Showing posts from 2010

SousVide Supreme Demi: Initial Thoughts On Stability

When I first started cooking sous-vide, the holy grail was temperature accuracy and stability.  I think this is very important for certain applications such as eggs, and for professionals and sous vide geeks.  However, if you are a general home user, I don't think accuracy and stability to within 1º is of the utmost importance.   That being said, I know this is important for most of the regular readers of this blog.  Unfortunately, I have a job and I don't own a high quality data logger (*), so I am not able to give you a super accurate reading on the temperature of the water bath.  I will tell you that I recently ran a 136ºF short rib from one to three days inside of the SousVide Supreme Demi.  I checked in to see what the readings of the SVS Demi's PID controller, and would see it vary from 135F - 137F.  I confirmed some of these readings with digital thermometer that was rated with +/- 1ºF accuracy. That being said, I want to rerun some tests to see if I can get diffe

Free SousVide Supreme Demi, Thermapen and Book Sample

Free stuff alert!  Santa or whatever gift bearing icon you don't believe in must have low temperature cookery on the mind this year.  Here are three opportunities to get some free stuff: Thermoworks is  giving away one Thermapen a week.  The Thermapen is an accurate and fast digital thermometer, which is great for verifying the temperature of your water bath and your food.  This sweepstakes does require liking/following them on Facebook and then officially entering via their Facebook page. EAT LLC is also giving away a SousVide Supreme Demi package including an SVS Demi, an SVS Vacuum Sealer (with vacuum bags) and Douglas Baldwin's Sous Vide For The Home Cook .   Jason Logsdon is also offering up a bunch of chapters of his new book for the someone just starting to get into Sous Vide here .   Good luck on the sweepstakes!

Ask Pablo: Two Sous Vide Supreme Demi's Or One Classic

Reader Chris asked me on twitter : bob_mcbob @pablo_escolar if you had a choice, do you think you would prefer one SousVide Supreme or two Demis? This is a somewhat tricky question for two reasons: I haven't finished using the SousVide Supreme Demi .   We'll just pretend the device just plain works as advertised for now. On some level I refute the premise of the question as it is asking exclusively about SousVide Supreme products.  Therefore, I will give an answer, and then ask and answer a second question. My answer is really simple.  I would rather have two SousVide Supreme Demi's (assuming that they work as advertised).  The reason for this is pretty straight forward.  To date, I have never cooked anything that wouldn't fit inside of a single Demi.  The only thing that might have come close was the four pound sous vide octopus .  Now, I live with my woman and don't have a family or a lot of guests over, so I don't end up cooking for much more than four

Sous Vide Supreme Demi Review: Aesthetics

It's funny.  When I first saw the announcement for the  Sous Vide Supreme Demi , I really wasn't impressed with the size reduction.  Twelve percent doesn't sound like a lot, and as an NYC apartment dweller, I can tell you that countertop and storage space are the most valuable commodity in my kitchen. After unboxing the Sous Vide Supreme Demi and putting it on my counter, I can say it feels significantly smaller than the original unit.  Since I don't have a SousVide Supreme handy, lets go to the chalkboardathon 3000: SousVide Supreme Demi To SousVide Supreme Original Comparison The third box is an overlay of the SousVide Supreme Demi over the original.  Maybe I just haven't seen the original in awhile, but this one seems significantly smaller.  My woman had a similar reaction to seeing the Demi.  Except her reaction was followed by the slight sadness that comes from knowing that the kitchen is going to be in the constant state of disrepair that is inevitable

Sous Vide Supreme Demi Review: Part 0

Front Panel of the SousVide Supreme Demi Just got this in the mail today.  Will do a full review of the SousVide Supreme Demi . Speaking of things that I got in the mail, I also received an answer to a previously asked question about the Sous Vide Supreme Demi : Also – per the question your posted on your blog, I wanted to get back to you about the size/volume of the Demi. Space-wise it is 80% the volume of the regular SousVide Supreme, but depending on what you’re cooking, actual cooking volume could be as low as 60% capacity. It would be accurate to say that depending upon on the size of food portions being cooked, the SousVide Supreme Demi has a cooking capacity of between 60% and 80% of the SousVide Supreme. The SousVide Supreme holds 20 four- to six-ounce portions of food. While  the SousVide Supreme Demi holds up to 12 four-ounce portions of food; 12/20 = 60%. Check back soon for the part one of the review! Update: Part one of the review is here.

Two Awesome Sous Vide Magic Hacks

Reading  this  thread on eGullet reminded me about another thread on the Fresh Meals Solutions  support  site.  It isn't surprising, because both threads had awesome posts from one PedroG .  His awesomeness is proven by these two datapoints: 1. SVM Powered Immersion Circulator PedroG wrote: My suggestion for the not so skillful: Buy a SousVide Magic 1500D (160$) plus a mantled  1000W immersion heater  (36$) ... plus an  aquarium air pump  (10$), fix the silicon tubing of the aquarium bubbler and the sensor of the SousVideMagic to the stainless steel guard of the immersion heater, and use it with any pot you have at hand. And here you are for 206$ without any tinkering Basically, turn your SVM into an Immersion Circulator.  The air pump circulates and the immersion heater gets hooked up to the SVM. 2. SVM/FMM In The Hottub Pedro strikes twice  in the same thread.  This time he demonstrates how to use the SVM/FMM to turn your hot tub into a giant (130L!) sous vide water bath

KitchenAid Chef Touch System Pricing

Looks like Jean Francois scoops everyone (again) by digging up the pricing on the apparently batshit-crazy high end Kitchenaid Chef Touch System .  His sources state: Vacuum chamber : 2,950  € incl. VAT / ($4099 USD) Shock Freezer : 5,000 € incl. VAT / ($6947.50 USD) Oven : steam ( 1,550 € / $2153.72 USD) combi (1,850 € / $2570.57 USD) incl. VAT Kitchen high cabinet : 2,700 € incl. VAT / ($3751.65 USD) Total = 12,500 € (combi oven) incl. VAT (approx. 17,500 USD) This sounds like madness, but the truth is, most of this pricing isn't too far off the mark... if you are buying restaurant quality equipment.  Combine that with the fact that you get a clean, home kitchen quality aesthetic, and the pricing isn't insane, assuming the quality is there.  I wonder if this will find success in new construction of luxury homes/apartments, because I have a hard time imagining the person who buys this for an existing home.    Previously , I joked before about MTV Cribs, but now I thin

SousVide Supreme Demi: Quick Glance

UPDATE: Received a demo unit for review purposes. The review starts here . The folks that brought us the SousVide Supreme released a new smaller, model called the SousVide Supreme Demi .  The Demi appears to be their iPod Mini version of the Sous Vide Supreme.  It's less expensive, comes in a number of colors, and has a smaller footprint. SousVide Supreme Demi So, let's collect some data from the SousVide Supreme website and do some maths:

Rene Redzepi, A Culinary Terroirist

It is pretty awesome that the NYPL continues to bring in chefs like Ferran Adria, Dan Barber, and now, David Chang and Rene Redzepi.  For my readers who are not whores to the culinary world, you should know that Rene Redzepi is the executive chef of Copenhagen's Noma.  Noma recently displaced El Bulli on San Pellegrino's Best 50 restaurants, ending Ferran Adria's half-decade run as the king of the hill.  You now know exactly what I knew prior to attending this event. Given that I now have exactly one hour and twenty minutes worth of listening to him speak, I think we can all agree that I can now speak with great authority on who he is.  After all, I am a blogger. Rene Redzepi was the test tube baby of Ferran Adria's innovation, Thomas Keller's execution and specks of Dan Barber's vision and raconteurism.  I'll save you a google search raconteurism... not a word. As far as raconteurism goes, a great thread that I would put here if I were a more talented

Dining Politics In The Wild

Sorry readers, I know you haven't gotten much love lately.  If you are a 'foodie' or at the very least a thoughtful customer of restaurants, there have been some great posts to chew on lately.  First up, The fine folks at BlackenedOut discuss the finer points of cash only restaurants. Gourmet Live gives you more than you can imagine on the subject of tipping.  It begins with the Mr. Pink diatribe on tipping from Reservoir Dogs and then does a excellent job of arguing Mr. Pink's side. Finally, a customer (who also happened to be president of the Wild Salmon Center in Portland) was  banned from a restaurant for suggesting, or possibly confronting that they not serve blue fin tuna. I'll write about these things, but I know most of you don't come here for what I have to say on that.  So, don't you worry, I have a couple of other great sous-vide/modernist posts coming up too.  And tomorrow, I go see Rene Redzepi, David Chang and Ruth Reichl talk at the

White Tuna Explained (Escolar vs. Albacore)

I am not the first person on the Internet to tell you that White Tuna is a confusing order at the sushi bar.  While there are a host of fish that can be mislabeled as White Tuna, the two most common ones are the Albacore Tuna and our dreaded and delicious friend, the Escolar . What Is White Tuna? I worked really hard to source both fish in a raw form so that I could bring you pictures.  And by 'worked really hard', I really mean: I would keep going to the same fishmonger and ask them if they had Escolar and Albacore.  Escolar isn't very difficult to find but Albacore can be problematic.  Finally, I found some at the Lobster Place  in Chelsea Market. So, let's take a quick look:

Sous Vide Historical Note: Count Rumford

If you read the Sous Vide article at wikipedia, you will notice an uncited reference to Count Rumford discovering sous vide. Now, there are two banes to my existence, wikipedia and uncited references. Since wikipedia content is religiously stolen, aggregated and republished, Google becomes useless when trying to hunt down the minutia that keeps me going. Fortunately, I managed to hunt down the essay written by Count Rumford. I should I say eſſay. Or ſhould I ſay eſſay? Because, apparently, as late as 1802 we were still using the long s . Which makes reading Count Rumford's ſeminal eſſay, "Of the imperfections of the Kitchen Fire-places now in common uſe" a real delight. You people owe me. This essay, which could be found in 1802's timeless classic Essays, political, economical, and philosophical, Volume 3 not only gives us valuable insight into the culinary happenings of the 1800's, but also gives us one of the earliest documented efforts of low temp

KitchenAid's Chef Touch: Whirlpool's Foray Into Sous Vide Appliances

Jean-François, over at,  posted about KitchenAid's first foray into a sous vide solution: Chef's Touch .  As a casual observer of the consumer sous vide market, I am excited to see the one of the largest home appliance manufacturers dip a toe into the space.  So excited, that I scoured their website trying to absorb as much as possible. QUICK RUNDOWN OF THE  KITCHENAID CHEF TOUCH Image of the KitchenAid Chef Touch Their website indicates that the Chef's Touch Solution is comprised of three parts:

DIY PolyScience Form-Factor Smoke Guns Part II

In Part I of my guide to replicating the PolyScience Smoking Gun, we discussed the basics of the gun as well as previous DIY attempts.  In this segment, I will walk you through my process for making your own smoke gun with some very simple parts. Even though this guide will produce a working smoke gun, in the end, you will not have a PolyScience Smoking Gun.  You will have something that looks similar to one, but most likely will not be as durable.  Even with some of the improvements I plan to make in the future, it is unlikely that this is as good as a PSG. PolyScience specifically mentions details that makes me believe this device is different under the hood.  I am willing to bet that theirs will survive longer and get better results.  For example, they  mention  a "Heavy-duty metal blower fan".  Cursory examination did not reveal anything resembling sturdy construction.  That being said, you can't beat the price, and if you find yourself burning out the DIY ones,

DIY PolyScience Form-Factor Smoke Guns Part I

Smoke guns are culinary gadgets used to apply smoke to food.  Under the hood, these devices are basically handheld electric vacuums with a pipe attached to the input nozzle.  You turn on the vacuum, apply fire to the pipe, the vacuum pulls the fire into the pipe, setting the woodchips or herbs in the pipe on fire.  The smoke travels through the vacuum and out through the exhaust, and onto your dish.  They are far less cumbersome than stovetop smokers and are great if you just want to give smokiness to any dish.  While  PolyScience sells one of these units for approximately $80, a lot of people made their own version.  Oh lookie, here comes one now: Chadzilla's MINI-VAC Smoker.  Cite: These DIY  models  were based on the  Mini-Vac  vacuum, which you can buy off of  Amazon  for about $17.   This approach is pretty functional, and all said and done probably costs $25-30 to construct, not including your labor. Alternatively, you can buy one of these pre-constru

Jelloware: Edible Agar Agar Cups (SquishyCups)

Squishycups! Cite: TheWayWeSeeTheWorld Such a simple and clever idea .  Agar Agar is a hydrocolloid derived from a sea algae, making it vegan.  It has all kinds of great culinary purposes, and now we can add another one. Many great applications ahead for the use of edible, flavored cups... if they aren't too squishy or slimy. Would this work for cocktails?  Pour some Patron into a margarita shot glass.  Tomato glass with horseradish infused vodka?  Think that's gross? No worries, it is also biodegradable/compostable.

Escolar: The World's Most Dangerous Fish

Escolar is the most controversial fish that you are likely to find in your fish market. This firm, white fleshed fish has an incredibly rich flavor, often described as 'succulent', or a fattier version of swordfish. Why so rich? It turns out that Escolar's diet contains food high in wax esters. Wax esters that are really difficult for Escolar to digest. As a result, these esters build up in the fish. Where is the controversy in a buttery, delicious fish? I would say it is in the laxative like effect it has on a certain percentage of the population. Well, a 'laxative like effect' is how my fish monger described it. Others would describe it as closer to diahhrea. An expert would call it 'keriorrhoea'. Literally translated, it means 'flow of wax'. Oily orange droplets pouring out your pooper.  Keriorrhoea occurs because the wax esters in the flesh of the fish pool up in your intestine. Some reports of Escolar related illness include cramp

Fat Tuesday: Weighting For Godot

It has been several months since The Health Scare That Was Mostly In My Head.  This blessing in wolves' clothing was the final push necessary to affect change. The good news is that the time it is taking to lose weight is lightyears faster than the time it took to gain it.  The bad news is, I still have a ways to go. I gained weight gradually.  Maybe, a pound or two a year.   It's easy.  You just sit there. The weight finds you. Every couple of years, my pants would go from fitting well, to getting tight, to fitting well again, to not fitting.  It wasn't till the second time it happened that I realized the fitting well again stage was just my waistline moving south. The secret to my success is not rocket science.  I do the following: Exercise:   Not even that much.  I try to go 2-3x a week for 30 minutes. Eat More Good Stuff:   Salads.  Chicken.  Fish.   Eat Less Bad Stuff:  Red Meat.  Pork.  Fat.  Pork Fat.   Eat Out Less:   For me, restaurants means fatfuck

Altered Tastes: Epoisses

I am sorry for folks who are new to the blog, expecting me to be all sous-vide this and sous-vide that.  I promise I will get back to you with your regularly scheduled broadcasting.  But in the interim, I need to continue to write about the trip to France.  Paris was amazing, and there were many delicious meals.  Summing them up quickly: Bistro Paul Bert, Comptoir Du Relais, Chateaubriand, L'Atalier du Joel Robuchon, and the wedding I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.  I am pretty sure those five meals accounted for about 30 individual plates of food, if not more.  All of them awesome, special and deserving more detail than you are going to get. Day 1 Route After the aforementioned wedding, we rented a car with the plan of driving around France looking for adventure and cheese and wine.  We left Paris and headed for the number one place I wanted to go to.  Epoisses.  The actual town where the cheese is made. The first time I had this amazing cheese was at Artisanal

Altered Tastes: Baguettes And Your Grandmother's Corpse

If you are serious about cooking or even if you are like me and failed out of cooking school, France is pretty much the motherland of cuisine.  Many of the foundations of professional cooking from sauces to restaurant structure have solid origins in French culture.   Try to have a serious conversation about cooking without using a French word.  I dare you. View From A Cafe My trip to France was revelatory on many levels.  Like a first time acid trip forever destroying your seemingly sufficient world-view, replacing it with a gigantic, important, awe-inspiring, utterly confusion nest of unanswered questions.  This amazing experience was broken up into two discrete parts: A week in Paris that culminated at a wedding, followed by a week of driving around and exploring the French countryside. Paris smelled of piss and baguettes.  Architecturally beautiful, with parks and fountains.  The people were cosmopolitan cold... bordering on rude.  In other words, It's just like home, on

Low-Technique: Manual Sous Vide

If you had told someone you were going to cook sous-vide, they would have probably looked at you like you had two faces.  And if they did, by some chance, know what sous vide cooking was, they would have thought you had over a thousand dollars worth of equipment.  Now-a-days, with home appliances like the Sous Vide Magic and the Sous Vide Supreme, people would think that you were cooking with several hundreds of dollars of equipment. The truth is, all you really need to cook utilizing the sous-vide method is the ability to put some plastic-wrapped product into a temperature controlled container of water.  While not the first to do it, Martin Lersch made a sous vide rib-eye just by using a big pot of water, a thermometer and a plastic bag. This is not your only option.  If you don't like the idea of having a constant heat source going (e.g. the burner or you can also take the pot and try and put it in the oven), you can also use J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's beer cooler sous vide te

Low-Technique: The Anti-Griddle

As the name suggests, The PolyScience Anti-Griddle is a flat-top cooking apparatus that uses extreme cold instead of extreme heat to modify the texture and flavors of food.  The cooking surface is a metal sheet approximately 15" x 9" that is cooled to -30ºF by specialized refrigeration gear.    This can be used to create some unique dishes or components.  Examples include: The Moto team used the Anti-Griddle to make crepes on a recent episode of Future Food   Grant Achatz's  Mango , Bonito, Soy, Sesame course at Alinea PolyScience's own Philip Preston makes a creme anglaise lollipop by griddling both sides but leaving the center creamy Most home cooks cannot afford the 1000$ price tag.  The good news is that you can simulate the AntiGriddle at home provided you can get your hands on some dry ice.  A number of people have talked about AntiGriddle hacks before, but the first mention I could find came from Nick Kokonas.  Nick is Grant Achatz's

The Foie Gras Fight

I think there is a huge misconception about the goals of animal rights groups.  My reason is that every time an animal rights group attacks  the foie gras industry, you see people defend the treatment of the ducks used to make foie gras.  Statements like: Ducks aren't like people.  They don't feel pain during gavage . or: Why go after foie gras when we all know that the commercial chicken industry is a much bigger offender. There are two key points that I want to raise about the enemy of foie gras: They want to stop the slaughter of all animals , no matter how they are treated while they are alive.  While I think they are able to perceive the areas between downright animal cruelty and the more respectful means of raising and slaughtering animals, most of these groups really want all animal slaughter to go away.  That is the end goal.  I don't say this out of paranoia, or fear that they'll take away our meatz, I say this because they think that killing animals

Fat Tuesday: Swordfish Sous Vide

I think that most fish cooked sous-vide is a little over rated.  There is something about the texture that just doesn't work for me.  There are a couple of notable exceptions:  Swordfish, Monkfish and Skate.  With both Swordfish and Monkfish, you can get thick cuts of dense fish that remain incredibly moist, and you can achieve some amazing textures. Alas, I didn't take any other pictures.  Swordfish (thicker the cut the better), lemon zest, salt and pepper.  This was tossed into a 127F bath.  Lemon zest is an amazing ingredient when used in sous vide cooking.  It results in a very powerful and clear lemony flavor.  After the bath, I seared it in a cast iron pan.  The only warning I have with fish in sous vide, besides the texture/consistency issues, is that it will turn to mush if you let it cook too long.    The great thing about this was I used a minimal amount of fat (just the oil in the pan for searing).  Pretty low in fat, not many calories, omega-3s, de

Fat Tuesday: Intro

Welcome to Fat Tuesdays, where I talk about health and obesity.  You might find some healthy recipes, some rants against the establishment, and a lot of self deprecating humor.  There are a lot of reasons why I want to write about health, but the biggest reason I have started to take the issue of health personally is: For most of my adult life I have seen my weight increase steadily, with my BMI starting at nineteen (19) and ratcheting up to a whopp[er]ing thirty-four (34).  For those of you who do not have the scale memorized, a 19 is in the normal range.  Thirty-four is solidly in the obese range and getting close to morbidly obese .  While there is no confusing whether or not I am fat, I wear it reasonably well enough that most people are surprised to hear I am this unhealthy. It sucks to be obese, but to have morbidly obese on your horizon is fucking terrifying.  But it still wasn't enough to change my ways.  My ways were, by the way, that of any food loving, gainfully

FreshMealsMagic: Octopus Sous Vide Part II

As we already know, I cannot get enough of octopus.  I feel bad, because they are very intelligent creatures.  But, if they were so intelligent, wouldn't they find a way to be less delicious?  Or evolve, industrialize and hunt us for food?  I had a whole octopus vacuum sealed in the freezer.  So I defrosted it, splashed in some olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.  Cranked up the FMM to 176F and tossed it into my water bath. I've talked about cooking octopus sous-vide .  This is one of those sous vide applications that just. makes. sense.  Octopus can be a finicky beast.  Cook it right and it is fucking amazing.  Cook it wrong and you are chewing on cephalopod chewing gum.   The great thing about using the Fresh Meals Magic here is just the shear amount of space available compared to other water baths that I've used.  I also took the liberty to cook some sweet potato in the same bath.   It was going to be octo-taco night (or for the truly int