Instant Pot sous vide egg bites (breakfast with love)

Healthy-ish sous vide eggfast

When I consider healthy alternatives to regular egg dishes, I think of poaching and boiling eggs. Sous vide opens up more options. This recipe makes 7 servings, perfect for a weekend brunch. You can even save and reheat the next day.

What is sous vide?

Sous vide has become popularized in the culinary world. A French term, it literally translates to “under vacuum”, and it applies to a method of cooking in which food is sealed in an airtight plastic pouch or a glass jar, and cooked in a bath of hot water or steam environment for a long cooking time (i.e. 1 to 7 hours+). The temperature is regulated during the entire duration of the cooking process. 

[Optional] appliances that make it easy-peasy

You can find best-selling appliances online like the ChefSteps Joule (list price: $199) or the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker (list price: $149). These nifty gadgets create the right temperature control by heating up the water in a pot. You can monitor the process through an app on your smartphone. The art of sous vide means there is absolutely zero contact with flames or smoke. What’s great about this French method of cooking is that you forego the need for unnecessary oils and butter. 

But, all you need is an Instant Pot

The beauty of the Instant Pot Egg Bites is that you enjoy the sous vide execution without other appliances. I used the 6 Qt Instant Pot. It’s very simple to make, and you can add your own creative flare.

In my case, I used heart-shaped silicone egg bite molds, which you can buy on Amazon. An alternative heart version can be found here. I also have a set of adorable food punch-out cutters, which I use to dress up kid lunches, and weekend brunch. 🙂

Heart-shaped (IP) recipe – made with LOVE

So, let’s get started with making the recipe. Nothing says I love you like a beautiful heart-shaped breakfast. The family and kids love it. You can accompany your eggfast with an expresso, English Breakfast tea, or a bubbly mimosa.

Get the Instant Pot ready
Pour (1) cup of water into the bottom of the pot, and place a metal (or silicone) trivet on the bottom (as you don’t want the egg mold sitting in the water).

Prep strawberries and punch out hearts
Take a carton full of ripe strawberries. Rinse them, remove the stems and then halve the strawberries. Then use the heart-shaped fruit cutter and punch out hearts. Set it aside.

Prep the egg dish ingredients
You’ll need five large brown eggs and a large mixing bowl. Prep your diced ham and/or pre-cooked breakfast sausage, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese. You can sprinkle some wonderful Herbs de Provence in keeping with the French origin of sous vide.

I used diced rosemary ham and a turkey sausage patty. If you’re vegetarian, you can sub with vegan breakfast sausage or do without it. Same goes for cheese if you’re lactose sensitive, opt for a non-dairy version like Daiya mozzarella style shreds.

You’ll also want to add 1/4 cup of milk. I used almond milk, but you can use a milk of your choice.

In the mixing bowl, blend or stir all the ingredients together (eggs, cheese, ham, sausage, tomatoes, milk, and herbs). If using a blender, you can pulse for about half a minute.

Egg mixture
Blend all the ingredients in the egg mixture

Pour the egg mixture into the molds
You can lightly grease the molds with olive oil spray. There are seven reservoirs, so pour the egg mixture into each all the way to the top. The carefully place the mold tray onto the trivet resting in the Instant Pot. You’ll want to keep your hands steady for this part.

Egg mixture in egg molds
Pour egg mixture into the molds

Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes
Close the top of the Instant Pot lid and turn dial to sealing position. Turn on the manual setting at high pressure for 8 minutes. You can let the steam release naturally.

Voilà! Your egg bites are perfectly cooked.

IMG_6153

For presentation purposes, I take a plate and cover it with paper towels and carefully flip the egg bites out of the molds. The paper towels removes the excess moisture.

Toast some bread
Eggs and toast go well together. You can toast some bread and lay it out on a toasting rack. Your company can butter and jam their toast to their liking.

Heart-shaped presentation
For presentation, use a nice wooden board and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper. Arrange the egg bites on the board with some gaps, so you can add the heart-shaped strawberries.

Breakfast with love
Breakfast with L-O-V-E


Ingredients

– 5 large brown eggs
– 1/4 cup almond milk
– 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
– 1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)
– 2 slices of ham or turkey (diced)
– 1 savory breakfast sausage patty (diced)
– 1/2 tsp herbs de provence

– Olive oil spray (grease the mold tray)
– 1 cup water

– 1 carton of ripe strawberries

– Several slices of toast

Things used
– Instant Pot pressure cooker
– Trivet (goes inside Instant Pot)
– Silicone egg mold tray
– Fruit/veggie shape cutter (heart)

Hope you enjoy the sous vide eggs. Lots of love went into this dish. 😉

Goat Cheese on Toast. Recipe x Five Ways

Chèvre 

If you haven’t had chèvre, you’re missing out. Chèvre is the French word for goat, and it’s the spreadable kind of tart cheese that tastes wonderful on toasted bread, baguette or bagel. Drizzle a little honey over it, and now we’re talking.

The versatile goat cheese can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an hors d’oeuvres. It’s a great alternative to cream cheese if you want to add a bit more earthy depth to your morning bagel.

A little goat story

Since I always like to understand what I’m eating, I researched this French staple. The artisanal cheese making process has been around for thousands of years. France is the #1 producer of (pure) goat cheese with over 3,000 goat cheese producers.

Billy goat
Happy goat grazing and not minding a pat on the back

Did you know goats produce cheese 7-8 months in a year? This is different from cows, which can be milked year-round. Goat’s milk is therefore in season during the months of March through July. Goat cheese has a short aging process of a few days to a few weeks.

If aged for a few days to one-week, the milky goat cheese is similar in character to that of cream cheese. If the cheese is aged 2 weeks or longer, then you’ve unlocked a more intense taste with a crumbly texture and a yellower color. You’ll often find chèvre in a cylindrical form.

The process of making chèvre involves the coagulation of milk, solid cheese curds are drained through a cloth, the curds are poured into molds, later drained and dried, salted, and then left at a controlled temperature to age the cheese.

Cheese that doesn’t quite melt

An interesting fact. Chèvre will go soft, but it will not completely melt when heated. This is something you may notice when making flat bread pizza with goat cheese.

Better for lactose sensitivities

Goat cheese is easier to digest. Goat’s milk is lower in lactose compared to cow’s milk, and more importantly goat’s milk is naturally homogenized and has smaller fat globules vs. cow’s milk. This aids in easier digestion, especially if you have some sensitivity to lactose.

Fancy up Breakfast or Brunch

You can buy classic chèvre at most any grocery store, and you’ll find different variations of goat cheese like the offerings from Vermont Creamery, ranging from honey, blueberry lemon thyme, and pepper jelly to herb de provence, peppercorn, and cranberry orange cinnamon.

If you want to make a gorgeous little meal, it takes no time at all. You can accompany your cheese on toast with a mixed green salad. For brunch or lunch, pair it with a glass of sparkling wine or rosé.

Note: For gluten sensitivities, I highly recommend Vermont-based Against the Grain baguette, or the more readily available Udi’s Delicious Soft sliced bread.

Toast with cheese and raw honey
Spread goat cheese on toast, and take a tablespoon of raw honey and drizzle over the top.

Toast with tomatoes and fresh basil
Take sliced artisanal bread and toast. Spread a generous layer of goat cheese and layer on slices of tomato and chopped fresh basil.

Toast with fresh fruit
Chop up fresh fruit from your local farmer’s market. Layer on the goat cheese and top it all off with berries and tart apples.

Beets and orange with chèvre
Earthy beets and orange segments on goat cheese smeared toast at The Press Cafe

Toast with beets and oranges
Earthy beets and citrus orange segments pair well together when layered over goat cheese on toast.

Smashed avocado and cheese
Take a ripe avocado, and smash it up with a fork. Spread it first on the toast and then crumble some goat cheese over the top. Toss a handful of red pepper flakes, crack some sea salt, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

If you have other chèvre toast making suggestions, please share in comments.
Bon appétit!

English Comfort: Boiled Eggs & Soldiers

Healthy-ish Breakfast Comfort Food

Earlier in the week, my hubs and I lamented over England’s loss to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. Instead of drowning our sorrows in the decidedly unhealthy chip butty (sandwich stuffed with fries), we opted for a healthy-ish British comfort food — boiled eggs and soldiers.

The important part is getting the boiled eggs just right so that you end up with gooey, runny yolk perfect for dipping soldiers (sliced toasts). As I typically boil 6 eggs (2 per person), the boiling time of large brown eggs clocks in at 6 minutes. If the eggs are left too long in the boiling water, they go hard. It’s best to be precise in timing your boiled eggs to get dippy yolk.

In scouring recipes online, I’ve seen a range of 5-7 minutes for boiling time depending on the number and size of eggs. Trial and error may be a factor in getting the eggs the way you want them.

Alternative to boiling eggs in a saucepan

One of the genius inventions that has helped us perfect the boiled egg is an Amazon best seller called the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, which is currently available for $19.99 ($29.99 list price).

Behold the 6-egg capacity egg cooker

I had gifted it to my hubs as a Christmas gift (more for a laugh), but it’s gotten plenty of use. Boiled eggs and soldiers has become a staple weekend dish. And, it takes 10 minutes to make from prep to finish.

Really Short History 

Always curious about the origins of food, I inquired about the history of boiled eggs and soldiers, only to find that it has a short story. The mentions of “eggs with soldiers” only dates back to the flower power loving ’60s.

The dish may have become dishy during a series of 1965 TV commercials promoting eggs, starring British comedian Tony Hancock. Nicolas Freeling’s novel The Dresden Green published in 1966 mentioned “toast soldiers” used for dipping in soup.

While the history of boiled eggs and soldiers is short and somewhat ambiguous, the dish is fit for a Queen.

Eggs are Nutrient Rich

Eggs are a great source of protein, as well as selenium, vitamin D,B6,  B12, and minerals zinc, iron and copper. Eggs are also known for containing key nutrients such as betaine and choline, which is important for nursing and pregnant women, and essential for brain health. Since you’re boiling (and not frying up eggs in unnecessary oil or butter), you’ve got a heart healthy version of eggs.

Boiled Eggs with Soldiers
Here shown with dry toast (sans butter)

Brekkie fit for a royal

Ready to eat like a healthy-ish royal? You’ll need 6 large brown eggs (all about equal in size). It’s best to use eggs at room temperature. So, if you’ve taken the eggs out of the fridge, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

If you use an appliance like the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, just follow the instructions and it will give you perfect dippy eggs.

Boil water in a saucepan  (old school way)
If you don’t have a nifty egg cooker, then simply fill a saucepan with water (enough to completely submerge the eggs) and first bring the water to a boil.

Gently place eggs in boiling water
Then, carefully place the 6 refrigerated eggs into the boiling water using a ladle. Time it for approximately 6 minutes.

Toast and slice the bread
While the eggs are boiling, lightly butter the 6 slices of bread with some nice Kerrygold Irish butter. Then pop the slices of bread into the toaster (higher setting for crunchy soldiers). Each person gets two eggs and two toasts (sliced).

Once the toast is done, place on a cutting board and cut into even slices. Plate them up, along with the empty egg cups and teaspoon (or egg spoon). Crack some fresh black pepper over the toast soldiers.

Time’s up! Remove eggs
Don’t let the eggs linger in hot water. Once the timer goes off, immediately lift the eggs and place them each in an egg cup.

Crack and remove the egg shell pieces
Tap your egg spoon (or teaspoon) on the top of the egg and remove the shell pieces. Then spoon off the top of the egg and take that first bite.

Ingredients

Egg cups (to hold the eggs).
6 large brown eggs (equal in size)
6 slices of bread (gluten-free optional, Udi’s Delicious bread)
Irish butter (Kerrygold spreadable kind)
Cracked pepper
Salt to taste (optional)

Enjoying boiled eggs and soldiers with his eyes closed

With the runny egg yolk exposed, start dipping away with your toast soldier. Enjoy feeling regal and eating a healthy-ish breakfast of protein-rich eggs accompanied by gluten-free soldiers.