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Saturday, November 16, 2013

4 Months of Modernist Cuisine

It's been a while since I last posted about Modernist Cuisine, which is still my go-to book for cooking at home. For me, at least, it's significantly transformed my food preferences as well as the amount of cooking I'd do at home. I've done Creme Brulee, 72-hour short ribs, pressure cooked chicken adobo, and used the pressure cooker and sous vide machine far more than I ever expected to. I've applied to pressure cooker to even some of my favorite recipes outside the book, such as beef rendang and Japanese curry, to good effect---the time it takes to make those dishes have been cut down dramatically and the food quality has improved.

As for the Sous Vide Supreme Demi, I found myself appreciating it more after borrowing a DorkFood setup from a friend of mine. First, it's useful to have a second sous vide machine because while you have a 72 hour short rib cooking for 3 days, you might want to cook other stuff. But second, the slow cooker variants are slow! With the Sous Vide Supreme Demi, I can dump water straight from the tap into the machine and expect the machine to come up to temperature within 30 minutes even if it was ice cold water. No such luck with the DorkFood. You could pour boiling water into the slow cooker and still have to wait for hours for the temperature to come up if you're making Creme Brulee because most of the energy goes into heating up the cold porcelain of the slow cooker! The time saved from using the purpose built device has already paid for itself. Not to mention that DorkFood is loud!

By far the best recipe is the 72 hour short ribs. Those are to die for. If you've not had them, you need to try them. They freeze well, so it's not unusual for me to cook $50 worth of short ribs to freeze them for later use. The most common use for the sous vide machine has to be for chicken. At 66C for 2 hours, you can cook up the best chicken most people have ever tasted at relatively short notice.

All in all, I've found myself using the oven less and the sous vide machine has become the second hardest working machine in my kitchen. (In case you're wondering, the hardest working machine is the rice cooker!) Recommended.


Unknown said...

I hope that's 66C or else you're getting high on botulism...

Piaw Na said...

Yup. 66C

Sojka's Call said...

Got the book and was then inspired to try sous vide. My wife and I bought the dork food controller and have successfully used it in combination with our crock pot to make yogurt 2x, leg of goat and salmon. I feel inspired in the kitchen right now due to the book and the new toy. We have not found the dork food controller to be excessively noisy. We certainly cannot hear it from our bedroom and the dishwasher and adjacent laundry room drown it out half the time anyways. I could understand how some people could be annoyed by the clicking but maybe our house is just on the noisy side though I always think of it as fairly quiet.

Thanks for your postings on this subject that motivated me to finally pursue sous vide cooking that I have only talked about for the last four years and just could not pull the trigger on another major kitchen expense. The dork food has been fine. We opted to buy sous vide ziplock bags for the initial evaluation of the dork food. The water displacement method has been adequate for removing enough air to get them to sink. I am going to buy the vacuum sealer when the bag stock runs low. Thanks again Piaw!

Piaw Na said...

That's awesome! I'm glad you're trying it!