Sous Vide Cooking and other gadgets

I have made many comments regarding several restaurants in the area and dishes, from time to time, that we like when we eat out.  I have been so enthusiastic about it at times that some have questioned do I ever eat at home.  Also on some people's minds, given my exuberance in the way I talk about eating out, some have questioned as to how much I might weigh. 

Well on that last part I am about average weight for someone with my height, 6'4", I have gained more than I would like but currently weigh 220-230lbs which is the most I have weighed in a while.  That said, and out of the way, I thought I would ask if anyone else on the food forum/board has tried or chooses Sous Vide way of cooking?

I'm (wife & I) basically new to Sous Vide cooking and the wife is still not sold on it and actually we are still in our infancy having just acquired a circulating wand and have only tried it once with a frozen steak.   I have to say though that it lived up to the hype and presented us with a perfectly cooked ribeye even from hard frozen.  I chose the Anova Precision cooker as my chosen Sous Vide device.

For those that might not know Sous Vide cooking is also called cooking from a water oven or simply is cooking in water as the medium rather than say an oven where the air around the item being cooked is the medium.  Sous Vide cooking usually involves putting what you are cooking in a sealed plastic bag such as a Foodsaver bag and them vacuum sealed.   Then you submerge the vacuum packed bag, with the food in it, into  the water oven, water bath, or container filled with water which is kept at a precise temperature by the Sous Vide instrument you choose to keep the water at the chosen temp.  

Say if you want to cook Chicken you might choose a temp of 165 degrees  and some sites you might check out to find out more is:

http://lifehacker.com/5868685/...at-youve-ever-tasted

another site is

http://www.seriouseats.com/201...sous-vide-steak.html

other still are:

http://www.sousvidesupreme.com...hat-is-sous-vide.htm

http://modernistcuisine.com/20.../why-cook-sous-vide/

https://anovaculinary.com/what-is-sous-vide/

http://www.seriouseats.com/201...sential-recipes.html

http://lifehacker.com/5868685/...at-youve-ever-tasted

I'm a gadget type person and usually have to have the most recent gadget of the month/year device in the kitchen to try out.  Naturally though it depends on the cost and practicality of the device but I usually like to try them all if given a chance.   I'd love to take a chief's/cooking course but don't know that I ever will fulfill that thought/desire but I also do like to fiddle around in the kitchen from time to time.  Please, also, don't take that as any comment on my wife's cooking as I view my wife an extraordinary and great cook, at least on the dishes and things that make me happy.  I'm no gourmet and don't get into many fancy dishes but what I like, I like, and so generally when we do eat at home it's from a small list and we don't get too fancy or impractical.

For those that might wonder the things I have purchased that I find most helpful and desired, in the kitchen and feel they work great and as advertised is the following:

NuWave Oven - a great tool/appliance I wouldn't be without - https://www.amazon.com/NuWave-...&keywords=nuwave

Tfal indoor precision grill  this thing does a great job on cooking steaks, paninis and other things even from frozen.  It does a great, accurate, job at calculating the time needed for cooking to a certain specified doneness or level and cleanup is not that bad as the plates are removable for washing - https://www.amazon.com/GC712D5...;keywords=tfal+grill   as a backup or alternate the Cuisinart Griddler 4N s a great choice - https://www.amazon.com/Cuisina...eywords=indoor+grill 

T-Fal Induction Cooktop - there are others but this one works well, just make sure your cookware isn't aluminum or glass or porcelain as those don't work - https://www.amazon.com/NuWave-...&keywords=nuwave

Borner V-Slicer - best slicer I've used and have had it for 20+ years now so it's durable even though I also kept a spare in case the original breaks  there are many brands and people that make these but I believe this Swiss/German company provides the best - https://www.amazon.com/Swissma...mp;keywords=v-slicer

T-Fal filtration Deep Fryer, this is the best and easiest clean up and changing out of grease/oil.  Ease of cleanup and oil handling alone warrants this deep fryer as a must buy - https://www.amazon.com/T-fal-F...;keywords=deep+fryer

Power Air Fryer XL, Yes this thing really works great and is healthy and provides great tasting food - https://www.amazon.com/Power-A...ords=power+air+fryer

Telebrands Orgreenic 10" frying pan, really good at non-stick performance but I only hate it's not compatible with Induction cooktops/elements     To be compatable with the induction cooktop I ordered the  Tristar products 10" pan https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Zyliss hand can opener  I like that it holds the lid after opening it and opens with very smooth edges- https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pressure Cooker - Electric and non-electric great for fast tender cooking  There are plenty good ones we liked the T-Fal - https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1   and for value the NuWave - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0170LT3VS?psc=1  and for electric consider Instant Pot or similar model - https://www.amazon.com/Instant...rds=pressure+cooking  Pressure Cooking food means it's cooked faster and under pressure and comes out very tender for many meats and foods that are usually tougher but be very careful not to use oil in a pressure cooker because unless it's specifically designed for pressure frying putting oil in a Pressure cooker can be dangerous or fatal to the user.

Last but not least a good slow cooker and Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker makes a great model Slow cooker - https://www.amazon.com/Hamilto...low+cooker&psc=1

Laser Temp probe measurer  great for checking liquid in a pan/pot or other foods without touching but no substitute for a temperature probe - https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1   Also you need a Digital folding temperature probe like this one - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TKWWUCU?psc=1  as the laser model is great and handy but the probe is essential also at times for a cook.

Hamilton Beach Iced Tea maker,  There are plenty of tea makers it's just that our luck with this one has been the best so I mention it here - https://www.amazon.com/Hamilto...maker+hamilton+beach

Another item a complete kitchen needs is a good set of mixing bowls.  I don't have these but have a similar product -  https://www.amazon.com/Rated-B...eywords=mixing+bowls

An Immersion hand blender is also handy , though no substitute for a regular blender or hand mixer even - https://www.amazon.com/Epica-4...eywords=hand+blender

 

Our greatest problem is at times coming up with counter space or storage space to store all the gadgets.  I/we don't always buy at Amazon.com but only occasionally when the price is best but in most cases I've bought at Kitchen Collection in an outlet mall or at Sam's Club or Bed Bath & Beyond when I could use a 20% discount coupon.  Also Target and WalMart has come good prices on some items, for instance the Sous Vide cooker, Target had a really good sale price on it the week before Christmas (this last week, $60.00 less than WalMart and $20.00 less than Amazon.com). 

I hope I haven't wasted your time reading this and hope some of you have found this interesting and in fact hope that some of you , if not all, will contribute by offering suggestions of what gadgets or tools you find most useful in your kitchen, with your cooking.  It's better than arguing and  debating politics and religion at least, okay an opinion there but at least it's mine.

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )
Original Post

For those that are interested in the Sous Vide immersion cooker that I chose and liked best here is the model

Anova  PCB-120US-K1 - https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's also available at Target - http://www.target.com/p/anova-...-cooker/-/A-50496808  

and at Walmart - https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ano...atts-Black/150921477

Many folks have said that they use ZipLoc freezer bags to cook in but I contacted ZipLoc who said that they do not recommend using their bags for sous vide cooking but then proved that they don't know what they were talking about when they said cooking in above boiling water.   Sous vide cooking is not cooking in above boiling water in fact most cookers will not allow you to set a temp that is equivalent with boiling water (212 degrees).   Most Sous Vide Cooking is done from 120 - 160 degrees determined by what is being cooked, the size of the portion being cooked and what the meat/food is.  Based on those parameters then a certain time and temperature is specified but I've not seen any example involving Sous Vide Cooking where boiling temps are used or specified.  

Other than ZipLoc bags most people/chef's/cooks use bags designed to be cooked in and specified for Sous Vide cooking.  There are several vacuum sealer bags which meet or are designed for this use and most recommend that you do vacuum seal the bag that you are going to cook in rather than using, say, a ZipLoc bag and attempting to squeeze or work as much air as you can get out.  

A nice advantage of cooking the Sous Vide method, other than precise temperature and getting exact doneness that you want is that you can seal in spices and marinade with your meat and it is cooked in with the meat/food.  The main thing is the finishing process where you brown your meat because it does come out looking less than desirable even though it's perfectly cooked and can be eaten as it comes out of the cooking bag.  

If you want to buy a good chefs or slicing knife, how do you know it's a good one?  There is one brand that is supposed to be good that costs maybe $100 at kitchen stores or $35 at national chains. If the quality is there, I'll pay.  How do you tell if it's the same quality knife?

I've always been told to look at the metal of the knife and if it extends all the way from tip to through the handle.  I know that gives  you no indication of just how good the knife is but it's just something I have heard.  The was also an argument a while ago, in cooks circles as to whether or not the best cutlery came from Germany or Japan.  Lately I have been using ceramic knives and find them to be very sharp and effective, but that's just me, and they are not the knives most of the chef's use, from what I've been told.  I just like how sharp they are.

Molybdenum when alloyed with Vanadium and steel is a long
lasting knife, Carbide is good as long as it's alloyed with steel, as
in the the Miyabi Artisan SG2. The ceramic knife is a little too
brittle for some uses but it is sharp 
I wanted a Unobtanium knife but it would've cost about
500,000 US smackaroonies.... 

 

Jack Flash posted:
Molybdenum when alloyed with Vanadium and steel is a long
lasting knife, Carbide is good as long as it's alloyed with steel, as
in the the Miyabi Artisan SG2. The ceramic knife is a little too
brittle for some uses but it is sharp 
I wanted a Unobtanium knife but it would've cost about
500,000 US smackaroonies.... 

 

Sounds like one of those elusive special Samurai Swords that disappeared during or after World War II.

Jack Flash posted:
I have a 10" vanadium type knife from my mother, It's probably
older than me and best one in the house. My wife won't even
use it, says it too sharp......... 

Most, knowledgeable, who know about the sharpest cutlery will say that you never feel the cut of the sharpest of knives but they inflict their damage without the person even knowing they were cut in the first place.  I'm speaking about accidental cutting that is.  It is a dull knife that tears as it cuts whereas the sharpest slices apart, the medium it's used on, without tearing.   I do not claim to know much about cutlery or knives or the best methods for sharpening them or keeping them sharp but I do know that it is an art.

Bestworking posted:

Sous vide cooker "gadget" . Pan, Ziploc or other freezer bag, clothes pin (optional). Or any approved plastic wrap, most will do, and drop in hot water.

I have seen many immersion cookers, made for sous vide cooking, cost an extremely high amount of money such that most home cooks would not venture to spend/invest that much in them.  The wand models are the most common, from what I've learned due to their lower cost, ability to use in many different containers, and portability while providing highly accurate water temps. 

ZipLoc was very careful to warn that none of their products should be used in sous vide cooking but in the same email they referenced sous vide cooking as being cooking in boiling water which from what all I have read is not sous vide cooking.   True Sous Vide cooking, from my understanding is mainly cooking in water that is most always kept below 180 degrees, where boiling is at 212 degrees.  From my understanding the key is knowing the time and temp to cook various meats or items in.  Then again I'm just learning about this form of cooking.

It works as a method of cooking, but it's not very fast.  And it's best to sear a steak on each side @ 500 degrees before serving--for maybe 30 seconds.

Many people just choose to cook their steaks on a gas or charcoal grill--quick and easy. 

The hot water method of cooking would be fine, but we don't exactly eat prime meat or high quality steak in this retail market.  We're lucky to even get choice grade meat here. 

Bestworking posted:

Why Ziploc bags are perfectly safe for sous vide cooking

No need to splurge on a vacuum sealer -- Ziploc bags are perfectly safe.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/wh...r-sous-vide-cooking/

 

I have heard the exact same thing and I personally believe ZipLock bags are great for cooking Sous Vide but found it interesting that when I wrote Zip Lock and inquired about if they still had a  pump that was mentioned in one Sous Vide post they replied and tried to state that their bags were not approved for Sous Vide cooking and even tried to caution against using them, which surprised me.

Here is the exact reply I got from them regarding what I had written them about:

"While at one time we did offer Ziploc® brand Vacuum Freezer Bags that featured a hand pump to remove the air from the bag, I’m sorry to share this product is no longer being made. However, please note, these bags were never recommended to be used for sous vide cooking.

Additionally, all Ziploc® brand Bags are not designed or approved to withstand the
extreme heat of boiling; therefore, using Ziploc® bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended.  Like all of SC Johnson's products, Ziploc® brand Bags can be used with confidence when label directions are followed. All Ziploc® containers and microwaveable Ziploc® bags meet the safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens, as well as room, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures.

Please share these facts with others who may have this misleading information. We also
encourage people to go to www.ziploc.com for more information on the proper use of this product.

Kind regards,

Jaycie
Consumer Relationship Center
SC Johnson, A Family Company
"

I personally would have no problem using ZipLock bags cooking with the Sous Vide method because the temperatures used in that type of cooking with the devices specified for Sous Vide cooking do not approach boiling temps as indicated by Jaycie, from ZipLock.   I also thought that if the bags are safe for Microwaving foods in them then surely they would be okay for Sous Vide cooking as indicated in the article that you posted and cited.  I think her reply to me was more generated from a legal happy concern than anything else fearing that, in this day and time, any little thing usually means a lawsuit from someone so to cover all bases they just take the stand they took.

 

Go for it gb. I'm not surprised at Ziploc, given that people sue everybody for everything. Sous Vide is not new, I have seen chefs use everything from Ziploc, to vacuum sealers, to plastic wrap to do it. You can use canning jars too.

===============================

We’ have been asked many times about the safety of cooking plastic bags. The bottom line is that bags made expressly for cooking sous vide are perfectly safe —as are oven bags, popular brands of zip-top bags, and stretchy plastic wrap such as Saran Wrap.

The plastic that these products are made of is called polyethylene. It is widely used in containers for biology and chemistry labs, and it has been studied extensively. It is safe. But, do avoid very cheap plastic wraps when cooking. These are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and heating them presents a risk of chemicals leaching into the food.

Cooking sous vide isn’t complicated or expensive. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we guide you through the various kinds of sous vide equipment and supplies available for home cooks, including how to improvise your own setup. Check back later in the week when we share such methods using equipment you probably already own.

http://modernistcuisine.com/20.../why-cook-sous-vide/

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