For those unfamiliar a sous vide (pronounced sue veed) is an immersion circulator. It is a computerized heater with a pump that is placed in a pan or tub of water. Food is added to the cooking container in plastic bags or glass jars and the sous vide warms the water to a specified temperature and holds it at that temperature while circulating the water around the bags or jars. The food takes longer to cook, often an hour or hours, but it uses temperature not time to determine doneness.
The claim is that it can cook steak or other meats to perfection, restaurant quality even, in a bag in a pot of water with just a quick sear at the end.. I have not tried cooking meat yet but I have gotten my feet wet, pun intended, and I can share my first attempts.
The first thing I tried were hard cooked eggs. We are big fans of deviled eggs and I am the one that brings them to our family gatherings. I think that I have tried all of the old wives tales for how to get easy to peel eggs. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. One online sous vider promised perfectly cooked eggs that were easy to peel. I tried them once, and the results were okay but nothing to write home about. The yolks remained bright orange and moist and the whites were pretty tender and broke when I was trying to peel them or cut them in half but they tasted fine. I might give them another try.
It has been Meyer lemon season in Minnesota. We can't grow them here but there are a few weeks about this time of year when Meyer lemons can be found in the stores. I had bought a bunch and decided to use them in my early sous vide experiments. First I made limoncello. The sous vide is used to infuse the alcohol with the lemon zest which is then strained and combined with simple syrup. Traditionally the lemons are soaked in the alcohol for weeks and the sous vide reduces that time down to two or three hours. My daughter makes her limoncello with Everclear but she lives close to Wisconsin and can hop over the state line and get the real thing. On my side of the state the Everclear that can be sold in Minnesota has a lower proof and so I used vodka. It turned out pretty yummy. Right now I have it in canning jars in my freezer. It doesn't freeze but is icy cold when you take it out. I am planning to pour it into a pretty bottle or decanter for serving. The Meyer lemons give it a really nice flavor.
Then today I used the juice from those same lemons that I had zested for the limoncello in a Meyer lemon curd. In the past my recipe for making lemon curd involved a double boiler and constant stirring. With the sous vide, you whisk together the juice, sugar and eggs and pour it into the bag with the cubed butter. The bag is placed in the water and once the contents of the bag reach 160 degrees the bag can be emptied into a bowl and whisked a few times to incorporate the melted butter into the rest of the ingredients and then poured into jars. I left the lids ajar until the curd had cooled and then refrigerated one and put the rest in the freezer. I made a first batch to test and when it was done and wonderful I decided to use the remainder of my reserved juice to make another batch.
|The bag with the cubed butter and mix ready for sous vide|
|out of the bag and ready to whisk|
|finished lemon curd|
|sous vide working its magic|
|finished goat cheese|
Sharing with BNOTP here.