Pop-In@Nordstrom Tested the ChefSteps Joule & Spoiler Alert: You’re Gonna Want One
Our latest Pop-In Shop is making the most of this tech-centric life with gizmos that’ll make your world go ’round—like the Joule Sous Vide by ChefSteps. The Seattle-based company calls it “the world’s smallest, smartest and sexiest sous vide tool, perfect for novices and veterans alike.”
So we persuaded a couple of delightful amateurs to demo the Joule on two tasty ChefSteps recipes and put that whole “novice” thing to the test. What could possibly go wrong?
Sous vide: precision cooking that involves vacuum-sealing food in a bag (or in our case, fancy Ziploc freezer bags), then cooking it to a specific temperature in a water bath. The Joule makes this process a lot easier with a handy boiling and temperature-monitoring device that connects to an app via Bluetooth and WiFi. The result? Perfectly prepared dishes that’ll have you saying, “Why, yes, I did make this myself,” every time. (Plus, it looks pretty sexy, too.)
First thing’s first: Get the Joule and download the app. Setup is painless, and you’ll be rewarded with the option of naming your device (we named our two gadgets Yolanda and Becky) and a giant—but easy-to-navigate—photo and video library of step-by-step recipes. The recipes let you toggle between different measurement units and portion sizes, which is great, because math takes time.
Now that you’ve laid out and ‘grammed (optional) your ingredients:
- Pork loin
- Brussels sprouts
- Olive oil
- Pepper flakes
- Pork seasoning of choice
- Crushed walnuts (for garnish)
- Lime (also for garnish)
Fire up the Joule in a pot of water. ChefSteps recommends preheating the water to 140°F to get that perfectly pinkish pork finish.
Look at Yolanda go.
The second unofficial step would be to get your pairings on: might we suggest a full-bodied red light in tannins, like a Malbec, to enhance the subtle flavors of your pork loin, and a summery, barely sweet rosé to wash down that lemon curd. (A dessert wine felt like overkill.)
Season and bag your meat cuts. We opted for dried rosemary and good ol’ S+P. Once your water is at the correct temperature, lower the bag into the pot and let the magic happen until your timer goes off.
Cooking time varies depending on weight, but we decided to check in at the 45-minute mark. Then it was on to the sides.
This particular recipe lets you take a few liberties (like with seasoning), which worked out well because the store was out of yams so we subbed in sweet potatoes. Once we boiled the diced yams in a pot o’ water with sliced ginger per the recipe, we blended the spuds (sans ginger), some water and vegetable stock into a nice purée—because we’re fancy.
With the sprouts bakin’ and our purée set aside, we got started on dessert. Since we were lucky enough to have two Joules at our disposal, Becky had our water waiting for us at a toasty 167°F.
More assembling of ingredients (and more photo ops):
- Egg yolks
- Citric acid
- Ice water (as needed; we didn’t need it)
- Something colorful (for garnish)
After we grated, squeezed, separated and measured, all the ingredients got dumped into another Ziploc bag. The directions didn’t tell us to mix at this point in the game, so we didn’t. We should also note that we couldn’t find citric acid powder in time, so we powered through without it. (Did we regret it? Since we never remade another with citric acid, I guess we’ll never know.)
While that appetizing amalgam of soft raw things cooked (for 1 hour), we checked on our beloved pork loin. Ideal temperature for a rare loin? 145°F.
Back into the bath they went!
In total, we cooked our two 8-oz. chops for about an hour before searing to our hearts’ content.
With the pork resting and the nascent lemon curd bubbling, we took some time to enjoy incredibly refined appetizers, prep some plates and reward ourselves for our hard work-in-progress.
An hour later, Becky told us to pick up our lemon curd from cooking school. We blended and poured the much more palatable-looking mixture into small premade (aka: store bought) pie crusts before transferring them into the freezer to chill and set (ChefSteps recommends an ice bath).
Time to plate our well-earned dinner. Please take a moment to appreciate the before/after reveal:
We retrieved our little curd pies after about 30 minutes, added some pretty garnish, and voilà!
After. Note the dual-purpose raspberries.
We also made itty-bitty ones, topped with a little lime zest.
And finally, we feasted like a happy, modern family.
Many, many, many thanks to Ryan and Corey!
Full disclosure: the sous vide process takes time, but we considered it a fair trade for being able to control the temperature, yielding delectable food with just the right texture. And despite the fact that none of us had ever tried sous vide (sous vide’ing?) before, both main course and dessert turned out mega-on-point.
Hungry yet? Go get yourself one of these magical wands and make yourself something tasty.