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Everything posted by blackp

  1. If the bottom of your pan is not totally flat and even why would you even consider using a CF? Assuming that the pan was slightly warped the sensor would be reading the temp close to the centre while one edge may not be even touching the glass therefore not getting the same induction input of those parts of the pan which were touching. It's all about precision. If you have an old warped pan toss it or use it on gas. If on the other hand you are keen to get an even temperature precisely held, then use a decent pan on your CF and get the benefits that you paid for!
  2. I won't experiment as I am certain that it will not work. The Maillard reaction which gives sautéed meat it's characteristic brown outside occurs between 300°F and 500°F. Crank your Control Freak up to Sear using a cast iron pan and enjoy the steak!
  3. I'm not sure that I understand how this can be true. Inside the pressure cooker the steam must build up to a level where there is enough pressure to lift the weight or move the spring depending on the type of pressure cooker. Surely the amount of force required would be the same at high altitude as it would at sea level. If that is true the pressure inside the pressure cooker would be the same and therefore the temperature would be the same also. Have I missed something?
  4. Meld is one of the increasing number of things which makes me say "Why didn't I think of that?". I've been using sous vide for years and this device is going to allow me to use my stove top to accurately control a water bath. I haven't yet begun to think of all the other things I can do with an accurate stove top. If Darren and his team deliver a quality product as planned they will revolutionise stove top cooking. I'm already thinking that I need more than one! While I "know" Darren through participation in a private sous vide online group, I have no propriety interest in Meld.
  5. Dale's book is one of the better SV books I have. It has a good instructional section and lots of interesting recipes including some from guest chefs. It is illustrated with good quality colour photography (unlike most SV books) and I have cooked several recipes from it with success. I understand the reservation of adding $27 postage, but if you can overlook that it is a good book which is easy to recommend.
  6. Unpopular Poet - Interesting combinations. Did you know that you don't need to bag things that you want to infuse? Just submerge them in a container which will fit under the lid of your chamber machine and run the vacuum. I generally stop when the boiling looks like it will make a mess, and for stronger infusion you can do this multiple times. I've not been as adventurous as you but vodka into watermelon is delicious as is gin, and speed pickles made by infusing cucumber slices with champagne vinegar were also successful. Cheers, Peter.
  7. My guess is that you can put larger and or square items into the oven combined with the fact that there is only a flat surface to clean in the event of any spills. Side benefit is there is no fragile turntable to break, and in my case it is the turntable part of my MW which is causing the noise - must be a bearing or similar, so with no turntable that part cannot break down. No idea why, but all of the commercial MWO's I've seen have no turntable. There must be a reason!
  8. My microwave is starting to make strange noises so I'm assuming that a replacement is on the agenda soon. I've read a bit about domestic microwaves with no turntable and seen conflicting feedback, but generally negative. I'm wondering if it is worth the expense to invest in a commercial microwave (no turntable). I understand that higher power doesn't mean faster defrosting, but faster cooking or heating should be possible. I have read that some commercial ovens use dual magnetrons to ensure that the microwaves are well distributed, but some other models use a fan to stir the microwaves around. The only advice I have been given is predictable: Commercial shops tell me that the commercial ovens are much better / stronger / faster etc. etc. and the retail shops tell me that the commercial models are too expensive and not needed in a domestic situation. Seems like everyone is a supporter of whatever they sell Has anyone had experience with commercial microwaves? Do they really work any differently from domestic versions? Is spending perhaps 4 to 5 times the price worth the investment or a waste of money? I'd appreciate any feedback.
  9. The latest SVM sensor is practically bullet proof. I've had one continuously submerged in my SV tank for nearly a year now and it still works fine. The older style sensors (straight sided cylindrical shape) had issues with moisture if you left them submerged, these new ones do not seem to have the same issue.
  10. As for the freezing of fish - I regularly purchase whole sides of different fish including salmon and portion them, vacuum pack and then freeze them. I find that the texture of the thawed product or that cooked SV from frozen to be almost indistinguishable from the fresh article. There is one caveat to this though. I get all my fish from a place that supplies top end restaurants. The main reason for this is that they are very careful that all their fish is "dry processed" - that is that once the fish flesh is exposed no water or ice comes into contact with it. If the fish flesh had been wet or even sitting on a bed of ice as is common in fish retailers the flesh tends to absorb water and apart from the potential contamination issue if you freeze that fish the water crystals will break the fish down as it freezes. So to cut a long story short freezing fresh fish works fine - so long as the fish flesh is kept scrupulously dry. Regards, Peter.
  11. While I haven't tried it with ribs I did a blind taste test for bacon where I had 3 pork bellies all treaded identically up to the point where: 1 was smoked. 1 was cooked SV and then smoked. 1 was smoked and then cooked SV. All cooking and smoking times were the same for all pieces. I gave samples to several friends marked only with numbers so none of the eaters had any idea about how they were prepared. The results were one person short of 100% in favour of cook SV and then smoke. The one person who didn't like that best preferred the smoked only sample. Nobody liked the smoke first and then cook SV batch. My guess is that the sv cookery lowers the intensity of the smoke flavour. Must get some ribs and give it a try both ways.
  12. If you are using an aquarium air pump for your 'bubbler" I would not consider using it to pump smoke directly. The "tar" in the smoke will very quickly gum up the pump mechanism and stop it from working permanently. Aquarium pumps typically use a vibrating motor and one or more rubber/silicone membranes which enclose a small space fitted with one way valves so that when the motion is in one direction it sucks in external air and when the motion is reversed it blows that air down the outlet tube. It is these valves which will not survive the "tar" in smoke. On the other hand the Smoking Gun and the similar Aladin which I have use a fan to suck air through the burning wood chips and force smoke through the outlet. Even these can gum up but it takes quite a bit of use to gum the fan up to the point where you need to clean it whereas a tiny one-way air valve will clog up and fail to work with very little contamination. Sorry for saying what won't work rather than having a solution to your problem, but I suspect that there isn't a simple solution. That's why we have smokers and smoking gun type devices.
  13. Sous Vide Baby Food? A friend who I converted to Sous Vide cookery about a year ago has recently had an addition to his family. Given that the son is about to start eating solid food he asked me about using SV to make baby food with 100% vegetables and/or fruit rather than the store-bought versions in cans and bottles which have all kinds of other ingredients and additives. On the surface this sounds like a good idea. Pureeing could be achieved in the bag just by mashing it up and there is no chance that any nutrients would escape into the boiling water as for conventionally prepared mush. Has any of the SV community made baby food? If so are there any tips or tricks or things to avoid? Are there better time/temp charts for different foods to become "mushable" but still nutritious? Please excuse my ignorance here as SWMBO and I have no children so I have zero clue about the best way to feed miniature humans. As a total aside I read today that Marion Mathie who played Rumpole of the Bailey's "She Who Must Be Obeyed" (The original SWMBO) passed away this week at the ripe old age of 87. Leo McKern who played Rumpole who incidentally was an Aussie passed away around 10 years ago. Cheers, PB
  14. The only downside I can see to "permanently on" soft air is for vacuum infusing. I have no particular scientific reason for saying this, but the quick burst of atmospheric pressure does seem to cause better infusion. That said if I had the choice between a machine with permanent soft air or none - I'd take the soft air option every time.
  15. I have the cut-off sealer with a single time setting and it works fine.
  16. As I have said before I have a Henkelman Boxer 42 with Gas Flush, Sensor control and the Cut-Off Sealer. I do not have the H2O sensing feature. With 20/20 hindsight if I was buying today I would get a Boxer 35 without the Gas Flush, but with Sensor Control and the H2O sensor. I would order the Cut-Off Seal option again. My reasons are simple: I have very rarely used the size of the Boxer 42 and it is large and very heavy (65kg or 140lb!). I keep mine in the garage, but if it was smaller it could live in the kitchen. The gas flush feature is good, but I seldom use it. Replacing the air in a bag with inert gas is less important to my use than the ability to loosely pack soft things like bread. I can easily pack several slices of bread vacuumed to 60% and even though there is still air in the bag my ability to freeze it is just the same as if I replaced the 40% air with CO2/N2. Also there is the problem of the gas tank which is large and heavy - another reason that the machine lives in the garage. Sensor control vs timer control is a very good feature. Timer control is a bit vague given that the size and density of the product in the chamber makes a difference to the time needed, whereas with sensor control 90% vacuum is 90% vacuum regardless of the size or density of the product. I have no personal experience with the H2O sensor, but if it works as described it would take some of the guesswork out of packing liquids. When packing soup for instance I watch the gauge to see when boiling starts and then program the device to stop vacuuming at that percentage vacuum to pack the remaining bags. It works OK, but just being able to tell the thing to stop when the boiling starts would be better. The combined cut-off / sealer is excellent for SV use. No food residue to get into your SV tank. It also helps to keep your freezer clean. I have never had a seal failure so using dual sealing bars seems like overkill to me and you lose the ability to simply tear off the excess bag after sealing. Hope this is helpful, Cheers, Peter.
  17. I hadn't seen that, it's certainly worth a try. I think I'll try to use 2 nearly identical cuts, pack one at 99%, and the other using your method at 80%. I'd like to find out if there's any appreciable difference in the amount of liquid in the bags after cooking. I know that once the bag is sealed the food inside isn't under vacuum pressure any longer, so if the meat vacuumed to 99% releases a lot more liquid it must be due to something like damage to the cells or some other change to the meat caused by the initial vacuum. It would be great if liquid loss could be controlled to the point of being able to instantly create the concentrated flavor of dry aged beef(without the benefit of additional flavor from the enzymes though). On my machine, I can add additional vacuum beyond the H20 sensor tripping point (specified in seconds of additional vacuum). This might be the key to that control. See my post immediately after Pedro's referenced here. My experiment with chicken breast showed an unmeasurable difference in final cooked dry weight between samples vacuumed at 80% and those vacuumed at 99+%. It will be interesting to see the result of your experiment using meat. If you find a difference I will repeat my chicken experiment with steak so we can see what the exact comparable difference is. Peter.
  18. I agree with Glowing Ghoul. A full service will not take much time nor cost very much. I can even boil ice water in my Boxer42 and you should be able to do the same. While I mean to run the conditioning cycle about once a week it usually only gets done 2 or 3 times a month and I've not had any problems. I usually run the conditioning cycle after doing things like making Heston's french fries or anything else which causes the pump to suck a lot of moist air. The conditioning cycle is only intended to heat the oil so that any water evaporates before it emulsifies. Regards, Peter.
  19. Hi Kerry, The behaviour of your cooking rig will be more related to the kind of device you are controlling with the SVM rather than any behaviour of the SVM itself. If for instance you are using a Fresh Meals Magic with air bubble circulation or are using a pump to circulate the water it will behave in a very similar way to an immersion circulator. If however you use it to control a large rice-cooker (as I do) it's behaviour will be closer to the Sous Vide Supreme - or even better as a cylindrical tank with heating underneath has a better chance of even heat distribution by convection currents than a square or oblong shaped tank does. Also most rice cookers are better insulated than the SVS so that too could impact the behaviour. Of course Vengroff may have also taken the wattage of the heating element into account. Given that SVM users use it to control a myriad of heating devices it would be good if we could select the parameters which are important to the calculation in Sous Vide Dash. Maybe if we could select SVM from the main list we could then select "circulated or not", "insulated or not" and "wattage" assuming that these are the key variables. (Vengroff can you advise?). Regards, Peter. (Edited to fix some typos)
  20. I finally got around to checking with the distributor and got his permission to post the video. It is a video showing how to change the oil in a Heneklman Boxer 42, but is applicable to other models as well. Hope this is helpful, Regards, Peter.
  21. I've had my Boxer 42 for > 5 years. The filter has never been changed and the oil has been changed maybe once per year - not because it needed it, but because I thought I should. Each time I changed the oil the drained oil looked good and reasonably clean. If you primarily use your machine for packing rather than making things like Heston's French Fries - you shouldn't have a problem. The main reason for changing the oil is that it eventually makes an emulsion with the water vapour which is sucked out of the chamber. Just packing cold food for SV or freezing doesn't make much water vapour so the oil lasts a long time. Of course potential contamination from unknown products would be a good reason to change the oil. All that said - the oil is cheap and the process is simple so change the oil often! The Australian distributor of Henkelman made a DVD video showing the oil change procedure - it's pretty amateur in production etc, but if you are unsure about what to do it is a fantastic resource compared to the oblique instructions in the manual. If you want I can explore posting it somewhere after checking with the distributor - after all I don't need to make an enemy of him ;-) Regards, Peter.
  22. It will clean easily, but has no chance of maintaining a constant temperature throughout the tank as well as a "stirred" bath. An impeller, pump or air circulation system will make sure that no matter where your eggs lie they will be at the same temperature. A square/oblong tank with a heater underneath cannot possibly have a consistent temperature without some form of stirring. I agree with Pedro and Bob - Murphy does exist and a zip lock bag is a simple way to make sure that any eggshell fractures do not become a clean up problem.
  23. I didn't get detailed feedback from all the tasters, but from my own experience the bacon cooked SV after smoking was less smoky and therefore less appealing to my taste. When it comes to texture, while everybody's favourite was the cook then smoke sample, the next favourite was the smoke only sample. It seems flavour is king and texture may be a secondary consideration. I'm not sure I'll bother with another controlled test - I have 3 bellies curing right now sourced from 3 different butchers. I'm going to treat them identically (SV cook first then Smoke) to see if I can identify the best supplier of bellies. Cheers, Peter.
  24. My cure is pretty simple (and cheap). I've converted the R&P recipe to percentages to make it easier to scale to any size of pork belly. I've also added the Sodium Erythorbate as suggested by Modernist Cuisine as it helps the Instacure to work. CURE: Salt (plain or Kosher - not iodised) 2% White Sugar 1% Instacure #1 0.33% Sodium Erythorbate 0.06% FLAVOURING: Lightly crushed fresh garlic 1% Roughly crushed black peppercorns 0.5% Roughly torn Bayleaf 0.025% The cure ingredients are well mixed and then massaged well into the belly. I then add the flavourings to the bag and any left over cure and vacuum seal the bag @ 95% vacuum. They are then left in the fridge for 12 days (or so) and turned over each day before removing from the bag, washing and drying. I cook all the bacon in a pan. I find it best to use a cold dry pan and slowly bring the heat up. This renders the fat from the bacon meaning you don't need any oil or other liquid to fry the bacon. I find that I get enough smoky flavour using this method. The sample cooked SV after smoking was noticeably less smoky - possibly a reason nobody liked it best.
  25. PedroG sent me a private email pointing out an error. Where I said: Another interesting point is the amount of loss due to processing - the batch with no SV cooking at all lost 8% of its weight, that smoked then cooked (the favourite) lost 13% and the least favourite the one cooked then smoked lost 11%. I was wrong - I should have said: Another interesting point is the amount of loss due to processing - the batch with no SV cooking at all lost 8% of its weight, that cooked then smoked (the favourite) lost 13% and the least favourite the one smoked then cooked lost 11%. To make it clear: Sample #1 - Smoked only - no SV cooking Sample #2 - Cooked SV then smoked Sample #3 - Smoked then cooked SV Everybody preferred #1 over #3 Everybody preferred #2 over #1 5 out of 6 preferred #2 over #3 Sorry if I've left you all totally confused. Regards, Peter.
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