Over the last years I’ve been reading on and off about molecular gastronomy, just the odd article or mention here and there but enough to get me interested to try a few things.
Naturally my first experiments were related to booze (cocktails) and it turns out that the magic ratio I found is usually 2-1-1, for example to make my favourite (variation of a) Vesper Martini is 2 gin, 1 Dubonet, and 1 vermouth while my favourite Whiskey Sour is 2 whiskey (bourbon of course), 1 simple syrup (or 1 maple syrup), and 1 lemon juice. Mixing these over ice and pouring = delicious. I haven’t read the science in details but it has to do with the ratios between your hard liquor, your sweet, and your aromatic I understand.
Then when it comes to cooking meat turns out that 3-3-2-2 is the perfect times (in minutes) it takes to cook a steak on my BBQ for medium rare.
These experiments were simplistic but really convinced me that applying the science related to cooking resulted in delicious drinks and steaks.
Then in November of 2017 while I was thinking of Christmas presents and perusing the Telus gift guide when I found the Anova precision cooker on sale. The Anova as it will be known from here on in is a device that allows you to cook your food sous-vide at home. I haven’t read all the science yet and there’s a book that I really want to read called The Food Lab that has a number of recipes related to sous-vide but in the end I guess I don’t have to understand the science for great results (see below).
The Anova comes with an iPhone (and Google) App that controls the device and it essentially has a lot of the science programmed right into the App. Pretty much any meat or eggs so far have defined times and temperatures programmed right into the app and have made cooking easy, delicious, and more importantly predictable.
In addition, I really like the new workflows related to cooking sous-vide. Normally I select the food I want and how I want it cooked, i.e. rare, medium-rare, etc…, then I tell the Anova to start warming up. While the Anova is warming up I prepare my food with seasoning and put it in vacuum bags for cooking, once the Anova beeps at me I put the food in the hot water bath and let it go, the Anova will keep a timer and tell me when my food is cooked and ready. This will take a minimum of 30 minutes (for salmon) during which time I’m free to prepare my sides worry free. There’s usually a finishing steps strictly for aesthetics where you end up searing your food or veggies for colour and appearance.
In my opinion the results speak for themselves, all the dishes below were simply delicious, I may give up grilling and you all know how much I love grilling.
First time out, filet mignon with left over bits from a filet roast I had purchased, while it’s cooking;
Finished filet steaks, note the even gradation, i.e. no bit is cooked more or less than any other bit;
Butter poached shrimp while cooking;
Finished shrimp, delicious but my wife thought they were a bit rubbery and could have used more cooking, interesting thing here is that regular cooking robs your food of moisture whereas sous-vide cooking preserves the moisture which in this case implies that shrimp that haven’t been cooked to the point of where they start drying up end up “rubbery”.
On a side note, pork is incredibly cheap at Costco right now, you can get an entire loin for under $20 which you can then cut into 2-3 meals for a family of four. Roasts and/or chops.
Lastly, (perfect) eggs Benedict
There are precision cookers other than Anova but so far for my $$$ it’s been awesome!!! Also looking forward to experimenting with all kinds of recipes such as bread (yes sous-vide bread), veggies, and even deserts such as creme brule.