I got an Anova Precision Cooker
-- a sous vide cooker which is well-reviewed
, not terribly expensive and with a $50 off sale from Anova at the moment. Apparently those sales happen repeatedly.
The Anova cooker clamps on to the side of a pot rather than coming with its own pot, and it has a timer which just beeps rather than controlling the cooker.
Anyway, sous vide is putting food in a vacuum-sealed packet, then simmering it at a controlled temperature for a while. It has a reputation for cooking meat wonderfully-- partly because it gets the whole piece to a cooked temperature without over-cooking anything, and partly because none of the flavor goes off into the air making the kitchen smell good. If you want a dark, tasty surface, you use a propane torch or a hot skillet.
You don't have to use a vacuum sealer, you can use a zip-lock bag. I'm not worrying about danger from cooking in plastic on the assumption that people who worry about it seem to be running on general principles and I'm not likely to be sousviding more than once a week. If there's more evidence (preferably with information about dose and risk), let me know.
I found that after I got the cooker, I couldn't get myself to cook some meat, and decided that the problem was that I normally cook as a result of coming up with a combination of foods which seems really good to me, and it just wasn't happening with meat. Modernist Cooking Made Easy
has a recipe
for French Scrambled Eggs which looked interesting.
Scrambled Eggs Sous Vide Recipe
Scrambled eggs sous vide are one of the more interesting dishes to cook. The resulting texture is much more like a custard than the sometimes rubbery scrambled eggs we're used to here in America.
Scrambled Eggs Sous Vide
Time: 18 Minutes
Temperature: 167F / 75C
Scrambled Eggs Sous Vide Ingredients
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
3 Pieces of bacon, cut into lardons
1 Tablespoon basil, cut into strips
Parmesan Cheese for grating
Scrambled Eggs Sous Vide Directions
Preheat your sous vide setup to 167F.
To make the scrambled egg mixture beat together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper until mixed well. Grate a few tablespoons of the cheese into the scrambled egg mixture then pour the mixture into a sous vide pouch and add the butter.
Seal the pouch lightly, shutting off the vacuum when the eggs get close to the opening. A good way to help with this is to hang the sous vide pouch off the edge of your counter when sealing it.
Once the sous vide setup has preheated, add the pouch with the scrambled eggs to it. You will be initially cooking it for around 10 minutes.
While the scrambled eggs are cooking, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy.
After 10 minutes take the egg pouch out of the water and massage it to break up the eggs. Return it to the sous vide setup and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until the mixture begins to firm up.
I basically followed the recipe, except that I included some cooked wild rice and basmati brown rice and some spinach with the bacon, and I'd say it serves one.
The eggs were very nice, and I speak as one who generally doesn't like soft scrambled eggs and has to kind of remember that my tastes have changed since I was a kid to enjoy raw egg yoke. I kept looking at what was on my fork and thinking "that's soft scrambled eggs-- do I actually want that?", and then I'd eat some more of it.
I'm planning to check information about time and temperature and then cook some meat with salt and pepper so I've got some information for my intuition to work with.
More recipes: I'd been irrationally lusting for a copy of Modernist Cuisine
. Not only is it way too expensive for me, but it's huge (but with gorgeous pictures), and I almost certainly wouldn't get around to reading it or using it very much. It has a website
with many recipes, and I've heard good things about the macaroni and cheese
You can find a way to search the recipes by using the hard-to-notice menu icon in the upper left corner and going to "recipes".
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