Letter No 9 of the Professor Henri Joyeux – 13th of May 2014

What Can You Expect From an Ideal Cooking Method ?

The ideal cooking method is, without a doubt, soft steam cooking, which reaches a temperature no higher than 95/97°C i.e. 203-205 °F, a

The “Steam Cooker” Uncovers the Best Qualities of the Foods We Want to Cook

Soft steam cooking consists in cooking foods in a sort of couscous-maker-style steamer, which consists of a bottom large pot (for the water), a single level basket with large holes (5-7 mm or 0.2-0.275 in) and a domed top. The bottom pot is filled up with a large amount of water. After heating, the water in the bottom pot will boil and start steaming. The steam rises through the holes, circles between the basket and the rounded top and penetrate the foods. The extra steam will have enough room to escape by lifting the top, since it is not forcefully shut by a closing mechanism as in most pressure cookers. The steam, softly turning between the basket and the rounded top, will make foods sweat out allergens, toxins and cook it very quickly.

The best cooking pot to this day is the one designed by French engineer André Cocard in the 1980s, based on some Asian and south Mediterranean models. Cocard had named it Vap’OK. I knew this man very well. He was a prolific engineer who owned many patents. He worked for a year in my husbands’ lab and often visited our home. He convinced us quickly of the benefits of this method and taught us a wealth of knowledge.

Currently, two French steam-cooking brands fit Cocard’s health-enhancing engineering specifications : the “Vitaliseur” and the new Vapok. Nowadays, the soft steam cooker is most famous under the name “Vitaliseur”.

For an improved efficiency, one should, as Chinese know very well, cut vegetables in small pieces, spread them in the basket, put the round-shape cover on top, reopen and mix, and take them out when they are just cooked, still crunchy and colorful, “al dente” as Italians would say. Most of the time 5 minutes suffice. Cooking finishes inside the foods through the accumulation of heat by the steam inside, and outside of the steam cooker, while you season them before eating.

The Temperature-Time Equation

It is very important to respect the temperature-time equation for cooking times. One can cook most foods in 5 minutes: vegetables, precut meats and poultry, legumes after having soaked them overnight (which starts the sprouting process and enriches them with vitamins and plant hormones or “phytohormones”).

However, cereals and grains will need longer, cooking in water in a stainless-steel bowl in the steam cooker. Plan on one volume of whole grain rice for example, or buckwheat. You should add one volume and half of water in the bowl (in short, 1 cup of rice for 1 ½ cup of water). In the case of quinoa, which should be rinsed three times to eliminate allergens, one needs 1 volume and ¾ of water over the seeds. For millet, one needs two volumes of water for one volume of grain. Amaranth needs one volume of water for one volume of seeds. Except for the case of Amaranth, which doesn’t need as long a cooking time (about 15 minutes), most grains need 20 to 25 min in the steam cooker depending on quantity. Results are astonishing : rice does not stick and the grains are perfectly and uniformly cooked, even in the case of whole grain rice.

To cook fish, lower the fire as much as possible, and take it out of the steam cooker as soon as it gets white and starts to break apart.

Bread or cakes can be cooked in twenty to thirty minutes depending on volume and thickness. They usually are very soft, light and easy to digest, especially if you replace butter with extra virgin olive oil and use flours low in gluten content.

Final results are highly convincing. All foods aromas are preserved and merge together as one mixes and seasons different ingredients in a pot with grey sea salt, extra virgin olive oils, herbs and spices. Note, the foods that we mix in an approximately 4-inches deep pot we do not re-cook:ingredients are only combined, mixed and seasoned. Then we cover them and allow them to meld together for five minutes before serving. The resulting flavors will be more refined, more delicate. This is a true cooking art that stimulates and restores our senses, doesn’t weight on our digestive process, gives the pleasure of creating flavorful and naturally colorful meals, and encourages us to savor it with a recovered and renewed “Castle of Flavors” i.e. the reawakened taste buds of our mouth !

I wish you bon appétit and good health!

Christine Bouguet-Joyeux

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