Obviously the decision (and selection process) of a sous vide circulation heater necessitated a good deal of research before, and perusal of cookbooks after it arrived in the kitchen.
The ChefSteps website for the selected device (the Joule) is bristling with information including recipes. I’m sure that had I chosen a different device (e.g. Anova) I would have found the same resources.
But if you have a new way of cooking you must also have a new cookbook. Thanks to my Kindle and a subscription to Kindle unlimited I was able to sample a lot of different cookbooks. I’ve found several for specialized uses of sous vide that have gone on my wish list, but the one that I bought was Sous Vide for Everybody. I like all the sciencey explanations of why recipes work. There was a delightful “freebie” with the book: recommendation to check out a particular website. Lifehacker site has a delightful collection of articles on what and how to use sous vide cooking.
As useful as the recipes from ChefSteps are, I’m in favor of having independently tested recipes. For my first “cook” I did short ribs and I did find it interesting that the temperature recommendations from that book were a bit different from the website, although overlapping. Given the results of my first batch, I do want to try the temperature recommended in that cookbook.
For right now that’s my source for recipes as I explore sous vide; however there are books from several authors that have gone onto my Kindle wish list: Jason Logsdon (several sous vide books), Dave Arnold (for Liquid Intelligence), Lisa Q Fetterman (Sous Vide at Home). Some of these for basics, others for special applications of this precision cooking technique. So much exploration to do!
A son gôut!
I’ve always been prone to analyze things, to want to understand the WHY behind what’s going on. It’s not surprising that I view cooking as an applied science and like data. That’s one of the reasons my favorite cooking magazines are Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. (Nope, no affiliate program or anything like that–just my personal preference.) I particularly like the experimental data about what works and what doesn’t–and the same for kitchen equipment, supermarket products. What’s not to love about realistic data about how that piece of equipment is going to survive if you drop it? Or how easy it really is to clean and reassemble?
I was just browsing my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated–yes, the hard copy one, and I found a section titled “Common Cooking Myths, Debunked”. If you’re not a subscriber, this is still worth reading–check the library or the magazine stand in your local grocery store. The debunking includes information on which part of the tomato has most flavor (supports my predilection for NOT seeding and peeling tomatoes), where the hottest part of the chili pepper really is, among other myths that seem to float around amongst cooks. Understanding the how and why of cooking makes improvisation so much easier–which in turn makes cooking for one so much easier since you don’t have to depend on recipes nearly so much.
Another feature of these magazines that I like is the equipment review–I’ve just been researching portable induction units, since I’ve decided that is going to be my birthday present from Frankie (the cat) to me this year–seems a great idea for energy-saving–must be cooler than having a gas burner on for the time it takes to cook dried beans–which is something I’m inclined to do in the summertime; they make such good, hearty cool meals. I’ve read the Cook’s Illustrated reviews so now I’m ready to go shopping, with their review in mind–especially since no manufacturer knows about the reviews until after publication of the results. (OK–I sound like I’m selling something–sorry! It’s just enthusiasm of an inquiring mind!)