While growing up I taught myself how to cook by watching my Mom cook. I did a lot of try and fail and followed recipes until I got to where I am (and I think I’m pretty good at it).
My favorite things to cook were dishes that I would invent using whatever there is in the fridge. I got pretty good on seeing, “with the naked eye”, how ready is the food.
And then I met the Sous-Vide. Sous-Vide in French means “Under-Vacuum”. Sous-Vide is an old way of cooking, coming all the way back from the 18th hundreds. But just recently it got accessible for the normal household.
Sous-Vide is a LTLT way of cooking – Low Temperature Long Time. Meat is cooked at 50-60 degrees for around 4-16 hours, in some cases it can reach to even 72 hours and more. The meat is cooked in a vacuumed plastic bag. Most of the recipes recommend adding condiments inside the bag. The LTLT cooking, along side the vacuumed sealed environment causes the meat to be evenly cooked and to remain it full taste and flavor.
Not only meat can be cooked this way. Fish, vegetables and even desserts can earn taste-points being cooked in vacuum. I once cooked a puree using this technique and it was the best puree I ever cooked (and tasted).
In order to cook with this technique, you need to buy (or assemble) a Sous-Vide cooker. There is a large variety of brands that make those. Personally I use the Anova Sous-Vide, but they are all pretty good. After you have your cooker, you’ll need some vacuum bags. Zip-Locks are pretty good for this, just be careful to get the correct ones – those that are suitable for freezer.
Choose your recipe from any of the sous-vide sites, fill your pot with water, insert the cooker, vacuum the food and just wait! Enjoy your perfectly cooked food.
CoronaVirus and Sous-Vide
What I like about this kind of cooking is that it makes you wait. The Coronavirus quarantine allowed me to realize how much time I have every day.
In my job we were divided into two shifts. Meaning, not only we worked less time, but also we weren’t allowed to stay more because the other shift would enter. Suddenly me and my spous started a condiments garden in my balcony (more about this in a future post). We build a stand for beer bottles (more about this in a future post). We bought some board games and puzzles and found ourselves playing for hours. In a matter of days I changed the hours I work for my job to working for myself.
I have a friend that once told me we are all in a “Mice race of life” and I suddenly understood him. We are so invested in working, coding, managing, documenting, testing and more, that we sometimes forget that’s not everything there is in life. There were times where I was sad the weekend came because I really wanted to continue working.
When you cook Sous-Vide food you are cooking for your future self, you need to calculate, before hand, when you’ll want to eat, make some time for that. Not once I saw myself getting up at 5am to turn on the Sous-Vide because I wanted to eat at 9pm. And all the time between 5am to 9pm I thought on how good the meat will be.
The Coronavirus quarantine thought me that if I don’t finish something, it will be there tomorrow, waiting for me. And, more important, if I do finish something, tomorrow will be a new thing that needs to be done. There is no need to stay in extra hours all the time, tomorrow will come and a new you will pick up from where the old you stopped.
Here is my recipe for the smashed potatoes I really loved.
Sous-Vide mashed potates
- Sous-Vide cooked
- Sous-Vide vacuum bag
- 3 units Potatoes
- 2 units Sweet Potatoes Optional
- 50 grams Butter
- 2 cloves Garlic 2 If you love garlic. 1 if you are OK with garlic. None is also OK.
- 1 leave Rosemary Optional
- 1 bit Kosher salt a "bit"? like a pinch.
- Heat up your Sous-Vide to 90 degrees (c).
- Peal the potatoes and cut them into ~1cm thick slices. Pealing is optional.
- Cut the garlic into four (half and half).
- Cut the butter into pieces (for better distribution)
- Insert the potatoes, garlic, butter, salt and rosemary into the vacuum bag.
- Vacuum the bag using a proper machine or the submerge technique. I have a vacuum sealer.
- Insert the vacuum bag to the pot and wait for 30 minutes.
- Take out the potates and put them in a bowl.
- Smash & Serve!