Vegan Doesn’t Just Mean Tofu & Salad!

I had just finished planning a three-course dinner for some visiting customers. My goal was to demonstrate CVap versatility with contemporary applications and menu trends. I had settled on a menu that included the following:

First Course – Southern fried chicken boa with Kim Chi
Second Course – Moroccan grilled lamb loin with Tzatziki and quinoa tabouleh
Dessert – molten chocolate cake with Chantilly cream

I was quite pleased with the ethnic diversity represented by the meal as well as the variety of CVap and Collectramatic applications. With menu in hand I began to create my ingredient list and production schedule. About 30 minutes into my planning and two days before the meal, I received a note that one of our guests was vegan. What?! How was I going to make the above menu vegan? I certainly wasn’t going to offer only salad and tofu! So I set my mental wheels in motion and this is what I came up with:

Southern fried cauliflower bao with Kim chi
Moroccan grilled beets with quinoa tabouleh and silken tofu Tzatziki
Vegan double chocolate pistachio cake with whipped spiced coconut cream

But first, there were several hurdles to overcome:

Making the Kim Chi without fish sauce, where do you get the Umami?
Get cauliflower to emulate the look and feel of a fried chicken thigh!
How to get tender beets without turning them to mush…
Whipped coconut cream?!

With a little help from Alex Talbot and J Kenji Lopez-Alt and a lot of help from CVap I think we did pretty well. Here are a few pictures from our luncheon and the recipe for the Southern Fried Cauliflower. If you’d like the rest of the recipes send me a note and I’d be glad to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brine Recipe for Cauliflower:

  • 3 liters cold water
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon barrel soy
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • ½ small sweet onion sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 liter of ice

Directions: Place all ingredients but ice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ice. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to use.

Cauliflower ingredients:

  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch thick steaks and then quartered
  • 1/2 cup savory brine
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon barrel soy sauce

Directions: Place cauliflower pieces in sous vide bags, cover with prepared brine, add soy, and vacuum seal. Place in CVap set on Constant Cook at 185F food doneness and 0 level browning. Cook for one hour. Place immediately in water bath to cool and then place in refrigerator until you are ready to fry the cauliflower.

Breading and Frying:

  • 2 cups of your favorite breading
  • ½ cup brine

Dust cauliflower with breading, dip in brine, then bread lightly with breading mix. Drop into a Collectramatic fryer set on open fry 350F for 3 and half minutes. Voila! Vegan fried “chicken”!

It’s hard to spot the difference! Can you tell which is our vegan fried “chicken”?

 

Who Doesn’t Love Cupcakes?!

Yum! Yum! Walking down the street and peering into the local cupcake shop, I often wonder, is that a sweet treat or a piece of edible art work? Mouthwatering cupcake shops have popped in every major city and in many small towns. If you want to use your CVap Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to rival the cupcake shops, we can show you how!

CUPCAKES
Just take your favorite cake recipe and set the Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to the below settings. CVap makes a moist and light cake that will be a hit for any occasion.

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With endless variations and recipes for cake, use your favorite recipe. Or if you need a quick and easy cupcake, here is a modified box recipe that I personally love to use:

Take your favorite standard size box mix and use 4 eggs, ¾ cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sour cream and ¾ cup sugar. Mix and bake.

Cook/Hold settings:
Constant cook ON
Food Temperature 165
Browning 10
Bake at the recommended time listed for your specific cake recipe.

Thermalizer Settings:
Channel #4
Cook for recommended time and check mid-way through cook cycle

ICING
As for icing, buttercream is my favorite. Italian buttercream is made by cooking sugar and only using real butter. Cooking the sugar gives it a smooth texture and the butter gives it a rich flavor. Below is my recipe 🙂

Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt, optional

*Makes buttercream for 12 cupcakes.

Buttercream Procedure:

  1. 000_2762Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Increase heat to medium-high and allow syrup to come to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a medium bowl if using a handheld mixer, and beat until whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
  3. Cook syrup until it reaches 235°F, then immediately remove from heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling: don’t pour the syrup onto the whisk, or the syrup may splatter against the sides of the bowl; instead, aim for a spot close to the whisk.
  4. Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to body temperature.
  5. Add butter one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. The mixture may start to look as if it’s separating, but don’t panic: just keep mixing and whipping until the buttercream comes together and becomes smooth and gorgeous.
  6. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or a zipper-lock bag in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to two months. To use buttercream that has either been refrigerated or frozen, first allow to come to room temperature then beat until smooth and spreadable again. Cakes or cupcakes decorated with buttercream generally keep up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve buttercream at room temperature.000_2767

Celebrate the Season with Gingerbread!

GingerbreadWhen you think of gingerbread, do you picture crisp cookies and holiday decorations? Or do you picture a moist, cakey treat that is best served warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream? We’ve been leaning towards the latter!

In celebration of the holiday season, we’re sharing a couple of gingerbread recipes with you. The first yields a dark, moist cake, and the second (adapted from a USDA/NFSMI recipe) is geared toward high volume service. Both are delicious served either warm or chilled, and both recipes are written for the CVap Thermalizer Oven.

 

 

 

Moist Gingerbread (Small Batch)

Ingredients:

½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into a prepared pan.
  3. Bake on Channel 4 for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Gingerbread (Large Batch @100 Servings)

Ingredients:

¾ gallon + ½ cup enriched all-purpose flour
¼ gallon whole wheat flour
¼ cup baking soda
3 ½ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ½ cups vegetable oil
20 large egg whites
1 quart 3 ½ cups water, hot
1 quart 3 cups molasses
2 cups chopped ginger

Preparation:

  1. Select Channel 3 to preheat CVap Thermalizer. Prepare two 18×26 size pans by covering with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 1 minute until ingredients are combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg whites, hot water, and molasses with a large wire whip until blended.
  4. Slowly add the wet oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
  5. Pour @ 1 gallon of batter into each sheet pan and scatter chopped ginger over the top.
  6. Place in the preheated Thermalizer oven and bake 35 minutes.
  7. Cut each pan into 5×10 pattern or 50 pieces per sheet pan.

To Hold Warm Gingerbread

Hold baked gingerbread for up to two hours in CVap with the Food Temperature set at 140° F and the Food Texture set at 5° F.

Giving Back – Equipment Grant Winners

Like a lot of people in the foodservice industry, I didn’t intend on ending up here.  Also, like a lot of people in the foodservice industry, I didn’t intend on still being here over a decade later.  One of the many reasons I still am, however, is the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Child Nutrition the entire time.  There’s truly not a better collection of warm and caring individuals in this world and I am proud to be a part of their family.  And what I am most proud of is when my other family, Winston Industries, provides the Equipment Grant Award. Well, that and keeping me employed…

equip-grantEvery year through a competitive grant process at SNF, our company gives away 10 pieces of equipment (of the winner’s choosing) in our holding cabinet or oven line. That amount of free equipment could represent a monumental change for anybody, much less a district in extreme need! Covering the Southeast, I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with three of these grant winners, as well as a district in my home state of Mississippi who we helped post-Katrina. This year lightning struck again and I got my fourth winner, Hernando County Public Schools in Brooksville, Fla.

Hernando County has about 25 schools and Food & Nutrition Services Director, Lori Drenth, designated nine sites to receive the seven Holding Cabinets and three Thermalizer Ovens she chose after winning.  Along with helping to feed an increasing number of students in older kitchens, this equipment will allow her staff to be able to truly do batch cooking and serve food at its highest quality.  And as she said, “it’s like Christmas when a kitchen gets new equipment and it instills a sense of pride in the employees knowing their school is getting that investment.”  It gives me that same sense of pride to work with these people and a company that makes money selling equipment, but also gives some away for a good cause!

You can apply for next year’s grant starting on January 10, 2017. Learn more here! 

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!

 

Rockin’ Alamo City

School Nutrition’s Annual National Conference and Exhibit

San Antonio, Texas, is the seventh most populated city in the United States and the dry 100 degree days in July are HOT! It was definitely cooler inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, but the action and learning was just as hot as the south central Texas days outside.

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Here’s Jeremy West, Director of Nutrition for Weld County Schools in Colorado taking a quick break after seeing the sights on the exhibit floor!

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual National Conference pulls members and vendors from all across the U.S. and is likely one of the most fun events you can attend each year as a K-12 professional. We always have a great time and a great theme in the Winston booth. This year we were dedicated to Mission: Possible!

And like always, we dressed, played and had fun with the part!

photo-4photo-3photo-2This may have been one of our most active times at this yearly conference so far. Fans of CVap stopped to learn and have fun in droves.

Everyone enjoyed the Winston “Selfie Station,” nights on the Riverwalk, The Annual Membership, Star Club Breakfast, and so much more.

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Honestly I have about a hundred photos and trying to choose which ones to post was not easy! My favorite though, was this shot at the airport as we were all leaving to go home. One of many examples I saw while everyone waited to board their respective flights. Another awesome time at SNA’s ANC with your CVap friends at Winston!

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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!

Stainless Steel Care and Cleaning, Keep Your CVap Clean!

In the crazy fast paced world of food service, which in a lot of cases is 24/7, we need to find the time to break out the elbow grease and do some good old fashioned hard work. We need to keep our work areas and equipment clean and sanitized. Sorry, there is no easy button for elbow grease. Now, let’s discuss stainless steel or consider it stain-“LESS”.

Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel is susceptible to rust and corrosion. Stainless steel(s) are passive metals because they contain other metals; chromium, nickel, and manganese that stabilize the atoms. Four hundred series stainless are called ferritic, contain chromium, and are magnetic. Three hundred series stainless are called austenitic, contain chromium and nickel, are non-magnetic, and generally provide a greater resistance to corrosion than ferritic types.

With 12-30% percent chromium, an invisible passive film covers the steel’s surface acting as a “shield” against corrosion. As long as the film is intact and not broken or contaminated, the metal is passive and STAIN-LESS. If the passive film of stainless steel has been broken, equipment starts to corrode and at its end, it rusts.

Enemies of Stainless Steelcvap

Mechanical abrasion – Items that will scratch a steel surface. Steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers are prime examples that cause abrasions on the steel.

Water – Water comes out of the faucet in varying degrees of hardness. Depending on where you live, you may have hard or soft water. Hard water may leave spots and rust stainless steel. Other deposits from food preparation and service must be properly removed. Treated water may be your first defense.

Chlorides –  Found nearly everywhere like water, food, and table salt, for example. One of the biggest perpetrators can come from household and industrial cleaners.

On every CVap cabinet there is a cleaning label on the door to remind you to break out the elbow grease on a consistent basis and be sure to drain, clean and refill your evaporator with fresh clean water every day. Your CVap will return the favor by providing many years of dependable service in what Winston is known for, controlling food temperature and texture for extended periods.

A DAILY CLEANING DISCIPLINE AS FOLLOWS IS NECESSARY TO INSURE A LONG LIFE OF THE CVap INTERIOR STAINLESS COMPONENTS.

  1. Remove inside components to the sink for cleaning and rinsing.
  2. Remove inside cabinet deposits non-abrasively; wash or sanitize with non-chloride cleaner; then rinse – allowing rinse water to drain to evaporator.
  3. Drain the evaporator; wash with a non-chloride cleaner; remove all deposits using non abrasives. If there is a white scale on heat transfer surfaces, use Scale Kleen, Lime-A-Way or similar to remove. Rinse thoroughly and refill with fresh potable (non-chloramine) water.

Not These Lunch Ladies!

I was recently scheduled to do a demo on one of our CVap Thermalizer Ovens at the Tift County School District in Georgia. I was looking at their menus for that day to see what we would be cooking when I saw the words: NO SCHOOL/PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE. A frightening thought entered my mind – that no staff would be there and we would need to reschedule.  Actually, my first thought was, YES! No School!, a juvenile reflex, I guess. So I sent a note to Kogi, one of the Assistants to the Director, and asked if they would be in that day. “Yes,” she said, “it’s a student holiday, but still a work day.” Awesome, not only will they be in, but I’ll have their complete attention while doing my demo. But will they be in a bad mood? Not these lunch ladies!

When I walked in the kitchen, it was humming. Every staff member was busy cleaning and organizing. I announced my arrival to the manager, and she gathered her flock around the CVap Thermalizer Oven for my demo. And just as I had thought, I held their complete attention. They were engaged, asking questions, even had smiles on their faces. We cooked our frozen pizzas on Channel 3 for about 12 minutes and they came out great. The ladies ate and we talked some more, but then they went right back to the deep clean, smiles still on their faces. I was borderline astonished. Not only are these ladies doing the job most people hate (imagine deep cleaning your kitchen and multiply it by 10), but they also have to listen to me, the company gasbag, trying to tell them how to cook in our oven. But, not these lunch ladies!

A little background on what lunchroom staffs do each day. Nationwide, these workers prepare and serve over 30 million lunches and 14 million breakfasts daily. Some even provide meals at night and through the summer for their communities. They greet rambunctious kids with a smile and perhaps the only nourishment they will receive that day. Then they clean and scrub and, for a lot of them, it’s off to the next job. Let’s face it, it’s not the most glamorous in the world and it’s certainly not the highest paying. Many of them have a second occupation and they are most likely the ones cooking and cleaning at home. It’s a thankless job and it would’ve been so easy for the staff at 8th Street Middle School to mail it in and be crabby, thinking about what they could’ve been doing had they not been at work. But, not today. Not these lunch ladies!

Remember to tell your lunch staff thanks for the delicious food they prepare and all the hard work they do for you each day. Trust me, they will appreciate it more than you know!

A Special Louisville Endeavor

Last Tuesday we had the pleasure of participating in Endeavor – The Louisville Food & Beverage Tour. Endeavor Louisville led 18 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 10 countries on an F&B tour of the city this week, featuring site visits, panels and discussions with Endeavor Louisville board members, as well as other business leaders, involved in the industry. The tour provided an opportunity for these industry icons to deliver firsthand knowledge to Endeavor Entrepreneurs about scaling up, going big, and winning in the industry.

Winston Industries own Chef Barry Yates partnered with Chef Space Louisville’s original kitchen incubator to demonstrate how community leaders can partner to accelerate others ideas.  Barry demonstrated   CVap Staged New York Strip in the newly equipped Jays 120 space at the west Louisville incubator.  CVap staging is a technique that allows QSR operators to drastically reduce service times while maintaining extraordinary food quality.  One of the aspects we loved about this event is that guests were able to get an up close and hands on feel for how CVap technology can optimize their kitchen operations.  Great food fast every time!

“Winston Industries, building on its entrepreneurial legacy, was a natural partner for the tour,” says Barry Yates, “innovation and ideas are in our DNA.” he continued.  Winston Industries has expanded into four different divisions specializing in foodservice, manufacturing, electronics and ventures- to perpetuate our entrepreneurial spirit and to provide the opportunity for others to do the same.

Thank you Endeavor and Chef Space for allowing us to participate in the tour.  We’ve already received great feedback from attendees and can’t wait to do more of these events in the future! If you would like to learn more about Winston Industries or have an hands on entrepreneurial experience of your own, schedule your CVap demo and cook with us! Visit our website for more info or call 502.495.5400

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Takeout Trend, Here to Stay

Z8XWHF6BW6The trend of ordering takeout among consumers won’t be going anywhere any time soon. What Americans want from their food is convenience – number one on the list even above price (Washington Post). With longer working hours, social events, children’s activities, the hustle and bustle of the everyday life make it hard to sit down in a restaurant or pick up dinner. So the delivery person is now on your speed-dial. The most recent data we have comes from 2013, where 60% of Americans admitted to ordering take out at least once a week (Statista).

From fast casual to top-end restaurants, customers want the option to dine on your food in the comfort of their own homes. They not only want to take your menu home, they expect to get it now.

What’s a restaurant to do?

3244194246_432a25887d_bBeyond the obvious – quality carry-out containers that hold the food’s temperature and separate areas for takeout diners to order food, pay, and wait – a restaurant needs to be able to fill these takeout and delivery orders quickly and efficiently.

DSC_0029That’s where CVap® Staging ability can mean the difference between quick turnaround time (happy, repeat customer) and slow service (frustrated, hungry customer). If your side dishes are ready to go, and your proteins just need a quick sear to get the main course ready for carry out, you can let your carry out and delivery customers order and then receive their food in rapid succession. This means getting them in and out faster, so they can dine in the manner they wish.

DSC_0059The CVap® Staging technique allows you prepare the protein in the same way you normally would (seasoning, marinade, etc.) and then place it in a CVap oven, which has been set to the appropriate levels of temperature and texture. Once the protein has reached the doneness levels desired, it can hold at that temperature until your customer orders. It can then go to the next stage in the cooking process: searing, grilling, etc. This gets the order finished much faster than the traditional means of cooking to order without compromising on quality or taste.

Take advantage of this latest dining trend by offering takeout meals. And let CVap® Staging help you make them the best meals your customer has ever had. And things won’t be slowing down anytime soon! The next big thing is online food ordering, which is already a big hit among the younger generation.

CVAP STAGING logo

Various Tasty Veggies 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!

The Passion for Cooking Perfect, Consistent Rice!

I get the opportunity to travel to several western states and work with our customers and see how they use CVap. The item that seems to be moving to the center of the plate is rice. Rice continues to be the topic of discussion here in the states, and in many other cultures it has been a staple for years.
CVap for holding rice is a no-brainer! It can hold rice better than any appliance out there. For me, it has been interesting working with customers using their current procedure for cooking rice. It usually consists of boiling, steaming, or using a gas or electric rice cooker. And then the dance before the cooking begins – rinsing until water runs clear, continuing to rinse 3 – 10 times, then finally soaking rinsed rice anywhere from two hours to overnight.

It has to be exhausting trying to find that perfect procedure to produce the same result over and over again!

Now let’s discuss the Winston CAC series CVap Cook & Hold oven with a temperature range from 90°F to 350°F. Let the creativity begin.

For this particular cycle, we are going to use Basmati rice.

Directions:

  • Measure out 2 pounds of rice (4 cups)
  • Rinse thoroughly three times
  • Soak two hours
  • Place in hotel pan
  • Pour in 4 pounds of water (7 3/4 cups)
  • Cover with lid or foil

Winston CAC settings

  • Constant cook ON
  • Doneness: 200
  • Browning: 2
  • Time: 35
  • Use a 12x20x2.5″ hotel pan with cover, load oven and push start.

Finally, rice perfection achieved!

In closing, a bit of rice trivia; in 2009 the world consumption of rice was 531.6 million metric tons.

CVap Baby Back Ribs

Summer is by far my favorite time of year. It is an escape from winter. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming. Millions upon millions of people leave their dens of hibernation for the great outdoors. But to me, there are three things that truly signal the beginning of spring: baseball, beer, and BBQ. Today we will be focusing on the king of grill toppers, ribs!

My normal procedure for baby backs would be 225°F on my smoker for 4-5 hours. But that limits me to only cooking and eating ribs on the weekends and I’m way too greedy for that. Luckily, I have a CVap Cook & Hold! This technology allows me to cook the ribs beforehand in the oven and have them holding until I get off work. I can then finish them off on the grill at my convenience.

Ingredients

1 slab baby back ribs
3 tablespoons salt
Vegetable oil
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons cup garlic powder
1 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon rosemary powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
BBQ Sauce of your choice

Instructions

1. Remove membrane and sprinkle salt on both sides of the ribs and allow them to dry brine overnight.
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl to create your dry rub.
3. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil on the ribs and then coat with dry rub.
4. Place ribs on half size sheet pan and put them into the Cook and Hold oven.

CVap Cook & Hold Settings

High Yield Mode: ON
Doneness:  135
Browning:  6
Time:  5 hours
At this setting, the ribs will hold at 135°F for six hours

Finally, fire up your grill and baste ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce. When the grill is at its hottest, place ribs directly over heat to allow the sauce to caramelize and get some texture on the outside. Slice ribs and serve!

CVap Ribs Smoked on a Green Egg

How do you like your ribs? Fall off the bone? Texture with a bite? Smoke or no smoke? Baby back or St. Louis Style? Dry rub? Saucey? Grilled, baked, boiled – don’t even go there! Oh My!  Between the questions and the debate almost everyone has an opinion on how they like their ribs. Here is my new favorite recipe that includes smoking and CVap cooking, blending a combination of techniques to get ribs that I am proud to share.

image1 (2)I have made numerous different dry rub recipes, tried store bought and then found a recipe that has become my go to! It is Meathead Memphis Rub and it will make your ribs OUT OF THIS WORLD! I Started using this dry rub a few years back and haven’t changed since.

Next, go with your favorite rib, I’m using St. Louis style. Trim excess fat and shiny membrane from the back of the rib. Using a paper towel to pull off the silver skin makes the job easier.

Generously cover ribs with Meathead Memphis Rub.

Time to start your smoker! I’m using a Green Egg. Light high quality lump charcoal and bring the smoker to 225-250 degrees. For this recipe, I like a mix of Hickory and Apple wood. Add whichever wood chunks you prefer and let’s get smokin!  Once smoke is billowing out, add the ribs. Cook for 2 1/5 hours on the smoker.  Add wood chunks as necessary.

I have found that smoking ribs for 4 hours can end up with a dry rib. After the smoke, I move the ribs to CVap for the perfect balance of smoke, bite and tenderness. Cook in CVap for 1.5 – 2 hours at 180 degrees Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).

CVap has the ability to precisely finish cooking. Winston CVap Cook and Hold for 1½ to 2 hours at 180d Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).

Oh, look at the bark! Tender moist ribs, still with a little bite.  YUM!image11 (2)image13

After CVap cooking, place the ribs on foil,
top with drizzle of local honey and a few tablespoons of butter.  Put back on 350 degree grill to heat through and to melt the butter and honey.  Serve now.  If you like sauced, sauce on grill, flip and sauce other side.

If you want to serve the next day, after CVap chill and reheat the next day following the above grill instructions.

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One sauced, one not.  We are here to please all rib lovers!

 

A Footprint Dilemma – Utilizing Versatility in Today’s Modern Kitchens

In this post I want to bring to light one of the current dilemmas many of us are facing in our kitchens today. Although the list of equipment offerings and technologies continues to grow, we see more and more specialized equipment designed for a specific job. Whether we are baking, steaming, braising, boiling, poaching, roasting, grilling, staging, frying or searing, there is a piece of equipment on the market specifically designed for that specific job.

Most of our kitchens are littered with several pieces of single-purpose equipment. They are all pieces of a puzzle that fit together and (hopefully) lend themselves well to each other. Whether we are talking about convection ovens, steamers, grills, flat top griddles, immersion circulators, holding cabinets, combi ovens, low temp roasting ovens, etc… they all have their place and purpose. On the other hand, most of the real estate in our kitchens is at a premium, preventing us from utilizing them all properly. We are left with two answers to this challenge, either build massive kitchens capable of holding all this equipment or find versatility in the equipment we use.

When discussing versatility, most equipment can be placed into one of two categories, versatile equipment or single-purpose equipment. Let’s dissect these two categories a bit further and analyze some of the equipment mentioned above.

Versatile Equipment:

Convection ovens are the go-to standard for versatility and have been widely used in kitchens around the world for years. These ovens have their place in most kitchens as they are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment on the market today. From prep to finish the convection oven can be used throughout the entire cooking process and is effective at both high and low temperatures, all within a small footprint. Other equipment that fit into this same category are grills, griddles, and combi ovens.

Single-Purpose:

Steamers are one of the main culprits in the single-purpose category. They are less versatile and capable of only one temp and one process – steaming. Not only is the equipment limited by its versatility, but often, finding a place in the kitchen for single-purpose equipment can be a hassle. While highly effective at performing the specific job the unit is designed for, single-purpose equipment can be a waste of space if it is not utilized around the clock. Other examples of single-use equipment include immersion circulators and low-temp roasting ovens.

What’s This Mean for You?
A lot goes into making any kind of equipment decision. Quality, reliability, capital cost, maintenance cost, operating cost, equipment life span, etc. Buyers have to weigh all these variables and find the best balance for their personal needs. However, one of the most impactful elements we are all looking for is versatility. We don’t all have the luxury of a large kitchen. Normally, the larger the kitchen footprint the smaller the customer seating footprint, which means less potential money to be made each day.
What if I told you there was a piece of equipment that addresses these pain points? One that is versatile to the point of being able to poach, steam, braise,roast, bake, stage, sous vide, confit, high yield roast, hold and perform many other processes all within a small footprint? One that is affordable, reliable, requires no hood and is easy to use at all skill levels? A unit that can reduce ticket times, food costs, labor costs and maintenance costs. A piece that can be used for morning prep, the lunch rush, and staging for a busy dinner service, then continue to make you money overnight while you sleep? If this is the type of equipment you are looking for, then the Winston CVap is a game changer for your business. CVap equipment is hands down some of the most versatile items you can place in your kitchen. It is equipment that can save and make money at the same time, all inside a small footprint. Chances are the restaurant down the street turning 100 tables on a Tuesday night has already discovered it.

Learn more here.

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!

It’s All in the Proof! CVap® Focaccia

Focaccia bread (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is one of the most versatile breads baked today. Not only can the bread be baked either thick or thin, the endless array of toppings to choose from compounds flavors in a complex yet delightful way. Most people think of Focaccia as the free basket of bread provided before the meal at your local Italian eatery, but the bread can be used many different ways including as a pizza base, sandwich bread or even as a cake.

One of the more surprising things I encounter as I visit regions all over the world is how few people realize the CVap Cook & Hold and CVap Thermalizer ovens can be used to bake breads. CVap ovens are perfect for baking applications since users can customize the environment inside the oven to create the ideal conditions for proofing.

I had a great time with this project. It is getting the wheels turning for what other bread items we can cook in the CVap Cook & Hold or Thermalizer ovens.

Recipe:

Bread Flour – 1.82 Kilograms
Water – 845 Grams
Fresh Yeast – 60 Grams
Olive Oil – 140 Grams
Salt – 60 Grams
Sugar – 58 Grams

Method of Prep:

Preheat Cook & Hold to 90 Food Temperature + 1 Food Texture, Time 1:15.
Mix the water and flour. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add sugar, olive oil, and yeast. Mix for five minutes.
Add salt and mix for two minutes.
Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan greased with olive oil.
Place dough in center of pan and stretch the dough into a flat, oval. Make sure both sides are greased with Olive Oil
Place dough in Cook & Hold to proof.
When the timer goes off, pull dough out of Cook & Hold.

Punch and stretch the dough to the shape of the pan and make indentations in the dough with your fingertips.

Place the dough back in the Cook & Hold and set timer for 20 minutes.

Remove the dough from the Cook & Hold and heat to 200 Food Temperature + 10 Food Texture, time :45 minutes.

Top the dough with desired toppings and place back into the Cook & Hold.

 

One focaccia was topped with charred ramps, roasted garlic and rosemary. The other was topped with dried figs and fennel seeds. Both were seasoned with Maldon sea salt.


Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. The CVap promotes a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap we can adjust the environment of the cabinet to tailor the proof. By doing so we can create compounding flavors while the bread is fermenting (or proofing).

The crumb on the finished product was excellent. It created a very light and soft finished product without making the exterior of the product too hard.

If you notice in the pictures, one of the pans of focaccia was too close to the elements (right). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!


This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the product once you have tried it. I look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com