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Old 06-29-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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Stupid Chef Tricks #28 - and Sous Vide vacuum sealer product review

So this post will be short... I got the Sous Vide "Supreme" vacuum sealer as a necessary accessory for my Sous Vide kit (you gotta vacuum seal your food before you cook it in a sous vide). So far I've cooked a few already vacuum sealed rib eye steaks from Trader Joe's and they came out great! (pictures in another topic)

So I was over at Costco today and spotted a nice 4-pack of rib eye steaks (choice!) and GF is visiting tomorrow for dinner, so the menu is steak... After returning from the store I decided to have a dry run tonight testing a new sear technique (for me, the sear is an important step in sous vide recipes or otherwise your food will taste great but look yucky). I've tried the butter saute and it was okay, tried the propane torch method and by the time I got a sear the steak was below optimum serving temperature. So tonight I'm using a cast iron griller on my cook top...

Topic drift: turning out into a longer story...

So I had to vacuum seal my and GF's steaks for tomorrow, and the sealer worked great! The small pouches that came with my kit were perfect for two nice rib eye steaks. But I had two more rib eye steaks and frugal that I am, I cut a pouch in half and used the "seal only" option on the half that was open at both ends, then proceeded to vacuum seal both of the remaining two steaks separately, and it worked perfectly! I tossed one in the freezer and the other in my Sous Vide at 134F.

So I contemplated the meaning behind buying food when it's on sale, vacuum sealing it, freezing it, then thawing it later and cooking via Sous Vide. I had a tri-tip roast I bought a couple days ago at Ralphs, $10.50 for a 2-2/3 pounder, so I put it into a large vacuum bag and it looked a bit long so I cut about 3-4 inches off the end and sealed it, taped the store label on the outside and tossed it into my freezer. Perfect!!!

I was becoming awed at the possibilities! I had a recently opened brown sugar bag left over after I filled a glass canister (nice counter convenience) so I cut the top of the bag and sealed it, and while the bag didn't pull a full vacuum it was decidedly sealed, so I tossed it into the freezer.

I had a couple onion rolls in a plastic bag from Ralphs so I took out one to eat tonight, sealed the other. Again, not a full vacuum but very decidedly sealed.

I began wondering at the possibilities. I needed a veg tonight and had some baby carrots so I Googled the recipes and discovered that sous vide temperature for veg is 185F. WTH, I inverted my favorite carrot recipe and threw some baby carrots, minced garlic, brown sugar and butter in a vacuum bag. I used the remainder from the tri-tip bag, sealed one end then added the carrot recipe, sealed the other end and tossed it into the Sous Vide. I haven't decided what to do about the 185F - 143F temperature difference, maybe I'll boil the bag before serving or perhaps I'll saute the contents (as I usually do).

Topic drift: I can type this stuff almost as fast as you can read it, about 80-90 WPM, due to a long career as software engineer and typing about 6 hours a day 5 days a week... I've known only two people who can type faster, one of them a fellow software engineer, the other my XGF from 30 years ago in Ohio (we still keep in touch via email) who is a legal secretary. (I always told her, better a legal secretary than an illegal secretary!)

So my mind is becoming boggled at the possibilities of vacuum sealing! I've never owned a vacuum sealer. I had never known how handy they are for saving food and as a method of preparing food to be boiled or otherwise cooked.

So at this point my imagination is running far faster than my brains. I saw a mostly eaten package of potato chips (my favorite, and GF's too, Lays Wavy Hickory BBQ), so I cut the end of the bag parallel and sealed it.

As I was watching it seal my brain caught up with my imagination, and I watched my sealer as it created a vacuum sealed package of pulverized potato chips!!! (palm slaps forehead!!!)

So that is the basis of Stupid Chef trick #28: kids, don't do this at home! Don't use your vacuum sealer to seal potato chips, unless perhaps you're preparing to use the residue as a chicken baking coating after dipping the chicken in egg...

But still it was fun, and I had to LMAO during writing this post. I love the Sous Vide [brand] vacuum sealer although I imagine it's a lot like most vacuum sealers. I just love this product!!!


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Old 06-29-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Good one Greg.

May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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Thanks TL.

topic update: steak is ready to serve, but I pulled the veg out and they're not done at all: no surprise since veg needs 185F and steak needs 143F. So I'm going to boil the veg a while and then saute them.

This is an aspect of the Sous Vide that amazes me, nothing I heard of until buying it and watching the (several minute) video. A steak cooks for 1-4 hours. There's no testing it, it's just done whenever 1-4 hours has elapsed. The latitude of time when you can serve it is just amazing! You have a 3 hour time band when you can pull out your steak, sear it and serve it.

This cooking method just astonishes me! It was well worth the $400 at BB&B after applying my 20% off coupon (you can get one via email by registering at the BB&B site).

I had thought I would use it every week or two but I've used it 2-3 times a week since I bought it!
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:43 PM   #4
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I never heard of this sealer. I'll have to look it up and see what it's all about.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:30 AM   #5
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This sealer is pretty much just like plenty of other vacuum sealers. I'm pretty sure Seal-A-Meal is the market leader. They're like crock pots, zillions of manufacturers and very modest price.

I'm amazed I never had a vacuum sealer before. They're very much worth the modest price for anybody who buys food on sale and freezes it. And even better if you own a sous vide because you can cook them right in the bag (in fact you have to vacuum seal everything you cook in a sous vide), and for those without the fancy trendy cooking appliance you can still create your own boil in bag meals.

I still have much to learn about vacuum sealing. One thing I'm sure of, that you can buy continuous rolls and cut off whatever you need, seal one end, put in the food, and then vacuum seal the other end. I'm sure this is the cheapest way to go rather than buying bags instead of continuous roll.

I have to locate a source, especially for the kind of bags that are compatible with cooking the food in the bag. I'm a novice at this. Perhaps all the vacuum seal bags are cooking compatible???
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:37 AM   #6
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By the way I had a potato chip snack attack yesterday and ate the crushed chips. Some of them were relatively intact...

Just checked, two 11 inch x 9 foot rolls (18 feet) for just over $9. Even better for those with Amazon Prime, same deal for $11 but free 2-day shipping (the other deal is $7 shipping cost). I just got the Prime membership and haven't even yet browsed their streaming movie library and Kindle book lending library. Prime is about $6/month... Free two day shipping on everything Amazon sells direct!

By my reckoning an average meal might take about 6" or a bit more to seal, so the $11 for 18 feet might seal about 25-30 meals, about a third of a dollar per meal.

This sounds like a great deal for anybody who wants to store pre-prepared meals (fresh ready to cook or left over meals) then cook by some sort of water method (boil in bag or sous vide). Or you can just open the bag and cook the contents by traditional cooking methods.

Vacuum sealers have been around for decades...

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