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!

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.

The Flavor of the Emerald Isle is Easy as Pie!

Once again, we find ourselves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Here in the Ohio Valley, most of us have at least a smidgen of Irish blood flowing through our veins. But on March 17, we all tend to be sons (or daughters) of Erin.

One of the classic recipes in Irish cuisine is Shepherd’s Pie. The origins of this simple comfort food are unclear, though by most accounts it originated on Great Britain, as a simple dish to utilize leftover meats (the term Shepherd’s Pie seems to have come from Northern England and Scotland, where there are large numbers of sheep). What’s the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie? The type of meat. Shepherd’s pie is typically made with lamb. Cottage pie is typically made with beef.

Although recipes similar to Shepherd’s pie have existed for centuries, it wasn’t until potatoes became a common staple in the 1700s that the dish took on its current form. Prior to that, most recipes utilized a pastry crust, rather than potatoes.

Although this recipe is a simple, basic dish to prepare, having CVap® equipment at my disposal made it so much easier. And the results were delicious!

Plated Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup green peas
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 oz beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1.5 lbs ground lamb

Bake potatoes in a CVap RTV Retherm Oven At 200 air / 250 vapor (legacy setting 200 +50) for 35 minutes.

Prepare cream and butter mixture for mashed potatoes.

Sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic and carrots. Simmer until carrots begin to soften, then add ground lamb. Stir occasionally, until lamb is completely browned. Add peas and corn. Season with salt & pepper.

Mashed potatoes – add cream butter mixture to cooked potatoes and mash, add salt & pepper, once completely mashed, stir in egg yolk.

Move cooked veggie-lamb mixture to dish, and dollop mashed potatoes throughout, then spread potatoes over the top of lamb and vegetables.

Bake for 30-35 min in CVap Retherm Oven at 180 Vapor, 330 Air(189 + 150 for legacy CVap Retherm Ovens).

Potatoes party


The results were satisfying and delicious; simple, savory flavors that were just the thing to warm a chilly March afternoon.

There are countless variations of this basic recipe. Shepherdess Pie is vegetarian (or {blech} vegan). Cumberland pie adds a breadcrumb or pastry crust. Some recipe call for turkey or ham as the protein. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

To make it a proper St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I suggest a Bordeaux, a complex wine that goes great with a dish like shepherd’s pie. Its earthy and savory flavors will match well. Pinot noir is another great pairing. It’s bright and easy to drink, and will match up well with the sweet vegetables in this dish.

If you are like me, and are more a beer person, a nice dry Irish stout should pair really well!

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.

Hope You Made It To The Georgia Equipment Academy!

Every year, members of the Industry segment of the School Nutrition Association gear up for what we call “school show season.” We travel from state to state and participate in each association’s annual School Nutrition Conference. We set up our booths, catch up with our industry peers, mingle with our customers, and try to “sell our wares,” as my friend Joey says. But as a member of the Equipment delegation of Industry, often we find that state shows are more about food than our hardware. It’s understandable, considering that food makes up the largest expenditure for every school nutrition operation. Still, it can be frustrating because as sales people we are at the mercy of that goal we have to hit.
Georgia Equipment Academy Logo
For years, I have heard about the Georgia Equipment Academy, a three-day conference occurring every other year that focuses solely on equipment and technology. In 2016 I was finally able to attend my first GEA to see what all the buzz was about. I have to tell you, I was blown away. We were lucky enough to be selected in the Hoodless Cooking class (each conference is broken up into categories voted on by need) and were able to conduct five 30-minute sessions over the three-day period. Each session is attended by about 20 decision makers. Not only are we allowed to educate about our equipment, we get to perform live demonstrations to show the “proof in the pudding,” so to speak. Local food vendors donate food for demos and dealers, reps, manufacturers, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association work hand in hand to make the conference a unique experience. Honestly, for what we do, it is the best show I’ve ever participated in, and for the directors, it allows them to truly learn about technology that can advance their programs without any distractions.

RTV7-05UV-W

Winston Foodservice was proud to participate in the 2018 Georgia Equipment Academy. We are debuted our new CVap RTV Retherm Oven in the Hoodless Cooking category. Hope you had the opportunity to participate!

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. Carmelized
Control 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!

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!

The 2018 Winston Equipment Award Grant Applications Begin December 1, 2017!

Mark your calendar! Your opportunity to apply for the 2018 Winston Equipment Award is December 1, 2017!

The award provides ten pieces of Winston Foodservice equipment to a school district in need of improving its school meal kitchen facilities through a competitive grant process.
The winning school district can choose any ten pieces from Winston’s product line of CVap Holding Cabinets, CVap Hold & Serve Drawers, and CVap Retherm Ovens.

Winston works closely with the grant winner to determine needs and assist in the final selection of equipment. Winston also arranges delivery of the equipment to the district. Depending on which models are ordered, it could mean over $50,000 in new equipment for your district!

To apply, you must:

  • Be an active SNA director-level member, who has been a member of SNA for at least one year.
  • Be the person responsible for directing the school nutrition program for the school district.

How can I apply?

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) will open the 2018 Winston Equipment Award application process on December 1st, 2017. The deadline for the application is January 15th, or once the first 75 applications have been received (whichever comes first). The application spots usually fill up quickly, so don’t delay in applying!
CVap equipment
Want to hit the ground running? Prepare your application ahead of time by downloading the Application Preparation Worksheet. Responses may be copied and pasted from the worksheet into the online application. Visit https://www.schoolnutrition.org/equipmentgrants to learn more.

Best of luck to all of you!

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

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. Boiling bagels is the traditional method.
 
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 a conventional oven.
Baked in a conventional oven.
Baked in a CVap oven.
CVap Baked

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.

Hassle-Free Sous Vide Style Egg Bite

Egg Bite Complete
The sous vide egg bites at Starbucks have become a very popular menu item since their introduction earlier this year. There are many copycat recipes on the web, but my go-to is usually Chef Steps for anything sous vide. They have a great recipe for a version of egg bites made in 4-oz. mason jars. I have a sous vide circulator so that I can compare items cooked sous vide with with those cooked in a CVap oven. The egg bites turned out fantastic. The simplicity of this recipe makes it easy to tweak; you can easily come up with healthy and tasty variations on your egg bites. My trial run in the sous vide water bath was successful, so it was time to try the CVap version.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used the egg bites recipe (roughly) from Chef Steps to do my jar-less egg bites.

  • 8 large eggs (approximately 350g)
  • 350g of cottage cheese
  • 3g salt
  • 3g pepper

Blend the egg mixture thoroughly in a blender. Spray muffin tin with pan spray and fill with the blended egg mixture.
Egg Bites in Muffin Pan
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to add cooked, chopped bacon to each of the egg bites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Bites with BaconThe mix-ins are pretty wide open for these bites, but I had bacon in the fridge, and who doesn’t love bacon with their eggs? Seriously.

My goal was to mimic the Chef Steps method, where the bites are cooked in a water bath at 185°F for 25 minutes. I set the CVap Cook & Hold to Constant Cook, Doneness to 180°F and Browning to 2. This air temperature differential of 10 degrees keeps the egg bites from getting too much condensation on top. 25 minutes later I had perfectly cooked, firm egg bites.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
Egg Bite on Plate

 
 
 
 

The bites were easy to remove from the muffin pan, and they were delicious. Tender, velvety texture with the cottage cheese blended in. It was easy and hassle free to make a bunch at a time. Do you like sous vide cooking, but not the hassle and expense of bags or jars? CVap can cook sous vide style without the hassle.

Bakin’ Bacon!

Saturday, September 2 is one of the most important days of the year – International Bacon Day! What’s not to love about bacon? It is true that there are a few folks who don’t like bacon, but do you really trust them?

Sure, there are easy ways to enjoy this savory treat; BLTs, crumbled into salad, or with a couple of sunny side eggs. But why not try something that kicks it up a notch? What could be better that Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks?

Ingredients

  • Bacon – 1 lb. (or about 24 strips)
  • Refrigerated breadstick dough (2-tubes, 11 oz. each)
  • Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup (grated)
  • Garlic Powder – 2 tsp
  • Butter -1/2 cup (melted)

If you prefer, frozen yeast rolls may be substituted for breadstick dough. Allow frozen dough to thaw, and follow same directions as for breadstick dough.

Chef Barry Yates begins forming dough strings

Roll each section of dough into thick strings. Bring both end of the strings together. Place a strip of bacon on the doubled string and gently twist, making sure the bacon wraps around the strings of dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place each twisted piece onto the sheet, allowing space around each piece.

Preheat a CVap thermalizer oven on channel 4.

Place breadsticks into oven. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the breadsticks are baking, combine cheese and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Melt butter in a separate bowl.

Breadsticks going into oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

remove breadsticks from oven

Remove breadsticks from oven. Brush with melted butter.

brush breadsticks with butter

Roll warm breadsticks in cheese mixture.

breadsticks ready for serving

Plate and serve.

Yield will be two dozen. Your bacon breadsticks will be salty and savory, with just the right about of chewiness, and the added kick of bacon. Enjoy!

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

Winston Announces Award of Equipment to White Bear Lake Area Schools

Winston Foodservice has awarded its annual Winston Equipment Grant Award to the White Bear Lake Area Schools in Minnesota. This annual grant program was established in partnership with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) to help deserving schools serve hot, nutritious meals to their students.

Grant winners may choose any ten pieces of Winston’s CVap® equipment, WBL Area Schools selected ten CVap holding cabinets (models HMA018 and HA4522).

Bridget Lehn, SNS
Bridget Lehn, SNS

The schools’ Student Nutrition Services Director, Bridget Lehn, is frank about the challenges her district faces, and making do with aging equipment, but optimistic about the effect new cabinets will have. “New equipment will increase meal participation due to the improved quality of food. Our current warmers are either scorching food or not keeping it warm enough. Some of the warmers are adding excess moisture or drying out product, all due to inconsistent heating or lack of insulation. Word of mouth moves quickly; the kids are very intuitive and will notice the improved food. When they tell their friends, participation goes up.”

About White Bear Lake Area Schools
The White Bear Lake Area School District serves all or parts of Birchwood, Gem Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Maplewood, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake and White Bear Township, with four Early Childhood program locations (birth-K), nine elementary schools (K-5), two middle schools (6-8), a two-campus high school (9-12), an Area Learning Center and a Transition Education Center. The school district, with a total population of approximately 63,000 residents, serves nearly 9,000 students PreK-12.

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

Seafood Feast for the Holidays!

Seafood-spreadGrowing up, we always had a Christmas Eve tradition with seafood being the highlight of it. As a child, I lived in South Florida near the water with easy access to fresh seafood. It didn’t matter if we caught or trapped it ourselves, or if we had to buy it at a seafood market, it was readily at our fingertips. Each year would be different, as we might have a traditional clam bake one year and fresh-caught yellowtails the next. I remember all of it like it was yesterday.

Now that I have a family of my own, I have carried on the tradition. Every year, I prepare a large amount of seafood to be happily consumed by our guests.  I currently live in Michigan and fresh seafood is not so readily available. However, my friends at the Erie Fish Market (www.eriefishmarket.com) outside of Toledo, Ohio have made the process of finding and getting this seafood much easier. Thanks to the guys at Erie!

One of the perks of my job is having a CVap CAC503 Cook and Hold Oven in my kitchen. Over the years, I’ve cooked different seafood items in CVap but never the whole shooting match. For this blog post, I decided I was going to give it a try and see just how much food I could cram into my little CAC503. My menu consisted of butter poached warm water lobster tail, jumbo snow crab legs, jumbo sea scallops, little neck clams, bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp, steamed oysters, corn on the cob, red skinned potatoes and a couple of strip steaks (for my weird wife who doesn’t like seafood).

Seafood_Duos_2_433x277

I set my CAC503 to a low temp steam cycle with 100% humidity (doneness at 145 & browning at 0). I prepped and loaded ALL the seafood in while my guests were arriving. Our party was going great and the eggnog was flowing which caused the seafood to be in my CVap for longer than I originally planned by 2 hours. However, when I removed the food, it was perfect!

Seafood_Duos_1_433x277

I asked some of my guests to sear the scallops, bacon wrapped shrimp, and steaks to finish them off. This was a fun way to get my foodie guests involved with the meal preparation.  As they were searing these items, I placed some unsalted butter into the CVap to melt.  I also cut and seasoned the potatoes and put them back in to stay hot with the crab legs, lobster tails, clams and oysters.

Seafood_Searing

Once everything was on the table the only sounds were crab legs cracking and forks scraping the plates. The food was perfectly cooked. Lobster was a perfect texture, crab legs were easy to crack and melted in your mouth. The steamed clams and oysters were very plump and juicy. The texture of the scallops blew everyone away. The potatoes and corn even got high marks (I didn’t even try them as there was seafood to eat).  My experiment was a complete success! I will be doing this again next year but of course with a different menu. Any suggestions?

Seafood_Duos_3_433x277

On a side note, I went overboard preparing for this dinner and we had a lot of leftovers. I decided to make a mixture of lobster, crab, clams, scallops, shrimp, a couple dashes of lemon juice, fresh dill and parsley. I picked up some flounder at Erie Fish Market and I prepped the fish and topped with the seafood mixture. I then topped it with Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I broiled my seafood stuffed flounder until the top was brown and crispy. This was absolutely amazing!! It was great to eat two amazing seafood dinners back to back.  Try it, I bet you’ll like it.

Seafood_plate