Plating Perfect Pork Chops with CVap

One of the best things about CVap is having the ability to use it to handle precision cooking of center of the plate (COP) items without monitoring – or even having to check on it. For this blog post I got some beautiful Berkshire pork chops from Fossil Farms. I brined them in a 5% salt solution with honey and fresh thyme for two hours. What I wanted to accomplish was to have the pork chops done and ready for plating later in the day. I set up my CVap Cook/Hold to Doneness 145°F and Browning of 0. Once the CVap came to temperature and the display read “LOAD” I seared the chops and placed them on a rack inside a hotel pan.

place pork chops into pan for searingpork chops seared in pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The internal temperature of the chops at that point after searing was 85° F.
Temp of 85F after searing
Once all the chops were seared and in the pan, off to the CVap they went.

Pork chops emerging from the oven.
With the CVap set to 145°F, all I had to do was wait for the moisture inside the chops to equalize with the moisture in the water pan. The Browning was set to 0 so the air temperature was 145° as well.  Basically, I was using a sous-vide method without putting the chops into a bag. A few hours later I made starch and a vegetable to go along with it.  When the pan was pulled out of the CVap all the chops were at precisely 145°F.

Pork chops cooked to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were of varying thicknesses and weights, but all of the moisture inside the chops equalized to the temperature of the water inside the CVap. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do this with a large banquet where the party was delayed for some reason or another? When you use CVap to make your proteins this is a no-brainer.

 

Beautiful Beef Brisket: Smoky, Juicy, and Tasty!

Every pitmaster worth his or her salt knows that producing a proper brisket is something to be proud of. Between the fatty and the lean parts, there are special challenges. Smoke or cook it too long and the lean portion will dry out; but not long enough and the fat will be undercooked and not rendered enough. Allow the temperature to get too high and the brisket will be bone dry. That’s why low and slow does the trick, and CVap makes a perfect partner for brisket. You want a robust bark, a consistent smoke ring, and tender, juicy meat. No problem, right?!

Beef Brisket Whole

CVap Beef Brisket

We marinated a 3.5 lb. beef brisket in a mixture of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce and Worcestershire, and then liberally applied a seasoning rub.

The brisket was smoked at 200°F for about 2.5 hours, and then it went into a CVap Cook/Hold Oven set at Constant Cook ON /135°F / Browning Level 2 / for ten hours.

As you can see, the bark is set, the smoke ring is consistent, and the meat is definitely juicy! Our final yield was about 85%.

beef brisket smoked

As an alternative, you could omit the smoking step and cook the brisket in the CVap overnight at the same setting to come up with this result. Again, it is juicy, tender, and very evenly done.

beef brisket

Please note this setting produces a brisket ideally suited for slicing. If you want a shreddable brisket, set your CVap Cook/Hold Oven to 170 + 2 and cook it overnight. Your yield will be slightly less, but it will shred beautifully.

For the perfect BBQ feast, serve your classic smoked brisket, slice it, slather it with your favorite sauce, and serve it with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, sweet onions, dill pickles, and sliced white bread. Oh – and plenty of napkins or paper towels!

Looking for some alternative serving ideas for brisket? Whether you smoke your brisket or not, any of these suggestions will showcase this inexpensive cut of beef very nicely:

Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions

  • Chop your brisket and use it as a topping on BBQ pizza
  • Make brisket tacos with cabbage, crema, and fresh avocado
  • Serve brisket hash as a breakfast or brunch item
  • Fill ravioli with a brisket mixture and serve with a sauce made with dark beer and caramelized onions
  • Create a smoky BBQ-style brisket cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes
  • Add chopped brisket to your chili for a delicious departure from ground beef
  • Give your vegetable beef soup a different dimension by using sliced or chopped brisket

Burger Season is Upon Us. Prepare to Gobble!

Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It’s also the official start of the summer season. Think summer foods, and the first thing that comes to mind is burgers. Here’s a delicious twist on burgers – made better with CVap (of course).

Not only does Memorial Day begin summer, it also immediately precedes June – a.k.a. National Turkey Lovers’ Month. So what does that mean? That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers started with CVap Staging.

First a question: do any of you get frustrated when someone describes turkey burgers as being dry, flavorless, or dull? With the abundance of techniques we have at our disposal, and the enormous variety of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s just no excuse for it! And of course we love turkey as a starring protein because it is a lean, versatile option.

For this post, we experimented with two different approaches, though our base mixture was the same for both. We combined ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), One minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Once the mixture was gently combined, we formed 3-ounce patties and put some on a parchment-lined half-size sheet pan.

turkey burger ingredients - mise en place
Eggs, minced garlic and onion, Panko, and soy sauce.

 

ground turkey raw
Ground turkey. Gently knead other ingredients into meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

patties on tray
Ground turkey mixture formed into 3-oz. patties. Half were placed on parchment-lined tray.

 

smoke into bag
The other half of the patties were vacuum-sealed with a little added smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the other half, placed them in pouches for vacuum-sealing, and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. It was just enough to give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming.

All of the patties then went into a CVap Cook/Hold Oven with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature (Doneness) setting of 145°F and a Food Texture (Browning) setting of 0, for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

To finish the patties, we pan seared them for texture and brought them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F (though tossing them on a grill for quick finish would work equally well). CVap Staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.

The patties that were vacuum-sealed wound up being the perfect size and shape for the toasted ciabatta rolls we were using. We dressed those simply, with fresh torn cilantro and a chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) that complimented the slight hint of smoke in the patty.

Pouched patties, seared on a grill
Pouched turkey patty, finished by searing on grill.
Turkey burgers with fresh torn cilantro and chipotle salsa.
Patties CVapped in a pouch fit perfectly on ciabatta buns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After pan-searing the more traditional patties, we treated a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. We finished it off with a mixture of tender baby lettuce and torn, fresh cilantro.

asian dressed turkey burger
Asian-influenced traditional patty with Sriracha mayo, onion, soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, baby lettuce and torn cilantro.
Asian-styled turkey burger
Traditional patty dressed with Asian flavors. Note the even doneness – a hallmark of CVap cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the first, Latin-inspired burger was extremely tasty, the Asian-influenced burger was off-the-charts delicious. We can’t wait to make it again!

So what exactly is CVap Staging? Using this process, food is brought to the exact internal temperature desired and then held there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. This means that the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before the food is served. Imagine how much faster you could push plates out of a kitchen!

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at winstonfoodservice.com .

CAC509 Cook/Hold Oven

The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC509 cooks precisely, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Ideal for QSRs, full-service restaurants, B&I facilities, or any operation that prepares ahead for busy periods. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold five sheet pans or ten steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built-in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in a stacked unit: CAC507 / CAC509.

CAC507 Cook/Hold Oven

The CVap Cook/ Hold Oven CAC507 cooks to precise doneness, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Since it fits beneath standard counters, it is ideal for operations that need a full-service oven but are limited in space. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The four adjustable universal rack supports hold four sheet pans or eight steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built-in fan provides for even distribution of vapor temperature. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in stacked units: CAC507/CAC507, CAC507/CAC509, or CAC507/HA4507.

CAC503 Cook/Hold Oven

The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC503 puts a lot of cooking power in a small package. Cooks to perfection, then switches automatically to hold mode until you are ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. This model fits under the counter, ideal for operations with space limitations. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold four half sheet pans or four steam table pans. Built in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen.

Unique to Georgia is their School Nutrition Association’s Equipment Academy

As a School Nutrition Guru, it’s really important for me to stay on top of the trends, standards, and challenges that affect school foodservice professionals everywhere, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association’s Equipment Academy is one of my GO-TO sources!
Unique to Georgia, the Equipment Academy takes place in Perry, GA, during non-NAFEM years. NAFEM is the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, and their bi-annual event showcases foodservice equipment from more than 500 manufacturers.

The Equipment Academy concept is a bit like a scaled-downed NAFEM Show with a school foodservice focus. Five equipment dealers are chosen to represent learning classrooms, and manufacturer’s representatives (similar to brokers) are there to represent the foodservice factories that fit the criteria. School foodservice operators come from all over the state to see what innovations they might bring to their districts, from temperature management systems to fabulous ovens, like Winston’s CAT522 shown here in the CITISCO Dealer booth.

The Academy offers two and a half days of intense learning about what might really make running school cafeteria programs more efficient. Here are Candice Sisson and Emily Hanlin, School Nutrition Directors in Fannin and Douglas Counties, respectively.

We at Winston have had a long partnership with Charles Pace and Associates, our Manufacturer’s Reps for Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Pictured below are Chuck (right) and Chris (left) Pace, with Winston’s Southern US Regional, Corey Ainsworth (center). This was a milestone for Corey as it was his first Equipment Academy, and he told me he loved it!

You know me – I love to take a selfie with people I’ve worked with for a while. This is James Camacho of Camacho and Associates. James’ design consultancy builds awesome schools and does fabulous remodels. He came to the Equipment Academy specifically to teach a class on equipment specification for school kitchens. It was great to see and have him there. When we took this shot, we were enjoying Thursday evening’s festivities which included great food and drinks prepared by us all.

The Equipment Academy would be extremely beneficial for any of the State Nutrition Associations, and I heard a rumor that Mississippi may be next. We’ll definitely keep you posted!!

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

 

CVap Saltimbocca, Southern Style!

plated shotSaltimbocca (also saltimbocca) (Italian: jumps in the mouth) is a dish (popular in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece) made of veal lined or topped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one’s own taste. This dish is also occasionally topped with capers depending on individual taste (Wikipedia).

Although veal and prosciutto are the proteins traditionally used when making this dish, our CVap Saltimbocca features chicken thighs in the starring role. And the Southern spin comes from wrapping the thighs with Woodlands Pork Mountain Ham, which is butchered and cured in the European style. >> Click here to learn more about its creator, Jay Denham. << We further amped up the southern charm by serving the Saltimbocca over Weisenberger grits mixed with Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese.

chicken on tray

We boned, skinned, and brined chicken thighs. We then wrapped them in the reserved skins and roasted them in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven at 165 + 30 for :30 minutes, then held them until we were ready for finishing. To do that, we removed the chicken skins, wrapped the thighs with fresh sage leaves, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar, and Woodlands Pork Mountain Ham, and pan-seared them to crisp the ham. These were then held until we were ready to plate. As you can see, the thighs remained incredibly juicy while the ham achieved exactly the crisp texture we wanted.

cut chicken close-up

Meanwhile, we sautéed sliced cremini mushrooms with chopped onion and garlic, then reduced them with stock and a generous amount of butter.

mushrooms

For the grits, we mixed Weisenberger Grits with chicken stock and Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar, covered the pan with foil, and cooked it in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven 200 + 100 for an hour. For plating, the grits were topped with a salad of heirloom tomatoes tossed in a honey-thyme vinaigrette. Gorgeous all by itself!

grits on plate

We topped that with one of the Saltimbocca chicken thighs and a generous ladle of the sautéed mushroom mixture and its reduced broth.

plated shot

And the finished plate was as delicious as it was beautiful!

Blending Trends and Flavors: CVap Southwestern Frittata Wrap

We love experimenting with trends, often blending techniques and flavors to come up with new creations. The one we are sharing here combines two enormously popular ingredients – eggs and wraps – and we gave the dish a Latino twist. And although these ingredients probably bring breakfast immediately to mind, the dish is hearty enough to serve during any daypart.

H1880049 for blog

We prepared our eggs in the style of an Italian frittata. According to Wikipedia, the Italian word frittata derives from fritta and roughly translates to egg-cake. This was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg, through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to “omelette” until at least the mid-1950s.[1]

H1880028 for blog

Our preparation of the eggs is also a form of CVap Staging. In this case, an operator could prepare the frittata component in hotel pans well ahead of service and then hold the eggs beautifully until assembly, saving time during the rush. The cooked eggs will maintain their texture and exactly the right amount of moisture, as if they were cooked to order.

Ingredients:
1 dozen small tortillas
melted butter
2 dozen of your favorite fresh eggs
2 cups of half & half
Chopped green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and onions

Preparation:
Place tortillas in preheated CVap Holding Cabinet (with a Food Temperature setting of 140° and a + 0 Food Texture setting). Prepare 1 full size 2 ¼ inch hotel pan with melted butter. Mix and add eggs and the half & half to the pan, and sprinkle chopped veggies over the entire pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a preheated CVap Cook and Hold Oven set with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature setting of 200°F (Doneness), and a Food Texture setting of 0 (Browning), for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place with the tortillas in the CVap Holding Cabinet (set at 140° + 0).

Wrap Assembly:
To assemble, we cut the cooked eggs into 2 x 3 inch strips and placed one piece in a warm tortilla. We then topped with black beans, shredded colby-jack cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and cilantro, giving the dish a Latino flavor.

You could put a dozen different spins on this preparation by changing up the vegetables or stir-ins that you add to the egg mixture prior to cooking, varying the type of tortilla or bread product you might serve it on, and finishing with different toppings and garnishes. Couple that with the CVap Staging process, and there’s no limit to the variety of dishes you can quickly crank out!

To learn more about CVap Staging and the possibilities it can bring to your kitchen and speed of service, download the FREE eBook:CVap-Staging-ebook-download-button