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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012
     
    Sous-vide?
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012
     
    Posted By: DuracellSous-vide?


    Win!

    Downside is veg needs 20C over the meat so I need another unit for the requisite meat and two veg. Upside, today I discover osPID and the underlying Arduino libraries - so I have all the parts.

    I can see wireless saucepans talking to cookers about exactly how hot they are. I should patent that.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012
     
    Sounds like a singles bar.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012
     
    Posted By: pcstruSteak, medium rare. Should be ready in about an hour ... or two.


    I'm deeply impressed. I overcooked the steak, at 60c, it was medium. After it's bath (1.5 hours?), I seared it in a hot pan - probably for 20-30 seconds a side - just a bit of brown. It was succulent and tender, not quite melt in the mouth but for a supermarket steak, it rocked. In a life where stepdaughters turn up an hour late for a Sunday roast and SWMBO is a vegetarian, this device might be close to god!

    Tomorrow ... veg.
  1.  
    So what are you saying... the E-Cat is good for something after all?


    I have to admit, as a Texan however estranged, steaming a steak seems.... somehow...... obscene. I'm glad you seared it; around here "medium rare" means it's not kicking any more but it might still twitch a bit, and that has always been a bit too rare for my liking. But if it tastes good, and you adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy..... where's the beef? I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinSo what are you saying... the E-Cat is good for something after all?

    e-cat is too powerful. This is a perfect Hepaheat application.

    I have to admit, as a Texan however estranged, steaming a steak seems.... somehow...... obscene. I'm glad you seared it; around here "medium rare" means it's not kicking any more but it might still twitch a bit, and that has always been a bit too rare for my liking. But if it tastes good, and you adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy..... where's the beef? I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.


    It's not 'steamed' (not in the way I'd understand steaming to mean). It's popped in a bag, the air is removed and the bag sealed. It's then dropped into water at the temperature you want the middle to get to - so a medium steak would be 60 deg C. It cooks evenly all the way through in nothing but it's own juices. Apparently, cooking a beef joint for 2-3 days can see good results (not sure I'm quite brave enough!).
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012 edited
     
    Sous-vide cooking seems to have become more popular recently. Many of my favourite restaurants here offer dishes cooked this way.

    It's all about flavour, texture, precision and consistency. The lower temperatures allow meats to remain much more succulent than if they were cooked conventionally, and also allow vegetables to retain a more crispy texture. Sealing the food in plastic bags retains juices and aromas that would normally be lost (and of course also provides restaurants with the ability to store cooked foods for longer than normal). Over-cooking is impossible, and pieces of food that are thick at one end and thin at the other can be heated to the same temperature (i.e. cooked to the same degree) throughout. The fact that browning cannot be achieved by sous-vide cooking can easily be overcome (exactly as pcstru has done with his steak) by briefly searing or grilling the food at a very temperature before serving it.

    Looks like fun. I am envy.
  2.  
    Ah, the bag. I didn't know there was a bag. That makes me want to give it a try. I've cooked veggies that way but never thought about cooking meat.


    "Over-cooking is impossible"
    You clearly have never met my housemate. Her idea of cooking... which I have seen twice now in the last two weeks... is to load some good food items into her big electric crockpot, and boil it. And boil it. Next day it's still boiling. It simmers for two or three days in the crock pot, five days sometimes, then she moves it to the refrigerator for a few days, then it's frozen, then discarded without anyone, as far as I can tell, actually eating any of it.... because she's turned it into slop.
    She is the very worst "cook" I have ever personally encountered. Just making herself a cup of tea in the microwave results in a completely trashed kitchen.
    Please... don't tell her about this method. The kitchen will be full of bags of (once good) food in the boil, testing Duracell's proposition that it is impossible to overcook.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    I'm not sure about the impossible to overcook, but you get leeway of many hours or even days. Eventually proteins rebel, meat and veg will mush. You also need to be careful that temps don't get too low or you are in bacteria breeding territory.

    Tonight I tried some veg. Sweet potato sprinkled in a little (very little) sugar and spices and some plain carrots. It was a disaster. I couldn't get the air out of the bags and seal them so they floated. If I did get air out, they then took on water because the seal wasn't good enough. I gave up in disgust and will cook them normally later. Need to hack the tub a bit more and make something to hold down bags.

    I have a proper vacuum sealer thing ordered. I figure it will be useful regardless.

    My thermocouple tube sealed with hot melt glue also didn't like the temp demanded by veg (80 deg C). But a thermocouple doesn't matter if it gets wet ... or does it?
  3.  
    Why use a bag, why not just a glass jar with a nice secure lid? The temps are low enough and applied long enough that thermal equilibrium will happen inside just as surely as with a bag, perhaps a bit later is all. The jar will be reusable, the vacuum sealed bags not so much.
    Does there have to be minimum air inside the cooking "vessel", bag, or is that just a matter of buoyancy adjustment?
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinWhy use a bag, why not just a glass jar with a nice secure lid? The temps are low enough and applied long enough that thermal equilibrium will happen inside just as surely as with a bag, perhaps a bit later is all. The jar will be reusable, the vacuum sealed bags not so much.
    Does there have to be minimum air inside the cooking "vessel", bag, or is that just a matter of buoyancy adjustment?


    I think there are a number of factors with air; heat transfer (time to target temp), buoyancy, oxidation and proximity of the juices (not quite drying out, but inconsistent texture, moisture migrating out from middle). The ideal is to exclude it.

    I'd prefer if possible to minimise plastic 'waste'. I suspect the process is much more energy efficient than high heat cooking so swings and roundabouts on 'waste'.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012 edited
     
    Look who's doing it. Guess he got tired of mangling Windows and torturing users:

    http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/16-03/st_nathan
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    Ha!

    I see Sous Vide cooking devices on sale for £250 - cheapest. A slow cooker which is just missing a decent sensor and controller is £20ish. A PID and Thermocouple ... not terribly much. Is this foodie "speaker cable".

    I think I need to get a slow cooker and hack it. The plastic IKEA thing is PET and showing signs of deforming.
    • CommentAuthortinker
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012 edited
     
    You can manage with an electric hotplate -the cheap ones (chinese) with a 'click-click' bimetal thermostat. Around £15.00. You can turn them way way down and if you use the right pot you can sous-vide all day long.

    ETA - this is the one -

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2500W-PORTABLE-ELECTRIC-TWIN-DUAL-DOUBLE-HOT-PLATE-TABLE-TOP-HOTPLATE-/150855193473?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Kitchen_Ovens_Hobs_Cookers&hash=item231fab9381
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    Perhaps you should put on a Charles Aznavour album and dance the old fashioned way while you broil.
  4.  
    My housemate's crockpot, a SS relay, a cheap thermistor, the Arduino, seventeen lines of c code ...... and TKSousVide is on the way to culinary perfection.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2012
     
    Patent it, quick.
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2012 edited
     
    Halfway there... all I need is a ssr , a few scraps of wire, some nice heat transfer medium.... I decided on old motor oil, it is cheaper than water and doesn't have to be changed as often.

    Oh... and a steak.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo9Vz7DhrN4

    (thanx oak....)
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      CommentAuthoroak
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinHalfway there... all I need is a ssr , a few scraps of wire, some nice heat transfer medium.... I decided on old motor oil, it is cheaper than water and doesn't have to be changed as often.

    Oh... and a steak.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo9Vz7DhrN4


    Fixed link.

    Don't you also need a chamber to hold the old motor oil.

    Why not use something more fun as the transfer medium, like gasoline?
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2012
     
    Worked for the SR-71