Score a Touchdown with CVap® Chicken Wings!

CVap Collectramatic Wings

It’s time for football season to kick off again. What goes better with watching a game than chicken wings? There are so many ways to flavor and cook this delicious treat, but  frying them can be time consuming.

We know that our CVap® Cook/Hold Oven is the MVP in the kitchen, so we decided to put it in the game to reduce fry time and give a lift assist to this legendary appetizer.

We took raw, fresh, jumbo bone-in chicken wings and advance staged them in the CVap Cook/Hold at 160 + 0 until they reached an internal temperature of 160°F. When we dropped them in the Collectramatic fryer (open fry at 350°F), they were ready to serve in four minutes flat. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside, and it exceeded a finishing temp of 165°F.

The CVap staging scores a touchdown with these chicken wings! These are easy to prepare for catering, appetizer specials, or any time you just want wings.

Don’t sit on the bench with ordinary wings, get in the game with CVap staged chicken wings.

 

 

CVap® as a Critical Component of HACCP

CVap HACCP

Many of you have discovered the benefits of precision low-temperature cooking provided by CVap® equipment. We often receive reports of you preparing the perfectly prepared rare steak or a beautiful mid-rare burger. But you might not know that this same process provided by Controlled Vapor technology can also be a critical part of your HACCP plan.

There are people who avoid low-temperature processing because of the fear of food-borne illness created by bacteria such as e-coli, salmonella or clostridium perfringens. Improper food temperature is the most frequent – and preventable – cause of food-borne illness, which is why temperature control is so critical to any HACCP plan. FSIS Directive appendix A&B Compliance Guidelines for Meeting Lethality Performance Standards defines the time/temperature requirements for achieving  6.5-log10 or 7-log10 reduction of Salmonella.

We conducted a test with our CVap technology to see the results of bacteria reduction while maintaing the quality of a medium rare burger. In our test we were able to accomplish a +7 log reduction and still maintained the quality associated with a medium rare burger. Safe and tasty!

You can always trust CVap equipment to produce high quality results and the food safety needed for your HACCP plan.

Exploration of Eggs: Creamiest Cheesecake Ever

CVap Cheesecake

Baking a picture-perfect and delicious cheesecake in a commercial kitchen can be a lot more difficult than people realize. You could have the perfect crust, a satiny-smooth filling, the best pan on the market, an appropriate bains marie, a great oven, mad skills… and still you wind up with those cracks in your custard!

As promised, I’m sharing a cheesecake recipe that I love, not only because it’s a tasty classic but also because it’s as fool-proof as the crème brûlée recipe I’ve already shared. I am again offering two methods: one is prepared in a CVap® Cook and Hold and the other in a CVap Retherm Oven.

Cheesecake Baked in a CVap Cook and Hold

Recipe/Process:

Crust: Mix 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs with 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press into to bottom of a springform pan.

Filling: In a mixer, cream together 4 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Then mix in 4 eggs, one at a time. Mix on low until very few clumps are visible and be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once the filling is finished, pour it over the crust.

  1. Set the unit to 200 + 0 Constant Cook and allow approximately 30 minutes when preheating the unit.
  2. Set the timer to 1:30
  3. Once the unit reads load, place the cheesecake in the unit and press start.
  4. After 1:30, the unit will read sell and the cheesecake has finished baking.
  5. Remove from oven and refrigerate (with the springform still in place) for at least 3 hours.
  6. After refrigeration, remove springform and slice for serving.

Cheesecake Baked in a CVap Retherm Oven

Recipe/Process:

Crust: Mix 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs with 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press into to bottom of a springform pan.

Filling: In a mixer, cream together 4 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Then mix in 4 eggs, one at a time. Mix on low until very few clumps are visible and be sure to scrap the sides of the bowl. Once the filling is finished, pour it over the crust.

  1. Set the unit to Channel 1 and allow approximately 30 minutes when preheating the unit.
  2. Set the timer to 1:15
  3. Once the unit reads load, place the cheesecake in the unit and press start.
  4. After 1:15, the unit will read sell and the cheesecake has finished baking.
  5. Remove from oven and refrigerate (with the springform still in place) for at least 3 hours.
  6. After refrigeration, remove springform and slice for serving.

There are 100 ways to cook an egg, and whether they are center of the plate or part of a cake or custard, there are so many ways to serve them. If you have a favorite cheesecake recipe or even want to share a past cheesecake calamity, please let us hear from you!

CVap Cheesecake

 

Exploration of Eggs: CVap® Crème Brûlée

CVap Creme Brulee

Creamy, velvety, decadent, smooth…there are so many delicious words to describe custards! But anyone who works with eggs or custards knows they are delicate and require precision handling. Even with the right skill set, it can be hard to get the same results every time with the limitations of traditional equipment. Not anymore! I have a few recipes that will give you perfect results, time after time. The way CVap® treats a custard is just awesome.

Today I’m sharing my favorite Crème Brûlée recipe; one is prepared in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven and the other in a CVap Thermalizer Oven – ENJOY! I’ll post my favorite cheesecake recipe soon, so be sure to check back. If you have a favorite custard recipe that you’d like for us to try in a CVap, please share it.

Crème Brûlée Baked in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven

Recipe/Process:

  1. Preset Cook/Hold to 200 + 0 and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat.
  2. Set timer to 45 minutes.
  3. Beat 6 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar, and ½ tsp of vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  4. Pour 2 ½ cups of heavy cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
  5. Pour into a shallow, heat-proof ramekin.
  6. Place in Cook/Hold and press start. After time is up, remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and caramelize with a chef’s torch.

Crème Brûlée Baked in a CVap Thermalizer

Recipe/Process:

  1. Preset Thermalizer channel 1, place a full sheet pan on the top rack and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat.
  2. Set timer to 30 minutes.
  3. Beat 6 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and ½ tsp of vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  4. Pour 2 ½ cups of heavy cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
  5. Pour into a shallow, heat-proof ramekin.
  6. Place in Thermalizer and press start. After time is up, remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and caramelize with a chef’s torch.

There are 100 ways to cook an egg, and whether they are center of the plate or part of a cake or custard, there are so many ways to serve them.

CVap® Staged Burgers Are Speedy, Juicy, and Delicious!

At some of our trade shows, we have showcased delicious, juicy burgers that have been CVap® Staged in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Quick speed of service and maintaining product consistency are just two advantages of using this method!

To prepare the burgers, we set the CVap to 135 (food temp) + 0 (texture) and preheated for 30 minutes. After placing the burger patties on parchment-lined sheet pans, we put them in the cabinet and set the timer for one hour.

After an hour, the burgers had reached our desired minimum endpoint temperature.

Once we got them to temperature, we held the burgers at that temp until we were ready for our lunch service. We pan seared to finish them, but they can be finished however you prefer (marked on a grill, pan seared, etc.). The point is, using this method you can produce a perfectly cooked, juicy, delicious burger two minutes after it is ordered, and it’ll have that mouthwatering, fresh-off-the-grill taste that patrons love. Plus you are serving a safe product that hasn’t been overcooked.

To finish our CVap presentation, we split hamburger buns, placed a slice of American cheese on one half, and held them in a CVap Holding Cabinet for about an hour to gently melt the cheese and soften the buns before service. We also prepared crispy bacon using a CVap Thermalizer set on channel 7 for 20 minutes. Lettuce, onions, pickles, and a variety of condiments were made available and attendees were not disappointed!

To give you another perspective, watch this short video You’ll see that in the time it takes to cook one frozen burger patty on a grill, you can finish three burgers that have been Advance Staged – and we would argue they are a little juicier than the traditional from-frozen product. Watch to the end and see for yourself!

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo High on the Hog!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’re celebrating with a couple of festive CVap recipes – our own twists on pork butt enchiladas and tamales!

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a big celebration of Mexican culture and heritage in the United States, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances, and street festivals. Source: history.com .

BBQ Pork Enchiladas

CVap Cook & Hold Oven – Constant cook OFF (high yield).
Doneness 180, Browning 7.
Cook time 7:00 hrs; hold for at least 5 hours at Doneness 150, Browning 0.

Ingredients

  • Pork Butt 7 – 14 lb whole
  • Tex-Mex dry rub of your choice (I used my own secret blend)
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Manchego Cheese, Shredded
  • Green Chiles, Chopped

Directions
Apply a layer of dry rub to pork butts as desired.
Preheat oven to 180 + 7 with Constant Cook OFF (high yield).
Cook with fat cap up for 7 hours.
Hold for a minimum of 6 hours at 150 + 0 (We held for 14 hours).
Allow to cool and shred. Mix enough of your favorite BBQ sauce with the pork to moisten.
Steam the tortillas briefly in CVap to soften them.
Mix the shredded cheese and chilies together. Spoon some of the pork and the cheese/chili mixture onto each tortilla.
Roll the tortillas, place in pan, and top with additional BBQ sauce and more of the cheese/chili mixture.
Bake in oven at 200 + 5 for 90 minutes.
Serve immediately and enjoy with your favorite Mexican beverage!

Tamales, CVap Style

Ingredients

  • Pork Butt, 7 to 14 lb Whole
  • Tex-Mex Dry Rub of Your Choice (again, my secret blend)
  • Red Pepper Sauce (or sauce of your choice)
  • Masa (cooked per label instructions)
  • Corn Husks

Directions
Apply a layer of dry rub to pork butts as desired. Preheat oven to 180 + 7 with Constant Cook OFF (high yield). Cook with fat cap up for 7 hours. Minimum hold time 6 hours (we held for 14 hours). Allow to cool and shred.
CVap Cook & Hold Oven – Doneness 200, Browning 5.
Cook time: 90 minutes – can hold at 150/0 for at least an hour.

Prepare masa and set aside.
Soak corn husks in warm water, set aside.
Mix enough tamale sauce into the pork to moisten. Add additional seasoning (cumin, red pepper, etc.) as desired.
Lay out a corn husk, apply a generous spoonful of masa and a spoonful of pork. Fold the corn husk to envelope the mixture.
Place in pan. Tamales may be stacked.
Pour tamale sauce over the top and bake.
Serve with additional tamale sauce.
Add some chips, salsa, guacamole, and margaritas with fresh lime, and you’ve got the makings of a real Cinco de Mayo Celebration!

Cooked Pork Butts
Cooked Pork Butts

Shredding The Pork Butt
Shredding The Pork Butt

Saucing the Shredded Pork Butt
Saucing the Shredded Pork Butt

Saucing the Enchiladas
Saucing the Enchiladas

Enchiladas Ready for the Oven
Enchiladas Ready for the Oven

Enchiladas
Adding Ingredients to Corn Husk
Adding Ingredients to Corn Husk

Stacking Wrapped Tamales in Pan
Stacking Wrapped Tamales in Pan

Plated Tamales
Plated Tamales

Tamales Fresh from the Oven
Tamales Fresh from the Oven

Tamales Plated
Tamales Plated

CVap Sous Vide Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce

Today I’m sharing one of our favorite CVap sous vide recipes: Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce.

Shrimp Buttered Prawns

If you are looking for tender, perfectly cooked shrimp bathed in a light, buttery sauce with a bright, citrus-shallot flavor (with just a hint of thyme), you will really love this one. This might spark some menu ideas, since operators may be looking for lighter fair in the upcoming warm weather season.

There is virtually no limit to what you can cook in CVap using a sous vide preparation. Because of CVap equipment’s unique ability to create and maintain precise temperature environments, even the most delicate products – like shrimp or fish – will turn out beautifully every time.

Try this amazing recipe yourself and download our free ebook: The Sous Vide Primer!

The Sous Vide Primer download button

Recipe: CVap Sous Vide Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce

Summary: CVap Sous Vide Process

Ingredients

  • 12 shrimp or prawns, peeled (16-20 count)
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Place shrimp and all ingredients in preferred bag for vacuum sealing.
  2. Vacuum seal shrimp (prawns) in a single even layer.
  3. Set CVap Cook & Hold Oven to temperature of 125F + 0F differential. Allow to preheat for 30 minutes.
  4. Place vacuum sealed shrimp in CVap oven for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Maintain in CVap until ready to serve. When ready to serve, cut open and place in serving dish or toss with delicate pasta, such as capellini.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

shrimp under seal
We’d love to try your favorite recipes too, so please share them!

Kentucky Lamb Hams – Not B-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-d!

Two big, salty hams.
One big salty ham poses next to another big, salty ham. The ham on the left is pork. The ham on the right is Chef Barry.

Ham. The very word brings to mind the many variations of the savory pork product. In the vast majority of cases, when folks say “ham,” they mean pork. Recently however I was talking with my friend Valerie Samutin about her lambs on Freedom Run Farm and she told me about the history of lamb ham in Kentucky. Apparently in colonial times, lamb was the protein of choice for the settlers in Kentucky. In order to preserve their lamb for winter consumption, they would cure hind quarters just like we do with pork.

I love to fuse historical traditions with new technologies. Our commonwealth was well-known as a core market for sheep and lamb production. Remnants of that heritage can still be found in central Kentucky, where dishes such as the mutton-based Burgoo remain very popular. I decided to use Freedom Run Farm’s wonderful lamb to test the hot smoking abilities of our new smoker box in a CVap holding cabinet. CVap Hot Smoked Lamb Ham!

lamb ham collage

Ingredients

  • 50g Prague powder (cure) No. 2
  • 80g KY Spice Berries (substitute fresh ground peppercorns if spice berries aren’t available)
  • 500g light brown sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 700g pure sea salt (iodine free)
  • 4-6kg fresh lamb leg, bone in and hoof on
  • Sugna:1kg olive oil mixed with flour to make a thick paste ***optional
  • (You need 80g cure for each 1kg of lamb leg) Approximately 300- 500 grams of cure per leg

Procedure

    1. Very Important! Weigh lamb leg and record weight! Record day and time of curing start as well and keep for your records!
    2. Make curing mixture with the first four ingredients above. Mix thoroughly.
    3. Rinse lamb leg thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Then rub the lamb with the cure. Don’t worry about using too much. Rub firmly, pushing the leg bone with your thumbs. There is a main artery there that may not have been thoroughly bled. This process will help work out any remain blood. Once this is complete make sure you rub more cure around the aitch (hip) bone. This is the exposed bone/joint where the leg was severed from the lamb’s torso (VERY important step.)

raw legs and hams
raw hams
washed ham

    1. Place leg of lamb on a bed of salt in a nonreactive container, preferably plastic, or old school on a wooden rack. In this case I used nonreactive plastic seeding trays. Place lamb in a refrigerated environment for a minimum of ten days. Turn daily and make sure that cure is redistributed daily. If necessary add more cure. General rule of thumb for curing is one day per kilogram, but no less than ten days.

Salted hams
Fit to be tied
first salt
closeup salty
salty in cvap

    1. After the curing period is complete, rinse lamb and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. This allows for good pellicle formation. Pellicle is a skin or coating of proteins on the surface of meats that allows for smoke to adhere during the smoking process.
    2. After the 24 hour refrigeration, place lamb hams in a CVap holding cabinet at 165°F food temp and +5 on food texture. Place hickory chunks in Winston smoker box and set timer for three hours. Once cabinet is preheated, place lamb into CVap and hot smoke until internal temperature reaches 155°F. This takes approximately three hours. [Note: Although CVap equipment doesn’t usually require vent hoods, the addition of a smoker box will usually require utilization of a vent hood. Always check local codes.)
    3. After lamb reaches 155°F, remove from CVap cabinet, weigh, and record weight. At this time, some folks like to add a Sugna (a mixture of fat and flour) on the cut surface of the ham. This is classically done with prosciutto, iberico, or Appalachian mountain hams to keep the cut surface from excessively drying. In this case, I don’t believe that it is necessary, as lamb takes less time to cure and reach maturity than a traditional leg of pork. Keep in a refrigerated environment until the lamb leg has lost 25-30 % of its original weight. Once this weight loss has been achieved, your lamb ham should be ready.

strung up smoked hams

  1. Lamb preserved this way should be shelf stable for up to six months. There is no need to age longer, because hot smoking kills the enzymes that would generate any further flavor complexities. Once the ham has been cut, wrap cut surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Another option is to bone the ham and vacuum seal individual piece that can be cut later.

smoked ham lambs
ham in hand
Bob Perry carving lamb ham.

In this case we sampled to a lot of chef friends, and also shared with Bob Perry at his 3rd annual Kentucky Neurogastronomy Symposium held at the University of Kentucky.

Celebrate National School Breakfast Week with CVap Southwestern Frittata Wrap!

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

Frittata Closeup

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.

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 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 one 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 & 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!
Frittata closeup

CVap Pineapple Chinese Five-Spice Pork Riblets

Pineapple Chinese 5-Spice Riblets

Happy New Year! 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

The Year of the Dog is nearly upon us. Though commonly thought of as Chinese New Year here in the US, it’s a holiday celebrated by much of the Asian world, and nearly a fifth of the planet’s population.

Like any good holiday, an important part of the it is sharing good food with family and friends. In that spirit, we’d like to pass along this recipe to you. It’s an amazing rib recipe shared with us by Chef Chas Tatigian of Twin Eagles Golf and Country Club. Chef Tatigian created this recipe specifically to showcase one of his CVap techniques, and this one – involving a slow braise under vacuum seal – is a real winner!

If you like what you see, let us know and tell us how you CVap!

RUB FOR THE RIBS (enough for approximately 4-5 Danish racks)

  • 1/2 Part Ground Coriander
  • 1 Part Allspice
  • 1 Part Chinese 5 Spice
  • 4 Parts Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne to taste

BASE COOKING MARINADE

  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Bacon Fat
  • 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 ¼ Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Roughly Chopped Scallion
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally rub ribs and let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  • Char ribs on hot grill and refrigerate.
  • When cooled, slice ribs into pieces leaving a little meat on both sides of the rib bone and bring to room temperature.
  • Combine ingredients for cooking marinade (this is enough for 4-5 Danish racks).
  • Heat the cooking marinade to approximately 100° to melt sugar and fat.
  • Place room temp ribs in a vacuum bag and put enough warm marinade in to cover ribs.
  • Seal bag at 90% to 95% vacuum.
  • Cook ribs in CVap Cook & Hold oven at 135/0 for 32 hours.
  • Cool bags in ice bath to use at later date OR, to use immediately, remove liquid and flash-roast bare ribs at 400°F until a little crisp, garnish with diced grilled pineapple and green onions, cut on a long bias.

Chef Tatigian is a long-time member of the CVap Nation. But don’t just take our word for it. Take his.

Chinese short ribs

Preparing for Pickling Perfection in a CVap

empty pickle jars
In my heyday of contemporary cooking (call it what you will, Farm to Table, Conscious Cuisine, Haute Cuisine, whatever), preservation was (and had always been) a major trend. Preservation – in the forms of pickling, fermenting, smoking, curing etc. – are all ways to preserve the season you are working with. This allows chefs to provide the best products and extend the seasons.

How does this relate to CVap? If you have ever done any at-home vegetable canning, you know how difficult it can be. It is equally difficult to manage all those jars and lids in a restaurant kitchen. So I removed the conventional boiling of jars from the equation and used CVap technology instead. Removing boiling water from the process makes canning much safer and easier.

pickling jars in CVap
Many factors are involved when canning items; acidity, altitude, head space, etc., to name a few. Because these variable factors can cause a canning process to go wrong, I will avoid providing a recipe. However, I will list the steps that I used to pickle vegetables and preserve clementines in CVap.

  • In the Cook & Hold Oven, I set the unit to 200 Food Temperature and 4 Food Texture. This gave me an overall temperature of 230°F. By doing so, I am able to ensure that all the bacteria are eliminated and the jars sanitized, and eliminating the processing step.
  • I brought my CVap up to temp and loaded all the jars, open, facing up into the unit. In that same pan, I placed all the lids and bands.
  • While the sanitation process was working, I prepared my pickling liquid and vegetables separately.
  • prepped veggies for pickling

  • When I was finished with the vegetables and liquid I was able to remove the jars from the CVap and fill each.
  • When dealing with potentially hazardous foods, it is essential to keep the jars sanitized until they are ready to fill. By leaving them in the CVap, I was able to ensure the jars remained safely sanitized.
  • Sealed pickle jars

  • After they were filled, I placed the lids and bands on each jar (finger tight) and loaded them back into the CVap for the processing step. This last step is crucial to the canning process, enabling a tight seal.
  • When they came out, I left them to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. The lids did not bubble and a week later I got to pop open a jar and enjoy the vegetables I pickled.

Broth Pho Sho’

Whenever the weather starts turning cool, my thoughts turn to soups, stews, and broths. There is nothing better to take the chill off your bones than a piping hot bowl of soup. I am often asked if CVap can be used to make a good stock or broth, and the answer is a resounding yes! Over the years I’ve made great beef, pork, and poultry stocks. I’ve made Tonkotsu ramen broth out of mountain ham bones. One of my favorite broth-based dishes to make and eat is Pho. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish with fragrant and aromatic broth. No matter which broth is your favorite, the basic method detailed in this recipe creates a beautiful result. No worries about scorching with CVap – just enjoy this wonderfully fragrant, aromatic broth!

Ingredients

Recipe yields 10 servings

  • 4 kilograms assorted beef, pork neck and poultry back bones
    (charred bones in CVap cook & hold 150°F food temp 10, level browning for 2 hours)
  • 4 onions
  • 6 carrots (rough cut into large pieces)
  • 7 stalks of celery (rough cut into large pieces)
  • 6 pods star anise
  • 85 grams of sliced fresh ginger
  • 45 grams garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 21 grams kosher salt
  • 32 grams fish sauce (I prefer Red Boat fish sauce 40N )
  • 10 liters of cold water
  • 3 (8oz.) packages dried noodles
  • 1.5 kg top sirloin (thinly sliced)
  • 2 bunches of cilantro (stemmed and roughly chopped)
  • 2 bunches of scallions (roughly chopped)
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 bunches Thai basil
  • Limes, cut into 4 wedges
  • Bourbon Barrel Soy to taste
  • Chef Edward Lees Sambal Hot Sauce to taste

Raw ingredients for Pho.

Directions

  1. Preheat CVap cook & hold oven to 150°F food temperature and 10 level browning.
  2. Place bones in 6” deep full-size hotel pan and roast in the preheated oven until browned, about 2 hours.
  3. Place onion on char broiler and grill until blackened and soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add charred onion, carrots, celery, ginger, garlic, salt, star anise, and fish sauce in the pan with roasted bones and cover with 8 liters of cold water. Place pan in CVap oven set to 190°F food temperature and browning level 3. Simmer for minimum of 12 hours. Strain the broth into a clean hotel pan and place back into CVap unit until you are ready to serve.
  5. Bone broth

  6. Place rice noodles in large bowl filled with room temperature water and allow to soak for 1 hour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and after the noodles have soaked, place them in the boiling water for one minute.
  7. Pho noodles

  8. Divide noodles among 10 serving bowls; top with sirloin, cilantro, and scallions. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, BBF soy sauce, and Ed Lee Chile-Garlic sauce on the side.

Finished broth
Raw sirloin ready for broth.
Raw ingredients ready for broth.
Adding broth to bowls.
Phenomenal pho!

The Story of a Perfect Turkey Starts with CVap

There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue and a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife (or a pair of fingers trying to filch a tidbit before it goes to the table). The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.

Brining is an option many cooks exercise though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include salt + sugar + paprika + granulated garlic + granulated onion + peppercorns + water or salt + sugar + aromatics (onion, carrot, celery) + thyme + rosemary + Italian parsley + bay leaves + water. The benefit of brining a turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.

In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8, and we cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.

turkey

In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.

turkey

An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.

No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!

Bring Bodacious Benedict to Your Breakfast

Life is busy. That fact is as true for us here at Winston as it is for anyone. Taking the time to have a good breakfast is a rarity, I suspect, for most of us.

What if you could easily provide your customers with just such a respite, without a big investment in time, ingredients, or manpower? Staging with your CVap Cook & Hold oven makes this possible.

One of my favorite breakfasts (both to prepare and to eat) is Eggs Benedict. It’s a simple recipe, and can easily be prepared and staged in a CVap oven. It requires a simple handful of ingredients, and only takes minutes to make. It’ll make your customers want to slow down – at least for a moment – to savor the fantastic flavors.

The recipe, as listed, is for a relatively small batch. But it can easily be scaled up to fit larger operations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen biscuits (canned or frozen)
  • 1 dozen eggs,
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • melted butter
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:
Set a CVap Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook ON, Food Temperature 150°F (Doneness) and Food Texture 10 (Browning), then allow to preheat. Place biscuits on parchment-lined half sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove biscuits from oven, brush with melted butter, then use a pastry cutter to remove the centers (be careful to leave bottom crust intact!). Place a raw egg and a pinch of salt and pepper in the center of each biscuit.

Egg in a biscuit

Adjust preheated Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook ON, Food Temperature 156°F (Doneness), and Food Texture setting 1 (Browning). Place the egg-filled biscuits in the oven for 25 minutes.

biscuit and ham

sauce on biscuit

Once the eggs are poached to your liking, remove the biscuits, sprinkle with cheese, and place the pan back into the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt. The beauty of CVap staging is that you can pause at virtually any point in the cooking process, and the food will remain unchanged until you’re ready to garnish and serve – whether that’s in 10 minutes or five hours.

We garnished ours with shaved Woodlands Pork Mountain ham, parmesan cream sauce, minced scallions, and paprika. You may want to use bacon, prosciutto, sausage patties – whatever savory protein appeals to you – to make it your own benedict.
eggs benedict

Celebrating National Hispanic History Month with CVap-style Tamales!

September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic History Month. This 30-day observation celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Enjoying the flavors and culinary influences of this diverse group is a great way to celebrate. This CVap-style tamale recipe, made with slow-cooked pork butt, is a fantastic example of Hispanic cuisine.

Recipe: Pork Tamales, CVap Style

Ingredients

  • Pork Butt, 7 to 14 lb Whole
  • Tex-Mex Dry Rub of your choice (we used Chef Barry Yates’ secret blend)
  • Tamale Sauce of your choice
  • Masa, cooked per label instructions
  • Corn Husks

Preparation

Prepare masa and set aside.

Soak corn husks in warm water, set aside.

Apply a layer of dry rub to pork butts as desired.
Preheat a CVap Cook & Hold Oven to 180 + 7 with Constant Cook OFF (high yield). Cook with fat cap up for 7:00 hours.

Hold for a minimum of 6 hours at 150 + 0. (We held for 14 hrs.)

Allow pork to cool and then shred it.

Mix enough tamale sauce into the pork to wet it. You may add additional seasoning (cumin, red pepper) as desired.

Lay out a corn husk, apply a generous spoonful of masa and a spoonful of pork.

Fold the corn husk to envelope the mixture.

Place in pan. You can stack the tamales.

Pour tamale sauce over the top and bake.

Serve immediately with additional tamale sauce and enjoy with a cool beverage!

How are you celebrating Hispanic History Month? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter! To learn more about CVap equipment, visit our website winstonfoodservice.com

 

CVap Aussie Bison Slider

Summer is winding down. The approach of Labor Day marks the time to pack away your summer whites, and is perhaps your last chance to grill out before the leaves turn and a chill returns to the air. Why not try a unique twist on that perennial grill staple, the burger. Aussie Bison Sliders are a much-loved specialty in Australia. They are absolutely bursting with flavor, and can credibly be called a party in your mouth!

The classic Australian burger is composed something like this:Aussie Burger Structure

Our version is similar, but we added a couple of twists and advance staged the burgers to make service and assembly a snap:

Eggs

Mix one quart of Egg Beaters® and pour onto a sprayed ½ sheet pan.

Cook in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 200 + 0 for 20 minutes. Finished product will resemble an egg crepe.

Eggs Cooked in Pan

CVap Roasted Beets

Roast whole beets in a CVap Cook/Hold at 200 + 10 for 2 hours with Constant Cook ON, then drop down to 200 + 0 for two hours. After cooking, the beets are to be cooled, peeled and sliced thin.

Bacon

Cook bacon strips in a CVap Thermalizer at 200 + 100 for 25 minutes, then crumble and set aside for the sauce.

Bacon Crumbles

Bison Sliders

Per pound of ground bison, mix the following ingredients:

One egg

1 ¼ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp granulated garlic

Divide bison mixture into 1 oz patties.

Advance stage in a CVap Cook/Hold at 135 + 0 for a minimum of 35 minutes or until you are ready to finish off on grill or flat top.

Sauce

Small chop a can of pineapple, blend with bacon crumbles, add chopped scallions, and mix with a small amount of sweet Thai chili sauce.

Pineapple sauce with Scallions

Assembly

On a sweet Hawaiian bun place a small amount of sauce, slider patty, mild cheddar cheese, egg, beets and serve.

Assembling Bison Sliders

ENJOY!

Aussie Burger Yummy

CVap Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables a la Thomas Keller

CVap Roasted Chicken

What’s more comforting or satisfying than a beautifully roasted chicken with fresh root vegetables? And how wonderful does the kitchen smell while everything is cooking?

The following recipe was prepared and shared with us by our friend, the late Chef Jim Whaley. It is an adaptation of Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables.

Recipe: CVap Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Ingredients

  • One 4 to 4 ½ lb. chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 tennis-ball-sized rutabagas
  • 3 tennis-ball-sized turnips
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1 small onion, trimmed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters
  • 8 small (golf-ball-sized) red-skinned potatoes
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 tbsp. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

Instructions

  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
  2. Preheat CVap® Cook/Hold Oven to 170/10.
  3. Remove neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Using a paring knife, cut out the wishbone from the chicken. Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken.
  4. Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks. Trim and discard the darkened outer layers. Trim the root ends, cutting them on a 45-degree angle. Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting ½ inch above the root ends. Rinse the leeks well under warm water.
  5. Cut off both ends of the rutabagas. Stand the rutabagas on end and cut away the skin, working from top to bottom and removing any tough outer layers. Cut into 3/4 inch wedges. Repeat with the turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas.
  6. Combine all the vegetables, remaining garlic cloves, and thyme sprig in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a large cast-iron skillet or roasting pan.
  7. Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  8. Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.
  9. Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken breast.
  10. Put the chicken in the CVap Cook & Hold Oven and roast for 1:15, or until the temperature registers 160° F in the meatiest portions of the bird and the juices run clear.
  11. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and rest. Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat, turning and glazing them with the pan juices.
  12. Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables, and serve.

Exploration of Eggs (Part 1)

 

Poached Eggs

Eggs are one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in the culinary world. Historically, any chef worth their salt has claimed to be able to prepare eggs a hundred different ways. Some theories even maintain that the original toque was created with one hundred pleats to represent the number of ways an egg could be prepared. Wearing a toque implied that the chef possessed the necessary prowess to prepare eggs. Nevertheless, eggs are used in many different fashions by the cooks of today and the best cooks use them individually in sauces, emulsions, foams, and baking.

No matter whom you ask however, when it comes to cooking, the process of preparing eggs is a delicate matter. The unique character of  the egg is found in its unusual food chemistry. The egg is more complex than it might originally appear. It is composed of proteins and water primarily, but has several components that make it an interesting ingredient to crack (no pun intended)! The shell is primarily a porous, protective layer of calcium carbonate that houses the white (albumen) — mostly water with some protein — and the yolk — mostly nutritious protein with a little fat and water and a very magical chemical: lecithin (the secret to emulsification). The proteins and the lecithin in eggs contribute both to its versatility as an ingredient and also its stubbornness. Too much heat and your egg is rubbery, not enough whipping and your white is not stiff… Nevertheless, we have found CVap to be a very good technology for cooking eggs in all methods. Due to the ability of CVap to maintain and control precise temperatures, we have been able to demonstrate remarkable results in cooking eggs to distinct, precise end-point temperatures.

We have been working on cooking eggs in our CVap kitchen. The poached egg test graphs below show some of our results from the test runs on pasteurized eggs. We found that 150 + 0 was the best setting for poached eggs in the shell; the yolks were a nice “custard-like” consistency, unlike the 145 + 0 where they hadn’t coagulated as well. Because we know that egg whites typically coagulate between 140 and 145 while the yolks coagulate between 145 and 149, the 146-degree end temperature for the 150 + 0 eggs proved to produce a great result.

CVap Eggs Chart

We will continue to work on eggs and will share those results with you as well. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to leave us a comment.

There are 100 ways to cook an egg, and whether they are center of the plate or part of a cake or custard, there are so many ways to serve them.

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.

sliced 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 .