Why Sous Vide Makes Life Easier

We’d like to introduce you to Nima Mojgani. A longtime friend of two of the ChefSteps’ founders, Nima is best described as a typical 20-something city-dweller. Eating out most nights on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and cooking only sporadically for his girlfriend, Nima never showed any interest in trying any of the ChefSteps techniques for himself – thinking it would be out his rudimentary culinary reach.

So last week, we gave him instructions to make his favorite meal – steak – but rather than cooking the dish his normal way, we gave him a five minute starter course on how to do it sous vide style and this is what he had to say:

“I’m not a bad cook, per se – but not a good one, either. What surprised me most about sous vide was really how simple it was. I didn’t need to watch the steak as it cooked – which is huge because normally I stress about when to flip it over or cover the pan or when take it off the stove so that it’s medium rare. I could have literally sat back and hammered out two games of Call of Duty on the Xbox while it was cooking. Worst case scenario, the steak might have changed a shade of reddish pink while I was cooking.

I thought I’d need expensive equipment and was expecting I’d need vacuum seal bags like the ones on those infomercials – but a regular zip-lock did the job. My small apartment normally didn’t smell like steak afterwards and I didn’t have to marinate anything before. Normally I’m a bit fearful of spending any more than $10-15 on a good cut of meat when I’m cooking it myself out of fear that I’ll mess something up – but with sous vide I could go for something a little better the next time I’m out. Oh, and clean up – that was a cinch.”

ChefSteps is Chris Young, Grant Crilly and Ryan Matthew Smith.
Sign up for our free online sous vide cooking course.

 

The ChefSteps Forum Is Really Cooking!

When we started building our sous vide course, we knew how crucial our interaction and communication with you, our students, and the culinary community at large would be to the success of our online courses. We envisioned the forum as an extramural course to put you in an exchange with world class chefs, writers, inventors, artists, scientists and everyone else with a curious mind and a passion for exquisite food.

Well, guess what? The ChefSteps forum is really starting to cook thanks to the contributions of some amazing new members. We’ve added some new categories to the list above, including paramedic/firefighter, clinical psychologist, software guru, financier, etc., plus lots of other new students and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of information and interaction that’s taking place. We thought you might like to get to know a few of these folks better, so here are some of the members of our forum you’ll get to meet when you sign up and get cooking.

After purchasing a PolyScience immersion circulator from our store, paramedic/firefighter Mason Perry took to our course and has been cooking up a sous vide storm ever since. He prepared a five course sous vide dinner and this delicious looking sous vide hamburger with sous vide asparagus and smashed potatoes. He now has his own thread on our forum to post all of his dishes.

victorwol works in tv post-production when he’s not perfecting the art of cooking sous vide eggs. BlvCook has been cooking sous vide for the past year and a half and has great questions. Trevor Teich is a chef in Chicago with a terrific blog and lots of great advice. Duda Ferreira knows a thing or two about sous vide corned ox tongue.

Computer consultant, Johan Edstrom (Seijoed on the forum), is not only cooking sous vide, but is one of your go to guys for DIY immersion circulator info. He has a great group on Google+ along with Brendan Lee, clinical psychologist, and
Patrick Ancillotti, another awesome computer guy (thanks for your help), and they will all jump in to answer your questions and ask even better questions to keep the discussion going.

We’ve added a new Pinterest board to showcase some of the dishes that our forum members have posted, so check it out and pin away! Chris Young also just added the first quiz on Module 1, so you can gauge how you’re doing on the course.

Don’t forget that the usual suspects; Chris Young, Grant Crilly, Ryan Matthew Smith, Michael Natkin, Nathan Pegram and other members of our team are also responding to your questions, so sign up, spread the word and be a part of it all.

A sincere thank you to all of our forum members from Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

Why Sous Vide Is The Best Bargain In Cooking

When home cooks first hear about sous vide, a common reaction is “that’s nice, but I’m not going to spend a bunch of money on a newfangled, expensive gadget.” I encourage everyone to be skeptical of new kitchen gear, but I think in the case of sous vide, a circulator is a fantastic bargain for the home cook. That’s why if you are thinking about getting sous vide, then you should check out something like these sous vide machines from SousVideTools.com Here are a few reasons why you get it though:

  1. Have you ever thought about getting a second oven for entertaining? The minimum you will spend on that is around $800 plus installation; for a nice one you can easily spend five times that much or more. An immersion circulator will only set you back between $400 and $1100 dollars depending on the model. (We have several available in our store, and purchasing directly from ChefSteps help us keep the program free-to-learn.)
  2. That second traditional oven will take up valuable space in your kitchen all of the time, while a circulator and plastic tub can easily go in your storage room or basement when not in use.
  3. The circulator opens up a whole new set of capabilities and creativity you’ve never had before. A huge variety of foods can be cooked to perfect, consistent doneness without losing flavor to the cooking medium. You can add marinades or brines right in the bag to enhance the flavor.
  4. Sous vide cooking can often be done well in advance, making both weeknight suppers and entertaining a snap. When you are ready to serve, a quick reheat and possibly a sear in a hot pan is all that is needed.
  5. Sous vide isn’t just for meat! Everything from asparagus to beans, potatoes to ice cream base are better than ever before. If you love eggs soft-boiled or poached, sous vide gives you incomparable control over the texture of the yolks.
  6. In the past, information about how to cook sous vide was difficult to come by and often geared towards restaurant chefs. The ChefSteps course makes all of the information accessible and puts it in a context that anyone can use.

You might be wondering, “but what about the vacuum sealer?” True enough, professional vacuum capabilities are awesome and open up even more possibilities for creativity and food preservation. But the essence of sous vide is accurate control of heat; you can improve your cooking dramatically using an immersion circulator and a FoodSaver-type edge-sealer or even improvised packaging in a ZipLoc bag.

There you have it. In my opinion, sous vide isn’t some space-age technique only for the gadget-obesessed, well-heeled cook. It is eminently practical, reasonably priced, and a perfect complement to your existing stove, oven and grill. Anyone who enjoys cooking will find it changes the whole game.

So what do you think? Have I convinced you? And if not, what holds you back from getting started with sous vide?

Shout Out To Our First ChefSteps Store Customer!

PolyScience-Sous-Vide-Water-BathLaurence Morris was our very first customer at the ChefSteps store page. He will be busy cooking sous vide (no doubt trying out all of our recipes) with his brand new PolyScience CHEF Series Immersion Circulator.

We have some nice discounts on PolyScience equipment, and even though it’s a good sized hit to the wallet, consider that you’ve invested in an infinitely versatile water oven that will enable you to utilize cooking techniques that will deliver extraordinary results. Not to mention, we’re talking a top of the line, jaw-dropping holiday gift for that deserving food fanatic in your life.

Congratulations and thank you, Laurence! Your purchase helps keep our online sous vide cooking course free to learn. We look forward to hearing from you on the Chefsteps forum.

Appreciatively,
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

 

What Did We Do with the Pig? | Sous Vide Pork Cheek with Celery Root and Pickled Apples

Sooie, Sooie, Sous Vide!

Back at the beginning of October, we asked all of you to weigh in on our “So We Have This Pig… Poll.” Votes were tallied and pork belly had a slight edge over pork jowls, but since we already have a pork belly recipe on our site, we opted to offer a Sous Vide Pork Cheek with Celery Root and Pickled Apples recipe for your enjoyment.

We’re eager to find out what you think of this dish and your experience while preparing it, so please sign up on our forum page to ask questions or offer feedback on the recipe and other culinary concerns.

Thank you,
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team