Last Month (December, 2015) I was one of five 1st place winners in the Instructables Cooking For One Contest, and I was awarded a Nomiku Sous Vide. I had absolutely no idea what it was, or even how to pronounce the name, so I spent a lot of time reading about it online while waiting for it to arrive. I learned quickly that the name Sous Vide was pronounced "Sue Vee," and that I had won a device that was used to cook foods in a water bath in vacuum-sealed bags at low temperatures, thus producing exceptionally tender meats, fish, & fowl, and preserving the maximum amount of nutrients in vegetables. I also learned that I needed a "pot" that would hold at least 2 gallons of water in order to cook anything in the prescribed manner.
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Step 1: ACQUIRING & ASSEMBLING THE SOUS VIDE COOKING ESSENTIALS
According to the articles written in blogs and by Sous Vide vendors, and users, one could cook vacuum sealed bags of food in a water bath in pots or in certain types of food containers as long as the vessel was large enough to completely cover the food with water. However, the water level would have to be maintained between the minimum and maximum levels specified on the Sous Vide device throughout the time required to complete the cooking process, and nothing should be allowed to block or restrict the flow of water being circulated by the Sous Vide pump.
These requirements caused me to select the Cambro 12-quart square polycarbonate container pictured above. It seemed to be a favorite of several Sous Vide users, and a see-through cover was available; an important consideration since keeping the container covered during the cooking process was essential to maintaining the set temperature of the water.
Although the cover that I ordered through Amazon.com arrived in about 10 days, it took about a month to get the food container since the first vendor selected failed to deliver it by the designated shipping date, and I had to reorder it from another vendor. I had already determined that I would need to cut a slot in the lid to accommodate the Sous Vide instrument and, as soon as the container arrived I fitted it with the lid, then marked off the area needed to be removed and cut it out with a jig saw.
After reading so many articles about the Sous Vide cooking process I also felt the need to install some sort of rack or support in the bottom of the Cambro container that would hold a sealed bag(s) of food while enabling maximum water circulation.during the cooking process. After searching the many aisles of a local Walmart Store, the only thing I could find that seemed suitable for this purpose were two small steel mesh storage containers (the only two on the shelf) (also pictured above). Each one had four tiny rubber "feet" and,thinking that they might become dislodged during a warm water bath and embedded in the Sous Vide impeller, I managed to removed them with the point of a small paring knife. Once removed, I could see that they had been glued in to place, so I washed off the glue residue under hot water.
Total cost of the above items (the Cambro lid and container and the wire trays) including shipping was approximately $48.00 USD.
Step 2: MAKING a TEST RUN
Once all of the components of my new Sous Vide cooking "pot" were assembled, I had to give it a test run just to make sure that I could operate the instrument.
Finding a place to make the test was not as easy as one might expect. Due to the configuration of my home, the placement of 3-prong electrical outlets, and the short cord on the Sous Vide, the only place I could find to plug it and turn it on was in my living room adjacent to the TV! When filled with a little over 2 gallons of water, the pot weighed about 17 lbs; consequently I also had to remove a lamp from an end table; move it next to the TV, and use it for stand for the unit. While it looked a little "silly" sitting there, it was easy to use and it worked fine!
(Since writing this article I have already created my first Sous Vide recipe. The Gourmet Grandpa's recipe for SOUS VIDE TOP ROUND (LONDON BROIL) will soon follow.