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Issue 14.5 ('Keyboard Shortcuts')
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FEATURE

Cooking With Xojo, Part 1

Literally using Xojo to cook a perfect steak

Issue: 14.5 (September/October 2016)
Author: Mark Strickland
Author Bio: Mark Strickland has been a fan of many dialects of BASIC since it was on the Radio Shack TRS-80 and Digital Equipment PDP-11 mini computers. More recently, he has worked in a University Medical School setting using his MacGyver-like Information Technology and Ethical Hacker skills to solve problems, almost always with Xojo. In his small software company (SimplyBASICsoftware.com), he has been using Xojo to build things like a Web-based home health care package that keeps caregivers on task with text messaging. Usually his MacGyver skills don't make things blow up, but occasionally users might disagree.
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Article Length (in bytes): 8,904
Starting Page Number: 14
Article Number: 14503
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Excerpt of article text...

Over 200 years ago Sir Benjamin Thompson first pioneered a method to cook that used lower temperatures and air as the heat transfer medium. Strangely his method was lost until the mid 1960's when American and French engineers used it for a food preservation method. In 1974 it was adopted by Michael Troisgros of France as a low temperature cooking technique. This method is called Sous-Vide which essentially means "under vacuum" although a full vacuum is not required (see Figure 1). You can read more on Wikipedia for the details (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sous-vide).

Why are we talking about cooking in a computer magazine? Patience, Padawan.

Essentially, if the core temperature of a steak reaches about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the center would be cooked medium. When cooked with the Sous-Vide method, the heat applied to the meat would only be 140 degrees. When you cook a steak on a grill or in a pan, you have to get the outside much hotter than 140 degrees and try to stop when the core reaches 140 degrees. With traditional grilling, a large portion of the steak is done beyond medium to have the center medium. With the Sous-Vide method you end up with a steak, no matter how thick, cooked edge to edge to the same degree of doneness. That may sound like it won't work, but if the heat source is only 140 degrees the meat cannot get any hotter so it will stop cooking on the outside and the center will continue to cook until it reaches that temperature. This will allow you to simply leave the meat in the water until it is a uniform temperature and achieve pasteurization to kill most bacteria. See Wikipedia for more (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasteurization).

Some studies also show that the moisture content of meat is reduced substantially as the temperature goes up. The net result is the outside may be much dryer, with traditional cooking methods, than the center and have an overall negative effect on the texture of the meat.

If you shop the Internet, you can find devices to immerse in a pan that heat the water or even large Sous-Vide roasters, but the prices range from about $100 to $400. At that price range, you really have to like steak or be a professional chef. The other choice would be to stand by the pan on top of your stove and cycle the heat while watching a cooking thermometer. Cooking a steak to medium might take 45-60 minutes. Steak is slightly more tolerant of an inexact temperature and cooking time. If you intend to cook other meats or poach an egg to absolute perfection you need temperature control of maybe +/- one degree and much more accurate timing. If you do more research on Sous-Vide cooking, you will discover some things can even be cooked in an insulated cooler without adding heat and just starting with hot water.

Technically, you should vacuum seal the meat in a polyethylene bag, but a zip seal plastic bag with the air squeezed out will work.

...End of Excerpt. Please purchase the magazine to read the full article.