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Sensi Magazine

Diary of an Ice Bath

Feb 13, 2019 07:37PM ● By Dawn Garcia
Mastering the Art of Sous Vide Cooking, the newly released delectable guide to being a sous vide cooking master by Chef Justice Stewart, founder of the popular blog Gourmet De-Constructed (GOURMETDECONSTRUCTED.COM), is an insightful breakdown of the sous vide method (cooking food in a water bath at low, controlled temperatures for maximum flavor). The new cookbook offers easy-to follow steps with gourmet recipes from appetizers to sinful desserts and a comprehensive list of the tools you’ll need to be the star of your kitchen.

A passionate cook and Queens-born New Yorker, Stewart takes curious home cooks and experienced chefs on a culinary adventure, paying tribute to the sous vide cooking method invented by a physicist named Benjamin Thompson in 1799. Sous vide was a mistake, but that happy accident continues to influence chefs and cooks around the world. With fond memories of fishing with his father, Stewart reminisces about how the smell of freshly caught fish bathed in batter and fried in oil inspired a lifelong culinary adventure, including learning the art of sous vide. The cookbook explores simple, versatile precision temperature cooking methods utilizing gourmet techniques. It’s a delightful addition to any food lover’s collection.

$21.99 | Page Street Publishing Co.

These tender octopus tentacles come from the Northern Atlantic coast of Spain but are now found nearly everywhere in the world.
Serves 6 to 8 • Sous vide cook time: 6 hours


• 1 whole octopus (3 ¹⁄₂ pounds), rinsed and beak removed
• 1 tbs kosher salt
• ¹⁄₄ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 2 large potatoes, boiled and cubed
• 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
• 1 tbs fresh parsley
• Olive oil, for serving


STEP 1: Preheat the water bath to 171°F (77.2°C).

STEP 2: Make an ice bath and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch the octopus in the boiling water, about 15 minutes. Remove it from the pot and immediately place it into the ice bath for 5 minutes. When the octopus is cool, season it with salt and place it in a vacuum bag with the olive oil and seal it. Cook in the preheated water bath for 6 hours.

STEP 3: Grease a grill with oil and set at high heat. Remove the octopus from the bag and place it onto the smoking hot grill. Cook the octopus, flipping it once, until you start to see charred bits on the legs, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Arrange the octopus on a platter with boiled potato cubes and sprinkle with paprika, more kosher salt and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Bold winter spices, when blended with full-bodied red wine and fresh pear, are not only visually stunning but rich in flavor, especially when you add nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom.
Serves 8 • Sous vide cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes


• 1 full-bodied red wine (cabernet sauvignon or merlot is best)
• 2 ¹⁄₂ cups white sugar
• 6 cardamom pods
• 1 tbs orange zest
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 star anise
• 2 whole cloves
• ¹⁄₂ tsp allspice
• ¹⁄₂ tsp nutmeg
• 1 vanilla bean, split
• 4 Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and halved
• Whipped cream or ice cream (for serving)
• Fresh mint sprigs (for garnish)


STEP 1: Preheat the water bath to 175°F (79.4°C).

STEP 2: Pour the wine and sugar into a medium saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cardamom, orange zest, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the wine reduces by nearly half, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, and discard the solids.

STEP 3: If you are using a chamber sealer, place the pears into a vacuum bag in a single layer, pour the wine mixture into the bag, and seal it on a gentle setting to avoid crushing the pears. If you are using the water displacement method, put the pears in a freezer bag, pour in the wine, then submerge it in the water bath. Use a kitchen clip to secure the bag to the container to minimize bag movement during cooking. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

STEP 4: Remove the bag from the water. If you wish to serve the pears cold, submerge the sealed bag into an ice bath for 15 to 20 minutes and refrigerate the entire bag until ready to use. If serving the pears warm, allow them to cool down a bit before plating. Pour 2 tablespoons of the bagged liquid into eight individual bowls. Place a pear half in each bowl and add whipped cream or a scoop of the ice cream. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve. *Note that grilled pears can be reheated with the sous vide at 150°F (65.5°C) for 30 minutes.