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Low Carb cooking at the office - the Sous Vide way

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Picture of Low Carb cooking at the office - the Sous Vide way
About three months ago I started a low-carb diet.  It's been very successful - I feel a great deal healthier, and I've lost a fair amount of weight. But finding things to eat for lunch at the office was a challenge.

I work in a cubical farm, with a break room.  We have a small kitchen, with a refrigerator/freezer, a couple of microwaves, and a toaster oven.  No stove, no range.  I had been buying microwavable frozen dinners, keeping them in the freezer, and heating them up in the microwave, but I'd found very limited choices for low-carb microwavable meals at the grocery.

Then I read about Sous Vide. The idea is to vacuum seal your food in plastic, then cook it in a precisely-controlled hot water bath. The commercial equipment costs around $400, but there are plans here at i'bles for making controllers that will convert any cheap crockpot into a Sous VIde cooker for far less.

Of course, Sous VIde won't brown a steak. So I bought a cheap countertop grill. And the combination is workng well.
 
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Step 1: It starts with a piece of meat

Picture of It starts with a piece of meat
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Everything starts with a piece of meat.  To date, I've done beef, pork, and cod.  All turned out fine. Just had to do a bit of googling to find the right temperature.

Sous Vide can't overcook a steak, because the temperature is controlled.  It can't dry out a steak, because it's vacuum sealed. And it can cook some quite tough cuts - that usually have be cooked so long to be soft enough to eat that they are usually used as roasts and barbecue - and leave them medium or rare.

In fact, my "steaks" are usually chuck roast or boneless beef ribs, which can be a lot cheaper than the official "steak" cuts. And they turn out fine.

In this case, I found a nice T-bone, at $6.99/pound. That's twice what I pay for boneless ribs, but it's within my budget (recognzing that this one-and-a-half pound steak is going to be the center of three lunches.)

So, I start by cutting the steak from the bone and into lunch-sized portions, then adding a dry rub.
kmrdjanov1 year ago
What do you use to regulate the crock pot control? What is that thing? :)
It's also on amazon too. Free shipping if you have amazon prime too.
jdege (author)  kmrdjanov1 year ago

That is a Sous-Vide controller I bought here.

But if you're not as impatient as I, there area bunch of i'bles on how to make one yourself.

lenoreps1 year ago
Very creative, but is there a reason why you do not cook the food at home and seal the food at home then nuke it at work. My company would never allow the setup you have at work, but I would like an easy way to eat low carb at work.
jdege (author)  lenoreps1 year ago
Other people may have the skill, but I've never had much success with reheating steaks etc., in the microwave. Either they're still frozen in the center, or they're gray tasteless cardboard.
reosed1 year ago
You should show a picture of the edge to edge medium rare steak this produces. Here is a NY Strip I made with help from an instructable.
lafnbear1 year ago
OK, so what's the big difference between this, and doing all of the above at home, freezing the steak, then microwaving it at work?
jdege (author)  lafnbear1 year ago
It's the difference between eating a steak that tastes and feels like it's fresh off the grill at a top steak house, and eating a piece of anonymous grey cardboard that came out of a freezer and a microwave.