I got my Anova today!

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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
30,160
3,300
126
1. Haha!

2. I've recently switched from IT to BEC career-wise & should have some more free time available. I'm toying with the idea of doing a Youtube channel. There's a tremendous amount of wonderful content on the interwebs, but I also feel like there's a tremendous barrier for people to cook, especially (1) people who aren't fluent in cooking & see it as a barrier, and (2) setting up a system where it's convenient, fun, and approachable, and isn't an arduous task. There's actually a lot of psychology that goes into cooking, and having to come up with ideas, supplies, and then do the work, every day for every meal, can be an incredibly difficult process to deal with if you don't have a really good system setup to support you. When you have a solid system in place, it really shifts your perspective & helps remove the difficulties associated with cooking for yourself & your family, like, a lot. But it's hard to see that if you don't have that stuff already installed in your life & can't even fathom that it could easy & even enjoyable! Which is why people who become food nerds become food nerds...once you get a strong system setup & the fun "clicks", the world of cooking is suddenly enticing, motivating, and something to look forward to rather than something to dread. Kind of hard to explain until you experience it for yourself!

3. Yes & yes. Microwaves are faster. I picked up a new-gen inverter microwave with a Genius sensor not too long ago after my old microwave died & it's really fantastic (Panasonic). Most microwaves have a pre-set wattage & just cycle the power on & off quickly to simulate different power levels, whereas inverter models can actually modulate the power to the wattage desired. So a 1200w inverter microwave can actually output 600w at 50% power, not just flash 1200w in on/off cycles. Plus the Genius sensor basically checks for steam, so the "sensor reheat" function actually works. Most of my meals are frozen & get reheated in the microwave, so this is a really important pair of features for me because I reheat food out of meal-prep trays so often. I also use a Hotlogic Mini & a RoadPro, both of which are portable ovens for your car, but as I'm not driving nearly as much these days due to COVID, it's mostly been microwave-based, and sometimes freshly-made depending on my schedule (I spend way too much time online lol).

My current meal-prep approach is to cook one meal to freeze/store per day. It's a simple approach that utilizes a small slice of time (I usually target 20 minutes right after work as part of my daily chore time) & the power of compounding interest (let's say each batch makes half a dozen servings, 30 days x 6 = 180 servings a month, which creates a massive variety with very low effort involved). So this way I can utilize my deep freezer & have meals ready to go every day that I can pop into my giant insulated lunchbox to eat so that (1) I have food all day long, (2) it's delicious, (3) I have a variety to choose from & don't get sick, and (4) I stay in shape thanks to macros. Pretty much I just sit down & use my meal-planning system once a week for a few minutes with my family to pick what to eat & map out a prep schedule for the week, then go shopping the next day, then just follow whatever checklist (recipe) is scheduled for the day.

Sous-vide is actually a pretty nice way to reheat when you have a system that allows you to effortlessly plan ahead. For example, you can do some frozen burritos for a couple hours in the bath like this guy did:


I tried that a couple years ago & the food actually came out really good! Just stick it in the warm bath & then crispy up under the broiler or in a skillet. Lifehacker actually went into a deep-dive with sous-vide hot pockets:


The first two questions that arise are:

1. Well, what if you want food NOW?
2. Why even bother?

For me, developing a personal meal-planning system was largely about gaining an awareness of my situation:

1 - I have to eat, or I'll die

2 - I prefer to have good food, and like it to be convenient, and if it could fit my macros so I automatically stay in shape, even better, and also be budget-friendly, great!

3 - It's not like the requirement to eat is going away. 3 meals a day means 21 meals a week means 93 meals a month (in a 31-day month). Plus snacks, drinks, etc.

4 - Food is mood. I STRONGLY believe this. By that I mean, food influences mood. Like probably 90% of how you feel is how you eat. The problem is, there's a time delay between when you eat & how you feel, usually by a few hours, so becoming aware of just how much food drives my mood, and thus my behavior, took me a really long time to figure out. This was a pretty heavy realization because I always just went where the winds of emotions took me, i.e. being tired or having brain fog or feeling meh or not wanting to do anything. Turns out, food is the primary driver for energy & influences your mood tremendously, but because of both that time disconnect & how reactive we tend to be regarding food without a solid meal-prep system in place, it's just kind of invisible to us & our lives are invisibly run by this operational mechanic without our clear knowledge. The bottom line is that if I want to feel good, and if I want to have energy all 16 waking hours of the day from start to finish, I had to get serious about feeding myself properly. The game is only rocket science until you understand the heart of how things work. I wrote up a tutorial on that here:


So:

1) Macros = winning
2) Meal-prep system = how to put the idea of controlling your energy & mood into actual action, and how to do so in a very low-effort way with high-yield results

Dealing with food can be a bear, so our brains tend to say "seems hard, I quit" & shut off at the idea. The nice thing about putting a meal-prep system to work is that your only real interface is using a checklist system to do meal planning, going shopping, and then doing a bit of work every day to support your goals (or cooking once a week, or once a month, or if you have the time & interest, cooking live for every meal...or buying packaged meals, or doing macros, or whatever goal you have in mind!). So this is why sous-vide as a reheat system works...if you're stuck eating 3 meals a day, 21 meals a week, 1,095 meals a year, then doing some planning ahead means you can make things really easy on yourself by setting things up for your benefit ahead of time. So if you know you have to eat dinner today, and you want to eat around 5pm, and you get home at 3pm, you can simply drop a vac-sealed burrito into the SV bath & then broil it up. Although I discovered the magic of cheese-crusting burritos not too long ago & boy is THAT amazing! (especially when combined with SV!)

https://www.reddit.com/r/castiron/comments/edbta7/cheesecrusted_breakfast_burritos/

View attachment 28492

So that's where the Anova Precision Oven comes into play: you get all of the benefits of sous-vide, without the bag! Open it up, drop in a couple burritos & SV them bagless, then have the gadget auto-switch to baking to crisp them up. It's as close to having the oven from Back to the Future II as I can imagine! No rubbery microwave results with frozen middles, no complex cooking processes, just a magic oven that has stellar results with very little effort! For people who are interested in technology, the Precision Oven is going to be a literal game-changer for high-performance, convenient at-home cooking!
meal prep system?
oh geez.. i'm spaghetti, tv dinner, or fast food/bar food type of guy.

variety for me:
there are lots of different types of tv dinners.
and there are lots of fast food options and daily bar food specials.

i tried doing macros.
it was really easy since spaghetti/tv dinners/fast food all have nutritional labels.
i had to wing it for bar food. (yeah, chicken pun)

but after a couple of months, i didnt notice a difference so i quit.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,409
5,269
136
meal prep system?
oh geez.. i'm spaghetti, tv dinner, or fast food/bar food type of guy.

variety for me:
there are lots of different types of tv dinners.
and there are lots of fast food options and daily bar food specials.

i tried doing macros.
it was really easy since spaghetti/tv dinners/fast food all have nutritional labels.
i had to wing it for bar food. (yeah, chicken pun)

but after a couple of months, i didnt notice a difference so i quit.

Yeah macros doesn't really work unless you weight/measure 100% of your stuff. Sauces have a surprisingly huge number of calories, and if you're eating bar food, then you're having copious amounts of butter, oil, salt, MSG, etc. Basic thermodynamics says energy in, energy out, and energy can't be created or destroyed, so it's just basic physics, which means unless you actually capture it all, you risk going over calories instead of doing a deficit. For example, the McDonalds salad has more calories than their Big Mac:


There are an extremely limited number of outliers, such as Cushing's syndrome, so it's really more about capturing all of your inputs. It's not for everyone, but I really like it because it forces me to cook & not space food or eat crap food all the time, as I am extremely prone to BK's Whoppers & Snickers bars lol.

Yeah, the meal-prep system is just a framework. I have a friend who uses it who literally eats out every single meal, and I have another friend who uses it who never cooks the same meal twice. It basically goes like this:

1. What's your style of eating? Omnivore, vegan, etc.
2. What's your eating schedule? 3 square meals a day? Snacks?
3. Create a Lookbook, which is just a 3-ring binder with clear page sleeves & yellow-tab dividers. Print out pictures & names for your favorite meals, restaurants, restaurant menu items, and appliances. This isn't a cookbook; it's a tool designed to help you populate a checklist by sparking ideas. Also works in conjunction with new stuff you like to try, like Pinterest pins.
4. A printed form with 7 horizontal rows, one for each day of the week. The title is the meal, ex. breakfast or afternoon snack. So you sit down once a week by yourself or with your family to do your meal planning for the upcoming week using the Lookbook & any other tools like Pinterest saves. Start out with say breakfast - you've got 7 meals to figure out, what do you want? Eggs? Waffles? Pancakes? Cereal? The idea is the same as the McDonald's drive-thru...nice big pictures with names that you can select from, and all of your personal favorites ready to be selected!
5. In the same planning session, write up the grocery list & schedule out the prep required. So if you want pizza dough & you're using 72-hour cold-fermented dough, you'd make that 3 days ahead. If you want sous-vide burritos on Tuesday for dinner, you'd prep those 2 hours before you want to eat. Most people do at least 3 meals a day, which is 21 meals a week, so this whole approach really takes the pain out of figuring things out by simply walking you through a checklist & prompting you with options.
6. Next day, go shopping & get what you need (or after your planning session, but I usually like to split it up).
7. Cook as reminded & enjoy delicious food!

The targets for MY personal framework (remembering that it's a framework, where YOU choose how to implement it) include:

1. IIFYM, so macros for everything so I can effortlessly stay in shape
2. Delicious food, made up of great or rich meals (I thought I wanted really rich foods all the time, but man, you can only eat so much cheesecake in a week lol)
3. Budget-friendly (homemade + bulk purchasing)
4. Food-storage friendly (vac-seal, freezer, etc.)
5. Low-effort (split the work of planning, shopping, and cooking up + use easy-peasy tools like SV & Instapot)

The system manages the complexity; I just walk through the checklist & do the work as reminded. That's what some people find confusing about the walls of text I post...that's just insight into the system's process, not my daily hands-on portion. My week looks like this:

1. Meal-plan on Sunday (pick out what to eat for the week, create a prep schedule, and generate a shopping list)
2. Go shopping Monday
3. Cook as reminded throughout the week.

For example, my doughs are typically good for up to 5 days (useful for pizza, calzones, breadsticks, etc.), and I can SV-cook most proteins up to 5 days ahead. So I can divvy up the workload & do simple little jobs throughout the week like stir some no-knead dough together for 60 seconds or take 30 seconds to drop a couple of frozen chicken breasts from the freezer into the SV bath to cook. Like, really really ridiculously easy amounts of work. This is why I nerd out about stuff like the Instant Pot...the actual amount of work required to cook, to feed yourself, to hit your macros, to save money, to create delicious meals is like, really really low with the right setup, lol. Plus once you set it up, it's virtually set & forget! I do a quick planning session, whip up a shopping list after checking what I have in stock, and put together a brief schedule with calendar reminders for what to do when. Everything is pre-defined & gives me really great results all the time!
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
30,160
3,300
126
Yeah macros doesn't really work unless you weight/measure 100% of your stuff. Sauces have a surprisingly huge number of calories, and if you're eating bar food, then you're having copious amounts of butter, oil, salt, MSG, etc. Basic thermodynamics says energy in, energy out, and energy can't be created or destroyed, so it's just basic physics, which means unless you actually capture it all, you risk going over calories instead of doing a deficit. For example, the McDonalds salad has more calories than their Big Mac:


There are an extremely limited number of outliers, such as Cushing's syndrome, so it's really more about capturing all of your inputs. It's not for everyone, but I really like it because it forces me to cook & not space food or eat crap food all the time, as I am extremely prone to BK's Whoppers & Snickers bars lol.

Yeah, the meal-prep system is just a framework. I have a friend who uses it who literally eats out every single meal, and I have another friend who uses it who never cooks the same meal twice. It basically goes like this:

1. What's your style of eating? Omnivore, vegan, etc.
2. What's your eating schedule? 3 square meals a day? Snacks?
3. Create a Lookbook, which is just a 3-ring binder with clear page sleeves & yellow-tab dividers. Print out pictures & names for your favorite meals, restaurants, restaurant menu items, and appliances. This isn't a cookbook; it's a tool designed to help you populate a checklist by sparking ideas. Also works in conjunction with new stuff you like to try, like Pinterest pins.
4. A printed form with 7 horizontal rows, one for each day of the week. The title is the meal, ex. breakfast or afternoon snack. So you sit down once a week by yourself or with your family to do your meal planning for the upcoming week using the Lookbook & any other tools like Pinterest saves. Start out with say breakfast - you've got 7 meals to figure out, what do you want? Eggs? Waffles? Pancakes? Cereal? The idea is the same as the McDonald's drive-thru...nice big pictures with names that you can select from, and all of your personal favorites ready to be selected!
5. In the same planning session, write up the grocery list & schedule out the prep required. So if you want pizza dough & you're using 72-hour cold-fermented dough, you'd make that 3 days ahead. If you want sous-vide burritos on Tuesday for dinner, you'd prep those 2 hours before you want to eat. Most people do at least 3 meals a day, which is 21 meals a week, so this whole approach really takes the pain out of figuring things out by simply walking you through a checklist & prompting you with options.
6. Next day, go shopping & get what you need (or after your planning session, but I usually like to split it up).
7. Cook as reminded & enjoy delicious food!

The targets for MY personal framework (remembering that it's a framework, where YOU choose how to implement it) include:

1. IIFYM, so macros for everything so I can effortlessly stay in shape
2. Delicious food, made up of great or rich meals (I thought I wanted really rich foods all the time, but man, you can only eat so much cheesecake in a week lol)
3. Budget-friendly (homemade + bulk purchasing)
4. Food-storage friendly (vac-seal, freezer, etc.)
5. Low-effort (split the work of planning, shopping, and cooking up + use easy-peasy tools like SV & Instapot)

The system manages the complexity; I just walk through the checklist & do the work as reminded. That's what some people find confusing about the walls of text I post...that's just insight into the system's process, not my daily hands-on portion. My week looks like this:

1. Meal-plan on Sunday (pick out what to eat for the week, create a prep schedule, and generate a shopping list)
2. Go shopping Monday
3. Cook as reminded throughout the week.

For example, my doughs are typically good for up to 5 days (useful for pizza, calzones, breadsticks, etc.), and I can SV-cook most proteins up to 5 days ahead. So I can divvy up the workload & do simple little jobs throughout the week like stir some no-knead dough together for 60 seconds or take 30 seconds to drop a couple of frozen chicken breasts from the freezer into the SV bath to cook. Like, really really ridiculously easy amounts of work. This is why I nerd out about stuff like the Instant Pot...the actual amount of work required to cook, to feed yourself, to hit your macros, to save money, to create delicious meals is like, really really low with the right setup, lol. Plus once you set it up, it's virtually set & forget! I do a quick planning session, whip up a shopping list after checking what I have in stock, and put together a brief schedule with calendar reminders for what to do when. Everything is pre-defined & gives me really great results all the time!
yeah, you really need a youtube channel.
this sounds like a lot of work to me compared to my meals.
but maybe if i see it in action...
 

Fritzo

Lifer
Jan 3, 2001
41,884
2,124
126
So my daughter got me an Anova sous vide cooker for Christmas. It has wifi and all the doo-dads on it.

I was reading the instructions and it shows it takes an hour to cook a steak, then you have to sear at at the end. I can cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes in the same pan I would have to use anyway. Am I missing something? :oops:
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,811
126
So my daughter got me an Anova sous vide cooker for Christmas. It has wifi and all the doo-dads on it.

I was reading the instructions and it shows it takes an hour to cook a steak, then you have to sear at at the end. I can cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes in the same pan I would have to use anyway. Am I missing something? :oops:
You have to plan in advance. It's good and useful tool. I use it to reheat bbq like brisket. But for things like cooking steaks and such, I don't bother with it because I prefer steaks cooked outside on the grill.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,409
5,269
136
So my daughter got me an Anova sous vide cooker for Christmas. It has wifi and all the doo-dads on it.

I was reading the instructions and it shows it takes an hour to cook a steak, then you have to sear at at the end. I can cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes in the same pan I would have to use anyway. Am I missing something? :oops:

The point is precision, not speed. This enables you to do several things:

1. Cook incredibly tender steaks (and chicken breast, and pork chops, etc.)
2. Make great steaks out of good steaks
3. Create really great meals, ex. cook a London broil for 12 hours, then sear, then use in tacos
4. Cook ahead of time to store in the fridge until you're ready to sear it
5. Do meal-prep & food storage by cooking it sous-vide, shocking it in an ice bath, and then storing it (vac-sealed) in the freezer, ready to thaw & cook as needed

Basically, it enables you to get perfect results, exactly the way you want them, every single time, whether you're cooking steak, beef, pork, turkey, chicken, eggs, salmon, etc. (as well as a variety of desserts, egg bites, etc.!). It's not about time, it's about perfection. If you want fast, do a smashburger or use the Instant Pot. The way I look at it is that I have to eat every single day, I want my food to be awesome, and I want it to be wallet-friendly (food is one of the biggest expenses in any household budget). The time is going to pass anyway, so why not spend 60 seconds vac-sealing your food & dropping it in a bath for a few hours? This is the same approach I take for making no-knead bread (sandwich loaves, pizza, breadsticks, dinner rolls, etc.) every day...literally 60 second's worth of effort to improve my life!

There's nothing wrong with a pan-seared steak. I still love a good grilled steak, seared steak, reverse-seared steak, etc. It's just easier & more convenient with sous-vide!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,409
5,269
136
So my daughter got me an Anova sous vide cooker for Christmas. It has wifi and all the doo-dads on it.

I was reading the instructions and it shows it takes an hour to cook a steak, then you have to sear at at the end. I can cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes in the same pan I would have to use anyway. Am I missing something? :oops:

 

Howard

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
47,989
10
81
So my daughter got me an Anova sous vide cooker for Christmas. It has wifi and all the doo-dads on it.

I was reading the instructions and it shows it takes an hour to cook a steak, then you have to sear at at the end. I can cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes in the same pan I would have to use anyway. Am I missing something? :oops:
What's your definition of "cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes"? The laws of physics force us mortals to obey...
 

Fritzo

Lifer
Jan 3, 2001
41,884
2,124
126
What's your definition of "cook a steak perfectly in 10 minutes"? The laws of physics force us mortals to obey...
Sear a room temperature 1.25" Ribeye on a cast iron griddle for about 4 minutes per side on high heat. With resting maybe 20 minutes.
 

pete6032

Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
7,456
3,023
136
Going to be making a 3 LB roast in the sous vide. What is the best way to finish it off after it comes out? I have a gas range and a gas grill and a cast iron skillet. What works best?
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
110,543
29,148
146
Going to be making a 3 LB roast in the sous vide. What is the best way to finish it off after it comes out? I have a gas range and a gas grill and a cast iron skillet. What works best?

two options that I like:

--broiler/high heat (475+) for about 7 minutes --must pre-heat the oven

--Or smoke it on the grill at ~175 for ~2 or so hours?

Is this going to be fall apart, "pulled" roast when it comes out of the water bath? You might want to tie that sucker up pretty well with butcher's twine, first.
 

pete6032

Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
7,456
3,023
136
two options that I like:

--broiler/high heat (475+) for about 7 minutes --must pre-heat the oven

--Or smoke it on the grill at ~175 for ~2 or so hours?

Is this going to be fall apart, "pulled" roast when it comes out of the water bath? You might want to tie that sucker up pretty well with butcher's twine, first.
I'm not sure the cut of meat, it came from a cow share and is just labeled "roast." Its much more "steak" like than fall-off-the-bone when it comes out (in fact there is no bone in it). I've done them before and just not finished them but I want a good sear on the outside.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
110,543
29,148
146
I'm not sure the cut of meat, it came from a cow share and is just labeled "roast." Its much more "steak" like than fall-off-the-bone when it comes out (in fact there is no bone in it). I've done them before and just not finished them but I want a good sear on the outside.

probably not chuck steak, then, if it doesn't look very fatty. That's what I use for my poor man's brisket, with souse vide > smoker. It comes out super well (Kenji method over at Serious Eats)

If it's Top Round or something like that, you're probably wise to sear on cast iron. Broiler would work too