Monday, January 3, 2011

My Life Under Vacuum

As self-admitted in previous blogs, I have a bit of an addictive personality.  And if you know me at all, you know that I am completely addicted to food.  Cooking, eating, baking, sharing... if it involves food, I'm in.  

I have, in my many hours of watching the Food Network, seen numerous different chefs (professional and aspiring) use the sous vide method in the effort to produce impeccable and delectable results.  I was intrigued to say the least.  So, when I received the tremendous gift of a sous vide machine, I was first shocked that I, a humble home cook with no 'formal training', had before me a machine that most people have never even heard of and was secondly, quite excited to start experimenting.  

If you fall into the category of wondering what the heck a sous vide machine is, you are not alone.  Sous vide, French for "under vacuum", is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath.  Often for extended periods of time, like the leg of lamb I am currently sous vide-ing for my mother's birthday, a mere 48 hours, at an accurately determined temperature much lower than normally used.  The aforementioned leg of lamb is chillin' out at 62°C.  The intention behind this method of cooking is to maintain the integrity and nutrition of ingredients.  The perk is that we have enjoyed succulent cuts of meat of all kinds that are, in our opinion, restaurant quality at a much more affordable price.  

So, as said, my addiction has caused me to sous vide pretty much anything I can get my hands on.  My first attempt was a couple of baseball cut sirloins with a dash of spice and a bit of garlic and ginger.
Vacuum packed steaks, ready for the sous vide machine.

I slipped them into the machine at 56°C, the scientifically determined temperature for medium-rare meats, for a couple hours until my husband returned from his basketball practice.  The beauty of the machine is that it never goes above your selected temperature, so even though my husband was running late, our steaks were not overcooked, dried out, or resembling something like a hockey puck.
No, instead I eased the tender steaks from the bag to flash sear them before serving, let them rest, and sliced into the perfectly medium-rare steak like it was a slab of soft butta.  
My husband likes this picture because it "fully encapsulates the sexiness that this steak was."  'Nough said.

And we can cook more than just a perfect steak; medium-rare from edge to edge and succulent as could be.  You can do stews, curries, vegetables, fruits, even a chocolate ganache.  It saves you money since you can purchase cheaper cuts of meat as the machine tenderizes as it cooks and there are no lost nutrients as when you boil or steam items.  For all of the perks, check this out: 

I picked up a discounted lamb rack during the holidays; I was tired and had little patience to make a big fancy dinner.  Instead, I just threw some spices on the lamb, chucked it into a vac-pac, slipped it into the machine, and walked away to complete other holiday tasks.  4 hours later, we were enjoying the most tender and flavorful lamb I have ever had.
I have since made a pork roast, a leg of lamb, baby back ribs, and all kinds of awesome.  And I came home yesterday with the Sunday grocery run full of meats to try in the sous vide machine.  A curried pork roast, a couple lemon garlic cod, caper butter Basa filets, and a couple more steaks for good measure.  

A friend asked me the other day if I would be interested in starting up a supper club.  A time for us to share quality food and friendship together.  Have you been listening to anything I've been blogging?  Is your mouth watering at the sight of the juicy cuts of yum above?  Interested in a supper club.... *pfft*  Hell yeah I am!


  1. That steak looks awesome!

  2. It tasted exponentially better than it looked :)

  3. That was me, by the way... just a crazy habit of posting anonymously.