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

CVap Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables a la Thomas Keller

CVap Roasted Chicken

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

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

Recipe: CVap Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Ingredients

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

 

Instructions

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

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.

Water – The Good, the Bad, and the Funky

 Cool facts about water:

  • Most of Earth’s surface (nearly three-quarters) is covered with water, but only a small percentage of our water (2.5%) is fresh. The other 97.5% is salt water.
  • Of that tiny percentage of fresh water, most (roughly two-thirds) is locked up in glaciers and ice caps.
  • The only other places in the solar system where we’re fairly certain that liquid water exists are on the Jovian moons Europa and Callisto.
  • Every living organism on Earth needs water to survive.
  • Each day, we exhale a little more than a cup of water (as vapor).
  • Food is mostly water.

Water is an amazing substance. Many of us take its existence for granted. It can also absorb a large amount of heat, which makes it a great medium to use in cooking – steaming, braising, sous vide, proofing. Water is what makes CVap® technology so powerful, and so precise.

Water dissolves and contains minerals and other sediments. Some of these dissolved substances can do funky things to both you and your cooking equipment. That’s what makes it so crucial to clean and maintain your CVap equipment daily.

CVap technology uses water heaters to directly affect food temperature. As water evaporates from the CVap’s reservoir, it leaves behind the minerals and sediments were previously suspended in the water. Over the course of a few hours, mineral concentrations will naturally rise. If not cleaned properly, mineral concentrations can eventually reach a level that poses a contamination hazard to your food, and could damage to the equipment’s stainless steel interior. Adding a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the water can help neutralize minerals, but based on your location, you may need to take additional water treatment steps before using that water in your equipment, or serving it to your guests.

There are several types of water treatment options to consider.

  • Sediment filtration removes suspended solids, reducing cloudiness. Cloudiness is usually caused by particles suspended in the water. These filters use a natural media (like sand) to filtering out the funk.
  • Carbon filtration also removes sediment, as well as chlorine, organic, bad odors and flavors. As the name implies, carbon filtration uses activated charcoal to absorb the nastiness.
  • Water Softening removes calcium, magnesium and other metals in hard water by using ion exchange resins. Minerals are flushed out via a salt solution.
  • Phosphates perform three broad functions: inhibit corrosion, chemically separate metals, and improve water quality by removing scale deposits, discouraging microbial film formation, and stabilizing free chlorine residuals.
  • Reverse Osmosis is by far the most thorough treatment option. It purifies water using applied pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane, filtering out everything but water molecules. The pores in the filter membrane can be as small as the radius of some atoms. This means it can reliably filter out salts and metallic ions. There is a drawback – reverse osmosis creates a lot of waste water.

Curious about how hard your water is? The map below gives you an approximate idea of water hardness throughout the continental US (image courtesy of USGS). Check out this USGS website to get an idea of how mineral-laden the water in your region is.

Water hardness map

What’s all this got to do with CVap?

Every piece of CVap equipment is constructed out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is an incredible material, but it’s not indestructible. And water is one of the things that can flat take down stainless – or more specifically, the minerals found within water. That’s why daily cleaning is critical, not just for CVap equipment, but for any piece of stainless steel equipment.

Want to know more about stainless steel maintenance and vulnerabilities? Check out this blog post on that very subject!

 

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 140°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.

sliced beef brisket

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

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

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

Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions

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

Burger Season is Upon Us. Prepare to Gobble!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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!

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

 

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.

Winston Receives TWO Vendor of the Year Awards from KFC Franchisees

Angie and Awards
Winston’s Angie Kirby proudly shows our awards.

During the AKFCF Annual Convention (USA) show in Austin, Texas, Winston Foodservice received two amazing awards. The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association and the Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association both awarded Vendor of the Year to Winston. Wow, what a treat! Two Vendor of the Year awards in a single year. I’m tooting our own company’s horn, that is pretty AWESOME! Thank you Great Lakes and Upper Midwest KFC for the partnership! The Winston team is thankful for the partnership and commitment to your business.

 

The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association consists of KFC franchise owners in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, portions of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association was formed in 1974 and is comprised of owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Illinois.

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

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.

 

Bringing the Heat with Nashville Hot Chicken

Hot ChickenWinter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.

Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.

We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and then dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.

Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.

This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).

Nashville Hot Chicken

  • 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
  • 1 gallon of 6% brine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
  • 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  1. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
  2. If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
  4. Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.

Enjoy!

Perfect Fried Chicken Every Time

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

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

CVap Chicken Process

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

Brine ingredientsBSimmer brine on the stove.rine:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Breading Process

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

Wet:
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Coconut milk – 1 cup

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Fried chicken topped with sesame, scallions, soy, chili paste, lime and fresh ginger.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

fried cauliflower "chicken"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”!

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

 

Celebrate the Season with Gingerbread!

gingerbreadWhen you think of gingerbread, do you picture crisp cookies and holiday decorations? Or do you picture a moist, cakey treat that is best served warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream? We’ve been leaning towards the latter!

In celebration of the holiday season, we’re sharing a couple of gingerbread recipes with you. The first yields a dark, moist cake, and the second (adapted from a USDA/NFSMI recipe) is geared toward high volume service. Both are delicious served either warm or chilled, and both recipes are written for the CVap Thermalizer Oven.

Moist Gingerbread (Small Batch)

Ingredients:

½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into a prepared pan.
  3. Bake on Channel 4 for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Gingerbread (Large Batch @100 Servings)

Ingredients:

¾ gallon + ½ cup enriched all-purpose flour
¼ gallon whole wheat flour
¼ cup baking soda
3 ½ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ½ cups vegetable oil
20 large egg whites
1 quart 3 ½ cups water, hot
1 quart 3 cups molasses
2 cups chopped ginger

Preparation:

  1. Select Channel 3 to preheat CVap Thermalizer. Prepare two 18×26 size pans by covering with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 1 minute until ingredients are combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg whites, hot water, and molasses with a large wire whip until blended.
  4. Slowly add the wet oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
  5. Pour @ 1 gallon of batter into each sheet pan and scatter chopped ginger over the top.
  6. Place in the preheated Thermalizer oven and bake 35 minutes.
  7. Cut each pan into 5×10 pattern or 50 pieces per sheet pan.

To Hold Warm Gingerbread

Hold baked gingerbread for up to two hours in CVap with the Food Temperature set at 140° F and the Food Texture set at 5° F.

Rockin’ Alamo City

School Nutrition’s Annual National Conference and Exhibit

San Antonio, Texas, is the seventh most populated city in the United States and the dry 100 degree days in July are HOT! It was definitely cooler inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, but the action and learning was just as hot as the south central Texas days outside.

photo-1
Here’s Jeremy West, Director of Nutrition for Weld County Schools in Colorado taking a quick break after seeing the sights on the exhibit floor!

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual National Conference pulls members and vendors from all across the U.S. and is likely one of the most fun events you can attend each year as a K-12 professional. We always have a great time and a great theme in the Winston booth. This year we were dedicated to Mission: Possible!

And like always, we dressed, played and had fun with the part!

photo-4photo-3photo-2This may have been one of our most active times at this yearly conference so far. Fans of CVap stopped to learn and have fun in droves.

Everyone enjoyed the Winston “Selfie Station,” nights on the Riverwalk, The Annual Membership, Star Club Breakfast, and so much more.

photo-5photo-7photo-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly I have about a hundred photos and trying to choose which ones to post was not easy! My favorite though, was this shot at the airport as we were all leaving to go home. One of many examples I saw while everyone waited to board their respective flights. Another awesome time at SNA’s ANC with your CVap friends at Winston!

photo-8

 

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!

Stainless Steel Care and Cleaning, Keep Your CVap Clean!

In the crazy fast paced world of food service, which in a lot of cases is 24/7, we need to find the time to break out the elbow grease and do some good old fashioned hard work. We need to keep our work areas and equipment clean and sanitized. Sorry, there is no easy button for elbow grease. Now, let’s discuss stainless steel or consider it stain-“LESS”.

Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel is susceptible to rust and corrosion. Stainless steel(s) are passive metals because they contain other metals; chromium, nickel, and manganese that stabilize the atoms. Four hundred series stainless are called ferritic, contain chromium, and are magnetic. Three hundred series stainless are called austenitic, contain chromium and nickel, are non-magnetic, and generally provide a greater resistance to corrosion than ferritic types.

With 12-30% percent chromium, an invisible passive film covers the steel’s surface acting as a “shield” against corrosion. As long as the film is intact and not broken or contaminated, the metal is passive and STAIN-LESS. If the passive film of stainless steel has been broken, equipment starts to corrode and at its end, it rusts.

Enemies of Stainless SteelCVap holding cabinet, half-size

Mechanical abrasion – Items that will scratch a steel surface. Steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers are prime examples that cause abrasions on the steel.

Water – Water comes out of the faucet in varying degrees of hardness. Depending on where you live, you may have hard or soft water. Hard water may leave spots and rust stainless steel. Other deposits from food preparation and service must be properly removed. Treated water may be your first defense.

Chlorides –  Found nearly everywhere like water, food, and table salt, for example. One of the biggest perpetrators can come from household and industrial cleaners.

On every CVap cabinet there is a cleaning label on the door to remind you to break out the elbow grease on a consistent basis and be sure to drain, clean and refill your evaporator with fresh clean water every day. Your CVap will return the favor by providing many years of dependable service in what Winston is known for, controlling food temperature and texture for extended periods.

A DAILY CLEANING DISCIPLINE AS FOLLOWS IS NECESSARY TO INSURE A LONG LIFE OF THE CVap INTERIOR STAINLESS COMPONENTS.

  1. Remove inside components to the sink for cleaning and rinsing.
  2. Remove inside cabinet deposits non-abrasively; wash or sanitize with non-chloride cleaner; then rinse – allowing rinse water to drain to evaporator.
  3. Drain the evaporator; wash with a non-chloride cleaner; remove all deposits using non abrasives. If there is a white scale on heat transfer surfaces, use Scale Kleen, Lime-A-Way or similar to remove. Rinse thoroughly and refill with fresh potable (non-chloramine) water.