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Qwerty

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2011

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So it sounds like the options haven't changed much. For me, the SV Supreme isn't an option, I would prefer avoiding another large appliance that isn't hugely versatile.

Out of curiosity, because it seems there a number of SV Magic owners on eGullet, has anyone ever had problems with theirs? What about the heating element FMM?

For full disclosure, I have owned a SVM/FMM for approximately 6 months. Over this time period, I have experienced a mechanical failure of the SVM itself resulting in drifting temperature readings (the SVM was promptly replaced and mechanical failure verified). Just recently, my FMM has been causing my GFCI outlets to go off rendering the FMM unusable. I have been offered the option of replacing the FMM with the newest design or returning my setup for a refund. At this point I am leaning strongly toward refund because of the issues I have had with the setup. That said, I've never read of a bad experience with a SVM/FMM combo aside from my own and am conflicted about a coarse of action.

A circulator would be nice, but they are a little too pricey for me.


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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I had an issue with my SVM that I used a few times and it had some rust on the inner workings.

I sent Frank some pics and he immediately sent me a replacement. I think unless you plan to go with the PolyScience 750 USA gizmo the SVM is the way to go especialy if you use Coleman Coolers.

as far as I can tell Frank supports his stuff 100 %. try and find that elsewhere!

but of more interest to me the SVSupreme seems over priced for what they are selling. I dont have one but that's how it aprears to me. the smaller one seems to have some corrosion issues as mentioned here on a theard.

it would seem to me that a cleaver 'decent' appliance company would be able to beat the SVS system by a lot.

but then this group and this theard is probably not the average 'Home Cooking Once and a While' group

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My first attempt at char siu tonight. Marinated the pork belly for 12 hours, then 62C for 40 hours and chilled. Skinned, glazed then charred with a torch which also reheated the belly.

Last LTLT dish for a while. This was when the FMM died about 30 hours in, fortunately I was in the kitchen, the last 10 hours were stove top, but I was able to maintain +/-2 degrees C

IMG_1206.JPG

A fun shot of the torch in action:

IMG_1179.JPG


Edited by avaserfi (log)

Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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My first attempt at char siu tonight. Marinated the pork belly for 12 hours, then 62C for 40 hours and chilled. Skinned, glazed then charred with a torch which also reheated the belly.

Last LTLT dish for a while. This was when the FMM died about 30 hours in, fortunately I was in the kitchen, the last 10 hours were stove top, but I was able to maintain +/-2 degrees C

You left out the most important part.... how was it!? ;)

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Any tips or tricks for someone trying the torch-sear method for the first time?

That was my first time. My best advice is try it to get a feel for it. I was worried about burning the food, but that didn't happen. I just paid close attention and carefully and slowly moved the torch to encourage even browning.

My first attempt at char siu tonight. Marinated the pork belly for 12 hours, then 62C for 40 hours and chilled. Skinned, glazed then charred with a torch which also reheated the belly.Last LTLT dish for a while. This was when the FMM died about 30 hours in, fortunately I was in the kitchen, the last 10 hours were stove top, but I was able to maintain +/-2 degrees C
You left out the most important part.... how was it!? ;)

Phenomenal. It came out better than expected. I am definitely doing it again.


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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Any tips or tricks for someone trying the torch-sear method for the first time?

As per previous postings, don't let the bright blue core-base of the flame touch the food - to avoid the possibility of taste contamination with unburned hydrocarbons.

Using the flame flatter allows you to heat a larger area.

Keep the flame moving, to prevent instant burning.

Don't set fire to anything! Consider the surroundings and the thing your meat is on. Don't do it in a cluttered workspace!

It is said that invert sugars (glucose, fructose) are particularly conducive to the Maillard reaction. So, I've read of people painting their protein with a sweet syrup immediately before torching, but I've not bothered with that myself.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Any tips or tricks for someone trying the torch-sear method for the first time?

What type of torch and what are you torching? In my experience, the torch works great for beef and is not terribly useful for either pork or poultry.

Someone mentioned using invert sugar -- I would NOT do that when using a torch. It is great for allowing browning in a pan at temperatures lower than are normally required but a torch is so much hotter that it increases the likelihood of burning the food. It takes some practice. Keep the torch moving. The Iwatani that I use has an adjustable flame spread and I tend to use something closer to a point than a spread flame -- as I find that by keeping it moving, I get quicker crust formation without heating the food below the crust. The more spread the flame is the more that I find the heat ends up penetrating.

Also, I think that there is some confusion about the blue flame, the innermost flame may have uncombusted gas but there is what I would call an 'outer' blue flame which seems to be the sweet spot for rapid browning. At least with the Iwatani, I have never experienced off-taste or 'gas-taste' (which I did experience when mis-using my old propane torch).

Best,

Edward

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That's excellent advice dougal.

I don't use a reducing sugar (glucose, fructose, or lactose) wash when searing with a blowtorch either but I find it useful when pan searing (since even a smoking hot pan isn't nearly as hot as a blowtorch's flame). You need very little reducing sugar to enhance the Maillard reaction, I recommend using a 3–4% corn syrup or glucose solution or about ½ teaspoon syrup in a ¼ cup water — at this concentration, you're unlikely to taste any added sweetness but should taste an improved flavor profile. As always, see the Maillard section of my guide for more information.


My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."

My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK

My YouTube channel — a new work in progress.

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I used to use an Iwatani torch, but moved to a MAPP torch from the hardware store for an even hotter flame. And the great benefit of the torch vs. a very hot skillet with oil is that it doesn't smoke up the rest of the kitchen.

The problem with the torch, however, is that the little surface bumps of meat are likely to burn while getting a nice Maillard reaction elsewhere. That's a problem that doesn't occur with the hot oil technique.

For that reason, I've started using a Le Creuset grill pan and ridged panini press instead of the torch, at least for flat steaks. I heat the grill pan and press on two gas flames to the point where both are quite hot, then spritz a little rice bran or grapeseed oil and perhaps some invert sugar on the meat, which has been previously dried with a paper towel. The oil keeps the meat from sticking to the pan or press, but there isn't enough to smoke up the house.

And the result is a nice cross-hatched pattern, like it was cooked on the grill.

Bob

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So here's a more general question...

I've been experimenting with sous vide for less than a year, and have been very happy with anything meaty. Ribs, pork belly and salmon are now regular dinner items and the humble chicken breast has been improved beyond recognition.

But sous vide vegetables... well, meh.

Sure they cook ok, but I haven't made any sous vide vegetables that have been an obvious improvement over steaming or microwaving. And although I haven't had any problems, it seems that you can overcook sous vide vegetables, which negates one of the biggest advantages of cooking meat sous vide. By the time you put the bagging step into the equation I find it's easier to just steam them. So far I've only experimented with typical dinner time vegies - potatos, carrots, peas, beans, corn. I also tried brocollini because I read somewhere not to, and I wanted to know what would happen (smelt bad but tasted normal).

Can anyone suggest a vegetable sous vide technique that produces a significantly better result than traditional methods?

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So here's a more general question...

I've been experimenting with sous vide for less than a year, and have been very happy with anything meaty. Ribs, pork belly and salmon are now regular dinner items and the humble chicken breast has been improved beyond recognition.

But sous vide vegetables... well, meh.

Sure they cook ok, but I haven't made any sous vide vegetables that have been an obvious improvement over steaming or microwaving. And although I haven't had any problems, it seems that you can overcook sous vide vegetables, which negates one of the biggest advantages of cooking meat sous vide. By the time you put the bagging step into the equation I find it's easier to just steam them. So far I've only experimented with typical dinner time vegies - potatos, carrots, peas, beans, corn. I also tried brocollini because I read somewhere not to, and I wanted to know what would happen (smelt bad but tasted normal).

Can anyone suggest a vegetable sous vide technique that produces a significantly better result than traditional methods?

I have found that asparagus packed with some salt, a little pepper and a pat of butter and cooked at 83.9C for 30 minutes comes out fantastic. I put about a pound in each bag. It can be iced and then reheated in a 55C bath for a few minutes at service. I have done this for 150 people and not a single stick was over cooked. They keep their bright green color and have a nice crisp bite. Doing them this way makes service a snap.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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very curious about those asparagus:

do they freeze well and reheat in the bag?

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very curious about those asparagus:

do they freeze well and reheat in the bag?

Sorry, I have never frozen them so have nothing to offer in that regard. They are pretty tender and I would think they might become mushy when reheated.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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I used to use an Iwatani torch, but moved to a MAPP torch from the hardware store for an even hotter flame. And the great benefit of the torch vs. a very hot skillet with oil is that it doesn't smoke up the rest of the kitchen.

Bob,

In my opinion, the hotter flame of MAPP is actually a disadvantage--because it will burn the food so much more quickly. Even propane and butane are much hotter than we actually need -- which is why one needs to acquire some 'technique' in order to successfully use torches for browning. Gases burn at a more-or-less fixed temperature. And all of these gases burn at a temperature that will quickly incinerate food -- much higher than any useful reaction. The hotter the flame is the more care that you need to take not to burn the food and the more that it needs to be moved. The time to brown a steak with a MAPP torch is not going to be significantly shorter than with a butane torch but a lot more care is needed not to burn the food.

Now, if you were using the torch to do something like heat metal (a pan or something) there might be some benefit to using a hotter flame in order to transfer the heat more quickly. But in this case, I don't think that more is necessarily better.

Best,

Edward

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So here's a more general question...

I've been experimenting with sous vide for less than a year, and have been very happy with anything meaty. Ribs, pork belly and salmon are now regular dinner items and the humble chicken breast has been improved beyond recognition.

But sous vide vegetables... well, meh.

Sure they cook ok, but I haven't made any sous vide vegetables that have been an obvious improvement over steaming or microwaving. And although I haven't had any problems, it seems that you can overcook sous vide vegetables, which negates one of the biggest advantages of cooking meat sous vide. By the time you put the bagging step into the equation I find it's easier to just steam them. So far I've only experimented with typical dinner time vegies - potatos, carrots, peas, beans, corn. I also tried brocollini because I read somewhere not to, and I wanted to know what would happen (smelt bad but tasted normal).

Can anyone suggest a vegetable sous vide technique that produces a significantly better result than traditional methods?

If you cook vegetables sous vide using the same methods you use when boiling or microwaving, you shouldn't be surprised if the results are similar. Browse through Thomas Keller's Under Pressure, or Grant Achatz's Alinea, or Heston Blumenthal's Big Fat Duck cookbooks for some more innovative methods.

I think some veggie recipes tend to run a little hot, and particularly corn on the cob, which tastes too "cobby" at 85C. I put a ear of corn in a bag with about a teaspoon of butter, juice of half a lime, and some chipotle chile powder to taste (say 1/2 teaspoon, although I never measure it), and cook it for 30 minutes at 63C.

I'm going to be teaching a class in modernist cuisine on October 17th, at Max's Restaurant in Santa Fe, that will feature a 10-course tasting menu. The menu will include a compressed watermelon topped with goat cheese and a balsamic vinegar pearl, a shrimp & crab mosaic made with meat glue and decorated with an avocado foam, sous vide asparagus topped with the perfect egg yolk and a Gewurtztraminer foam, a smoked spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, an intermezzo of melted sorbet encased in white chocolate, a mushroom-bacon cappuccino, 72-hour sous vide brisket and a vegetable medley, sous vide pears with vanilla-infused brandy, and a blue cheese foam and gelled port made on an Anti-Griddle to finish off the evening.

For the asparagus, I cook both white and green asparagus (in separate bags) for a hour at 83C. Then I put the green asparagus in a Thermomix and puree it to make a mousse, and serve it in the middle of a plate. Four stalks of white asparagus then radiate out from the center of mousse, and the perfect egg yolk is placed on top, then topped with the Gewurtztraminer bubbles.

For the vegetable medley, I'm planning to serve Moroccan carrots made with honey, vinegar, olive oil, smoked paprika, and ancho chile powder, and cooked sous vide at 83C for an hour, until tender.

Another interesting veggie will be salsify, prepared sous vide a la Alinea. Salsify used to be a common root vegetable, and is still popular in Europe, but I had never seen or tasted it until I saw some in Whole Foods. It's one of the ugliest looking things you've ever seem, like a gnarly dark brown carrot, and it's tricky to prepare. You need to wear disposable gloves when you peal and then wash it, because otherwise a very sticky sap will get all over your hands and require Goo Gone to remove. But the inside is a pearly white. Escoffier has several recipes, but recommends cooking in a Blanc. I had to look it up, but a Blanc is made with a tbs of flour, a liter of water, 2 tbs of lemon juice, a onion studded with a clove, and brought to a boil with the food to be cooked, then topped with a layer of fat such as beef kidney suet chopped finely. The purpose of all this is to keep the food from coming into contact with air and discoloring, but obviously this isn't necessary when you are cooking sous vide. The salsify is satisfying when just cooked in butter and dotted with fresh parsley, but it can also be breaded and fried briefly, or served with a cream sauce such as Béchamel.

I'm still trying to decide on the third vegetable. A julienne of red cabbage with butter and balsamic vinegar cooked sous vide is one possibility, as are sous vide Cipollinni onions (if I can find any).

The vanilla poached pears are from Jason Logsdon's "Beginning Sous Vide" book (as is the Moroccan carrot recipe, which I've jazzed up a bit). Instead of using vanilla paste, I use a couple of teaspoons of vanilla-infused brandy (made in a cream whipper using the nitrogen cavitation technique). After cooking the pears, they are sliced lengthwise and fanned out on the desert plate, with the juices poured over them. Delicious, and particularly so with a sweet white wine, such as a brandy-fortified Muscat from a notable New Mexico winery near Taos, La Chiripoda.

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Wow Robert, wish I was in Sante Fe, that all sounds fantastic.

I want to thank everyone for the advice on trying to rescue my ribs last week and all the suggestions for making a sous vide rig larger than my demi. I had actually bought all the pieces months ago, when it was clear I wasn't going to get roundtoit I broke down and bought the demi. I need to revisit what I bought for a pump and heating element as I'm going to take the advice and make it portable for different containers rather than mount it into a cooler permanently, sort of an ugly sous vide professional.

Try number 2 of my ribs goes on the hibachi tonight. I was going to eat very light all day in anticipation but Robert just put a kink in that idea, now I've got to have something tasty, and soon.

Thanks again.

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Sauce for brisket?

I'm trying to decide on a sauce for the medium rare sous vide brisket for my forthcoming class. I DON'T want a BBQ sauce, but something more classy/classical. The accompanying veggies (so far) will be sauteed salsify, Moroccan carrots, and a small serving of mushroom risotto.

Last night, I tried making the mustard sauce from the iSi "The Trick With The Whip." It called for 125 mm of veal veloute (for which I substituted the au jus from the cooked brisket), 200 ml of heavy cream, 40 g of Dijon mustard, 6 g of mustard powder, and a whopping 640 ml of water, poured into a cream whipper and charged with two cream chargers. (Since I was using a 500 ml ThermoWhip, I cut the proportions in half.)

What a disaster!

When I tried to release some of the foam onto a plate, it splattered everything within about a two foot radius!

I think the sauce was way too thin, and it perhaps could have been made without any water at all, then adding a bit to thin it out if necessary.

Another possibility might be the button mushroom espuma, from the same book. It calls for 250 g of mushrooms, 250 ml of heavy cream, 300 ml of veal stock, 90 ml of white wine, 90 g of creme fraiche, 1 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 shallots, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, and one sheet of gelatin if necessary. That sounds elegant, but it might be too creamy for the meat.

I'm inclined to think that the mustard sauce would add just the right amount of bite to perk up the rather bland brisket, if I can adjust the consistency.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

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Sauce for brisket?

I'm trying to decide on a sauce for the medium rare sous vide brisket for my forthcoming class. I DON'T want a BBQ sauce, but something more classy/classical. The accompanying veggies (so far) will be sauteed salsify, Moroccan carrots, and a small serving of mushroom risotto.

Last night, I tried making the mustard sauce from the iSi "The Trick With The Whip." It called for 125 mm of veal veloute (for which I substituted the au jus from the cooked brisket), 200 ml of heavy cream, 40 g of Dijon mustard, 6 g of mustard powder, and a whopping 640 ml of water, poured into a cream whipper and charged with two cream chargers. (Since I was using a 500 ml ThermoWhip, I cut the proportions in half.)

What a disaster!

When I tried to release some of the foam onto a plate, it splattered everything within about a two foot radius!

I think the sauce was way too thin, and it perhaps could have been made without any water at all, then adding a bit to thin it out if necessary.

Another possibility might be the button mushroom espuma, from the same book. It calls for 250 g of mushrooms, 250 ml of heavy cream, 300 ml of veal stock, 90 ml of white wine, 90 g of creme fraiche, 1 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 shallots, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, and one sheet of gelatin if necessary. That sounds elegant, but it might be too creamy for the meat.

I'm inclined to think that the mustard sauce would add just the right amount of bite to perk up the rather bland brisket, if I can adjust the consistency.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

That sounds like a typo in the recipe by a factor of 10. I would try it without any water and only add some if the first shot was too thick.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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My foie gras mousse is a sure thing if you want to use your ISI for a sauce...

150ml Duck or veal demi

150ml cream

150 grams foie cut into chunks

salt

Heat demi, put in a blender, add foie to emulsify, pulse with cream and it will be around room temp. Then charge with a single. This will be creamy too but there have been applications that I then drizzle with a reduction of sherry vinegar and honey. Makes a nice presentation.


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

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Sauce for brisket?

I'm trying to decide on a sauce for the medium rare sous vide brisket for my forthcoming class. I DON'T want a BBQ sauce, but something more classy/classical. The accompanying veggies (so far) will be sauteed salsify, Moroccan carrots, and a small serving of mushroom risotto.

Last night, I tried making the mustard sauce from the iSi "The Trick With The Whip." It called for 125 mm of veal veloute (for which I substituted the au jus from the cooked brisket), 200 ml of heavy cream, 40 g of Dijon mustard, 6 g of mustard powder, and a whopping 640 ml of water, poured into a cream whipper and charged with two cream chargers. (Since I was using a 500 ml ThermoWhip, I cut the proportions in half.)

What a disaster!

When I tried to release some of the foam onto a plate, it splattered everything within about a two foot radius!

I think the sauce was way too thin, and it perhaps could have been made without any water at all, then adding a bit to thin it out if necessary.

Another possibility might be the button mushroom espuma, from the same book. It calls for 250 g of mushrooms, 250 ml of heavy cream, 300 ml of veal stock, 90 ml of white wine, 90 g of creme fraiche, 1 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 shallots, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, and one sheet of gelatin if necessary. That sounds elegant, but it might be too creamy for the meat.

I'm inclined to think that the mustard sauce would add just the right amount of bite to perk up the rather bland brisket, if I can adjust the consistency.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

That sounds like a typo in the recipe by a factor of 10. I would try it without any water and only add some if the first shot was too thick.

That was my thought as well, Paul.

Interestingly, iSi has a recipe web site, at www.espumas.com. There they have the same recipe, cut in half for a smaller container, but with the same proportions. So if it's a typo, and I have to believe it is, then they've compounded the error.

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My foie gras mousse is a sure thing if you want to use your ISI for a sauce...

150ml Duck or veal demi

150ml cream

150 grams foie cut into chunks

salt

Heat demi, put in a blender, add foie to emulsify, pulse with cream and it will be around room temp. Then charge with a single. This will be creamy too but there have been applications that I then drizzle with a reduction of sherry vinegar and honey. Makes a nice presentation.

Interesting! And I just happen to have a little left over fois gras in the freezer. Now to find some veal demi glace.

Bob

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SV Spare Ribs.JPG

Pork Spare Ribs. Given a dry rub and then cooked for 12 hours (approx) at 80C. These were definitely falling-off-the-bone tender but a little too tender! They were quite a challenge to grill as keeping them together was almost impossible. Still they were exceedingly good. Next time I will try for 8 hours and see if I can reach something tender but not quite so falling apart tender. Since I was eating alone I opted to grill them indoors rather then light the outdoor grill - sheer laziness on my part.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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You might try lowering the temp, too. I recall MC's recommendation for pork ribs is 60C for 48 hours.


 

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You might try lowering the temp, too. I recall MC's recommendation for pork ribs is 60C for 48 hours.

The issue with the prolonged time, for me, is scheduling. I find such long times a bit of an issue with my life-style. But thanks for this suggestion. I did note that even Douglas Baldwin offered a longer time/lower temperature option.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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