If Christine were here, I would have made this into sushi, but containing hurricane Milo while preparing dinner requires some compromise. I did get a chance to play with my new (used) water bath, which is all that matters. Trimmed grass-fed organic ribeye cooked sous-vide at 130˚ for a bit over an hour, then seared in a skillet to get a nice brown on the top and bottom. Sliced thin over Thai black rice with a rich mash of endive, ume plum, garlic, and oil, it covered a lot of ground with a few ingredients. To celebrate my return to meat and wine, I opened a 2004 Mongeard-Mugneret Savigny-les-Beaune “Les Narbantons” which is slowly opening up but needs quite a bit more time to show its stuff; if it lives up to its nose it will be a good value.

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  1. Zoomie
    November 7

    “Sous vide” is a new term to me – can you describe that a bit? Looks delicious, by the way!

  2. peter barrett
    November 8

    It means food that’s been vacuum-sealed and then cooked in a precisely temperature-controlled water bath so it’s done to that temp all the way through. You can see in the picture that the meat is an even medium rare all the way through, except for the edges where I gave it a quick sear in a pan to brown it.

  3. Zoomie
    November 8

    Wow, what an interesting preparation. Do you have a vacuum sealer in your home or does one buy the meat already sealed? I have seen vacuum sealed meats, for example, at Costco but always took them out to cook them. How would I know if the bag was water bathable? Also, if you hadn’t browned it, would the outside of the meat be pink, too?

  4. peter barrett
    November 8

    A food saver or seal-a-meal work pretty well, and you can get scientific water baths on ebay for not that much (like I did.) The browning is just for flavor and crust; the meat was perfectly pink all the way through- the water heats the whole piece uniformly to whatever temp you set it to.

    There’s a wealth of info on egullet, among other places:

  5. Zoomie
    November 9

    hmmmm, thanks, I’m tempted but uncertain about heating food in plastic bags. Interesting, though, and thanks for the lesson!

  6. Zoomie
    November 10

    Peter, today I had occasion to look at the menu at the French Laundry (famous restaurant here in Napa Valley) and they cook lobster “sous vide!” I was pleased to know what they meant, this time! 🙂 Thanks

  7. peter barrett
    November 10

    I feel that the low temps help keep the plastic from being too much of an issue (e.g. the salmon from last night, which sat in water about 10˚F warmer than a hot tub for 30 min) although I do think cooking this way all the time would be silly. It’s just another tool to get certain foods to another level of perfection, and it’s impossible to overcook them, which is nice.

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