Brown Butter Butter – A Delicious Science Experiment!

The title of this post is accurate, it’s not a typo. Beurre noisette is the French term for brown butter. It’s typically a sauce in which whole butter is melted until the milk solids separate (from the butter fat), caramelize and brown. It’s incredibly rich and delicious, and the aroma and flavor resemble that of a toasted hazelnut.

In this case, I wanted to brown the cream in a CVap prior to making the butter. I checked with a few CVap experts to get their thoughts, and the consensus was that it couldn’t be done. However, I was determined to give it a go, so I proceeded to try…and it worked!

The Process

I sought out the most unprocessed, unadulterated cream that I could find, which was plain pasteurized cream from Whole Foods. I wanted to ensure that there were none of the stabilizers that are typically found in more processed brands.

Cook & Hold Set Points. Constant Cook ON (Green Light ON), 200°F Doneness, 1 Browning, 10 Hours. Mason jars were filled about half way, and into the oven they went.

Cream and jars in CVap oven

I checked the cream from time to time because of the setpoints I was using – I wanted to ensure that the oven would not run out of water, and I needed to monitor the visual changes of the cream (Note: Do not agitate the cream when checking its appearance!). If your oven’s auto water fill has been hooked up, this would be a great overnight process. I increased the frequency of my cream checks as it evolved, to ensure that I was going in the right direction. I probably could have taken the process further, but after ten hours, my bed was beckoning.

Jars of Cream
Control Cream vs CarmelizedControl Cream vs Carmelized

The next morning, I prepared the batches of butter. I had reserved a pint of cream the day before to make a control butter, and I did so following the standard process using a stand mixer with the whip attachment. Next, I attempted to do the same with the browned cream.

Browned butter in bowl
I immediately noticed one glaring difference; the browned cream did not whip and aerate like the control. There was no volume at all! I was skeptical at that point and about to concede in defeat, but I kept it whipping and it suddenly separated! At that point I knew it would work and I’d be able to make brown butter butter.

What was my conclusion to this dairy experiment? That the milk solids are what caramelize; not the actual fat. When straining the buttermilk from the fat, the buttermilk had more of the delicious rich, nutty notes we all expect from brown butter. The fat did absorb those same characteristics, just not to as great a degree.

Finished brown butter butter

Now what to do…. I’m thinking ice cream, beurre blanc, brown buttermilk dressings, sauces, smoked brown butter butter, crème brûlée, anything really that uses buttermilk, cream or butter!

Baking Bagels without Boiling? Yes, in a CVap Oven

I ran across a post on social media about New York style bagels. It got me thinking…can I do that in CVap oven? I already knew that I could proof in CVap, but I wanted to know if I could mimic the step where the bagels are boiled.

I found a generic recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website. This was an easy, straightforward recipe. As usual, there’s a point in the recipe that calls for the bagels to be boiled. I chose to go with tradition and boil some, and prepare the others in a CVap oven (as sort of a test and control). I also prepared the water with honey instead of lye, baking soda, malt powder, or other ingredients that people often use, simply because I was aiming for a sweeter bagel.
I prepared my bagels, let the dough proof, shape and rise again. The next step was to boil. Bagels are delicious.

I brushed the proofed bagels with the honey water, and placed them in the CVap Cook & Hold. The unit was set at 200 Doneness and 1 Browning, Constant Cook ON. I elevated the bagels on a baking rack to ensure that the vapor would reach all sides of the bagel for five minutes.
Raw bagels prepped for baking
The CVap results were better than expected. The bagels were very similar to the ones that I boiled, but they didn’t rise as much as the boiled bagels.

The next step involved baking. I reserved a few bagels to bake in a conventional oven, and baked the rest in the CVap (90 Doneness, 10 Browning, Constant Cook ON). The recipe recommends baking the bagels, then removing them from the oven to add toppings. This was a bit difficult – the bagels were hot and had to be sprayed with water to make the topping stick. I chose to make a variety of flavors; everything bagel, asiago bagel, asiago jalapeno bagel, and a few plain bagels. The bagels destined for the CVap were much easier, as I was able to top the bagels right after boiling them.Topped bagels ready to bake
Not only were the CVap bagels easier to prepare, they also browned more evenly.

Baked in conventional oven

Baked in a CVap oven

When they had cooled just enough to not burn my mouth, I dug in. The boiled/oven-baked bagels were much chewier on the exterior, and the toppings fell off. The CVap bagels were a little denser and crisper on the exterior. Both were delicious! A bit more tweaking of recipe and technique would probably result in a seamless process in the CVap. No boiling, no adding toppings mid-bake – painless and delicious!
Bagels for days

Perfect Fried Chicken Every Time

Everyone’s fried chicken is the best! Or everyone has a grandmother that made the best fried chicken. I get it; I really do! Everyone has their own techniques, tricks, and superstitions when it comes to making their “famous fried chicken.” Well, my fried chicken is never the same. I do not prefer one technique over another. I am a fan of all styles. I don’t care if its buttermilk fried, Korean fried, or country fried – as long as it’s delicious and crave-able! Below, I have a recipe for a damn good piece of fried chicken. And at the end of the day, I really think that is paramount!

What makes this particular recipe great, besides tasting so good, is the fact that it is less greasy and can be prepared, mostly, ahead of time. Winston’s CVap® is the KEY to all of this. What I have done is reduced the fry time from 12 minutes down to about 3 minutes, resulting in a super moist, less greasy, and crave-able fried chicken. A quick tip: the less time the chicken is in the oil, the less grease the breading will absorb!

CVap Chicken Process

The day I prepared this, I wanted something with Asian flavors. So that’s where my approach came from. Let’s get into the details of the process!


Salt – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Water – 2 cups
Lemongrass, chopped and pounded – 2 stalks
Star anise, toasted – 4 each
Soy sauce – ¼ cup
Black peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
Ginger, fresh – 1 small knob
Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
Jalapeno, halved – 2 each

ingredientsPlace all the ingredients for the brine in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain and cool in refrigerator until it goes below 40F. Heat the CVap Cook and Hold to 155 F + 0F, Constant Cook On, time of 3 hours.

I prefer thighs and legs of the chicken for my fried chicken so that is what I used. In two freezer bags, I placed six pieces of chicken in each bag and split the brine between the bags. When closing the bags, try and remove as much of the air as possible to ensure that the chicken is making contact with the brine as much as possible. Once your CVap is to temp, load the chicken and press Start. Tip: For older chickens or larger cuts of chicken, increase the cook time to 4 or 5 hours. This will help breakdown the connective tissues and make it much more tender.

Breading Process

As the chicken is cooking, prepare the breading. There is a wet and dry step. For the wet I mixed equal parts buttermilk and coconut milk. The flour, I used bread flour because there is higher protein in bread flour. Higher protein makes for a better crunch!

Buttermilk – 1 cup
Coconut milk – 1 cup

Bread flour – 1 ½ cup
Onion powder – 2 teaspoons
Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon

When the chicken is close to being done, prepare your pot of oil. You will want to use peanut oil because we will be frying 390F to 400F for this round. Tip: Cover your stove with foil to make cleanup much easier!

Once the chicken is done and you have the oil heating, remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. When your oil comes to temp, turn down the heat to maintain that temperature and start the breading process. Dip the chicken in the wet mixture first and move to the flour mixture and back to the wet and back to the flour. That’s how you get EXTRA CRISPY. If you do not want extra crispy just go through the process once. You will want to do about four pieces at one time as to not overload the oil and you don’t want the chicken to sit breaded as it gets gummy.

Carefully put the chicken into the oil. When it is in, increase your heat on the oil to bring the temperature back to 390F – 400F. Since the chicken is already cooked, all you are trying to do is brown the breading! About three minutes in the oil will do. When you have reached your desired color, remove the chicken from the oil and let it rest on a rack. Season with a little salt.

The nice thing about this is if you don’t want to fry all the chicken you do not have to. Leave it in the bag and place it in the fridge and the next day you can fry the chicken from cold. You will need to heat the oil to about 330F – 340F, but the rest of the process remains the same. The cook process will take longer, about 8 minutes, but hey it’s still packed with all that flavor and the chicken is already cooked!

I topped mine with a mixture of sesame, scallions, soy, chili paste, lime and fresh ginger.


It’s All in the Proof! CVap Focaccia

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 Oven and CVap Retherm Oven can be used to bake bread. 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 Retherm 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 5 minutes.
Add salt and mix for 2 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.
Punch & DockPunch and stretch the dough to the shape of the pan and make indentations in the dough with your fingertips.

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.

One focaccia was topped with charred ramps, roasted garlic and rosemary. The other was topped with dried figs and fennel seeds. Both were seasoned with Maldon sea salt.

Figs & Fennel focacciaramps, roasted garlic, and rosemary focaccia

Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. CVap ovens promote a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap ovens 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 (top). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!

ramps roasted garlic and rosemary focaccia - finishedfigs and fennel focaccia, finished

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

Bringing Cuba to the Table: Embracing the Flavors of the Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich has made its way onto menus across the country and was iconic in Florida, with its origins in Cuban culture. Here is a simple version, with some added ingredients. I’ve added herbs to the marinade, which is completely optional.

When you order a Cuban sandwich, the meat can often be very dry and overcooked. Let’s face it, we are double-cooking a piece of pork; once in the oven and once on the panini press. Utilizing a CVap® Cook & Hold Oven to prepare the mojo pork makes it possible to cook to a specific temperature, without exceeding that temp.

Another great advantage to using a CVap Cook & Hold Oven is the High Yield option, because it will maintain the meat’s juiciness and maximize yield. In this case, we are using a piece of pork for the mojo that generally has low yield results. Because the oven calculates the best heat curve during the cook cycle, we can achieve the maximum number of servings from the pork. That translates to a couple of extra Cuban Sandwiches for you!

Mojo Pork Marinade Ingredients

  • 6 pounds, 2 pieces boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 each oranges, zested & juiced
  • 2 each lemons, zested & juiced
  • 3 each limes, zested & Juiced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch oregano, picked & chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin, ground
  • 3 tablespoons salt, kosher
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper, ground

Sandwich Assembly IngredientsYield: 1 Sandwich

  • 1 each soft roll
  • About 4 ounces Cuban pork
  • 1 slice swiss cheese, sliced
  • 2 each dill pickles, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Method of Preparation

  1. Prepare citrus, herbs, and spices for marinade.
  2. In a container or mixing bowl, combine marinade ingredients (except pork). Mix well.
  3. In two zip lock gallon bags, place the pork. Pour the marinade over the pork, equally.
  4. Refrigerator overnight.
  5. Preheat CVap Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook Off, 180 F + 4 Browning, 4 Hours.
  6. Place the pork in a hotel pan with the marinade.
  7. Load the pork in the CVap and cook.
  8. Once the pork is cooked, place in a refrigerator to cool; about three hours.
  9. Thinly slice the pork and reserve for assembly.

Mojo Pork in zip bag


  1. Preheat flat Panini press to 350°F.
  2. Slice the roll in half all the way through.
  3. Spread the mustard on one side of the bread.
  4. Top the mustard with sliced pork, pickles, cheese and other half of roll.
  5. Butter the Panini press and place sandwich on the press.
  6. Cook in the Panini press for 4-5 minutes. You will start to see the cheese melting off the sides and the bread should be nice and golden brown before removed.

Cuban Sandwich


Bringing Home the Ballotine… with CVap®

As I have worked my way down the East Coast, I have always taken away something from restaurants. Whether it is a technique, preparation, a specific recipe, etc…there is always something to be learned. I spent some time in a Philadelphia kitchen that was one of the most creative places I have ever been in. We would manipulate products in directions that I had not considered possible before; such as juicing onions for a soup. There were also items on that menu that were so easy and so delicious, you would wish you had thought of them first.

ingredients in the bagThe recipe I am offering is one that combines both easy preparation and wonderful manipulation of the product. This is a tried-and-true recipe that never came off the menu, and its preparation is simple enough that one can serve a restaurant quality menu item at home.

Definition of Ballotine:
In the culinary arts, a traditional ballotine is a deboned leg of a chicken, duck or other poultry stuffed with ground meat and other ingredients, tied and cooked. A ballotine is usually cooked by braising or poaching. In modern kitchens, a ballotine is sometimes made from other parts of the poultry, such as the breast, not strictly the leg. Moreover, a modern ballotine can be made using any type of meat, not limited to poultry. Source: Merriam-Webster.

Chicken Ballotine

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Portions


CVap Cook & Hold Settings: 165: 0: 2:00 hours

Ingredients / Quantity

  • 2 Chickens, whole
  • 8 oz Mushrooms, crimini, sliced, cooked
  • 2 Tbs Thyme, picked, minced
  • 1 Cup Cream
  • 4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups chicken thighs (fat, bone, and connective tissue removed)

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat the CVap Cook & Hold to 165: 0: 2:00
  2. Lay the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.
  3. Score the skin of the chicken from the top of to the bottom of the bird along the spine. Remove the wings at the top of the breast.Cut the chicken
  4. Flip the chicken over and remove the breast from the keel bone. Make sure you do not separate the skin on the back of the bird while doing this.Remove breast from keel bone
  5. Flip the chicken back over onto the breast and peel the skin from the neck all the way down and off the leg of the bird. Make sure to keep the breast meat attached to the skin. Repeat this process on the other breast.Peel skin
  6. Once all the breasts are removed from the birds, lay them meat side up. Cut the breast at a 45° angle from the top of the breast to the tail. Do not cut all the way through the breast.
  7. Refrigerate the breasts until they are ready to be filled.ready for refrigeration
  8. Remove the legs from the bird. Debone the legs and remove all the fat and connective tissue from the meat.Deboning the leg
  9. In a food processor add the leg meat and salt (2 teaspoons). Turn the food processor on and combine the ingredients.chicken meat in food processorWhen all the ingredients are combined and smooth, about 1.5 minutes, slowly drizzle in the cream. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Place the forcemeat in a piping bag and reserve.forcemeat
  10. Remove the breasts form the refrigerator and lay them out breast side up. Season with remaining 2 teaspoons of salt.
  11. Pipe the forcemeat into the cut breast.Pipe forcemeat into the cut breastRoll the breast so the skin is completely covering the breast meat.
  12. Line a counter/ table with plastic wrap. With the box of plastic wrap at the top of the table, tear off a piece that it 20 inches long and place the rolled chicken breast about 6 inches from the bottom.
  13. Roll the plastic over the chicken breast and continue to roll the breast to the top of the plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight to the breast.wrapping breasts
  14. Once the chicken is rolled, grab the edges of the plastic wrap at the ends of the chicken breast and hold firmly. Roll the chicken on the lined table/ counter surface to tighten the ballotine.Tightening the ballotine
  15. Once the ballotine is tight, tuck the ends of the plastic wrap to the bottom of the ballotine and wrap in another piece of plastic wrap to secure them. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken breasts.Make sure ballotine is tight
  16. Place the ballotines in the CVap Cook and Hold.Ballotines in CVap oven
  17. Heat a pot of oil to 350°F to fry the ballotines when they come out of the cook & hold oven.
  18. Once the ballotines are cooked, remove them from the oven and let stand for two minutes.
  19. Remove the ballotines from the plastic and pat dry.
  20. Fry them in the oil until they are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.Frying ballotines
  21. Remove from oil and let stand five minutes before slicing and  serving.
    Fried ballotineSliced ballotine