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

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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:

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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.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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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.

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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)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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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!

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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.

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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.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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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?

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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.

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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.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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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.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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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.

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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.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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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


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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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.

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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.

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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)

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


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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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.

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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.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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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?

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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.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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