Hassle-Free Sous Vide Style Egg Bite

Egg Bite Complete
The sous vide egg bites at Starbucks have become a very popular menu item since their introduction earlier this year. There are many copycat recipes on the web, but my go-to is usually Chef Steps for anything sous vide. They have a great recipe for a version of egg bites made in 4-oz. mason jars. I have a sous vide circulator so that I can compare items cooked sous vide with with those cooked in a CVap oven. The egg bites turned out fantastic. The simplicity of this recipe makes it easy to tweak; you can easily come up with healthy and tasty variations on your egg bites. My trial run in the sous vide water bath was successful, so it was time to try the CVap version.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used the egg bites recipe (roughly) from Chef Steps to do my jar-less egg bites.

  • 8 large eggs (approximately 350g)
  • 350g of cottage cheese
  • 3g salt
  • 3g pepper

Blend the egg mixture thoroughly in a blender. Spray muffin tin with pan spray and fill with the blended egg mixture.
Egg Bites in Muffin Pan
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to add cooked, chopped bacon to each of the egg bites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Bites with BaconThe mix-ins are pretty wide open for these bites, but I had bacon in the fridge, and who doesn’t love bacon with their eggs? Seriously.

My goal was to mimic the Chef Steps method, where the bites are cooked in a water bath at 185°F for 25 minutes. I set the CVap Cook & Hold to Constant Cook, Doneness to 180°F and Browning to 2. This air temperature differential of 10 degrees keeps the egg bites from getting too much condensation on top. 25 minutes later I had perfectly cooked, firm egg bites.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
Egg Bite on Plate

 
 
 
 

The bites were easy to remove from the muffin pan, and they were delicious. Tender, velvety texture with the cottage cheese blended in. It was easy and hassle free to make a bunch at a time. Do you like sous vide cooking, but not the hassle and expense of bags or jars? CVap can cook sous vide style without the hassle.

Plating Perfect Pork Chops with CVap

One of the best things about CVap is having the ability to use it to handle precision cooking of center of the plate (COP) items without monitoring – or even having to check on it. For this blog post I got some beautiful Berkshire pork chops from Fossil Farms. I brined them in a 5% salt solution with honey and fresh thyme for two hours. What I wanted to accomplish was to have the pork chops done and ready for plating later in the day. I set up my CVap Cook/Hold to Doneness 145°F and Browning of 0. Once the CVap came to temperature and the display read “LOAD” I seared the chops and placed them on a rack inside a hotel pan.

place pork chops into pan for searingpork chops seared in pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The internal temperature of the chops at that point after searing was 85° F.
Temp of 85F after searing
Once all the chops were seared and in the pan, off to the CVap they went.

Pork chops emerging from the oven.
With the CVap set to 145°F, all I had to do was wait for the moisture inside the chops to equalize with the moisture in the water pan. The Browning was set to 0 so the air temperature was 145° as well.  Basically, I was using a sous-vide method without putting the chops into a bag. A few hours later I made starch and a vegetable to go along with it.  When the pan was pulled out of the CVap all the chops were at precisely 145°F.

Pork chops cooked to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were of varying thicknesses and weights, but all of the moisture inside the chops equalized to the temperature of the water inside the CVap. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do this with a large banquet where the party was delayed for some reason or another? When you use CVap to make your proteins this is a no-brainer.

 

Prepare in the PM for Perfect Porchetta

If you’re not using your CVap® oven overnight – why not? You can be productive 24 hours a day with CVap.

Inserra Shop Rite Supermarkets, one of my valued customers, uses CVap Cook/Hold ovens in three of their locations. Executive Chef Paulie Velletutti takes full advantage of their stacked pair of CVap Cook/Holds, producing a variety of dishes for their prepared foods section. He also roasts deli meats in the CVap, increasing yield and maximizing profits (who doesn’t want versatility and extra profit?).

A great example of Chef Velletutti’s creativity is an amazing Porchetta using two bellies and a pork loin. This produces a succulent, appealing Porchetta that flies off the shelves – and most of the work is done overnight! This recipe was prepared at their Wallington, New Jersey store.

Prepare your Porchetta as normal with your favorite herb/spice rub. Tie it up and put it in the CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Set the oven to a Doneness setting of 144, and a Browning level of 2. Set the timer for 15 hours. Walk away and let the CVap do its thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning the Porchetta will be perfectly cooked. It only needs a little finishing to perfect it. A nice texture and a beautiful browning are achieved by finishing in a convection oven at 475 F degrees for 12 minutes. Blast chill it, and slice it up.

 

 

 

 

These portions have been a hit with customers, and Inserra will now regularly include this Porchetta as a regular item in the rotation of the prepared foods case.

Sous Vide Turkey – Get Ready to Gobble It Up!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who builds up enough points to get a “free” turkey at their grocery store.  I hadn’t had a chance to cook the one from last year before this year’s came along.  So, it was time to make room in the freezer. Over the years I have explored cooking many different foods sous vide style in CVap. To be accurate, only things that are vacuum sealed can be called sous vide – it’s a French thing. The literal translation of sous vide is under vacuum in English. However, the same precision cooking that you get by sealing something in a bag and dropping it into a water bath heated with an immersion circulator heater can be done in CVap.

I pulled the turkey out a few days ahead of time to defrost in the fridge, pulled the organ meats and neck out and gave it a good rinse. Grocery store birds are technically brined with a salt solution at the factory (read the small print on the package) so there was nothing to do but get the CVap set up. My intent was to start the bird early in the morning and get it close to a final temperature of 160 degrees F so that I could finish it in a 500 degree F oven to add texture. To make sure I had an idea of what was going on inside the bird I bought a new toy that has a Bluetooth temperature probe that sent a temperature chart to my iPhone.  Yeah, I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets and this one is particularly cool.  The temperature charts throughout the process. The CVap cook and hold was set to 160 doneness and 0 Browning.  Essentially the CVap is acting like an immersion circulator at this point. I put the probe in the thigh joint, put the turkey in the oven and went about my day. I knew that at some time during the day the turkey would get to the set point of 160 and that it would stay there.  By keeping tabs on the progress I would get an idea of when I needed to get everything else ready.

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When the turkey got to 160 and all of the side dishes were done, I fired up my convection oven to 500 degrees. I put some fresh thyme and sage in a stick of melted butter and basted the turkey with it before browning it in the convection oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten minutes in the convection oven to add texture and the turkey was done!  No trussing of the bird, no hassle and everything done at the same time with very little hassle.  This is my method for Thanksgiving (and anytime) turkey from this day on!

 

Can You Do Roast Beef in a CVap?

img_0579This question was posed to me by a restaurant owner that wanted to improve the quality and yield of his roast beef for sandwiches.  And the answer is, of course we can, CVap is not just for Prime Rib!

This test was conducted at the test kitchen of my Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland representatives – High Sabatino Associates in Jessup, Md.  I can’t tell you the wet spice rub that is on the top round in the pictures because he brought it already seasoned.  He wanted to have the end result be medium (I’m a much bigger fan of medium rare). This test was conducted in the CAC507 cook and hold oven with the settings doneness 140 and browning 6.  We set the roast time for 6 hours.  When the oven read LOAD we placed the beef in the CVap and pressed start.

img_0580The top round is a tougher cut of meat than a prime rib so there is a benefit derived from extending the hold time for the product beyond the standard settings of the unit.  At an internal temperature above 130 degrees F, you are breaking down the connective tissue inside the protein.  This isn’t complicated, you just leave the roast in the oven.  The beauty of CVap is that the roast will stay at a steady doneness temperature as long as you need it to.

In this example, we roasted for 6 hours and held the product overnight.  The yield for the top round was 88% after a 6 hour roast and a twelve hour hold.  A minimum of a 6 hour hold is necessary to get the right tenderness of the finished product.  Too often roast beef is sliced paper thin to mask the lack of tenderization.  I like a thicker slice and this method will allow you to slice the beef in slices that you can sink your teeth into.

As you can see in the pictures, there was great moisture retention and consistent doneness throughout the product.  Top to bottom and end to end.  I’m certain that CVap is the only cook and hold oven that can produce those results.  The picture of the end of the unit was taken after a very thin slice was taken off the end, no more than 1/16” thick.  Normally, there is a ½” to ¾” thick layer of meat that is done to a greater degree than the center.  Improved yield, consistent and precise roasting.  Plus, the roast was absolutely delicious!

Veggie Deliciousness with CVap!

I’ve noticed the CVap blog is pretty bereft of vegetable preparation and is exclusively about the CVap Cook & Hold oven. I decided that my next blog post would feature the CAT Thermalizer Oven instead! I also wanted to see how some of my favorite vegetable dishes would work using CVap.

I decided to test three vegetable dishes: Roasted Broccoli Florets, Roasted Cauliflower, and Roasted Baby Carrots. All of these veggies I have prepared in a convection oven at 425°F. Since the CVap oven only goes to 350°F I had a couple of things to consider when converting these items to CVap preparation.

I am amazed at the difference that roasting vegetables makes to kids. My daughter has always turned her nose up to broccoli no matter how many ways I have prepared it.  Roasting it made all the difference.

I did three different preparations, all of them very simple and all done on Channel 5 on the CAT Thermalizer oven. This setting has a 130°F degree water temperature and a 350°F air temperature. This high differential allows for the greatest browning potential.  I did the following items:

Baby carrots with honey and Cajun spice. First, toss the carrots in a bowl with honey and Cajun spice to taste. These take 20 minutes total cook time.


 

 

 

 

Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 18 minutes in the oven I pulled the trays out and sprinkled them with grated Parmesan cheese. I placed them back in the oven for two minutes, and then drizzled lemon juice over the top after they came out.


Cauliflower with plain yogurt and red curry paste. 
Toss the cauliflower florets in the yogurt with the red curry paste then add salt and pepper. This takes about 25 minutes total cook time.

Since schools are looking to increase the amount of fresh vegetables that are included in their lunches this is a perfect way to make use of equipment that is normally used to cook pizzas and breaded chicken products to make something from scratch that is very easy and healthy!

Smokerless Ribs & CVap!

IMG_1428It shouldn’t be a surprise that BBQ is very hot right now! I know not everyone has a smoker in their kitchen, but I follow two websites pretty closely for great information about BBQ and food techniques. The best resource for BBQ that I have ever found is Amazing Ribs and for technique, especially sous vide, I always go to Chef Steps.

While browsing through Chef Steps I found their method for “Apartment Ribs.” Basically, the ribs are salted, bagged, and cooked in an immersion circulator set to 167 ° F for six hours for St. Louis style, or four hours for Baby Backs. Then the ribs are blotted dry and painted with a mixture of molasses and liquid smoke before the rub is applied. Ten minutes in a 450° F convection oven to set the bark and caramelize the sugars and the ribs are done! Sounds easy enough, right?

FullSizeRenderI wanted to duplicate the process using CVap and see how it worked out. I placed the ribs on a rack on top of a sheet pan and covered the ribs and pan with foil. This simulates the bagging you would need to do in an immersion circulator. I set the CVap for CONSTANT COOK then set DONENESS to 167 and BROWNING to 0.  I set the timer for six hours and pressed start.

Upon completion of the cycle, the CVap will revert to a 150 Doneness + 0 Browning hold setting. At that point, I blotted the ribs dry and painted with the molasses/liquid smoke mixture and applied a generous dusting of Memphis Dust Rub from the Amazing Ribs website (this is a REALLY good rub that I use on just about anything BBQ). Ten minutes in a 450° F convection oven and they turned out perfect.IMG_1429

People who have had ribs from my smoker said that these were moister than usual! The ribs were perfectly cooked with a bit of resistance to the bite. “Fall off the bone” is overdone – and highly overrated in my opinion!  If you don’t have to bite the meat off the bone, you will never win a competition. The slow, precise cooking from CVap is what made the difference, and there was no loss of moisture with this method!

CVap® Veal Shank Osso Buco

Ossobuco (pronounced [ˌɔsːoˈbuːko]) is a Milanese speciality of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. It is often garnished with gremolata and traditionally served with risotto alla milanese. Ossobuco or osso buco is Italian for “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole), a reference to the marrow hole at the centre of the cross-cut veal shank (Wikipedia).

This classic is sometimes made with pork shanks or lamb shanks, but I’m a big fan of veal shanks so I’m going the traditional route. This is a perfect dish to make overnight in the CVap, chill in the morning, and then reheat for dinner service. This is one of those dishes that benefits from that wonderful mingling of flavors under refrigeration. One of these days there might actually be some leftovers to have the next day, but so far that hasn’t happened! Both of the preparation methods I’m sharing can easily be scaled for restaurant service, as well.

For overnight cooking, you would use the high yield setting on the Cook and Hold. This feature turns off the browning elements about 40% of the way through the cooking process that you’ll program. Just press start, the timer begins to count down, and that’s all you have to do. Settings would be 180 Doneness + 6 browning for 6 hours. After the timer counts down to zero, the CVap will enter a 150 Doneness + 0 browning hold mode. When you walk into the kitchen the next morning, it’s done.

For this post, however, I used a same-day method here and there are some subtle changes. The long hold that you would have had overnight does a lot to tenderize the shank and break down the collagen and fibers of the shank. That’s a good thing. I mean, who – besides your dog – wants to chew on a medium rare shank?

In this recipe the CVap is set for CONSTANT COOK. Press the constant cook button so that the light under it turns red. Set the Doneness to 180 + 6 Browning for 3 hours. During CONSTANT COOK, the browning temperature is engaged for the full roast period. It is necessary to hold for at least a few hours after the cook time is done to help tenderize the shanks. The CVap will still go to a 150+0 hold. By the way, if you are doing something like prime rib and your doneness is set below 150° F, the CVap will hold at the temperature you set with a 0 Browning. That’s how we can do a perfect rare or medium-rare prime rib overnight.

RECIPE/PROCESS:mise en place
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 lbs. veal shank
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
½ cup chopped celery
2 ea cloves garlic, crushed
8oz can tomato sauce
½ cup beef broth
½ cup white wine
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

1. Preset unit to CONSTANT COOK 180/6/3:00, and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat. Follow instructions below.

2. In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and black pepper. Dredge meat in seasoned flour. In a large skillet, melt butter with oil over medium heat. Sear meat. Take the time to make sure the sides are browned. It’s no fun holding a round thing with tongs to do the sides, but it’s worth it.

3. Remove meat from pan, and set aside.

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4. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to drippings in pan. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, broth, wine, basil, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Return meat to pan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

5. Place the contents of the saucepan into a hotel pan or a roasting pan. Make sure that the braising liquid is ¾ of the way up the shanks. Add more beef broth if you need to.

veggies

into cvap

 

 

 

 

 

 

out of cvap6. Place into CVap and press start. Make sure the timer starts and begins counting down. Go do something else for the next 5 hours or so. No dipping your bread into the pan after it starts to smell wonderful in your kitchen. Nona will hit you with a wooden spoon or throw a shoe at you. If you’re not Italian, you wouldn’t understand.☺

7. When you’re ready for service, pull the shanks out and strain the braising liquid. Shanks and stained liquid go back into the pan and into the CVap, and you’re done. Grab a shank and some sauce, then put it on polenta, rice, or just on a plate.

PRO TIP: I like to take an extra step of pureeing some of the strained bits, adding that to the broth and reducing it in a saucepan on the stove. Purists will scream foul at this step as it clouds the braising liquid, but I love the extra flavor it adds. Hold the shanks in the CVap while you do this. Whisking in a Beurre Manié (equal parts softened butter and flour) can speed up the process of creating that coat-the-back-of-the-spoon sauce to coat the plated Osso Buco.

Polenta with roasted crimini mushrooms and parmesan is my preferred plate liner for this. I noticed that the shanks did shrink away from the bone a lot more with this method vs. the high-yield method. It still tasted wonderful, but overnight might be the better route to enhance the plate presentation and yield.