CVap® Staged Burgers Are Speedy, Juicy, and Delicious!

At some of our trade shows, we have showcased delicious, juicy burgers that have been CVap® Staged in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Quick speed of service and maintaining product consistency are just two advantages of using this method!

To prepare the burgers, we set the CVap to 135 (food temp) + 0 (texture) and preheated for 30 minutes. After placing the burger patties on parchment-lined sheet pans, we put them in the cabinet and set the timer for one hour.

After an hour, the burgers had reached our desired minimum endpoint temperature.

Once we got them to temperature, we held the burgers at that temp until we were ready for our lunch service. We pan seared to finish them, but they can be finished however you prefer (marked on a grill, pan seared, etc.). The point is, using this method you can produce a perfectly cooked, juicy, delicious burger two minutes after it is ordered, and it’ll have that mouthwatering, fresh-off-the-grill taste that patrons love. Plus you are serving a safe product that hasn’t been overcooked.

To finish our CVap presentation, we split hamburger buns, placed a slice of American cheese on one half, and held them in a CVap Holding Cabinet for about an hour to gently melt the cheese and soften the buns before service. We also prepared crispy bacon using a CVap Thermalizer set on channel 7 for 20 minutes. Lettuce, onions, pickles, and a variety of condiments were made available and attendees were not disappointed!

To give you another perspective, watch this short video You’ll see that in the time it takes to cook one frozen burger patty on a grill, you can finish three burgers that have been Advance Staged – and we would argue they are a little juicier than the traditional from-frozen product. Watch to the end and see for yourself!

Celebrate National School Breakfast Week with CVap Southwestern Frittata Wrap!

We love experimenting with trends, often blending techniques and flavors to come up with new creations. The one we share here combines two enormously popular ingredients – eggs and wraps – and gives the dish a Latino twist. And although these ingredients probably bring breakfast to mind, the dish is hearty enough to serve during any daypart.

Frittata Closeup

We prepared our eggs in the style of an Italian frittata. According to Wikipedia, the Italian word frittata derives from fritta and roughly translates to egg-cake. This was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to omelette until at least the mid-1950s.

Our preparation of the eggs is also a form of CVap Staging. In this case, an operator could prepare the frittata component in hotel pans well ahead of service and then hold the eggs beautifully until assembly, saving time during the rush. The cooked eggs will maintain their texture and exactly the right amount of moisture, as if they were cooked to order.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen small tortillas
  • melted butter
  • 2 dozen fresh eggs
  • 2 cups of half & half
  • Chopped green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and onions

Preparation:
Place tortillas in preheated CVap Holding Cabinet (with a Food Temperature setting of 140° and a + 0 Food Texture setting). Prepare one full size 2 ¼ inch hotel pan with melted butter. Mix and add eggs and the half & half to the pan, and sprinkle chopped veggies over the entire pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a preheated CVap Cook & Hold Oven set with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature setting of 200°F (Doneness), and a Food Texture setting of 0 (Browning), for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place with the tortillas in the CVap Holding Cabinet (set at 140° + 0).

Wrap Assembly:
To assemble, we cut the cooked eggs into 2 x 3 inch strips and placed one piece in a warm tortilla. We then topped with black beans, shredded colby-jack cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and cilantro, giving the dish a Latino flavor.

You could put a dozen different spins on this preparation by changing up the vegetables or stir-ins that you add to the egg mixture prior to cooking, varying the type of tortilla or bread product you might serve it on, and finishing with different toppings and garnishes. Couple that with the CVap Staging process, and there’s no limit to the variety of dishes you can quickly crank out!
Frittata closeup

CVap Pineapple Chinese Five-Spice Pork Riblets

Pineapple Chinese 5-Spice Riblets

Happy New Year! 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

The Year of the Dog is nearly upon us. Though commonly thought of as Chinese New Year here in the US, it’s a holiday celebrated by much of the Asian world, and nearly a fifth of the planet’s population.

Like any good holiday, an important part of the it is sharing good food with family and friends. In that spirit, we’d like to pass along this recipe to you. It’s an amazing rib recipe shared with us by Chef Chas Tatigian of Twin Eagles Golf and Country Club. Chef Tatigian created this recipe specifically to showcase one of his CVap techniques, and this one – involving a slow braise under vacuum seal – is a real winner!

If you like what you see, let us know and tell us how you CVap!

RUB FOR THE RIBS (enough for approximately 4-5 Danish racks)

  • 1/2 Part Ground Coriander
  • 1 Part Allspice
  • 1 Part Chinese 5 Spice
  • 4 Parts Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne to taste

BASE COOKING MARINADE

  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Bacon Fat
  • 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 ¼ Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Roughly Chopped Scallion
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally rub ribs and let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  • Char ribs on hot grill and refrigerate.
  • When cooled, slice ribs into pieces leaving a little meat on both sides of the rib bone and bring to room temperature.
  • Combine ingredients for cooking marinade (this is enough for 4-5 Danish racks).
  • Heat the cooking marinade to approximately 100° to melt sugar and fat.
  • Place room temp ribs in a vacuum bag and put enough warm marinade in to cover ribs.
  • Seal bag at 90% to 95% vacuum.
  • Cook ribs in CVap Cook & Hold oven at 135/0 for 32 hours.
  • Cool bags in ice bath to use at later date OR, to use immediately, remove liquid and flash-roast bare ribs at 400°F until a little crisp, garnish with diced grilled pineapple and green onions, cut on a long bias.

Chef Tatigian is a long-time member of the CVap Nation. But don’t just take our word for it. Take his.

Chinese short ribs

Hope You Made It To The Georgia Equipment Academy!

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

RTV7-05UV-W

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

Fried Chicken and Steamed Rice Held in CVap Stay So Nice!

Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain that uses our Collectramatic pressure fryers to cook fried chicken. Ordinarily they placed the finished chicken in a display warmer for serving. To maximize holding time, they limited the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold cooked chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending their holding time and improving food quality. The test results were exciting!

Holding Cabinet Preparation: The CVap Holding Cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). The evaporator was filled with hot water, and the cabinet was allowed to preheat for 45 minutes, to reach full temperature.

12:05pm: Chicken was cooked and removed from the fryer, and put into holding cabinet (15 pieces). Initial taste of chicken: crispy outside, moist inside and meat is very hot to touch and taste.

Chicken fresh from fryer

12:10pm: Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) is put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial taste of rice: moist, sticky, and fragrant.

Uncle Jack Rice after one hour in CVap holding cabinet

13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)

Chicken was still crispy outside (though very slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer), moist inside, still hot, and color had not changed. The chicken breading remained crisp.

13:35pm (holding for 90 minutes)

Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal loss of freshness.

Fried chicken after 90 mins in CVap

13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)
The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when it was initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.
Fried chicken after two hours in CVap

14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)

Rice was hot and tasted fresh; not dried out at all.
Rice held two hours in CVap holding cabinet

15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)
Chicken tasted good, skin remained crispy, meat was moist. Although the chicken was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at safe temperature, and appetizing enough to serve.

15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)
Rice was hot, and texture was good.

These photos, taken at different times over the course of testing, give you an idea of the appearance of the food.

Fried Chicken

Uncle Jack's Fried ChickenFried chicken after 3.5 hours in CVap

Rice
Rice held two hours in a CVap holding cabinet

Electricity Consumption: 800 watts

Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken, or 338 pieces

CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions

Goals for Future Testing

  1. Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
  2. Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
  3. Improving staff work flow.
  4. Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, thus shortening the waiting time while producing the best tasting fried chicken.
  5. During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken from the holding cabinet.
  6. Minimize food shrinkage.
  7. Minimlize food waste.
  8. Extension of holding times for other foods is possible, since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods.

One Final Note – CVap Technology is great, but it’s not magic.

The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.

On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap, and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.

The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the holding time for chicken. More testing would be needed to perfect the texture, taste and crispiness, to come up with the Uncle Jack Standard Operating Procedure.

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.

What’s So Great About CVap? Let These Folks Tell You

Chad, Roxanne, and Susan
Winston’s Chad Lunsford is all smiles with WBL Area School’s Roxanne Knops and Susan Grun.

One of the things we love about exhibiting at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference is having the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the folks who use our equipment every day. Here are some unscripted comments these great folks offered during 2017’s conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

SNA ANC2017 Video Playlist

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 bake.

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

 

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!

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

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!

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.

Savory Goat Cheese Cheesecake
Savory Goat Cheese Cheesecake

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.

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.