Q&A with Carlene Thomas
"I’m extremely anti-‘gadget’ in my kitchen. We live in a 1800’s Victorian home (i.e. not a lot of storage space) and if you pair that with our more minimal Scandinavian aesthetic it’s pretty easy to imagine that something really has to earn its keep. To be blunt, my first thought was that this was just another gadget…something that a very specific demographic of home cooks would use, make a recipes with and then move onto the next appliance. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s Anova. Anova only rolls out products that are exact and trustworthy so for all of us who are control freaks and love data, I want you to face the reality that you may just start using this as your actual oven day to day."
"It’s a true testament that after we developed recipes that were 18+ hour cook times after eating them we would both agree that 10/10 we were making this again. Not to toot my own horn over here, but the Prime Rib 101 or the 24+ hour Brisket we did will sell you on why this Oven is going to be everything for you."1. How would you describe your style of cooking?
Flavor forward and health conscious (but not health obsessed). People tend to make a lot of assumptions based on my nutrition credentials but if I’ve learned anything in recipe development it’s that people are only going to eat the healthy things if they taste and look good.2. How does the Anova Precision Oven improve this?
My business partner/husband and I have been obsessed with our sous vide for years. It ruined us in that we felt like we couldn’t order anything at restaurants locally that we couldn’t make better at home ourselves (once you sous vide a steak you never have to go back).
When we first started playing with the beta mode Oven, to be honest, I didn’t get why it would be a good addition to my sous vide routine. But then *cue dramatic symphonic music* the world of steam opened up to me and it started to click. Paired with exact temperature control, I felt like I could achieve textures that were off limits to me in a standard kitchen (you won’t believe the texture of the quiche we’ve got in the app). I remember an old oven of mine was 15 degrees different from the ‘setting’ temperature. Not exactly confidence boosting when you’re trying to cook and not getting the results you want because you’re blindly trusting a highly used appliance.
I, of course, would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the health benefits of a tool like the Anova Precision Oven. There's a deep dive blog post I wrote on the scientific research on why steam is healthy, but the headlines are you can cook a more lean cut of meat and still have it be moist and flavorful. You can cook basically any vegetable and have it not turn to mush. It’s going to make you more confident to cook a wider variety of foods and cook them well.3. Any tips and tricks to share with the world about using the Oven?
Use the multi-rack ability. And if you’re cooking something that’s not from the recipe database, go in thinking “sous vide mode + 100% steam + sous vide recipe favorite” as a starting point and add on the ability to take it one step farther with dry heat at the end.4. How has the Oven changed how you cook at home?
Batch cooking basics. I feel like I always have my oven running now to cook dried beans or grains from my CSA to freeze. Once I figured out a recipe to skip the pre-soak of dry beans using the oven, I had no reason to use canned beans any more. I’ve also had this realization that with the steam function of this Oven, I can make so many things at home better than what I can buy locally (bagels for example).5. Do you think it has made a difference in how you cook?
100%. Setting up a sous vide isn’t a hassle by any means, but since I had it in a cabinet I wasn’t using it day to day for produce or side dishes, just entrée proteins. With the Oven,I don’t hesitate to turn it on to reheat leftovers (so much better than a microwave), or use the app to start the process for anything from glazed carrots to hard boiled eggs.6. What recipe in the app (not from you!) are you super interested in trying?