Sous Vide Cooking

Chef Touch System – The all in one sous vide cooking at home solution from KitchenAid

by on Aug.16, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

Today I saw an interesting piece of sous vide cooking equipment called Chef Touch System from KitchenAid. This concept gather a vacuum chamber sealer (a must in terms of vacuum that gives you the possibility to add liquids such as oil or a marinade in you pouch without destroying the machine) a shock freezer (very usefull and safe device if you want to keep meats in the freezer after you cooked it at low temperature) and a steam oven.

The concept of this all in one sous vide equipment gives an idea of what could look our kitchen in a close futur. The only weak point of this beautiful item is the steam oven. Why not replacing it with a PID controlled steared water bath?

Any idea of the price of the Chef Touch System and availability?

Information added October 23rd :

Thanks to N.Lavirotte, we now know the ChefTouch System is available since September in Europe. Official retail price are as follow :

-Vacuum chamber : 2,950 € incl. VAT
- Shock Freezer : 5,000 € incl. VAT
- Oven : steam ( 1,550 €) combi (1,850 € ) incl. VAT
- Kitchen high cabinet : 2,700 € incl. VAT

Total = 12,500 € (combi oven) incl. VAT (approx. 17,500 USD)

JF

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FreshMealsMagic (Sous Vide Bubbler + SousVideMagic 1500D) Review

by on Jul.04, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

In June 2009 I purchased the SousVideMagic 1500B and my review was globally very positive.
In August 2009 FreshMealsSolutions spread the information about a new product, a “Bubbler” called FreshMealsMagic (FMM). Prior to the launch of the FMM, this new device has been commented in this post.
I also have to admit that I was doubting on the capability of the FMM to stabilize in an accurate way a waterbath.

The core product of FreshMealsSolutions is the SousVideMagic PID controller (now the 1500D version). In my opinion, the main improvement of this PID controller version is the 2nd digital screen (green screen on the above picture). Setting the temperature and the cooking time becomes easier and “readable”.  A second screen indicating the cooking time is a function that is strangely not implemented on most Immersion Circulators.

The bubbler (FMM) can be summarized as a heater element together with a probe and a hose expulsing air. The FMM replaces the usual ricecooker plugged to the SousVideMagic. Therefore the FMM offers the possibility to use pots of any size. Potentially the FMM and the SVM become highly versatile.

The Bubbler solution (contrary to immersion circulators that are using a circulation pump) needs a new device to pulse the air: a small air pump (see on the 2 above pictures). For non American users, the input power cord and an adaptor for the pump should be purchased in you own country (approx. EUR 20 alltogether).

Bubbles generated by the pump create a significant movement in the polycarbonate container provided with the FMM kit.

I tested the temperature accuracy of the FFM together with the SousVideMagic controller. As from now I made a technical test without cooking food stuff. For that purpose I used my Thermoworks K type thermometer. The test was conclusive. I tried to find cold spots (once again this test was done without any plastic pouches) and globally the temperature was almost the same everywhere.

Regarding temperature stability: I filled the container with 12 liters of water at 35°C (starting temperature). I set the PID controller to 56°C. The SVM 1500D is 2,000 W and therefore reached the target temperature quickly. I haven’t tuned the SVM and the stability of the temperature was nevertheless very good (in the range from (55.9°C to 56.3°C).

Storing the SVM sous vide kit can be done easily in the polycabonate container provided in the kit.

To sum up:

  • This new sous vide kit makes FreshMealsSolutions entering in the world of the versatile sous vide equipments.
  • Temperature accuracy is very good (I have not especially insulated the container at the occasion of this review).
  • Temperature stability seems good but I should do futher tests cooking some food.
  • I like the possibility to check the temperature and the cooking time at the same time!
  • Main drawback: this sous vide piece of  equipemnt is composed of 3 devices and 7 cables…what a mess!

Cost of the SousVideMagic 1500D (PID Controller) + FreshMealsMagic (Bubbler):

  • SousVideMagic 1500D: USD 160
  • FreashMealsMagic: USD 140
  • Sending costs to Europe: USD 110
  • Custom duties (Europe): EUR 50
  • Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 20.

Grant total (1 EUR = 1.25 USD): approx. EUR 372 (USD 446).

JF

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Heating a baby pool with an Immersion Circulator, Yes you can!

by on Jun.13, 2010, under General Topics

Who never dreamed of getting a bath that would be at the perfect and desired temperature? I want to reassure you, I have not tried my immersion circulator in my bath but I was sure this would work in a baby pool!!!

DANGER OF ELECTRIC SHOCK: Please keep in mind that you MUST NOT immerge an immersion circulator in a waterbath that would contain an human being, or an alive animal (if dead, better put the animal sous vide for better result ;-)

Today was a nice day in Paris but not warm enough for my little cousine to enjoy her baby pool on the balcony. Anyway she has insisted a lot to fill the pool and I did so, but the water coming out of the pipe was  cold. Then I had the option or to pour a big pan of hot water inside the baby pool or to use…my immersion circulator.

If you know Addelice Immersion Circulator you may know a float switch cuts the heater if the water level is too low. For the purpose of this post I blocked the float switch with a tape. I just had to take care the pump was immerged.

Herunder the result : a nice 31°C baby pool!

Jean-François

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Sous Vide Cooking Book from Joan Roca & Salvador Brugues

by on Jun.06, 2010, under Books

When I started cooking sous vide, one year ago, I searched information about cooking times and temperatures on internet. Nothing was available at this time except Douglas Baldwin Practical Guide to Sous Vide. Therefore I purchased some books that were rated good or excellent on some online shops such as “Under Pressure – Cooking Sous Vide” of Thomas Keller and “Sous-Vide: Garen im Vakuum” of Viktor Stampfer. These books were nice with beautiful pictures…but not really containing relevant technical information. Above all, sous vide recipes of these books couldn’t be reproduced without a penetration probe. Then I realized that Douglas Baldwin’s Guide was the best source of information.

At the same time I heard about a book from Spanish cooks called Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués. But this book was available in Spanish only. This book is now available in English and French. The price of this book is crazy! I saw some online shop proposing it at USD 200! I bought mine in French language at EUR 110 incl. shipping.

The book is nice and full of technical information (100 pages of tech. information to be compared with 50 pages of recipes). I didn’t have time so far to read it completely but one think already disappointed me, you cannot find cooking tables such as Baldwin ones. If you want to cook with Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués cooking book then you need to purchase some turbigomme and a penetration probe…again. Anyway this book seems very interested and I’ll give you my feed back soon about it.

Jean-François

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Anthology of compressed fruits (under vacuum)

by on May.22, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

Today I had time to experiment “compression” with my vacuum chamber sealer. To put a juicy fruit under vacuum is an issue with clamp vacuum machines as liquids can get inside the machine and break it. Vacuum chamber sealer machines are designed in a way that liquids can be put under vacuum. The vacuum is also much stronger with a vacuum chamber sealer compared to a clamp machine.
Compressing fruits such as watermelon is often described on cooking books or on some blogs. I was very curious to see the result on the texture of the fruit and also on the flavor.

Fo my first try I took a green apple I have cut in thin slices. I added a bit of gin inside the pouch, set the vacuum chamber machine at the maximum and here is the result. A fantastics translucent apple slice. I have also particularly appreciated the combination apple/gin.

My other tries were watermelon, melon and banana with rhum ans sugar cane. As you will se bellow, colors of watermelon and melon are getting very intense. The visual effect is fantastic!

On these picture you will realize how different is the color of compressed melon and watermelon compared to uncompressed ones. The texture is also very different, especially for the melon.

Then, what about the flavor? In my opinion watermelon compression doesn’t improve the flavor. I have added in the pouch some watermelon juice as I though this would raise the flavor…but it didn’t work.

Melon was in my opinion more interesting. The texture was getting more compact than with watermelon and the color became incredibly orange. In the mouth the compressed melon was unfamiliar. I can’t say it was better than the uncompressed one but this was an interesting feeling.

Jean-François

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