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.

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.

 

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.

beef brisket

Please note this setting produces a brisket ideally suited for slicing. If you want a shreddable brisket, set your CVap Cook/Hold Oven to 170 + 2 and cook it overnight. Your yield will be slightly less, but it will shred beautifully.

For the perfect BBQ feast, serve your classic smoked brisket, slice it, slather it with your favorite sauce, and serve it with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, sweet onions, dill pickles, and sliced white bread. Oh – and plenty of napkins or paper towels!

Looking for some alternative serving ideas for brisket? Whether you smoke your brisket or not, any of these suggestions will showcase this inexpensive cut of beef very nicely:

Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions

  • Chop your brisket and use it as a topping on BBQ pizza
  • Make brisket tacos with cabbage, crema, and fresh avocado
  • Serve brisket hash as a breakfast or brunch item
  • Fill ravioli with a brisket mixture and serve with a sauce made with dark beer and caramelized onions
  • Create a smoky BBQ-style brisket cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes
  • Add chopped brisket to your chili for a delicious departure from ground beef
  • Give your vegetable beef soup a different dimension by using sliced or chopped brisket

Burger Season is Upon Us. Prepare to Gobble!

Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It’s also the official start of the summer season. Think summer foods, and the first thing that comes to mind is burgers. Here’s a delicious twist on burgers – made better with CVap (of course).

Not only does Memorial Day begin summer, it also immediately precedes June – a.k.a. National Turkey Lovers’ Month. So what does that mean? That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers started with CVap Staging.

First a question: do any of you get frustrated when someone describes turkey burgers as being dry, flavorless, or dull? With the abundance of techniques we have at our disposal, and the enormous variety of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s just no excuse for it! And of course we love turkey as a starring protein because it is a lean, versatile option.

For this post, we experimented with two different approaches, though our base mixture was the same for both. We combined ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), One minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Once the mixture was gently combined, we formed 3-ounce patties and put some on a parchment-lined half-size sheet pan.

turkey burger ingredients - mise en place
Eggs, minced garlic and onion, Panko, and soy sauce.

 

ground turkey raw
Ground turkey. Gently knead other ingredients into meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

patties on tray
Ground turkey mixture formed into 3-oz. patties. Half were placed on parchment-lined tray.

 

smoke into bag
The other half of the patties were vacuum-sealed with a little added smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the other half, placed them in pouches for vacuum-sealing, and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. It was just enough to give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming.

All of the patties then went into a CVap Cook/Hold Oven with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature (Doneness) setting of 145°F and a Food Texture (Browning) setting of 0, for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

To finish the patties, we pan seared them for texture and brought them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F (though tossing them on a grill for quick finish would work equally well). CVap Staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.

The patties that were vacuum-sealed wound up being the perfect size and shape for the toasted ciabatta rolls we were using. We dressed those simply, with fresh torn cilantro and a chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) that complimented the slight hint of smoke in the patty.

Pouched patties, seared on a grill
Pouched turkey patty, finished by searing on grill.
Turkey burgers with fresh torn cilantro and chipotle salsa.
Patties CVapped in a pouch fit perfectly on ciabatta buns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After pan-searing the more traditional patties, we treated a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. We finished it off with a mixture of tender baby lettuce and torn, fresh cilantro.

asian dressed turkey burger
Asian-influenced traditional patty with Sriracha mayo, onion, soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, baby lettuce and torn cilantro.
Asian-styled turkey burger
Traditional patty dressed with Asian flavors. Note the even doneness – a hallmark of CVap cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the first, Latin-inspired burger was extremely tasty, the Asian-influenced burger was off-the-charts delicious. We can’t wait to make it again!

So what exactly is CVap Staging? Using this process, food is brought to the exact internal temperature desired and then held there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. This means that the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before the food is served. Imagine how much faster you could push plates out of a kitchen!

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at winstonfoodservice.com .

Celebrate National Barbecue Month with This Crowd-pleasing BBQ

May is National Barbecue Month! Nothing signifies the arrival of Summer like the rich flavor of barbecue. Recently we did BBQ a big crowd, and we had a blast doing it!

We cooked 7- to 10-lb. Boston pork butts traditionally for about ten hours on a Good-One® smoker until they reached an internal temperature of 180°F. Then they were quick-chilled on the bone and refrigerated. (Check out The Good-Ones website for some awesome smokers.) You can also add versatility to your CVap oven with the Winston Smoker Box.

The morning of the event, we rethermalized the butts in a CVap® at 200 + 100 for one hour, then pulled the pork and placed it in hotel pans. We tossed in our favorite sauce and held the pork in a CVap for three hours during service at 150 + 5.

Pulled pork bbq
Pulled Pork Bbq

The neat thing is that we cooked baked beans and scalloped potatoes at the same time, in the same CVap we were using to reheat the butts. So on the day of the party, we had an entire BBQ feast ready to serve in an hour and were able to keep everything fresh and hot for three more hours without babysitting anything. Best part (besides how good it tasted)? The cooks got to enjoy the party instead of slaving over the food!

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Barry Yates
Chef Barry Yates

A seasoned foodservice industry pro like Chef Barry Yates can teach us all a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this business! He has worked with scores of trail blazers through his career and has owned/operated his fair share of restaurants. He joined Winston Industries more than two decades ago in a Culinary Research & Development capacity and has been with us ever since. Chef Barry is part culinary guru, part food scientist, part blogger, part pig farmer, part biker, and full-time fanatic about all things foodservice!

A Savory Treat for Mother’s Day

Winston Foodservice celebrates the Farm to Table movement. We wanted to share one of our recipes that takes full advantage of locally-available ingredients. The texture of these tartlets were so creamy and silky! What mother wouldn’t want to be treated to this delicious treat?

Savory Basil Goat Cheese Tartlet with Heirloom Tomato and Honey Salsa

Crust:

  • ¾ cup Toasted Panko
  • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter

Mix all ingredients together, place small amount in bottom of mini muffin pan, and press firmly.

Filling:

  • 33 oz. Capriole Goat Cheese
  • 3 Whole Eggs
  • 1 Egg White
  • ¼ cup Whole Milk
  • 1 TBSP Basil Pesto

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, until smooth. Pour into each mini muffin pan until ¾ full.

Place in CVap set to 200 + 0 for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve warm in CVap set to 130 + 0.

 

Heirloom Tomato Salsa:

  • 4 Heirloom Tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Red Sweet Thai Chili Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Stir ingredients together, bring to boil, and cool.

Place a spoonful of salsa onto goat cheese tartlet prior to service.

Prepare in the PM for Perfect Porchetta

If you’re not using your CVap® oven overnight – why not? You can be productive 24 hours a day with CVap.

Inserra Shop Rite Supermarkets, one of my valued customers, uses CVap Cook/Hold ovens in three of their locations. Executive Chef Paulie Velletutti takes full advantage of their stacked pair of CVap Cook/Holds, producing a variety of dishes for their prepared foods section. He also roasts deli meats in the CVap, increasing yield and maximizing profits (who doesn’t want versatility and extra profit?).

A great example of Chef Velletutti’s creativity is an amazing Porchetta using two bellies and a pork loin. This produces a succulent, appealing Porchetta that flies off the shelves – and most of the work is done overnight! This recipe was prepared at their Wallington, New Jersey store.

Prepare your Porchetta as normal with your favorite herb/spice rub. Tie it up and put it in the CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Set the oven to a Doneness setting of 144, and a Browning level of 2. Set the timer for 15 hours. Walk away and let the CVap do its thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning the Porchetta will be perfectly cooked. It only needs a little finishing to perfect it. A nice texture and a beautiful browning are achieved by finishing in a convection oven at 475 F degrees for 12 minutes. Blast chill it, and slice it up.

 

 

 

 

These portions have been a hit with customers, and Inserra will now regularly include this Porchetta as a regular item in the rotation of the prepared foods case.

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!

Vegan Doesn’t Just Mean Tofu & Salad!

I had just finished planning a three-course dinner for some visiting customers. My goal was to demonstrate CVap versatility with contemporary applications and menu trends. I had settled on a menu that included the following:

First Course – Southern fried chicken boa with Kim Chi
Second Course – Moroccan grilled lamb loin with Tzatziki and quinoa tabouleh
Dessert – molten chocolate cake with Chantilly cream

I was quite pleased with the ethnic diversity represented by the meal as well as the variety of CVap and Collectramatic applications. With menu in hand I began to create my ingredient list and production schedule. About 30 minutes into my planning and two days before the meal, I received a note that one of our guests was vegan. What?! How was I going to make the above menu vegan? I certainly wasn’t going to offer only salad and tofu! So I set my mental wheels in motion and this is what I came up with:

Southern fried cauliflower bao with Kim chi
Moroccan grilled beets with quinoa tabouleh and silken tofu Tzatziki
Vegan double chocolate pistachio cake with whipped spiced coconut cream

But first, there were several hurdles to overcome:

Making the Kim Chi without fish sauce, where do you get the Umami?
Get cauliflower to emulate the look and feel of a fried chicken thigh!
How to get tender beets without turning them to mush…
Whipped coconut cream?!

With a little help from Alex Talbot and J Kenji Lopez-Alt and a lot of help from CVap I think we did pretty well. Here are a few pictures from our luncheon and the recipe for the Southern Fried Cauliflower. If you’d like the rest of the recipes send me a note and I’d be glad to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brine Recipe for Cauliflower:

  • 3 liters cold water
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon barrel soy
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • ½ small sweet onion sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 liter of ice

Directions: Place all ingredients but ice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ice. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to use.

Cauliflower ingredients:

  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch thick steaks and then quartered
  • 1/2 cup savory brine
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon barrel soy sauce

Directions: Place cauliflower pieces in sous vide bags, cover with prepared brine, add soy, and vacuum seal. Place in CVap set on Constant Cook at 185F food doneness and 0 level browning. Cook for one hour. Place immediately in water bath to cool and then place in refrigerator until you are ready to fry the cauliflower.

Breading and Frying:

  • 2 cups of your favorite breading
  • ½ cup brine

Dust cauliflower with breading, dip in brine, then bread lightly with breading mix. Drop into a Collectramatic fryer set on open fry 350F for 3 and half minutes. Voila! Vegan fried “chicken”!

It’s hard to spot the difference! Can you tell which is our vegan fried “chicken”?

 

Giving Back – Equipment Grant Winners

Like a lot of people in the foodservice industry, I didn’t intend on ending up here.  Also, like a lot of people in the foodservice industry, I didn’t intend on still being here over a decade later.  One of the many reasons I still am, however, is the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Child Nutrition the entire time.  There’s truly not a better collection of warm and caring individuals in this world and I am proud to be a part of their family.  And what I am most proud of is when my other family, Winston Industries, provides the Equipment Grant Award. Well, that and keeping me employed…

equip-grantEvery year through a competitive grant process at SNF, our company gives away 10 pieces of equipment (of the winner’s choosing) in our holding cabinet or oven line. That amount of free equipment could represent a monumental change for anybody, much less a district in extreme need! Covering the Southeast, I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with three of these grant winners, as well as a district in my home state of Mississippi who we helped post-Katrina. This year lightning struck again and I got my fourth winner, Hernando County Public Schools in Brooksville, Fla.

Hernando County has about 25 schools and Food & Nutrition Services Director, Lori Drenth, designated nine sites to receive the seven Holding Cabinets and three Thermalizer Ovens she chose after winning.  Along with helping to feed an increasing number of students in older kitchens, this equipment will allow her staff to be able to truly do batch cooking and serve food at its highest quality.  And as she said, “it’s like Christmas when a kitchen gets new equipment and it instills a sense of pride in the employees knowing their school is getting that investment.”  It gives me that same sense of pride to work with these people and a company that makes money selling equipment, but also gives some away for a good cause!

You can apply for next year’s grant starting on January 10, 2017. Learn more here! 

TURDUCKEN!

Thanksgiving may be the time for tradition, but for us we decided it was time to shake things up! This year, we not only roasted and fried turkeys, but we also cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that is a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!

Let us warn you, this isn’t a task you take on unless you are fully committed. Time and patience are your friends during the time you are preparing the most delicious turducken.

Process

1. Debone all meat – turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save some time on the day of. Depending on your expertise, this should take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

2. Make stuffing to place in-between each layer of meat. This is the list of ingredients we used, but feel free to put your own spin on this favorite. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.

  • Stuffing mix of your choice, we used corn bread
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chicken Broth (or Vegetable broth)
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Fresh Sage
  • Minced Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Now for the turducken!

  • Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper
  • Lay turkey out ready for the stuffing
  • First layer of stuffing on turkey
  • Chicken thighs placed on top of turkey, and chicken breast on lower half of turkeyimg_0224
  • Second layer of stuffingimg_0226
  • Duck placed in middle of stuffing layer
  • Last layer of stuffingimg_0228
  • Begin to pull up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers

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  • Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper

CVap Settings

The other turkey was cooked on high yield at 170 doneness and 4 level browning for 6 hours then held overnight for 8 hours at 150 doneness and 1 level browning.

One turkey was staged at 165 and 0 browning over night for 14 hours and then finished in the Collectramatic fryer for 3 minutes.

Roasted turkey – 82% yield

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Staged & fried turkey – 84% yield

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Sous Vide Turkey – Get Ready to Gobble It Up!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who builds up enough points to get a “free” turkey at their grocery store.  I hadn’t had a chance to cook the one from last year before this year’s came along.  So, it was time to make room in the freezer. Over the years I have explored cooking many different foods sous vide style in CVap. To be accurate, only things that are vacuum sealed can be called sous vide – it’s a French thing. The literal translation of sous vide is under vacuum in English. However, the same precision cooking that you get by sealing something in a bag and dropping it into a water bath heated with an immersion circulator heater can be done in CVap.

I pulled the turkey out a few days ahead of time to defrost in the fridge, pulled the organ meats and neck out and gave it a good rinse. Grocery store birds are technically brined with a salt solution at the factory (read the small print on the package) so there was nothing to do but get the CVap set up. My intent was to start the bird early in the morning and get it close to a final temperature of 160 degrees F so that I could finish it in a 500 degree F oven to add texture. To make sure I had an idea of what was going on inside the bird I bought a new toy that has a Bluetooth temperature probe that sent a temperature chart to my iPhone.  Yeah, I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets and this one is particularly cool.  The temperature charts throughout the process. The CVap cook and hold was set to 160 doneness and 0 Browning.  Essentially the CVap is acting like an immersion circulator at this point. I put the probe in the thigh joint, put the turkey in the oven and went about my day. I knew that at some time during the day the turkey would get to the set point of 160 and that it would stay there.  By keeping tabs on the progress I would get an idea of when I needed to get everything else ready.

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When the turkey got to 160 and all of the side dishes were done, I fired up my convection oven to 500 degrees. I put some fresh thyme and sage in a stick of melted butter and basted the turkey with it before browning it in the convection oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten minutes in the convection oven to add texture and the turkey was done!  No trussing of the bird, no hassle and everything done at the same time with very little hassle.  This is my method for Thanksgiving (and anytime) turkey from this day on!

 

Can You Do Roast Beef in a CVap?

img_0579This question was posed to me by a restaurant owner that wanted to improve the quality and yield of his roast beef for sandwiches.  And the answer is, of course we can, CVap is not just for Prime Rib!

This test was conducted at the test kitchen of my Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland representatives – High Sabatino Associates in Jessup, Md.  I can’t tell you the wet spice rub that is on the top round in the pictures because he brought it already seasoned.  He wanted to have the end result be medium (I’m a much bigger fan of medium rare). This test was conducted in the CAC507 cook and hold oven with the settings doneness 140 and browning 6.  We set the roast time for 6 hours.  When the oven read LOAD we placed the beef in the CVap and pressed start.

img_0580The top round is a tougher cut of meat than a prime rib so there is a benefit derived from extending the hold time for the product beyond the standard settings of the unit.  At an internal temperature above 130 degrees F, you are breaking down the connective tissue inside the protein.  This isn’t complicated, you just leave the roast in the oven.  The beauty of CVap is that the roast will stay at a steady doneness temperature as long as you need it to.

In this example, we roasted for 6 hours and held the product overnight.  The yield for the top round was 88% after a 6 hour roast and a twelve hour hold.  A minimum of a 6 hour hold is necessary to get the right tenderness of the finished product.  Too often roast beef is sliced paper thin to mask the lack of tenderization.  I like a thicker slice and this method will allow you to slice the beef in slices that you can sink your teeth into.

As you can see in the pictures, there was great moisture retention and consistent doneness throughout the product.  Top to bottom and end to end.  I’m certain that CVap is the only cook and hold oven that can produce those results.  The picture of the end of the unit was taken after a very thin slice was taken off the end, no more than 1/16” thick.  Normally, there is a ½” to ¾” thick layer of meat that is done to a greater degree than the center.  Improved yield, consistent and precise roasting.  Plus, the roast was absolutely delicious!

Not These Lunch Ladies!

I was recently scheduled to do a demo on one of our CVap Thermalizer Ovens at the Tift County School District in Georgia. I was looking at their menus for that day to see what we would be cooking when I saw the words: NO SCHOOL/PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE. A frightening thought entered my mind – that no staff would be there and we would need to reschedule.  Actually, my first thought was, YES! No School!, a juvenile reflex, I guess. So I sent a note to Kogi, one of the Assistants to the Director, and asked if they would be in that day. “Yes,” she said, “it’s a student holiday, but still a work day.” Awesome, not only will they be in, but I’ll have their complete attention while doing my demo. But will they be in a bad mood? Not these lunch ladies!

When I walked in the kitchen, it was humming. Every staff member was busy cleaning and organizing. I announced my arrival to the manager, and she gathered her flock around the CVap Thermalizer Oven for my demo. And just as I had thought, I held their complete attention. They were engaged, asking questions, even had smiles on their faces. We cooked our frozen pizzas on Channel 3 for about 12 minutes and they came out great. The ladies ate and we talked some more, but then they went right back to the deep clean, smiles still on their faces. I was borderline astonished. Not only are these ladies doing the job most people hate (imagine deep cleaning your kitchen and multiply it by 10), but they also have to listen to me, the company gasbag, trying to tell them how to cook in our oven. But, not these lunch ladies!

A little background on what lunchroom staffs do each day. Nationwide, these workers prepare and serve over 30 million lunches and 14 million breakfasts daily. Some even provide meals at night and through the summer for their communities. They greet rambunctious kids with a smile and perhaps the only nourishment they will receive that day. Then they clean and scrub and, for a lot of them, it’s off to the next job. Let’s face it, it’s not the most glamorous in the world and it’s certainly not the highest paying. Many of them have a second occupation and they are most likely the ones cooking and cleaning at home. It’s a thankless job and it would’ve been so easy for the staff at 8th Street Middle School to mail it in and be crabby, thinking about what they could’ve been doing had they not been at work. But, not today. Not these lunch ladies!

Remember to tell your lunch staff thanks for the delicious food they prepare and all the hard work they do for you each day. Trust me, they will appreciate it more than you know!

CVap Baby Back Ribs

Summer is by far my favorite time of year. It is an escape from winter. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming. Millions upon millions of people leave their dens of hibernation for the great outdoors. But to me, there are three things that truly signal the beginning of spring: baseball, beer, and BBQ. Today we will be focusing on the king of grill toppers, ribs!

My normal procedure for baby backs would be 225°F on my smoker for 4-5 hours. But that limits me to only cooking and eating ribs on the weekends and I’m way too greedy for that. Luckily, I have a CVap Cook & Hold! This technology allows me to cook the ribs beforehand in the oven and have them holding until I get off work. I can then finish them off on the grill at my convenience.

Ingredients

1 slab baby back ribs
3 tablespoons salt
Vegetable oil
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons cup garlic powder
1 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon rosemary powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
BBQ Sauce of your choice

Instructions

1. Remove membrane and sprinkle salt on both sides of the ribs and allow them to dry brine overnight.
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl to create your dry rub.
3. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil on the ribs and then coat with dry rub.
4. Place ribs on half size sheet pan and put them into the Cook and Hold oven.

CVap Cook & Hold Settings

High Yield Mode: ON
Doneness:  135
Browning:  6
Time:  5 hours
At this setting, the ribs will hold at 135°F for six hours

Finally, fire up your grill and baste ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce. When the grill is at its hottest, place ribs directly over heat to allow the sauce to caramelize and get some texture on the outside. Slice ribs and serve!