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PVPAUL

Vermicular Cast Iron Induction Cooker

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Hello Fellow KK’ers and cooking gadget lovers,

I recently came across this product on the web and it intrigued me enough to a post here to see if anyone has invested in this product and what your thoughts are on it. It’s and extremely tight tolerance engineered enameled cast iron Dutch oven cooker which comes with the option of an induction cooker. Looks like Sousvide type of temperature tolerances in an enameled cast iron cooking Dutch oven. They tout waterless cooking ie cooking veggies in it’s own juices etc . 

I look forward to hearing back from the forum.

Cheers,

Paul

PS - the website is vermicular.us

 

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Hi Paul

I did a quick search before I saw that you had provided a link and I found this article: https://www.wired.com/review/vermicular-musui-kamado/.  They don't seem to be particularly impressed with this tool, particularly given its relatively high cost.  I now see that Sean Brock recommends it.  Maybe he got something out of it that the reviewer didn't.  For my part I probably prefer old school Japanese pottery and my dedicated sous vide machine to this hi tech solution.

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Hey Tekobo, thanks for forwarding this article. I agree that the article was not very favorable. I think I will hold off on this for the time being and continue to play with the toys already in my arsenal. 

Congrats on your new 32” BB!!! And happy early birthday!

Paul

PS - I’ve never cooked cabrito before but this was cooked up for my dads 50th birthday back in 1992....very tasty!!!

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I was definitely put off by the high price, despite the recommendation from Brock.

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12 hours ago, PVPAUL said:

Congrats on your new 32” BB!!! And happy early birthday!

Paul

PS - I’ve never cooked cabrito before but this was cooked up for my dads 50th birthday back in 1992....very tasty!!!

Thanks Paul!  Cabrito is great. My freezer is bursting at the seams at the moment but I see a goat in that 32's future.  

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I went for it. Am I really the first, here? Can't be. After all, like orangutans these be Kamado cousins to us.

Vermicular

We're pretty thrilled. Much easier to use by playing with the control panel than by trying to understand the directions. Though the imposing hardbound recipe book gives some idea of potential range and technique.

Our first try was Lion's Head Meatballs. We get awesome ground pork from a local farmers market. Local cabbage, our house chicken stock, good fino sherry, hand-stirred Zhongba soy sauce (now back back in stock) from Mala Market. A gentle dish that shows its flavors.

Rejiggering the recipe for the Vermicular, I first cooked the cabbage on low for an hour, with just a pinch of salt and some lard. Stir a couple of times, otherwise away from the kitchen, I love how unattended this is. One could of course use a low oven, but this is more predicable and in my face when I want it to be. The cabbage browned and melted, with little risk of burning, exploiting the special tight lid design.

I then set aside the cabbage to simmer the meatballs in broth. Here I first tried an hour at 180 F. Did you know meatballs could be too tender? We've made this recipe before, conventionally, and perhaps it is tuned for more aggressive heat. Though the flavors were unworldly. I turned it up to 200 F while flipping the meatballs and adding the braised cabbage on top.

A lot to learn, the best of sous vide and meddling as one cooks, with the opportunity to brown first in the same pot. I'm thinking Moroccan tagines will shine here.

Edited by Syzygies
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Interesting syzygies.
I too was intrigued by this post and thought about exploring further. You however, plunged in.
Thank you, interested in seeing how this works out.
Maybe like many cooking toys, once you understand the physics, they all serve a purpose?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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10 hours ago, Basher said:

Maybe like many cooking toys, once you understand the physics, they all serve a purpose?

I believe that I understand its purpose better than any English language review I've read.

In the 1980's I'd read somewhere (Patricia Wells?) that some French chefs with access to restaurant vacuum packers were "steaming" fish by instead vacuum packing the fish with marinade to cook in a water bath. And Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen was published in 1984, discussing how the boiling point of water is an arbitrary crutch in cooking. Putting two and two together, I looked in various science supply catalogs hoping to set up a sous vide cooking system (without having heard anyone was actually doing this, e.g. for foie gras in France). It was beyond my budget. I was a bit aghast that I hadn't pushed harder, when many years later I saw sous vide cooking emerge. One misses most advances in math or science by simply not pushing hard enough. Plenty of people are smart enough, or much smarter than the people who make breakthroughs. The people who make breakthroughs are pathologically stubborn and don't give up. I'd given up.

Agitated, I started playing with the same kind of temperature controller used in the BBQGuru, and modifying soup warmers to bypass their thermostat. Then over time actual equipment designed for this became affordable. Now we own various Joule circulators, with clumsy earlier circulators in the garage or discarded. And as you say, we don't make skyscraper food. Sous vide becomes a standard technique. A step, never the complete process.

Sous vide cooking a finished dish is throwing a ball blindfolded, hoping it lands somewhere near your intended target. Fine for a restaurant that gets a thousand tries. Takes all the fun out of cooking at home. One often wants to sear first, often in the same pot, then fiddle, taste, and season as one cooks. Add or remove ingredients on a timetable. For this reason it completely baffled me that slow cookers remained so primitive, weren't stepping up their game. I've met "titans" of weaker industries; they only triumph because anyone with two brain cells to rub together gets out of that industry. They have self-serving explanations for why they're dragging their feet on progress, which ususually comes down to customers already not wanting to pay the $60 they're asking for $4 of Chinese electronics.

So I've been watching this market. The Breville | PolyScience the Control Freak costs $1500 and is nowhere near as effective as the Vermicular which encloses its enamel cast iron Dutch oven. I wish that the Vermicular didn't cost $670, but it doesn't cost $1500, and it's not going to cost $60. I bought my most recent Staub Dutch oven on sale, but the Vermicular Dutch oven is fairly priced for what is a top-of-the-market pot.

I've also gone fairly deep down the Japanese cooking rabbit hole. My last international trip before quarantine was to Japan. I imported a Katsuobushi bonito shaver. I own many Donabe pots from Toiro Kitchen. There's something austere yet deeply comforting about the Japanese approach to vegetables. Various of the Vermicular cooking modes make most sense in the Japanese tradition from which it springs, though they translate well to other cuisines. My braised cabbage, my first use, is a good illustration.

If one had been thinking of something like the Vermicular, wishing one could build one, then it's wonderful they'll build it for you. Simply being told one wants this isn't going to sell many units, and will lead to disappointment.

Though it may be advanced, it's also freedom. We were drinking rose in the shade during a hot California evening, when we'd normally be inside cooking.

If you found this thread by googling Vermicular, look around. There are many serious cooks here, and they're here because the Komodo Kamado is the best ceramic charcoal cooker made. It's worth every penny.

Edited by Syzygies
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I could not resist, even though it was a struggle to get one of these things to Canada, started working on it yesterday and just now managed to get my order to go through. There are so many things I want to try in this pot. You know you can even let your bread proof and then cook it in the Kamado part in your oven or in your REAL KK Kamado. This is going to be exciting. :occasion7: Thanks for pushing me over the edge, Sygyzies. :smt046

Edited by MacKenzie
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21 hours ago, MacKenzie said:

I could not resist

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I've been using mine one way or another every day since it arrived. Even last night's pasta sauce, that I do versions of for decades in other pots, just to calibrate my understanding of what it can do. The computer programmer in me loves how I can offload work to it, less attended, with none of the limitations of sealing food in a plastic pouch. While ingredients sautéed, I was outside roasting chiles on my Solo Stove Campfire, another tool I love because it's not an attention hog.

A Moroccan tagine of lamb, fava beans, artichokes (all fresh from our farmers market) was an interesting exercise in adaptation. First steam roast the vegetables, a classic mode of operation for what Laurie has dubbed our "indoor K". Set aside, sear then cook the lamb and spice mixture, with ample mounds of parsley and cilantro on top. Arranging ingredients in a thoughtful stack as the Moroccans do for clay, works here because the induction delivers more uniform heat. Then add back the vegetables with the preserved lemon to finish. This sequence would allow cooking the vegetables above 185 F (a known sous vide threshold) and the meat below 185 F. We didn't this time, because I ran out of time. I'll experiment with the plainer lamb Tangia to dial this in.

We're eyeing the space occupied by our high end Zojirushi rice cooker (though I keep this K close by the cutting board, under our range exhaust fan, for uses like tagine). I'd heard the praise for rice made in a purpose-built clay Kamado-san Double-Lid Donabe Rice Cooker. And I love mine, though rice in it is more work, and simply different, not a compelling reason to give away one's Zojirushi.

Following Vermicular's brown rice instructions to the letter using Massa Organics brown rice, we made the best rice I've ever tasted.

I've been in correspondence with Vermicular.us. They're thinking about starting a forum like ours. There's so much to figure out, adapting this K to international cooking. 

Edited by Syzygies
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That's interesting, it does a better job on rice than the Zojirushi which does a fantastic job. Going to be fun trying out various things. It would be nice if they started a forum, there is so much to learn, all part of the fun. :)

 

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Syzgies, glad to see you have taken the plunge and bought one of these! Thanks for  sharing your knowledge and experience with us here. I hope to join the Vermicular club sometime this year. We just had a pretty big remodel project at home so need to watch my spending for awhile.

All the best,

Paul

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I have a Donabe rick cooker. Love it. The only issue is it take a bit more attention than a regular rice cooker. You turn off the heat right after you see steam exiting the hole in the lid. 

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Farmers market kale on polenta. When we're vegetarian we don't realize it till we're eating.

I wanted to try making the polenta in the Vermicular Musui Kamado ("Indoor K") but Laurie likes to make it her way. And we had a deadline to get dinner on the table (Laurie had a Zoom tai chi class; we weren't going anywhere!). So I got the kale braising, then played with my Solo Stove to roast the peppers, then made an onion/pepper soffritto in the indoor K to mix into the braised kale. Got to play with all of my recent toys. Handy having three front burners. My brother has end-of-life care instructions that no one is to feed him if he can't raise a fork to his mouth himself. I'd been thinking to amend mine about "if I can't cook for myself" to include something about gas stoves. But induction is remarkable, more heat without burning.

One of my earliest revelations about stews was that the whole is always less than the sum of the parts. (My brief foray into film convinced me the same about acting, screen charisma reveals a mere shadow of really developed personas.) Can one tell for sure that I fire-roasted the chiles? The braised kale was good, I'd think I'd miss the fire. Anyhow, fire is more satisfying than any other form of cooking.

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Tonight was Paula Wolfert's Tangier-style Harira, with Rancho Gordo chickpeas, and brown lentils. The fava beans are from our garden.
 

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This arrived yesterday so just had to try out the soft boiled egg that is like a sous vide egg. 4T water in Musui then 3mins on Med and 4 mins on Low will get you this.

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Then I added a little more spice,

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The white was very delicate and it just melted in your mouth. I doubt I could taste any difference in this cook and a sous vide cook. I did notice that all of the white was cooked unlike a soft sous vide egg. 

 

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I just moved into the 3 kamado group. :smt046 :smt077

This just arrived yesterday, the sand coloured Vermicular Musui Kamado. Not available in Canada so I had to import it from the USA.

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Yesterday I did a trial run with some very old cabbage from the fridge. Put a little oil, the bottom of the Musui and put the cabbage in, set it on med for 30 mins. some of the cabbage pieces were thick. I was just playing but the cabbage turned out just fine, guess it will now get eaten. You might just see it on a dinner plate later today. :)

Here's a quick phone shot of the cabbage.

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