If you’ve walked into Starbucks at any point in 2017, you might have noticed that they’re now serving Sous Vide Egg Bites. They come in two varieties: Bacon Gruyère and Roasted Red Pepper. As a gluten-free girl, I was excited to see these, and when I actually tried them, I FLIPPED. I began to crave them every day and proclaimed to Loren that our next kitchen gadget would have to be a sous vide. Here’s a pic from my instagram where I celebrate the gloriousness of the Starbucks version. (I’ll admit that I’m not generally the biggest Starbucks fan. When I go in there, it’s usually because I’m in an airport, which is why it took me a while to learn about these egg bites — but I started going out of my way to go there once I found these!!)
This year started out a bit hectic — I quit my full-time job at the hospital and stepped down from a leadership role at my start-up, resolving to completely dive into my self-employed endeavor. The whole first half of the year flew by so quickly, and then suddenly it was July, and I’d never followed through on my vow to buy a sous vide machine and replicate these little yummy bites! I’d even been talking with the talented Nicole Ruiz Hudson over at Nibbling Gypsy about all of her gorgeous sous vide recipes, but I just wasn’t pulling the trigger to get my own. Luckily, just in time for the beginning of ‘funemployment’ kitchen experimentation, Amazon had a flash sale that highlighted the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. It revitalized my egg bite-creating dreams, and I finally got my hands on one.
First things first: what does sous vide mean? Sous vide is a form of cooking that involves submerging a contained food item into a water bath and cooking it at a precise temperature for a set period of time. The ability to maintain a consistent temperature allows for even cooking and splendid results, especially for protein dishes. Eggs, in particular, are pretty finicky if you’re hoping for a very specific texture or level of ‘doneness’. The magic wand, of sorts, sits clamped to the edge of the bath (I used my big stock pot) and heats the water to the precise temperature you need.
What do I mean by ‘contained food’? I mean that you’re not dunking a steak directly into a water bath and boiling it to death — that would be gross. Rather, the food you’re cooking is contained in either jars (as we’ll demonstrate today with the sous vide egg bites), BPA-free cook safe plastic bags like these, or silicone bags like these. Today, it’s all about single-serving breakfast and replicating the silky consistency of the Starbucks creation — all within the guidelines of the SIBO diet.
Next question: what makes these sous vide egg bites SIBO-friendly? SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) requires quite a few dietary restrictions, including very limited dairy. Specifically, only cheese that’s been aged for at least one month is permissible (along with only homemade, plain yogurt), and in limited quantities. (If you’re unfamiliar with my SIBO saga, check out this post, which explains what SIBO is, how I think I got it, and the signs and symptoms — which include a lot of overlap with IBS).
I did a little googling to see if I could find some recipes to serve as my jumping off point, and what I found was a whole lot of cream cheese, cottage cheese, and heavy cream. None of these could go into my version of sous vide egg bites, so I had to get creative. As I’ve done with other egg recipes like my Easy Veggie Frittata and my Paleo Bacon Veggie Muffins, I substituted full fat coconut milk for the heavy cream.
Kitchen Alchemy: Guesswork in ‘Substitution Land’
In considering what to exchange for the cottage cheese and cream cheese, I was kind of at a loss. No aged cheese has that same creamy consistency, so I was worried about how my bites would match up. I decided to try something weird: avocado oil mayonnaise. I say weird, because one of the two main ingredients in mayonnaise is egg, which kind of makes including it a little repetitive. I was unsure when I decided to try it, so I only included 2 tbs for the whole batch. I love how they turned out, but I’m honestly not sure if adding the mayo really had a substantial impact. In my next batch, I’m going to test it out — half the batch with mayo, half without, and I’ll report back my findings with an addendum to this post.
I love recipes where there’s little to no measuring, and where creativity can take the dish in any direction. I like to call this kind of cooking intuitive cooking, because you’re trusting yourself in the kitchen, rather than chaining yourself to every tiny detail in a recipe that doesn’t require it. This is a perfect example of a recipe that allows for lots of variation. Include the bacon, or don’t. Add in cooked shrimp or shredded pork instead. Choose whatever cheese floats your boat. Or leave out the cheese entirely. Chop up some veggies for a quick sauté, and throw them in. Add fresh herbs, dried spices, salsa, or hot sauce to the egg mixture. Anything that suits your fancy!
Here are some regional flavor combinations to try out:
- Mexican: add cumin, cilantro, cotija cheese (use anejo if you’re sticking to SIBO rules), and a few tablespoons of salsa (only green onion if you’re sticking to SIBO rules). Grease the jars with avocado oil.
- Italian: add fresh chopped parsley and oregano, parmesan and/or Romano, and few squeezes of tomato paste. Grease the jars with garlic-infused EVOO.
- French: add bleu cheese, bacon, and green onion. Grease the jars with butter or ghee.
- Persian: (borrowed from a fellow experimenter) add boiled shrimp, chopped dates, and turmeric. (skip the dates if you’re sticking to SIBO rules).
- ‘MERICA: add aged cheddar cheese, bacon, and breakfast sausage (use ground pork and spices if you’re sticking to SIBO rules).
The flavor experiments could continue forever! In my first go at this, I wanted to try to get as close to my original muse (the Gruyère bacon bites at Starbucks) as possible. But I couldn’t resist trying a couple of different cheeses, since I wasn’t sure how long Gruyère is aged, and I didn’t want to take the chance. I also greased half of the jars with bacon grease and the other half with garlic infused EVOO. Both were delicious, but I think I preferred the EVOO.
Important Sous Vide Cooking Tips:
- Do not tighten the lids too much (do a “two-finger tighten”). Pressure builds as the eggs cook, and if the jars are too tightly sealed, you might have an exploded glass mess on your hands.
- Blend the egg mixture in a blender or food processor. Hand mixing won’t get you the silky, uniform consistency you want.
- Depending on the size of your jars and how much room you leave at the top, they might float in your water bath. If you find that your jars are floating, place a heavy plate or a big pot on top of them in the water to weigh them down. You can also try stacking them to keep them in place. Another option is to put something at the bottom of the pot (I saw a suggestion for inverted coffee mugs) and placing your jars atop them, so that they’re higher up in the bath and slightly breaching the surface.
- Grease the jars for your egg bites. It will make clean up much easier.
- Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker
- 10-12 4 oz mason jars (you could also use bigger jars and only fill partially — that will definitely cause floating)
- A pot or tub large enough to fit the wand and all of the jars (I used a 2 gallon stock pot but only filled the liquid to the “min” line on my wand cooker)
- Food processor or blender
- Cheese grater (if using cheese)
- 1 pack cooked bacon (7-10 pieces)
- 12 pastured eggs
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbs avocado oil mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- EITHER 1 cup grated parmesan or Romano
- OR 1/2 cup aged bleu cheese
- Set the Anova to 172° F in the water bath
- Place the bacon on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and broil in the oven until crispy (usually 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it so you don't burn it)
- Add the eggs, coconut milk, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and mix on low until it's smooth and homogenous
- Grease 10-12 4 oz jars with either bacon grease or an oil of your choosing (I did half with garlic infused EVOO).
- Evenly distribute crumbled bacon in each jar
- Evenly distribute the cheese of your choosing in each jar
- If your blender or food processor doesn't have a pitcher spout, transfer the egg mixture to a spouted measuring cup and evenly distribute among all of the jars
- Screw on the lids (but not too tightly, see the cooking tips above this recipe for more detail)
- Once the water bath is up to the proper temperature, use tongs to carefully submerge your jars into the water bath
- Set the Anova timer for 50 minutes
- Remove using the tongs
- Use either a dish towel or oven mits to open if the jars are hot
- If not eating right away, allow the jars to cool before refrigerating
- Eat them right from the jar or slide a butter knife around the perimeter and turn over onto a plate to slide out your egg bite
- Cook the bacon to a pretty full crisp. On my first try, I cooked it exactly how I like to eat it on its own, and I found that it was too chewy in the recipe. On my second round, I cooked it longer and crumbled it into smaller pieces instead of using half pieces as Starbucks does. I liked it this way best.
To reheat your egg bites, either:
- Microwave for 30-45 seconds
- Get a 140° F bath going with your Anova wand and submerge for 15 minute
- Toast in the oven broiler for 5 minutes (ovens vary, keep your eye on it for this method to avoid burning)
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