Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sous Vide Cooking- Starting Easy with Eggs

Every day I come home from my day job I see the box starting at me. Daring me. Willing me to open it and play. I honestly have no excuse. At first it was "I'm not sure what to do with it" but that evolved into reading loads of recipes and hints and blogs online. Pinning dozens of recipes and ideas. Then it became "I need to find a friend who has used one before" which of course, was easy. I've even joined a Facebook group of sous vide enthusiasts to get ideas and suggestions and hints. Discussions had, ideas shared, and still.......the box sits there. Judging me. It's time to break out the immersion circulation and end this standoff!

Originally I had bought a nice pork loin to cook for my first recipe. Grabbed some fresh herbs to throw in the bag. Lots of garlic. However, I over estimated the size of my stockpot and discovered that I don't have a large enough vessel to cook in. Ugh, that threw a wrench in my plans, and I ended up using the pork for something else. I thought about some Rubbermaid containers I used to use for herb storage, don't laugh, I had a HUGE herb garden, but must have gotten rid of them. The pressure canner? Surely that would be deep enough.

Once I got my cooking vessel issue sorted out I narrowed down my recipe selections and decided (after sitting in the drive thru of a very very very slow Starbucks one morning) that I need to start by coming up with a copycat version of their sous vide egg bites, and that is what I did. In the course of reading all different types of recipe ideas I came across quite a few recipes for eggs and creme brulee and other soft foods that are cooked in 4 ounce canning jars rather than bags. Genius! The heat of the sous vide is much lower than a canner, so the jars would be perfectly safe, as opposed to food BAKED in canning jars- that kind of dry high heat of an oven can weaken the glass and cause jars to explode. Serious safety hazard. The immersion circulator uses temps much lower than the rapidly boiling water and pressurized heat used in home canning and we know they are food safe.

Cooking eggs in the sous vide is foolproof. Butter the inside of the jar, crack in a fresh egg, one per jar, and plain eggs can be cooked to any temp, from coddled to hard boiled. Beaten in a separate bowl, the eggs can be combined with any kind of omelet ingredient you can imagine- cheese, sauteed vegetables like peppers, onions, mushrooms, cooked and drained meats like ham, sausage or bacon, or even bits of crab or lobster. Fresh herbs. Beaten eggs. While this looks and sounds like something truly luxurious, it's actually quite healthy- you're not frying your eggs in a skillet full of butter and if you keep the add-ins on the healthy side, you get the idea.

Since we are going to be cooking with the immersion circulator today, let's unpack this bad boy and get it set up. The pressure canner pot is the perfect deep vessel for this circulator. There is a spring-loaded clamp on the side of the unit that helps stabilize it on the side of the pot. It's not a tight clamp but works perfectly fine with the curved side of this pot.

For our first batch of eggs we are going to use some familiar flavors- scallion and cheese. You're going to love the soft creamy texture of the eggs. It's almost fluffy. We're adding cottage cheese to add body and to lighten up the texture. I HIGHLY recommend using a blender or food processor to mix your egg mixture. You'll incorporate air into the egg mixture, especially using a blender, and that will keep your eggs super fluffy.

Sous Vide Eggs in Jars

4 large eggs
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
1 scallion, chopped, white and green parts
salt and pepper
butter or cooking spray

Set up the sous vide per the manual's instruction and set to 172 degrees. 

Lightly butter the inside of four 4 ounce canning jars or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the jars, dividing equally. Fix the lids and rings on the jars and place in the bath.

Cook the eggs in the immersion circulator for one hour. Remove from the bath. 

To serve, you can eat from the jars (perfect for taking to work) or loosen the sides and carefully remove the eggs and place on a late. You can brown them under the broiler if you like a little color. I personally don't like my eggs browned so I prefer them NOT broiled.

How easy was that? This, for me, is a Sunday food prep recipe, not something I'm going to make in the morning, but the eggs reheat easily in the micro for breakfast at the office or a snack. Two eggs make a serving, so I can easily see myself setting up a couple dozen eggs, an assortment of vegetables, cheeses and meats, and making a large batch. Like canned foods, you can double stack these little jars in the bath, so long as the lids are completely covered by the hot water, by at least a couple inches they will cook properly. Now I just need to work out some combinations!

Instead of the cottage cheese, use sour cream, cream or half and half, cream cheese

Cheese- use Swiss, Gruyere, Havarti, Colby, Colby Jack, Monterrey Jack, white cheddar

Vegetables- saute until softened:  garlic, onion, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, asparagus tips, cubed zucchini or summer squash, broccoli or broccolini, scallions, leeks, shredded cooked potato, uncooked chopped Roma tomato, fresh herbs, salsa or pico de gallo.

Meats- diced ham, cooked and crumbled sausage, cooked crumbled bacon, diced turkey or chicken, diced seafood such as crab, shrimp or lobster

FINAL NOTES ON THE TAYAMA- A lot of people I talked to before my first sous vide experience have other brands. I didn't find anyone else who has a Tayama unit. I only had reviews on Amazon to go by and some of those were not that good. However, I was really pleased at the ease of setup and programming. I did not buy a separate plastic tub for the water bath and instead used a great big stockpot and it worked out perfect. The Tayama unit fits snugly against the side of the pot and didn't slip or fall over. It's a very quiet unit. Except for the beeping when it reaches the programmed temp, it's absolutely silent. I would highly recommend this unit to anyone else looking to get started. It's an excellent unit for the price.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. I’ll give this a try, haven’t done sous vide egg bites! Looks tasty and convenient