failed clear ice balls

The ball on the far left was made from plain tap water – never boiled, never filtered.  The 2nd ball from the left was made from tap water which I boiled for 3 minutes, then cooled, then boiled again.  The 3rd ball was made from water I filtered through my Brita then boiled once.  The ball on the far right was made from filtered, double-boiled water. 

Can you see the difference in clarity? Yeah, me neither.

My goal was to make clear ice – that is, ice that is totally transparent without any haziness or white fissures.  I know that commercial ice makers use fancy processes like upside down freezing, but several websites propose that you can make your own clear ice just by boiling (or double boiling) water before freezing.  I put this to the test, and as you can see, my results were less than stellar. 

The complication may have to do with the ice ball molds I was using.  The molds are sealed, so it’s possible that some gasses (or evil spirits) weren’t able to escape during the freezing process.  I’ll try again with regular cubes or blocks, but for now, I’m a little pissed that I’ll have to chill my morning gin with cloudy ice.

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The nice folks at Polyscience were kind enough to loan me their new SousVide Professional heating immersion circulator. This is the first circulator that they have designed specifically for sous vide cooking, and it performs exquisitely. 

After a few weeks of intense use, I found the temperature accuracy to be precise (eggs are a great test!) and the stability to be very reliable.  The powerful circulating motor is a little noisy, as you can hear in the background of the video above, and I often wished it had a low-speed setting – instead, there is a valve you can adjust to regulate flow. 

The video below displays the results of a heating and temperature stability test I ran.  The machine is heating three gallons of water to 65.5C with no lid on the water bath.  The video is sped up by 20x so you aren’t bored to tears (and because a watched pot never boils becomes delightfully tepid).

 

Polyscience SousVide Professional – $799

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DSC_0337
If sous vide eggs had been invented two thousand years ago, there would have been entire books of The Bible dedicated to their praise.  But at the last meeting of the Jet City Gastrophysics, we took a giant leap forward.  You see, the beauty of a sous vide egg lies in it’s exquisite texture.  After about an hour in the water bath, the yolks become buttery with nearly the texture of pudding.  The only way to improve on this amazing transformation is to add a crunchy shell. 

Makes: 6 pieces
Total kitchen time: 90 minutes (30 minutes active time)

Special equipment: sous vide heating immersion circulator

Shopping list:

  • 6 + 1 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. black truffle salt
  • 1 tbsp. fine lemon zest (optional)
  1. Cook 6 eggs (reserving one) sous vide at 64.5°C for 60 minutes.  Let the eggs cool in a bowl of tepid water for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn on the faucet to very low. Working one by one, carefully crack a cooked egg into your hand, and let the white drip away under the water.  Set the yolks aside.
  3. Heat about 1.5 inches of canola oil in a small saucepan until it reaches 360°F (make sure the temp doesn’t exceed 370°F).
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flower, baking powder and sea salt.  In a second bowl, whisk the remaining (uncooked) egg.  Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  5. Gently roll each yolk in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg wash, then roll in breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry each yolk for about 30 seconds, or until lightly golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel, then sprinkle with black truffle salt and lemon zest.

These fried eggs make excellent tapas, particularly if your guests aren’t expecting what’s inside.  Perhaps in another thousand or two years, we’ll discover something even more delicious.

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