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  1. Vacuum chamber machines are generally powerful enough to compress fruit and veggies in to a terrine-like stack. Its less the power of the vacuum and more the method of vacuum that makes the difference. FS machines can actually pull a very strong vacuum. I've been thinking about this, and I think I've figured out why it works with a chamber vacuum and not a bag sealer. When you have the fruit in the chamber and evacuate the air, you are creating a low pressure environment in the chamber. This should have the effect of "sucking out" the air in the little spaces throughout the watermelon. The the bag is sealed around the fruit, and when the chamber is opened there is an even 14.7 psi of pressure which closes all the empty spaces created when the air was sucked out of the fruit, thereby compressing the fruit. ← When I bought my Foodsaver, it came with three canisters, like these: Foodsaver canisters Do you suppose that the Foodsaver would generate enough vacuum to successfully compress fruit in these? While compressed fruit isn't high on my personal to-do list, I would be happy to provide some experimental results, if someone wants to guide me in the prep.
  2. Thanks, Doug! I finished up the short ribs yesterday and I have to say: Best. Short ribs. Ever. My girlfriend is now a believer. Tender, pink meat all the way through. I used a very hot cast iron skillet to finish them. I meant to take pictures, but got caught up in the excitement of the first 'unveiling', and only have pictures of the PID/pump/rice cooker set-up. Next up will likely be your chuck roast, but also on the near-term agenda are oxtails, a reprise of short ribs at higher temp/shorter cook time for contrast, and veal or lamb shanks.
  3. Hi all! Reading this thread provided the impetus to get a SVM PID, 25 cup rice cooker, and cheap aquarium air pump. I've had some short ribs in at 141F for 16 hours now (and counting) and have a couple of questions maybe y'all could help me with: (1) I noticed that Doug's excellent SV web pages included time/temp for flatiron steak and pork confit--has anyone developed similar numbers for short ribs? It seems as though there's a tradeoff between water temps in the area of steak internal temps (yielding a steakier short rib) and higher water temps (resulting in more of braised final product). Is that an accurate assessment? Since I've still got a good 20 hours or so of cooking time ahead, I thought now might be a good time to ask (2) Since I'm using the air pump, I can't close the lid of the cooker and am using aluminum foil over the top of the cooker for insulation/evaporation control. Is the pump necessary when using a closed rice cooker, or is there sufficient convection in the cooker? (3) My girlfriend thinks that I'm insane and is convinced that I am turning our kitchen into a chemistry lab. Could someone provide the archetypal "blow 'em away" SV recipe that will convince her that I am not a mad scientist, but actually a visionary whose only desire is to offer her other worldly sensual pleasures?
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