Other Voices, Other Rooms!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

You Got Me Under Pressure: Pressure Cooking, Sous Vide, etc...

I am a gadget guy much to my wife's, (she enjoys her living space uncluttered), chagrin. I cannot resist trying out the newest, or the most current trend. Often I try whatever I'm into for a while and then either I lose interest and sell it, recouping as much of my investment as possible or I adopt it and incorporate into my little web of the arcane and interesting. There are frequently stacks of boxes in the "Newly Acquired" or "To Be Sold" sections of our living room floor.
This year I am totally committed to  healthy eating. I've been reading lots of Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and David Kessler. I've been eating a lot more vegetables and legumes while limiting my intake of starches and meats. 
If you eat a lot of vegetables, time management becomes a priority. For example, you have to soak beans and then you still have to cook them for long periods of time. Pressure cooking solves this problem by cooking food (under pressure) in a tightly sealed chamber. I cooked up a batch of unsoaked black beans in 20 minutes. 20 minutes, start to finish! It normally takes 2 hours with beans that have been soaked overnight. 
Sous vide is a technique where you vacuum seal food then cook it in a temperature controlled water bath. You can cook things perfectly and control your prep time so, meals can potentially be cooked quickly.
I am going to be posting a lot of stories using both of these techniques. I'm finding that neither is necessarily easier than traditional cooking but, once you figure them out they can make things incredibly more convenient, and potentially healthier. I'm thinking these are both firmly in the "Keep" pile.


  1. I'm a little curious: How's that immersion circulator working for you? Is it worth the $800?

  2. John,
    I love the thing! It was initially almost 7 degrees off. I recalibrated and it is working perfectly. $800.00 is a little steep. I'm sure I'm paying an early adopters tax and hopefully, the price will come down in the future. I cooked a pork shoulder for 24 hours and the temp held course. So far, I am very impressed with the Polyscience stuff. I have a lot of sous vide posts on deck... Stay tuned!

  3. Is there any concern of the plastic or bag the food is cooking in?