Sous Vide Immersion Circulating Cooker

This Sous Vide is my newest toy, and I love it!
The way it works is this….Food is first vacuum sealed in heavy plastic to make it water tight. Alternatively, one can use a zip top bag, pressing out as musc air as possible, but that method is not as reliable. The sous vide cooker is positioned in a large container of water, which is then heated to a precise temperature by the sous vide. The machine circulates the water around the packaged food for a predetermined time to bring the food to that exact temperature. For example, if you like a  rare steak, the steak will be cooked to exactly 129°F, and no higher.  That is because the water will be circulated at 129° and the food cannot exceed the temperature of the water.  That steak can then be held at that temperature for another hour without losing quality.  When ready, the steak can be quickly seared on a grill or in a very hot skillet to give it a flavorful browned crust before serving.  Perfectly cooked steak every time!
Now the down side…First, the sous vide method is not fast, (but it is flexible). I also have learned by experience that this cooking method is best suited to meats, but not much else. And then there’s the cost.
This particular model cost $179.00 and the stainless steel model would have been $199.00, but less expensive brands are available. Also, there is the issue of the water container. I first used a stock pot, which worked, but didn’t leave much room for the food. The manufacturers recommend a lidded plastic box with a hole for the cooker, but those cost around $30.00. I managed to solve the container issue with the help of a handy husband. I went to the dollar store and bought a $5.00 file box and had Michael dremmel out the required opening. It’s not pretty, but it works!
So despite the drawbacks, why do I love this gadget? Imagine never again having to guess when your food will be perfectly done. You can put that awkward probe thermometer back in the drawer. You’ll not need to worry with dried out chicken breasts or rubbery gray pork. Also, your dinner will be ready when you are. Just get the sous vide started, and then your time is your own. No more baby sitting one dish, trying to decide when to start the rest. Is it worth the price? Well, how long does it take you to spend that purchase price in a restaurant setting? Sure, dining out is fun, and that is part of the reason for going, but you can enjoy the same quality of food at home at any time. No dress code or reservations required.

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