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.
- 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”!
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…
Every 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!
Thanksgiving may be the time for tradition, but for us we decided it was time to shake things up! This year, we not only roasted and fried turkeys, but we also cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that is a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!
Let us warn you, this isn’t a task you take on unless you are fully committed. Time and patience are your friends during the time you are preparing the most delicious turducken.
1. Debone all meat – turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save some time on the day of. Depending on your expertise, this should take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
2. Make stuffing to place in-between each layer of meat. This is the list of ingredients we used, but feel free to put your own spin on this favorite. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.
- Stuffing mix of your choice, we used corn bread
- Chicken Broth (or Vegetable broth)
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Sage
- Minced Garlic
Now for the turducken!
- Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper
- Lay turkey out ready for the stuffing
- First layer of stuffing on turkey
- Chicken thighs placed on top of turkey, and chicken breast on lower half of turkey
- Second layer of stuffing
- Duck placed in middle of stuffing layer
- Last layer of stuffing
- Begin to pull up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers
- Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper
The other turkey was cooked on high yield at 170 doneness and 4 level browning for 6 hours then held overnight for 8 hours at 150 doneness and 1 level browning.
One turkey was staged at 165 and 0 browning over night for 14 hours and then finished in the Collectramatic fryer for 3 minutes.
Roasted turkey – 82% yield
Staged & fried turkey – 84% yield
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.
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!
This 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.
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!
This 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.
The 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!
In 1909 in Ventura, Calif., teacher Zilda M. Rogers wrote to the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of California, Berkeley, then, a primary proponent and provider of garden education resources for schoolteachers. “With the love of the school garden has grown the desire for a home garden and some of their plots at home are very good…Since commencing the garden work the children have become better companions and friends…and to feel that there is a right way of doing everything…it is our garden…We try to carry that spirit into our schoolroom.”
School gardens have been common in Europe for quite some time, with the earliest records dated to 1811. It wasn’t until recently that their nationwide resurgence in the U.S. has become much more prevalent. My good friend and kitchen manager of Baker Place Elementary in Columbia County Georgia took it upon herself to get her students involved. She is loved by everyone at that school. I stopped by to see her shortly after she created this colorful start to her garden.
There is so much kids can learn from school gardens. From proper clothing to harvesting and finally being able to taste what they grew on their own school lunch lines!
One of my favorite blogs, “Ideas in Food,” created by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozowa is, about allowing your imagination to look at new and creative ways of using food. But they never fail to look at what is obvious. Their daughter Amaya has been growing food with her friends at school.
Look at these lovely lettuces she was able to bring home and show to Mom and Dad.
Last month we had a visit from a famous South American fried chicken chain that wanted to take a closer look at our Collectramatic Pressure Fryers. He had heard about Collectramatic but had never tested one until his purchasing manager pointed out our price point compared to their current brand.
The goal was to match their current process, texture and to save on maintenance costs. Their current fryer is costing them a lot of time and money on maintenance.
Maintenance was a simple answer but we had even more to offer against their current brand…
- Collectramatic only has a few moving parts that relate to pressure.
- Collectramatic gaskets are simple to remove and clean.
- Collectramatic fryer pot is round and does not have corners that are hard to clean and crack.
- Collectramatic fryers have the heating elements in the oil resulting in faster recovery time.
- Collectramatic fryers can fryer up to 20 batches of 6 heads of chicken (120 heads) without filtering compared to needing to filter after only 4 to 5 batches with their current fryer brand.
We cooked a few rounds at our “normal” setting. And although the final color matched their website photo, the customer wanted it darker, much darker.
Now the big question. Was our Collectramatic pressure fryer ready to match the chicken they were looking for? I had confidence, but they have a unique process that I had not tried before.
After breading the chicken they place the breaded chicken in a refrigerator for a minimum of one hour prior to frying. In our test, we breaded the chicken and placed them in our quarter rack basket assembly before placing in the refrigerator. Currently, they bread the chicken, place it directly on a sheet pan, refrigerate and hand drop each piece of chicken into the pressure fryer.
Now the big test! Having never had the opportunity to try their chicken beforehand, we had never tasted their breading or their chicken (secret stuff). We were ready! So our Chef Barry Yates set the Collectramatic to their current setting of 350F for 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
We pulled a full rack of breaded chicken from the refrigerator after one hour. Needless to say, the breading was fully set as opposed to when you bread and place it directly into the fryer. In went the chicken, the lid was closed & locked and we pressed the start button.
As the time ticked away we waited patiently waited as the Collectramatic pressure fryer went to work, not knowing how this breaded/refrigerated chicken would turn out.
The alarm sounds. We pull the chicken. I look at Barry and he looks at me. The chicken appears much darker than we are used to and we look at the customer to gauge his reaction. Nothing.
We then un-racked the chicken from our quarter rack basket assembly keeping the chicken on the quarter rack trays, placed the trays easily on a sheet pan (4 per sheet pan) and let the customer dive in.
He begins pulling pieces apart, looks very closely at the breading and studies the interior like a true fried chicken professional. He then takes a knife and cuts through the bone to examine the marrow. He grabs a thigh and takes a huge bite.
Wait for it… “Perfect, now that’s what I’m talking about!”
Barry and I were still a bit skeptical about the dark color until we grabbed our first piece and took a bite. The exterior was dark, firm, crunchy with that old school black iron skillet fried chicken look. It did not have a burned or overcooked taste. The interior was very juicy and very tender.
It was absolutely amazing!
It is clear why this South American fried chicken chain has such a huge following.
So, the next time you are making fried chicken in our Collectramatic pressure fryer, give this breading option a try. You will not be disappointed!
- More than half of all chicken entrees ordered in restaurants are for fried chicken.
- In 2007, 95% of commercial restaurants had fried chicken on the menu.
- The average American eats over 80 pounds of chicken each year.
- According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 billon chicken wing portions were consumed on Super Bowl Weekend in 2012 (more than 100 million pounds).
Are you considering what menu item is going to keep customers coming back for more? To go orders? Catering offerings? What is going to set your product apart from your competition? Let’s look at the features and benefits of our Collectramatic pressure fryer. Available in 4 head (32 pc per drop) and 6 head (48 pc per drop) – now that’s a lot of fried chicken!
Benefits of pressure frying: quicker cook times, juicier product, tenderization, texture control, and healthier product.
Benefits of a Winston Industries Collectramatic Pressure Fryer:
- Microprocessor controller
- Reliability – very few moving mechanical parts
- Round pot – for strength with a single weld, sediment cannot build up in the corners and continue to cook/ burn the oil.
- Footprint – let’s look at the numbers; with a LP56 fryer 6 head you can fry approximately 192 pieces of chicken per hour, fry 1,200 pieces before you need to filter the shortening. Our Collector, the largest in the industry we call the cold zone where we catch all the sediment etc. away from the cooking vat and does not continue to cook.
At a recent training with an install of three each LP56 Collectramatic fryers, they are able to pressure fry 576 pieces per hour and 3,600 pieces before they need to filter the shortening. Partner this with a F662A9 portable filter system and a Winston CVap HA4522 holding cabinet or two. You now have a successful fried chicken program!
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.
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.
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.
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: 年; pinyin:Nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One day people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured byHongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu’s mount.Source: Wikipedia
So to honor the legends and mark the start of this Year of the Horse, we are cooking CVap Char Siu Pork and Bao.
The name Char Siu means “fork roast” and that is based on the traditional cooking method of skewering meat on long forks and placing them in an oven or over fire. The seasonings used in the preparation of char siu turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red, similar in appearance to the smoke ring seen on properly smoked American barbecue.
Char Sui Pork Marinade:
1 Cup Red Miso
½ Cup Honey
¼ Cup Soy
3 Tbsp Five Spice Powder
Dash of red food coloring
- Mix ingredients should form paste.
- Trim center cut pork loin and cut into 2 long strips to make smaller loins.
- Rub loins with paste heavily coated.
- Do not cover, place in refrigerator and allow to dry marinate for 2 days.
- Place in CVap set at 150°F food temp and 7 level browning.
- Roast for 50 minutes.
- Remove and slice, portion and chill.
Char Siu is typically eaten with a starch such as noodles, rice, or in this case, bao (a steamed bun). To prepare our Bao, we double-proofed the dough balls (proof at 90°F + 0 for one hour, knock down dough and reform rolls, then proof one additional hour at the same settings) and then cooked them in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven in a foil-covered, perforated 2¼” half steam table pan covered with a Food Temp of 200°F and Browning level of 1 for 16 minutes. This is the recipe we used for the doughhttp://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-steamed-buns/