Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Living Sous-Vide-a Yolk-a

Morning Dish
2 Hard Boiled Eggs

Evening Dish
Hi...atus. Forgive me Blogger for I have not penned. It has been almost one year since my last composition. If you're familiar with my blog, you know I only update if I've had some sort of egg dish in the morning. That's not to say I update every time I have eggs, only that eating eggs is a requisite for me to update later that day. Well for the past couple of months, in an effort to eat well, I usually have a buff smoothie for breakfast. And no, I'm not using that as an excuse for not blogging, but yes, I somewhat am. Maybe with the delectable experience I had below, I'll treat myself to eggs a little more frequently in the morning and hence, blog a little more frequently as well.

For quite some time I've wanted to experiment with the cooking method known as sous-vide. There are three main components to sous-vide cooking:
  1. Vacuum sealing food
  2. Placing sealed food in a hot water bath
  3. Controlling the temperature of water bath to not exceed desired food temperature
I came across plenty of online articles that described the many approaches taken by home and professional cooks alike when cooking sous-vide and my decision basically boiled -- pun intended -- down to cost and convenience. Sure I could have went with the article or two that jerry-rigged the following cheaper contraption:
  1. Vacuum sealing food = sucking out air with a straw from a zip-top bag
  2. Placing sealed food in a hot water bath = pouring heated water in an ice chest
  3. Controlling the temperature of water bath to not exceed desired food temperature = constantly checking the water temperature with a digital thermometer and adding hot/cold water as fluctuations occur
Instead, I took care of component 1 by purchasing a Reynolds Handi-Vac and accompanying bags. For components 2 and 3, I seriously contemplated purchasing the Sous Vide Supreme, a nifty countertop gadget that would've have been extremely convenient, but also a bit pricey ($449.95). I opted for a rice cooker (free) to handle component 2, and a SousVideMagic PID temperature controller from Fresh Meals Solution ($159.50) for component 3. Basically, I hook my rice cooker's power cord to the temperature controller, the temperature controller's power cord to an A/C outlet, place the temperature controller's sensor in a rice pot filled with water, set the temperature controller to x degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius, let the temperature controller automatically power the rice cooker on and off as needed, and voila, I have a setup that looks like this:

The green LED lights display my desired water bath temperature.
The red LEDs display the current water bath temperature +/- 1 to 2 degrees.

My SousVideMagic temperature controller was delivered yesterday and my Handi-Vac has yet to arrive so what could I cook that's naturally vacuum sealed you ask? Eggs. I previously blogged on how one might go through a lot of trouble to cook the perfect egg. I previously blogged on my love for soft-boiled ones. I placed an egg in a 146F water bath for about an hour and well, the pictures below just don't do the description "perfectly, soft boiled" justice...