You can imagine my surprise when I walked into our bathroom recently and found this in our bathtub:
Those of you who have been reading THIH for a while know that Peter has been experimenting with sous-vide cooking for several months. Sous-vide involves cooking food that has been vacuum-sealed in plastic in a tightly-controlled low-temperature water bath. The resulting food (carefully handled and cooked for food safety purposes, of course) is tender in texture and rich in flavor.
As sous-vide devices are quite expensive, Peter set out to make his own. His first attempt yielded a device that could control the tempy of the water bath to 1°F accuracy. Not bad! So far, he’s made salmon, lamb chops, and, of course, his “perfect” egg.
Of course, typical Peter doesn’t want just 1°F accuracy – he wants 0.1°F accuracy. Go figure. So, a few weeks ago, he set out to make the perfect sous-vide device, following directions on this website and adding his own improvements (such as separating the heating device and thermometer from the control box). Here is the result:
This box is the temperature control for the water bath in the bathtub. It does seem a bit overkill to use the huge basin to cook two eggs, but Peter wanted to test the temperature control in a large vat of water.
And here is our perfect egg!
What? Bonnie, you want some of dat?
One of my favorite ways to eat soft-boiled eggs is to break them over a big bowl of veggies and enjoy it like dressing.
With all the wonderful stuff in eggs, this dressing is one of which you can be proud (if you eat eggs, of course 🙂 ). Stay tuned to see more of Peter sous-vide creations!
Hear that? That’s me shifting gears.
… My lovely German friend Sandi sent me this question recently:
I’ve been meaning to ask you if you have any advice for people who live vegan? I’ve been vegetarian for 15 years but I’ve always liked dairy products. But for a while now I’ve been getting sick after eating dairy, even milk chocolate bars and ice cream 🙁 I’ve been to the doctor to check it and he agrees that I might be lactose intolerant. So is there any advice you could give me for my diet? Are there even vegan sources for all nutrients, for example vitamin D?
Great questions, Sandi! I’m glad that you check with your doctor, as he can help you determine the degree to which you may be lactose intolerant (and check for other reasons why you may be getting sick). In general, lactose intolerance is common, especially in adulthood, with some ethnic groups more affected than others (African American, Asian, American Indian, for example). People vary tremendously on just how lactose-intolerant they are, with some people able to handle a cup of milk 2x a day, while others cannot handle low-lactose cheese. Your doctor and/or registered dietitian can help you determine what you can handle.
Some foods tend to contain more lactose than others: for example, hard cheese and yogurt tend to have less lactose per serving than milk. Also, full fat milk tends to have less lactose per serving than low fat and nonfat milk (although I would not condone regular consumption of full fat dairy due to the high amount of saturated fat!). With your doctor’s supervision, you can experiment to see just how much dairy you can handle.
Why am I pushing dairy so much? Some people choose not to include dairy in their diet, which is A-OK. However, for someone who DOES wish to include dairy in their diet, dairy is the easiest source of calcium. Of course, if any dairy makes you feel sick or you choose not to include dairy in your diet, there are some great vegan sources of calcium. The best is spinach and other leafy green vegetables, followed by beans, peas, nuts, and orange juice and cereal that’s been fortified with calcium (I’m not sure if Germany has these!). Try to eat several servings of these calcium-rich foods per day, and maybe consider a calcium supplement.
As for vitamin D, the best way to get vitamin D is to expose your skin to the sun – ALERT!! – but I don’t advise too much sun, because that can damage your skin! In the U.S., the best (and easiest!) food source for vitamin D is fortified milk, which I’m not sure you have in Germany. Some foods, like liver, sardines, and eggs, have a little bit of vitamin D, but it’s hard to get enough from just those foods (especially if you choose not to include them in your diet). I actually take vitamin D pills (they’re the only supplement I take, besides the occasional omega fatty acid supplement), because research is showing that vitamin D is very important, and even with milk I’m not getting enough in my diet. The literature on vitamin D is too rich to get into at this point – maybe I’ll devote a post to it later.
Lastly, sometimes vegetarians and vegans have trouble getting enough vitamin B12 in their diets because the best sources are meat, eggs, and dairy. I know you said you don’t like eggs, Sandi, so those are out. There aren’t really any plant sources of B12, unless you eat cereals or other foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12. B12 is really important, so if you’re not eating any dairy or eggs, it might be good to take a multivitamin, if you can. Nutritional yeast is another possible source of vitamin B12, but you MUST be sure that the label says the yeast has been fortified with B12 – not all of them have it!
(… You may be wondering why I interspersed my discussion of nutrients with pictures of Bonnie. Well, I thought about finding some generic pictures of milk or yogurt to break up the text, but I figured that was boring. This way, I can show off our adorable doggies. Goodness know I never exploit their cuteness. Case in point:
That would be my vampiric little Maddles, with Gussie in the background. What, you don’t believe me about the vampire thing? Look at this closeup, my friends:
Q: What should Peter cook next in his sous-vide device? If I like your suggestion, we may try it!