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Larspeart

Sloooooow cooking'

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MGS: Depends on your comfort with wiring. Immersion heating coils are a non-inductive load i.e. do not not require a change in frequency to change the desired out-put. (Light dimmers switches were about $15 or less last I checked) Of course a similar approach can be made by acidifying, which is what I think Ambear might have getting at.

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Slow cookers are great! The other day I was making a chicken and herb dish that I like and I decided to throw in a couple boxes of raisins just to see what happened. It turned out delicious!

 

Something I've been meaning to try in my slow cooker is something referred to as "Seven Hour Eggs" or "Long Cooked Eggs".

 

That's sounds interesting. I'll have to try that!

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Corned Beef Brisket and red potatoes cooked all day long in the crock pot with boiled cabbage on the side my wife made for a wonderful St. Paddy's Day dinner. Which will make excellent corned beef sammiches tomorrow.

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Thanks Greenbird for the links ! I have been thinking to put together a temperature controlled water bath for Sous Vide, since the commercial ones are priced $400+.... those suggestions can help me to buy the necessary parts...

 

A few days ago I used my rice cooker and made some vegetables on sous-vide, I used a vacuum sealer, put some carrots, yellow and green zucchinis, and cooked for 20 minutes..... they were crunchy, delicious, and the liquid that came out from the vegetables I just added some olive oil, thyme and salt....

 

- Marcelo

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Nah, I'm a huge fan of the Maillard reaction.

When you use the immersion cooking technique with meats, you're also afforded the ability to finish them off over a flame. Many of the better restaurants cook their meats this way to ensure proper 'doneness'.

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French cooks developed this method for cooking ducks (the ones used for foie gras). This cooking method is getting a lot of attention because it is wonderful for meats, particularly the ones with fat and connected tissues such as chuck. The water temperature is controlled for the point of pasteurization, and a chuck meat can take up to 72 hours in the water bath (with a vacuum sealed plastic bag). The connected tissue changes in a kind of collagen. At the end, a butane torch is used to finish the meat with the flame.

 

- Marcelo

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Does it make things tender...like a filet mignon?

 

In general, yes.

 

There are a lot of variables which can affect the tenderness of meat, let's ignore genetics, cut, age, etc and focus just on the cooking side of things.

 

At a far too rudimentary level, meat is made up of two things, connective tissue (collagen), and contractile proteins (muscles). When raw, the connective tissue is tough, and the muscles are basically tender. Cooking changes this. It causes the collagens to soften up and get more tender, while it causes the muscle fibers to tighten and dry out and become less tender. Collagen starts to "melt" around 130, and really gives it all up around 160. But the muscle fibers start to dry out around 130, and by the time things get above 160 they are starting to get hard as leather.

 

So the goal of slow cooking here is to get the temperature of the meat up to "just before" the point where the muscles will start drying out, and try to coax as much tenderness out of the connective tissue as possible.

 

I highly recommend reading as much Harold McGee as possible to understand some of this better. His "On Food and Cooking" is a must have.

 

-Robert

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DB is dead on. Tougher cuts, to me at least, have the most appeal (as a slow cooker). Those connective tissues, collagens, intramuscular fats (think marbeling) are where it is at.

 

The trick/ problem though is to get those guys to melt down, while not drying out or overcooking your meat-meat parts. The slow cooker does this brilliantly, I feel.

 

I've got 3 pounds of beef bones, rubbed in herbs and tomato paste, going right now. A fine stock is in the works!

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