“Gumbo is a veritable art form in Louisiana. There are as many gumbo recipes as there are cooks.” Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine, p. 135
Of all the dishes in the realm of Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and likely the most popular. Although ingredients vary from one cook to the next, and from one part of the state to another, a steaming, fragrant bowl of gumbo is one of life’s cherished pleasures – as emblematic of Louisiana as chili is of Texas (Adapted from A Short History of Gumbo by Stanley Dry).
There are many different recipes for gumbo, but it can essentially be described as a thick, well-seasoned stew with different combinations of meat or seafood. Roux (a thickening agent for soups and sauces) is a must, and most varieties of gumbo include onions, bell pepper, celery, and parsley.
This recipe is a classic Gumbo Ya Ya with chicken and sausage. And although it isn’t a traditional ingredient in Gumbo Ya Ya, I like to add crawfish (a.k.a. crawdads)for an extra flavor boost. What makes this recipe unique is that nearly every step is executed using CVap equipment.
First we knocked out the rice (3 pounds long grain par-boiled + 3 ¾ quarts of water) by cooking it in a CVap Thermalizer on channel 6 (200 + 150) for one hour. The cooked rice was then held in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 150 + 0 until we were ready to serve.
We cooked a dozen bone-in chicken thighs in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 170 + 0 for 45 minutes to an hour. The bones were removed for the overnight stock, then we shredded the chicken meat and set it aside.
For the overnight stock, we combined the chicken thigh bones, celery, carrots, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns in a stock pot and added water until everything was just covered. The stock was cooked overnight in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 180 + 0, strained in the morning, and then refrigerated. Then all we had to do was skim before adding it to the gumbo.
Recipe: Gumbo Ya Ya
- 4 onions, diced
- 4 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, small dice
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 pounds andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 pounds chicken, shredded
- 2 pounds crawfish tails (optional)
- 5-10 bay leaves
- 4-5 thyme sprigs
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 5 cups flour
- ¾ cup green onion, chopped
- Sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper, add garlic, and then remove from heat.
- Roux is one of the basic ingredients to a great soup or sauce. At the risk of boring the more seasoned cooks among you, I’ve included instructions for preparing a roux.
- Roux is made from equal parts fat and flour. In this case, vegetable oil and flour. Warm oil over medium-low heat, then add the flour.
- Stir constantly in a figure-eight pattern to evenly distribute. Watch the roux closely to prevent burning.
- Cook the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it becomes a dark caramel color (see picture). Remember that roux must be watched carefully – you don’t want to have to start over!
- Mix all ingredients together (using only half of the roux) and add 3 quarts of stock, sausage, crawfish (optional), and chicken. Stir and place in a CVap Cook & Hold oven at 200 + 3. Stir every 45 minutes or so. Check the thickness – if it needs to thicken more, add more roux. If it is too thick, add more chicken stock. After 2-3 hours, stir in the chopped green onion. Serve over hot rice.
Try this heartwarming dish for yourself and Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Every year, members of the Industry segment of the School Nutrition Association gear up for what we call “school show season.” We travel from state to state and participate in each association’s annual School Nutrition Conference. We set up our booths, catch up with our industry peers, mingle with our customers, and try to “sell our wares,” as my friend Joey says. But as a member of the Equipment delegation of Industry, often we find that state shows are more about food than our hardware. It’s understandable, considering that food makes up the largest expenditure for every school nutrition operation. Still, it can be frustrating because as sales people we are at the mercy of that goal we have to hit.
For years, I have heard about the Georgia Equipment Academy, a three-day conference occurring every other year that focuses solely on equipment and technology. In 2016 I was finally able to attend my first GEA to see what all the buzz was about. I have to tell you, I was blown away. We were lucky enough to be selected in the Hoodless Cooking class (each conference is broken up into categories voted on by need) and were able to conduct five 30-minute sessions over the three-day period. Each session is attended by about 20 decision makers. Not only are we allowed to educate about our equipment, we get to perform live demonstrations to show the “proof in the pudding,” so to speak. Local food vendors donate food for demos and dealers, reps, manufacturers, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association work hand in hand to make the conference a unique experience. Honestly, for what we do, it is the best show I’ve ever participated in, and for the directors, it allows them to truly learn about technology that can advance their programs without any distractions.
Winston Foodservice was proud to participate in the 2018 Georgia Equipment Academy. We are debuted our new CVap RTV Retherm Oven in the Hoodless Cooking category. Hope you had the opportunity to participate!
There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue and a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife (or a pair of fingers trying to filch a tidbit before it goes to the table). The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.
Brining is an option many cooks exercise though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include salt + sugar + paprika + granulated garlic + granulated onion + peppercorns + water or salt + sugar + aromatics (onion, carrot, celery) + thyme + rosemary + Italian parsley + bay leaves + water. The benefit of brining a turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.
In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8, and we cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.
In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.
An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.
No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!
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!
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!
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:
Our version is similar, but we added a couple of twists and advance staged the burgers to make service and assembly a snap:
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.
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.
Cook bacon strips in a CVap Thermalizer at 200 + 100 for 25 minutes, then crumble and set aside for the sauce.
Per pound of ground bison, mix the following ingredients:
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.
Small chop a can of pineapple, blend with bacon crumbles, add chopped scallions, and mix with a small amount of sweet Thai chili sauce.
On a sweet Hawaiian bun place a small amount of sauce, slider patty, mild cheddar cheese, egg, beets and serve.
Yum! Yum! Walking down the street and peering into the local cupcake shop, I often wonder, is that a sweet treat or a piece of edible art work? Mouthwatering cupcake shops have popped in every major city and in many small towns. If you want to use your CVap Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to rival the cupcake shops, we can show you how!
Just take your favorite cake recipe and set the Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to the below settings. CVap makes a moist and light cake that will be a hit for any occasion.
With endless variations and recipes for cake, use your favorite recipe. Or if you need a quick and easy cupcake, here is a modified box recipe that I personally love to use:
Take your favorite standard size box mix and use 4 eggs, ¾ cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sour cream and ¾ cup sugar. Mix and bake.
Constant cook ON
Food Temperature 165
Bake at the recommended time listed for your specific cake recipe.
Cook for recommended time and check mid-way through cook cycle
As for icing, buttercream is my favorite. Italian buttercream is made by cooking sugar and only using real butter. Cooking the sugar gives it a smooth texture and the butter gives it a rich flavor. Below is my recipe 🙂
Buttercream Icing Ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
- Pinch of salt, optional
*Makes buttercream for 12 cupcakes.
- Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Increase heat to medium-high and allow syrup to come to a boil.
- Meanwhile, place egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a medium bowl if using a handheld mixer, and beat until whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
- Cook syrup until it reaches 235°F, then immediately remove from heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling: don’t pour the syrup onto the whisk, or the syrup may splatter against the sides of the bowl; instead, aim for a spot close to the whisk.
- Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to body temperature.
- Add butter one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. The mixture may start to look as if it’s separating, but don’t panic: just keep mixing and whipping until the buttercream comes together and becomes smooth and gorgeous.
- Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or a zipper-lock bag in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to two months. To use buttercream that has either been refrigerated or frozen, first allow to come to room temperature then beat until smooth and spreadable again. Cakes or cupcakes decorated with buttercream generally keep up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve buttercream at room temperature.
When 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)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
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
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
- 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.
- 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)
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
- Select Channel 3 to preheat CVap Thermalizer. Prepare two 18×26 size pans by covering with parchment paper.
- 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.
- In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg whites, hot water, and molasses with a large wire whip until blended.
- Slowly add the wet oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
- Pour @ 1 gallon of batter into each sheet pan and scatter chopped ginger over the top.
- Place in the preheated Thermalizer oven and bake 35 minutes.
- 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.
Focaccia bread (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is one of the most versatile breads baked today. Not only can the bread be baked either thick or thin, the endless array of toppings to choose from compounds flavors in a complex yet delightful way. Most people think of Focaccia as the free basket of bread provided before the meal at your local Italian eatery, but the bread can be used many different ways including as a pizza base, sandwich bread or even as a cake.
One of the more surprising things I encounter as I visit regions all over the world is how few people realize the CVap Cook and Hold and CVap Thermalizer ovens can be used to bake breads. CVap ovens are perfect for baking applications since users can customize the environment inside the oven to create the ideal conditions for proofing.
I had a great time with this project. It is getting the wheels turning for what other bread items we can cook in the CVap Cook and Hold or Thermalizer ovens.
Bread Flour – 1.82 Kilograms
Water – 845 Grams
Fresh Yeast – 60 Grams
Olive Oil – 140 Grams
Salt – 60 Grams
Sugar – 58 Grams
Method of Prep:
Preheat Cook and Hold to 90 Food Temperature + 1 Food Texture, Time 1:15.
Mix the water and flour. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add sugar, olive oil, and yeast. Mix for 5 minutes.
Add salt and mix for 2 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan greased with olive oil.
Place dough in center of pan and stretch the dough into a flat, oval. Make sure both sides are greased with Olive Oil
Place dough in Cook and Hold to proof.
When the timer goes off, pull dough out of Cook and Hold.
Punch and stretch the dough to the shape of the pan and make indentations in the dough with your fingertips.
Place the dough back in the Cook and Hold and set timer for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the Cook and Hold and heat to 200 Food Temperature + 10 Food Texture, time :45 minutes.
Top the dough with desired toppings and place back into the Cook and Hold.
One focaccia was topped with charred ramps, roasted garlic and rosemary. The other was topped with dried figs and fennel seeds. Both were seasoned with Maldon sea salt.
Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. The CVap promotes a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap we can adjust the environment of the cabinet to tailor the proof. By doing so we can create compounding flavors while the bread is fermenting (or proofing).
The crumb on the finished product was excellent. It created a very light and soft finished product without making the exterior of the product too hard.
If you notice in the pictures, one of the pans of focaccia was too close to the elements (right). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!
This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the product once you have tried it. I look forward to hearing from you.
For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com
The CVap Low Power Thermalizer Oven CA8522 has powerful heaters to quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, then hold them at optimal quality. Its 22 cu. ft.(.66 cu. M) capacity is well-suited for schools, hospitals, or any other high volume operation. The 8-channel pre-programmed and programmable control stores your favorite recipes. Fourteen adjustable universal wire rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills, and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility.
The CVap Low Power Thermalizer Oven CA8509 is a workhorse, in half the space of a full size cabinet. The powerful heaters quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. It’s perfect for schools and cafeterias, where speed and food quality are priorities. The CA8509 has an 8-channel pre-programmed and programmable control to store your favorite recipes. Five adjustable rack supports hold five sheet pans or ten steam table pans. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your fast paced kitchen. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility.
The CVap Thermalizer Oven CAT529 is a high-production model, perfect for schools and any other operation where speed and food quality are priorities. Its powerful heaters quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. Its 29 cu. ft. (.84 cu. M) capacity, with adjustable rack supports, can hold 14 wide meal baskets or 28 narrow meal baskets. The CAT529 has an 8-channel electronic control with pre-programmed factory settings and options for custom programming to store your favorite recipes. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Sits on rugged 5″ casters for easy mobility.
The CVap Thermalizer Oven CAT522 is a high-production model, perfect for schools, cafeterias, or any other operation where speed and food quality are priorities. Its powerful heaters quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. The CAT522 has an 8-channel electronic control with pre-programmed factory settings and options for custom programming to store your favorite recipes. Its 22 cu. ft. (.66 cu. M) capacity, with 14 adjustable rack supports, holds 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Sits on rugged 5″ casters for ease of mobility.
The CVap Thermalizer Oven CAT509 is a workhorse in a smaller package. Its powerful heaters quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. It is perfect for schools and cafeterias, where speed and food quality are priorities. A half-size cabinet, the CAT509 has 9 cu. ft. (.27 cu. M) of holding space and five adjustable rack supports which can accommodate five sheet pans or ten steam table pans. An 8-channel electronic pre-programmed and programmable control stores your favorite recipes. Built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your fast paced kitchen. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility. Also available in stacked pair combinations: CAT507/CAT509 or CAT509/HA4507.
The CVap Thermalizer Oven CAT507 features powerful heaters that quickly re-therm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. At 7 cu. ft. (.21 cu. M) of holding space, it is perfect for schools and cafeterias where speed and food quality are priorities, but space is limited. The CAT507 has an 8-channel electronic pre-programmed and programmable control to store your favorite recipes. The four adjustable rack supports accommodate four sheet pans or eight steam table pans. Built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your fast paced kitchen. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility. Also available in stacked pair combinations: CAT507/CAT507, CAT507/CAT509, or CAT507/HA4507.