EPIC GAME-CHANGERS: Sous Vide
The cooking technique is called sous vide (pronounced “soo-VEED”). It guarantees that you will never overcook your food again. Even if you forget about it and let it cook too long, it will still be perfectly cooked and maintained at a set temperature. I know. It sounds too good to be true.
The circulator is essentially a stick you can place into any water vessel to heat the water to the desired temperature. The device maintains that exact temperature while also circulating the water around the vessel so that the food cooks evenly. Once the temperature of the food reaches the set temperature, it stops cooking further. If the temperature was set to 135 degrees and needed to cook for one hour, once it has done this, it wouldn’t cook further. You actually could come back five hours later; the food has been maintained at that temperature, and the meat would be perfectly done.
One thing the sous vide method will not do is produce a brown crust on the outside of your meat, nor will it turn chicken skin crispy. The solution is to sear it afterward. You don’t want to skip this step because while your steak might be perfectly cooked on the inside, there is nothing perfect about a limp, gray-colored steak. Sear it for a couple of minutes on each side in a hot skillet right before serving. As long as the skillet is super-hot, you shouldn’t have to worry about the extra cooking time raising the temperature of the interior of what was cooked.
The sous vide circulator is in the shape of a wand, and some models come with Bluetooth capabilities. They are also available in different wattages and styles. I have the Anova 1000-watt model. The wattage basically determines how quickly your water will heat up. They are available at different prices, and they can get pricey. Mine cost $190. I bought a second one which is the Anova 750 watt which sells for about $100. Patience will save you money if you don’t mind waiting a bit longer. When comparing models, the Anovas stack up well.
The only other expenses are the sous vide containers. You don’t have to buy one. You can use a Dutch oven, but the containers made for sous vide cooking are really nice. They run about $60, and I’d recommend you stock two sizes: the 12-gallon and the 18-gallon sizes. Also, some racks to hold the bags in the correct positions are a good addition.
I know this is pricey, but if you are serious about what you are serving, this is a wonderful technique to use. If nothing else, using the sous vide setup to simply make soft-boiled eggs, perfect steaks, and pork chops so moist you will claim they are beyond comparison will justify the expense. It is indeed a real game-changer.
EPIC GAME-CHANGERS: Vacuum Sealers
There was Joe Montana, Tiger Woods, Sox, and Julia Childs. When I think of game changers, these three immediately come to mind. I’ve recently added vacuum sealers and sous vide to my list. To my way of thinking, they are game changers also.
First off, vacuum sealers are practical machines that can save money. By allowing you to keep your food fresh longer, there is less wastage, and less ends up in the landfill or going down your disposal. And as a result, you can buy in bulk resulting in your food costing less.
A vacuum sealer should end up paying for itself over time. Ice crystals won’t form nearly as quickly, nor will the contents suffer from freezer burn because most of the air has been removed.
The more sophisticated models have a pulse feature when the air is being removed, so you will be able to freeze bread without totally crushing the loaf. They also do a better job shrink-wrapping liquid contents. Top-of-the-line will cost under $200, but I think it is well worth it. The vacuum bags are also perfect for sous vide cooking.
This segues me into this wonderful way of cooking where food that has been sealed in plastic is dropped into hot water to cook. The cooking technique guarantees that you will never overcook your food again. Even if you forget about it and let it cook too long, it will still be perfectly cooked. I know. It sounds too good to be true.
Product: Nesco Deluxe Food VS-12 Vacuum Sealer, 130 watts, Kit bags and viewing lid, compact silver. $109.98