"Under Pressure"

It feels like you're not cooking but you are.

We've been exploring the sous-vide (French for "under vacuum) method in school the past two months. Sous-vide cook involves cooking an ingredient by heating it in water for an extended period of time at a relatively low temperature (sometimes for hours). Most of the time this method involves using an airtight plastic wrap, too.

At the saucier (meat) station last week I had to sous-vide a hanger steak. First I had to use a "meat glue" to piece together two hunks of hanger steak, roll it tightly in some plastic wrap several times and then simply made sure it stayed under water set at 56-degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes. Viola! Once we removed the hanger steak it was already cooked medium rare, and all we had to do was give it a quick sear in a pan to make sure it had some color.

As easy as this can be, it doesn't always feel like cooking to me.

I enjoy the heat of the stove, hearing ingredients crackle in the pan and sniffing the aromas of the dish. But sous-vide lovers say the method helps chefs waste less food and it's almost a fool-proof way to cook.

One dish I'm working on now is a duck consomme served with a poached duck egg. We use a circulator, which regulates the temperature of the water, to sous-vide the duck egg. The egg comes out perfectly.

When the food tastes good, I have no complaints - no matter how it's cooked.

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