Friends of Ergo Chef

How to say “I Love You, Mom”

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Mother’s day is coming up and we have the answer to this question. If the Mom(s) in your life love cooking then why not give them the tools to make it even more enjoyable? We’re talking about about sharp, ergonomically designed kitchen knives that make food prep and cooking a breeze.

And this year you have a couple of different opportunities to get your Mom a new professional kitchen knife for free!

Girl Gone Mom giveaway – Enter this contest to win an 8″ Pro-Series knife with Diamond Sharpener and Edge Guard.

Wellness Mats Fab-Five Mother’s Day Giveaway – Enter this contest to win an 6″ Pro-Series knife with Diamond Sharpener.

Of course, you can always purchase knives at our store.

Mike StaibHow to say “I Love You, Mom”
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More Kitchen Comfort!

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The ergonomic design of our Ergo Chef knives is not the only innovation that is saving bones, muscles and joints in the kitchen… our friends over at Wellness Mats have a great product that is quickly becoming popular in pro and amateur kitchens all over. With many health benefits, a Wellness Mat in your kitchen can make prepping, cooking and cleanup a more comfortable experience – reducing stress and fatigue. We love this product, and combined with a set of Ergo Chef knives it can give your kitchen a one-two punch of ergonomic upgrades.

The folks at Wellness Mats also realize the benefits of combining ergonomic chef’s tools and are offering a FREE Ergo Chef Pro-Series knife giveaway… just in time for mother’s day!

Click here to check out their Fab-Five Mother’s Day giveaway, which includes a 6” Pro-Series Chef’s Knife and Sharpener.

Mike StaibMore Kitchen Comfort!
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Christina’s Basics #3

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Our guest blogger, Christina, takes us into the kitchen to review the basic techniques…

Cooking is simple, elegant and satisfying. You only need to master some basic techniques to create a great meal (no matter what chefs or molecular gastronomists tell you).

Baking is a technique reserved for oven-cooking breads and pastries. Many chefs would have you believe that to bake well you need a science degree. Just follow recipes until you have mastered the techniques, the textures, the ingredients and then you can venture off on your own.

Braising is a slow cooking process where the ingredients are seared or browned in fat or oil and then simmered in a small amount of liquid until tender. Braising is usually done in deep skillets or in a Dutch oven-style pan so that the juices accumulated in the braising combine to create a richly flavored sauce in the cooking process.

Grilling is a style of cooking where high heat is applied directly to the food…below the food, like a barbecue or in a grill pan over high heat on the stove top. Grilling seals in the flavor of the food and at the same time creates a rich, smoky taste that everyone loves.

Broiling is also a high direct heat that seals in the flavor and imparts a glorious browning that is without compare. The heat is above the food in close contact and cooks very quickly so you need to be diligent when broiling. It is used a lot as a finishing style of cooking, to brown a food once it’s been baked or roasted.

Roasting is a slow cooking style done in the oven. The enclosed, dry, intense heat of the oven surrounds the food and drives the sugars of the vegetables to the surface. I dress the veggies I am roasting in olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper. I cover the casserole dish tightly and roast for forty-five minutes to an hour. Then I remove the cover and return the dish to the oven to brown the edges of the veggies.

Poaching is a simple method by which you simply cook food in simmering liquid, imparting a sweet tenderness and resulting in a dish that is the perfect comforting texture.

Stewing is a moist heat cooking process is a bit like braising except that braising is done in fat or oil, while stewing is done in a broth-style liquid. The food is cooked in a small amount of liquid and served in the gravy that results from the combination of the juices of the vegetables and cooking broth.

Sautéing is a method of cooking that uses a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. The oil is heated and the ingredients added in succession. The ingredients are usually cut into small pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate quick, even cooking. The ingredients are stirred altogether, constantly moving, allowing steam to escape so that the veggies don’t stew and maintain their crispness. A sauté is seasoned toward the end of the cooking process.

Shallow or pan frying is different than sautéing, although it is often confused with it, as is stir frying. Shallow frying uses more oil and larger pieces of food cooked until browned and then turned once for even cooking.

Stir-frying is the term used for two styles of cooking, one similar to a sauté and the other starting with a hot wok to which the oil is added and then the veggies and seasonings in rapid succession and cooked, stirring constantly to crisp perfection.

Frying or deep-frying is cooking food over high heat completely submerged in hot oil. The result is crisp, light and richly flavored food. If the food is oily-tasting, then your oil wasn’t hot enough. If the oil is hot, the food will sink and immediately rise to the top and brown. It will be in and out of the oil in a minute or two. A hint: bring your oil to the proper temperature (350-375oF) over low heat to ensure that the oil is hot enough and doesn’t smoke.

Boiling and blanching are methods of cooking in water. Boiling foods involves the food being submerged in water for several minutes to achieve the tenderness desired. Blanching involves a quick dip into boiling water just to remove some of the ‘raw’-ness or bite of a delicate vegetable. A pinch of salt is added to the water before cooking in either of these styles so that the vegetables hold onto more of their nutrients.

Steaming is a method of cooking where the food is cooked above boiling water, so it actually cooks in the steam that rises off the water. The result is very crisp, brightly colored vegetables that hold a lot of their nutrients in this cooking process. The resulting vegetables are light, fresh and drier than food cooked submerged in water.

Christina Pirello, MFN, CCN is a bright, free spirited, vivacious redhead who is one of America’s preeminent authorities on natural and whole foods with a radiant personality that only serves to make her message more powerful. She’s made it her purpose in life to show Americans that they can look their best and feel great too, by learning to eat natural, organic food. Learn more at her website and blog.
Mike StaibChristina’s Basics #3
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Christina’s Cooking Basics ~ 1 of 5

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This week we welcome our good friend, Christina, from the PBS show “Christina Cooks,” to the Chop Talk blog. This is the first post of a five part series getting back to the basics in the kitchen – cooking, food prep, planning and more. In the final post, we’ll have an amazing meal plan prepared by Christina, especially for Ergo Chef.

How to Cook
It begins in the kitchen. You need to learn to cook. And while cooking classes are fun, entertaining and helpful and cookbooks are thrilling, fun and gorgeous, you can cook without any of it. You just have to understand what you are doing. You have to discover the ‘how’ in how to cook.

If you have never cooked before, it can be a daunting idea. But, with understanding and some basic skills, in a few short sessions in the kitchen, you will be whipping up meals as though you have been cooking all your life.

The Basics
For a stress-free life in the kitchen, you need tools…good tools…and it begins with a knife.

Knives
The tool that will serve you best, that is indispensible in the culinary world, is a knife. And not some little wussy, cheap-ass paring knife that you bought from some discount store. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on the house to get a knife that will do the job you need to do. Good chef’s knives can cost as little as $30 or as much as $300 or more.

Look for a stainless or carbon steel blade, with a handle that balances well with the weight of the blade. Carbon steel will stain, but will hold its edge longer than stainless and is usually heavier. Depending on how you work and how much you cook, you can decide if you want a heavy knife or a light one.

I am a fan of the Ergo Chef 7-inch Santoku and love using it. It’s light, sleek and so sharp; one of the greatest investments you can make in your kitchen.

Steel
The second most important tool in your repertoire. Treat yourself to the steel that Ergo Chef makes for their knives to put an edge on your knife on a daily basis. It’s essential to the health of your knife. Each day, before you begin to cook, hone your blade on the steel to keep the edge sharp and your knife ready to go.

Cutting board
Next to a knife, you will need a board for prep. And not one of those 6-inch free cheese boards you got with a gift basket. Get a wooden cutting board. While I am a big board type of girl, you have to take your own kitchen counter space into account when choosing a board. Go as big as you can so you have room to work.

And go for a nice, thick board so you don’t have to worry about warping.

Bamboo boards are the newest darlings in the cutting board world. They are light, durable, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial (naturally) and they don’t warp.

And Now…The Cooking…
Going back to the kitchen is not a big deal; nothing to stress over. In fact, it should excite you: the thought of taking your health back in your own hands in your kitchen with the foods you choose to prepare each day. There are basics of cooking, just like any skill.

Not mastering those skills will leave you chronically flustered and at odds with creating meals.

Christina Pirello, MFN, CCN is a bright, free spirited, vivacious redhead who is one of America’s preeminent authorities on natural and whole foods with a radiant personality that only serves to make her message more powerful. She’s made it her purpose in life to show Americans that they can look their best and feel great too, by learning to eat natural, organic food. Learn more at her website and blog.
Mike StaibChristina’s Cooking Basics ~ 1 of 5
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Ask Guy Fieri…

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Our friend, Brad Bradley from Eat ‘n Listen blog, is going to be interviewing Guy Fieri at the upcoming International Home and Housewares show in Chicago. They’ll be talking about Guy’s “Knuckle Sandwich” lines of knives by Ergo Chef. Brad wants to know your opinion on what questions he should ask Guy, so please pop on over an submit a quick answer to Brad’s reader poll.

Mike StaibAsk Guy Fieri…
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Cast Iron Skillet Pork & Potato Nachos

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We welcome Chef Rob VanVoorhis from “All Smoked Up BBQ & Catering” to our blog, with his tasty and hearty recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Pork & Potato Nachos…

Prep your salsa, onions, potatoes & pork the day ahead…
Salsa Ingredients:
8 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 jalapeno, minced
12 cilantro sprigs, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 2 lime
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together. Toss thoroughly. Let stand refrigerated overnight.

Potatoes: Bake 4 large russet potatoes & refrigerate after cooking. Once cool, peel & cube

Pork: Braise 4 lb. of cubed boneless pork shoulder (butt) until fork tender then refrigerate. Once cool, shred with a fork and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Onions & Peppers: Sweat 2 large sweet onions and 4 large frying peppers, refrigerate after cooking.

Method and additional ingredients on day 2: In a 12” cast iron skillet or large baking dish, layer the following ingredients in this order:
Salsa
Pork
Potatoes
Onions & peppers
Sliced jalapeno peppers
Sweet roasted red pepper strips
drizzle with sour cream & your favorite BBQ sauce
Shredded pepper-jack cheese

Oven at 350F (heat through time approximately 1 hr)

Make three layers, do not add the last layer of cheese until you have an internal temperature of 160F. Then remove the dish from the oven, add the cheese, a few jalapeno slices and return to the oven.

Remove from the oven when you have an internal temperature of 165F, drizzle the top of the dish with sour cream and then sprinkle some chopped cilantro & small diced roasted red pepper for additional garnish.

Spoon & serve!

Chef Rob VanVoorhis is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and yes, he loves & uses ErgoChef Knives! All Smoked Up specializes in On-Location Catering throughout New England and the Tri-States. They do everything from tailgate parties and backyard BBQ’s to outdoor tented weddings – Pig roasts, clambakes & seafood boils all in a relaxed atmosphere, served with a touch of elegance. Find out more at their website & blog.
Mike StaibCast Iron Skillet Pork & Potato Nachos
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Christina Cooks Loves Ergo Chef!

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Who chops more than a vegan? Nobody! And that means that an Ergo Chef knife is the vegan’s best friend. So check out the video above – Christina Pirello of the PBS show “Christina Cooks” takes a look at an Ergo Chef knife… and loves it! Her healthy, vegitarian recipes have saved her life and are an inspiration to thousands of healthy eaters. And now she prepares her meals with Ergo Chef (and sells us in her online store!)

Mike StaibChristina Cooks Loves Ergo Chef!
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Making Friends in Atlanta

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We recently attended the Atlanta Gift show and met up with some great people.

Mike Staib & Helen Chen

Helen Chen has a great line of Asian kitchen products. She is such a wonderful cook! Have a look here…

Mike Staib & Cat Cora

Food Network star, Chef Cat Cora, can frequently be seen on Iron Chef America. She is also the author of three cookbooks and Founder and president of Chefs for Humanity. Read more about Chef Cora here…

Mike StaibMaking Friends in Atlanta
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