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Everything posted by Ruth

  1. I have a few bags of pebbles, vacuum packed that I keep in the closet. Whenever I plan to cook vegetables, or anything else I suspect might float, I add a bag of pebbles to the sous vide bag/. Works like a charm!
  2. Most of the recipes in "Under Pressure" can be adapted for a Foodsaver or similar vacuum sealer. I have a Foodsaver and have made many of the recipes from that book
  3. Simply because the bag will float if it contains air and the ingredients will not cook properly. When cooking vegetables sous vide I always insert a small bag of pebbles into the main bag to prevent floating.
  4. Shaun Last summer I cooked a suckling pig sous vide using Joan Roca's method. I chilled and refrigerated the pieces still in their vacuum bags. Before serving I crisped the skin over a sear burner. I kept one of two pieces back (I think I even froze one piece) and crisped those in a cast iron pan. All emerged beautifully crisp and I would do them the same way again. A few weeks later my husband and I were at Can Roca and suckling pig was on the menu. It could have been the same pig that I took off my grill! Joan Roca's recipes are supremely reliable. Ruth
  5. I too would welcome an online version. $300 would be tough going for professionals and amateurs alike
  6. Very interesting , Nathan. I presume that means we can confit our duck legs sous-vide without adding extra duck fat. I wonder how long we would be able to keep the legs refrigerated in the bags without the extra fat. In the past I have always added 3 or 4 ounces of duck fat to a bag with two legs. I have been able to keep them refrigerated for several months with never a problem . The whole procedure would be much less messy if one did not have to add the fat.
  7. I have all four of Keller's books and find all extraordinary - so much so that they have made me almost forget the very miserable dinner we had at Per Se. I have never had even a near disaster using one of his recipes. When it comes to using weight based measurements the publishers refuse to use them for books aimed at the "home" cook. Keller's earlier books (French Laundry, Bouchon and Under Pressure) are all aimed primarily at professionals, while Ad Hoc ostensibly focusses on the home cook. Many chefs complain bitterly about having to convert all their measurements to cups and spoons when publishing their recipes. Personally I always convert my cups and spoons to weight when any degree of precision is called for. There is a nifty application for the iphone/iPodtouch which will not only do the conversion for you but lets you weigh your two tablespoons of chopped almonds, for example, and enter the weight in grams or ounces for future reference.
  8. I too was fascinated by his method for the duck breast - also the "pressure grill ". Nathan, I am waiting for the book with baited breath!
  9. Quince - a great idea. I plan to do some myself if I find them at the farmers' market tomorrow. I would say 85° rather than 88° for about an hour with some honey or sugar, lemon and butter in the bag.If I find them tomorrow I'll let you know how they turn out.
  10. I have a Professional 3 Foodsaver and am reasonably satisfied since I do not think I could do any better short of buying a chamber vacuum. A couple of months ago I had a bit of a problem with it (since rectified) and I decided to explore the market in case I had to replace it. The newest Foodsaver models which have a totally different design look flimsy and, although they have some tempting features, I would be afraid to rely on any of them . The latest model with the old design- the Foodsaver Professional 3 Plus is identical to mine with the addition of a pulse button which would be very useful in bagging for sous-vide.That is definitely the model I would go for if I had to buy a new one now.
  11. Ruth

    Blending rice

    I routinely blend my rice - usually 2/3 Jasmine or Basmati white and 1/3 long grain brown. I cook them together in a rice cooker. The texture of the brown rice remains a little firmer than the white and makes an interesting contrast as well as adding a nutty flavor. White rice alone can be boring at times. Now I plan to try Fat Guy's combination.
  12. This topic is long overdue. Volume measures for solids drive me crazy. Obviously every cookbook publisher should include measurements by weight even if they also want to retain their stupid "cups". I fail to understand how any serious cook, professional or otherwise, can work without a scale, By the way Thomas Keller's "Under Pressure" and Alain Ducasse's "Grand Livre" are examples of cookbooks where measurements are given by weight.
  13. Sam -Do you cook the onions sous vide in the bag with the chicken?
  14. I find the P-touch indispensable for labeling and dating packages and containers in my freezer. I would not be without it. That's a great buy
  15. Several years ago my husband and I had an incredible meal at Grand King Seafood on West Broadway. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, we ate there twice. It was amazingly good. We shall be in Vancouver again in September and can find no trace of Chef Lam Kam Shing. Does anyone know if he is still in Vancouver and, if so, at which restaurant?
  16. I totally agree with Nathan and have always assumed that a rare steak should be 120°F or thereabouts. Some of the confusion here may be due to the fact that a traditional grilled steak has to be removed from the heat when it is still 5 to 10 degrees below the desired temperature whereas a piece of meat cooked sous vide is , or should be, ready to eat and at the desired temperature as soon as it is removed from the bath
  17. That's tough to understand. Apart from the fact that zip lock bags frequently leak it's a tough job to get enough air out to prevent them from floating.
  18. Apiary is excellent and, as an added bonus, it is BYOB without corkage on Mondays. Scott Bryant is one of the best chefs in NYC at the moment. I think Apiary is a cut above the other restaurants you were thinking about and much more interesting than USC.
  19. I too have never had a negative experience with meat in foodsaver bags. For the past couple of years I have seasoned, vacuumed and frozen meats before cooking them sous vide, using a Julabo circulator, at temperatures ranging from 52°C to 55°, some such as flat iron steaks, for 36 hours. Never had an off flavor or a smell in the bath water. Alas I am not equipped to make any contribution to the scientific discussion on this issue but was very impressed by Nathan's and Nickrey's posts that were so informative and easy for a non-scientist to understand.
  20. These were certainly the equivalent of what we call short ribs in the US. I now cook them exactly the way you described and no longer do the long braise. No worries, mate. You will live to cook many more ribs. If you feel the need to dress them up I would suggest a red wine reduction.
  21. Mike what type of duck was this? I am assuming it must have been a Pekin since I find I have to cook a magret or a muscovy breast for 4 hours to get them tender.
  22. Thank you Nathan. Actually the jars can be vacuumed with the Foodsaver jar sealer. It works extremely well and is very reliable.
  23. These approaches are very interesting and worth exploring further. I have made a perfect stock in a one gallon Foodsaver canister and am beginning to wonder whether cooking sous vide with liquids in either a Foodsaver canister or a vacuumed mason jar would be as efficient as doing it in a bag. This would be tremendously useful for those of us who do not have chamber vacuums. Has anyone tried this?
  24. Obviously many new ovens have a similar feature as I had the identical experience a few months ago. Read the instructions that came with your oven. Mine, a Wolf, has something it calls a "sabbath mode" which turns out to be a way of avoiding the automatic turn-off. I can now switch to that mode and the oven will stay on until I choose to turn it off. I make all my stocks over night in the oven now (195°F) and get much more flavor out of the ingredients.
  25. The Foodsaver will seal any plastic bag but will vacuum only their own bags. There are a few imitation foodsaver bags but they are not as effective. Buy the rolls and cut your own bags from them. Always cut them bigger than you need and they can be reused a couple of times. I turn my bags inside out and put them over a small plate in the dishwasher. I use the Professional 3 model. It is the top of their line and although nearly $300 I think it's worth the money. I had the Professional 2 for ten years before it gave up the ghost. Mine gets very heavy usage not only for sous-vide preparations but for everything I freeze and for sealing jars and canisters. The new Professional 3 has the pulse feature which makes it easier to use liquids in the bag. If you buy a model that does not have that feature it's best to pre-freeze liquids or oils before vacuuming.
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