After visiting my first pro kitchen, I came back with one though in my mind - I need more stuff! The vacuum chamber was awesome, the meat grinder was stupidly efficient, and the sous-vide circulator is on my radar now, having tried some food made with it.
So, what are good choices for an aspiring-to-be-sophisticated home cook from mid to mid/high priced?
Hi Marko: For a home meat grinder, would get the Kitchenaid mixer and add the meat grinder attachment. For the sous vide, look at the Sansaire device which is about to come out. For a vacuum sealer, a middle to higher end FoodSaver machine could do, but obviously a VacMaster chamber sealer would be better but much costlier.
Is this sous-vide worth attention?
Pasta machine and motor attachment... They can be cheap and nasty but I've owned a midrange one for almost 10 years without problems. That motor is bulletproof, The first cheap one i bought had the motor die on me 2 sessions in...
and if you want to be really creative, get a whipped cream gun and heaps of cream bulbs for Ferran Adria / el bulli inspired foams.
And if you grow produce and or always have fruit and veg turn on you, buy a decent dehydrator... amazing for apple chips and dried mango/banana/pineapple... just about anything. I used to dehydrate vegetables and make antipasto for tapanades/spreads/dips....
Lots of potential!!!
Vita Prep and Excalibur dehydrators come in very handy to do all sorts of things and the price points are not as high as some of the more expensive but fun kitchen toys available right now.
Circulators have really gone down in price for strictly sous vide temp capable units, the older 7306 from Polyscience could go to 302 fahrenheit for use directly with fat as the circulating medium, great for certain tasks but may not be worth the extra cost for home use.
If your budget allows definitely make sure to get a chamber vacuum machine( preferably oil type) they are much better at completely removing air from packages for sous vide, regular foodsavers ussually leave some air in the packs and it prevents even heat circulation around the product being cooked sous vide because of the air pockets that form around the item being cooked and the bags wont submerge completely( they will float once the residual air heats up)
Another cheap but also great kitchen toy/tool is a bamix hand blender possibly the best small hand mixer out there.
Also consider a konro from Korin. Its not all fancy and high tech but if used with sumi or bincho charcoal it will give a great sear(bincho burns very hot) to your just sous vide protein and also give you a great depth of flavor from the wonderful smoky flavor the charcoal imparts. They have the smaller rectangular one that are perfect for home use. Only take 1 or 2 pcs of bincho to finish a meal for two on it. The other great thing about using this konro and bincho is that bincho is naturally smokeless, only smoke will be the meat dripping hitting the embers and once your done cooking just submerge the bincho in water, take it out and just let it dry overnight and it will be ready to go again the next day.
I guess, it's always like this, looking for one-two things, and end up with several. :D
Thanks for suggestions (and keep them coming). Great stuff.
What budged should I realistically consider to get a good quality sous-vide and vaccuming chamber? I tend to buy good quality stuff counting on a long life of a tool.
I am going to be working long hours, and sous-vide could be very useful. Capacity for 3-6 people. Commercial quality would be great, but I won't be able to justify the cost - too many priorities at the moment.
You could one stop shop with http://cuisinetechnology.com/ for all your sous vide needs. And they are a trusted and proven brand. Meat grinder, I agree with the kitchen aid set up, but Cabella's also some some pretty great grinders.
+1 on the dehydrator. You can dry sauces, crumble into granules, and vacuum pack. Also very useful for making camping meals, or even just easy lunches to keep at work. You can cook a one pot meal, dehydrate the whole thing, crumble, and store it for quite a while in the freezer or vacuum packed. As long as the pieces are relatively small, and there isn't too much oil or fat, it works great. Perfect for casseroles, stews, soups, chili, pasta or rice dishes. Just add boiling water to rehydrate. Easy. Beats eating freeze dried meals from the local outdoor store. And the jerky! Did I mention that you can make the best beef jerky you've ever tasted? or dried fish, or fruit roll-ups.
Nothing better than sitting on the summit of a mountain eating a bowl of hot biryani and a thermos of coconut milk chai. One time I was camping in Denali national park, I rehydrated some gorgonzola sweet-potato casserole. No problems with bears, but I did have to chase off some other campers who had their eye on my supper.
lots of tasty recipes in this book (although the author is vegetarian, so the recipes are as well): http://www.amazon.com/Backpack-Gourm.../dp/0811726347
Kitchen aid for meat grinder , I recommend keeping all the metal parts in the freezer or fridge in a ziploc bag to keep it cold.
This guy for your sous vide http://www.amazon.com/PolyScience-So...ion+circulator
I love sous vide. One thing people forget is you also need a vacum sealer. Good ones can be pretty pricey. Also make sure you get 3mm bags. No thinner.
Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan