Sous vide vegetables trial run

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. eastshores

    eastshores

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    I've been intrigued by the idea of sous vide for a number of years but only recently have home sous vide units come into a price range where I felt it was affordable enough to jump in. I picked up two units from Anova which I recently reviewed here. I originally only wanted one but after an order mishap I decided to keep the second because it would allow me to run two different temperatures at once, which is a must if you are doing meats as well as vegetables.

    Last night I went over to a friends and we experimented with carrots and potatoes. I was interested to see what his opinion was, because there can be a lot of hype around sous vide cooking vs. other methods and I wanted an unbiased opinion. I sealed the vegetables with a little oil and seasonings. I experimented with the potatoes by sealing one bag with only oil and thyme, and sealing a second bag with oil and sea salt. I determined that with the salt being in prior to sealing you can end up with areas that are too concentrated so one bite is bland and the next extremely salty. Best to leave seasoning with salt until after.



    For this experiment I set the water bath to 85C


    decided to let them cook past 2 hrs. Most readings I had done said that 1 hr was sufficient but I wanted to see if there was any negative effect from leaving them in longer. That was important to me because one aspect of sous vide that I like is the flexibility in timing. We all went for a swim and just let the veges do their thing. I was serving teriyaki glazed salmon along with these, so when we were ready to eat we just cooked the salmon not worrying about the vegetables.


    So what was the verdict? Well my friend tried one of the potatoes and instantly reacted by saying it was really good, in fact one of the best potatoes he's ever eaten. I concurred, there was a subtle rich and earthy flavor that I don't often pick up on. I wouldn't go so far as to say they were better than roasted potatoes, but they offer a different experience that is equally good.

    The carrots were really interesting. I had anticipated even cooking but there was in fact a difference between the colors. The yellow carrots were extremely soft, the purple being in the middle, and the orange being the least soft of the three. That surprised me, and I am certainly a new fan of the yellow carrots as they also had more flavor than the other two.

    In the end the vegetables were very good, maintained their color well and had a very rich concentrated flavor. Being able to "set it and forget it" was nice as well, and allowed me to concentrate solely on the salmon when the time came.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    nicko likes this.
  2. ordo

    ordo

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    That was interesting. Thanks.
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I have the same machine.  I must say I like it very much.
     
  4. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Nice!  Veggies really come out nice that way.  A turnip done at 185 is to die for.
     
  5. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Parsnips too, they take on such a sweet, gentle flavour, love putting them side by side with their roasted cousins.
     
  6. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Do you serve them side by side, or roast carrots and then seal them side by side with the parsnips? I could see that going either way!
     
  7. tweakz

    tweakz

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    One of the concerns I have over Sous Vide is vitamin / nutrient retention, since fast cooking in a pressure cooker seems optimal for vitamin retention / absorption: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/3-pressure-cooker-nutrition-myths-that-just-wont-go-away-till-now/

    I also don't like the idea of cooking in a plastic bag, and even people that eat at taco bell are bothered by finding out that they use sous vide (cooking in plastic). Is it reason for concern? - http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/28/is-bpa-free-plastic-safe/

    I work at a prestigious college where fresh cooked vegetables are dumped in with the old (I don't allow this at my station) to the point that it's ridiculously obvious and unappealing. Sous vide just seems like it's a way for lazy people to be lazier and even less caring about the health of their customers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  8. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    So far I haven't seen a shred of credible evidence that cooking in a bag is unhealthy.  I'm not a scientist so I'm just going on the literature but it doesn't seem like much is leeching out at SV temps and realistically there isn't much to leech out.  Besides, a huge amount of food has been stored in plastic all the way up the point where you cook it anyway.

    I should point out to that most of the benefits of sous vide don't require the vide part at all.  You can fill many water ovens or circulators with oil or water and cook directly in it.  Or put your food in a glass jar and immerse it in the bath.  It's the constant temp not the sealed bag that does the trick.  No reason you couldn't "poach" things in oil or water depending on what you're cooking.

    The point of SV isn't laziness- it's the ability to do things that are impossible in any other way.  How can  you do a beef brisket to fork tenderness while leaving it medium rare without sous vide?  I sure can't figure out another way.  Lots of amazing stuff is possible when you can control the temp down to a fraction of a degree.
     
  9. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Eastshores, I have done both, as well as many variations inbetween. Its time to play!

    Tweakz, I know you have a total dislike for sousvide and I am not going to get into with you. But the lazy cracks are silly. On one hand it actually does require work, more than blanching a pot of green beans by anybodies standard. And "control" is not lazy, its smart. Physical exertion doesnt make food better, it just makes your job more exciting. The customer really could care less about how much effort you put into something.
     
  10. dcarch

    dcarch

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    Come on, admit it. We sous vide practitioners are a lazy bunch, otherwise why would I have a food processor? a dishwasher? -------------- an automobile?

    I SVed beets yesterday, with home made butter and yuzu (home grown) orange juice. I will be making that again and again.

    dcarch
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Uhm, that's borderline insulting.
     
  12. dcarch

    dcarch

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    Did you actually read that article?

    If you did, you will see that you really will be agreeing that SV is even better than pressure cooking in retention / absorption of nutrients. SV keeps all the liquid and cooks at a much lower temperature than a PC.

    dcarch
     
  13. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Someone should definitely tell Thomas Keller as he must not have heard!
     
  14. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Keller? Isn't he like the poster child for the food network/chemical additive/military complexes? No? Well, whatever, man...
     
  15. tweakz

    tweakz

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    I was wrong to post about laziness and didn't think of the target audience, but of the people I have to work with.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  16. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Tweakz, no worries! I think it fine to have a personal style, and a comfort zone. You just dont need to run down other styles to validate your own. And if I ever rib you, its in fun,just like I would a person in my kitchen.
     
  17. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    I guess it's kind of a paradox; on the one hand I like the slow food movement, the trend towards real natural food with no GMOs or hormones, anti-biotic free range cattle, etc etc.  I like to have food that's free of unnecessary additives and chemicals. But on the other hand I really dig MG cooking.  It's fun to play with meat glue, spherification, gels and foams, etc.  I guess the difference is that when I use something for a specific effect I'm on the one making the call and I know what's in the food I'm making.
     
  18. dcarch

    dcarch

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    it seems that since we started using microwave radiation, Teflon cookware, aluminum, plastics, chemicals ---------- in foods, we are living longer and longer.

    Since 1930 we on the average living 18 years longer.

    dcarch
     
  19. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    It's really hard to unpack it.  On the one hand we're exposed to many forms of radiation from phones, microwaves, etc.  We have environmental chemicals and pollutants that probably aren't good for us.  We feed 75% of all the antibiotics used in the US to livestock.  So many things are probably "killing us" that it's impossible to isolate any given one.  On the other hand we have better sanitation, nutrition and medicine.  Maybe it's a wash.

    Let me say I do respect folks that are wary of chemicals and reluctant to cook in bags, use a microwave, use a cell phone, etc.  The risk is never zero.  I think the risk of potential issues from food safe bags to be minimal but I think people should have a choice.  It's fair to let people know what's in their food and how it's being handled.  I would extend this right of the consumer to know all the way to what types of GMOs are used and what type of hormones, drugs, country of origin, etc.
     
  20. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    phaedrus, I have the same feelings. One of the things I like about MG, aside from the possiblities of textures and presentations, is that I like the idea of chefs taking control of the tools and techniques that industrial food producers have been using to simulate OUR work. In that way both poles are similar.

    Dcarch, exactly. People might have concerns about modern inovations, and a romantic backlash that leads to a retreat to "the traditional" without realizing what that exactly means. I dont see a clamour to go back to "greening pots" or untreated copper. People worry about cooking in plastic, yet lionize wood smoked bbq.