Here we see some excellent Weekly Geek fan art from ukku, a German listener/reader who perfectly captured the true essence of the good Doctor. Based on this Dr. Helmig comic, it truly is remarkable. Thanks, ukku! You can check out her website with all sorts of artistic thingies here.
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December 2009 Archives
Sous-vide cooking is not a new concept, but since Top Chef and the rise of the hipster foodie (he says with self-depreciating smugness) it's been brought to light as a truly innovative and important method of food preparation. The concept is deceptively "boil-a-bag" simple: vacuum-seal your food and drop it into a controlled temperature water bath. It may sound like a fancy term for botulism incubator but as long as you follow general kitchen safety precautions (such as washing your hands after handling raw chicken, preventing cross-contamination, not letting the cats lick the butter, etc) you're golden. The benefits are numerous. For one, your food is more consistently heated throughout. Consider what it takes to cook a chicken breast. In order to be able to serve it legally the internal temperature has to be around 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical way to achieve this would be to either cook it on the stovetop at a high temperature, or cook it in the oven at a high temperature. You're brute-force heating the outside at 400+ degrees to achieve a fraction of that temp on the inside. It's not terribly efficient. With sous-vide, the temperature is completely consistent. Steaks cooked sous-vide can be cooked medium-rare easily, with a perfect pink color throughout.
It's not an all-in-one Ronco™ style solution, however. It's just one step in the process. Most meals cooked sous-vide need to be seared or sauced after their water bath, but the results are phenomenal. Fancy restaurants have been using this technique to create consistently cooked dishes for years, but the equipment has been prohibitively expensive. In the past if you wanted to cook sous-vide you'd have to equip yourself with a Polyscience thermal immersion circulator, which would run you about a thousand dollars. There's a new solution in town, however, in the form of the Sous Vide Supreme. The first consumer-level sous-vide "oven", it's priced at a moderately more reasonable $400. We were lucky enough to get one loaned to us for a week, and we made some truly stellar dishes with it. I'm going to split up our experience with the SVS into multiple blog posts, cause this is going to get a bit wordy. I'm sure you don't mind.
In the past, Jinny and I would cook our steaks "ghetto sous-vide". This is actually a fantastic way to cook steaks (in particular). We've discussed this method on the podcast before, but I've never written it down for you guys to try at home. So! Here it is.
Ghetto Sous-Vide Instructions
- A digital probe thermometer
- A large stock pot (12 quarts+ is ideal)
- A Foodsaver or similar vacuum-sealer thingy (though to be honest Ziplock bags work just as well)
Our favorite cut of meat to use for this is a tri-tip steak. It's cheap, flavorful and the perfect thickness for this kind of preparation. Salt and pepper your meat and put it in your bag. Add a pat of butter (if you'd like, you can omit it) and seal the bag. If you're using a ziplock bag, seal it with your fingers all the way to the edge, leaving a small gap. Suck the air out and seal it quickly. Works in a pinch.
The temperature we're looking for is about 129-130 degrees for medium-rare. If you like your steak well-done, look elsewhere. You heathen. I've found that the water from my kitchen faucet comes out at around 125 at the hottest, so I'll fill up the pot with hot water, and anchor the probe to point near the middle of the pot. You want to monitor the temperature very closely. The acceptable range of temperature would be between 128-132 but don't go any higher. If your water starts getting too hot, pull it off the stovetop a little bit and pour some cold water into it until you get back to temp. It takes a bit of practice (and your results may vary) but after a half an hour your steaks should be done.
Get a cast-iron pan rocket hot. Take the steaks out of the water bath and remove them from the bag onto some paper towels. Pat them dry. The drier the better. Brown the steaks on both sides for 30 seconds or so, then remove them to a plate to rest. Rest at least 5 minutes. Then, enjoy the best steaks you've ever had in your life. Seriously. Outside of a good ol' fashioned outdoor grilling, sous-vide is hands-down the best way to treat yourself to beefy goodness.
The Sous Vide Supreme makes the process way easier. We cooked steaks in the exact same method we usually do, but no longer had to monitor the temperature. We just put them in and were free to prepare the other elements of our meal. It was wonderful. The consistency was the same but the process was much more streamlined.
In the next entry, I'll talk about the other dishes we made with the SVS, including scallops and halibut.
It's the last Weekly Geek podcast of 2009! Join Jinny, Ross, Ryan and me for our 2009 retrospective. We discuss this past year in gaming, music, conventions, comics, movies and more as we look forward to 2010... THE FUTURE. We'll be on hiatus until the new year. Until then, enjoy!
Dear Sir or Madame,
Please see enclosed one podcast ("podcast") featuring Jinny, Ross, Ryan, Qais and Chris discussing matters regarding the mysterious "Third Dimension", matters regarding charity and the information to donate forthwith, matters regarding cookery and applications for your iPhone Internet cell-phone device to expedite said cookery processes, matters of Jeff Bridges saying that Iron Man was totally made up on the fly and didn't even have a script, and matters regarding the CrunchPad internet device being rebranded as the "JooJoo". Please enjoy enclosed podcast.
Christopher D. Furniss, Esq.
- Namco Bandai adopts stereoscopic 3D dev tools - Joystiq
- Adopt-A-Soldier Holiday Contest - Kobold Quarterly
- Phoenix Wright Coming to the iPhone
- Michael Ruhlman's Ratio App
- Google Goggles
- Can My iPod Make This Airplane Explode? - Gizmodo
- CrunchPad now called JooJoo, likely not open source, now $499, might come out this week - MAKEzine
- Child's Play already brings in over $1 million - DESTRUCTOID
- Jeff Bridges Admits Iron Man Movie Had No Script - io9
- Ask Dr. Helmig #34: "That's What You Sound Like"
- Post an image to our Flickr pool, win a t-shirt maybe!
- Or you could just buy a t-shirt.
- Music, as always, by Tettix
- Mail your mouth cookies photos here!
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