Hello everyone and welcome to the last blog of 2014. Can you believe that the year has gone by already? Seems just yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and here we are again with Christmas and 2015 right around the corner. It’s been a great year and we thank you all for you continued support of our blog, Chop Talk and our company. All of us here at Ergo appreciate your patronage and look forward to bringing you more great content throughout the coming year. To that end we thought we’d give give you a preview of what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year with our latest Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, Food Trends of 2015. We have a special Chef’s Spotlight with 3 starred Michelin Chef and host of Top Chef Desserts, Chef Johnny Iuzzini, who also give us a delicious and easy Recipe; Butternut Maple Blondies. In our Gourmet Store Spotlight we bring you Warren Kitchen & Cutlery. Our Where’s Randy follows the Ergo/Costco Road show and Chef Randy to New Jersey and finally, a fantastic announcement: We are introducing a new product for 2015, called “My Juicer(TM),” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle that we know you’re going to love. If you pre-order now, we’ll give you a 20% discount!!! So without further ado, let’s Chop Talk!
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Food Trends of 2015
Perfect for a year ending #FTKT, we bring you a preview of what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year.
The Rise of Fermented Foods
2015 will be the year fermented foods – foods like yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut take center stage. These foods contain live cultures, or are preserved in liquid so their sugars and starches can become bacteria-boosting agents. After multi-year growth of gluten-free foods, many consumers have found their digestive health improved.
Locally sourced meats and seafood
The trend in using locally sourced meat, seafood and produce will hopefully continue and increase throughout areas that aren’t already utilizing their local communities. Purchase seasonal, sustainably raised, locally and regionally farmed products without the use of antibiotics, hormones and genetically modified ingredients; and limited or no use of herbicides and pesticides. Spend our dollars purchasing from local and regional small farms committed to sustainable farming practices.
Locally grown produce
The term “local food system” (or “regional food system”) is used to describe a method of food production and distribution that is geographically localized, rather than national and/or international. Food is grown (or raised) and harvested close to consumers’ homes, then distributed over much shorter distances than is common in the conventional global industrial food system.
Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking action that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. Environmental sustainability is about making responsible decisions that will reduce your business’ negative impact on the environment.
Healthful Kids’ Meals
Demand for healthful kids’ meals is increasing. “Feeding kids healthfully is not taking anything away from them but instead gives them the building materials they need, through nutritious foods, to grow and learn and live a full life,” David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.
Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
This is a bit misleading. “Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and do not contain manufactured ingredients, but the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing.
New cuts of meat
Tri-tip, Flat Iron Steak, Spinalis, Boneless Chuck Short Ribs, Filet of Sirloin, Denver Cut Steak.
In recent years, as foodies have proliferated, culinary topics have become increasingly vital and the once impenetrable wall between professional chefs in the kitchen and the public has come tumbling down, and there has been increased use of the term “chef’s cuts” to describe tasty but less common cuts of meat (not just beef).
Restaurant gardens, is a practice that is gaining ground among local restaurateurs and barkeeps. chefs are planting gardens, keeping bees all in an effort to control the quality of herbs and vegetables making their way to your plate.
Sustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans. It was first promoted through the sustainable seafood movement which began in the 1990s. This operation highlights over-fishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods.
Food waste reduction/management
We throw away 7.2 million tons of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. This costs us billions a year, harms the environment and wastes resources. Preventing food waste is better for the environment than any treatment, and can save money for businesses and households.
For anybody paying attention to new health and food trends, gluten free diets have become very popular lately. For Celiacs, this has been an all to real lifestyle requirement. A number of experts now are beginning to believe that celiac disease is at the extreme end of a spectrum of gluten sensitivity, and a number of people are adopting gluten-free diets to treat celiac-like symptoms in the absence of a positive test for celiac disease.
Our Chef’s spotlight this months is Chef Johnny Iuzzini.
Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s interest in the pastry arts began at age seventeen when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary focus at the restaurant was in savory, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and eventually became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man. Johnny traveled to Europe in 1998 where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris. He also completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Patisserie. In the Fall of 1998, Johnny returned to the US for the debut of Café Boulud and then moved to the 65th Street location of the new Daniel for its opening. Johnny was named Executive Sous Chef for the new restaurant and held that position for the next two years under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comité Colbert named Johnny one of the “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.”
In 2001 Chef Daniel Boulud promoted Johnny to Executive Pastry Chef. In May 2002, Chef/Owner Jean Georges Vongerichten named Johnny the Executive Pastry Chef at his famed four-star namesake, Restaurant Jean Georges, as well as its café, Nougatine. In addition, Johnny also oversaw the pastry program for the opening of Perry Street from 2005-2006, which earned three stars from the New York Times. During that same year, Restaurant Jean Georges earned its most prestigious award to date, three Michelin stars. It was one of only four restaurants in New York City to receive this honor. In this position, Johnny was recognized with numerous awards including “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine and “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” and Forbes.com identified Johnny as one of the 10 most influential chefs working in America.
Johnny’s first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef, was published December 30,2008. Through beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes, this book enables trained chefs and home cooks alike to explore Johnny’s use of single ingredients as primary inspiration for the dessert quartets featured on his seasonal menus at Jean Georges. Johnny has appeared in numerous TV segments for The Food Network, Martha Stewart, Top Chef, Today in NY, Paula’s Party, Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tony Danza Show, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Iron Chef America.
He was the head judge of Bravo’s culinary competition series “Top Chef Just Desserts” for two seasons. Since leaving Restaurant Jean Georges, Chef Iuzzini has started his own pastry consulting company, aptly named Sugar Fueled Inc. In addition to participating in numerous charity events and initiatives, Johnny is a chef ambassador for Family Reach foundation. His highly anticipated second book Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking was published in September 2014. To order Johnny’s book, click here. You can also follow Johnny via social media on facebook & twitter.
Courtesy of Chef Johnny Iuzzini
There are really no rules on what you can and can’t use in a great dessert, and I find that vegetables offer flavors, textures, and colors that work well in the sweet environment. They also can add tons of moisture to a dessert, as the squash does for these blondies. Here the rich, moist squash eliminates the need for the heavy, flavorless corn syrup usually found in blondie recipes.
One 2-pound butternut squash, halved and seeded (907 g)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan (170 g)
2 to 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar, for the pan
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (232 g)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (34 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (6 g)
¾ teaspoon ground cumin (1.5 g)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger (1.5 g)
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon kosher salt (2 g)
6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped (170 g)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the squash halves on it, cut side down. Roast until the flesh is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skins into a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Transfer the squash to a saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture. Remove from the heat, measure 1 cup for the blondies, and reserve the remaining puree for another use.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Grease an 8 × 11-inch baking dish or cake pan with butter and coat it generously with the Demerara sugar, tapping out the excess.
5. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, toss the ¾ cup butter and the brown sugar together with your hands until the butter is coated. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until lightened and no clumps of butter remain. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Add the syrup and vanilla and mix well.
6. Sift the flour, baking powder, cumin, ginger, and mace together; sprinkle the salt over the top. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Add the cooled squash and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in two thirds of the white chocolate pieces.
7. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces evenly over the top. Bake on the center rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
8. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into 12 equal-sized pieces.
Gourmet Store Spotlight
This month our Spotlight is Warren Kitchen & Cutlery.
Located in historic Rhinebeck, in New York’s beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, Warren Kitchen & Cutlery is a true kitchenware emporium – a place where inspired chefs and cooking enthusiasts can find their favorite knives, cookware, appliances, kitchen tools and serving pieces for home or restaurant. Knives are their specialty; they have more than a 1,500 different styles and sizes in stock. They encourage you to take advantage of our in-store sharpening and engraving services.
Mon. Dec. 15 — Wed. Dec. 24 (10 days)
Randy will be at the Costco
100 Grand Ave, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Come out, say hello & see Chef Randall Smith. He’ll be all set and waiting with all the great Ergo products! Great Christmas gifts for the chef, cook or culinary student or home cook or food enthusiast in your life!
Ergo Product Showcase
Ergo 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 20%! To order click here: My Juicer
From all of us at here Ergo Chef, from our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a healthy Happy New Year!
Till next time,