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Rob Babcock

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Everything posted by Rob Babcock

  1. We use the Underground circulator at work. It crapped out on us about 1.5 months in but was fixed quickly under warranty. It's worked great since (maybe 6 months or a bit more). It's a little quirky in that there's no choice to read F or C, just C. But it does the job. We use a really large volume of water, much more than you could heat with the Polyscience, and it holds the temps very well.
  2. Wow, great to hear! I too have been on a bit of hiatus from EG due to school and life stuff. But I'm glad to see you're still chasing the perfect burger!
  3. I have the same machine. I too don't know what problem you're having. When I first bought it I sealed several bags of water to just try it! Okay, one potential issue: water-based liquids will boil readily in a vacuum. This can cause the bag to expand quite a bit and sometimes be pushed away from the seal bar. As has been mentioned, I just watch for boiling and as soon as the bag looks like it's beginning to "inflate" I seal it. With all the plates in I generally start with 30 sec vacuum, 2.0 sec seal, 1.5 cool @ LOW heat. This is for 3 mil bags, but works pretty well with any non-metalized bags in my (still limited) experience. And to Rob1234- this machine is really terrific! My boss actually bought one for the restaurant where I work. It's quite, fast and easy to use while still allowing a lot of flexibility. For instance, I've been sealing mylar bags and retort pouches, and the ability to control all parameters of the seal is great. Likewise, the ability to control the vacuum is nice for stuff that can be easily crushed as well as things that are very reactive (eg. chemical fire lighters like WetFire or Weber cubes used for camping and outdoor cooking). It's awesome for going compressions. My first attempt at watermelon was very nice. I'll admit that it's so much more powerful than my old Foodsaver-style machine that I inadvertently did an onion compression! I didn't expect that much vacuum. This machine is also nice for flash pickling. You can use bags of course but it works with Ball jars, too. Be advised that the wide mouth 1 pint clears very easily. The standard 1 pint will clear the lid at the very back of the chamber, but only with standard lids/rings. The plastic lid with the reusable gasket is a smidgen too tall for any portion of the chamber. Be warned, it can be addictive! I did my first batch of balsamic/mirin asperagus and put it in the fridge to chill- when I opened it the next day I ate almost the whole pint with the fridge door still wide open! I've only owned it a short time but so far it's a great machine. The chamber isn't huge but the price goes up pretty quickly as you get a bigger chamber. It's big enough to do anything I need but another 1/2" of vertical clearance would be nice for accommodating various canning jars. BTW, to the OP- the chamber already slants backwards. Just take all the plates out so the seal bar is higher relative to the bag. It may not be recommended, but you can also shim the front of the machine a little if need be.
  4. BTW, there's another new player on the market called the Stealth from undergroundcirculators.com. The restaurant where I work got one recently and it's a pretty solid, no-frills unit. It has an impeller to circulate water and seems to heat 20 gallons without trouble. It has no features at all- you can't even switch the display from C to F. But for $500 it's a solid machine.
  5. I just saw this product and naturally hot-footed it over here to see if anyone's used it. I've already got two Sous Vide Supremes but if this maintains good temp control it would be a great item to recommend for those wanting to get into sous vide on the cheap. Def looks like a repurposed fryer, just wonder how tight the temps will run.
  6. Nice! I've been thinking that cheesecake & sous vide should be a match made in heaven, just needed a starting point. Thanks!
  7. I'm normally a F guy but my Sous Vide Supreme & SV Demi can both be set to C, as can my Thermapens- so I'm good!
  8. If the US and UK versions are the same I think I'll have to pick this one up! I hate to get myself a gift this close to Xmas, though!
  9. I'm occasionally guilty of this. Now mind you there aren't any dull knives in my house, but I have a small block of pretty cheap knives that I keep on my kitchen counter top and often I use them even though I have thousands of bucks worth of Japanese knives 20 feet away in the other room. Mostly it's laziness. About 2/3 of my good blades are in the case I take to work, and I usually don't feel like breaking out the case to cut up a chicken. The other 1/3 is backups and pieces I have plans for and they're stored in their boxes- way too much work. One last reason is that my kitchen at home is pretty cramped and I don't have a decent cutting board. I don't want to subject my Ichimonjis, Kagayakis or Hattoris to my cheap plastic board. That said if I'm doing some elaborate prep I'll dig out my good stuff. And I have thousands of dollars wrapped up in natural and synthetic Japanese waterstones as well as powered sharpening gear so most of my beaters are sharper than the best knives my coworkers use (except of course for the few days after I sharpen for them...).
  10. I realize this is an old thread, just wanted to mention that while I'm a big fan of the book, I'd really love a Droid app or computer program that presented a searcheable version of the book. As it goes the layout is kind of frustrating to me. It would be great to be able to type your ingredient into a window and get all the matches.
  11. Sorry, Chris- I sort of lost track of this thread! I like to start with a sirloin around 2" thick. The temp is usually 130-131 for around 3 hours. It depends on the thickness; my procedure so far has been to use Doug Baldwin's pasteurization charts. After SV'ing I either finish with my Iwatani or two screaming hot pans, panini-style. The latter only takes about 45 seconds but can generate copious amounted of smoke & mess. Luckily summer is just around the corner, then I can do it outdoors.
  12. I've been loving my Sous Vide Supreme. It's very stable temp wise and the thermostat is extremely accurate. It's fairly large I guess but I have a spot where I leave it set up permanently, and it gets used at least five days per week. The capacity is around 10 liters or so, or 2 Imperial Gallons. The only shortcoming I've found in the time I've owned it is that occasionally it would be nice if it were even larger. I can get a whole pork loin in it with room to spare, though, and a bulk package of chicken breasts (maybe 10 lbs) fits just fine. Probably couldn't do a whole turkey though. You would have to contact the company to see what shipping would be- it's free within the US. Amazon in Europe might also be a good option.
  13. Years ago I dreamed that I'd showed up for the evening shift at 2:00 p.m. to find that the breakfast cook hadn't showed up...but the FOH saved all the tickets, like eight hours worth! And in my dream I had this whole stack of breakfast tickets to cook. More recently I had a dream that I showed up for evening service to find that the entire menu had changed, and not only was I to learn & execute it on the fly, I would be the only one cooking. In the dream the entire staff merely stood at the end of the line and watched me work. The last really bizarre restaurant dream I had was very unsettling- I was working in a place that was sort of a synthesis of three or four different restaurants where I've worked in the past. It seems the owner demanded that the Chef incorporate a dog recipe on the menu. To make matters worse, the Chef was required to use his own dog- while it was still alive! In my dream the poor guy had to break his dogs legs to fit it in the pan as the thing howled at him... I think I've been in this biz too long!
  14. I've gotten uniformly superb results with sirloin in my SVS, but I start with very good beef.
  15. Since the Michelin Guide is partisan and political and far from transparent as to just how the stars are awarded, I'd say it's an absurd way to determine who's a "real" chef. While I have great respect for the chefs of most of the Michelin starred restaurants, the whole thing is a beauty contest IMOHO.
  16. I apologize if I missed it in buried somewhere in this thread, but will the books be available individually? While I'm sure it's worth the money that's a lot of cash all at once.
  17. I'm anxious to see how you like it. I really considered buying that machine but my SVS package included a cheapo edge sealer; I decided I may as well hang on to the money until I determined whether or not the included vac was adequate for my needs. Eventually I imagine I'll get the chamber machine, though, for many of the same reasons you listed: 1) Stronger vacuum. 2) Cheaper bags. 3) Being able to compress items. 4) Making pickles. 5) More versatile in type of bags. 6) The ability to easily vac liquids. I also like to camp & hike so if I had cheap yet heavy bags I would vac survival items like matches as well as food and camping supplies. The only knock I could see on the VP-112 is that it's a lot of money, and if I was gonna blow that much it would only be another couple hundred to get one that would seal retort pouches as well. While that's not a huge issue I have been interested in trying pressure canning food in retorts to make my own MRE-type foods for camping.
  18. I have the SVS and haven't used the Demi, so all I can offer are hypotheticals. But it seems the larger volume/mass of water would help keep the larger unit more thermally stable. Also, even though I generally am just cooking for one or two it's nice to be able do accommodate larger items like a hunk of prime rib or a pork loin. Baby back ribs also take up a bit of space and require a long time- with the larger machine you can add a steak during day two of a three day rib cook where you might not have room with the smaller one. Also it's nice to be able to fit an entire package of chicken breasts in there at once. Another benefit of the larger unit is being able to reheat something cooked at a higher temp while cooking something at a lower one. Lets say you cooked the legs and thighs of a turkey at 155 F on Monday and chilled them, then cooked the breast at 140 on Tuesday. The legs and thighs can be reheated to 140 while you finish the breast. Very handy if you have the space. Heck, there are times I wish my SVS was bigger!
  19. I'm not sure if the link was meant sarcastically or not, but I might actually use those little guys!
  20. Okay, I was too lazy for a pic this time but the eggs done at 169 were much better. I could detect no trace of green or graying around the yolk at all. Since it was completely set I'm going to do one more run tonite, this one at 166 F. The stupid thing is that I'm sure someone (or a hundred someones...) has already done this, I just can find it anywhere. It's probably a waste of time to reinvent the wheel! BTW, I appreciate the posting of the chart. I already had a copy of it though, and my results don't seem to match up perfectly with it. Or at least, in the small picture I'm not sure that we're using the same terminology.
  21. No offense is taken. Those were the first attempt; I agree there should be no dark on the yolks. I reduced the temp and am trying another couple eggs. While I agree that Alton is a whiz I'm trying to figure out if it can be done properly SV. Perhaps it can't. All the content I can find about cooking eggs in at controlled/low temp seems to focus on poaching or soft boiling. BTW, the heck is an "electric kettle"? I'm a pro cook and I've never heard of that, unless you're referring to a steam jacketed kettle?
  22. Well, the first shot at 176 came out pretty good. That's obviously high enough to completely set the whites, with very little dark on the yolks. Of course, I want to get to like 1 degree above the point the white is completely set to keep the yolk as moist as I can. So I cooled the bath down with some cold water and plopped in a couple more at 169. We'll see how that works.
  23. Obviously I wouldn't vacuum an egg- Mother Nature created the perfect container! I realize I should have a hot-key that will insert "controlled low temperature cook a product" when I type "sous vide" but that's a lot of work. The point, though, is that in my mind the egg should never be exposed to a temperature higher than is needed to coagulate the proteins and set up both parts. And if by chance there was a good temp to do it in my SVS it would obviate the need to time everything and shock in ice water. Maybe it won't work but a carton of eggs is just over a buck. And I doubt the results will be entirely inedible.
  24. Yeah, I just thought it was worth a try. Eggs are cheap and if I ruin 'em I'll chalk it up to experience. I have four in the SVS @ 176 right now, and I'll pull 'em in about five minutes. I like the way the yolks come out at 158 but the whites are a little under done for my tastes. BTW, I think I might try a different technique on my next batch of soft cooked eggs. I plan to preheat my SVS to 158. Then I'll bring a pan of water to a high simmer and drop the eggs in for 1-2 minutes of high heat, then transfer to the SVS. Hopefully this will set the whites a bit and let the heat migrate thru the whites, while keeping the yolks that perfect custardy texture.
  25. Hi, guys. I am going to mess around with hard cooking eggs sous vide. My goal is getting an egg that's idea for deviled eggs. At a certain point the yolk gets very chalky and dry; my thinking is that by cooking them sv I can get the whites fully set without seriously overcooking the yolk into a sulfery, crumbly mess. Can anyone here suggest a temp to start with? I'm thinking of 176. Given that the whites and yolks have different properties I might have to try sv'ing them for an hour at 160-ish to set the yolks, then a minute or two in simmering water to fix the whites. I'm willling to experiment but I could use a starting point. I realize most of the attention on eggs is focused on soft boiled ones. Those come out pretty well for me. Just looking for a better way to cook eggs hard "boiled."
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