Friends of Ergo Chef

Beat the Heat with Woks & Back to School savings….

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Late Summer is a great time for cooking outside when the temperature gets high, but there other ways to prepare your meals without heating up the kitchen for hours. To that end, we’re turning up the high heat with Cooking with Woks in this month’s Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips. Of course ..prep is vital to good wok cooking so check out our new SHINZUI 8 Inch 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife, and keep those Ergo Knives sharp with our Diamond Steel & Universal sharpeners.

With Fall is right around the corner, we’ve put together some great discounts for you with our Back to School Sale. Save 20% on everything on our website until Wednesday 8/16/2017 at midnight with the coupon code: Back2School20 

15pc Prodigy Pro Combo img_SSave 20% on your back to school Chef knife kits. Like this 15 pc Prodigy /Pro kit!

This 15pc. Knife Kit includes the following highly rated Pro-Series Forged Knives – 8″ Chef knife with hollow grounds and a 5.5″ Medium Flex Boning knife.

The stamped knives include the PRODIGY Series 8″ Offset Bread knife, & 4″ Paring knife both with TPR non-slip grip handles and full tang inside handle for a professional balanced feel & durability. All knives are ground to 18 degree edges and heat treated for long edge life.

Kit also includes 10″ Diamond Sharpener, 9″ Duo Tongs great for a flat top or stove top grill. Melon baller, Peeler & Zester, a 1″ Dial Meat Thermometer, edge guards for the knives and a 9 pocket roll bag & shoulder strap, with inside zipper cover to safely contain all the knives while in transit. Order Yours Today: Culinary School Knife Kits 

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

Cooking with Woks

The Wok

One of our favorite methods of cooking is in a wok. They are simple, yet very versatile, require little oil, making them an economical way to cook. A woks unique shape allows it to distribute heat evenly through the pan and get very hot, making them perfect for stir-fry cooking. While they may not be necessary for every kitchen, for true food enthusiasts eager to recreate their favorite Asian recipes and flavors in their own kitchens, a wok and steamer are musts in their kitchens.

Thousands of years ago, Chinese cooks figured out how to prepare healthy food quickly using a simple piece of equipment – the Chinese wok. Once you’ve decided to add a wok to your supply of kitchen equipment, you’ll want to shop around to choose the best model. Originally, all woks were round bottomed and made of iron – designed to be used with the traditional Chinese wood stove. Gradually, the iron was replaced with carbon steel. Today, there are all types of woks on the market: aluminum, copper, stainless steel.Traditionally, the wok came with two metal handles, making it easy to lift in and out of the stove.

The wok’s most distinguishing feature is its shape. Classic woks have a rounded bottom. Hand-hammered woks are sometimes flipped inside out after being shaped, giving the wok a gentle flare to the edge that makes it easier to push food up onto the sides of the wok. Woks sold in western countries are sometimes found with flat bottoms — this makes them more similar to a deep frying pan. The flat bottom allows the wok to be used on an electric stove, where a rounded wok would not be able to fully contact the stove’s heating element. A round bottom wok enables the traditional round spatula or ladle to pick all the food up at the bottom of the wok and toss it around easily; this is difficult with a flat bottom. With a gas hob, or traditional pit stove, the bottom of a round wok can get hotter than a flat wok and so is better for stir frying.

Seasoning your wok:

You may have heard that it is very important to season (carbonize) the cooking surface your wok before trying it out for the first time. This is a the most important step, if you are to get years of fabulous food from your wok. This only applies to carbon-steel or cast-iron woks. If you have purchased an electric or non-stick coated wok, be very careful as the pan can get to hot ans catch fire. See your instruction manual for specifics on seasoning if you have one of these types. Seasoning removes the preservative oil manufacturers place on the wok to prevent it from rusting, replacing it with a light coating of cooking oil. It is also important to properly clean your wok after each use.

  1. Wash the wok in hot water with a small amount of liquid detergent and a scrubber (such as a stainless steel sponge or pad).
  2. If needed, scrub the exterior of the wok with the scrubber and an abrasive cleanser. Do not use the abrasive cleanser on the inside of the wok.
  3. Rinse the wok and dry thoroughly.
  4. Place the wok on high heat.
  5. Move the wok, turning it and tilting it up to the rim and back, until the metal turns a blueish-yellowish color.
  6. Remove the wok from the stove element. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  7. Add a thin film of oil (about 1½ teaspoons) over the entire inside surface of the wok. There are several ways to do this. One is to use a paper towel to rub the oil over the surface. You may want to use tongs to hold the paper towels. Another way is to use a basting brush for barbecues or any other heat-proof brush to brush on the oil.
  8. Heat the wok on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  9. Wipe off the oil with another paper towel. There will be black residue on the towel.
  10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 until no black residue comes up on the paper (about 3 times). The wok is now ready to use.

If your wok becomes gunky and sticky or gets rusted you can clean the wok with salt. Simply put half a cup of salt in the wok and heat on high, reduce the heat if it gets too hot. Using your spatula send the salt up to the edges very carefully. Hot salt is dangerous. Do this for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Allow the salt to cool to warm. Using a cloth rub the spots where the salt has stuck to in order to get rid of the gunk or rust. Discard the salt and wash the wok in hot water with a soft sponge. Re-season the wok.

Cooking with your wok:

Cooking in a wok is very simple. Many things can be cooked in a wok. Remember that woks are meant to cook very quickly so it will be necessary to have everything prepared. (Mise en place)) When preparing food to be cooked, remember that small uniform pieces will cook the most evenly. After adding a tablespoon or so of oil, heat your wok on medium to high heat. Cook meat first and when it all seems done on the outside, add any vegetables and sauces. In only a few minutes, the meat will be completely done and the vegetables will be tender yet crisp. You may also fry, braise, or poach in a wok. Gauging the temperature for each of these cooking techniques is very important. Keep in mind that oil and water do not mix, so if you decide to poach in a wok, be sure to dry and season the pan thoroughly after you’ve finished.

Recognized as the cleaning whisk or the bamboo wok cleaning brush, this small broom-like brush is made of bamboo bristles. Bundled jointly and tied at the top with strings, this easy device is the answer to removing stubborn food remains while not damaging the wok. Just use the bamboo wok cleaning brush in a swirling motion below running water. The bamboo whisk is tough and functional and it can be used for mainly stainless steel cookware. This bamboo wok cleaning brush may be ordinary in appearance but it is a well-organized and simple way to clean your wok. After using the brush to remove the food bits, scrub your wok with dish detergent and hot water. Dry the wok and rub a bit of oil around the inside of the pan. This will make sure your wok lasts a long time and that it gives your food a great flavor.

We at Ergo Chef recommend  an affordable quality Wok from our friend Helen Chen on Amazon- Woks


Chefs Spotlight

Local Connecticut  Chef Rich Curry of The Prime Pub,  brings a brand new restaurant located in Bethel, Connecticut. Hip drinks and organic, grass fed, hormone free, pub style food.

shinzui-bannerOur gorgeous new SHINZUI 8″ 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife is an amazing chef’s tool.

shinzui-8-in-boxshinzui-8-lhs-ds shinzui-full-iso

Designed for precise slicing through all types of food product it was crafted with our patented design, providing ultimate comfort and grip.
The abbreviated bolster blends into the VG10 Japanese Super Steel Core blade for durability and well known long lasting sharpness.
The Japanese VG10 steel blade has 33 layers of softer #Damascussteel per side for a beautiful, one-of-a-kind. pattern with each knife.

A Precision 15 degree cutting edge per side provides Samurai Sword-like cuts through the toughest of vegetables, fruit, red meat, poultry, pork and fish.

Order yours now ShinZui


Til Next Time,

Ergo Chef

 

Mike StaibBeat the Heat with Woks & Back to School savings….
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It’s a Fun Filled Fall/Winter…Fabulous Food Show here we come!

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Hello everyone and welcome to the fall/winter edition of Chop Talk. We have got a fun filled couple of months ahead so let’s get to all the news. First up we’d like to thank all our supporters customers and fans, this has been an awesome year with lots of great adventures for us here at Ergo Chef.


ffs16-tickets-on-sale-now-1024x468Once again it’s Fabulous Food Show Time out in Cleveland. This is not your ordinary cooking show, it’s a full weekend of food, fun, and entertainment! Spread out over 400,000 square feet of indoor space, this unparalleled cultural experience features the country’s largest presentation of fine food, fine art, craft breweries, wineries, restaurants, and purveyors all under one roof! The Fabulous Food Show (November 11-13, 2016) lets you TASTE, TRY AND BUY your way around the exhibitor MarketPlace, International Beer & Wine Pavilions, Streetfare and more at the International Exposition (I-X) Center. Cleveland’s largest presentation of fabulous food, fine art, breweries, wineries, restaurants and purveyors all under one roof with a wide variety of live demonstrations and hundreds of companies showcasing specialty foods, drinks and culinary gadgets.Ergo Chef’s Booth is 1352/1354 and we will have special available ll weekend…who knows maybe even Chef Symon will stop by….you never know! Get you tickets here: http://www.fabulousfoodshow.com/tickets/ NOTE: #Cleveland, you can now get the complete Michael Symon Cutlery Line at all Bed, Bath & Beyond stores throughout the Cleveland area.


We are official sponsor of a local Connecticut TV show, “Edible Nutmeg on the Road” with Celebrity Chef Plum” from Newtown, CT. Edible Nutmeg is a quarterly magazine dedicated to real food, family farms, the community, and a sustainable future in Connecticut.

ur6vztvpFrom Chef Plum: “One of my favorite things about Connecticut is our abundance of small farms and food producers, and I have always championed local produce, whether it’s at my award winning pop-up dining series, “Dinner Underground,” or at other events. It’s important to support these local farms and artisans, because if we don’t, we may lose them.

ENotR Logo

Edible Nutmeg on the Road is all about supporting and promoting our local foods! We’ll be visiting some of the coolest places in Connecticut and meeting some of the state’s best farmers and food makers. The passion from the people we meet is inspiring, and we’ll be making a dish at the end of every episode to feature their talents.

If there is a place you think we should take Edible Nutmeg on the Road, email us or leave us a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @EdibleNutmeg.

And don’t forget to check out our previous adventures on the road, in Season 1!

See you all on the road! #ediblenutmegOTR”

Chef Plum


shinzui-bannerOur gorgeous new SHINZUI 8″ 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife has arrived and is shipping!!!. Order yours before supplies run out and get a FREE 10″ Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod! #Japenesesteel

shinzui-8-in-boxThe Shinzui Chef knife was designed for precise slicing through all types of food product. Crafted with our Patented design providing ultimate comfort and grip, abbreviated bolster blends into the VG10 Japanese Super Steel Core blade for durability and well known long lasting sharpness.shinzui-8-lhs-ds

The Japanese VG10 steel blade has 33 layers of softer Damascus steel per side for a beautiful, one-of-a-kind. pattern with each knife. A Precision 15 degree cutting edge per side provides Samuri Sword-like cuts through the toughest of vegetables, fruit, red meat, poultry, pork and fish.

shinzui-8-sweet-potatoes-2-not-squareOrder yours now and lock in this Ultimate Kitchen Knife. http://tinyurl.com/h6jn6pb

FEATURES: shinzui-full-iso
Blade: VG10 Japanese Super Steel Core with Our Custom Damascus Layer Patterns – Each knife pattern will be slightly different. Edge: Heat Treat: 60 HRC +/- 2 for superior long lasting sharpness and durability. Tempered to perfection. Handle: G10 Fiberglass Resin Composite with Mosaic Center Rivet and 2 Stainless Steel Rivets – Fully Polished for Beauty. The G10 handle is one of the world’s strongest materials for lifetime of worry free use.


Braised Pork Belly w/ Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Haricot Verts & Bourbon Apple Demi Glaze

 Courtesy of Chef Eric Austin, Big E’s Soul Food

Pork Belly
Ingredients:
5lb. pork belly
½ oz. fresh thyme
2 large garlic bulbs
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 325 degree F
First score the pork belly by making crisscross cuts along the entire top surface of the meat. Next, cut the whole bulbs of garlic in half across its width and place each quarter (cut side up) at the corner of a pan large enough to house the pork belly. Place the fresh thyme sprigs in the center. Now lay the pork belly to rest on the garlic bulbs – they will act like table legs, raising the meat up from the pan. Pour in the wine and sprinkle the top of the belly with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and braise in the oven for 2 hrs.

Once the pork belly is cooled, transfer it to a casserole dish large enough to house it – although at this point it may be cut to any size. You’ll need to weigh it down by placing another casserole dish directly on top of the pork belly so that it is sandwiched in between. Place a couple of soup cans or some weighted item on top of that so that it may press in your refrigerator overnight, or 24 hours.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:
3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pinch salt

Method:
Start a pot of water to boil. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and add to boiling water. Remove when potatoes are fork tender. Place in a mixer and add all other ingredients and mix until smooth. Place in a piping bag and set aside until ready for use.

Haricot Verts or fresh green beans, have simply been blanched in salted hot water for about thirty seconds, remove immediately to an ice water bath until ready for sauté.

Bourbon Apple Demi – Glaze
Ingredients:
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 shallot (fine dice)
*1 cup demi – glaze
Pinch of salt
1 shot bourbon
Fond from the pork belly pan

Method:
In a small sauce pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth, and let reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.
*Commercial demi glaze is fine for this recipe. In fact, for the home cook, I recommend it. For the die hard foodie – you can make it, but it’s three days of your life you’ll never get back!

To Plate:
Preheat oven to 400. Remove covering from pork and place in oven until crispy golden on top. It is now ready to serve. Quickly sauté Haricot Verts in a small amount of olive oil, just enough to heat.

Using a pastry bag, pipe the mashed sweet potatoes in the center of the plate. Place a small portion of the haricot verts on the left side of the potatoes. Drizzle the bourbon demi around the potatoes. Place a portion of the pork belly on the right side of the potatoes; be sure to let the ridges stay visible. Garnish with a sprig of the fresh thyme and, voila!

Bon Appetit!

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Last but not least to thank you for your loyalty and to help you celebrate the Holiday Season, we are having our Holiday Season Special with 20% OFF discount good from Nov. 24th – Dec. 8th Coupon Code: Holiday20
 
We wish you a great Thanksgiving and Christmas and we’ll be back at the beginning of the New Year. We’ll see you in Cleveland and wish all the best to you and yours!
Ergo Chef
Mike StaibIt’s a Fun Filled Fall/Winter…Fabulous Food Show here we come!
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Marvelous May; Moms, Myron Mixon, The NRA Show & Memorial Day…

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Hi All,

2016-Happy-Mothers-DayWelcome to the May edition of Chop Talk. Wow, this month has really shaped up into a busy one with lots going on. First up as a treat to all the Mothers out there. In celebration of Mother’s Day we are offering a great special deal for mom downloadfrom Michael Symon. Second up, Ergo Chef Vice-President Michael Staib & Pitmaster Myron Mixon will be at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis. The big NRA show is coming up and Ergo Chef will have a team from C-CAP – Careers through Culinary Arts Program working with us at our booth, #8150, in the McCormick Place, North Building, 5/21-5/24, 2016. Last, Memorial Day is coming up and Ergo Chef is supporting Rolling Thunder with every purchase of our New Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal~Stealth Black, 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife. Enjoy!


6pc_set_with_Magnet_Strip_XL‪‎Mother’s Day‬ Bonus 

Order Michael Symon’s 6 Piece Knife Set between now & Mothers Day & Receive his cookbook “5 in 5inF_For_Every_Season5 for Every Season Cook Book* & a 10″ Oval Diamond Sharpener** as a FREE bonus!

This knife set Includes a wall mount Bamboo Magnetic Strip & 5 knives: 9″ Chef, 7″ Vegetable Cleaver, 6″ Chef Knife, 6″ Serrated Utility Knife, 3.5″ Paring Knife. Note: Due to natural variations of our high quality hand selected bamboo, the final colors may vary from pictures on our website.

SteelChef Symon’s Knife Tip: “For good control, grip the base of the knife blade, just in front of the handle with your thumb and index fingers on my MS logo as a starting point. Wrap your remaining three fingers around the handle of the knife. Now you’re ready to prep. Enjoy!” ~Michael

Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty~30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Order yours now


wcbbqcc-logo-2016Ergo Chef Vice-President Michael Staib will be in Memphis with our partner, Pitmaster Myron Mixon for the 2016 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, May 12-14, 2016 Thursday, May 12: 11 a.m. – midnight
Friday, May 13: 11 a.m. – midnight, Saturday, May 14: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.Myron Card Outer

Each year, the Contest entertains visitors from around the world. In 2013, visitors came from all 50 states and 8 foreign countries. Please let our guest services volunteers know you are our visitor, and they will explain all of the rib-tickling entertainment offerings.If you’re planning on visiting the event, please take advantage of the following programs and events for visitors.

While local codes prohibit teams from selling barbecue to the general public, the Kingsford Tour of Champions allows you to taste and judge world-class barbecue. If you are attending, stop buy the Mixon Team Pit and pick up this exclusive card for an online discount when you buy Myron’s new 3-in-1 Pitmaster Grill Tool.

MMPGT 2 XL (1)MMPGT 3 XL MMPGT 5 XLThe Myron Mixon Pitmaster 3-in-1 Grill Tool is the first tool to deliver a style and functionality that says “Game On”! The 3 in one design was specifically developed & tested for easily flipping all your proteins & large veggies on the grill with the patented flipper hook. “Pop it, Flip it & Slice it!” Only $29.99 Order yours today: Grill Tool


NRAShow2016_IFM_Lockup_RGB

The big NRA show is coming up and Ergo Chef will have a team from C-CAP – Careers through Culinary Arts Program working with us at our booth, #8150, innra5 the McCormick Place, North Building, 5/21-5/24, 2016. These students will be actively promoting and demoing all things Ergo Chef & handing out information about C-CAP. the great non-profit culinary education program. We are grateful to be supplying some of their school programs for 2016 with Ergo Chef knife kits. Discover. Learn. Connect. Whether you want to try out new equipment, brush up on emerging trends, collaborate with more than 63,000 food-service pros, or get hands-on culinary training, NRA Show has what you need.See you There!

Learn More…. https://show.restaurant.org/Home


Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal ~Stealth Black 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife
10% of profits help support “Rolling Thunder” when you buy our new Presidential Chef’s Choice 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife.

Crafted from high quality ceramic ground a razor edge, this knife is much more durable than past ceramic knives due to new technology and fibers to strengthen the blade.

Ceramic is the next hardest material to diamonds so it will hold an edge with years of proper use. The handle is non-slip providing great feel and control for all your smaller cutting tasks. Created in a stealth look with Presidential Chef’s Choice Chef, Sam Morgante.
ErgoChef Ceramic Paring Knife_01 ErgoChef Ceramic Paring Knife_04 ErgoChef Ceramic Paring Knife_05 ErgoChef Ceramic Paring Knife_06Features Include: ~Official Silver Foil Printed Gift Box with Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal ~Stealth Black 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife w/ Protective Sheath ~Comfort Texture Handle Grip for Safer Control ~Exclusive Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal Laser Etched on Ceramic Blade
Regular Price: $24.99 May Price: $19.99 Order Now: ttp://www.ergochef.com/Presidential.php
Mike StaibMarvelous May; Moms, Myron Mixon, The NRA Show & Memorial Day…
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Autumn means Stocks & Soups, Food Shows, Sweepstakes Event, Chef Kern & a Fall classic, Pork Osso Bucco…

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Welcome to October and the start of the Fall Season. We love this time of year for so many reasons. One, is that we get to attend some of the great food and culinary shows around the country and we look forward to to meeting and greeting you all face to face. That said, coming up this month is the Metro D.C. Cooking Show, Oct 24-25, 2015 in Washington D.C. & we’ll be heading to Cleveland Nov 13-15, 2015 for the Fabulous Food Show.

The Metro DC Cooking Show banner-15Headlining this year’s DC show will be Giada De Laurentiis and our good friend and partner, Chef Michael Symon. We’ll be displaying and demoing all our great products, including the new Michael Symon Cutlery Line (Chef Symon will be at the booth both days to greet you up close) and the new Myron Mixon Grill Tool.
Saturday October 24 – Sunday October 25, 2015
Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, DC
Saturday Hours: 10 am – 6 pm ~ Sunday Hours: 10 am – 5 pm

We’ll be at Booth #1315. We hope to see you there!
Ticket prices: General Admission – $18 in advance; Children 4-12 – $10 in advance
Children under 4 free

The Fabulous Food Show, Nov. 13-15, 2015

FFS-Logo-156x203_50584The Nation’s Premier Culinary Celebration is bigger than ever! The 10th annual Fabulous Food Show returns to the I-X Center November 13-15, 2015. This is not your ordinary cooking show, it’s a full weekend of food, fun, and entertainment! Spread out over 400,000 square feet of indoor space, this unparalleled cultural experience features the country’s largest presentation of fine food, fine art, craft breweries, wineries, restaurants, and purveyors all under one roof!The Market Place: Sample and shop from a collection of hundreds of companies showcasing a variety of specialty foods and culinary gadgets.Taste, Try & Buy just in time for the holiday entertaining season.

SymonSimmonsValastroGiant Eagle Market District Theatre: Custom built open theatre hosted by Jason Roberts. Featuring live exclusive content on stage all weekend with Michael Symon, Buddy Valastro, Gail Simmons, Aaròn Sànchez, Frankie Avalon, The Samples and Gospel Brunch presented by House of Blues Cleveland. All performances are included with admission. Seating is first come, first served.

We’ll be there with all our great products and I’m sure Chef Symon will be stopping by to talk to you all about his new Michael Symon Cutlery Line. We’ll be at Booth #1352. For more info, visit the official website here: www.fabulousfoodshow.com


Food Tips & Kitchen Tricks

Stock

To begin, let’s take the simple definition. Most soups start with some type of broth or stock which is defined as; a liquid (usually water) that is fortified with a definite flavor. Different types of stocks include, vegetable, chicken, beef, duck, fish, lobster, corn, asparagus, etc The list is endless depending on what flavor you are looking for and, of course the ingredients that you are going to use it in. The final flavor you are trying to achieve determines how you are going to treat the ingredients going in. As an example were you to be making corn stock, your flavors would take on a completely different profile if you were using raw corn vs. roasted corn. Developing a base flavor is an important part, if not the most important part, of a successful soup and that can be achieved in many ways. If the home cook wants to make a meaty and rich soup for instance, it is important to caramelize the meat and vegetables first, then deglaze the pan with a liquid (sometimes red or white wine) to remove the flavorful pieces from the bottom of the pan (called fond) and add those flavors to the soup resulting in a richness of flavor called Umami.

A French term called ‘Mirepoix,’ is the foundation of most soups and stocks. This is a mixture of 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, and 1 part celery. Make sure you have a good sharp Chef knife to break them down. Aromatics are flavor enhancers that are added to your stock to bloom or boost flavors. Aromatics include: peppercorns, bay leaves, juniper berries, any herbs, any onions, or garlic. Most importantly, we need to determine what type of stock we want to create, and then decide what the future of our beautiful stock will be. After you have added all your ingredients, you are now ready to let your stock simmer. A simmer is a temperature between 190-200 degrees and different stocks have different simmering times in order to reach their fullness of flavor:

Vegetable stocks~45 minutes
Fish stocks~1 hour 30 minutes,
Chicken (Poultry) stocks~2 hours,
Beef stocks~6 hours ( pre-roast the bones)

Once your stock is completely simmered to it’s full richness, the final step is straining it properly. What we are looking for is a pure, smooth and beautiful liquid so at this point we need to pass it through a strainer or “cheesecloth” to remove all impurities and vegetables, or large ingredients. Your stock can now be used immediately, or can be frozen in smaller batches to be thawed and used the next time you decide to make a soup or sauce.

Soupfallsoup

Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consomme. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with béchamel sauce; veloutes are thickened with eggs, butter and cream.

Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grains and beans. The word soup originates from “sop,” a dish originally consisting of a soup or thick stew which was soaked up with pieces of bread. The modern meaning of sop has been limited to just the bread intended to be dipped. Cooking with the seasons can be a lot of fun, so when thinking soups and stocks, consider ingredients available at that time of year and enjoy gathering ingredients that are at their peek of freshness. Autumn is a great season for soups, so be creative and enjoy!


Chef’s Spotlight

JSKMHPChef Justin Kern

When you see Justin Kern handling a busy kitchen you’ll immediately say to yourself “that dude is fierce.” You’re not wrong. He gets it done. Hailing from Kingston, NY Chef Kern has been in the business since 1999. His love affair with food goes all the way back to his father. His father might not have been a chef, but he loved to cook and put his own spin on things. He explained, “From what I understand my mom couldn’t cook to save her life. Sorry Mom. My father was a Marine and he just loved to cook, nothing fancy, but very eclectic. I learned to eat a lot of different foods very early. My Grandparents also used to dine out on all types of cuisines, so they really exposed me to lots of different cuisines.”

Since building his initial kitchen chops at a pizza and BBQ joint in upstate NY, Chef Kern has been a private chef and caterer, been involved with beer dinners and special events as well as an uber successful series of pop-up dinners here in Connecticut. He stated, “I remember when I first started, it was a job. My very first job was pizza delivery and watching the guys in the kitchen, I was fascinated. I was 16 and within a year I was running the place, making all the food etc.”

Chef Kern has worked with chefs from all over the county, and quite frankly, from all over the world. He knows a thing or two and is passionate about delivering not just a delicious meal, but also one that uses quality ingredients. At the top of his list is always locally grown ingredients. He believes it’s important to support the people and businesses around him. Justin came to Meetinghouse Pub because he loved the vision of the owners. He also loved the team and how all the different personalities worked so well together. His favorite part of being a chef? “When you do it right, you can bring joy and make people feel good.”

Justin KernI asked him about his cuisine and food philosophy and he answered. “I love local and try to be local as much as I can with regard to my ingredients. For instance I can’t get Ahi Tuna locally but I can get deep water shrimp from local day boats, caught the morning in Connecticut waters and have them on the plate that night. As for my cuisine I’d call it Americano, upscale pub food, focused on local ingredients and simple comfort food flavors. Simple dishes executed with great technique consistently.” I asked him about Ergo Knives. “I love my Ergo knives. I have tendonitis in my hands and working with the Pro Series does take a learning curve, but I can use them all day with minimal abuse to my hands. I recommend them to everyone. They’re quality knives. My go to is my 10″ Pro Series Chef Knife.”

We then ended with brief rapid fire question and answer.

CT: Crocs or no crocs?
JK: No crocs
CT: Favorite tool in the kitchen?
JK: My 10″ Ergo Chef Knife
CT: Favorite junk food?
JK: Gummy Bears
CT: What do you eat after shift?
JK: (laughs) Alcohol
CT: Least favorite ingredient?
JK: Coconut
CT: Favorite ingredient?
JK: Pork
CT: Favorite spice?
JK: Salt
CT: Favorite cuisine to cook?
JK: Recently I’m exploring Italian. Sauces, pastas, etc.
CT: Favorite cuisine to eat?
JK: I’m a huge seafood fan, regardless of type, be it Asian, American.
CT: Fine dining or casual?
JK: I’m all about casual. The best things happen over food. Weddings, birthdays, holidays, all over food.

You can connect with Chef Kern via social media here: Twitter: @Chef_JKern Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jkern01?fref=ts


Recipe

12053374_10154261051874517_585699994_nPork Osso Bucco With Creamy Grits and Pumpkin Beer Gravy

Courtesy of Chef Justin Kern

 

 

 

Pork Ingredients:
4 Pork Shank
6 pack of your favorite pumpkin beer
1 Qt chicken stock
1 white onion roughly chopped
2 large carrots roughly chopped
1 bunch celery roughly chopped
1 head garlic
3 tbs EVOO

Grits Ingredients:
1 C Grits (yellow corn)
1 ¼ C Chicken stock
1 ¼ C Heavy Cream
½ Onion diced
3 Garlic cloves minced
1 Tbs EVOO
2 Tbs Mascarpone

Method
In a large pan sear off pork with EVOO until golden brown on all sides. Add vegetables to pot and cook until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Then pour in beer and chicken stock until pork is completely covered by liquid. Cover your pot with a snug fitting lid or tin foil and place in a 375 deg oven for 4-6 hours depending on thickness of pork.. Your looking for it to pull apart with ease. Salt and pepper before you wear off meat and salt and pepper to taste.

When Pork is finished, in a medium pot add EVOO and turn to high heat. When pan is hot add Garlic and onions and sweat until onions are translucent. At that point add chicken stock, heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Turn heat to low and add grits. Stir frequently until grits have become soft and they absorbed all liquid (if there is no liquid left and there is still to much texture to the grits add chicken stock ¼ C at a time until done). Stir in Mascarpone to finish

Reserve about 2C of your braising liquid. In a small pot add 1 Tbs of cornstarch and water mixed. Bring to a boil and smother pork on plate!


Product Spotlight

My Juicer complete kit LErgo Chef is excited about introducing a new product in Kitchen Electrics called “My Juicer(TM)” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle to quickly and easily blend all your Fresh or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables into delicious healthy smoothies. 

The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and  save!  To order click here: My Juicer.

Get 15% OFF this month with coupon code: OCT15 


Ergo Chef & Simply Symon Fall Sweepstakes

erg047_19.5x19.5_DISPLAYheadersContest on Ergo Chef’s Facebook Page!

Contest Starts October 15th at 10am! The Winner will be announced by November 16th via video on the event page by Chef Symon.  Simply join the event and RSVP as “Going” for your chance to win.  Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/ergochef 

Mike StaibAutumn means Stocks & Soups, Food Shows, Sweepstakes Event, Chef Kern & a Fall classic, Pork Osso Bucco…
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Tailgating, Chef Whitney Miller, Wine Tips for Tailgating with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash!

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vermont_valley_largeWelcome to the September edition of Chop Talk. It’s hard to believe it but Summer is gone and soon we’ll be getting ready for Goblins, Turkey and Pumpkins! With ‪football‬ season here and ‪Fall‬ right around the corner, in Food Tips & Kitchen Tips we’re talking ‪‎tailgating‬!! We’re also sitting down with the 1st US Masterchef winner, Whitney Miller, for some advice for this season’s contestants in this month’s Chef’s Spotlight. Whitney also provides us with a delicious Red Snapper Cevich Recipe‬. We’ll need something to wash it down with so we’ll be talking wine with The Wine Stash’s, Michael Stubelt, who gives us tips for what wines to have when we’re tailgating and his pick for this Autumn’s ‘must try’ wine. Last but not least it’s all about Kitchen Kapers, who’ve been “inspiring a little homemade fun in the kitchen since 1975….”


Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

firing-up-the-tailgate-grillIt’s that time of year sports fans….tailgating season and we’re giving you the lowdown on this annual fall tradition from it’s humble beginning right up to the modern day extravaganza’s fans now create before, during and after their favorite teams game. There are a few theories with regard to the origins of tailgating.

The first theory is that the tailgate party occurred during the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton. Apparently, spectators spent their pre-game ritual grilling sausages at the “tail end” of the horse. This theory seems a bit weak to me, but it has persisted for a long, long time. The second theory seems a little bit more plausible, as it seems logical to the human mind. The story goes that a train transported a large number of fans to a Yale football game in 1904. By the time the fans had arrived to the game, most were quite famished and, according to Peter Chakerian’s excerpt, the fans made sure to bring food and beverages to the stadium prior to the start of the game. The third is that Green Bay Packers fans coined the actual term “tailgating” during the teams first year in business in 1919. Back then, the fans would back their pickup trucks around the field and fold down their tailgates for seating. Naturally, food and beverages were brought along to keep the appetite in check. Unfortunately, says Packers team historian Cliff Christl, there isn’t evidence to support this theory, however romantic. “I don’t believe the story about Packers fans tailgating around the field is true, and we have no pictures that even prove there was tailgating at old City Stadium (the Packers home from 1925-56),” he states, adding that, like the Yale fans, he believes people would bring food and drink in their trunks, a practice that “continued at the new City Stadium.”

Today tailgating is almost a full time occupation and it’s so popular that a full 35% of the people that attend tailgate parties don’t actually attend the game. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the so-called Vols Navy dock their boats outside of Neyland Stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River and partake in a floating tailgate they call “Sailgating.” In Oxford, Mississippi, students and alumni gather at The Grove, an atmosphere likened to the pomp at the Kentucky Derby. The Sporting News called The Grove the “Holy Grail of Tailgating Sites.”

The most famous tailgating party takes place on neutral turf. Since 1933, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs have met in Jacksonville, Florida to, ostensibly, play football. What ensues from Wednesday to Saturday, this year’s game taking place in early November, is what’s called “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party,” a term coined by a Florida Times-Union sports editor in the 1950s. The city of Jacksonville even embraced the nickname, using it as the game’s slogan until 1988, but has since ceased doing so after a series of alcohol-fueled college antics.

Tailgating Defined

A tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be ‘tailgating’. Tailgate parties have spread to the pre-game festivities at sporting events besides football, such as basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball, and also occur at non-sporting events such as weddings and barbecues.

In schools and communities throughout the United States, there are athletic departments, coaches and parents of student athletes who rely on post-game tailgating parties to build community and support for their program and team. Smaller, underfunded programs are assisted by the voluntary participation of parents and friends to feed the team and coaching staff post-competition, which establishes a strong core of support year after year.

Click the link for a comprehesive guide to tailgaiting: Play by play guide to tailgating


Chef’s Spotlight

DSC_0308-650x380Chef Whitney Miller

Inspired by the hospitality of her 97 year-old great-grandmother and creativity of her mother, Whitney Miller’s passion for the art of cooking began at an early age. At twenty two, she won the show “Masterchef,” gaining the title of Fox’s 1st U. S. Masterchef. Soon afterward, Whitney obtained her degree, with an emphasis in nutrition, from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Whitney has conducted cooking demonstrations at many Home and Housewares & Food shows with celebrity chefs such as Guy Fieri and Curtis Stone, Buddy Valastro, UK’s “The Spice Prince” Reza Mahammad, and Italian Michelin Star chef Giorgio Locatelli.  Her cooking demos have also been featured in the Masterchef app. As the youngest contestant and winner of Fox’s first America’s Masterchef, Whitney continues to inspire children, youth, and young adults, through cooking demos and speaking events at public and private schools, culinary classes and colleges, and children’s museum events across the United States. She has a new cookbook coming out and there’s even talk of a new cooking show. We caught up with her during a vacation break to get her take on this season’s Masterchef contestants and what’s happening for her now.

Chop Talk: So tell us about great-grandma and mom and their influence on your career….

WM: My mom I learned creativity of cooking…she had us in the kitchen from when we were little. Everything from scratch. From my great-grandmother I learned authentic Southern basics, from biscuits to how to make a roux to good gumbo. She taught me hospitality and how to feed a crowd. We had huge Sunday dinners at her house every Sunday after church. 30 people. I learned the skills of hospitality watching those great women cook and I decided I wanted to cook for a living. I saw how my grandma’s cooking made people feel happy, and I wanted to emulate that.

Chop Talk: So how did Masterchef happen? 

WM: I was in college and I saw online that Masterchef was having auditions in New Orleans. When I got chosen, I had no idea who Gordon Ramsay was,  so I went back and watched his shows and thought, ‘Oh no,  what have I got myself in for?’

Chop Talk: Do you have any advice  that you can pass along to this year’s or future year’s contestants?

WM: For me what really helped was my background in pastry and desserts. I see the same thing happen now, that happened in my season. When it comes to desserts those that are comfortable seem to have a better chance than those that are intimidated by pastry. Come knowing what you want to make as well. Have recipe’s down cold.

Chop Talk: How did winning Masterchef change things for you?

WM: First let’s talk the cookbook…they gave me four months. I grew up watching my grandma and a pinch of this pinch of that, we didn’t measure anything. so that was an experience.  I got to travel to four different countries after I won. Experiencing different cultures. Being in those kitchens was an education for me as well. and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to cook for so may people and introduce them to real Southern cooking.

Chop Talk:  So what’s coming up for Whitney Miller?

WM: I continue to do recipe developing for a number of publications. Guest blogging, writing for a few magazines my second cookbook is being released October 27th, 2015 called Whitney Miller’s Southern Table. I have a cooking show in the works, so that is a bit exciting as well.

Chop Talk : You use Ergo Knives…

WM: I do. They are my everyday knives. I love them. They are so easy to use. I have my roll kit and they go everywhere with me. Just the ease and the use of them, knowing that it’s gonna help prevent damage to my wrists in the long run is why I’m using them for the rest of my life.

You can find out more about Whitney on her website here: whitneymiller.net Whitney develops recipes, gives lectures, cooking demonstrations and cooking classes, and also can be booked to judge or MC awards events and benefits.  She can tailor an appearance to suit your needs.  To book Whitney Miller, contact Mary Miller by phone 601-795-3883 or email mary.e.miller7@gmail.com


Recipe

Red Snapper Ceviche by

Ingredients
1/2 ceviche-300x300pound skinless red snapper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup julienned jicama
7 grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
fine sea salt
Homemade or store bought Corn Tortilla chips

Method
Slice the red snapper into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the cubed snapper in a shallow container or bowl. Pour the lime juice over the top to almost cover the snapper. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Add the jicama, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño to the snapper. Lightly toss to combine.Season the ceviche with salt to taste. Serve immediately with the chips.


Wine Tips with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash

stubelt 2We caught up with artisinal winemaker, Michael Stubelt, of The Wine Stash for some expert advice on what wines go best with tailgating and thinking outside the box when selecting wines this fall.

He arrived in Northern California (by way of the east coast) in 1995 and he’s been appreciating Napa Valley wine and terroir ever since. Growing up enjoying wines from across the pond, he was deeply influenced by French styles with subtle notes. If there is one thing that most French wines have in common, it is that most styles are meant to accompany food. The pairing of the two is a love that Michael and his wife Coleen (a talented culinarian) both share. Michael’s philosophy remains in this tone; to let the grapes and the land dictate the direction of the varietal.

He does not limit himself to one region or style but truly appreciates the diversity that each bring. This opens the door for a wide-ranging culinary adventure. It’s a rough life…but someone needs to do it. By sharing his deep passion and first-hand knowledge Michael creates lasting memories and friendships – one glass at a time. With its first vintage in 2007 “The Wine Stash” was formed by a group of friends with one common interest, to make and share great hand crafted wines with friends and family. Today the list of friends and family have certainly grown but the partner’s philosophy is still the same. They locate small farmers and producers bringing hand crafted wines to the growing list of “Stash” followers.

Chop Talk: So Michael, what wine should we be bringing when we’re tailgating? 

MS: Start with light and crisp before the food. Something that wakes up your palette. Then, with meats and the types of spicy foods like chili, you want to keep it crisp,  not too much alcohol content. Some of the more hearty rose’s for example pair well with whatever’s coming off the grill and still has a lighter touch. .

Chop Talk: With Fall coming , so also comes the list of the traditional ‘Fall’ wines.  Can you give us something outside the mainstream thinking that makes a nice fall wine?

MS: Find a single varietal of a grape that is normally used in blending. It’s worth it to try different wines like this to see the subtle differences. Cab Franc for instance. This season through the Holidays. It’s a soft and subtle wine, but has a  lot of character. It’s very inviting to a wide variety of people because it has less astringency, it goes great with the cuisine this time of year. It’s usually used as a blend to soften say,  a Cabernet’s, but on it’s own it’s great, hint of cranberries, subtle little fruit notes.

Chop Talk: Tell us about The Wine Stash

MS: Everything we do is from Napa. so we have relationships with growers and producers in each district and the Valley really determines what wines we’ll be making. We’re located in Yountville and we seem to like varieties that are mountain/hillside grown, the complexities, a bit stressed. Something about the thicker skin, smaller more compact fruit.

The Wine Stash

Wine-Stash-ID-1From the Wine Stash website:

“The Wine Stash® is dedicated to crafting wines in small batches for friends and family. After 5 years we have produced some exciting and exceptional wines and as one can imagine we have a bunch of new friends.

All of our grapes are grown on family vineyards that in many cases are just a few select acres. We are very selective about the vineyards and how the fruit is harvested. In some cases the Wine Stash® team even goes out into the vineyard and will pick the grapes ourselves. We implement a gentle gravity flow system that allows us to reduce “bottle shock” so the wine goes directly from barrel to bottle. We produce some very small, select lots which will occasionally be hand crafted and labeled as well as now with production increasing we utilize a boutique bottling line to bring you the very best wines with the teams personal touch. Thanks for your support, sharing and allowing us to bring some of our wines to your dinner table.”

In addition to the retail establishments listed on their site, The Wine Stash can ship wine to all states that allow direct to consumer commerce. Click here for details: Where to Buy


Gourmet Store Spotlight

2011-logoA National Retailer with Local Roots, Kitchen Kapers has been Inspiring A Little Homemade Fun Since 1975. The seed was planted in 1975 when they opened their first store in Voorhees, New Jersey. Over the years they’ve carefully expanded their business and have been serving neighborhoods and communities all across the Greater Philadelphia Region with 10 retail stores from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey. The secret for Kitchen Kapers continued success is rooted in offering customers value, selection and quality, combined with fast, friendly and knowledgeable service. The web, along with our mail order business, gave us the opportunity to serve neighborhoods and communities well beyond the Mid-Atlantic. Casual cooks and serious chefs throughout the United States have come to depend on them for the latest cooking and baking innovations along with a great selection of gourmet cookware, bakeware, kitchen knives and the hottest kitchen gadgets. And, of course their passion for good food and cooking with family and friends.

The Moorestown, New Jersey store located in East Gate Square features the Cooking School. Classes range from Cooking for Kids, Couples 5-star Cooking, to Girl’s Night Out Classes and Private Birthday Parties. ”

Visit thier website here: http://www.kitchenkapers.com/

Mike StaibTailgating, Chef Whitney Miller, Wine Tips for Tailgating with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash!
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Food Hacks, Chef Michel Nischan & the Myron Mixon Grill Tool!

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Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: 10 Easy Food Hacks 

Food hacks are all the rage this year so we thought we jump on the bandwagon…although we’ve been doing Food Tricks here for going two years now, so we’d like to think that we were ahead of the curve and the rest of the food world is just catching up! Enjoy

1. Do you have a craving for hard tacos but no shells?  Here’s a speedy solution: Put soft tortillas in mugs and nuke em for a few minutes. They’ll crisp up without any frying!

tort-micro

2. Who doesn’t love fish on the grill? One of the problems is that is sometimes sticks to the grill. Place the fillet on a bed of lemons and you won’t be scraping salmon off of the grates.

fishlemons

3. After all your hard work making a cake, the last thing you want is for it to go stale.  After cutting into a cake, use toothpicks to cover the exposed portion with piece of bread to keep cake nice and soft.

cakebread

4. Love having barbecues but hate when the bugs want to share your cool refreshing drink? Exterminate that problem by putting cupcake liners over your drinks and sticking a straw through.

cupcakedrink

5. Have a waffle iron gathering dust. No more! Julienne  those potatoes and make them perfect in your waffle iron every time.

hashbrowns

6. Wrap banana crowns in plastic wrap and they’ll last 3-4 days longer.

bananas-crowns

7. There’s not much worse to a baker than to pull out the brown sugar to find you now have a brown sugar brick. Put a marshmallow in your brown sugar, though, and it won’t clump or dry out.

brownsugar

8. Rubbing egg shells with vegetable oil before refrigerating them helps keep them fresh for an additional three to four weeks.

one-dozen-eggs

9. Get the most out of your fresh herbs chop and mix fresh herbs with melted butter or oil, or just plain water, pour into ice cube trays to preserve portions for future meals.

rsz_herbs

10. Cut corn off the cob with no problem by using a bundt pan to both hold the cob as you cut and catch the corn that comes off.

corn


Chef’s Spotlight: Michel Nischan

11053346_10206132135571228_7457341083387100598_nMichel Nischan, Chef, Author and Food Equity Advocate

Michel Nischan is a three-time James Beard Foundation award winning celebrity chef with over 30 years of leadership experience advocating for a more sustainable food system. He is Founder, President and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. He and his Wholesome Wave team were successful at influencing legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill. He’s also the author of three cookbooks and a variety of articles focused on sustainable food systems and social equity through food. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, Nischan serves on the board of the Amazon Conservation Team, and The National Young Farmers Coalition.

He recently  joined forces with First Lady Michelle Obama, WGBH, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a judge in the fourth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge early this year. The aim of the lunchtime challenge is to promote culinary education and healthy eating among youth across the country. On July 9 and 10th, Chef Nischan participated in a day-long welcome event for the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners, demoing some of his favorite, affordable and healthy recipes, and attending the Kids “State Dinner” at the White House.

logoNischan and his team at Wholesome Wave have been at the forefront of advocating for a healthful, just, and sustainable food system. Working through a network of partners, the team has been successful in increasing access to affordable, local produce in underserved communities, improving the health of individuals, and increasing revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, Nischan serves on the board of the Rodale Institute and the Amazon Conservation Team, and is a former trustee of the James Beard Foundation and Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment.

 About Wholesome Wave

Increase Affordability and Access to Healthy, Locally Grown Food

vegetablesNearly 30 million Americans lack access to healthy, affordable foods. Our initiatives provide tens of thousands of families annually with the opportunity to purchase affordable, healthy, locally grown food, and open doors for schools, hospitals, and food banks to purchase farm fresh food from regional food hubs.

Improve Health Outcomes

stethoscopeOne in three people are overweight or obese. Annual medical costs of obesity in the United States are more than $145 billion. Prevention is key. Our initiatives lead to decreased BMI for participating children and increased fruit and vegetable consumption among participants of all ages.

Bolster Local and Regional Economies

Farm field and sunAmerican farmers receive just 11.6 cents of every dollar spent on food in the US. Farmers markets and food hubs provide forums for farmers to receive 100 percent of the revenue from their food sales. More than 3,500 local and regional farmers received $2.5 million in farmers market sales from federal nutrition benefits, nutrition incentives, and fruit and vegetable prescriptions. Hundreds of farmers, producers and fisherman received upwards of $7 million in revenue generated by our food hub partners.

Generate Revenue for Small & Mid-Sized Farms

TractorLocal food sales in the US totaled $4.8 billion in 2008, just 0.4 percent of total agricultural sales. SNAP, farmers markets and food hubs are powerful economic multipliers – every $1 in SNAP generates as much as a $1.79 in local economic activity. Our program participants spend their food dollars locally by shopping at farmers markets, and continue to spend at nearby businesses on market days. Increased revenue to farmers and food hubs results in the creation of new jobs and the retention of existing jobs.

To support Wholesome Wave’s initiatives, Donate Today 


Recipe: Chicken Wrap
Recipe courtesy of The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast by Chef Michel Nischan Grilled chicken salad wrapped in collard greens.

1312856343.452534_large-288x162

Ingredients
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
15 large collard green leaves
1/2 cup chopped green and black olives
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup diced assorted sweet peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons assorted herbs hand torn
2 cups cooked black barley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions
Heat an oiled grill pan over medium high heat or preheat outdoor grill, grate oiled, to medium heat. Pat chicken breasts dry and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside and allow to cool for ten minutes. When chicken has cooled to touch dice each breast into 1/4-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanche the collard greens for 5 minutes. Using tongs carefully remove the leaves from the boiling water and shock in an ice bath. Once cooled, remove the leaves and set aside onto a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except collard greens and mix well.

Lay a collard green leaf onto a cutting board. Place about 1/3 cup of filling in the center of a collard green leaf. Fold the bottom third of the leaf up over the filing. Take the left side of the leaf and fold it over the filling. Repeat with the right side of the leaf, and then roll it up to enclose the filling.

Repeat using remain leaves and filling. Slice each wrap in half and place onto serving platter.


Product Spotlight
Ergo is partners with #BBQPitmaster’s Myron Mixon  for the Pitmaster Grill Tool! Only $29.99! Pre-Order NOW

The Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool is the first tool to deliver a style and functionality that says “Game On”! The 3 in one design was specifically developed & tested for easily flipping all your proteins & large veggies on the grill with the patented flipper hook.

A good sharp knife is a must to slice up your mouth watering Q, hence we use the “Workhorse” an 8” Chef knife size blade with 7″ cut for slicing up your meats and veggies, from prep to serving. The blade is high carbon stainless steel for superior durability, ground precision sharp for perfect slices. It boasts an ergonomic non-slip grip handle over a full-steel tang for strength and balance, so cutting is effortless with ultimate control.

Last but not least is the bottle opener, built into the blade to keep you cool, sipping your beverage of choice. Now get grilling your favorite foods, and be the boss of your grilling domain with the ultimate “Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool.”

See more Myron Mixon Products here:  Jack’s Old South and his Real Deal Pitmaster Smokers here: Myron Mixon Smokers

 We have exceptional customer service and will send you tracking via. email as soon as your Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool order ships. If you have any questions please call the customer service line at 877-796-0884 M-F 9am – 5pm

 SPECIFICATIONS:
• Tool Weight: 8.5 Oz.
• Blade & Hook Thickness: .100″
• Blade Height: 2.200″
• Blade Length: 8″ w/ Precision Sharp 7″ Cutting Edge
• Flipper Hook: 2.750″
• Handle Size / Material: 5-3/8″ long / Non-Slip TPR
• OAL: 16.125″
• Blade Material: One Piece Carbon Stainless Steel (5Cr15MoV)

Price: 29.99 Pre Order Yours Today: http://www.ergochef.com/MyronMixon.php

Mike StaibFood Hacks, Chef Michel Nischan & the Myron Mixon Grill Tool!
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History of Fried Chicken & Spotlight on Chef Duff Goldman…

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Hello and welcome to July’s Chop Talk!

Special announcement: Holiday Contest and Sweeps, is pleased to team up with Ergo and Chef Michael Symon to offer a chance for one lucky winner to own a Michael Symon Signature 3 Pc. Knife Set!!! Set includes: 9″ Chef Knife, 7′ Vegetable Cleaver,6″ Serated Utility Knife. Click the link below for contest details and to enter for your chance to win! 3 Pc. Knife Set Giveaway Offer Ends 7/20/15

This month’s Chop Talk is packed full of great info, chef’s and more. In Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips is History of Fried Chicken with a Step by Step Guide. We will help you look deeper into the world of Southern Fried Chicken! Our Chef’s Spotlight this month is Food Network’s Chef Duff Goldman. This month’s Recipe is sure to please; Simple Southern Fried Chicken and our Gourmet Store Spotlight is North Carolina’s Whisk is the destination for cooks, foodies, chefs and gadget hounds in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area. Enjoy!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

bigstockphoto_fried_chicken_plate_2269322.s600x600Down south, fried chicken is a religion, and people swear by their own recipes and family traditions. While we may not be an authority in Southern hospitality, we will help you look deeper into the world of the amazing comfort food… Southern Fried Chicken!

History

The Scots, and later Scottish immigrants to the southern United States, had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat as far back as the middle ages, unlike their English counterparts who baked or boiled chicken. When it was introduced to the American South, fried chicken became a common staple. Later, Africans brought over on the slave trade, became cooks in many southern households and incorporated seasonings and spices that were absent in traditional Scottish cuisine, enriching the flavor. Since fried chicken traveled well in hot weather before refrigeration was commonplace, it gained further favor. In the south, Fried chicken continues to be among this region’s top choices for “Sunday dinner.” Holidays such as Independence Day and other gatherings often feature this dish as well.

CrispyfriedchickenAsiaIn Asia, they have their own version of this dish, called Crispy fried chicken, a standard dish in the Cantonese cuisine of southern China and Hong Kong. The chicken is fried in such a way that the skin is extremely crunchy, but the white meat is relatively soft. The dish often served with two side dishes, a pepper salt and prawn crackers The pepper salt, colored dark white to gray, is dry-fried separately in a wok. Traditionally, it is to be eaten at night. It is also one of the traditional chicken dishes used in Chinese weddings and other Asian weddings.

800px-Korean.cuisine-Yangnyeom_chicken-01Korean fried chicken or seasoned chicken is traditionally eaten as fast food, at bars, or as an after meal snack in Korea. It is not often consumed as a meal. It is prepared in a way that removes the fat from the skin, resulting in a crust described by Julia Moskin of The New York Times as a “thin, crackly and almost transparent”. The chickens are usually seasoned with spices after being fried. In South Korea, chickens are relatively small, so Korean fried chicken restaurants fry whole chickens before hacking it into bits. In the United States, chickens tend to be larger and Korean restaurants find it more difficult to deal with large breasts and thighs. As a result, many Korean fried chicken restaurants in the United States usually serve wings and small drumsticks. Pickled radishes, beer, and soju are often served with Korean fried chicken.

So lets get to the how to’s. Making fried chicken is a LOT of work (at least according to today’s 30 minute meal prep orientation). The preparation of the chicken, the breading of the chicken, the temperature regulation, the actual cooking, the cleanup of the cooker, the kitchen and you, but the work is worth it in the delight of biting into a fresh, warm, crunchy,  piece of perfectly golden, home-fried chicken. It’s a food of love thing.

There are three main techniques for frying chickens: pan frying, deep frying and broasting;

jcf085Pan frying (or shallow frying) requires a frying pan of sturdy construction (cast iron works best) and a source of fat that does not fully immerse the chicken. Generally the fat is heated to a temperature hot enough to seal (without browning, at this point) the outside of the chicken pieces. Once the pieces have been added to the hot fat and sealed, the temperature is reduced. There is debate as to how often to turn the chicken pieces, with one camp arguing for often turning and even browning, and the other camp pushing for letting the pieces render skin side down and only turning when absolutely necessary. Once the chicken pieces are close to being done the temperature is raised and the pieces are browned to the desired color (some cooks add small amounts of butter at this point to enhance browning). The moisture from the chicken that sticks and browns on the bottom of the pan become the fonds required to make gravy. Chicken Maryland is made when the pan of chicken pieces, and fat, is placed in the oven to cook for a majority of the overall cooking time, basically “fried in the oven.”

deep frying chickenDeep frying requires a deep fryer or other device in which the chicken pieces can be completely submerged in hot fat. The pieces are floured or battered using a batter of flour and liquid (and seasonings) mixed together. The batter can/may contain ingredients like eggs, milk, and leavening. The fat is heated in the deep fryer to the desired temperature. The pieces are added to the fat and a constant temperature is maintained throughout the cooking process.

Broasting-Machine-CE-PFE-600-Pressure cooking uses a pressure cooker to accelerate the process. The moisture inside the chicken becomes steam and increases the pressure in the cooker, lowering the cooking temperature needed. The steam also cooks the chicken through, but still allows the pieces to be moist and tender while maintaining a crisp coating. Fat is heated in a pressure cooker. Chicken pieces are then floured or battered and then placed in the hot fat. The lid is placed on the pressure cooker, and the chicken pieces are thus fried under pressure

Selecting The Best Chicken

jcf082The best size chicken to fry is a 4-pound fryer. Never fry any chicken larger than 5 pounds as it will take the pieces too long to cook. Chickens smaller than 3 pounds are too small for good fried chicken.Traditional fried chicken HAS SKIN. Skinless fried chicken is a weird invention of those who think that it makes for a lower-fat chicken (and what are those people doing eating Fried Chicken in the first place?) The skin is necessary to provide the support for the breading, and to add that element of ‘crisp’ that is the goal of the great chicken fryer. I also think that the skin actually helps keep the chicken meat lower in fat as it serves to shield the meat from the fat.

Follow these steps below to help you along the way:

southern-chicken-buttermilkMarinating: Some say that marinating or soaking the chicken in a brine or buttermilk for 30 mins to a few hours can increase tenderness and develop great flavor profiles.

Coating:jcf084 Apply different coatings and coating techniques. Try dipping the chicken in milk, then flour, then milk, and then the flour again. Some cast-iron cooks dip it in a milk-egg mixture and then dredge it in flour. Some don’t use flour at all and cover it with cracker crumbs, potato flakes, or cornmeal.

 Air Drying: After you coat your chicken, let it air-dry. Air-drying your chicken for 20 minutes to a half hour after it has been coated lets the coating firm up and produces a crispier crust.

Seasoning: Use plain old salt and pepper or create special seasoning mixes. You may want to season the flour that you dredge the chicken through; you can also season the chicken itself. Some people swear that paprika enhances the flavor; others claim it’s just there for color.

jcf085Cooking: The real secret to the ultimate in comfort food, Southern Fried Chicken, isn’t in the recipe; it’s in the cooking. Properly pan-fried chicken is tender and moist (not greasy) on the inside and golden brown and crispy on the outside. Keep your oil very hot. To make sure that your chicken doesn’t get greasy, you want the oil hot enough (375 degrees Fahrenheit) that the water in the chicken stays above the boiling point during frying. The force of the steam leaving the chicken keeps the oil from being absorbed. The hot oil also makes the outside wonderfully crispy.

Some tips for keeping the oil at the temperature you want are as follows:

Use peanut oil, which has a hotter smoking point than vegetable oils or shortenings.

Allow the chicken to come almost to room temperature before you cook it so that when you put it into the hot oil, it doesn’t reduce the oil temperature as much as really cold chicken would.

Don’t overcrowd the chicken in the pan. Putting too many pieces in the pan causes the temperature to drop and takes it longer to heat up again. It can also cause the chicken to steam as opposed to fry.

Use a deep-sided cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven and an iron cover. Cast iron is the cook’s best friend when pan-frying. It absorbs heat evenly, eliminating hot spots and its ability to retain heat keeps the temperature of the oil as even as possible.

Brown the chicken quickly to seal in the juices. After the initial browning, reduce the heat to allow the chicken to cook through without drying. Then return the heat to medium-high to re-crisp it before you remove it from the pan.

Use tongs to turn and move the chicken. Tongs won’t pierce the chicken and let the juice escape.

Drain fried chicken on a paper towel and then place it on a metal wire cooling rack in a warm oven. This simple step keeps your cooked chicken crisp and warm. After all, what good is a crispier crust if it just gets soggy and cold while sitting in a puddle of oil?

Serving:Make sure its crisp, hot, and you have a napkin handy! It’s common to serve fried chicken with a creamy gravy, or a kicked up hot sauce. Enjoy!


Chef’s Spotlight: Duff Goldman

Chef Duff Goldman Unveils The Official Cake For The 2011 Culinary Institute Augie AwardsChef Duff has been cooking since the age of four, when his Mom caught him in the kitchen watching Chef Tell and swinging around a meat cleaver.  A few years later, his culinary curiosity almost cost him a finger when he decided the best way to carve a pumpkin was with the largest knife he could find in the kitchen.  Despite the incident, Chef Duff found his calling and started working professionally when he was just 14 and has never turned back.

Inspired by his Great-Grandmother, “Mamo”, a legendary baker and cook who came to the U.S. from the Ukraine at age 16, baking was in Duff’s blood. His artistic streak was expanded when he studied art  at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.  – – becoming a local graffiti artist of some notoriety.

Duff started working for acclaimed Baltimore Chef Cindy Wolf, and then left Baltimore to study pastries at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California.  While in Napa, Duff was a stagiere at the French Laundry, working under acclaimed pastry Chef Steven Durfee.  Following graduation from the CIA, Duff became Executive Pastry Chef of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in the mountains of Vail, Colorado.  With his culinary degree and growing experience, Duff left Colorado to cook and bake bread for Todd English’s Olives in Washington, D.C.

Duff Ace of CakesDuff’s entrepreneurial spirit took him back to Baltimore in 2000, where he finally realized his dream in 2002, and opened Charm City Cakes……in his apartment. A growing clients list helped propel Duff into an even bigger location: an old church he retrofitted into his current modern bakery. As word about his unusual and daring cakes got out, Duff hired staff with more artistic experience than the typical pastry chef, like painters, architects and sculptors. His out-of-the-ordinary team is known for producing highly creative cakes that range from Star Wars characters, a replica of the Stanley Cup,  a working life-size motorcycle, and Hogwarts Castle for Warner Bros. and the premiere of Harry Potter.

Following several appearances on its cake competition Challenge series, Food Network tapped Chef Duff and his fellow cake baking artists at Charm City Cakes to star in Ace of Cakes.  After 10 seasons on the Food Network, the show wrapped as one of the longest running reality shows in history to feature the same cast.

Duff has appeared on numerous shows including Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Iron Chef America, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and Best Thing I Ever Ate. His work  has also been featured on The Price is Right, Jon & Kate Plus 8, No Reservations, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Talk, The Chew, The View, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz and many more.  He is the best selling author of Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes (HarperCollins), which published in October 2009.

In 2009, Duff paired up with the team at Gartner Studios in Stillwater, Minnesota to  design and launch the Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios  line of cake baking and decorating products. The signature line of professional-grade products was designed to take the fear out of cake decorating with fun products that are easy to use. “I’ve built my career on an unconventional approach to cakes: having a good time and using tools that may not be considered traditional. When I was starting out, I wanted to use what the pros used. Later, I wanted to design a line of my own. Gartner Studios told me they could make a custom line of products to let people create signature cakes of their own. Now, anyone can do what I do at home with these products.” Duff was deeply involved in product development and personally approved every product, from cake tattoos, to edible cake graffiti, to an airbrush machine. Today, the product line is one of the finest collections available outside of professional bakeries.

In 2012, Duff’s horizons continued to expand as he opened Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles and Duff’s Cake mix, a do-it-yourself cake decorating shop. Duff  was also named Culinary Ambassador by the White House, and created the cake for President Obama’s Commander-in-Chief Ball. He is currently creating a new baking cookbook, slated for release in November, 2014.goldman bertinelli

Fans of Duff can find him on Food Network’s new series Duff Till Dawn, where he serves as both host and judge. He is also a judge on Holiday Baking Championship and Spring Baking Championship. And with Valerie Bertinelli, he hosts and judges Kids Baking Championship. More information about Duff can be found on his website, www.charmcitycakes.com.

Like Duff on Facebook, Follow @Duff_Goldman on Twitter


Recipe

Fried Chicken1Simple Southern Fried Chicken
Make 8 Pieces of Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ingredients
For the marinade:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground dried herbs, or poultry seasoning
2 cups buttermilk
3 1/2 pound chicken, cut in 8 pieces

For the seasoned flour:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1-2 qt. Vegetable or Peanut oil (enough to fill a large cast iron pan 1/2 way)

Method
Add the marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk together. Add the chicken parts and toss to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the chicken is submerged. Refrigerate for 6 hours or more.

Mix together the seasoned flour ingredients in a large baking dish. Drain the chicken pieces and toss into the flour. Toss the chicken and coat completely with the flour mixture. Shake off and place on a rack and let dry for at least 1/2 hour before frying.

Fill a cast iron skillet halfway up with oil and heat to about 375 degrees F. Carefully add the chicken, leaving at least 2 inches between pieces and fry for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, reaching and internal temperature of 180 degrees F. Allow Fried-Chicken-Mashed-Potatoes-and-Gravyto drain on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve with smashed potatoes, brown gravy and some corn on the cob. And remember, be sure that the love and effort you put into the preparation carries through to the plate and whatever your cooking pleasure, be it baked or fried, we hope these simple steps help you wow your friends and family...


Gourmet Store Spotlight

whisk-logoThe Whisk Experience

You know the feeling. It happens rarely, but it does happen. It is the sense of wonder and adventure that takes place when you discover a really special store.

Welcome to Whisk — a unique retail experience that feeds your passion for cooking and home entertaining.

Whisk is the destination for cooks, foodies, chefs and gadget hounds in the Raleigh-Durham area, as well as anyone who aspires to improve their cooking experience. At our store, you will find a diverse array of merchandise for both food preparation and presentation.

Stocked with fine cookware and hardworking professional tools, attractive dinnerware, specialty foods, fun go-to gadgets, and one-of-a kind items, Whisk is a contemporary purveyor of food, fun and learning for Cary and the greater Raleigh community. Their vast product selection and assortment allow you the opportunity to indulge in all aspects of cooking — from technique and style, to the pure fun and enjoyment of crafting a newly-created dish.

Explore Our Array of Raleigh & Cary Cooking Classes & Services

Join them for one of their Cary, NC cooking classes, and learn something new from one of our many visiting chefs. Taste some of our specialty foods at one of our regular food samplings. Bring your dull knives in for sharpening and hone your skills in using them. Sample our coffee as you browse and just enjoy your time here.

We welcome you to partake in the rich experience of Whisk, and we hope you have as much fun shopping at our unique cooking store as we do working here.

Whisk is a Cary, NC cooking store that provides a unique range of kitchenware, cooking expertise, and culinary inspiration to customers in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Morrisville, and beyond. We offer everything a kitchen or dining room could need, with a selection of cookware that includes kitchen appliances, gourmet foods, and cooking utensils — all from respected brands like Kaiser, Nordicware, and Wusthof.

Best Knife Selection in RaleighWhisk offers a full range of high-quality cutlery and kitchen knives to keep your cooking skills sharp. Having the right, sharpened blade for the job is the key to both safety and efficiency in the kitchen. Whether you need a trusty, all-purpose knife set or hard-to-find specialty knives, our Raleigh-Durham cooking store’s cutlery selection will meet any need.

We carry everything from cutting boards and knife sharpeners to cleavers, ceramic knives and steak knives from respected brands like Wusthof, Joseph Joseph, Kyocera, and Victorinox. Our cutlery products are held to a high standard, offering quality and value to match any skill level. We also offer in-store knife and scissors sharpening services.

Whisk is the Cary, NC kitchen store that brings the best in cookware, cooking classes, and culinary expertise to Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Morrisville, and beyond. Our selection includes high-quality products for every skill level, as well as top name brands like Kyocera, Wusthof, Zwilling and more.

Waverly Place Shopping Center, 316 Colonades Way – Suite 214, Cary, NC 27518, 919-322-2458 Store hours Monday-Saturday: 10AM – 6PM, Sunday: 12PM – 5PM

 

Mike StaibHistory of Fried Chicken & Spotlight on Chef Duff Goldman…
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Up Close with Chef Michael Symon by blogger Louis S. Luzzo, Sr.

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16208_10205206493744557_6653510623717721083_nI have known Michael some three years now, having first met him at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland back in 2012. Relaxed, humble and completely accessible, if you are fortunate enough to spend any time at all in his presence, or watch him interacting with his family, or sit with him shoes off, feet up, watching a Browns game on a Sunday afternoon, you’d be hard pressed to associate this laid back everyman with the public dynamo we all know as the public ‘Chef Michael Symon.’ His trademark laugh and smile are always right below the surface waiting to bubble over at a moments notice. When he’s back in his beloved Cleveland, friends and family are his focus. But, underneath is a man who is driven. A man who’s aware of how lucky he is to have achieved what he has, but not one that takes it for granted. See way back when, he rolled up his sleeves and went to work, first cheffing, then as a restaurateur, then as a beloved TV personality. The accolades now, are the result of years of hard work and dedication. To his craft. To his family. To his employees and to his friends.

-dcdce867be975666I have watched as fans approach him, hoping for a minute of his time, or a smile, or an autograph. I have never seen him not stop to take the time to make someone who approached feel important, even if it’s a simple hello, a smile or to request a picture. Onstage, I have watched him capture the audience, making eye contact as if he’s talking directly to each and every person there. He makes folks feel like they could easily sit back and grab a beer with him, over conversation about food, or riding his motorcycle, or debating with him over his favorite Cleveland team, The Browns. I’ve heard folks remark of him, “Wow, he’s just like me.” Having spent time with him, I can honestly say, “It’s real.” It’s what has launched him to the top of his profession, garnering the title America’s Favorite Chef.

112_0806_03z+iron_chef_michael_symon+symon_cookingI recently caught up with him between shoots of his hit TV show The Chew, which he co-hosts with Daphne Oz, Clinton Kelley and fellow chefs, Carla Hall and Mario Batali. His TV career is varied and lengthy. Since 1998, with appearances on Sara’s Secrets with Sara Moulton, Ready, Set, Cook and Food Nation with Bobby Flay, hosting over 100 episodes of The Melting Pot and his winning season one of The Next Iron Chef on Food Network in 2008, he has been a regular in our homes. He appeared on four Food Network/Cooking Channel shows, hosting Food Feuds and Cook Like an Iron Chef, judging season three of The Next Iron Chef and competing on Iron Chef America.In January 2012, his show Symon’s Suppers, premiered on Cooking Channel and in September 2011, he joined the cast of The Chew as one of the show’s five hosts. Most recently, Michael was a mentor on the first season of Food Network’s All-Star Academy. 

A successful restaurateur, Michael recently opened his 14th B Spot Burgers, to go along with his other eateries, Lola Bistro, Lolita,Roast, Bar Symon and Mabel’s BBQ. With his hectic schedule, I asked him if he misses being in the kitchen, just cheffing. “No,” he laughed emphatically, “You know, I think that the misconception of a chef, especially in my capacity as a chef-owner, is that we work the line every week. I’m in the kitchen yes, but not on the line at a particular station. If you work just a station,” he expanded, “when it gets busy, you see just that one station. I prefer to work the kitchen. I expedite, I watch the cooks a lot, but I haven’t worked a particular station in God knows how long. Now, I do spend time on each station with the cook the first week when we open a restaurant.”

Michael-Symon-Cutlery

Many of you who are fans of the Iron Chef, will be happy to hear that Michael has a new signature line of cutlery coming out with Ergo Chef, LLC., available for delivery beginning in mid July, 2015. About a year in the making, Ergo and Symon will produce five individual knives for the Symon series. The blades will include a 9-inch chef knife; a 6-inch chef knife; a 6-inch serrated utility knife; a 7-inch vegetable cleaver; and a 3.5-inch paring knife. A four-piece steak knife set will also be available. The knives will be ground in the conventional Western-style, rather than with a Japanese beveled edge that is growing in popularity. Michael has opted for a small selection of blades, rather than an extensive collection of knives. “I’m of the belief you don’t need a giant set of knives, just a couple that perform at a high level,” Symon stated. “they have a unique handle that is not only stunning, but also very comfortable and durable.

11061317_10206200703880903_7222602543719262059_nI asked him, “Why Ergo?” “I love doing business with people that I like being around,” he offered. “and yes, they make a beautiful knife and they make it at a super reasonable price. But aside from that, Michael and Scott Staib are just great people. If you’re going to work with someone or partner with someone, you want them to have the same beliefs you do and the same morals you do. They are just really good people.” I asked Michael what was most important to him in making a decision to put his name on a knife or series of knives. “For me,” he responded, “there were a couple of things that were important. First, it had to be a knife that I was very comfortable using in the kitchen myself. Secondly, I wanted it to be a knife that any one of my professional cooks in the kitchens of my restaurants would use and be comfortable with. Lastly, I wanted it to be affordable for the home cook. Chef knives can be crazy,” he continued, “I personally have been collecting knives for 25 years and I have knives that are ridiculously expensive. I wanted to get the look and feel of those knives, but in a package that the home cook would be comfortable buying. I also wanted a knife that one of my cooks on the line would be comfortable using every night, on the line, putting up with the wear and tear of putting out 300 meals. It had to be at a very high level for me to put my name on it, from a quality and look stand point, but also something that would be accessible to the home cook.” Michael has not been shy in stating in the past that a chef or cook only needs a few good knives and I asked him to expand on that thought process.

B_q5VSRUYAAb30o“I don’t think you need every knife in the set in order to get everything done, We have 2 chef’ knives, both a 9′ and 6 inch, a good serrated knife, a pairing knife and a vegetable cleaver because I do love using a vegetable cleaver. Then, we also have our steak knives.” I mentioned to him that some have remarked that even at the reasonable price, it’s still a bit expensive. He answered, “Obviously life is about what you can afford. That said, to be able to get a knife for $69-$79 that will last you a lifetime, as opposed to a knife you can get for $20 that you have to replace in a year, it just seems like a pretty easy decision to me.”

slide-slide_d5df7999-6bae-4c45-9406-328f0567c456_2713x1078_source-1000x400-Q90_1407801074639Our conversation then turned to his new hit show, The Chew. Winner of the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host along with his co-hosts, I asked him if when he first started this journey with the show back in 2011, he had any idea it would be the juggernaut hit that it has become. “I think with anything in life you hope for the best and plan for the worst,” he offered, “Obviously I knew when we started that I already had a long term relationship with Mario, so I knew that was going to work. The other three hosts I had not met before. To end up being paired up with 4 other people who all have ended up being best friends, God I mean, you couldn’t ask for more than that. We all just immediately got along and it’s only gotten better from there.” He added, “All of us cherish it and don’t take for granted for a second how lucky we have it.”

the-chewI pressed him for a behind the scenes anecdote that I could share with you all and he immediately spoke to Clinton being the cast’s practical joker. “We’re like a family,” he explained, “so there’s definitely a lot of razzing, kinda like you get between brothers and sisters. Every one definitely can give a joke and take a joke. This past week for instance, Clinton got me a couple times really good, so I had the person in charge of wardrobe order all his pants two sizes two small. When he was getting ready he kept saying, ‘You know these are cut really weird, these are not fitting correctly.’ He laughed, “It happens all the time and we really do have a good time with each other.”

Grandma’s Risotto; A Recipe from Chef Symon

We then moved the conversation to a bit of the person behind the persona side of these interviews, discussing his relationship with his wife, Lizzie and his home life. “We met in the restaurant business back in 1990 and we opened Lola about 17 years ago. My favorite thing I ever do is cooking dinner for Lizzie and my family and friends, just making a meal at home. There’s nothing more enjoyable than that.” I asked about his hectic schedule and how the two of them balance it and their personal life. “It’s like anything else, you get used to it. It’s all about the people around me. I am fortunate to have folks around me that I’ve been working with some 20+ years now. Liz is with me at all times, no matter where CASTELLO MICHAEL AND LIZ SYMONwe are. We go back to Cleveland every weekend. We shoot Tuesday through Thursday then we head back to Cleveland.

I asked him to describe a typical day off for America’s Favorite Chef. “I’m an early riser,” he offered, “so I’m up usually by 5:30am. I head out and putz around the garden for about two hours or so, then I’ll head out on the Harley to the gym, get a quick workout in and hopefully sneak in 18 holes of golf. After that I head back home about 1 or 2 o’clock and see what Lizzie wants for dinner and we hang out the rest of the day, me, Lizzy, Kyle and the dogs. I asked him “What’s usually for dinner?” and he said “Well Lizzie is a vegetarian so oddly enough, being the meat chef, and I do eat a ton of meat, a lot of days I’ll cook a vegetarian meal for both of us. The good thing is that with Lizzie being vegetarian it always keeps me balanced.”

CQ1009_Michael-Symon-02_s4x3_lgI then asked Michael for the most important advice he would give to someone looking to make cheffing a career. “Be humble,” he answered immediately, “learn something new everyday and don’t be afraid of hard work because if there is one profession that truly rewards the hardest worker, it’s this one.” I followed up asking his advice to young culinary students. “I went to culinary school to be a chef and only a chef and maybe someday, own my own restaurant. If you’re going to culinary school to be a chef , be a chef. Forget being on TV,” he warned. “If you’re angle is to be on TV, then you should go to school for the arts and learn to cook along the way” He also offered some advice to the aspiring home cook who wants to up their game in the kitchen. “Learn the techniques, not the particular recipes. If you learn the techniques, then you can make any recipe and make it your own.”

I then turned the questions to a subject we both have in common; Our love. respect and admiration for Chef Jacques Pepin. Michael’s has been quoted as saying that Jacques has been the most influential TV chef of all time. I asked him to expound on that a bit. “The thing that I love about Jacques is every time you watch him on TV, you learn something. From that, he has still made it entertaining and fun. More so than all those things, he is one of the most humble, caring people you’ll ever come across.” I can attest to this. A few years ago, after sitting with Jacques and casually discussing food and cheffing over coffee, he suddenly invited me to spend the day with him and have lunch at the International Culinary Center in New York City. Little ol me! Truly a bucket list moment for me. I asked Michael if he had a personal anecdote about he and Jacques that impacted his life. “I was really lucky.” he stated, “I was the executive chef of a restaurant called Giovanni’s in Cleveland. I was 24. Jacques was in town and I got a call from his culinary producer, Susie Heller, whom I knew, and she told me she was bringing Jacques and Julia (Child) in for dinner.” He laughed, “Lou, I was literally a trembling mess. I went out after the meal to say hello and he said, ‘I loved the meal. I loved it because it was so simple.’ I’ll always remember that and it’s always how I’ve tried to cook. Clean and simple. I remember he had a veal chop with morel mushrooms” It was immediately obvious in that statement that this was a special moment for Michael and I remarked to him that I thought it telling that even 22 years later, he remembered the evening and exactly what he prepared as if it were yesterday. Cool story.

FFS-Bnr2014As we finished up I asked him one last question pertaining to the Fabulous Food Show held each November in Cleveland and the place where I first met him. As it his Michael’s hometown, it seems a special show for him. Invariably as we sit backstage in the talent’s Green Room as it were, which has the talent trailers, lounging area with food and so forth, it seems Michael’s entire family comes to visit. I have met his mom, dad, aunts uncles and cousins as they’ve enjoyed these small family reunions. I asked him what’s so special about doing the show. “I think that because of the size of it you really get to interact with the people that come to it. Though it’s a big show, it has a very intimate homey feel to it. It has a warm Mid-West feel to it. I just think it’s a special show. And, Lou, anytime you can do a show and your mom can come see you from 10 minutes away, it’s a good show.”

It’s seems there is no slowing down for this driven, dynamic chef. Michael revealed that he has a new show debuting on Food Network, Friday July 10th, but that was all he could share. Long-standing contractual clauses containing stiff penalties for disclosing specifics regarding any Food Network shows in production remain in force. Cleveland’s Iron Chef says he will continue co-hosting his popular ABC-TV daytime show, The Chew. His most recent Food Network series, All-Star Academy,, in which he mentored a team of home cooks while vying against star chefs Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli and Curtis Stone, just concluded.

To connect with Michael, visit his website, www.michaelsymon.com or connect with him via social media on Twitter: @chefsymon, Facebook; Michael D. Symon and Instagram: @chefsymon Michael also has a series of cookbooks, t-shirts, hats and more, all available here: Cookbooks and more….

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this brief glimpse inside the world of Chef Michael Symon as much as I did bringing it to you!

Until next time,

Bon Apetit,

Lou


Product Spotlight: Michael Symon Cutlery

Michael-Symon-Cutlery (1)

4070 MS 7inch Cleaver S

This 7 inch Vegetable Cleaver and Scooper Knife was designed with Chef Michael Symon for chopping and scooping your vegetables and fruits from cutting board to fry pan or plate. The sturdy yet thin blade is .068 inches thin by 3.350 inches wide by 7 inches long blade allows you to cut and scoop up lots of food. It will get through the toughest veggies with little effort. This knife is crafted per my specifications from high carbon German Stainless steel for durability and one of the world’s best handle materials G10 fiberglass resin which will withstand the toughest kitchen environments. The handle is .725 inches thick by 1.050 inches wide in the middle by 5.1 inches long including the bolster. Two polished rivets in the handle complete the clean look. Order yours here: 7″  Vegetable Cleaver

4090 MS 9inch Chef SThis 9 inch Chef Knife was designed with Chef Michael Symon and is known as the workhorse in the chefs’ kitchen. It’s a must have for chopping veggies to slicing chicken and proteins. The sturdy blade is .090 inches thick by 1.9 inches wide by 9 inches long allowing you to cut very large foods with ease. This knife is crafted per my specifications from high carbon German Stainless steel for durability and one of the world’s best handle materials G10 fiberglass resin which will withstand the toughest kitchen environment. The handle is .725 inches thick by 1.050 inches wide in the middle by 5.1 inches long including the bolster. Two polished rivets in the handle complete the look. Order yours here:  9″ Chef Knife

4066 6inch Chef SThis 6 inch Chef Knife was designed with Michael Symon and is better known as the little workhorse in the kitchen. This smaller and lighter chef knife is perfect for those who get intimidated by larger knives and super for the beginner cook, while a seasoned cook will use it for small tasks. It’s a must have for chopping veggies and proteins. The sturdy blade is .090 inches thick by 1.7 inches wide by 6 inches long allowing you to cut through tough veggies with ease. This knife is crafted per my specifications from high carbon German Stainless steel for durability and one of the world’s best handle materials G10 fiberglass resin which will withstand the toughest kitchen environment. The handle is .725 inches thick by .980 inches wide in the middle by 4.8 inches long including the bolster. Two polished rivets in the handle complete the look. Order yours here: 6″ Chef Knife

4060 MS 6inch Utility SThis 6 Inch Serrated Utility Knife was designed with Chef Michael Symon for slicing bread, bagels, and tougher skinned vegetables. A must have for every kitchen. The sturdy blade is .090 inch thick by 1.2 inch wide by 6 inch long allowing you to slice smoothly through tough crusts or soft fresh loafs straight out of the oven. The wide serrations produce very little crumbs and can even thinly slice meat without tearing. This knife is crafted per my specifications from high carbon German Stainless steel for durability and one of the world’s best handle materials G10 fiberglass resin which will withstand the toughest kitchen environment. Order yours here: 6″ Serrated Utility Knife

4035 MS Paring knife SThe Michael Symon 3.5 Inch Paring Knife is designed for small peeling, garnishing and slicing of fruits and veggies. The sturdy blade is .068 inches thick by .780 inches wide by 3.5 inches long allowing you to cut smoothly through veggies with ease. This knife is crafted per my specifications from high carbon German stainless steel for durability and one of the world’s best handle materials G10 fiberglass resin which will withstand the toughest kitchen environment. The handle is .670 inches thick by .800 inches wide in the middle by 3.950 inches long including the bolster. Two polished rivets in the handle complete the look. Order yours here: 3.5 Inch Paring Knife

4045 MS 4pc Steak Set IMG SMichael Symon 4 Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set. This precision sharp serrated steak knife edge is designed for smooth slicing through tough crusted chicken, juicy steaks, pork chops and all your proteins. The special design and grind of the serrated edge tips will not tear your food. These steak knives even works great for bagels, bread and tomatoes. The beautiful G10 handle adds an elegant look to any kitchen table or special occasion. The set comes in a gift box with care instructions so we have you covered. Order yours here: 4 Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set

 

Til next time,

Ergo

Mike StaibUp Close with Chef Michael Symon by blogger Louis S. Luzzo, Sr.
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The Five Mother Sauces, Chef Ming Tsai & The Big Green Egg

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The cold has finally broken and it’s beautiful May weather! Welcome to this month’s Chop Talk! Just a quick note that we are taking Pre-Orders this month for the new Michael Symon Knife Line, which should be available late June~early July and we’ll keep you informed with all the latest updates.

In our Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips we’re talking “Mother Sauces.” Cooking can be a fun filled experience in the kitchen which allows the home cook to be creative and speak from their heart.  We’ll teach you all the secrets on how to make Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Tomato and Hollandaise. Our Chef’s Spotlight is Chef Ming Tsai. Ming is a James Beard and Emmy award winning chef, author, TV/new media host and producer, product developer, food allergy advocate and East-West lifestyle expert. Our video recipe this month from Chef Tsai is his Perfect Eggs Benedict with Guilt Free Hollandaise in keeping with our theme. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight brings you the Big Green Egg and ties into our Product Specials & Highlights which is our 2 pc knife set, specifically designed for Big Green Egg. Enjoy!


Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Mother Sauces

Courtesy of www.buzzle.comCooking can be a fun filled experience in the kitchen which allows the home cook to be creative and speak from their heart. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t feel that passion and love for ingredients. In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême anointed Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, and tomato sauce as the building blocks for all other sauces in his work L’Art de la Cuisine Française au Dix-Neuvième Siecle. Later on, Hollandaise got added to the family. He is credited with developing a variety of sauces that all stemmed from a series of 4 focused sauces. These became known as the “Mother Sauces”, and were used as a base sauce to create hundreds of derivatives. In the 20th century, Auguste Escoffier updated these sauces and added a 5th mother sauce.

Today, they are recognized as the following 5 sauces:

Bechamel – a milk based sauce that is thickened with a roux (clarified butter and flour). This sauce is named after its creator Louis XIV’s steward, Louis de Béchamel. Considered the king of all sauces, and often called a cream sauce because of its consistency, this sauce is most often used in all types of dishes. Examples may include crème, mornay & soubise.

Velouté – a sauce made with white stock and roux. It is most often made with chicken or fish stock, and can sometimes be enriched with egg yolks or cream. Examples would include sauce allemande, white bordelaise, and supreme.

Espagnole or Brown Sauce – a brown stock based sauce often made with a rich meat stock (veal, beef, or lamb) a mirepoix of vegetables (carrots, celery and onion), a brown roux (the roux must be cooked until it changes color) fresh herbs, and tomato paste. Examples would include sauce bordelaise, chasseur, Madeira, Chateaubriand, and a refined Demi glace.

Tomato Sauce – a tomato based sauce normally made with onion, tomato & fresh herbs. Examples would include marinara, and spaghetti sauce.

Hollandaise/Emulsions – sauces that are emulsified, meaning a fat and a liquid made into one coalescent mixture. This can be as basic as a vinaigrette, or more in depth such as a hollandaise or mayonnaise.

Sauce can be defined as a flavorful liquid or semi solid liquid that is served on or alongside of food. In French Cuisine, sauces can date back all the way to the middle ages. Back then, when refrigeration was not available, the shelf life on food was much shorter. Sauces were used to mask the foods’ poor quality, and give the plate a more pleasing taste. Over the years, sauces became more popular for their flavor, and chefs began using creativity to wow the palate with their skills.

Today, all 5 mother sauces or “grand sauces,” are still used as a foundation to assist chefs and cooks in the kitchen. Pay close attention to the quality of ingredients going into the sauce, as it is very important to the success of the final sauce’s taste. Like anything you do in life, if you put less than quality ingredients in, you get a less than quality result and that fact couldn’t be more true than with this very important element of the plate. Selection of good quality wines and vegetables can be new for some people, so consult with your local store manager to get answers to any of your questions.

How To Make  Roux
Roux can be an intimidating process, so lets take a closer look at the components and how they are prepared. Roux is simply a cooked mixture of equal parts wheat flour (use all purpose) and a fat, traditionally clarified butter. First melt the fat in a pot or pan, then slowly add the flour being sure to whisk it until the flour is completely incorporated. It is also important to cook the roux until there is no longer a raw flour taste, and can continue cooking until the desired color has been achieved. The color can range from white to dark brown depending on how long it is left on the heat. The end result is a flavoring, coloring, thickening agent that can enhance the flavor and consistency of sauces, soups and stocks.

Here are some tips for a more successful sauce. When using a roux to thicken, be sure to constantly stir during cooking to prevent lumps. If lumps remain, attempt to use a whisk to break them up. If that doesn’t work, run the sauce through a strainer and then adjust seasoning. When cooking an egg thickened sauce, be sure to stir the sauce over a double boiler over medium heat (not boiling) to lightly and slowly cook the egg. Be careful not to let the sauce boil, as the eggs will curdle and destroy the consistency of the sauce. Also make sure the water in the double boiler doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, this will prevent the transfer of heat from happening too fast and potential scrambling the sauce.

When making a cold emulsion such as a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, be sure to add the fat slowly. This will allow the emulsion to take place and the liquid to accept the fat while whisking. If the fat is added too fast, the sauce will “break,” leaving a pool of oily mess with a destroyed look and flavor.

We  hope this helps you explore the exciting preparations of sauce making. Try adding different herbs and spices or cook with a different wine of your choice. Remember, sauces are to enhance a dish, so always be sure that the main protein, vegetable and/or starch is great quality and purchased from a reputable supplier. It is our hope that with this series that you will start attempting a little more complexity in the kitchen and that in some small way, we’re helping bring out your inner ‘Gourmet Chef.’


Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Ming Tsai

ming-with-wineMing’s love of cooking was forged in his early years. Ming was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at Mandarin Kitchen, the family-owned restaurant. His experience also taught him about restaurant operations and the art of making customers happy.

Ming headed east to attend school at Phillips Academy Andover. From there, Ming continued to Yale Universityearning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, Ming spent his summers attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and apprenticing at area restaurants in Paris. After graduating from Yale, Ming moved to Paris and trained under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme and then on to Osaka with Sushi Master Kobayashi. Upon his return to the United States, Ming enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University, earning a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing.

Blue Ginger logoIn 1998, Ming opened Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA and immediately impressed diners from Boston and beyond with the restaurant’s innovative East-West cuisine. In its first year, Blue Ginger received 3 stars from the Boston Globe, was named “Best New Restaurant” byBoston Magazine, and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as “Best New Restaurant 1998″. That same year,  Esquire Magazinehonored Ming as “Chef of the Year.” The James Beard Foundation crowned Ming “2002 Best Chef Northeast” and, since 2002, the Zagat Restaurant Guide has rated Blue Ginger within the “Top 5 ofMost Popular Boston Restaurants.” In 2007, Blue Ginger received the Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions for its achievement of the highest standards in food, hospitality and service. In 2009, Ming and Blue Ginger won IFMA’s Silver Plate Award in the Independent Restaurant category recognizing overall excellence in the country. Most recently in November 2012, Boston Magazineranked Blue Ginger as one of The 50 Best Restaurants.

In early 2013, Ming opened his second restaurant Blue Dragon – an Asian gastro pub located in the Four Point Channel area of Boston. The tapas-style menu features Ming’s East-West approach but now takes a twist on traditional pub favorites. Blue Dragon was named one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants 2013” and one of Zagat’s “24 new restaurants you need to know about around the US“.

Ming and Family Reach

Ming serves as the President, National Advisory Board, of the Family Reach organization, a non-profit who’s mission is to provide financial relief and support to families fighting cancer.

Ming is a national spokesperson for the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), and is proud to have developed the Food Allergy Reference Book. First used at Blue Ginger, the Reference Book is a pioneering system that creates safeguards to help food-allergic people dine safely. For four years, Ming worked with Massachusetts Legislature to help write Bill S. 2701, which was signed into law in 2009. This groundbreaking legislation, the first of its kind in the US, requires local restaurants to comply with simple food allergy awareness guidelines.

Chef Corp Place Setting

In 2012, Ming was invited by Secretary of State, The Honorable Hillary Clinton, to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps.  The Chef Corps is a network of chefs from around the country that participate in a number of official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad.

Simply Ming logo

Ming is the host and executive producer of the public television cooking show, SIMPLY MING. In 2009, SIMPLY MING received two Emmy nominations for ‘Outstanding Culinary Program’ and ‘Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host,’ and received two Bronze Telly Awards in the categories of ‘Lighting’ and ‘Art Direction.’ His SIMPLY MING video podcasts, the first of their kind, feature tutorials on everything from filleting fish to food allergy basics (available on ming.com). Ming began cooking for television audiences on the Food Network, where he was the 1998 Emmy Award-Winning host of East Meets West with Ming Tsai. Ming’s Quest, his popular cooking adventure series, also aired on Food Network. In the summer of 2008, Ming traveled to the Beijing Olympics with NBC’s Today show to provide viewers with insight into food customs and traditions that define his Chinese heritage.

In addition to television, Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, Ming’s Master Recipes, and Simply Ming One-Pot Meals and Simply Ming In Your Kitchen.

You can connect with Ming on his social channels here:: Twitter; @chefmingtsai, Facebook: Simply Ming and visit his website here: Ming.com


Recipe

Perfect Eggs Benedict with Guilt Free Hollandaise Sauce from Chef Ming Tsai


Retailer Spotlight 

Big-Green-Egg-LogoWidely acclaimed as the original American-designed ceramic cooker, the Big Green Egg was derived from an ancient clay cooking device known as a “kamado”. Originally a clay vessel with a lid, today’s EGG® is a modern ceramic marvel known for producing amazing culinary results for novice and experts alike for over thirty years!

Often copied, never matched … there is only one, original Big Green Egg – The Ultimate Cooking Experience!

Grill | Sear the perfect steaks, pork chops or burgers on the EGG. High temperature “steak house” grilling – even at 750º F / 400º C – is quick and easy! Using the two dampers for accurate control, you can lower the heat to a more moderate temperature for other grilled foods. Fish and seafood turn out moist and tender with a flavor-packed crust unmatched by other grills.

Oven | Using the indirect cooking method with a convEGGtor, the Big Green Egg bakes bread, pizza, casseroles, cobblers and pies better than your kitchen oven … you may never cook indoors again! The Big Green Egg retains heat and moisture so well that foods don’t dry out! Poultry, lamb, beef and vegetables are naturally tastier because the juices and flavors stay locked inside.

Smoker | The insulating ceramics of the Big Green Egg allow you to precisely control the temperature even at low heat. A controllable 200 to 350°F / 93 to 177°C gives succulent results with turkey, ham, lamb, chicken, ribs or any of your favorite cuts, infusing them with the aromatic wood smoke flavor. Want to slow cook at low heat for sixteen to eighteen hours … no problem!


Product Spotlight

Hey all, we have partnered with Big Green Egg 

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The top-quality engineering of the Big Green Egg Ergo Chef Knife Set makes chopping, slicing and dicing an experience, not a chore. The set of two high-quality knives includes a Chef Knife and a Paring Knife, and they both engineered so well that they come with a Lifetime Warranty.

The 8 in / 20cm Chef Knife features a hollow ground blade with a ergonomically angled handle and precision balanced (and very sharp) 18 degrees cutting edge.

The 3.5 in / 9cm Paring Knife features a handle that is longer and wider than on most standard knives, and the handle has smooth edges, offering you more comfort and control.

Get yours here: Big Green Egg Knife Set

Mike StaibThe Five Mother Sauces, Chef Ming Tsai & The Big Green Egg
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How To Care For And Store Your Kitchen Knives & Chef Florian Bellanger

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Spring is here. It looks like the weather is finally breaking and warmer temperatures are on the way! This month we have a great lineup for you from tips to chefs and recipes, to new product news. If there are some kitchen or culinary topics you would like us to cover, please reach out with your suggestions and we’ll be sure to make our best efforts to bring it to you. In this month’s Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, we’re covering  “Everything you need to know about caring for your Kitchen Knives.” When you purchase a good set of kitchen knives, you want to make sure to care for them properly to get the most out of your investment. These tips and techniques will help keep your knives in like-new condition. In our Chef’s Spotlight, we’re pleased to bring you Chef Florian Bellanger, co-founder of Mad Mac Macarons and permanent judge on the Food Network’s TV series, Cupcake Wars, in its 9 season with 115 episodes to date. He also graces us with a delicious Recipe for Raspberry Macarons. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight this month brings you Cooks World in Rochester, NY. Lastly, our Product Spotlight is our new MyJuicer, our new personal juicer, great for making smoothies and juicing. Enjoy!


Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

“Everything you need to know about caring for your Kitchen Knives.” 

When you purchase a good set of kitchen knives, you want to make sure to care for them properly to get the most out of your investment. These tips and techniques will help keep your knives in like-new condition.

Store Your Knives Properly

Knife Bag

Knife BagThis is more for the professional who has to carry their knives on the go. The advantage of the bag is that is portable, and all of your knives (and tools) are in one place. The disadvantage is that, a home kitchen is a little different and bags are more geared towards a professional. While you can use the bag at home, it is not as convenient for some people. Our 9 Pocket Soft Knife Roll Case.

Knife Block
Knife BlockWhile you cannot use it in a professional kitchen for sanitation reasons, at home it is acceptable.  As long as your knives are clean and dry when they go in, (this is key) you will not have any problems. If you like to put your knives away when they are dirty – you will end up with an issue of cross contamination. Our 10 Slot Wooden Knife Block

Knife Strip
magnetic knife rack You may have seen these magnetic knife holders. You place the metal blade on a the strip that holds your knives up for everyone. This is novel but we don’t necessarily recommend this method for storing your knives. The main issue is the magnet puts strain on your tang when you take your knife off the strip, and eventually your knife can actually break unless you have a full tang to the bottom of the handle like ours. Anther issue is pulling it off the Steel strip sideways where your blade edge can press against the steel strip rolling it over and or in some cases chipping the edge if the strip has raised steel bars on it.  To help prevent damage from this be sure you pull the knife off straight of twist it off so the back side or spine of the blade only contacts the steel magnet strip.

Edge Guards
Edge GuardsThese are especially recommended if you store your knives in  drawer. Edge guards will protect your fingers and knife edges from damage. Our 7 Piece Universal Knife Edge Guards help differentiate your knives and the sizes are most common by color. 4″ Pink edge guard to cover smaller paring knives or utility knives. 7.5″ Red edge guard for larger Utility, Boning or Fillet knives. 6″ Green edge guard for a smaller Chef knife or Santoku knife. 8″ Orange edge guard for a carving knife or serrated bread knife and an 8″ Blue edge guard for a larger Chef knife. These knife edge guards will protect any steel and ceramic knives with blades up to 1/8″ thick.

Sharpening Your Knife

Culinary students learn on their very first day: A dull knife is a dangerous knife, because the extra force required to cut foods can mean the knife could slip and cut you. Honing and sharpening your knife regularly will keep it safe and efficient to use. First, know the difference between honing and sharpening:

A) Honing straightens out the microscopic “teeth” that comprise the very edge of the teeth, which bend to one side as the knife is used over time, while B) sharpening actually abrades ultra-fine particles from the metal blade to recreate a blade.

Your knife only needs to be sharpened about once a year. But, only you know when it is slicing easily or not. Remember, a dull knife is a dangerous knife so some of us who use our knives frequently like to sharpen them at least once per month. If you use your knife sparingly then once every few months may suffice. You can have your knife sharpened professionally for a minimal amount and if you have a really good, really expensive set of knives, this may be the way to go. An expert knows exactly how to angle and sharpen the edge to like new precision. If you are a do it yourself kind of person, you can sharpen it at home, but be careful! We offer two options.

Pro Series 10 inch Diamond Sharpener

SteelThis Ergo Chef Pro-Series Sharpener is an oval 1″ wide x 10″ long diamond coated rod. It’s an essential part of proper knife maintenance to keep your knives as sharp as new. Designed to easily remove burrs & sharpen the edge on your knives with just a few light passes on it’s medium grit diamond coated surface. Our diamond steel has an ergonomic comfortable non-slip grip black handle with a large 1.6″ diameter face to protect your hand while sharpening. Also fits into most wooden blocks.

FASTEDGE Manual Pull Through Sharpener

sharpenerThis Ergo Chef FastEdge 2 stage manual pull though knife sharpener has a non-slip base to safely sharpen your straight edge knives & nicely hone your serrated edges. It cuts an 18 degree edge with the Coarse Carbide inserts then finely hones the edge with the Fine Ceramic rods for a perfectly sharp blade with just a few pulls through the sharpener. Ours & industry research has shown that an 18 degree edge is most versatile and durable for all types of foods and steels. This Sharpener takes the guess work out of angles and makes it simple for anyone to sharpen there dull knives. Environmentally friendly by re-using handle with our replacement cartridge. FASTEDGE Knife Sharpener is a registered trademark of Ergo Chef, LLC.

Don’t wash your knives in the dishwasher.

Even if a manufacturer touts its knives as being dishwasher safe, it’s best to hand-wash your knives. The rough agitation of a dishwasher can damage the blade by knocking it against other utensils or dishes. What’s more, the harsh detergents and high heat used in dishwashers can deteriorate your blade, rivets & plastic handle. And finally, it can be unsafe to keep sharp knives in the dishwasher; you could accidentally cut yourself reaching into the racks.

Wash knives immediately after use.

A knife is easiest to clean right after it’s used, before juices or food particles have a chance to dry on the blade. And if you’ve used the knife to cut acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits, those juices could corrode the metal or cause spotting. Letting knives sit in a sink or a basin of water is also a bad idea. Follow these simple steps:

1. Never leave your knife in the sink or leave food on it to dry. Always rinse it and wipe it down if it is going to be awhile before you have the chance to wash it.
2. Use hot water and a mild soap.
3. If food is sticking to it let it soak in hot water for a few minutes before washing it. Keep the water clear and shallow so that you can see the knife clearly.
4. Knives should never be washed in the dishwasher.
5. Don’t dump knives into a sink of soapy water. Wash them carefully and individually. If they are at the bottom of the sink you could give yourself a bad cut when you went to pick one up.
6. Hold the knife with the blade pointed away from you.
7. Do not allow yourself to become distracted.
8. Slowly, using a dishcloth, wipe the blade gently from the top (dull side) to the sharp edge. This way the sharp side never comes in contact with you.
9. Hold the handle and rinse the knife thoroughly under very hot running water.
10. Wipe dry using the same method as you did for washing – dull side to sharp side.
11. Put it away.

Use knife-friendly cutting boards.
The right cutting boards can keep your knife sharper for longer. Avoid cutting boards made from glass, ceramic or marble, which do not have any “give” and will dull your knife (roll & burr the edge) – not to mention, knives can slip in the hard, slick surface. Wood and bamboo are both ideal cutting surfaces, as they will not dull the blade. In particular, look for cutting boards made from end-grain wood, because the individual grains will part around the blade as it makes contact with the board. Some chefs and home cooks prefer plastic, which is also gentle on blades, and has the added benefit that it can be sanitized in a dishwasher. There are also a number of new composite cutting boards that are made of materials like resin and paper combined, which offer a great balance of durability and blade protection. Knives are one of the most important kitchen tools there are. Buying the best quality that you can afford is just a good investment. Maintaining them properly helps that investment last as long as possible. With proper maintenance, use and care, your kitchen knives will last you a lifetime.


Chef’s Spotlight: Florian Bellanger

florianOur chef this month has a list of credentials that is incredible and the list of his friends is a virtual who’s who of the culinary world. Florian Bellanger is a French pastry chef, formerly the executive pastry chef at the famous Parisian pastry and candy shop, Fauchon. He is a permanent judge on the Food Network’s competition series Cupcake Wars, appearing in over 9 seasons and 115 episodes to date.

Florian grew up in Paris and spent much of his free afternoons baking for his family. However, a childhood chocolate allergy prevented him from enjoying sweets and desserts for 6 years which had temporarily discouraged his desire to bake. At age 15, Bellanger applied to one of Paris’s prestigious pastry schools, the École de Paris des Métiers de la Table (“Paris school of table skills”), but was rejected for being a year too young. By 1986, he graduated from the school with a specialization in pastry cooking and a specialty in chocolate and ice cream; he now says chocolate is his favorite ingredient and admires its versatility, claiming it is “fun” and something “taken for granted.”

Before starting his own company, He  was the executive pastry chef at Fauchon and oversaw 24 other pastry chefs at its Tea Salon flagship store in New York City, a “legendary French Epicurean emporium” of cakes, cookies, ice creams and sorbets. There, he became known for creating inventive combinations of flavors outside of the norms of tradition, such as éclairs flavored with orange zest, passion fruit or coconut and raspberry marshmallow cake, Toulouse violet ice cream and raspberry-chili pepper sorbet. From 1991 to 1994, he was under the command of famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and was also the executive pastry chef for Fauchon’s flagship store in Qatar from 1994 to 1996.

Florian was pastry chef of the world renowned (3 stars Michelin) restaurant Le Bernardin from 1996 to 2001, where his desserts were described as “light and dreamy” by Ruth Reichl of The New York Times. Bellanger is now the chef and co-owner of Mad Mac Macarons “the Authentic French Macarons and Madeleines” an acclaimed French cookie and pastry company, which he helped found in 2006. Bellanger is a member of City Harvest’s Food Council and a guest chef at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, New York. He also spends his free time donating to charities such as C-CAP Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, the Wolfgang Puck Charity and the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation.

cupcake-wars-florian-bellanger-7Bellanger is a permanent judge on the Food Network’s hit competition series Cupcake Wars which airs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa. Cupcake Wars is a Food Network reality-based competition show hosted by Justin Willman based on creating unique and professional-style cupcakes that began airing in June 2010. The show is similar to Chopped in that it started with 4 contestants who are eliminated one by one in 3 rounds. During seasons 1-3, the show’s time-slot was Tuesdays at 8 pm, EST, but at the beginning of the 4th season, the time-slot changed to Sundays at 8PM EST.  The show challenges its contestants to create cupcakes with unusual ingredients with the winning team receiving $10,000. Each team consists of a chef and a sous-chef.

Bellanger was named one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America in 2004 and 2003 by Pastry Art & Design magazine. In 2000 and 2001, the James Beard Foundation acclaimed Bellanger’s accomplishments with a nomination for “Outstanding Pastry Chef. Bellanger he is also the Jury President of the US Pastry Competition that is held every February in NYC, and has been featured on many networks including CNN, NBC, Food Network and Martha Stewart Living. Bellanger’s cake and pastry works have received attention in various magazines and publications including House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Weddings, Forbes, Brides, Modern Bride, GQ, Time Out, People, The New York Times, InStyle, Pastry Art & Design, Food Arts, Chocolatier Magazine, The Nibble, Delta Sky and New York Magazine, and PastryScoop.com.


Recipe

raspberry macaron florianRaspberry Macarons Recipe by Florian Bellanger

Makes 24 macaron cookies/48 shells

Ingredients
Almond Flour 1 cup (100 gms)
10 X Powder sugar 1/3 cup + 1 tblespoon (80 gms)
Egg white 1 unit (30 gms)
Apricot Jam 1 tbs (8 gms)
Sugar 1/3 cup (68 gms)
Egg white 1 unit (30 gms)
+ 1 Jar of Raspberry Preserve with seeds (ex : Bonne Maman Brand)

Method

Pre-heat your oven at 375 F

Using a whisk Combine in a mixing bowl, almond flour and powder sugar, add the egg white and the apricot jam, mix until combined.

In a Mixing machine (kitchen aid) using whisk attachment, Whip the egg white / half way, start to add the granulated sugar little by little, to strengthen the whipped egg whites (stiff peak). Add food coloring at the end until a nice bright pink color (has to be bright because color will fade away a bit during baking.) Add 1/3 of your egg whipped white (meringue) into the first mix, mix using a spatula, until combined, (repeat) …. add the rest of your egg white and do the mix by hand with a rubber spatula, mix until combined and shinny.

Using a piping bag , form the macarons shells on a sheet pan tray lined with non-stick parchment paper, no more than 1 inch diameter .

Important before baking : Let the macarons shells rest at room temperature (for about 15 minutes) or until the top of your cookies get dry a bit and does not stick to your fingertip anymore. Bake at 375 F for 12 to 14 min.

Once out of the oven, let them cool at room temperature, then take out (gently/French macarons shells are very fragile) Flip over your macarons and using your thumb press a bit the center of it to get a small hole, then using a pipping bag or teaspoon, apply filling (raspberry preserve) on only one side of the cookies and stick both part together .

Note: Once all done, refrigerate Macarons over night on a tray covered with plastic wrap or place them in an air-tight container. The inside will absorb some moisture from the preserve and they will get even more tender.


Gourmet Store Spotlight

Cooks’deqAYWfB_400x400 World was founded by George F. Wiedemer Sr, in 1978 as a Gourmet Kitchenware Store for those who love to cook. Run by his son, Chris Wiedemer, since 1994, Cooks’ World carries an extensive line of superior quality cookware, bake ware, cutlery, tools and gadgets, unique hard to find cooking products, giftware from around the world and specialty foods. They offer a friendly, knowledgeable staff, who have been at Cooks’ World for up to 32 years. Services include, but are not limited to FREE Gift Wrapping, FREE cup of coffee all day, every day, Knife Sharpening, Product Demonstrations, Private Events, Special Ordering, Shipping.

They represent products from over 300 companies, including All-Clad, LeCrueset, Cuisinart, Calphalon, Staub, Lodge, Swiss Diamond, Nespresso, Zojirushi, Wusthof Trident, Ergo Chef, Zwilling JA Henckel, Victorinox, JK Adams, Messermeister, White House Coffee, Harold Imports, Kitchen Aid, Nordicware, Norpro, Breville, Capresso, Bunn, Casafina, Polish cooksworld fall staff pict 2013 homepagePottery, Chicago Metallic, Kitchen Supply, John Boos, RSVP, and many, many more. Chris does an amazing job at finding the best new products for his kitchen store. This year he has added some Crimson Knives in store and can order up any of the Ergo Chef products you like if he doesn’t have them in stock. Chances are you’ll find an amazing selection of quality items and his great personal staff ready to assist. So get Cooking with the Cooks World in Rochester, NY. For special offers, coupons, newsletter, and new product early notices, please get on their email list and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Store Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm ~ Phone: 585-271-1789, Toll Free: 1-800-825-1833, Fax: 585-271-6113 ~ 2179 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618


Product Spotlight

My Juicer complete kit LErgo Chef is excited about introducing a new product in Kitchen Electrics called “My Juicer(TM)” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle to quickly and easily blend all your Fresh or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables into delicious healthy smoothies. 

The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and  save!  To order click here: My Juicer.

Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibHow To Care For And Store Your Kitchen Knives & Chef Florian Bellanger
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