Let’s take a bath

It seems almost ubiquitous now, but there was a time I didn’t know what a Kickstarter was.  A while back I saw the Anova Precision Cooker (let’s be honest, add a pan of water and it becomes a sous vide) on Kickstarter .  By the time I found it, it was well past its funding goal and the best deal had been long sold out.  But it was still a deal and since you know me, I can’t resist a deal.  I got two.

What is a sous vide you say?  It a water bath, kept at a low constant temperature to cook to the precise temperature. The food is vacuum sealed (or close to it) in a zip lock bag. No burning, no tough parts. If it stays in too long, no problem, it doesn’t over cook.

They finally arrived in December and I have started to use them.  It is not often I’ll need two – one steak medium rare, the other well done – but there are times you want to make multiple dishes at different temperatures.

I first made a pork loin roast.  4 hours at 138.  It was moist. It was tender. It was silken.  The first thing I noticed was the phenomenal texture of my meat (that’s what she said!).  A quick sear and it was perfect to serve to company.  Think about that perfect piece of prime rib, the medium rare center is cooked perfect and tender.  The outside is good, but as you radiate out from the center, the quality, however minimal, degrades.  Not this.

Then I made an omelet.  OMG!  A silken custard with cheese, bacon and spices interspersed.   I was in heaven.  Later that night I tried what seemed to be sacrilege:  risotto.  Risotto is all about time and the slow release of starch from the Arborio rice.  Since I was making lemon shrimp risotto, I had to make shrimp stock.  I also needed both devices, since the two components cooked for different lengths of time in different temperatures.

Cut to the chase.  I learned that two pounds of shrimp are too much for one back.  The ones in the center were not done in the time I thought it would take.  The risotto, however, was phenomenal.  Let’s see I can stir the risotto for an 40 minutes, adding stock every 5-10 minutes, or I can let it bath for 45 while I watch Shameless.  It was fantastic.  Oh and the shrimp?  Perfect texture.  Combine the shrimp, risotto and required parmesan cheese. Oh yes. Culinary heaven.

Next up, I have another pork roast brining.  Let’s see what a spicy brine can do to my meat. J