Reviewer’s Note: Product sample discussed here was provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.
This review opens with a confession: The list of cooking methods I’ve been curious about for years but have yet to attempt is longer than I’m happy about. High on that list is the method known as sous vide. Characterized by immersion of vacuum-sealed foods in a water bath maintained at lower-than-typical cooking temperature, sous vide cooking is respected for its even cooking and moisture-retention, particularly with meats and fish. A fortuitous encounter with a company called Kitchen Gizmo recently permitted me to satisfy my curiosity and shorten my aforementioned list by one.
The Kitchen Gizmo Simplified Sous Vide Immersion Circulator arrived with simple-to-follow instructions that included a guide to cooking lengths for various foods, and a recipe booklet filled with recipes and color photographs. The device’s LED display provides information on water temperature, cooking time, and features selectable Fahrenheit or Celsius preference. A rubberized grip exterior minimizes the likelihood of damage from dropping it, and the uncomplicated installation method—it clips and holds easily to the side of a pot or water basin—spares a user the frustration of a lengthy setting up/dismantling process before and after use.
Something I liked right away about this device is its clear designation of minimum and maximum water levels and the safety feature that prevents it from operating when not placed in water. Should one unwittingly defy those safeguards, an alarm sounds and the LED display gives up an error message; perfect flags to alert newbs like me to a misstep. To either my credit or the product’s, it proved simple enough to operate that I made no such gaffs and had the thing up and warming a pot of water within five minutes of unpacking it. All this adds up to this product having many positives going for it even before a single morsel of food is placed.
As for how the product handled food, I came away from multiple rounds of cooking impressed. The rumors, as the saying goes, are true with regard to sous vide cooking. I used this product to prepare fish (filets of halibut, flounder, and tilapia that I seasoned with fresh herbs) that came out swimming in juices, lean chicken breast that Mrs. Flavorful World refused for several minutes to believe was cooked (it was) because of how tender it came out, flavorful steaks cooked to a perfect, pink-centered medium, and more.
The device offered me little by way of issues to take with it. Standard procedure finds the user setting a desired cooking temperature and length of time for the food to cook. The circulator then establishes the proper cooking temperature for the food (and with meats, the desired level of doneness) by gradually heating the water, automatically beginning the timer countdown once that temperature is achieved. In my third outing with it, I was needed out of the kitchen for a brief moment. In my absence, the device reached temperature and, perhaps fed up with my slacker ways, started counting down without me, causing me to be about two minutes late getting my food into the bath. Whereas a chime sounds at the end of a cooking cycle so the user may retrieve cooked food, no notification accompanies countdown commencement; hence it occurred to me that a chime announcing that event wouldn’t be a bad idea. This is less a shortcoming of the product, though, than cause for users to remain attentive as the desired temperature approaches.
One other thing to like about this immersion circulator is that although foods cooked using this method are typically vacuum-sealed in plastic, this machine requires no expensive accessories. Given my utter lack of any kind of vacuum-sealing device—don’t get me started on my list of kitchen items that fascinate me which I’ve yet to purchase—I sealed my foods in zippered kitchen storage bags (immersing opened bags containing food in the water bath forces out air, at which point, you zip the bag shut) after reading that this method works well. Having sealed every round of cooking by this means, I can confirm its positive results as well as the lack of any difference in cooked food quality between standard bags or freezer bags. Coupled with ease of usage, virtually nonexistent cleanup, and a recipe book delivering a wealth of cooking options from breakfast foods throughout romantic dinner selections, the Kitchen Gizmo Simplified Sous Vide Immersion Circulator did not simply perform as advertised, but exceeded this user’s expectations by every metric.
Learn more about the Kitchen Gizmo Simplified Sous Vide Immersion Circulator at KitchenGizmoUSA.com.
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.
[Images: Kitchen Gizmo]