September 10, 2012

sous vide: fennel (and banana!)

After proteins we switched to cooking vegetables and fruits. My group did fennel, artichoke, strawberries and bananas.

For fennel, I cut the bulb into sections and vacuum packed them with some herbs/seasonings: tarragon, thyme, bay leaf, star anise, caraway seeds.

herbs for fennel

The herbs were wrapped in plastic before being vacuum-packed, otherwise they would flavor the fennel too strongly. The package was cooked at 185F for 40 minutes.

fennel, vacuum-packed

After the fennel was cooked, I seared it with some butter, salt and pepper. It still tasted bland so I squeezed some lemon juice on it and sprinkled some cayenne pepper and then it tasted amazing. I could barely get a picture before all of the fennel disappeared.

seared fennel

After that we did bananas, and I cooked the caramel because I want to keep getting better at pastry things such as caramel. This was sugar and glucose syrup, with the addition of lemon and orange zest after the heat was turned off.

caramel for bananas

The zests were picked out before the caramel was added to the bananas. It was funny, the zests became like candied lemon and orange, tasty but a little bitter. Also funny was that the caramel cooled and hardened after they were poured on the bananas, and I was actually able to slide the banana logs out from the caramel, resulting in the caramel being one hard mass full of banana log-shaped curves. I guess this is the beginning to making caramel sculpture pieces...?

caramel & bananas

The caramel-covered bananas were cooked at 149F for 20 minutes. When they came out they were really soft, and the caramel had liquified. I think the next step would be to soak them in alcohol and set them on fire, or to cover them in sugar and brulee them. We just ate them.

sous vide bananas

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