Celebrate the Season with Gingerbread!

ginger breadWhen 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.

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!

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!

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!