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mjc

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 5)

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Today I started some 48-hour brisket. But I noticed that the temperature in the rice cooker was again 0.2C less than the set point of 55.5C. So on a hunch, I adjusted the PID parameters from P=100 (Celsius), I=0, D=0 to P=100, I=600, D=0.

Six hours later, the display on the SVM 1500B was reading 55.5. Success, I thought!

But no, kemo sabe!

(No, that's not some obscure Japanese cooking technique, nor an equally obscure translation of the Kama Sutra, but Tonto's Navaho name for the Lone Ranger. I guess I am showing my age.)

The Traceable 4000 reference thermometer was still registering 55.278, just as it had been before I made the change!

I reset the SVM to I=0, and within a minute, the display was back down to 55.3, with no significant change in the reference reading.

I see two possible explanations. The first is that the display is showing the result of the integration, but in that case, why isn't the actual temperature rising to meet the set point?

The other possibility is that when I=0, the calibration offset is not being taken into account in the PID optimization, i.e., it's a bug.

The third of two explanations is that both possibilities are true.

This seems rather strange, although admittedly the effects are minor. I've written to Frank Hsu, but for the moment I am out of ideas, except to compensate by changing the set point slightly.

Bob

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Bob - thanks for your thorough reply. It's very helpful.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn't bother with a 0.1C temperature difference in just about anything but with SV, especially long duration SV, it does seem to make an appreciable difference e.g. to get meat just a point.

Will be interesting to see what Frank says regarding the small difference in displayed versus actual temperature.

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The absolutely perfect egg -- ostrich egg sous vide?

Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA had four or five. Holy cow are those big! Holy cow, are those expensive!

Has anyone tried it? At $30 each, they're a bit much to experiment with all that casually, but what an entree it could make for a party, if someone could figure out what to do with them

I'm thinking about contacting a local ostrich farm, to see if they would subsidize a series of experiments to develop the ideal time/temperature combination.

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Very cool that they sell them....

I don't think you need very many to experiment with. One good test will tell you most of what you need to know. I have not tried to cook one, but if they were available locally to me (Seattle) I would definitely try to cook one with a temperature probe in it.

A rough calculation suggests that it would take about 5 hours to reach temperature on the inside, assuming you are going to cook it to 65C starting at 5C.

The time will depend on temperature, but only within a small range (i.e. plus or minus 30 min in a roughly 5 hour cooking time).

I suspect that the protein coagulation (i.e. cooking) will occur at tempertaures similar to chicken eggs. Quail, duck and goose eggs have very similar tempertures, so I bet ostrich would too, but of course that could be wrong. I have not tried one.

The problem with ostrich eggs sous vide is that they are so big. 5 hours total cooking time translates into about 4 hours within the so-called "danger zone" temperature range. This is right at the edge of what is officially acceptable. I think that would likely be fine.


Nathan

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Taking this thread back to cooking for a bit, has anyone experimented with SV mushrooms? slkinsey did some SV shiitakes (they were in a bag with chicken and scallions), but other than that I haven't been able to find much in the way of guidelines/recipes. For example, Under Pressure has not a single mushroom preparation sous-vide, as far as I can tell.

Is it just a waste of time? Perhaps proper browning of mushrooms is too integral to their flavour. Wild morels are coming up soon, and I don't want to waste any (assuming, of course, I manage to find any!).

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

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Wow, I thought veg. done sous vide were great. I've done baby beets, carrots, onions (white pearl), asparagus, baby turnips and artichokes. They were all fantastic. I thought the sous vide method allowed for great texture--they weren't overcooked nor were they mushy. I thought that the flavor was also enhanced, like the beets tasted cleaner and more beet like.

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Nathan, I might try the experiment, but I'm at a loss to know how to serve or plate them, or what to serve them with.

With a "perfect" chicken egg, the yolk comes out like a squishy yellow ping-pong ball, while the white is more or less coagulated -- I think that depends on the time.

My understanding is that the proportion of yolk to white is much greater with an ostrich egg, so the results might be more like a squishy tennis ball.

But then what? It's way too much for one person, no matter what kind of side dish goes with it.

I guess you could serve classic steak tartare for 6 to 10 people, with the yolk on top, and then divvy it up at the table??! Any other ideas?

(This may be a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. -:)

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Taking this thread back to cooking for a bit, has anyone experimented with SV mushrooms? slkinsey did some SV shiitakes (they were in a bag with chicken and scallions), but other than that I haven't been able to find much in the way of guidelines/recipes. For example, Under Pressure has not a single mushroom preparation sous-vide, as far as I can tell.

Is it just a waste of time? Perhaps proper browning of mushrooms is too integral to their flavour. Wild morels are coming up soon, and I don't want to waste any (assuming, of course, I manage to find any!).

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

I experimented with asparagus last night... I got really nice thick ones that I peeled, seasoned then in the bag with a couple pats of butter... Into the bath at 150F (65.6C) for about 8 minutes (as per instructions from discussions MUCH earlier in this thread).. then shocked in ice water and kept refrigerated until ready to serve... reheated in 128F (53.3C) bath used for cooking lamb...

The results - my wife loved them... I also enjoyed them... they had the texture of being "cooked" but still had a crispness to them... if you like your asaparagus on the soft side, this may not be the way to go... they also had a really fresh taste - more so than with asparagus that I do normally...

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Did yukon and sweet potato at 185 for 2 hours or so. Good amount of butter-some salt and pepper. Nice creamy confit style potatoes. I threw a few in the oven to crisp up. These were just ok, not better than classic cooking methods for crispy baked fries.

I think these might be very good for mash. Might put the leftovers through the food mill tomorrow.

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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

Sounds like it's definitely worth experimenting with wild specimens, thanks!


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Nathan, I might try the experiment, but I'm at a loss to know how to serve or plate them, or what to serve them with.

With a "perfect" chicken egg, the yolk comes out like a squishy yellow ping-pong ball, while the white is more or less coagulated -- I think that depends on the time.

My understanding is that the proportion of yolk to white is much greater with an ostrich egg, so the results might be more like a squishy tennis ball.

But then what?  It's way too much for one person, no matter what kind of side dish goes with it.

I guess you could serve classic steak tartare for 6 to 10 people, with the yolk on top, and then divvy it up at the table??!  Any other ideas?

(This may be a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. -:)

One ostrich egg is about 18-24 chicken eggs, so yes, it is more than one person can eat....


Nathan

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That sounds like a challenge....

So just to chime in on this whole ostrich egg thing, the best part about a sous vide egg is the combination of yolk and white, I feel like if you sous vide the ostrich egg it will be so massive that you can have a bite of yolk or white but not both unless you portion it and serve it up like that . Also the presentation of the whole egg is a nice touch but would be hard to do with an ostrich.


Sous Vide Or Not Sous Vide - My sous vide blog where I attempt to cook every recipe in Under Pressure.

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Pork Cutlet Success!

With a relatively short lead time I decided to try some Pork Cutlets last night.

I bagged the cutlets individually with some sea salt and black pepper and cooked them @ 55C (131F) for 1 hour and 50 minutes.

gallery_64249_6602_347400.jpg

After taking them from the bags they looked a little insipid.

gallery_64249_6602_548764.jpg

I charred the top and sides with a blow-torch and plated them. I served them with some steamed new potatoes and carrots and a tapanade I'd made for some other purpose earlier in the week.

gallery_64249_6602_338298.jpg

The texture was tender without being mushy and the flavour was definitely more delicate than this cut of meat usually is. Interestingly when cut no juices came out of the meat - even though it was not over done.

gallery_64249_6602_158776.jpg

All in all a success.

One question for those with more experience:

How do I make the product hotter without cooking it? After searing and plating the overall effect was probably a little cold to my taste.

Cheers,

Peter.

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Try 20 seconds in the microwave, just to re-warm everything. Not everything has to be done sous vide, especially not pizza or chocolate cake!

How did you sear them with the torch? After warping my plastic cutting board, I now preheat a cast iron pan to the point where I can still touch it, but not for long, and then sear the steak or whatever in the pan. Then I'll transfer it to a warmed cutting board if I need to slice it, e.g., for a brisket.

Coincidentally, tonight I'm cooking some bacon-wrapped, rosemary flavored pork chops from Niman Ranch, via CostCo. They come four to a package, two of each in two compartments, in what appears to be a vacuum-packed "blister pack."

I'm hoping that the factory packaging is good enough to withstand submersion directly, rather than opening and repackaging them. I guess if the bag dissolves like gelatin, I'll know better next time!

Although I've gotten my wife used to 130F beef, she has this silly thing about pork, so I'm going to cook it at 140 for about an hour, and hope for the best.

I'm also going to try some buttered asparagus at 160F, based on some much older posts to this thread.


Edited by Robert Jueneman (log)

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How did you sear them with the torch? 

The benches in my kitchen are all stainless steel so I don't have much of a problem in that regard. I flamed the cutlets on the stainless steel plate in the photo. I guess if you had bench tops which would be damaged you could use a similar stainless plate and put it on top of your stove - unless of course you have one of those glass topped units - then you're out of luck.

Thanks for the microwave tip, I'll give it a shot next time,

cheers,

Peter.

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Did shrimp with butter and ultra fine jalapeno with smoe salt. I think I cooked it at 131. Came out nicely pretty juicy kind of confit quality from the butter.

Served with purple cabbage that I sauteed with bacon, chorizo, shallots, red peppers, corn. This was really good, might make it at the restaurant.

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Sounds very nice!

I've got jalapenos to spare at the moment. I only have one plant but it's producing more than I can eat.

How long did you cook it for and how big were the shrimps?

Peter.

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How did you sear them with the torch? 

The benches in my kitchen are all stainless steel so I don't have much of a problem in that regard. I flamed the cutlets on the stainless steel plate in the photo. I guess if you had bench tops which would be damaged you could use a similar stainless plate and put it on top of your stove - unless of course you have one of those glass topped units - then you're out of luck.

Thanks for the microwave tip, I'll give it a shot next time,

cheers,

Peter.

I do mine on a porcelain dinner plate.

Working on the premise that they use ceramics in the insulation system on the space shuttle for re-entry, I assume it can stand the heat. :)


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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The original question was how to keep the food from getting cold, when it is cooked SV to 130 or even 125F.

Unlike other oven-cooked or fried foods, SV is relatively cool. (Someone once said that you could cook salmon mi cuit by holding it under your armpit for 20 minutes the next time you have a fever. Sounds like one of the old Saturday Night Live sketches!)

So using a warmed pan while you are searing, as well as warmed plates, just seems like common sense.

Unless you want to throw it on the anti-griddle for an entirely new flavor sensation.

Maillard ice cream, anyone?

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When I cooked sous vide I tend to throw it in much longer than needed because all the food I cook at home is ultimately a test for future restaurant use where I may leave it in for the duration of service.

For the shrimp I left them 2 hours. They were little guys, probably 22-30. I think cooking the butter with the jalapenos first might have made it better still.

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On the coolness of the food, someone upstream suggested to me that for things like salmon, which I can cook in my hot tub, to serve it on a warmed plate. I now do this with all my SV, and no one has complained since.

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ELECTRICAL SAFETY

The last few days have decidedly been a "learning experience."

On Sunday, I prepared 6 pounds of brisket and served sample size pieces to some 85 people at a co-workers 60th Birthday pot luck dinner. It was cooked for 54 hours at 55.3C, and everyone raved about it.

I hauled the big 10 liter rice cooker and my SousVideMagic 1500B controller over there, and because of the weight cooker full of water, I used a delivery cart to take it out to the SUV. In the process, it bounced it down a couple of steps, putting a small dent in the case and causing some hot water to slosh out. Next time, I'll pack the food in a polystyrene cooler, and refill the rice cooker with hot water when I arrive.

Monday morning at 6:30 I started a data logging run with a new set of parameters, and went off to work. Around 11, my wife called to say that something was beeping, so I told her to turn off the SVM PID controller.

When I got home six hours later, I found that 2/3 of the water was gone, and the rest was still quite hot. The case of the submersible fountain pump had partly melted and was deformed, so obviously the water had been boiling. But why?

Turning the SVM back on, I could see that it was periodically cycling and turning itself off, and yes the probe was still in the water. Expletive!

Last night, I tried the 1500B with a smaller rice cooker, using a set point of 60C. When it got to 64C, I thought that was a bit too much overshoot, even though the Temp light on the SVM was off. I unplugged the rice cooker, and plugged in an incandescent lamp, and voila -- the light stayed lit 100%, even though the Temp light was flashing on and off.

Frank Hsu has confirmed that this sounds like the Solid State Relay has failed, stuck in the on position. This is apparently very uncommon -- he has seen only one other such case. Maybe this was caused by the rice cooker, or maybe the electrical gods were angry that day.

So, lessons learned:

1. Always use a Ground Fault Current Interrupter circuit when you are cooking sous vide -- water and electricity don't mix very well. If your kitchen isn't already wired with one, buy a two foot extension cord with the GCFI built in.

2. Don't attempt to move a large rice cooker full of water! If you spill water in or around a rice cooker or similar appliance, stop and drain everything carefully. In my case, I suspect, but can't prove, that some water may have gotten into the heater. Perhaps that caused a higher than average current draw, which in turn overloaded the SSR and caused it to fail, although plugging it into the wall with a 20 amp breaker didn't trip the breaker. Similar symptoms were exhibited Monday night with a different SVM, but on Tuesday, everything was fine with that cooker. Maybe the water had evaporated by then

3. Be careful with the sensor. Fresh Meals Solutions sells a perforated steel disk to keep the sensor and the food from touching the bottom of the cooker, and I now thread the sensor through a couple of holes in the disk to make sure there is no way that the sensor could fall out of the cooker without being noticed.

4. Most rice cookers either shut off, or go into a Warm function when all of the water boils off. That won't help your Sunday dinner, but hopefully your house won't burn down. But test it first.

5. Some probe thermometers have an alarm function that can be set to a couple of degrees above the sous vide set point, just in case there is some kind of a runaway condition. To be safe, be sure that the probe is intended for long term submersion, i.e., it is marked as being dishwasher safe. Most probes will withstand oven temperatures, but may not like being submerged.

6. Even if you are calibrating the PID controller, there is no need to start with cold water and subject the unit to maximum current draw. That's what your water heater is for.

6. Always have a spare of everything you can no longer cook without -- a spare sensor, spare PID controller, and a spare appliance, even if it's just a cheap crock-pot.

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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

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To switch the topic slightly I have been trying to read the entire 90+ pages of this thread, and it is HUGE!

But there are at least three sub-threads that are important, and yet are almost impossible to digest or search:

1. Sous vide safety, primarily but not exclusively microbiological safety. The debt we owe to NathanM, and later to Douglas Baldwin in this respect is absolutely enormous.

2. Sous vide equipment and gadgets. What works, and what doesn't.

3. And once the previous topics are absorbed, there is still the issue of WHAT RECIPES WORK!

Despite the various books, notably Thomas Keller's, there is a very real need (IMHO) for recipes that are usable for and by ordinary home cooks/users.

I can certainly admire and enjoy the over-the-top professional recipes from French Laundry, and I might even go to all of the time and trouble to replicate their efforts for a special occasion, but when I come home on a Tuesday after work, I need something simpler that just works.

Right now, there simply isn't a comprehensive compendium of time and temperature results. What works, for brisket, tri-tip, chuck roast, rib-eye, flat iron steak, etc., etc. Then on to pork, chicken, duck, rabbit, alligator, possum, road kill, or whatever.

I don't mind all of the extra verbiage and pictures, but just a simplest meat/time/temperature listing for various meats and fish would be absolutely invaluable.

Is there some way that all of the contributors to this list could create such a compendium, with an accessible database?

Bob

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Hi Bob, have a look at this post:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1623915

Not fully comprehensive, but a pretty good start. I would like to see it enhanced so that the wide variances in temp are explained. Lobster may well be good @ 45C, but on the same page it quotes another suggestion that it is also good @ 55C - a massive variation.

To be fair Camano Chef was only documenting what is contained in this forum, and in the reference books available to him.

Note to Nathan: if it doesn't already, your book should have an updated / more comprehensive version of a table like this. I was going to buy your book anyhow, but I'm sure many would find such a reference invaluable.

Cheers,

Peter.

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