So I decided to put my fish tank idea into action . . .
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Don’t do this! I will explain why.
The tank is a $30 starter kit from Kmart (a smaller Australian version of the US WalMart) complete with colourful stones, plastic seaweed, water pump with filter, flimsy net on a pole, and a thin clear plastic lid. If this experiment worked, my intent was to invest in a much larger tank with bubbler, fake seaweed, cliché castle (possibly SpongeBob variant), plastic fish, ultraviolet backlighting, and a standalone bench/shelf to showcase it and make it a feature of the kitchen.
However the thin glass walls have no thermal insulation at all, and heat leaks back in to the kitchen, an undesirable result in this part of the world. This also makes the APC much less energy efficient. Even from the short amount of time I had the unit plugged in to take photos, quite a bit of condensation started building up on the top of the glass walls. I’m also concerned about the seals holding the glass panels together failing under prolonged heat, and the glass is too thin for me to feel confident clamping the bracket to it for any amount of time.
For the moment I will stick with my [missing image removed]modded esky, and in the meantime I will keep an eye out on Gumtree (a smaller Australian version of CraigsList) for an affordable double-walled aquarium with a tight fitting lid that I can cut a hole into. Anyone want to buy a fish tank?
You were not planning to cook in the fish tank, were you? You can run APC with temperature set to 5C and it will make waves and whatnot
Yes, @vtemkin it was intended for cooking in, and for being decorative between cooks. Now it shall be purely decorative, the addition of some live fish and a securely fitted lid should keep my cats entertained while I’m at work
So I decided to give it a spin anyway, since it was already set up for the photos. Two free-range organic RSPCA-approved chicken breasts vacuum sealed with salt, pepper, and a wodge of free-range organic solidified cow squirt (butter).
Breast number one is smothered in garlic paste, and number two in ginger paste. I didn’t mark which is which 'cos I’m hardcore. Well, I was until I took an arrow to the knee.
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One for the plate and one for lunch at work tomorrow. Tonight’s dinner will feature a sauce made from bag juices mixed with thickened cream, dry white wine and grated garlic, and reduced until I can drop a lego minifig onto it without breaking surface tension. Side is red potatoes pressure-cooked with rosemary and more butter, plus the judicious application of whatever wine remains in the vicinity, applied direct to my gullet.
EDIT 60 minutes later an I have these:
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Look how plump and juicy they have become. Maybe this fish tank isn’t such a fail after all.
EDIT in case you’re wondering, I’m not using two APCs in the above photo, this is a great example of internal reflection/refraction. Remember your high school physics optics?
EDIT EDIT Dammit somehow that photo is upside-down. Apologies to anyone here who isn’t Australian.
@Fudspong the photo is upside-down for the Antipodes, it’s perfectly fine for the top of the globe! (Just kidding!)
OMG that chicken! Something came up and I couldn’t serve one for dinner so I ice-dunked them both and put them in the fridge. Yesterday I got a French baguette, cut it in 4, cut it in half length-ways, then did this: olive oil spread, mature cheddar, dijon mustard, mixed leaf salad, and sliced chicken breast (the ginger one, as it happens). Each one was bagged and into the fridge crisper. It was utter awesome eating one last night (had to eat on the go), and it was double utter awesome eating for lunch at work today. And the best bit? I still have two more sangers in the fridge to go. In fact, I’m having to use willpower to make a proper dinner instead of snarfing one right now.
Well, that’s it though, I’m never cooking chicken breast any other way. The beaut bit is that you can vacuum seal a whole bunch and cook them all at once, and because they’re vacuum sealed after you’ve cooked them enough to kill all the nasties, they stay perfect in the fridge for ages. Pull one out of the fridge, reheat, and serve a perfectly moist, tender and juicy chicken breast in a few minutes, fool-proof.
@Fudspong For some reason chicken and butter is the match made in heaven. Inventors of Chicken Kiev tried to realize it a century ago, but only Sous Vide made it easy and wonderful. Try Michael Voltaggio’s Crispy Chicken Thighs. (I usually nuke them in microwave for a minute after getting from the fridge and fry them in the butter extracted from the bags. It’s when I have patience to heat them at all. Otherwise they are almost as good cold.)
@Fudspong Ahh I’m a little late to the party but this is SO COOL!!! Glad you actually set it up, in fact, now I feel that my home is incomplete without one. So have you given it another go since the chicken trial?
Aargh I hate supermarkets! I thought I had scored a large chunk of chuck steak at a decent price, but just now I prepped it for the bath and the styrene foam packaging hid a large area of grey meat, and my guess is they did it on purpose. Too far to take it back and complain so I trimmed it, and there’s enough decent meat for a single large steak. Vacced it with salt, pepper and rosemary paste and splosh! Straight into the fish tank. This time Saturday (48 hour cook) I will be drying it and crusting it in cast iron, and adding butter, thickened cream, white wine, onion, garlic, and whatever else takes my fancy to the bag juice to make a “like totes rad sauce, full sick innit”. I can justify using the fish tank instead of the esky because I’m testing the thermal fail point of the fish tank seals over a long cook, well at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Thoughts on the above:
- I need to grow my own herbs, particularly rosemary. Any advice on this subject is welcome.
- I need to make the effort to go to a butcher instead of buying supermarket meat.
Simon Rosemary is easy to grow if you live in the right part of the country. It will not survive the Winter outside in cooler climates. I once lived in the Mojave Desert and we had it as a hedge. Here in Illinois it needs to come inside in the Fall. It is easy to grow though.
@Simon_C Considering I struggle to even grow a chia pet, I’m not the best person to provide advice on plants or gardening, but I do have my sights set on one of those aerogarden herb kits, maybe that’s a good option?
I think you can grow rosemary with the cuttings from another shrub though, and the soil needs a little lime in it if I remember correctly. There are loads of rosemary shrubs in my area so I’ll give it a go and let you know if it’s a success in about 3 weeks lol.
OK so that cook as totally not worth the wait, and was all the more disappointing because of the two day mouth-watering anticipation. I’ve never had a worse steak, but I must stress it was my fault for cooking something I had huge reservations about, plus the fault of the rip-off merchants that sold me such a dodgy cut. All geeks know the rule, “garbage in, garbage out”, and it’s as true for cooking as it is for everything else. Support your local butcher and flip off your chain-store supermarket.
I think cooking bad piece of meat Sous Vide would exacerbate its “badness”, because it spreads and permeates the whole thing. Sous Vide is wonderful for “cheap” cuts - they are most flavorful and all of that, but not for the rotten ones.
I had an aerogarden which I recently gave away.
It is interesting but very expensive to get parts/seed kits etc. And they seem to be phasing them out.
And it requires just as much maintaining as a small window herb garden kit costing less than $10.
Last year I bought 4 little pots of herbs from the grocery store for $1.99 each and they are still growing despite me taking them north for the summer and back again.
Hi @Helen - thank you for sharing your experience, I didn't realize they required so much time and money. I guess I'll go another route, maybe a little planter box on the patio.
@Simon_C & @John.jcb -- I am giving the rosemary cutting method a go to see if I can grow a plant from the cuttings. Here she is, freshly cut and potted. I'll post updates with her growth, or demise, depending on how my not-so-green thumb decides to perform.
Hey @jordan, how’s your rosemary plant going?
I moved mine indoors fro the Winter and it is really thriving. I need to trim it a bit. Maybe time for a few steaks. Chives make it over the Winter and always come back strong. I wonder how Jordan’s cooking adventures are coming along. I havn’t seen any pictures lately.