Well, not truly a newbie to sous vide; I've done sous vide cooking at home a dozen times in the past couple years; with a big pot of water, a good thermometer and a carefully watched burner. But now I bought a IC for my pub! (a Haake C1, apparently designed for the medical science industry, but I don't see why it couldn't work for cooking).
At home I once did an entire turkey sous vide for thanksgiving (incredibly tasty), and I've done the same for beef tenderloin and it's now my preferred cooking method for corn on the cob, believe it or not. I've gotten my hands dirty with sous vide a handful of times and really love the cooking process and just ordered -- and am still waiting to receive --Thomas Keller's sous vide book. I imagine that'll fill in lots of knowledge gaps I have.
But my logistical, practical question for you folks who use these things everyday, is this....
None of my cooks have had experience with sous vide. I'm the owner/food geek. I'm more than capable and willing to get the food prepped for them, teach them the theory, show them how to use the vacuum sealer, etc. But I won't be there on a slammin Friday Night when we roll out the special (whatever that may be) to customers. So while I can explain the process from my home use, and help design recipes, I can't help them with the process of actually getting the protein from the water to the customer's plate.
So... My specific questions are:
1) What are good, low chance of failure recipes to start with for our first sous vide special? While I'm sure there are lots of great recipes in Thomas Keller's book, being familiar with the complexities of some of his recipes from the French Laundry cookbook, I don't want to overcomplicate things too much for my staff the first few times around. My first thought is maybe a simple(ish)pork tenderloin that we finish off on the grill?
2) I bought a 1000W, full pan IC heater... but how tight can you pack your water tub? Is there a rule of thumb for how much circulation you need? Or a water to 'meat bag' ratio?
3) how long can you keep a protein in the bath?
4) what do you do with leftovers? Since it's all cooked, I'm thinking a quick and sacrilegious zap in the microwave might work?
5) What are the warning signs when your IC is starting to go on the fritz? Do they gradually lose holding temp, or circulation, or do they just go dead in the water (pun intended!) when their time is up? And any idea how much lifespan to expect out of an IC?
6) Are there any crazy uses for my new IC that I would never think of, but should know about? Sous Vide Pizzas?! Just kidding.
Oh yeah, might as well plug my business!
Coasters Pub & Biergarten
Beachside Melbourne, Florida
Edited by David Swartz Jr - 1/19/14 at 5:31pm