A Vacuum Packed World Cup Opener, cont…

So, the World Cup has come and gone, leaving behind some very sad Brazilians and some very happy Germans. We were at least very happy to be a part of it all. We enjoyed many good games and good food as we cheered on our favorite teams.

As for the opening event here at our offices, we had a very nice time and in the end our menu consisted of:

  • Crudité (little veggies and fruit with dipping sauces to pick at) and Greek salad
  • Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers (shaped as Texas?)
  • Sous Vide BBQ ribs, which came out beautifully and delicious, and were the star of the event (I cooked these, 😉 )
  • Birthday Cake (it was a birthday party, too!)
  • Heineken beer (World Cup Edition)

Vacuum packed ribs

sous vide ribs

 

 

 

 

 

 

sv ribs finishing on grill

 

 

 

photo 4

 

What have you cooked sous vide for this sort of event? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

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Henkelman Sighting! Nathan Myhrvold’s Cooking Lab

When I recently received my January/February 2014 issue of, Food Arts magazine, which I get regularly and love as a great resource on the current professional culinary world, I quickly noticed a particular article, Once and Future Kitchens.

The article is an interview with renowned kitchen designer, Mark Stech-Novak, where the interviewer and Mr. Stech-Novak talk about the future of kitchens. They speak of conceptual food equipment ideas and tools, what the trends are currently, and where they are going. It is an interesting read, I recommend it.

What I wanted to share with you was the prominent picture shown on the first page of the article. It is an image of Nathan Myhrvold’s Cooking Lab. He is the principal author of, “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking”, which is a ground-breaking and notable five volume set of cook books on modern cuisine.

If you visit the, Modernist Cuisine, website you will see he lists some recommended equipment on his, “Gear Guide,” it is a list of the different types of equipment used in modern cuisine. Under the “Must-Have Tools for the Modernist Kitchen” he lists one tool as being a chamber vacuum sealer. While he notes several brands including, Henkelman (Yeah!), no particular brand is recommended over any other. However, the picture of his Cooking Lab from the Food Arts article, and shown on his website, seems to show his personal preference.

Nathan Myhrvold's Cooking Lab - Henkelman Marlin Vacuum Packer

Nathan Myhrvold’s Cooking Lab – Henkelman Marlin Vacuum Packer

You guessed it! Front and center (well, to the right a bit) is the only really identifiable machine [brand] prominently displayed, a Henkelman Marlin Vacuum Packer. I cannot tell which particular unit it is, but my money is on it being a the more popular model, Marlin 52.

This is certainly a larger unit than most kitchens need. Most use a Henkelman tabletop vacuum packer, like our the most popular model, Boxer 35, or the Jumbo 30 (both units are currently on sale at reduced prices!). Regardless of the size of the machine, all Henkelman vacuum packers are made with the same robust quality and attention to design. You simply cannot go wrong with a Henkelman vacuum packer.

Remember, you can always find the best sous vide equipment from Henkelman and Fusionchef at, Vacuum-Packer.com.

Financing Available At Vacuum-Packer.com!

Vacuum-Packer.com has teamed up with FinCap, LLC to offer our customers financing options to purchase Henkelman Vacuum Packers and sous vide equipment.

Over the years customers have requested financing options and payment plans to facilitate the purchase of sous vide equipment. Many customers took the time to email and ask the question; Vacuum-Packer.com took the time to find a solution.

Customers frequently express a strong desire to own a Henkelman vacuum packer or Fusionchef immersion circulator. They are either interested in cooking sous vide the right way, or simply extending the shelf life of their products through vacuum packaging in a professional, consistent manner.

We are confident that teaming up with FinCap, LLC, a customer service-centric financing company, will offer a welcome solution to help our clients get the equipment they need.

By clicking the “Apply Now” button, which is prominently displayed on applicable product pages throughout the site, you will be taken to an easy, single page application form. Once completed and submitted, you could be approved within hours! The process could not be simpler.

The fine print: The minimum amount is $1,000.00 and is primarily available to our commercial customers.

If you have any concerns, doubts or questions regarding this financing option, our products or the services we offer, please contact me at your convenience. My name is, Trey Rios, and I am delighted to speak with you about the process, the equipment, cooking sous vide, and all things vacuum packing.

Coming soon to a kitchen near you!

Trey Rios, Director
Vacuum-Packer.com by Absolute Source, LLC
t. 561.961.1559
f. 815.301.2672
e. trey.rios@absolutesource.net / info@vacuum-packer.com

I Once Caught A Fish This Big…

Over the weekend my wife and I decided we were craving fish and decided to cook some up. Now, she and I have different preferences on most everything food-wise, but when it comes to fish we both love salmon.

We drove Sunday morning to the grocery store (Whole Foods) to get the best fish we could find, and found some good options. As you may have guessed we wanted to cook these ingredients sous vide, so we ended up getting salmon, sea bass, and cod.

We set the Pearl Immersion Circulator to 132ºF, and planned to cook all the fish for about 18 minutes. We were happy to see that this could be done in such little time compared to proteins like short ribs, which can take up to 48 hours, or more.

Sockeye’d
First up was the salmon. We vacuum packed the filet after slightly salting and peppering, and adding a sprig of thyme and some butter. We used the Henkelman chamber vacuum packer, Jumbo 30.

salmon

The results were extraordinary. The filet was perfectly cooked, completely moist, full flavored and delicious.

Salmon1

Coddled
The next fish we decided to do was the cod. We vacuum packed this filet with some shallots, white wine, basil, lemon zest, butter and thyme.

Cod Mis En Place

Cod Mis En Place

While the results with the cod were surprisingly good, my personal opinion is that it could have used a bit more time over the 18 minutes, or been cooked at a higher temperature. I think it can be a bit more soft and tender.

Cod 1

Patagonian Toothfish?
For the third and last filet we sous vide Chilean Sea Bass. I have to say, this was the best out of the three. We vacuum packed the bass in coconut milk, kafir lime leaves, lemon grass, shallots and garlic.

bass juice

Vacuum packed with a Henkelman Jumbo 30

Bass

…and cooked it the same way. 132ºF for 18 minutes with the Pearl Circulator.

You can see below the results. If pictures say a thousand words, then my taste buds are the strong silent type – I was speechless…

bass2

bass1

This was a great experience, which my wife and I enjoyed thoroughly. If you have never had the opportunity to eat sous vide cooked fish or meat, you must.

Sous Vide…No Longer Trendy, Just Another Staple.

I subscribe to the magazine, Food Arts, because I was told by friends (chefs) in the biz that this was a good periodical showing trends in cooking techniques and equipment. It has articles on the up-and-coming chefs, as well as established well-known chefs, and the equipment and tools they use.

Since my business here is sous vide and vacuum packing, I thought I would go through some previous publications and articles which talk about different kitchen equipment and tools, and see if they mention sous vide equipment or if I notice any cool trends. Food Arts has a series of articles called, “My Favorite Gear.” I began with these articles.

Well, I found a lot chefs talking about sous vide, and the tools they use to accomplish cooking under vacuum. I went as far back as early 2008.

Shore Leave, March 2008. This article features Chef Ed Brown of Eighty One in NYC on the Upper West Side. The author writes about how the restaurant and the kitchen were designed, and mentions “predictable” cooking equipment the chef uses, and mentions sous vide as another technique he applies.

“…But he’s also committed to the slow gentle process of sous-vide cooking, which he has used since he worked with Alain Senderens in Paris in 1985. To that end, he has a large combi-oven that does regular, convection, and steam cooking or combinations of the three. Because the oven works on a computer, he can put, say, short ribs and aromatics into special food-grade bags, then program them to cook for 15 hours at 165°F. When it’s time to reheat the chilled ribs, they go into one of Yui’s innovations: an insulated sink with a cover in which you insert an immersion circulator, creating a built-in bain-marie.”

*Fusionchef offers combination units similar to this. Immersion circulators paired with different sizes of insulated stainless steel water baths.

A later article, My Favorite Gear, April 2008, mentions Chef Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington, DC. He talks about his time in France, “…When I worked in France, I did quite a lot of vacuum sealing, but it wasn’t until the machines got smaller that I started va­cuum sealing more here in the states. Now that I have this compact model, I vacuum seal all the time. When I travel to do events, I vacuum seal all my ingredients, which eliminates the need for bulky containers. It also saves me a ton of space in the walk-in, and it’s great for portioning out quantities for service. Vacuum sealing also helps to keep ingredients fresher longer, and it works great for certain cooking techniques like poaching fish in oil. It’s also just plain fun to use.”

*One of the best options for a small compact tabletop vacuum packer is the Henkelman Mini Jumbo.

The following year, Food Arts, published another article titled, “My Favorite Gear January/February 2009.” This time they quote Chef Frank Brunacci of Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. He begins to speak about the restaurant side of the hotel.

“On the restaurant side, I can’t live without the…Thermal Circulator. It’s like the Rational [combination oven]–every piece of protein comes out the same. It’s ideal for breakfast when you do scrambled or poached eggs on a buffet line. For three hours they stay perfectly cooked, perfectly heated, and perfectly moist and fluffy. It takes all the idiot out of eggs. You just can’t beat that. We’re open for service about 14 hours a day, and the circulator is probably on for 15 hours. With practice you can really use both of these pieces to their full advantage and come out with a perfect product every time.”

*Check out the work-horse immersion circulators by Fusionchef for cooking sous vide

In the same article they also quote Chef Timothy Hollingsworth of The French Laundry in Yountville, California. He talks about preparing to cook in the world-renowned culinary competition, Bocuse d’Or. The chef primarily speaks about his combination oven (convection/steam oven), how it holds perfect temperatures, and how he uses it on full steam to cook sous vide. “At the Bocuse d’Or, I’ll cook custard and sous-vide vegetables.”

It seems to me pretty telling that professional chefs value the sous vide technique enough to use at the Bocuse d’Or. They cook sous vide, because of the quality and attributes obtained with the end product.

*I will point out the Chef Timothy Hollingsworth won Gold at the US Bocuse d’Or in 2008.

In the following feature of the same article, Chef Tony Maws of Craigie On Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts is quoted speaking about his quick chiller, which allows him to bring hot products down to storing temperature in very little time, and how this has helped is kitchen operation. “Another great example is our duck breast. After we brine, render, sear, and smoke, we can now chill it in minutes to prepare it for sous-vide. The blast chiller saves us a half day for that dish alone.”

This very accomplished chef is not talking about sous vide the way I do, filled with “a-ha” moments. Sous vide is simply another technique, another part of his repertoire. Just the way you should probably cook duck breast…

In a separate article of Food Arts, In The Dark About Eco-Gear, from April 2009, the author speaks about the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and how this should affect the decisions we make when purchasing equipment, in this case kitchen equipment. A big factor to consider is, of course, energy consumption. He goes on to talk about hood systems and refrigeration, but gets to cooking equipment and talks about combination ovens, and how expensive they can be to always run in “full combi-mode”. He suggests using the sous vide method to save on energy. “Consider sous-vide methods in conjunction with other slow cooking processes to fully benefit from energy savings with combi-ovens.”

He goes on about why purchasing Energy Star rated equipment is beneficial even if the up-front cost is greater than the less efficient cheaper unit. What he doesn’t mention is the energy efficiency obtainable by cooking sous vide with an immersion circulator (see Fusionchef units at www.vacuum-packer.com), not to mention the incredible up-front cost difference in purchasing an immersion circulator versus a combination oven. Consider too the cost savings one obtains by purchasing in bulk and portioning in-house using a chamber vacuum packaging machine.

In another article, Arctic Arts, Science meets art on the new frontiers of freezing. Futurists David Arnold and Nils Norén, leaders of the kitchen and mixology vanguard, chart the icy terrain., the gentlemen talk about preserving the quality of products through the process of proper freezing – both freezing shortly after harvesting and in a very quick manner. As the title suggests, it pertains to freezing as the form of preservation and talks about fresh fish, foie gras and more.

They comment on the best processes to obtain and maintain foie gras, which on the preservation side includes rapid freezing and vacuum packaging. Of course, vacuum packaging helps in this regard with many products: fish, beef, lamb, duck, dry goods, and many many others…

*Check out the Jumbo Series of Henkelman Vacuum Packers.

In the article, My Favorite Gear, January/February 2010, Exec. Chef Martial Nougier of Sofitel Chicago Water Tower talks about his combination oven and how he just loves to cook sous vide, “I do a lot of sous-vide. It’s perfect for sous-vide. You use lots of steam, set it for 139 or 140, and the sous-vide is perfect for whatever I cook–rack of lamb, guinea hen, rabbit, duck, so many things. And we do everything for food and beverage.”

Another article, My Favorite Gear, January/February 2012, featured in Food Arts is written about a particular chef and kitchen, which the chef designed from scratch. He talks about the equipment he uses to keep the operation running smoothly.

In keeping with this theme, he talks about using circulators as a mainstay in his kitchen which feeds a major 150-room resort in North Carolina, The Umstead Hotel and Spa.

“We have at least three of these incredibly precise machines [immersion circulators] running constantly. I love to use our circulators for eggs, like for my crispy pork trotters with poached asparagus, glazed morel mushrooms, aged Sherry, and 62 degree organic local eggs. Eggs go in right in the shell; everything else is vacuum sealed first in our [vacuum packaging machine], which offers the most consistent vacuum, from heavy compression of fruits and vegetables to delicate mushrooms.
[Chef] Greene uses the circulators for vegetable cookery, rabbit confit, and his 48 hour short ribs. He has a dish on the menu now of vanilla spiced sea bass with fingerling potatoes, fennel confit, and lobster broth. The fennel is slowly cooked in vacuum with fennel juice, butter, salt, and herbs. We also use circulators to hold sauces at precise temperatures during service—for example, our coconut espuma served with butternut squash soup, curried apples, candied ginger, and macadamia nuts.”

Toward the end of 2012, Food Arts published another article from this series, My Favorite Gear, October 2012. This article quotes Charlie Palmer of Charlie Palmer Group, Aureole, New York City and numerous other restaurants coast to coast. While mentioning his range and plancha he says, “And there’s no doubt that circulators have changed the way we cook. I can cook items sous-vide without losing any of the tender fat and moisture. It’s how I cook anything braised or that requires moist heat now, especially short ribs and pork shoulder.”

In the next edition of the series released in 2013, My Favorite Gear, January/February 2013, the tools seem to have moved on from the actual immersion circulators and chamber vacuum packaging machines to the additional tools used to assist in the sous vide process.

In this article, Food Arts, speaks with restaurant designers and consultants rather than the chefs themselves. One in particular, Mark Stech-Novak, of Mark Stech-Novak Restaurant Consultation & Design in Oakland, California, suggests for small kitchens (tools that are well suited to the confines of a small kitchen instead of a big one) an iphone/ipad app for cooking sous vide.
“PolyScience Sous-Vide Toolbox app for iPad or iPhone: “Perhaps the coolest software for testing and proofing sous-vide cooking. No chef should be without it.”

So, if no chef should be without the sous vide app, it goes to reason that no chef should run their kitchen without taking advantage of the benefits derived from this special yet simple technique.

On another note, you certainly do not need a PolyScience unit to utilize the app. However, if record keeping for proofing, testing or for HAACP reasons is of interest, the only immersion circulator that records this data for you and can interact directly with your PC using a specific software comes from Fusionchef by Julabo. It is the Diamond Series of immersion circulators by Fusionchef.

I think it is pretty evident that sous vide is a technique which has proven over time to be very useful for any professional kitchen, big or small, fancy or not.

In the upper echelons of the culinary profession, these articles and comments by accomplished and successful chefs, seem to give the impression that the technique is quite familiar. I mean, it certainly is not something only practiced on the fringes of the culinary underground. However, being in the profession I am I still come across a lot of chefs and restaurateurs that are totally unfamiliar with sous vide, or that have never heard of the technique before.

So, while sous vide continues to set its roots and become part of the foundation in any operating kitchen, I will continue to spread the good word.