With over 7000 known varieties, nothing makes me happier than apple season. It brings me back to my childhood, lugging a bushel basket and beat up wood ladder around the apple orchards with my Dad. Red and Golden Delicious, Jonah Golds, Braeburns, even the petite Lady Apple would make their way home. Sunday apple pies, my grandfather’s apple stuffing at Thanksgiving, even my grandmother’s get-em-while-they’re-hot cider donuts showcased the harvest. Those first signs of autumn – the crisp air, the falling leaves, that first bite into a Honey Crisp bring it all back. Still, no apple makes me giddy like the Mountain Rose from Oregon. The first round of these delicate beauties made their way to my doorstep two weeks ago.
Having a tinted flesh that varies from faintly rose colored to a shocking hot pink, the Mountain Rose has a tart, crisp flavor with notes of strawberries and cotton candy. Having such beautifully rare natural qualities, I set out to treat the Mountain Rose very differently.
First, there were some flavor combinations to consider. Toast, nuts, tea, strawberry and celery came to mind. I wanted delicate profiles to compliment the apple and not drive away the candy-like aromatics. Chamomile. Almond. Leaves of celery heart. Time to go shopping.
A few weeks prior, I had experimented with creating dairy free milks using our Sonicprep ultrasonic homogenizer. Tests yielded stable, semi-milklike results at normal milk fat ratios. Unimpressive. For the apples, I wanted to infuse them under vacuum with almond oil and chamomile tea. To achieve a satisfactory homogenization, I stuck to the vinaigrette ratio. The chamomile flower steeped for four minutes and was passed and cooled. Three parts tea combined with one part roasted almond oil were homogenized until the two came together completely. The homogenization was then placed in a blender, where .5% Xanthan Gum was sheered in to create a heat stable emulsion.
The apples were then cut in sixths to reveal their hot pink flesh (my favorite part). They were then vacuum sealed with two fluid ounces of the emulsion. They sat under compression for one hour. The apples were then poached for 5 minutes at 82°C (179.6°F). This yielded a just-tender, evenly cooked apple that unloaded with the previously tame sweetness, almond fat and finished with the subtlety of chamomile a few bites in. What wasn’t expected was how much the fatty mouth feel of the emulsion permeated the porous flesh. It brought a level of umami to the apple that was completely surprising.
For a melt in your mouth confit approach, the apples can be cooked for up to thirty minutes. I kept the time down for this batch to preserve the vibrant pink color.
I created an almond soil that started out as blanched, whole almonds. They were toasted in a 210°C (410°F) oven and allowed to cool. The almonds were pulverized with a few quick pulses and scrapes in the food processor, being careful not to take it too far into the butter phase. The chopped almonds were then spread out in the dehydrator, set to 57°C (135°F) for 24 hours. Almonds, at harvest, contain roughly 61% oil and ≤7% water. The dehydrator took care of the water, enough for a few more pulses in the processor. The ground almonds were then toasted further at 175°C (350°F). A few more pulses and we started making progress. The fat content had to be absorbed and that was handled by adding tapioca maltodextrin to the mix. Some fried panko was ground down slightly and folded throughout. The end result was light and fluffy, with a bit of dry crunch. It looked, well, like sand.
The plate was garnished with the almond soil, raw apple, freeze dried strawberry powder, celery heart leaves, “almond milk” and a turbinado reduction.
You won’t believe this cranberry sauce. The boozy pop of each berry, the tangy-sweet sauce; we may have just changed Thanksgiving as we know it. Keeping it alcohol-free? Sub in some cranberry juice instead.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
12 ounces Fresh Cranberries
1/2 cup Dry Ruby Port (May substitute: cranberry juice)
1/2 cup Orange Juice, Fresh
3/4 cup Sugar
Zest from one Orange, cut into thin matchsticks
Combine fresh cranberries, port wine, orange juice, sugar and zest in a mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine all ingredients.
Roll the vacuum pouch back at the top, turning it out 1-2 inches. This will help prevent possible cross-contamination.
Pour mixed cranberries and sauce into vacuum pouch, vacuum seal.
Place sealed bag in circulating water bath and cook for 20 minutes or until a few, but not all, cranberries have begun to burst.
Remove bag from water bath.
If serving immediately: transfer to serving vessel.
If saving for later: quickly shock in ice water bath until temperature of sauce has reached 40°F/4°C. Cooling must occur in under one hour. Store in refrigerator and reheat to 140°F/60°C before serving.
Can you cook an entire meal at the same time in a Sous Vide™ Professional?
Yes. There are different ways of doing this – with different temperatures or not.
For foods that you’d like to cook at different temperatures, you have 2 options:
Staged approach – stage it, hold it, finish it, serve it
Since food doesn’t overcook when holding at a lower temperature, one simply organizes the sequence from high to low temperatures. For example, first cook carrots and potatoes at 185°F/85°F for 45 minutes, then lower the temperature to 138°F/59°C for medium-rare beef tenderloin. Adding ice cubes helps to speed up the cool-down process.
The cook-chill-reheat approach
Pre-cook different foods, chill in an ice-bath and store in the refrigerator. Later re-heat all foods at the temperature that you’ve used for the food with the lowest temperature, which would be at 138°F/59°C for example when serving medium-rare meats. Note: an ice bath is the most efficient and safest way to chill down a vacuum sealed pouch of food. Do not put it in the refrigerator to chill down, because it can take days and warms up the rest of your fridge content.
If you like to cook food at the same temperature, but don’t want to lose the other benefits of sous vide:
Slow Cooker concept – one-pot meals and stews
A Sous Vide™ Professional can be used like a slow cooker. Simply vacuum seal your stew into a bag or fill into a container that sits in the water bath and will be cooked by the surrounding temperature-controlled liquid.
Ingredients for a 0.5 L / 1 US Pint iSi Whipper:
275 g (10 oz.) dark chocolate
100 ml (1/2 cup) egg whites, pasteurized
75 ml (1/3 cup) heavy cream
50 g (1.6 oz.) nougat
1 tbsp. Amaretto liqueur
Melt the dark chocolate and the nougat in a microwave or over a water bath and heat
it with the heavy cream to maximum 60° C/ 140° F.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pass through the iSi Funnel + Sieve into the
0.5 L / 1 US Pint iSi Whipper. Screw on 1 iSi Cream Charger and shake vigorously.
Keep warm in a water bath or a bain-marie at temperatures of up to 60° C/ 140° F.
Attention: Never place the iSi Thermo Whip PLUS or the iSi Thermo XPress Whip in a water bath or bain-marie!
Mix raspberries with raspberry puree, add powdered sugar and a pinch chili powder.
For preparations in the 1 L iSi Whipper double the amount of ingredients.
Screw on 2 iSi Cream Chargers and shake vigorously after each one.
Recipe courtesy of iSi.
Balsamic Infused Watermelon Salad with Feta, Thyme and Heirloom Tomatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Watermelon, 3 Pieces sliced 1″ batons / 2.5 cm, seeds removed.
1 Large Heirloom Tomato, sliced.
2-3 Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
1/2 oz. Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
1/2 oz. Water
1 oz. Crumbled Feta Cheese
Thyme Leaves and Flowers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 oz. Aged Balsamic Vinegar, reduced to syrup consistency
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Place sliced and seeded watermelon into vacuum bag along with brine ingredients.
Place vacuum bag into chamber vacuum sealer and pull a full, 100% vacuum on the fruit.
Remove watermelon from vacuum bag and arrange on plate with feta, tomatoes, thyme, olive oil, balsamic reduction, Maldon and black pepper.