Archive | kitchen tools and gadgets

To Sous Vide or Not Sous Vide

As our almost-never-impeccably neat kitchen would prove, we cook and bake often, taking pride in making things from scratch. We give each other cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. While some people would specify a no kitchen-related gifting policy, we embrace the opposite. I am thrilled to get spatulas, pastry brushes, kitchen towels or measuring cups and spoons. He got me a Soda Stream? and I bought him an oven toaster in the first year we dated. That’s normal, right?

One of the things we’ve been coveting for a while was a sous vide machine, and getting our hands on one was inevitable after he gave me the home version of the Modernist Cuisine tome last year. A few friends have–and love–their machines and arm lifting-worthy books. Being a half pescetarian? (a quarter vegetarian and a quarter no-meat, some vegetables) household, our main concern was how often we would use it. We have a small kitchen and very limited counter space for appliances.

We were lucky enough to have been able to try a demo unit from Cedarlane Culinary, complete with a vacuum sealer and a supply of bags to start. They have been very generous for letting us use them. Thanks so much, guys!

So what is sous vide? You’ve probably heard of it or seen chefs on TV vacuum sealing food and leaving them in a tub of water to cook. Simply put, sous vide is French for “under vacuum”. The principle behind it is to cook vacuum-sealed food at the same temperature throughout the cooking process, thus avoiding overcooking.

The sous vide machine is a water bath with a temperature regulator set to the desired final temperature of the food. Different brands have different ways of controlling the temperature, including water circulation. Some, like the SousVide Supreme, use radiant heat in an enclosed/covered unit.

Cooking sous vide tends to be done at a lower temperature than you would cook with direct heat, but for a much longer time, resulting in even cooking. The great thing is, there’s no need for guesswork when it comes to temperatures and cooking times. There are already recommended settings and the provided manual and cookbook have all the information handy. If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Modernist Cuisine and a slew of other sous vide books will not disappoint.

To test, we cooked eggs and fish in the SousVide Supreme. The process for cooking both is as easy as setting the final temperature and placing them in the pre-heated water bath for a set amount of time. Set and forget.

Sous Vide Eggs

Let's sous vide some eggs!

Placing the eggs in the pre-heated water bath (63°F)

For the eggs, Jens cooked them at 63°F, the temperature at which the yolk and white are the same consistency. [Different chefs have different opinions on this, varying from 62° to 64°F, but as always, do what tastes good to you.]

Right out of the water bath

It produces an incredibly silky poached egg that runny yolk-lovers like us appreciate. The white has turned white (not clear), and the yolk becomes custard-like.

Soft poached egg on potato hash

We put ours on top of some cheesy potato hash and ate it with some salmon sausages. It was quite the rich and tasty weekend brunch!

Sous Vide Salmon

The great thing about sealed food for cooking is that you don’t lose liquid or flavor. They all kind of meld together. We are fortunate to get good salmon here in BC and prefer to keep it simple so the flavors of the fish shine. We just put salt, dill and Meyer lemon slices.

Vacuum sealing the salmon with some salt, dill and slices of Meyer lemon

Vacuum sealing is pretty straight forward and the SousVide Supreme Vacuum sealer was easy to use. We cooked one big slice of fish and positioned the pouch rack horizontally to keep it completely submerged in water since we used the minimum amount of water required.

Sous vide salmon

We watched one of our recorded shows and voila, the fish is done.

Sous vide salmon

Sous vide salmon

After removing the everything from the bag and pick dill and lemon slices, we seared the fish on a hot cast iron skillet to quickly brown it then served it with some asparagus rice.

Browned sous vide salmon with asparagus and rice

That was it for a no-fuss weekday dinner.

How did our part-pescetarian household do with the SousVide Supreme?

This is all too embarrassing to admit, but we had the complete unit for months and did not use it as much as we thought we would and hoped. I think this has more to do with our varied household diets than anything. Our limited kitchen space also prevents us from keeping it there all the time. Having used it, I think we would benefit from it the most if it was always ready to use in the kitchen, and therefore consciously make more meals with it. As the sole meat-eater in the house (nowadays, I’m more of a social meat eater), I can actually have my meat dishes cooked separately. At the moment we simply don’t have the dedicated counter space for it.

What did we like about the SousVide Supreme?

It’s very easy to use. Like I said earlier, it’s basically “set and forget”. Once your food items are in the bath, you can forget about it until it’s time them out to eat or to store for future use. There’s not much of a learning curve for using it. Yes, you can sous vide food and freeze them for later consumption. If we bought more salmon, we could have cooked all of them them in separate single-meal sized portions and freeze the rest. We can just sear it when we are ready to eat them. I can see this working out for entertaining a group of people and precooking your proteins and just searing the beef or fish closer to serving time.

Essentially, it is quite healthy to cook sous vide. It’s like poaching, but because it is cooked in vacuum, the flavors are concentrated in the bag and not diluted into the cooking liquid or evaporated. We didn’t have to put as much salt on the salmon as we usually would and it still ended up being very tasty.

And here’s one more selfish reason and bonus: less dishes to use for cooking. We could have done without searing the salmon for sure, but we like our fish browned.

So there goes our sous vide experiment. We still haven’t purchased one yet and I don’t think we will until that counter space happens. We did have fun using it, though!

Thanks again to Cedarlane Culinary for letting us try your demo unit!

Disclaimer: We were given a demo unit to try sous vide cooking at home. We were not paid to test the SousVide Supreme machine and/or write this post. We did not receive compensation of any kind.

Review

Posted in kitchen tools and gadgets, reviews0 Comments

Ever Wished You Had An Instant Wine Chiller?

We are pleased to announce our partnership with OpenSky to bring you products we enjoy through our very own online store. We will provide you firsthand information on products and recommend only those that we use and find worthy of telling you about. Hope you like it! And thank you for your support, friends!

I know I do! Sure, in some supermarkets in the US selling liquor, they have those wine chillers so you can cool your wine before hitting the checkout counter. However, if you’re home and you already have your room-temperature bottle of wine, it would be a hassle to go out just to buy some wine. And if you’re like me who have impulse cravings for wine that doesn’t leave enough time to chill anything (and don’t own a wine chiller), that puts a damper on saying yes to instant gratification.

That’s where ravi comes in! ravi is an “instant wine refresher”. I prefer to call it my enabler of instant wine gravification. I just have to take out the inner cartridge out of the freezer, assemble the unit in two snaps and place on the mouth of the bottle of my preferred wine and I’m good to go!

ravi looks like the cartridge of a faucet tap water purifier, and is almost the same size. Yes, the liquid passes through it as it’s being cooled down. Instead of cooling the bottle, wine is being cooled as it’s poured. It doesn’t change the flavor in any way.

I put it to the test with a bottle of red wine. The wine’s original temperature is 25°C, as you can see here.

I took out the ravi cartridge out of the freezer and set it up as indicated. The first two glasses I poured registered an almost 10-degree drop in temperature right there. You will see that even after 30 and 60 minutes, ravi was still able to hold the chill and cooled the wine to about 17°C. That’s pretty good, I think. I drank the wine at the “start” and “ravi” temperatures and they difference is noticeable.

I mentioned above that ravi has a valve that you can block with a thumb. This valve controls the flow of liquid through the  cooling tube. The principle is simple: slow down the flow and the liquid stays in longer, thus chilling it longer. Based on experience, I didn’t have to do this for the first 3 glasses. It cooled down quite nicely to a nice 15°C.

The possibilities are endless: you can use ravi for red, white, or rose wines. Just like your ice cream maker bucket, you can place it in the freezer and forget about it until you need it. I put the cartridge in a resealable sandwich bag in the freezer door. Cleanup is a breeze–just rinse and dry the internal tubing with the included pump.

I can definitely see this coming to potlucks (at private residences) for instant wine chilling, and placed in a tiny cooler, or even in those lined keep-frozen bags when traveling. As a self-confessed “girl scout” who brings whatever may be needed, this is another great gadget to have on hand!

We have partnered with OpenSky to bring products that we love to you, our dear readers. We do earn a small portion of each sale made through our store, but we will never recommend products we’ve never tried or don’t believe in. That much we can promise you.

If you like this product, you can purchase it here right now for USD$40. If you order anytime between today and August 16 and use the coupon code FREESHIPPING, you’ll get free shipping!

** Please note items at our OpenSky store can only be shipped to the US. I’m really hoping they would ship to Canada and the rest of the world at some point. If you have a friend in the US, you can use your international credit card and ship it to the US. **

Posted in kitchen tools and gadgets, non-food, reviews, shoppes3 Comments

Kitchen Talk

A friend and I recently had a chat about kitchen appliances and tools, what our essentials are and which are “nice to have” but would just end up in the dark corners of the drawers, and what we still “wish” for. As we grow older, it’s not just the clothes and shoes we couldn’t get enough of — domesticity has intruded our shopping domain for sure.

We both agreed that there are two things we keep thinking of needing and buying: a mandolin and a timer. I know what you’re thinking: What, you don’t have a timer?! Isn’t it silly? I rely on the stove timer. We have a toaster oven, a digital thermometer, digital scale, ice cream maker, but no, not a timer. Have I lost you already? Please don’t shut me out. Haha.

As our conversation progressed into a more elaborate list of things that are more for wants than needs, I suddenly remembered one of the thing that we’ve kept putting off to buy: the (big) food processor [I love that the site explains the difference between a blender and a food processor]. Sigh. Always more stuff, isn’t it?

Just curious — What’s currently on your kitchen appliance/gadget/tool wishlist?

You’re more than free to tell me you don’t have a timer, too. :-D

Posted in kitchen tools and gadgets25 Comments

Shop Therapy: Kitchen Towels at W-S

Kitchen TowelsThings have been slow here because of bodily aches and pains (the perks of working in front of the computer for too long). I haven’t cooked anything this week because of ‘em. Dan has been such a good sport — cooking the other night and cleaning up after. Ahhh…what good life! Haha.

Having been deprived of cooking and currently stuck with the inability to knead dough for my next projects — soft pretzels and bagels — I have to satisfy my food and kitchen quota somehow.

Yesterday afternoon, after a full day of running around to figure out all these aches that I shouldn’t be feeling till I’m twice as old, I succumbed to the devil’s hiss of window shopping. While waiting for Dan to get out of work, I found myself at our usual stop: Williams-Sonoma. I drooled over the KitchenAid stand mixer that I really shouldn’t get right now, and ended up buying cute (and huge!) kitchen towels.

Don’t the citrus colors make you smile? [Just roll with the sick one 'ere. Haha] I just couldn’t leave the store without them! :-)

Now it’s your turn to spill — What have you purchased for your kitchen lately? What indulgence did you allow yourself?

Speaking of, I want some chocolate pudding pie now.

Right, right…I gotta go. I was advised less computer time. Ciao!

** Note:  This is not a sponsored post. I wish.  Do you hear me, Williams-Sonoma?!? :-)

Posted in dailies, kitchen tools and gadgets, shoppes6 Comments

Teddy’s Weekly Roundup: March 2 to March 8

Things are busy here as it’s tax season, and with mommy and daddy filing their taxes for personal and their respective businesses, posting is a wee bit slower than usual. They’ve also been going out to see friends, which is always a good thing. The cocoa brownies weren’t posted as anticipated– our sincere apologies for those who are waiting.

Last week’s fares here at Gourmeted are:

Things we loved from neighboring food sites:

What’s up this week? Take a peek:

  • Review of Sauce restaurant
  • Part II of How We Take Food Photos: The Grey Card
  • Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

That’s it for now. Have a great week everyone. And happy eating!

Posted in appetizer, Asian dish, baking, beef, breakfast, chocolate, cookies, dailies, dessert, Filipino dishes, kitchen tools and gadgets, offal, original Gourmeted recipe, photography2 Comments

Pancake Breakfast with the Help of The Scale

Over the weekend, Joy and I had our share of visiting friends. When I was waiting for her at the local outlet mall, I decided to pick up a digital kitchen scale. If it were not for Alton Brown and his several episodes about weights and volume and the flour test, I would have been none the wiser to the value of this contraption. My brother-in-Law’s brother uses his scale to measure out his meal portions and he says he’s sticking to it. So I picked one up and then I realized what the first meal prepared with this scale would be. Breakfast.

It was 12:05 on Sunday afternoon, so you know what that means; its breakfast time! Please join me and my assistant Teddy in making this breakfast perfect.
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Posted in baking, breakfast, dailies, dining, fried, kitchen tools and gadgets, reviews6 Comments

No more guessing

Say hello to the smidgen, pinch, and dash measuring spoons:

Smidgen, Pinch Dash measuring spopns

We found it at Whole Foods. Finally. I’ve read about it but had not seen it until last night. I was tickled pink. :-)

Happy Super Bowl day everyone!

Posted in kitchen tools and gadgets8 Comments