The idea of hacking the dinner prep process is very near and dear to me, as we’ve been accustomed to cooking complex dinners in the past 4 years, occasionally in excellent kitchens, but more frequently in modest to horrible home kitchens.
Enter sous vide: the mighty duo of Immersion Circulator and FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer has been a force multiplier in terms of making way more than we could in improbable spaces. In the session, I talk about how the precision and scalability of sous vide has helped us immensely to perfectly prepare large amounts of proteins using no stove and requiring only running water and a power outlet. I break down the science behind the technique, the equipment required (and ways to hack it if you don’t want to shell out for expensive stuff), and practical examples of common sous vide recipes.
I also talk about uses for Activa, or as it’s affectionately known in culinary circles as “meat glue.” Activa is an enzyme (not really a glue) that bonds proteins together and can be used in a number of ways to cook more efficiently and to create novel dishes like a chicken skin wrapped steak. Activa has let us do some interesting things with humbler–yet often, more flavorful–cuts of meat that drastically change the context of how that cut is eaten. I demonstrate the relatively simple technique of bonding multiple layers of thin skirt steak into a shape that resembles that of a Filet Mignon (never passing it off as Filet to the diner, but as something completely different). Creative moves like this are what have enabled us to do a lot more on limited resources over the years.
The session went wonderfully and I must thank Kate Hartman and Tom Igoe of ITP and my friend Joe Hobaica for hooking it up. Side bonus of getting to present to bunch of ITP students: they figure out how to build from scratch the sous vide equipment you’re using in the demo, while you’re doing the demo (Thanks Dave M). I loved that. And since the idea of Studiofeast really abides by a lot of that same hacker mentality, I felt right at home.
Below are some photos and a cell phone video taken by Danielle Gould of Food+Tech Connect. Enjoy!