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One of the funny but odd parts of adulting is seeing how your foodie friends develop. As kids, we enjoy food, but as we get older and become independent, we realize just how difficult (and oftentimes expensive) it is to get a decent meal on the table.
So far, while watching how my peers have changed, I've identified a few types.
There's the friend who starts wanting to try different restaurants, there's the friend who lives and dies by recipe videos on YouTube, the one who wants to own every gourmet kitchen accessory known to man, and the one who gives up on cooking and retreats into the waiting, noodly arms of instant ramen. I have not one, but two friends who live and die by Gordon Ramsay's MasterClass and collect kitchen appliances. One of them even has a culinary blowtorch.
Thus, while visiting friends down in Washington, DC, I was introduced to the sous vide. As an uncultured soul who retreats to instant ramen too often, I had no idea what it was. My initial impression was that the device sounded cool, but I doubted that I needed it. I tend to err on the side of caution until an appliance has truly proven its usefulness to me.
Then my friend made steaks in his sous vide.
I think it only took one bite before I decided that I needed to start shopping for a good sous vide.
My friend had his sous vide for some time and it was quite limited; he had to purchase a special tank that looked quite a bit like a fish tank to use his sous vide with. My new hunt for something more versatile led me to coming across Chefman.
A small appliance makes a big difference.
I have overcooked steak so many times that I stopped buying it for a while, resigning myself to the reality that I was only going to have a good steak if I went out to a restaurant. Steak dinners aren't cheap out and about, so while a sous vide is very versatile in all the different types of things it can cook, I was eager to test it out with steak.
Taking after my wanna-be gourmand friends, I bought some steaks, sealed them up in vacuum-sealed bags, and tossed them in water. It felt odd, like I was boiling steak, but the finished result tasted amazing. The Chefman sous vide has a flexible clamp so that it'll fit most of your pots and containers.
Fortunately, the Chefman app was easy to download and I had my sous vide online in no time. I had no trouble with the setup, which was also a pleasant surprise.
It's a unique cooking appliance, but it's also small, which is fantastic if you lack counter space in your home. While I have some friends with pressure cookers, air fryers, and all sorts of other gizmos, my apartment has very limited space in the kitchen, and thus, I have to debate every appliance I want to add to my collection. Being able to slip my sous vide into a cabinet or drawer is a definite plus.
What makes it smart?
It's easy to overlook smart features in your devices. When I'm shopping and see that something is "smart," I'll nod, think that's pretty cool, but I won't be dramatically swayed by those features. More often than not, the features are nice, but they aren't so integral to the functioning of the device that I'll buy something new just for those features.
The Chefman sous vide sets itself apart since, with its wireless features, it's easy to get it connected to your home network and get the app running on your phone. Once you've connected the devices, you can choose how you want to cook your food right from your phone. If you're like me and have steak on the brain, you can choose if you want it rare, medium, or well done right from the app, and the sous vide will follow your wish.
This comes in handy surprisingly often, since I can pop out of my apartment to take the trash out or check the mail while keeping an eye on the app and remaining cooking time. I'm usually cooking during the evening marathon of get home from work, do chores, get ready for the next day of work, so being able to step away for a minute here and there and not worry about hot oil spilling or splashing everywhere is nice.
The app also has some great recipes, which is a nice perk when I need to hurry up and cook a meal, but I'm not feeling very creative. Making restaurant quality food at home is one of the best ways to save money on eating out. Being able to make a perfect steak in your own kitchen is seriously amazing.
How well does it work?
Using the Chefman sous vide is incredibly helpful because it takes the guesswork out of cooking. With a typical recipe, you get vague directions like "cook on a medium heat" and rough time frames that may cause your food to come out burnt depending on the size and type of pan you're using.
Obviously, these are things that good cooks get used to dealing with, but here's the thing...I'm not a good cook. I don't have great cooking instincts. Fortunately for me, that's completely fine with a sous vide, because its precision makes cooking tasty food much easier. I generally cook after a long day of work and commuting. I'm already tired before I hit the kitchen, so simplifying the cooking process is important to me.
One of my greatest cooking failings is that inconsistent temperatures in my pans makes evenly cooking vegetables and meats difficult. With chicken, some pieces will be dry and overcooked, while others will still have a little pink in the middle. Funnily enough, I've had both gas ranges and electric stovetops in the different apartments I've had, but I managed to both undercook and overcook things on both types, sometimes at the same time! Using a sous vide takes all the disastrous guesswork away.
The sous vide keeps the water circulating and regulates temperature, making it effortless to have your food evenly cooked.
All in all, I'm happy with my purchase.
At the end of the day, it's fun to cook food perfectly at home without pouring over the stove and fretting over trying to make things come out perfect. It's also nice to cook without using oil or cooking spray; it's one less thing to buy at the grocery store all the time. Plus, it's healthier for me to have less fat from oil in each meal.
I think it's great to experiment with the sous vide since, as far as appliances go, it doesn't have a big counter footprint and it's not too expensive to invest in. The Chefman app makes this particular sous vide a breeze to use, so I didn't have any trouble getting used to cooking with it.
I'm still pretty new to the world of sous vide cooking, but the nature of the sous vide lets you combine flavor with healthy cooking methods. You can seal spices, herbs, or marinades in with your meat or vegetables, making everything flavorful without smothering it in oil or butter. It's great to be able to essentially boil something and still have strong flavors.
The Chefman sous vide makes it easy to cook ordinary ingredients; like chicken, asparagus, carrots, and so forth; with different spice combinations so that you can make your common dietary staples into something delicious. Being able to satisfy that itch for a perfectly cooked steak without forking out a good chunk of my paycheck at a steakhouse is a wonderful thing.