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Simply Sous Vide: Soups to Casseroles to Cakes Paperback – April 18, 2011
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The author, Cindy Kowalyk, advocates cooking many of the dishes in dishware or containers such as a ramekin, which are then sealed in a food safe bag. She claims to have a patent pending on the technique, but it seems doubtful that the patent office will actually award such a patent.
This technique may be necessary for some of the dishes that have a structure to them, such as the puddings and custards, but many of the recipes can just as well be prepared in a Ziploc bag directly, using the Archimedes technique (immerse the bag in water to squeeze out the air before sealing the bag), or by using a chamber vacuum.
The book is all recipes, with no photographs. This was presumably to keep the production costs down. Instead, the reader is directed to the author's web site for pictures and additional tips.
There is a minimal (half-page) discussion of sous vide equipment, and no discussion at all of the food safety issues involved. If readers are not already familiar with those subjects, I would recommend a Google search for Douglas Baldwin's "Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking," or his book, "Sous Vide for the Home Cook."
The times and temperatures suggested for many of the recipes seem rather arbitrary, but safe. She recommends cooking brisket for 30 hours at 135F, whereas I prefer 72 hours at 131F. She also recommends pre-searing meat, primarily in the interest of time when serving a party, whereas most sous vide practitioners recommend post-searing for a more robust flavor.
The temperatures given are all in Fahrenheit, and the measurements are all in U.S. cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, pounds, etc., instead of the increasingly accepted and more precise metric gram weights. International users take note!
Recommended with reservations.
The book allows me to build complete dinners, many which employ her new method allowing me to serve directly from the water bath to the table. This affords portion control and easy clean up. I just had a party in my condo. Served Sloppy Joes ( page 73 ), paired with the "Kicked up Corn on the Cob" ( page 187 ), adding potato chips and coleslaw. For desert, I prepared her Godiva Carmel Cheesecake the night before. This uses her new technique allowing creation of sous vide cake and individual servings directly to the table. Great and no fuss! I believe this may be the first review of her actual recipes and I highly recommend them!
There are some wonderful gourmet reciepes.
We are looking forward to trying most of them.
We feel it is well worth what we paid for it.