Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sous Vide Experiment

My good friend David Gilbert has changed jobs and is gradually moving his belongings to San Antonio - to be the Executive Chef at the luxurious Eilan hotel. I managed to persuade him to loan me his water bath and circulator so I could try to do a bunch of sous vide cooking. I know he will want the equipment back as soon as he has some breathing room, so I need to work fast.

The challenges that I wish to undertake are:

  1. What will it take to make chicken breasts tasty?
  2. Can sous vide cooking do a good job with duck confit?
  3. Fish? - A huge topic all on its own. But I can think of several fun things to try - just like any other protein.
  4. If I precook a bunch of interesting stuff sous vide, can I freeze it, and then finish the cooking (sear or whatever) at a later date?
  5. What happens if I sous vide cook things with a sauce around them? Do sauces "make themselves" this way?
  6. What effects do various flavouring agents (especially herbs) have on the taste of the ingredients?
  7. What about vegetables? - We had some excellent parsnips at this event , so it made me wonder what would happen with other root vegetables.
  8. Eggs - lots of them. Eggs cooked in the circulator are fantastic. The trick is peeling the buggers afterwards. How long can a circulator cooked egg keep?
  9. More normal/conventional things - like cooking nice cuts of beef and searing them.
  10. What happens to cheese in the vacuum bag? - I suspect that nothing good will happen, but I have no idea! Temperature will be critical.
  11. Using the circulator quite cool as a rapid defrost mechanism. The trick of defrosting in cold tapwater is fine, but wasteful of water.
I am sure that many have tried these things before, and I could look up what they have done. But it is so much more fun to experiment. That's the nice thing about working from home - I can set and forget, leaving the circulator to do its thing while I am wrestling technology alligators to the ground.

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