Since I built my own precision water bath cooker last year, I have been experimenting with sous vide cooking. I recently stepped up my game adding a vacuum sealer to my kitchen arsenal and moved from water displacing techniques to proper sous vide bags.
Let me show you my recent experiments:
Olive Oil Or Coconut Oil On Carrots?
I wanted to test if coconut oil was providing a better taste to sous vide carrots. The best way to find that out was a simple A/B test against our tastebuds.
On the top left you can see a bunch of baby carrots, a sprout of rosemary, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of coconut oil. The coconut oil was in solid state because I kept it in the fridge.
On the bottom right you can see another bunch of baby carrots, a sprout of rosemary, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil.
I also tested three different butter infusions. Just a recap of my understanding of the process, please feel free to correct me in the comments if I got this wrong: rosemary, coffee, and many other essential oils are fat soluble so they can be infused in fatty oils. Butter can be infused with those oils to extract flavours, and being a great ingredient for many recipes, it serves well its purpose. However, butter also has a protein component that degenerates at high temperatures. For this reason infusing with a water bath (which is always below water boiling point) it’s a great way to get it done.
Now back to my tests: rosemary and coffee.
Rosemary Infused Butter
I wanted to try two concentrations, to find out which one would provide a better product. I filled the top right bag with 100g of butter (here in Europe it’s unsalted by default), and 10g of fresh rosemary.
The bottom left bag is filled with a 100g of unsalted butter and 5g of rosemary.
With these two concentrations I expect to get two different products.
Coffee Infused Butter
This was the second test with coffee. The first one went really messy.
The recipe I found online suggests to use 250g of roasted coffee beans over 500g of butter, so on my first test I went with 25g of coffee over 50g of butter. The problem was that I didn’t have coffee beans at home, so I used ground coffee powder. The result was a big fatty black mess. The powder absorbed the butter and the final product was impossible even to filter through a strainer.
This time I went a little different, to compensate the lack of coffee beans in favour of the ground powder, I reduced the amount of coffee to 35g over a 100g of butter. I also added the coffee without breaking the tabs. The bag at the very top of the picture shows 5 bags of coffee (Carbonelli 100% arabica) and 100g of butter.
All the five bags in today’s experiments required the same temperature and the same cooking time, so I popped 85C (185F) in my cooker and let if go for 3 hours.
And the winner of the carrot challenge is…
Both Letizia and I did not find any excitement in the coconut flavour added to the carrots themselves. It probably helps asian inspired recipes, but when on their own, carrots go best with olive oil and salt.
Regarding the butter infusions here the final products after being filtered though a strainer and cooled down in the fridge.
On the left there is the 10% (weight on weight) rosemary infusion. The color is dark green and the small is intense. I can’t wait to try it with oven roasted potatoes, or on roasted white meat!
In the middle there is the 5% (weight on weight) rosemary infusion. The green color is lighter but the smell is almost the same as the more concentrated one. I’ll try it side be side to evaluate if there is any difference in taste.
On the right there is the coffee infusion. This time the color is spot-on, there is no leftover coffee powder in it. There are a few impurities, but it’s something I can fix in the future with a better filtering process. The smell is amazing and I can’t wait to cook a steak with it!
If you have questions of interesting links to enrich my current explorations, feel free to drop them in the comments!