Gastronomic Fight Club SM

Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

What is Sous Vide

posted by snekse
Sous vide (pronounced sue–veed) is French for "under vacuum". In culinary terms, sous vide is a cooking method in which food is vacuum sealed then immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise and consistent temperature.

Sounds simple, but there's much more to it than that. This is not meant to be a definitive guide to sous vide. Instead, this is meant to be a brief introduction along with some links to help you find more authoritative resources on the web, in print and elsewhere (including right here in Omaha!). This is also the first part of a series of articles we'll be doing on sous vide over the next week.

To start off, we interviewed Dario Schicke, of Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], and asked him to explain sous vide and the training he received. Then he gave us some demonstrations in preparing food for cooking sous vide, as well as texture modification and flavor injection using the vacuum chamber. We also left a SousVide Supreme™ with him for several days to get an experienced chef's opinion of the product. Our review and his thoughts on that will be posted later.

An explanation of sous vide cooking


A conversation with Dario Schicke, Chef/Owner of Dario's Brasserie in Omaha, NE, about sous vide cooking. We discuss what sous vide is, what it's uses are, the training he received and the viability of the method for the home cook.

Beef Tenderloin Cooked in the Sous Vide Supreme


Dario Schicke, Chef/Owner of Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], walks us through cooking beef tenderloin sous vide, while helping us test out the SousVide Supreme.

Compressed Watermelon


Dario Schicke, from Dario's Brasserie (Omaha, NE), demonstrates compressed watermelon in a vacuum chamber.

Flavor Injecting Under Pressure


Dario Schicke, from Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], demonstrates texture modification and flavor injection by infusing apple juice and Calvados apple brandy into sliced Asian apple pears, using a high pressure vacuum chamber for some beautiful and flavorful results.

I'll leave you with two interesting quotes about sous vide, then some resources.

Thomas Keller, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, on the benefits of sous vide: "For one, it's a new toy and we all love new toys. And two, sous vide definitely goes beyond cooking in a bag. It's used for precise, à la minute cooking. When you order a steak medium, that's the temperature in the very center, but the outside is cooked well done and the next layer is medium-well, et cetera. But with sous vide, that piece of meat is medium from edge to edge. Before now, few people have had a short rib rare."

Eric Ziebold on the down sides of sous vide: "Sous vide takes craft away from cooking. You know it'll be a perfect medium-rare every time. You don't want to lose that emotional contact with food—like when you smell duck fat cooking, that does something for us.

Right now, we have turbot cooked sous vide and then brushed with preserved lemon. But we'll never have everything cooked sous vide. Just like we wouldn't have everything grilled..."

RELATED LINKS:
Sous-vide on Wikipedia
A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking by Douglas Baldwin
Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment on eGullet
Michael Voltaggio (from Top Chef) explaining sous vide and using a microwave to do it.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Subscribing to blog updates

posted by snekse
I apologize that we haven't had a new post here in a couple of weeks. August is always an extremely busy month for me, so I find myself with little free time to post. That, however, is a great excuse to post a little technology "How To" for some of our readers. If you are already familiar with RSS and Feed Readers, there's not much for you here. But if those terms are new to you, let me introduce you to a whole new way to keep updated on news and reviews from Gastronomic Fight Club and all of the other cool blogs (and some news sites) you read.

Understanding RSS

The first thing we need to do is become familiar with what RSS feeds are. There's no better or more enjoyable way to learn the subject than to watch this short video:

Subscribing and Reading RSS Feeds

Once you have an understanding of RSS and you've determined the location of a site's RSS feed, you'll need to pull it into a feed reader. My favorite is the Google Reader seen here:


That's it! Now whenever a new article is added to this site, you'll see it appear in your feed reader of choice. If you're not keen on the whole feed reader thing, we also provide you with another option - to subscribe to email updates.

I hope that has made your day a little more interesting.

RELATED LINKS:
RSS Feed for all Gastronomic Fight Club posts
Subscribe to email updates from Gastronomic Fight Club
RSS feed for Snekse's Food related bookmarks on Delicious.com
RSS feed for Snekse's Food related photos on Flickr.com

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Friday, October 12, 2007

PRODUCT REVIEW: Mozy - Online Backup

posted by snekse
Occasionally I will write about technical subjects here on GFC, because, well - I'm a geek.

Something that caught my eye last week was the acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems by EMC Corp. For those of you not familiar with the names, Berkeley Data Systems is a small start-up company with a product called Mozy. Mozy is a backup utility that allows you to systematically and securely store up to 2 GB of data online for free, or if you have more data, you can get unlimited storage for $4.95/month. EMC Corp is one of the world's largest enterprise data storage providers. So why is this important? Well, it does lend some credibility to what BDS is doing, but more importantly, BDS now has some money behind it. That should translate into improvements in the product and possibly larger storage limits for both their free and paid accounts.

Do yourself a favor - find the folder where you save all of your digital photos, right-click on it and select "Properties". How large that folder? How many files are in there? Now do the same to the folders where you keep your music, home movies, tax documents, and any other important files. Then ask yourself:
  • "When was the last time I backed-up this information"?
  • "Is the backup stored at an off-site location in case my house burns down"?
  • "Will I be able to handle the ulcer I get if my hard drive crashed in the next 10 minutes"?
It may seem a little extreme, but being paranoid is a good thing when dealing with technology that holds so much valuable information that really is priceless. This is why photo albums are one of the first things people search for when rummaging through a demolished house after a natural disaster. And now in our digital age, most of those memories are stored on that 3.5" hard drive that's not meant to last for more than 3 to 5 years.

For myself, I have 2 levels of protection. I have all of my important files on a RAID system to protect me from a hard drive crash and I also use Mozy in case something happens to my house or my RAID fails. This gives me peace of mind that if something were to happen, I could recover my 10,000+ photos and other important documents I have on my machine.

Since a RAID system is impractical for most people, Mozy is the perfect solution. It's a small application that runs in the background, so you don't even notice it. At a regularly scheduled interval it will send your important files over a secure connection to be stored encrypted on redundant storage systems. If your hard drive crashes, or even if you just accidentally delete a file, you can easily restore the file and be on your way. What's really cool is that it allows you to create rules and filters so it ensures you only backup the data you really care about - especially nice when you use their free 2 GB account and need to use your space wisely.

So this is just a friendly reminder - backing up your data is extremely important. Regardless of if you use external hard drives, DVDs, Mozy or one of the other online solutions, just make sure you do it, Mozy just happens to be the best solution I've found so far.

If you want to give Mozy a try, just click on the button below. Remember, it's free, so you really don't have much to lose other than some time. Also, if you do decide you need a paid account, they are offering a 5% discount on all annual and biannual signups for the month of October. Just enter "OCTOBER" into the "Promotional Code" box on the signup page.

***UPDATE***
Mozy Promo Discount Coupon Codes are basically the month name in which you are signing up. Examples below:
FEBRUARY- 10% off a MozyHome Unlimited 1-year Signup
FEBRUARY2 - 10% off a MozyHome Unlimited 2-year Signup



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