This post took a while to publish, mostly because I was waiting for the bits and parts in the mail.
First thing was the FoodSaver vacuum sealer that I received in the mail not too long ago. You’ve probably seen an ad for it on late night television when random gadgets are on sale, trust me, I won’t judge you if you bought something, I do that too.
Oxidation for the most part is an enemy to the freshness of food, so what a vacuum sealer does is it sucks all the air out of a bag containing the food item you’d like to keep, increasing the fridge/freezer/shelf life of the product. For the most part, vacuum sealing is a great tool for those who like to stock up on foods when grocery shopping but still would like to keep the food as fresh as possible. Vacuum sealers are also an amazing companion to those who like to marinate meats as they get the job done quicker and does a much better job of coating the whole meat with the marinade.
In addition to the standard uses of a vacuum sealer, they are a critical part of another trendy cooking style, sous vide. My French has gotten incredibly rusty since Grade 10 French, so I Googled the translation of Sous Vide and it means to cook under a sealed vacuum. Essentially the process involves you vacuum sealing (after seasoning) your meat and submerging it in a water bath to cook it to the perfect temperature with incredible accuracy. Some of the foods that you cook need to be finished, meaning that there’s one other step to finish the cooking process, and some are ready to go in less than an hour.
Still confused? So was I when I first learned about Sous Vide cooking. Let me break it down this way, you know how when cooking chicken, steak (at varying levels of doneness), or fish that there is a perfect internal temperature of the meat? With a sous vide, you can suspend the meat under the perfect internal temperature by controlling the temperature of the water bath that the food sits in. After the prescribed amount of time, you can take the meat out and finish it on a grill or stove top to get the sides grilled the way you like and then you’re ready to serve.
If that sounds fancy, it is. There’s a number of fancy restaurants that use sous vide cooking to ensure perfectly cooked meat – especially steak – every time.
It wasn’t until recently that household units started entering the market so food enthusiasts have the power of precision cooking in their homes. Sous Vide units come in one of two styles, the box or the stick version. The box is essentially as it sounds, a box that holds the water and food in the controlled temperature water bath, whereas the stick is the heating and circulating unit for the water – you provide your own container for the water bath. I like the stick much more and would recommend it anybody who is interested in buying the unit simply because it is much easier to clean and it’s easier to store away. The box takes up about the same real estate of a microwave and most people don’t have near enough counter space for both.
These units aren’t a cheap impulsive buy, a single sous vide machine can run you about $200 or more. The Anova Sous Vide I received is worth about $300 Canadian after taxes and shipping. I personally love the Anova unit and has worked perfectly for me so far, so I would definitely endorse it, but I understand that this product isn’t right for everyone. Here’s a quick list of those who should and should not buy it.
You should buy it if:
- If you appreciate precision cooking and want to experiment cooking with various temperatures and achieving different textures in food
- You handle expensive cuts of meat and want to cook it perfectly every time
- You’re a foodie in need of a really cool kitchen toy with disposable income to spare
You shouldn’t buy it if:
- You’re a vegetarian or vegan (honestly, you can achieve perfectly cooked veggies in many other ways without a sous vide)
- You normally like your steaks well done
- You ain’t got no cash
I hope this quick review helped with your education of sous vide cooking and got you introduced to Anova Culinary and their products for sale. You’ll definitely see some more recipes soon here with some sous vide cooking styles to inspire the foodie in all of you to try something new in the kitchen.
Until we dine again,
-The Piquey Eater
P.S. If you’re looking for what we did with the Chuck in the picture above, we just put it in the sous vide for 52 hours without any seasoning and grilled it to finish it off with some steak spice. Needed a bit more seasoning so next time we’ll be adding more ingredients into the vacuum sealed bag.
Disclaimer: I was provided with an Anova Sous Vide machine by Anova Culinary and a vacuum sealer from FoodSaver. Nobody could ever buy my opinion 🙂