May is National Barbecue Month! Nothing signifies the arrival of Summer like the rich flavor of barbecue. Recently we did BBQ a big crowd, and we had a blast doing it!
We cooked 7- to 10-lb. Boston pork butts traditionally for about ten hours on a Good-One® smoker until they reached an internal temperature of 180°F. Then they were quick-chilled on the bone and refrigerated. (Check out The Good-Ones website for some awesome smokers.) You can also add versatility to your CVap oven with the Winston Smoker Box.
The morning of the event, we rethermalized the butts in a CVap® at 200 + 100 for one hour, then pulled the pork and placed it in hotel pans. We tossed in our favorite sauce and held the pork in a CVap for three hours during service at 150 + 5.
The neat thing is that we cooked baked beans and scalloped potatoes at the same time, in the same CVap we were using to reheat the butts. So on the day of the party, we had an entire BBQ feast ready to serve in an hour and were able to keep everything fresh and hot for three more hours without babysitting anything. Best part (besides how good it tasted)? The cooks got to enjoy the party instead of slaving over the food!
About the Author
A seasoned foodservice industry pro like Chef Barry Yates can teach us all a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this business! He has worked with scores of trail blazers through his career and has owned/operated his fair share of restaurants. He joined Winston Industries more than two decades ago in a Culinary Research & Development capacity and has been with us ever since. Chef Barry is part culinary guru, part food scientist, part blogger, part pig farmer, part biker, and full-time fanatic about all things foodservice!
Winston Foodservice celebrates the Farm to Table movement. We wanted to share one of our recipes that takes full advantage of locally-available ingredients. The texture of these tartlets were so creamy and silky! What mother wouldn’t want to be treated to this delicious treat?
Savory Basil Goat Cheese Tartlet with Heirloom Tomato and Honey Salsa
- ¾ cup Toasted Panko
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
Mix all ingredients together, place small amount in bottom of mini muffin pan, and press firmly.
- 33 oz. Capriole Goat Cheese
- 3 Whole Eggs
- 1 Egg White
- ¼ cup Whole Milk
- 1 TBSP Basil Pesto
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, until smooth. Pour into each mini muffin pan until ¾ full.
Place in CVap set to 200 + 0 for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve warm in CVap set to 130 + 0.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa:
- 4 Heirloom Tomatoes (diced)
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Red Sweet Thai Chili Paste
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir ingredients together, bring to boil, and cool.
Place a spoonful of salsa onto goat cheese tartlet prior to service.
I love food! And I mean all types of food. My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to like? This year Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall back-t0-back on May 5 and 6. Celebrate both with a delicious Mexican recipe.
I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local South of the Border establishment for lunch and a margarita or three (If I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas. They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.
I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas are a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s pork! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard confit style. Once the pork has been broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are in usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ orange
- ½ lime
- ½ medium onion
- ½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
- Fresh cilantro
- 2 lbs. lard or cooking oil
In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.
Place bag in CVap Cook/Hold oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!
CVap Cook/Hold settings
High Yield Mode: OFF
Time: 8 hours
When the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the CVap oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.
Heat lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Carefully drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.
Now comes the tricky part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans, with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!
About the Author
Corey Ainsworth is Winston Foodservice’s Regional Sales Manager for the Southeastern US.
During the AKFCF Annual Convention (USA) show in Austin, Texas, Winston Foodservice received two amazing awards. The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association and the Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association both awarded Vendor of the Year to Winston. Wow, what a treat! Two Vendor of the Year awards in a single year. I’m tooting our own company’s horn, that is pretty AWESOME! Thank you Great Lakes and Upper Midwest KFC for the partnership! The Winston team is thankful for the partnership and commitment to your business.
The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association consists of KFC franchise owners in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, portions of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association was formed in 1974 and is comprised of owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Illinois.
We examined corned beef brisket with two different settings that yielded two very different results.
Typically, when you order a corned beef sandwich or a grilled Reuben, you’ll find that the beef is either shredded texture or sliced. We tested to determine the ideal settings for both.
The recipe is straightforward. We used pickling spice and water to brine to briskets for several hours; and then cooked them in the brine.
The brisket that was ideal for shredding was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 190 + 4 for 11 hours.
The brisket that sliced beautifully was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 135 + 1 overnight.
Both results had phenomenal flavor and tenderness, so it really came down to personal preference, whether you wanted it shredded or sliced.
Speaking of how to serve it…
Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it year-round! Take a departure from the traditional Reuben or corned beef sandwich by trying a couple of alternative combinations:
- Corned beef, kimchi, and mayo mixed with Sriracha or your favorite chili paste, served on rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, horseradish slaw with Fuji apples, and smoked Gouda, served with Dijon mustard on marbled rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, havarti, Dijon mustard, and sautéed or grilled onions, piled on pumpernickel rye bread and finished on a Panini grill.
Keep in mind there are more ways to serve corned beef than between two slices of bread:
- Corned beef hash with scrambled or poached eggs and toast points.
- Corned beef and mashed potatoes with parsley or dill, and braised cabbage.
- Corned beef (chopped), peas, Alfredo-type pasta sauce on fettuccine.
- Corned beef (chopped), bitter greens, and Fuji apples, served with cider vinegar/grainy mustard dressing.
- Of course, for us, a classic sandwich of tender CVap corned beef, Swiss cheese, cabbage or coleslaw, and spicy mustard on rye bread equals happy campers!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy corned beef? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter, or leave your comments below!
Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.
Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and thendipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.
This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.
Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
- 1 gallon of 6% brine
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
When 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)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
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
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
- 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.
- 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)
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
- Select Channel 3 to preheat CVap Thermalizer. Prepare two 18×26 size pans by covering with parchment paper.
- 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.
- In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg whites, hot water, and molasses with a large wire whip until blended.
- Slowly add the wet oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
- Pour @ 1 gallon of batter into each sheet pan and scatter chopped ginger over the top.
- Place in the preheated Thermalizer oven and bake 35 minutes.
- 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.
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 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 Steel
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.
- Remove inside components to the sink for cleaning and rinsing.
- Remove inside cabinet deposits non-abrasively; wash or sanitize with non-chloride cleaner; then rinse – allowing rinse water to drain to evaporator.
- 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.
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
The 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?
Beyond 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.
That’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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
One sauced, one not. We are here to please all rib lovers!
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.
Working with State and National School Nutrition Associations
The School Nutrition State Conference schedule started in March. Alabama and Oregon were the first to kick off their events from March 11-12. I’m fortunate enough to serve on both the Executive Board and the Exhibit or Expo Board in Alabama as an Industry member. I also serve as the Industry representative to the Membership committee for the School Nutrition National Association. That’s why I’m very proud of the work Alabama has accomplished in recent years. Alabama’s School Nutrition membership has had steady growth for the last four years. I’ve actually witnessed the sheer amount of people that now attend the Conference and Expo compared to 2012.
With every state conference and exhibit it’s all about support. All of the state associations run with varying degrees of staff and help depending on the support they get. One major factor is industry support. These are the companies that buy space at annual exhibits to show food products, kitchen equipment, software and other technology that could easily help each kitchen run more efficiently.
As each vendor gets ready to load in, the first day looked like this:
But in just a few hours it looked like this:
Some states have two-day shows with selected hours on the floor of the exhibition that are designated strictly for purchasers. Alabama had a one-day show this year. Typically, each state tries to mix things up to get the best out of what is likely their biggest support event of the year.
Most of the time the conference eclipses with an awards banquet. This year it was exceptional…particularly for me.
I work with a School Nutrition Foundation committee assigned to interviewing School Nutrition Heroes. These are people who not only perform in their jobs, but actually work in the program. They go above and beyond, sometimes with difficult odds and outcomes to help super serve their communities. These people are honored each year along with a new group of five at School Nutrition’s Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C.
Alabama is one of only two states that has two heroes. 2013’s Karen Watson from Sylacauga City Schools (left) and 2016’s Samantha Ingram from Geneva County Schools (right).
No doubt I have gotten as much from the experience as they have, just by knowing them and seeing the things they’ve accomplished. This photo was taken less than two weeks after Samantha was honored in DC at the Alabama SNA awards banquet. It really is all about support. The membership, the State Association, the Vendors, Superintendents, Principals, PTA, and on and on. A lot of effort from a lot of different places. But I can tell you, in my experience, the reward is awesome.
I have the pleasure of being Winston Industries’ School Nutrition Guru, so I get to travel the U.S. and see and talk to School Nutrition departments of all kinds. Many are similar in structure, but really the personality of each district is based on those people who serve and are served by it. It naturally makes me proud to see Winston equipment in so many kitchens across the country. I really am fond of seeing the pride in the teams who love what they do and the kids who love the awesome and healthy food that is being produced now. That’s been real head turner for me!
This is an American story.
There is an emerging trend of Native American fare starting to make its way onto restaurant menus. A great example can be found at a restaurant called Ulele (pronounced You-lay-lee) in Tampa, Florida, where they celebrate a vibrant fusion of ingredients from the waters and land that was once home to many Native Americans, including the young princess Ulele. Check out their website at www.ulele.com. If you travel to Tampa and stop in at Ulele, ask for Chef Eric Lackey and tell him JJ sent you!
But what makes this story uniquely American is how we adopt foods that lean toward the ethnicities that have emigrated here. This is happening in schools across the country and kids everywhere love the variety, and of course for some it is a learning experience!
In 2012, the School Nutrition Association noted a growing prevalence of ethnic food choices in school cafeterias, with schools offering Mexican and Asian dishes, and many experimenting with Middle Eastern, Greek, Kosher/Halal, and Indian foods.
Students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools have been invited to choose from Teriyaki Chicken with Lo Mein Noodles; Curry Chicken Salad; Black Beans & Rice Bowls and Cuban-style Roast Pork. The district offers a wide range of Hispanic dishes throughout the year, including Arroz Con Pollo and Picadillo with Rice and Plantains. (Source: Diane Pratt-Heavner, Director of Media Relations, SNA-The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science)
School nutrition future leaders recently met for the National Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. This part of the story of Somalis coming to Minneapolis-St. Paul is a story of freedom. Somalis first immigrated to the Twin Cities as voluntary migrants in the 1980s and earlier. They journeyed to attend scholastic institutions or to establish businesses, including many professions. Other Somalis arrived in the United States after the start of the civil war in Somalia during the early 1990s, or from other parts of Greater Somalia. Many of the newer arrivals moved to Minnesota through voluntary agencies (VOLAGS), who helped them settle in. Somalis that had arrived earlier also assisted the more recent immigrants (Wikipedia).
So of course Somali food from home had a profound effect on the Twin Cities and made its way on to school lunch menus in both school districts.
Chicken Suqqar is basically meat and veggies, Somali style. It was such a big hit at St. Paul School District’s Somali Parent Advisory Council meeting that they released the recipe for home use! I thought you might like to try it! I suggest a Brown Basmati rice under the mixture, I used boxed broth instead of chicken base and reduced it with chicken breast then removed and diced the chicken, added it back in and then followed the Chicken Suqqar directions. I also chose fresh carrots. You can do it anyway you like because this dish very versatile.
By the way, the school nutrition department where your kids go to school would be more than happy to have you as a guest to try the food being served. Just go to the district website and click on the Food and Nutrition Department. My experience has been that they want you to share their sense of pride in the local delicious diversity that they serve as a part of your community.
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.
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.
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.
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