Toaster-oven sous-vide eggs

I’ve been playing around with the idea of sous-vide cooking for some time, but had never tried it.

Sous-vide, (French for under-vacuum) is simply cooking without air — usually at low cooking temperatures, a vacuum sealed bag of food is placed under water and allowed to cook at the desired internal done temperature.  Cooking like this prevents any over-cooking throughout the food (think of the steak that’s pink in the middle and well-done everywhere else) and it retains all of the foods natural juices and flavours.  The biggest problem for the average foodie is that you need a device called a thermal immersion circulator that costs in the neighbourhood of $1300.  The reason you need such a fancy device is because when you’re cooking meat sous-vide, you need to keep your meat at the right temperature to prevent both over-cooking and under-cooking (food poisoning). Because of the fairly narrow temperature window you need something that has the capability to maintain a low stable temperature. But I digest…er, digress…

Eggs are great for sous-vide because they’re already in their own little hard white vacuum packages and the cooking temperatures aren’t critical.

My set-up was simple, an egg in a bowel of water, in my toaster oven, with a temperature probe in the water.  Being able to set the oven temperature and monitor the water temperature proved critical. I found that in order to maintain a 150° F water temperature, I had to set the oven to about 210°F. If you have a gas stove, I’m sure you could manage to get the right temperature with a low flame in a regular pot of water, but I’ve got a ceramic cook-top (much to my chagrin!), so stove-top cooking wasn’t really an option. Electric stoves just aren’t stable enough — your temperatures would be all over the place.

Continue reading “Toaster-oven sous-vide eggs”

Are we there yet?

(Find part 2 of this post here!)

Just a quick post today.  I’ve been looking for a simple kitchen “doneness” chart that uses realistic food temperatures, and not the USDA’s overly strict, cook-everything-until-well-done guidelines.

I’d rather have mainly safe chicken than dry tasteless chicken, and because I shop at a local butcher who knows his animals and their farmers, I feel that my risk is reduced anyway.

So, unable to find what I was looking for, I’ve started developing my own quick-reference chart.

(The sub-text says: These temperatures are ideal peak temperatures. Meats should be removed from heat 5 to 10°F (2 to 5°C; more for larger cuts) lower and allowed to rise during resting.)
Continue reading “Are we there yet?”