New technology can't replace everything in the kitchen; it'll be a while before a good cast iron pan becomes obsolete. But there are certainly times when technology makes our lives easier—and our food even better. Perfect example: Joule, a new app-operated, super-sleek sous vide tool from the James Beard Award–winning food content and technology company ChefSteps. It offers a foolproof way to make incredibly flavorful meals at home, and it's easy enough for any cook to use.
Though we've been waxing poetic about this method for years, it's now no secret that sous vide is a surefire way to achieve perfectly cooked meat, fish, eggs, even vegetables—every single time. The introduction of low-cost, intuitive-to-use sous vide circulators has made this advanced culinary technology, previously found only in professional kitchens, accessible to the home cook. And, judging by the popularity of Joule—which sold out on pre-order—it's about to become even more common. (If you're not one of the lucky few who were able to pre-order Joule, you can always put your name on the waiting list!)
In the meantime, check out the accompanying Joule app. It operates Joule via Bluetooth or WiFi, but if you don't have the tool yet, it also provides a preview of sous vide recipes and tips so you can see what all the fuss is about. The free app, designed for iOS and Android, comes chock-full of sous vide recipes and guides for making salmon, burgers, steak, slow-poached eggs, and much more. Each recipe features short videos of each step that show you how to master the dish at every stage. It's a great way to get comfortable with how Joule works before you commit to buying.
Of course, the app really shines when used in conjunction with Joule. With its unique Visual Doneness feature, you can choose exactly how rare or well-done you want your meat, based on short videos that show the color and texture you can achieve—the app will take care of the rest. No more charts, no more tracking temps. The app will even tell you how much longer the food can stay in the water after it's cooked (often several hours), if you need just a little extra time away from the kitchen. And the notifications, sent directly to your phone or other device, mean that you can turn your focus to other tasks, like preparing some tasty side dishes.
With that in mind, here are some killer sides from the Serious Eats archive to accompany your sous vide–cooked protein.
For chicken: Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole
For salmon: Snap Pea Salad With Creamy Yogurt-Mint Dressing
The Joule app drops today, so whether you pre-ordered Joule, are on the waiting list, or just want to see if sous vide lives up to the hype, be sure to check it out. Sous vide doesn't get much easier than this—which just goes to show you that sometimes there really is a place for new technology in the kitchen.