C/138F 15m lobster 45C/113F lobster 45C/113F 1.25h lobster 60C/140F 6m lobster 59.5C/139F mahi mahi 45-6C/113-15F 15m monkfish 60C/140F 12m monkfish 55C/131F 20-25m ocean trout, Atlantic 45C/113F 25m ocean trout confit 45C/113F 25m quenelles 65C/149F ~30m salmon mi cuit two versions 45C/113F & 40C/104F salmon & truffle butter 45C/113F salmon with frozen cube of olive oil 47C/116.5F 45m salmon, Copper River 56C/133F 11-12m shrimp 123F/50.5C 2h and 60C/140F 30-40m; also see 45C/113F for 20m skate 74C/165F 25m squid 65-70C/149-158F 2h squid 59C/138F 2h squid 65C/149F 10h swordfish 53-55C/127.5-131F ~2h; ff 50C/122F ~3h swordfish 54.5C/130F 1h tilapia 47.5C/118F 20m
  16. Lamb What are the best temperatures for lamb loin? Leg of Lamb boneless leg of lamb, Indian/"raan" style 58C/136F 6h boneless leg of lamb 64C/147F 55m boneless leg of lamb 54-55C/130-131F 20-24h Rack of Lamb rack of lamb 59C/138F 5.5h rack of lamb 51.5C/125F ~4h Tenderloin/Loin lamb loin 55C/131F/ 2-3h lamb tenderloin 63C/145.5F 20m lamb shanks 70C/158F 48h Miscellaneous Lamb Recipes mutton discussion lamb hearts 75C/167F 24h lamb quoorma 58C/136.5 12h lamb ribs 55C/131F 24h braised lamb 63.5C/146.5 36h
  17. Poultry Any tricks to getting chicken skin just right? How do you render the fat to get that crispy duck skin? How can you brown turkey skin? What are good approaches to duck breasts? What makes confit confit-like, and how can you achieve those ends with SV? See also this eG Forums topic on duck confit. What steps can I take to avoid rancid confit? For how long does duck confit cooked SV keep in the fridge? Can you fry SV chicken to good effect? What are the issues related to eating and enjoying medium rare poultry? Where in the 140-160F range should I cook my chicken breasts? How do I prepare chicken breast for shredding? What is a safe final temperature for turkey? Chicken Breast chicken breast 60C/140F 4h chicken breast 67C/153F 2h chicken breast 63.5C/146F 1h chicken breast 60C/140F 2h chicken with miso chicken with shiitake and scallion 65C/149F 40m Confit duck confit 82C/180F 18-24h duck confit 80C/176F 12h duck confit 82C/180F 10-12h turkey leg confit 82C/180F 10h See also this eG Forums topic on SV duck confit and this eG Forums topic on SV Duck. Duck Breast duck breast discussion duck breast, smoked 61C/142F 45m duck breast 57.5C/135.5F and 59C/138F Foie Gras foie gras discussion foie gras, Blumenthal 60C/140F -- and breaks down unless frozen Also see this eG Forums topic on the lowest possible temperature for SV foie gras. Fried Chicken fried chicken, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc recipe fried chicken fried chicken 60c/140F 1h Turkey turkey discussion; see also this eG Forums topic on SV turkey turkey breast 62C/143.5F turkey breast porchetta turkey thighs 74C/165F 24h turkey, Doug Baldwin Thanksgiving! turkey breast 67C/153F 3-5h turkey galantine 65C/149F 12h, also here and here Miscellaneous Poultry Dishes goose chicken thighs, Shanghai drunken 57.5C/135.5F 6h chicken curry 60C/140F 3-12h chicken thighs 63.5C/146F 90m squab
  18. Pork What precautions should I take with pork, particularly regarding trichinea? How can you get "fall off the bone" ribs? More on ribs here. Does anyone smoke pork before SV? Is it worth it to do pork chops SV? Do you keep the skin on your SV pork belly? At what temperatures should you cook pork confit? Belly pork belly discussion here and here pork belly 78-80C/172-176C 10-12h pork belly 64C/147F 24h pork belly 82C/180F 8h pork belly 60C/140F 72h pork belly 65.5C/150F 24h pork belly confit 80C/176F 18h Chops pork chops with vacuum-sealed garnishes 57C/135F 2h pork chops 55C/131F ~2h Ham/Gammon ham discussion here and here gammon 60C/140F 24h Ribs baby back ribs 57C/135F 72h baby back ribs 57C/135F 24-48h baby back ribs 71-76.5C/160-170F 6h St. Louis pork ribs 68C/154F 28h St. Louis pork ribs 67C/153F 26h pork ribs 72C/162F 20h See also this eG Forums topic on SV baby back ribs. Shoulder pork shoulder 70C/158F 20h pork shoulder 61.5C/143F 48h pork shoulder 76.5C/170F 12h pork shoulder, rolled 60C/140F 7h pork shoulder, "BBQ" 60C/140F 24h pork shoulder, Nürnberger Schäufele 62.5C/144.5F 24h Tenderloin pork fillet wrapped in pancetta 60C/140F 1h pork tenderloin 60C/140F 1h pork tenderloin 62C/143.5F 40m See also this eG Forums topic on pork tenderloin. Miscellaneous Pork Dishes Szechuan pork neck 60C/140F 24h Bayless's pork carnitas and here wild boar 76.5C/170F 36h suckling pig 70C/158F 14h pork & beans 54.5C/130F 12h
  19. Beef & Veal What are some tips for searing beef? Pan? Torch? How do you use SV to get beef enzymes activated productively? What's the maximum thickness of a piece of beef to be safely cooked SV/LTLT? What's the best way to cook a tough beef muscle? What's the lowest possible temperature for beef cooked 24-48 hours? Is it a good idea to cook tender cuts of steak LTLT? and also this. How do you like your Wagyu strip steaks? What types of steaks benefit most from SV cooking? How would you compare a steak cooked SV/LTLT versus one cooked on the grill or sautéed? For how long should you cook steak? What are good tips for flat iron steaks? What happened to these ribeyes? Why is brisket so persnickety? Also see this discussion. How can I make terrific short ribs? What happened to my oxtail? What are the best temperatures for lamb loin? Brisket brisket overview 57C/135F 48h brisket brined 57C/135F 48h; also here and here brisket 65.5-71C/150-160F 48h brisket 64C/147F 48h and here brisket 64C/147F 27h brisket, Wagyu 56.5C/134F 24h and 45h brisket, smoked pastrami smoked then 20h 65C/149F Offal/Variety Cuts beef cheeks overview beef tongue and cheeks overview beef cheeks 70C/158F 30h; also here Dexter cattle cheeks 56C/132.5F 72h beef tongue 64C/147F 24-48h marrow discussion marrow 58.5C/137.5F 12h beef shanks 73C/163F 48h ox heart 82C/180F 8h Roasts chuck roast 57C/135F 32h sirloin roast 55C/131F 12h bottom round beef roast 53.5C/128F 10h roast beef 52C/125.5F 4h roast beef for sandwiches at different temperatures cross-rib beef roast 56C/133F 20h Boston "pot" roast 59C/138F 6.5h Short Ribs short ribs discussion short ribs 60c/140F 30h short ribs 60.5C/141F 72h short ribs 60.5C/141F 36h short ribs 56C/132.5F 48h Steak flank steak 55C/131F 24h; same approach here flank steak 64C/147F 2h flank steak smoked 4h then 56C/133F 48h shell steaks discussion skirt steak 29h 55.5C/132F rib eye cap 61C/142F 15m tri-tip discussion tri-tip 57C/135F 12h tri-tip 57C/135F 22h tri-tip 56C/133F 6h Braised Beef & Veal Dishes boeuf bourguignon 61C/142F 18h and 60C/140F 8h ossobuco variety of temps & times chili 61C/142F 16h short rib chili 57C/135F 36h beef penaeng 57C/135F 30h brisket Miscellaneous Beef burgers 60.5C 1h and at 56C/133F shwarma beef 57C/135F 36h
  20. General Cooking SV cooking can transform food in stunning ways. By preparing the product at the desired finishing temperature instead of a higher temperature, and by controlling temperature and time precisely, you can obtain a far wider array of results, tailored to your needs and tastes. Below you'll find an array of topics related to meat and fish cookery. Later in the index, you'll find topics and recipes specific to types of meat Caramelization/the Maillard Effect Is it possible to caramelize -- to create proper conditions for the Maillard reaction -- in SV cooking? More here. Should you sear meat before or after SVing? What are the benefits of pre-searing, and is it worth it? See also this discussion. What solutions can I use to coat the surface of meat to promote browning? Also see this eG Forums topic on the Maillard effect on SV meats. Fat At what temperatures does fat render? See also this discussion, this one, and this one. What can you do about that fat that isn't melting? How aggressively should I trim fat for SV meat cookery? Can you use sous vide methods for rendering lard? See also this discussion and this eG Forums topic. Does the density of cooking fat promote moisture retention in proteins? Please note this post as well. Also see this eG Forums topic on larding SV meats. Sauces, Marinades, Osmazome, Brines, Stocks, and Other SV Liquids Should you add liquid to the SV bags? What liquid? What effect does the liquid have? What is the effect of alcohol in SV cooking? Also see this discussion. What effect do acids (citrus, vinegar) have on meats in SV cooking? What happens to extra virgin olive oil during SV/LTLT cooking? If you let the meat rest in the bag, will it reabsorb the juices it's lost during SV/LTLT cooking? Should one brine meat for SV applications? Can you use milk as a brining fluid? What are the implications of using milk as the liquid in the SV bag? Has anyone used buttermilk as a SV liquid? What is the relationship between vacuum level and marinating? So what is osmazone, the liquid left in the bag? And what about that scum in the bag that slightly hardens over the course of LTLT/SV cooking? What should you do with the osmazome? How can you prevent the sauce created with the liquid in a SV-cooked protein from coagulating? More on osmazome here, here, and here. Can you make stock SV? Is SV a useful method for making stock? See also this eG Forums topic. Temperatures, Times, & Storage How do you take the temperature of something inside a sealed bag? and More on measuring temperature through the bag What temperatures -- and what conditions -- determine doneness? Do you really need to be that precise -- down to the degree -- for most foods? At what temperatures and times can I get meat that has that low-n-slow braised quality? When should you add the meat to the bath: at room temp or when it's at your final temp? Can you pack and freeze SV-ready proteins then drop them from the freezer into the water to be cooked? How do you reheat your SVed meat? See also this discussion and this discussion. Can I reheat SV proteins in the oven, like a TV dinner? For how long can you freeze meat that has been cooked sous vide? What can you do for cook & hold SV? Is multistage cooling a worthwhile technique? See also here and here. What are the workflow logistics for high-volume SV production? Also see this eG Forums topic on the importance of accurate temperatures in SV cooking. What Happened? What's the story with that off smell in my bag? What's that weird smell coming from my SV set up? So what about the water in this thing? I'm getting a sour smell when I open the bag after a SV/LTLT session. What gives? also here My SV items are cooling down too quickly! My roulade went bad. What happened? Miscellaneous Cooking Why does Jaccarded meat retain more, not less, moisture? Why does LTLT cooking dissolve some connective tissue but not all of it? Additional, detailed response here. What is the effect of salt on meat in SV/LTLT cooking? What role do meat enzymes play in SV cooking? What about bones? What's the big deal about thickness? How do you measure thickness? Do you need to trim meats to uniform thickness? How can you create a log shape with a vacuum sealed bag? Can you cook galantines SV? How can you deal with sharp shells and bones in your SV bags? How do you get smoke flavor into your SV bag? See also this discussion. What amounts of spices or herbs should one use for SV cooking? Why should one (does Thomas Keller) wrap aromatics in plastic? Do you need to cool or rest your food if you're serving immediately? See also this discussion. The ΔT question: is it best to cook at final core temp or cook slightly above? What happens if you leave things in for a really, really long time? How can you use SV for canning? What is vacuum reduction, and can I use my SV set-up for it? Also see this eG Forums topic on SV for spirit infusions, BryanZ's sous vide odyssey, and this topic on SV braising.
  21. Equipment There are basically two types of SV equipment set-ups: an out-of-the-box product like the Sous Vide Supreme and a DIY arrangement using some combination of any or all of the following: an immersion circulator, a big pot of water, ping pong balls, a rice cooker... you name it. Below you'l find discussions about a wide array of equipment, focusing on those set-ups, issues, and products to which our members devoted a lot of energy and time. Here's a general equipment overview from a few years ago. More recently (circa 2008), we discussed the state of consumer-grade SV appliances and the state of SV equipment in general. There was also a discussion in 2009 devoted to upgrading equipment. For more recent information, we suggest posting to the current SV topic and asking members for their assistance; as you can see, we're always ready to lend a hand! Bags Can you use ZipLoc bags for SV? Can you use regular bags with a FoodSaver or other vacuum machine? Can I get shrink bags? Where? Are there better options than FoodSaver bags? Can 3M High Temperature Flue Tape cover holes in my bag? See also this eG Forums topic on SV bags Bag Use Do the bags really have to be vertical? What are some ideas for loading bags without making a mess? How do people label SV bags? If the bags come into contact with the heating coil on your circulator, will they melt? How can you prevent bags from floating? Why not use glass beads to keep bags sunk? Why is my bag expanding? See also this discussion on bag bloat and this discussion on steps you can take to reduce bloat. Can You Use This for SV? an aquarium heater? a bain marie? a crock pot and a temperature controller? a food dehydrator? a fryer? an incubator? a Rational combi oven? the original cryovaced packaging? DIY SV Set-Ups What's the minimum practical volume for a home SV water bath? What containers work best for an immersion circulator? What are some techniques to reduce evaporation in an open-top SV set-up? What workable "on the cheap" set-ups can you build? See also this eG Forums topic on portable induction burners used for SV, this topic on setups for precise temperature control, and this topic on primitive home SV set-ups. Immersion Circulators Does it matter where the immersion circulator is placed? Why is my circulator making so much noise? How do I clean off the crud off this used immersion circulator? Also see here and here. Is a circulator really necessary? Miscellaneous Equipment FAQs What's the story with these combi ovens? See also this discussion of benefits/drawbacks of combi ovens. Can you use home, non-chamber vacuums to compress and infuse fruit? Can you use a microwave for LTLT cooking? PID Controllers What are the basics of PID settings? How do PID controllers work with an induction hob? What should I make of this PID controller temperature overshoot? SV Magic What's the best way to calibrate the SV Magic? There's more on calibrating the SV Magic here. To what equipment should you hook your SV Magic? What's the relationship between the SV Magic and the Auber unit? Why is my SV Magic off by 15 degrees?!? Temperature Sensors & Stability What can you tell me about temperature sensors? How important is immersion circulator temperature stability? What are some techniques and equipment for logging temperature data? How can you achieve temperature stability with a water-pot in an oven? Also see this eG Forums topic on precise temperature controllers. Torches & Heat Guns What torches/heat guns work best to finish SV/LTLT proteins? See also this discussion. Which Iwatani torch do you like best? Does a heat gun compare to a torch? What are some useful techniques for using this crazy-hot torch I got? Vacuum & Chamber Sealers What are the basics of vacuum sealers? See also this discussion for vacuum sealer comparisons. What FoodSaver features should you look for (pulse, e.g.)? How do you get a good Food Saver or other vacuum seal? What are the basic of chamber sealers? See also this discussion? What is cryovacking? What's this Reynolds Handi-Vac all about? What is the VacMaster? Water Baths What sort of container do you use for a water bath? What's the minimum volume for an effective water bath? See also this discussion. What should I do if my water bath doesn't recover its temperature shortly after I add the item I'm cooking? What are the differences between circulating and non-circulating baths? Can I put stock in my water bath? How do you prevent water bath evaporation? Are there systems to maintain water level as it evaporates from your SV set-up? Miscellaneous Equipment Discussions What's a CVAP? What sort of pump should I get for my SV set-up? Can you build a SV "failure" alarm? Any thoughts on the KitchenAid Chef Touch? How can you use a chimney charcoal starter as a high-heat grill? How can you use canning jars for sous vide cooking? Hardcore DIYers will enjoy Pielle's stove modification topic. Finally, click here for PedroG's handy thickness ruler and this revision.
  22. Food Safety With long cooking times and low temperatures regularly used, sous vide cooking raises many food safety questions. Below is a selection of key discussion points; feel free to search on specific terms for more information. Bacteria & Botulism How does botulism work? Also see this. Botulism is also discussed here, with follow-up posts here. At what temperatures are bacteria killed? Please note ff, where nathanm disagrees with the initial repsonse. General Food Safety Questions Click here for a discussion of poultry safety, and here for a discussion about fish. Is plastic (wrap, Food Saver bags, etc.) safe for SV? How safe is Blumenthal's 50C "perfect steak"? (Also this (with exchange on rapid aging.) Holding and Storing SV Food How long can you safely keep SV/LTLT meat in the fridge? (And did NYC ban SV or what?) What is the difference between cooking time and safe hold times? When are SV leftovers safe? What are safe temperatures and times for cooking and holding vegetables? What are the risks of opening bags, as well as reportioning and repackaging SV cooked meats? Pasteurization What's with the 4h/6h pasteurization rules? What are appropriate pasteurization temperatures? How can you pasteurize eggs? See also this. For how long do pasteurized eggs keep in the fridge? Can you use SV to pasteurize fresh pasta? Can you use SV to pasteurize raw milk? What are the benefits to pasteurizing liquids in the microwave? Sterlization To what extent should we worry about sterile equipment with SV cooking? What is cold-pressure sterilization? Techniques to Reduce Risk What are some methods for reducing surface pathogens prior to SV/LTLT cooking? Does the anti-pathogen dunk work? Does Jaccarding change any of the safety calculations for SV? See also this exchnage about when Jaccarding is and is not safe. What's the lowest safe temperature for cooking red meat? Can burgers be safely cooked SV? Also see this. Temperature "Zones" Are there food safety "temperature zones"? How do they work? What is the "danger zone"? What is the "edge" of the temperature safety zone?
  23. Introduction Welcome to the index for the Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques, & Equipment topic, one of the largest and most influential topics on eG Forums. (The topic has been closed to keep the index stable and reliable; you can find another general SV discussion topic here.) This index is intended to help you navigate the thousands of posts and discussions to make this rich resource more useful and accessible. In order to understand sous vide cooking, it's best to clear up some misconceptions and explain some basics. Sous vide cooking involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking it in a water bath at precise temperatures. Though it translates literally as "under vacuum," "Sous vide" is often taken to mean "under pressure," which is a misnomer; not all SV cooking involves food cooked in conditions that exceed atmospheric pressure. (See below.) In addition, calculations for SV cooking involve not only time and temperature but also thickness. Finally, due to the anaerobic conditions inside the bag and the low temperatures used, food safety issues are paramount. You can read the basics of SV cooking and equipment here. In the summer of 2005, Nathan Myhrvold (Society member nathanm) posted this informative, "I'm now going to answer my own initial questions" post, which addresses just about everything up to that point. For what came next, read on -- and be sure to order Nathan Myhrvold's highly anticipated Modernist Cuisine book, due in spring 2011. As with all indexes of on-going discussions, this one has limitations. We've done our best to create a user-friendly taxonomy emphasizing the categories that have come up repeatedly. In addition, the science, technology, and recipes changed over time, and opinions varied greatly, so be sure to read updated information whenever possible. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to keep these issues in mind when reading the topic, and particularly when considering controversial topics related to food safety, doneness, delta T cooking, and so on. Don't read a first post's definitive claim without reading down the topic, where you'll likely find discussion, if not heated debate or refutation, of that claim. Links go to the first post in a series that may be discontinuous, so be sure to scan a bit more to get the full discussion. Recipes were chosen based solely on having a clear set of information, not on merit. Indeed, we've included several stated failures for reference. Where possible, recipes include temperature and time in the link label -- but remember that thickness is also a crucial variable in many SV preparations. (See below for more information on thickness.) History, Philosophy & Value of SV/LTLT Cooking Over the years, we've talked quite a bit about SV as a concept, starting with this discussion about how SV cooking got started. There have also been several people who asked, Why bother with SV in the first place? (See also this discussion.) What with all the electronics and plastic bags, we asked: Does SV food lack passion? Finally, there have been several discussions about the value of SV cooking in other eG Forums topics, such as the future of SV cooking, No More Sous Vide -- PLEASE!, is SV "real cooking," and what's the appeal of SV? Those who embrace SV initially seek ideas about the best applications for their new equipment. Discussions have focused on what a first SV meal should be -- see also this discussion -- and on the items for which SV/LTLT cooking is best suited. There's much more along those lines here, here, and here. Vacuums and Pressure in Sous Vide Cooking As mentioned above, there has been great confusion about vacuums, pressure, and their role SV cooking. Here is a selection of discussion points on the subject, arranged chronologically; please note that later posts in a given discussion may refute earlier ones: Do you need a vacuum for SV cooking, and, if so, why? What exactly is a "vacuum"? Click here, here, and ff. Are items in vacuum-sealed bags "under pressure"? Does a vacuum sealer create a vacuum inside the bag? Do you really need a vacuum, or can you use ZipLoc bags? Also see here, here, and here. If "sous vide" means "under pressure," aren't the items in the bag under pressure? There is more along these lines to be found in this discussion. The Charts We've collected the most important of many charts in the SV topic here. Standing above the rest are Nathan Myhrvold's charts for cooking time versus thickness and desired core temperature. We worked with him to create these three reformatted protein tables, for beef, fish, and chicken & pork. Nathan provides additional information on his charts here. Information on how to read these charts can be found in this post. For an explanation of "rest time" in Nathan's tables, click here. Other Society members helped out as well. Douglas Baldwin references his heating time table for different geometric factors (slab/cylinder/sphere) here; the pdf itself can be found here. pounce created a post with all three tables as neatly formatted images. derekslager created two monospace font charts of Nathan's meat table and his fish table. Camano Chef created a cumulative chart with information gathered from other sources including Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc. Douglas Baldwin shared this chart devoted to pasteurizing poultry. PedroG detailed heat loss and steady state energy consumption of sous vide cookers in these charts. Finally, there is also an eG Forums topic on cooling rates that may be of interest. Acknowledgment & Comments This index was built by Chris Amirault, Director, eG Forums. It was reviewed by the eGullet Society volunteer team as well as many Society members. Please send questions or comments to Chris via messenger or email.
  24. 2010 Chris Amirault (2010):Holidays in Rhode Island December 22-31, 2010 abooja (2010) : Rockin' the Suburbs : December 6-13, 2010 Snadra (2010) : Cows to the bridge! November 29 - December 6, 2010 kayb (2010) : Tradition meets "let's-try-this" in the run-up to Thanksgiving : November 22-29, 2010 mkayahara (2010) : Confessions of a culinary tinker : November 15-22, 2010 Prawncrackers (2010): Cooking with Panda! : November 8-15, 2010 FoodMuse (2010) : What foodblogger Grace Piper eats in a week : November 2-9, 2010 Fat Guy (2010): Goin' Mobile : October 13 - 20, 2010
  25. 2008 SobaAddict70: Living in the Moment, One Day at a Time : June 1 - 9, 2008 Rehovot: Prague, City of a Thousand Forks : April 21 - 29, 2008 Kim Shook: Dreams of an Everyday Housewife : April 14 - 21, 2008 Chris Hennes: Pork and Chocolate, Together at Last : April 7 - 14, 2008 Fengyi: Win(e)ing and Dining in Beijing : March 24 - April 3, 2008 Lindacakes: EIK PREWAR : March 17 - 24, 2008 smallworld: Spring in Tokyo : March 2 - 11, 2008 Lior: Spend a week in sunny Ashkelon : February 18 - 27, 2008 FabulousFoodBabe: Brand New Kitchen, Same Old Husband : January 27 - February 12, 2008 Ninetofive: January in New England : January 14 - 21, 2008 CaliPoutine, MarketStEl & mizducky: The Shrinking : 7 January 7 - 14, 2008
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