Recent Modernist Blog Posts Page 2

Welcome to the Amazing Food Made Easy blog! This is a place I can share information and updates that don't fit into a specific area on the rest of the site. I focus mainly on sous vide and modernist cooking but if it's an interesting cooking method or fun cooking news I'll cover it as well.

In addition to cooking and sous vide news, how to guides and other articles, there's a lot of different types of information here including:

If you are looking for recipes you can view them on my pages for latest recipes, whipping siphon recipes or sous vide recipes.

If there's something specific you'd like to see, please let me know. If you are a brand or blogger, here's how to work with Amazing Food Made Easy to get some more exposure.

Thanks, enjoy the blog and happy cooking!

Should You Sear Before Sous Vide? - Ask Jason

Sous vide ribeye morel scapes searing

Some people say you need to pre-sear your food before you cook them sous vide. Other people say to sear afterwards. Some say to do both. What's the right answer?

- Harold

This is a great question and one that many people run into. I'll look at both sides of the question, whether to pre-sear and whether to post-sear. I'll start with the post-sear as it's the easiest to answer.

If you want good flavor and crust on your food, you will always want to sear it when it is done cooking. Even if you do a pre-sear, the crust itself will go away and can only be established by searing it after the sous vide process is over.

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Should You Brine Sous Vide Food? - Ask Jason

How to brine pork

Whenever I cook pork or chicken I always brine it. Is this something I still need to do with sous vide? I've noticed most of your recipes don't use a brine.

- Samantha

Very good question! And the answer is "It depends"!

Traditionally, the brine was used as a way to maintain the juiciness of food, as well as to firm up the texture and introduce flavors. This is all still true in sous vide cooking, though it isn't as apparent because the sous vide-only result is so good by itself. We will break down brining into "meat" and "fish", since they are handled differently.

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Gourmia Immersion Circulator Pod Detailed Review

Gourmia and Recipe Book

This is a detailed review of the Gourmia GSV130 Digital Sous Vide Pod, an inexpensive immersion circulator manufactured by Gourmia. Near the end of 2015 they released this low-cost immersion circulator which, when attached to a suitable container, will provide an excellent water bath for sous vide cooking. If you are interested in getting involved with sous vide cooking, this review will give you all of the information you need to determine if the Gourmia is the right immersion circulator for your needs.

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Sansaire Delta Review Announcement

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Sansaire has just announced their KickStarter campaign for their next iteration of their immersion circulator, the Sansaire Delta. Their campaign has also been fully backed already, with more than 900 backers so there is no risk of it not being funded.

With several of the other brands coming out with WiFi enabled devices I was expecting to hear something soon from Sansaire and I wasn't disappointed. The first thing that jumps out about the new unit is the unique design they decided on. Instead of the typical "stick" circulator, they went with a cool looking Δ shape. They say the end footprint of the circulator is smaller than the original Sansaire so hopefully it doesn't take up too much room in the pot.

I also liked that the control panel has been moved to the front. This takes it out of the way of steam from the pot (some other brands have been known to short circuit due to steam) and making it easier to reach and change the settings on.

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Do I Need A Sous Vide Machine With WiFi?

Wifi Anova With WiFi becoming available on the latest version of many sous vide machines, the important question is, "Do I need to have WiFi on my sous vide machine?" This article will help you answer that question. You may decide that having WiFi on your sous vide machine would be a "nice to have" but you don't envision that you would use it often. Or you may determine that WiFi is a "must-have" to simplify your life as a sous vide cook.
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StarChefs International Congress 2016 Recap

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I recently had the great pleasure of covering and attending the StarChesf 2016 Internation Chefs Congress in Brooklyn as part of the press. It's the second time I've been to StarChefs and every time is an inspriational experience. It always has some of the best chefs in the world, amazing panels and incredible workshops.

The theme this year was "What is Progress" and focused on "Defining success in an age of inlfuence and opportunity". It was a very inspiration conference and several people that are making a big difference in their communities were speakers. I highly recommend attending the conference if you are in the food industry in any capacity.

There's too much going on at the conference, but here's some of the highlights I had.

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Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness

There are two ways to cook sous vide, one is based on the thickness of the food and the other is based on the desired tenderness. When cooking based on the thickness of the food it is helpful to have a reference guide to fall back on. I've combined several of the respectable sous vide time and temperature charts into one easy-to-use reference.

Sous vide sirloin roasted vegetables

Cooking based on thickness is how PolyScience, Baldwin, and Nathan started out as they did research on food safety. Cooking sous vide based on thickness basically tells you the minimum time you can cook a piece of meat to ensure it is safe and comes up to temperature in the middle. It doesn't take into account tenderizing time or any other factors. It's often used by restaurants or home cooks who want to minimize cooking time and are using tender cuts of meat that don't need the tenderization.

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How Much Energy Does Sous Vide Use? The Sous Vide Power Consumption Benchmark

Electric meter

On this website, as well as other places online such as the sous vide subreddit, there are often questions regarding the power consumption of sous vide cooking. Questions like the following:

  • How much power is used for a typical sous vide cook?
  • How much impact does the water bath insulation have on sous vide power usage?
  • How do water ovens compare to sous vide immersion circulators on power usage?
  • Is sous vide power usage something that we really need to be concerned about?

Motivated by this and our own curiosity, we decided to define and run a Sous Vide Power Consumption Benchmark to gather some empirical data on this interesting topic. Hopefully, this article will answer some of the questions you have regarding power usage during sous vide cooking.

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How Does Temperature Affect Meat

Sous vide chuck steak seared raw

Viewed from a high-level perspective, as meat is heated the components that make it up change. These changes result in structural transformations that affect the texture, juiciness, and mouthfeel of the meat. The higher the temperature of the heat applied to the meat, the faster these changes happen.

Here is a more detailed look at the process.

Raw meat is generally squishy, chewy, and full of moisture.

At 120°F (48.9°C) meat slowly begins to tenderize as the protein myosin begins to coagulate and the connective tissue in the meat begins to break down. This also causes the meat to firm up as the protein contracts. As the temperature increases so does the speed of tenderization.

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Interview With Jason Logsdon

I was recently interview by Cilantro as part of their Expert Interview Series. You can read about my thoughts on modernist cooking, pasta, and desserts.
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PolyScience 300 Series Chamber Vacuum Sealer Detailed Review

This is the first of a number of vacuum sealer reviews we will be doing in the months ahead. This one is particularly exciting since it is on a chamber vacuum sealer - the PolyScience 300 Series Chamber Vacuum Sealer. This unit has nearly unlimited uses for both food storage and food preparation, especially for modernist cooking techniques such as sous vide and infusion.

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We were quite fortunate to have PolyScience Culinary provide us with their 300 Series Chamber Vacuum Sealer for this review. They characterize this Vacuum Sealer as a "Maintenance-free design which provides professional-level features at a home cook's price." The short 2 minute video below will give you a quick introduction to the PolyScience unit.

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Why Do You Boil Meat Before Sous Viding It? - Ask Jason

Some sous vide recipes say you should boil your meat before you seal it, what is that about? I thought the point of sous viding it was to keep it at a lower temperature, definitely not boiling it. I heard it has something to do with killing bacteria, but doesn't sous vide do that anyway?

- Jackson

Thanks for the question! There's a few different things going on here and I'll try to address them all.

Bagged short ribs

First off, the boiling is usually done to kill "lactobacillus", a type of bacteria that actually thrives in the lower temperature range of sous vide cooking. This bacteria isn't harmful to you, it's actually the same kind that is used a lot when making cheese and yogurt. However, it does tend to smell bad, so your food can have a funky or "bad cheese" smell to it. It can also cause your bag to puff up which can affect the transfer of heat.

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How to Sous Vide Prime Rib

Dear Jason,
I have a five pound prime rib that I want to make. I've been using sous vide for a year and I love it. Modernist Cooking is my go-to site, but I'm confused. I see 134 degrees for no more than 10 hours here, and 125.6 degrees at 24-36 hours on another site that I don't trust as much. But that site shows edge-to-edge medium rare that they torch for crispness like I will. I wonder if it's too soft though. Please help? Pretty please?

With the holidays in full swing, I've been getting a lot of questions on the best way to cook prime rib. Everyone wants to impress their family at holiday dinners, and prime rib is a great way to do it...provided you cook it properly. My family and I almost always do prime rib for our Christmas dinner and now with sous vide it's incredibly easy and convenient to make.

Based on my research and experience at home, here's everything you need to know about sous viding prime rib for your next family dinner. If you are looking for more information about prime rib in general, or prefer a more traditional way to cook prime rib, I highly recommend reading the Serious Eats article discussing it.

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How to Make Infused Simple Syrups

Mint infused simple syrup ingredients

Simple syrup is a sweet, easily dissolved liquid that is perfect for cocktails or sodas. It's usually around a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. The water is heated enough for the sugar to melt, then the mixture is cooled. The simple syrup can then be used to sweeten drinks without any of the grittiness that can occur when using plain sugar.

There are many types of simple syrup, depending on what type of sugar you use and whether or not their are any spices or herbs used during the process.

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How to Make Infusions for Gifts

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The holidays are often a time of scrambling to find "more stuff" that people in your life will want. While we all love to get gifts, sometimes it's the handmade items that we can actually use that mean the most to us. There are many great food gift ideas that meet this criteria, but you can only stand to get so many fruit cakes each year!

As many of you know, I've had infusions on the brain this year, so I decided to make several infusions to give as gifts. I'm also helping my mother-in-law make infusions to give to all of her friends.

There are many benefits to making infusions as gifts:
  • Easy to make in large quantities
  • Can tailor them to specific people
  • Used over time, so they think of you often
  • Most will last for several weeks, if not months
  • Inexpensive compared to buying pre-made flavored oils and vinegars

When making the infusions, you can use any of the main infusing methods, including traditional infusions, sous vide infusions, whipping siphon infusions, or fat washing. Regardless of the method, or the types of infusions, the process is the same. Here are some step-by-step directions for giving infusions as gifts.

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