Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

e_monster

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 8)

Recommended Posts

There is too many variables in that article. Im using a more tender, but less beefy flavored cut of meat. Im also using a thicker cut of 2" and cooking for a longer duration. Im also not using any herbs or spices, just natural flavorings from the charred fat and the natural juices. A blind person with no taste buds could tell the difference. :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you have not done a blind tasting, you don't really know. I believed the same as you until we did a blind tasting. No one believes they are biased by knowing what is what, but we seem to be more influenced than we admit by our expectations.

By training I'm sensitive to ways people trick themselves into creating and believing dogma; that's my second order bias system, and I'm aware that it could be misleading me here.

The reason people don't braise first, sous vide in restaurants, is because the heat will foul the chamber vacuum machine.

My one brush with "professional" cooking classes was the most convention-riddled experience of my life. People can turn the accident of this equipment limitation into a commandment carried down from some hill. I'm all for modernist thinking, but anything that flies in the face of hundreds of years of perceptive tradition has to be examined really closely. (*)

There's a common arrogance that holds that individual chefs can have deeper insights that entire nations. I don't buy it; I've been around geniuses and they're as smart as twenty people, but not millions of people. So why does classic braise technique sear first? If adapting to the limitations of chamber vacuum machines happens to be the right answer and everyone for centuries before got it wrong, that's rather lucky.

That said, I try it both ways and I haven't made up my mind yet. It is rather convenient to cook sous vide straight from the freezer, stopping home for five minutes on a Tuesday afternoon.

(*) The founding of the Guggenheim Museum makes a great object lesson. A new generation of rich were jealous of a previous generation snapping up impressionist art for a song, and wanted their thing. They latched onto a severely restrictive definition of abstract art, and bought all these early blotches on a wall. Meanwhile, Matisse was far more successfully painting nearly representational works that veered into the wilds of abstraction, teasing the interface between the two. As modernists, we don't want to throw out the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So why does classic braise technique sear first?

Tradition? And not necessarily the best technique. Mexican carntias and Filipino adobo typically are browned after braising, not before. Indeed, I've been using the sear-after-braising method for years, based on those precedents, long before I tumbled to low temp cooking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By my training as a psychologist I know that expectations of outcome can swamp anything else.

White wine dyed red tastes like red wine.

Chips eaten with an amplified crunch in your ears taste fresher.

You expect the pre-searing to give a better result and voila there it is.

There's a reason why blind tasting is conducted. It is to remove biased expectations. Give me a controlled study over an opinion or "conventional wisdom" any day when we are discussing issues such as this.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

however, fooling one self sometimes counts for a lot!

sort of how you arrange the food on the plate makes a difference on both the taste and the total experience.

why we taste and like different things even if tricked counts for something!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

however, fooling one self sometimes counts for a lot!

sort of how you arrange the food on the plate makes a difference on both the taste and the total experience.

why we taste and like different things even if tricked counts for something!

This holds true, especially in a sandwich with multiple flavors. Layering meats in specific order can change taste just by what flavor hits your tastebuds first. But i guess thats just my mind tricking me aswell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Correct. Dave Arnold and the Cooking Issues team found a definite improvement by presearing.

Do you have a link? All I could find was this episode:

http://www.heritager...-3-Harold-McGee

They discuss preheating to inhibit lactic acid bacteria, but no blind taste tests comparing searing methods.

By my training as a psychologist I know that expectations of outcome can swamp anything else.

Another "expectation of outcome" effect: A young scientist needs to believe at least a little bit that they're smarter than 500 years of predecessors, to make progress. At least they're aware part of the time that progress doesn't work that way. When a modern chef dismisses "tradition", I wonder if they're giving someone like Fernand Point credit for being more than a country yokel.

Democratic blind taste tests are a slippery slope; they presume that we're all equally perceptive. I've met wine tasters who can match up a dozen wines blind after a four hour break; I can't come close. In chess one learns not to play one's opponent for a fool. Is it right to tune cooking step by step by what an average person can taste? This denies the possibility of an ensemble effect.

In audio circles there's the notion of a "golden ear"; on DIY forums one knows the best ears within driving distance willing to critique your new design. People debate whether one can hear the differences in new digital standards; the consensus is that most people can't hear the difference between sampling rates of 96kHz and 192kHz. Nevertheless, the most gifted sound board engineer can tell the difference between 96kHz and a live feed, but can't tell the difference between 192kHz and a live feed. There is some evidence that music sounds better with intact high frequency overtones that listeners can't detect in isolation.

Barb Stuckey's Taste What You're Missing describes large variations in taste sensitivity, with "hypertasters" at one extreme. In my world view, a chef like Thomas Keller works harder than most people with his gifts, has unusual manual dexterity, and is a hypertaster to boot. I might flunk individual steps that he can distinguish, and still appreciate an ensemble effect when he's done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

its extremely important to understand the 'true' science. but its also important to understand the impact of what's on the plate!

the red food color in white wine = red might also suggest people that don't 'pull a cork' very often were involved. College Students? Reuniti crowd?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Correct. Dave Arnold and the Cooking Issues team found a definite improvement by presearing.

Do you have a link? All I could find was this episode:

http://www.heritager...-3-Harold-McGee

They discuss preheating to inhibit lactic acid bacteria, but no blind taste tests comparing searing methods.

Alas, i don't. The Cooking Issues blog, on which the testing was described, has been down for a long while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooking Issues blog, on which the testing was described, has been down for a long while.

In these cases, there's nothing like internet time travel!

http://archive.org

Could this be the blog you're remembering? It's the only entry on searing I could find.

http://web.archive.o...kingissues.com/

To Salt or Not To Salt –That’s the Searing Question

If you are serving your meats within a couple of hours, salt before you sear –it’ll be great. If your service is many hours or days away, lay off the salt till service time.

They apply scientific methods to determining how to pre sear (calling into question anyone's blind comparison that might not have optimally pre seared) but they take pre searing for granted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By my training as a psychologist I know that expectations of outcome can swamp anything else.

Another "expectation of outcome" effect: A young scientist needs to believe at least a little bit that they're smarter than 500 years of predecessors, to make progress. At least they're aware part of the time that progress doesn't work that way. When a modern chef dismisses "tradition", I wonder if they're giving someone like Fernand Point credit for being more than a country yokel.

Yep, that scallywag Galileo was sure upsetting a lot of experts when he had the temerity to challenge conventional wisdom.

The difference here is that psychologists test assumptions that haven't been tested before. One of these psychologists, Danny Kahneman, won the Nobel prize for his work on, amongst other things, faulty decision making. His research and that of others shows that in areas where predictions are made so-called experts make incorrect predictions as much as if not more than "non experts," although they do so with greater speed and considerably more confidence in their incorrect judgements.

its extremely important to understand the 'true' science. but its also important to understand the impact of what's on the plate!

the red food color in white wine = red might also suggest people that don't 'pull a cork' very often were involved. College Students? Reuniti crowd?

57 wine experts tested at the University of Bordeaux. Despite years of training and expertise in the area expectations affect judgement and subjective opinion. And if you read Barb Stuckey closely, she talks about the importance of blind tasting trials, even with supertasters.

Keep coming with the opinions, I'm sure that we can find research evidence that either refutes (most likely) or supports (unlikely) what you are proposing. And while we're at it we may talk about the conventional wisdom that searing steaks seals in the juices. Applying the arguments given here about the opinions of the masses, we should probably still believe this "wisdom" despite evidence to the contrary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooking Issues blog, on which the testing was described, has been down for a long while.

In these cases, there's nothing like internet time travel!

http://archive.org

Could this be the blog you're remembering? It's the only entry on searing I could find.

http://web.archive.o...kingissues.com/

To Salt or Not To Salt –That’s the Searing Question

If you are serving your meats within a couple of hours, salt before you sear –it’ll be great. If your service is many hours or days away, lay off the salt till service time.

They apply scientific methods to determining how to pre sear (calling into question anyone's blind comparison that might not have optimally pre seared) but they take pre searing for granted.

I could have sworn there was a blog post on searing. I'll see if I can find it in the archive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have some octopus tentacles in the bath at the moment. 77C for 5 hours. The tentacles are bagged, as per the Thomas Keller recipe (although I'm serving them with pasta), with bay, rosemary, thyme, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a bit of salt and pepper, dried chilli and olive oil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just encountered a nice idea as a supplement to my sous vide thickness ruler on Jason Logsdons souvidecooking.com: use a sewing gauge as a sliding measure. Even better but more expensive would be an X-Ray Thickness Caliper.

A combination square could also be used, there are many makes and models available in a wide price range.

~Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could have sworn there was a blog post on searing. I'll see if I can find it in the archive.

+1: I definitely remember they did a blog where they concluded that the best result was had from pre- plus post-searing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could have sworn there was a blog post on searing. I'll see if I can find it in the archive.

+1: I definitely remember they did a blog where they concluded that the best result was had from pre- plus post-searing.

+2 I remember reading that aswell. I always pre sear and sometimes i dont even bother to post sear depending on if i using a wine reduction and topping with delicate toppings like boursin cheese and crab meat. You want that color and bold flavor but not the hard crust you get from post searing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a common arrogance that holds that individual chefs can have deeper insights that entire nations. I don't buy it; I've been around geniuses and they're as smart as twenty people, but not millions of people. So why does classic braise technique sear first?

Huh? Because in classic braise, the meat is left in the liquid and it's simply not possible to sear after even if you'd want to (or at least it would be pretty complicated to take the meat out, then dry the surfaces so that you'd get a reasonable sear).


Edited by Peter Lakegrove (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He didn't even dry off the steak before putting it in the pan. Sloppiness in technique doesn't prove anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He didn't even dry off the steak before putting it in the pan. Sloppiness in technique doesn't prove anything.

And the pan didn't look hot enough. He said he had to post sear a couple of minutes per side. Post-searing with an adequately hot pan shouldn't take more than 30 seconds or so per side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Huh? Because in classic braise, the meat is left in the liquid and it's simply not possible to sear after even if you'd want to (or at least it would be pretty complicated to take the meat out, then dry the surfaces so that you'd get a reasonable sear).

It's no harder to dry meat taken out of a classic braise than taken out of a sous vide pouch. If the meat is overcooked and falling apart, then it's tricky either way, but otherwise it's routine. Maybe your pan isn't hot enough?

In any case, we're both suggesting the same thing. I'm suggesting people don't pre-sear sous vide for no better reason than not having to then chill to avoid fouling their vacuum chamber. You're suggesting people don't post-sear classic braise for basically the same reason: it's a nuisance.

I routinely sieve the solids out of a braise and reduce the liquid, if I don't like the balance. This is recovery from a mistake, and I'd prefer to get the balance right in the first place, but it isn't difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have some octopus tentacles in the bath at the moment. 77C for 5 hours. The tentacles are bagged, as per the Thomas Keller recipe (although I'm serving them with pasta), with bay, rosemary, thyme, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a bit of salt and pepper, dried chilli and olive oil.

How'd it work out / what pasta did you add it to?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have some octopus tentacles in the bath at the moment. 77C for 5 hours. The tentacles are bagged, as per the Thomas Keller recipe (although I'm serving them with pasta), with bay, rosemary, thyme, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a bit of salt and pepper, dried chilli and olive oil.

How'd it work out / what pasta did you add it to?

Octopus tentacles are one of my favourite ways to use my sous vide setup. They were very good but the last time I made them they were better. I should've fought against the vacuum to ensure the tentacles formed a single, very flat layer. I served the octopus with spaghettoni.

If you don't happen to have a decent fishmonger around that actually sells adult octopus tentacles, hit Oakleigh. Opsara's always stock it. The tentacles are frozen and then thawed, which supposedly tenderises the octopus somewhat. Ask them to clean (i.e. skin) the tentacles for you. Bag them with some seasoning and a bit of olive oil. And, yeah, 77C for 5 hours. You can then finish them in a frypan or on a BBQ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By lindaj1
      Is there any recipe from the modernist universe or any other galaxy to make ketogenic (low carb) puff pastry and strudel type doughs?  Unusual ingredients OK.  There must be a way...
    • By haresfur
      I got to thinking after the disgusting job of separating globs of fat from sous vide short ribs and debating never doing them that way again. If the fat renders out in a braise, but not in the sous vide, what temperature would you need to turn the fat liquid to get rid of it? Is it below well-done or do you really have to cook the shit out of it? Is it just temperature or a time&temperature thing?
       
      Along those lines, what happens with marbled, tender cuts? where is the sweet spot between solid fat and something more palatable?
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      By John Sconzo

      The Daily Gullet is proud to present this, the first in a multi-part, front-row report on the recent "Spain and the World Table" conference. Watch for subsequent installments in this topic.

      In his introduction of Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller -- perhaps the most celebrated American chef ever -- described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.

      The moment that Ferran Adria strode towards Thomas Keller on the stage at the CIA/Greystone’s World of Flavors’ “Spain and the World Table” Conference was electric -- as if a giant Van de Graf generator had been turned on. The feeling didn’t subside when Adria took the stage from Keller; it only became more pronounced as the packed crowd rose to its feet, raining applause, admiration and love on the Spanish master. Adria accepted the response with aplomb, and gave it right back to the audience -- and to his fellow Spanish cocineros, who were standing off to the side. He brought each one up to join him on the stage for a rousing thank-you to the conference organizers, sponsors and participants. Once this emotional release subsided, Adria got down to what everyone had been waiting for -- his discussion and demonstration.

      Ferran Adria, with eyes sparkling like the finest cava, began speaking Spanish in a voice as gravelly as the beaches of the Costa Brava, while Conference Chairman Jose Andres translated. The crowd, hushed and straining for every word, moved forward in their seats as Adria explained El Bulli and himself, with a lesson in recent culinary history thrown in. Ferran explained that El Bulli is not a business. While offshoots of El Bulli are operated on a for-profit basis, the restaurant runs without profit as a primary motivation. For example, he said, the greatest difficulty they have is distributing reservations. Given the extraordinary demand and the severely limited supply, he explained that they could simply raise the price of a meal to the point where the supply and demand met. Indeed, the price of a meal at El Bulli is in itself quite reasonable given the stature of the restaurant and well within means of most motivated diners should they be able to get there, and this is how Adria prefers it. He stated that he was not interested in cooking solely for those with the most money. He prefers to work for people with a true interest in exploring the limits of cooking with him. To this end he showed a short film depicting “A Day in the Life . . .” of El Bulli set to the Beatles’ song of the same name. The film showed a couple’s response to the experience.

      Ferran’s voyage into creativity began with a visit to Jacques Maxima at Le Chanticleer Restaurant in Nice, France. He learned from Maxima that to be creative is not to copy. This idea changed his entire approach to cooking -- from making classic cuisine to making his own. Aware of elaborate books of French cuisine, Adria resolved to catalogue his work, the results of which are the richly detailed El Bulli books, published by period. These books, as wonderful as they are, are huge and extremely expensive. During his presentation, Adria announced -- and demonstrated -- that the individual dishes photographed and described in a chronology within each book are all now available online at elbulli.com.

      He finished the philosophical discussion by talking about the general style of haute cuisine that he and others are engaged in. While others have coined the term “molecular gastronomy” to highlight the scientific component of the creativity involved, Adria rejected it, saying that all cooking is molecular: most of his techniques are in fact rather simple and don’t employ radical new technology. Most of the technology that they do use has been around for some time; they have simply adapted it to their own purposes. Nevertheless, he applauds contributions to gastronomy from Harold McGee and other food scientists, and welcomes their collaboration in the kitchen. He has yet to find a term that describes the movement: as of now, he feels that there really is no good name for this style of cooking.

      More than any other single thing, Ferran Adria is known for the use of “foams” in cooking. While he is proud of his achievements with foams, he stressed that while appropriate in some circumstances, the real utility of foams is limited. He bemoans their ubiquity -- and wishes to not be blamed for others’ poor deployment of the concept. In the course of describing this and other techniques, Adria made a point of stating that using them should not be inferred as copying. Techniques and concepts are to be used and shared. He invited everyone to learn and harness whatever they found interesting, and to employ it in to their own pursuits.

      Another set of techniques discussed and demonstrated by the master and his assistant, Rafa Morales from Hacienda Benazuza, included three types of spherification. These included the use of calcium chloride (CaCl) and sodium alginate as well as the converse, and exploration of a new agent, gluconodeltalactone. The original combinations of alginate into CaCl for “caviar” production, and CaCl into alginate for larger “spheres” have chemistry-related limits as to what can be sphericized. In private correspondence, Harold McGee explained to me that Adria described encapsulating a mussel in its own juice. While this would make the dish technically an aspic, unlike conventional aspics it remains a liquid. Adria said that though gluconodeltalactone is very new, and they are just beginning to get a handle on it, he is very excited by it. He also demonstrated a machine for spherification on a larger scale than they had originally been able to do, as well as liquid nitrogen and freeze-drying (lyophilization) techniques. At the conclusion of his demonstration -- and thus the Conference -- the audience once again awarded him a standing ovation.

      While Adria’s appearance was the culmination of the conference, the energy it produced was not just because of his stature in the world of gastronomy -- it was also due to the excitement generated by the conference that preceded it. If there had previously been any doubt, Thomas Keller’s welcome of Adria was a clarion: Spanish cuisine has landed on North American shores and is finding a niche in the North American psyche. Spanish cuisine -- in its multifaceted, delicious entirety -- lives here, too.

      + + + + +

      John M. Sconzo, M.D., aka docsconz, is an anesthesiologist practicing in upstate New York. He grew up in Brooklyn in an Italian-American home, in which food was an important component of family life. It still is. His passions include good food, wine and travel. John's gastronomic interests in upstate northeastern New York involve finding top-notch local producers of ingredients and those who use them well. A dedicated amateur, John has no plans to ditch his current career for one in the food industry. Host, New York.
    • By docsconz
      About Jose Andres
       
      Throughout his career, Jose’s vision and imaginative creations have drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers. José has received awards and recognition from Food Arts, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, and Wine Advocate. In addition, José has been featured in leading food magazines such as Gourmet as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Morning America, Fox Sunday Morning News with Chris Wallace, the Food Network, and USA Today.
       
      Widely acknowledged as the premiere Spanish chef cooking in America, José is a developer and Conference Chairman for the upcoming Worlds of Flavor Conference on Spain and the World Table at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, November 2 – 5, 2006.
       
      In 1993, Jose moved to Washington, DC, to head the kitchen at Jaleo. From there, Jose took on executive chef responsibilities at neighboring Café Atlantico and later Zaytinya. In July of 2003, Jose embarked on his most adventurous project to date with the opening of the minibar by jose andres at Cafe Atlantico. A six-seat restaurant within a restaurant, minibar by jose andres continues to attract international attention with its innovative tasting menu. In the fall of 2004, Jose opened a third Jaleo and Oyamel, an authentic Mexican small plates restaurant and launched the THINKfoodTANK, an institution devoted to the research and development of ideas about food, all with a view toward their practical applications in the kitchen.
       
      Every week, millions of Spaniards invite Jose into their home where he is the host and producer of “Vamos a cocinar”, a food program on Television Española (TVE), Spanish national television. The program airs in the United States and Latin America on TVE Internacional.
       
      Jose released his first cookbook this year, first published in English, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America (published in the United States by Clarkson Potter) and shortly after in Spanish, Los fogones de José Andrés (published by Planeta). The book is an homage to Spanish cooking and to tapas, one of Spain's gifts to the world of good cooking.
       
      Jose Andres is passionate, intelligent, dedicated, witty and a fan of FC Barcelona.
       
      Jose has been a member of the eGullet Society since 2004.
       
      More on Jose Andres in the eG Forums:
      Cooking with "Tapas" by Jose Andres
      Vamos a Cocinar - cooking show with Jose Andres
      Jaleo
      José Andrés' Minibar
      Zaytinya
      Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Crystal City
      Cafe Atlantico
       
      Jose Andres recipes from Tapas in RecipeGullet:
      Potatoes Rioja-Style with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)
      Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew
      Squid with Caramelized Onions
    • By gibbs
      With Modernist Cuisine I waited a couple of years and ended up with a copy from the 6th printing run the advantage of this was that all errors picked up in the erratta had been corrected in the print copy.  I am looking to get modernist bread soon and wondered if someone had purchased it recently to check or if someone knew of hand if they have printed any additional corrected runs 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×