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  1. I use a hobbyist's hypodermic with a blunt tip. I refill my inkjet cartridges, so I have a bunch of them. The hole is tiny, and while I can't certify the composition of the coating, it would have to maintain its integrity at 600 degrees, so I really am not too concerned at the temperatures within the range of sous vide.
  2. You can find 3M High Temperature Flue Tape (2113NA) in most good hardware stores. It is used for stopping air duct leaks, and can be used up to 600 F (315 C). You pull your bag, put a hole in a corner with a pin or something else fairly small. Then, squeeze out the air. Hold the bag so the liquid is away from the corner hole, and stick on a piece of tape. The tape is metalic, so pre-cut. You may need to wipe the area of the hole with a bit of paper towel to get grease off. Works like a charm. Stu
  3. I think the issue of braising vs. sous vide has an implied question. - Is there anything to be discovered or gained in taste ( on certain meats) by using the SV equipment at temperatures hovering around 180F? There was some discussion - not sure it was in this forum - about the "occasional bubble" simmer, which was supposed to be around that magic 180 degree area. I have never pre-browned my meat before SV, so I genuinely don't know if that would make a dish closer to an oven braise flavor at that temperature. I used 185 F when I tried out cooking vegetables, but I never thought of doing meat. Secondary questions: - Nathan - Is there any formula discoverable for spice quantities by either weight or time (if either is valid)? I have always tended to use about 1/3 of the amount of herbs, and way less garlic and onion powder, but now that I read that you actually have an approximate target time for your book, I am a bit curious if you have tried to quantify them in a generic fashion. I have never had a disaster, which can only mean I am staying far too comfortable. Actually, one of the things I like about SV is how good plain cooked meats and poultry taste. - My son-in-law's family are big hunters. Anyone doing wild game like deer, elk, pheasants, etc.
  4. The glucose wash really blows me away. Aside from cooking, I love to see original thinking at work. Douglas, where did you come up with this idea?! Somehow, I get this vision of you sitting bolt upright at 2AM with this idea just come to mind. Especially the specificity of the sugar! I can't wait to try it. From my viewpoint, it shows special merit for more delicate items, and at a 4% solution, is really unnoticeable as a taste. Stu
  5. I tried an induction unit that had a about 10 settings, and actually, it was cheap and did ok. In sous vide, there are basically 2 types of cooking - short duration and long duration. In short duration cooking, up to a few hours, almost any setup is good for heating. I got my intro using a pot-within-a-pot method. The larger outer pot insulated the inner water pot from too rapid a change in temp, and I just jacked up the heat until the outer pot was about 1-2 degrees above the inner pot. I just used a digital oven thermometer, and it was good enough for some chicken breasts, steaks, and salmon. I then got an induction burner for around $100, and it, too, was excellent. I acknowledge the fact that most will not re-set after a power failure, but I did not have a power failure for the time I used it. I really like induction, and still use it. It had 20 settings, and the problem was that they were not really exact enough for sous vide. You really need to have accurate settings for most dishes, or it simply isn't going to come out the way you like it. This being said, I feel that accurate to approximately 1 degree is plenty good enough. I finally got a rice cooker that held 10 quarts, a Sous Vide Magic PID, and I am a totally happy camper. The whole rig cost $240, and yielded good results from first plug-in. There is always better. There is always more expensive.
  6. I set my unit to 182 degrees and separately vac'd a bunch of veggies and tossed them in. I think I wrote before that I wasn't impressed by any results, except for the mushrooms. They compressed almost like marshmallows, and after 45 minutes (I don't think exact time is too important here) they were great. They were highly flavored, a bit angular because of the pressure, and rendered a flavorful juice. Next time I would do a lower vacuum. Dried mushrooms sort of scare me from a bacteria viewpoint, but there really is no need to sous vide, I think. The rehydration can be done as boil-in-the-vacuum bag, since the rehydration is really the only point of the exercise. I do this in a microwave in an open container covered with plastic wrap. It might be a little dicey drawing a good vacuum with all the liquid unless you froze it first.
  7. Alas, we kept getting ambitous, so no the book is not close to publication yet. We are working away - there is a team of 6 people working full time on the book. I don't have a firm schedule yet, but will certainly post to the thread when we do. ← Just a suggestion for indexing once you finish: It might be handy to have a main component cross reference by temperature, and another by time. It would simplify making a menu based on complimentary techniques. Stu
  8. I would save and freeze the portioned trimmings and the fat separately. I would not grind or add any seasoning, especially a fresh, water filled veggie like an onion, unless for immediate consumption. If you have a meat grinder of any kind, you can make your hamburger as needed, adding fat by weight to get your "85% lean" (or whatever) burger. You can also save the fat to add to other lean inexpensive cut that you might grind as well. I would like to also ask about the beef fat. Can anyone comment about rendering beef fat? I render chicken fat with onions, and use it for various flavoring purposes. Lard is also usefull, as are bacon drippings - but I never hear about beef fat. Stu
  9. I thought I posted a variant of this topic a while ago but can't find it. I bought an Aroma commercial rice cooker from Walmart online that holds 10 quarts of water. It is listed as an over 30 cup model. I liked the word "commercial" in the name, hoping it would take long periods of heating without burning out the element. With the suggestion of Frank Hsu, I modified it - very easily - to bypass the circuit board. It just meant taking one wire that went from the switch to the board, and positioning it directly to the heater contacts. It now can only be used with the SV Magic unit as controller. I took a drill an bored two holes in the lid near the edge and slipped rubber grommets in the holes to prevent chaffing of wires etc. One is used for the hose on my aquarium pump, and the other is used for the probe on my SV Magic unit. The pump hose fits in very snugly, and I leave it in the lid, just connecting the hose to the pump when using. I marked the point on the probe wire where it crosses the lid when held about 2-3" from the bottom. I wrapped that point in masking tape for a few winds to give it bulk. I then took a piece of hose from the aquarium pump hose, split it lengthwise, and slipped it over the masking tape. The tape/hose creates a snug fit, holding the probe at a mid point in the pot. It can come out easily because the split hose is not rigid. I keep the probe in a rigid small plastic deli tub with a lid. It is coiled and can not kink or wear. Again, I took this precaution because the probe wires are thin and looked like a potential failure point. The setup is very air tight and loses no noticeable water over a two day cooking period. The air stone is positioned for good circulation, and the probe is held for the most accurate read without being too fanatical. The SVM worked very accurately from the first, and I never had to calibrate. Stu
  10. I was experimenting with vegetables at 185 F. for an hour. On some, I felt the package until there was give. I think the carrots went 90 min. I did potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and whole mushrooms. Frankly, I was not impressed with the results. EXCEPT for the mushrooms. They came out rich flavored and great. A lot of potential for various finishing techniques - or none. The potatoes were cut in a 1/4" dice and tasted good, but compared to what versatility you can get with potato preparations, no big deal. Carrots were done, but not impressive. Broccoli yuch. I am very willing to hear results from others that might give more interesting veggies. Stu
  11. For a really nice comfortable place, try the Commissary near the corner of P St, NW and 14th- across from Wholefoods. I found the hamburg meat extremely succulent and tasty, and we have gone back just for the burger around 5 times. I frequently grind my own hamburg, and found this one extremely tasty. It makes no gourmet pretenses. The restaurant is a pleasant neighborhood place with a very nice contemporary menu. Stu
  12. One of the recurring issues is how to finish a sous vide meat dish that usually is grilled or roasted, to provide a touch of the maillard reaction. I had come to prefer a bit of oil in a hot pan more than the dry pan at close to 700 degrees F, since I thought it looked better overall. However, both were a compromise, since neither really did the job of charring without cooking, AND adding a decent amount of charring for appearance and flavor. Then I put out my grills for the season, and discovered that I had a perfect solution. My small gas grill was formally a not-so-hot purchase of a portable grill that had only an infra-red ceramic element. When I bought this unit, infra-red ceramics had not yet become common as a searing element on better grills. This little unit, heated only by the infra-red, was only good for hot dogs and hamburgs, since it was far too hot to cook a thicker item without burning the outside to a cinder while leaving the inside raw. However, it is PERFECT for finishing sous vided meats! It claims to operate at 1400 degrees F, and it really is great. In about a minute per side, I get a nice overall char without cooking the interior. I have done chuck, brisket, and chicken breast so far. So, for anyone thinking about a new gas grill purchase, consider one with a ceramic charring element along with the regular gas burners. They usually have a separate switch, so you don't have to turn on the whole unit.
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