Preparing for Pickling Perfection in a CVap

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.

Brown Butter Butter – A Delicious Science Experiment!

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.

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.

Als 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.

Turkey in CVap

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!

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.

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 steam.

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

Plating Perfect Pork Chops with CVap

One of the best things about CVap is having the ability to use it to handle precision cooking of center of the plate (COP) items without monitoring – or even having to check on it. For this blog post I got some beautiful Berkshire pork chops from Fossil Farms. I brined them in a 5% salt solution with honey and fresh thyme for two hours. What I wanted to accomplish was to have the pork chops done and ready for plating later in the day. I set up my CVap Cook/Hold to Doneness 145°F and Browning of 0. Once the CVap came to temperature and the display read “LOAD” I seared the chops and placed them on a rack inside a hotel pan.

place pork chops into pan for searingpork chops seared in pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The internal temperature of the chops at that point after searing was 85° F.
Temp of 85F after searing
Once all the chops were seared and in the pan, off to the CVap they went.

Pork chops emerging from the oven.
With the CVap set to 145°F, all I had to do was wait for the moisture inside the chops to equalize with the moisture in the water pan. The Browning was set to 0 so the air temperature was 145° as well.  Basically, I was using a sous-vide method without putting the chops into a bag. A few hours later I made starch and a vegetable to go along with it.  When the pan was pulled out of the CVap all the chops were at precisely 145°F.

Pork chops cooked to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were of varying thicknesses and weights, but all of the moisture inside the chops equalized to the temperature of the water inside the CVap. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do this with a large banquet where the party was delayed for some reason or another? When you use CVap to make your proteins this is a no-brainer.

 

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 .

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day with Carnitas!

I love food! And I mean all types of food. My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to like? This year Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall back-t0-back on May 5 and 6. Celebrate both with a delicious Mexican recipe.

I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local South of the Border establishment for lunch and a margarita or three (If I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas. They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.

I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas are a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s pork! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard confit style. Once the pork has been broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are in usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ orange
  • ½ lime
  • ½ medium onion
  • ½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 2 lbs. lard or cooking oil

Instructions

In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.

carnitas ingredients
Carnitas ingredients.

 

carnitas ingredients in bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place bag in CVap Cook/Hold oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!

CVap Cook/Hold settings

High Yield Mode:  OFF

Doneness:  178

Browning:  0

Time:  8 hours

When the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the CVap oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.

cooked cubed pork
Cooked cubed pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Carefully drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.

carnitas fryer
Ready for the fryer.
frying carnitas
Frying the cubed pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now comes the tricky part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans, with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!

fried pork pieces

 

A St. Patrick’s Day Treat – CVap Corned Beef!

We examined corned beef brisket with two different settings that yielded two very different results.

Typically, when you order a corned beef sandwich or a grilled Reuben, you’ll find that the beef is either shredded texture or sliced. We tested to determine the ideal settings for both.

The recipe is straightforward. We used pickling spice and water to brine to briskets for several hours; and then cooked them in the brine.

 

 

 

 

 

The brisket that was ideal for shredding was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 190 + 4 for 11 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

The brisket that sliced beautifully was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 135 + 1 overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

Both results had phenomenal flavor and tenderness, so it really came down to personal preference, whether you wanted it shredded or sliced.

Speaking of how to serve it…

Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it year-round! Take a departure from the traditional Reuben or corned beef sandwich by trying a couple of alternative combinations:

  • Corned beef, kimchi, and mayo mixed with Sriracha or your favorite chili paste, served on rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
  • Corned beef, horseradish slaw with Fuji apples, and smoked Gouda, served with Dijon mustard on marbled rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
  • Corned beef, havarti, Dijon mustard, and sautéed or grilled onions, piled on pumpernickel rye bread and finished on a Panini grill.

Keep in mind there are more ways to serve corned beef than between two slices of bread:

  • Corned beef hash with scrambled or poached eggs and toast points.
  • Corned beef and mashed potatoes with parsley or dill, and braised cabbage.
  • Corned beef (chopped), peas, Alfredo-type pasta sauce on fettuccine.
  • Corned beef (chopped), bitter greens, and Fuji apples, served with cider vinegar/grainy mustard dressing.
  • Of course, for us, a classic sandwich of tender CVap corned beef, Swiss cheese, cabbage or coleslaw, and spicy mustard on rye bread equals happy campers!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy corned beef? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter, or leave your comments below!

CVap Ribs Smoked on a Green Egg

How do you like your ribs? Fall off the bone? Texture with a bite? Smoke or no smoke? Baby back or St. Louis Style? Dry rub? Saucey? Grilled, baked, boiled – don’t even go there! Oh My!  Between the questions and the debate almost everyone has an opinion on how they like their ribs. Here is my new favorite recipe that includes smoking and CVap cooking, blending a combination of techniques to get ribs that I am proud to share.

image1 (2)I have made numerous different dry rub recipes, tried store bought and then found a recipe that has become my go to! It is Meathead Memphis Rub and it will make your ribs OUT OF THIS WORLD! I Started using this dry rub a few years back and haven’t changed since.

Next, go with your favorite rib, I’m using St. Louis style. Trim excess fat and shiny membrane from the back of the rib. Using a paper towel to pull off the silver skin makes the job easier.

Generously cover ribs with Meathead Memphis Rub.

Time to start your smoker! I’m using a Green Egg. Light high quality lump charcoal and bring the smoker to 225-250 degrees. For this recipe, I like a mix of Hickory and Apple wood. Add whichever wood chunks you prefer and let’s get smokin!  Once smoke is billowing out, add the ribs. Cook for 2 1/5 hours on the smoker.  Add wood chunks as necessary.

I have found that smoking ribs for 4 hours can end up with a dry rib. After the smoke, I move the ribs to CVap for the perfect balance of smoke, bite and tenderness. Cook in CVap for 1.5 – 2 hours at 180 degrees Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).

CVap has the ability to precisely finish cooking. Winston CVap Cook and Hold for 1½ to 2 hours at 180d Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).

Oh, look at the bark! Tender moist ribs, still with a little bite.  YUM!image11 (2)image13

After CVap cooking, place the ribs on foil,
top with drizzle of local honey and a few tablespoons of butter.  Put back on 350 degree grill to heat through and to melt the butter and honey.  Serve now.  If you like sauced, sauce on grill, flip and sauce other side.

If you want to serve the next day, after CVap chill and reheat the next day following the above grill instructions.

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One sauced, one not.  We are here to please all rib lovers!

 

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 and CVap Thermalizer ovens can be used to bake breads. CVap ovens are perfect for baking applications since users can customize the environment inside the oven to create the ideal conditions for proofing.

I had a great time with this project. It is getting the wheels turning for what other bread items we can cook in the CVap Cook & Hold or Thermalizer ovens.

Recipe:

Bread Flour – 1.82 Kilograms
Water – 845 Grams
Fresh Yeast – 60 Grams
Olive Oil – 140 Grams
Salt – 60 Grams
Sugar – 58 Grams

Method of Prep:

Preheat Cook & Hold to 90 Food Temperature + 1 Food Texture, Time 1:15.
Mix the water and flour. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add sugar, olive oil, and yeast. Mix for five minutes.
Add salt and mix for two minutes.
Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan greased with olive oil.
Place dough in center of pan and stretch the dough into a flat, oval. Make sure both sides are greased with Olive Oil
Place dough in Cook & Hold to proof.
When the timer goes off, pull dough out of Cook & Hold.

Punch 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.


Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. The CVap promotes a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap we can adjust the environment of the cabinet to tailor the proof. By doing so we can create compounding flavors while the bread is fermenting (or proofing).

The crumb on the finished product was excellent. It created a very light and soft finished product without making the exterior of the product too hard.

If you notice in the pictures, one of the pans of focaccia was too close to the elements (right). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!


This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the product once you have tried it. I look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com

 

CAC522 Cook/Hold Oven

The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC522 cooks precisely, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Our only full-size cook/hold cabinet, it is the perfect solution for operations that need to prepare large amounts of food ahead of their busy periods and then hold those foods to perfection. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The 14 adjustable universal rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans, plus a set of four chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built-in fan provides for even distribution of vapor temperature. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen.

CAC509 Cook & Hold Oven

The CVap Cook & Hold Oven CAC509 cooks precisely, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Ideal for QSRs, full-service restaurants, B&I facilities, or any operation that prepares ahead for busy periods. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold five sheet pans or ten steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built-in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in a stacked unit: CAC507 / CAC509.

CAC507 Cook & Hold Oven

The CVap Cook & Hold Oven CAC507 cooks to precise doneness, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Since it fits beneath standard counters, it is ideal for operations that need a full-service oven but are limited in space. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The four adjustable universal rack supports hold four sheet pans or eight steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built-in fan provides for even distribution of vapor temperature. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in stacked units: CAC507/CAC507, CAC507/CAC509, or CAC507/HA4507.

CAC503 Cook & Hold Oven

The CVap Cook & Hold Oven CAC503 puts a lot of cooking power in a small package. Cooks to perfection, then switches automatically to hold mode until you are ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. This model fits under the counter, ideal for operations with space limitations. This Silver edition model has a two-channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six-channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold four half sheet pans or four steam table pans. Built in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen.

CVap Staging in Ukraine

On a recent business trip to Ukraine, we were able to see some beautiful architecture, absorb some of the amazing history, and experience the humbling real-life revolution that is currently in full swing in the middle of Kiev (and the rest of the country).

Spencer Cole, a Winston Global Accounts Manager, had the opportunity to not only train several local chains and chefs on CVap theory, he also provided  live cooking demonstrations and had the chance to catch up with our loyal customer, StarBurger. StarBurger is currently CVap Staging their burgers with great success and according to YELP! and TripAdvisor, their customers are agreeing so much they now have two locations and are planning a few more in Kiev alone!

From TripAdvisor.com:

“The most delicious burgers in Kiev” 
Jan 15, 2015,  A TripAdvisor Member

I have been here often and always happy. The burgers really are delicious. In Kiev, it is better not met. Staff no complaints. Prices for this segment quite adequate.

http://www.spottedbylocals.com/kiev/star-burger/

All shoddy language translations aside, there two things that make this post and StarBurger different. First, StarBurger was introduced to the concept of CVap burgers from the Winston YouTube Channel, specifically the video of John T. at The Commissary:


Second, StarBurger uses real charcoal grills to finish their burgers so they can really capture that “fresh off the grill” backyard taste. Lastly, StarBurger uses a Holding Cabinet (HA4507) stacked with a Cook & Hold (CAC507) so that they can adjust with to the flow of business. They cook all the burgers in the CAC and then move them to the Holding Cabinet until they are ordered. This configuration allows them to start “CVap Staging” new burgers when the business flows dictates which allows the maximum flexibility.

 

StarBurger has loved the CVap Staging platform so much, there is even talk of CVap Staging other menu items such as chicken and Salmon!

 

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com

 

 

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).

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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!

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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?

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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