Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gear Hunter

Yesterday I posted about the goodies I received as Christmas gifts, including the New England Soup Factory cookbook I bought. Well, it occurred to me almost immediately that cooking soups (esp. in large batches) would mean yet another piece of kit I'd need: an immersion (aka stick) blender.

In addition, the project that drove me to put Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food on my wishlist — DIY sous vide — requires a hackable slow cooker.

Feeling a bit tapped out, it occurred to me that these are precisely the sort of gadgets that show up in thrift shops, so I trundled off to my favorite local Goodwill store, just beyond the town line in Manchester, CT.

I didn't find a slow cooker, but I did find a stick blender (for $4.00!), and I also came across a truly serendipitous find: A Seal-a-Meal VS120 vacuum food sealing system... for only $8.00 !!. Not only will this be useful for the sous vide project, once I scrounge up a slow cooker, but it will also come in handy for the soups: As I mentioned yesterday, the NESF soup recipes are for larger quantities of soup than the Lovely Bride® and I can possibly eat at one — or even two — sittings... but the vac sealer will allow me to portion out the leftovers into single- or double-serving portions and seal and freeze them. Before long, we'll have a freezer full of homemade soup!

Tonight I tested the Seal-a-Meal on some frozen strawberries, just to make sure it worked (Goodwill has a 10-day return policy on electrics), and... reeee-sult!¹

¹ Note extra-classy thrift-shop pricetags!

1 comment:

  1. I think you got the necessities. A sous vide system is really overkill. My advice is get a good crock pot, don't worry about the hack - just use it. Unless you are running a restaurant at some nutty level, holding food at a specific temp for ages and ages just is not necessary.

    LOVE the vac bagger! (I just suck the air out "manually") The Stick Blender is a Must Have, definitely. I've been making bread lately and although I normally do "artisan" loaves, I made cinnamon bread that really needed a loaf pan - and I had none. A few days ago, a trip to Marshalls netted two nice loaf pans for around $4 each.

    Love the mixer - just like mine too! You are well on your way to beating the ever-loving hell out of your treadmill, I can tell!