Extreme Simmer: The SousVide Supreme

sous vide

So after hearing me bitch for the last two years about how everyone on Top Chef gets to sous vide but I don’t, someone finally decided to throw me a bone. The folks over at SousVide Supreme, the first legit sous vide machine aimed at home cooks, sent me over one of their $450 contraptions to test out for a few weeks. Woo-hoo!

For those who need a recap: sous vide cooking involves vacuum sealing ingredients in plastic bags with this neat little contraption:

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That’s actually the most fun part, watching all the air get sucked right out of the bag. Then you submerse the bag in a thermal hot water bath that’s designed to remain at an exact pre-set temperature, down to the degree:

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Green Garlic vs. Scapes

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OK, Maids — consider this one paying you back for my missed Feed Us Back post (I never knew FuB had fans!)

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the new green garlic product that I discovered at the Food Fete. Reader Kathleen Donovan posted this comment:

Isn’t the green part of the garlic called a scape? I’ve tried pickled scapes at a Garlic Festival and they’re delicious.

I have so far ignored Kathleen’s comment because, well, I was stumped. Had the green garlic guys duped me into writing about a not-so-new product? We have, after all, covered scapes here on ES before.

A search around the Interwebs didn’t exactly clear things up, with many writers referring to green garlic and garlic scapes as the same thing. Clearly they’re similar, but my long, straight green garlic with the little blubs attached just don’t look the same as those winding, loopy scapes. Melissa Clark had a long piece in NYT about both green garlic and garlic scapes, but didn’t quite explain the difference.

Finally I found this comment from Serious Eats user bodaciousgirl that offers the best explanation I’ve seen yet:

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Will It Waffle?

smores

Despite being total Williams Sonoma geeks, most of us ESers tend to live in tiny city apartments, which means we shy away from buying unitaskers. But that doesn’t mean you have to cook every meal in the same cast iron pan, because with a little creativity you can turn that unitastker into a multitasker.

Which brings us to our favorite new food blog, Waffleizer, in which blogger Dan and some friends answer the eternal question, Will It Waffle? That is, can foods traditionally cooked on the stove or oven be made in a waffle iron? And might that in fact make them better?

As you can probably guess, from hamburgers to hash browns to s’mores, the answer is always yes.

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Cooking at the Consumer Electronics Show

demy_kitchen_safe

We can’t let the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas go by unnoticed. We here at ES still choose the iPhone over Google’s entry into the smart phone world, Nexus One, but we’re not for passing up an opportunity to talk about some sexy kitchen toys. I’ve found (from my office desk, not Vegas :( ) the funkiest and perhaps most useless kitchen items to ever grace the earth currently.

MyDemy (above) is to cooks what Kindle is to avid readers: an all in one recipe book, timer, conversion chart and ingredient substitution thingy. It’s “kitchen safe” which basically means you can splash a few drops of water on it and you’ll be fine, just don’t drop it in a pot of boiling oil.

The MyDemy does seem like a great tool for storing all of your personal recipes (if the Kindle were color and had pictures I’d already be an owner of such a device). At $299 the MyDemy seems slightly overpriced considering it appears to only sync with its website Key Ingredient.  If I were to really make use of this then I would need to have hundreds of recipes, which I don’t really have. Even if I did, it would take me years to type them all out. Perhaps MyDemy 2.0 will interface with Epicurious and then we’d be good to go.

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10 Things I Learned From One Day as an Assistant Manager of Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market

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Sitting on my couch, drinking a stout with my friend Gee and watching the Phils losing game, I saw an email come in from the director of the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market. Rebbie’s usual assistant couldn’t make it and she asked if I would be interested in helping her out on Saturday. I replied immediately with a YES.

Those of you living in The DMV will know about the relentless rain in the past few days. But as I emailed a few neighborhood friends to visit me, I wrote that never was I so excited to be out in the rainy cold for five hours on a weekend morning.

I mostly stood by a table that said “market manager” and when I was asked questions I would have to hope that the actual manager would be close by. I also took charge of the credit card machine: shoppers can swipe their debit cards and receive tokens in exchange. So besides learning how to work that gadget, I picked up a few other things from being on the other side of the market.

10 Things I Learned From One Day as an Assistant Manager of Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market

1. Access. Farmers markets, of course, provide sustainably grown produce and artisanally crafted breads and cheeses to the community. But who is that community? Markets are finding ways to accept government food assistant programs to make sure that everyone can enjoy thoughtfully grown fruits and vegetables. I learned that one kind of program only allows for purchases of fruits and vegetables and not breads, cheeses or flowers. I agree with Belmont, who worked for a vendor this market season, on this one: “never underestimate a well placed bunch of flowers to lift the spirits.”

2. Gold Lamé Tights. Many shoppers remember to bring cash so in the large gaps of time between the debit card-token exchange, Rebbie, Patrick (see #3) and I dished about market fashions. Yes, someone pulled it together to wear gold lamé tights before noon.

3. Bike Repair. Farmers markets offer more than just food. Mt.P holds a free bike clinic and showcases local musicians. In the most crappy of weather that was Saturday not many people brought by their bikes, which left more time to chat about food and the point of slouchy boots.

4. Honeycrisps. This type of apple is so trendy right now. I don’t usually favor one brand over another, but 80P started requesting this one by name. While waiting for the bathroom key (see # 5) I asked the orchardist why honeycrips were so popular. Apparently there cell structure is different than most apples and they have 4 times the amount of pectin. If I understood this correctly, pectin makes the apple crunchy. Therefore honeycrisps are hella crunchy. Don’t even think about baking with them.

5. Bathroom Key. The bathroom key is the hottest item at the market.

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