Recipes

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: https://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

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• Tool Weight: 8.5 Oz.
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• 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: https://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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March: GMO’s, Michael Symon & the new Ergo/Symon knives

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Symon knivesWe here at Ergo have a great announcement for you all. Later this year you’ll be able to add Michael Symon knives to your kitchen. Cleveland’s Iron Chef and co-host of ABC-TV’s daytime hit show “The Chew” inked a deal with Ergo Chef to create a line of signature blades.

We 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. Symon says that the opportunity to produce his own line of knives was appealing because of the quality of the tools Ergo Chef produced for a small number of other celebrity chefs.

“They sent me a knife years ago which has always been one of mine and Lizzie’s [wife Liz Symon’s] favorites in the kitchen – even though it is sitting next to knives 5 times its price,” Symon describes the knives as providing “good balance and strength of blade.” The knives will be ground in the conventional Western-style, rather than with a Japanese beveled edge that is growing in popularity. He’s 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 added. “It will have a unique handle that is not only stunning but also very comfortable and durable,” Symon said. We are very excited to partner with Michael and will keep you all up to date as to when the knives will be available.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips
gmo-cartoonThis month we are going to cover what is a very controversial topic, GMOs. We’ll take a look at the What’s Why’s, When and How’s of this topic. We are definitely in the NON GMO camp here at Ergo and thought you should have the facts so you can make the right food decisions for your family. There are two very diverse camps, for and against to GMOs and we’ll explore both sides to be fair.

So what exactly are GMOs?
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. These techniques have allowed for the introduction of new traits as well as a far greater control over a food’s genetic structure than previously afforded by methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

Commercial sale of genetically modified crops began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. To date, most genetic modification of foods have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. These have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have also been experimentally developed, although as of November 2013 none were on the market.

There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food. However, opponents have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues, environmental concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact that GM seeds (and potentially animals) that are food sources are subject to intellectual property rights owned by corporations, so we’ll look at both sides pf this controversial coin:

On The Plus Side:

keep-calm-gmo-safeThese plants can help farmers boost their yield by making crops that can live through a drought or the cold and resist disease. Backers say GM products will help us feed the extra 2 billion people that will fill the planet by 2050. GMO supporters believe that using science to make the changes is better for the planet than older farming methods. Crops built to resist pests lower farmers’ need for toxic chemical pesticides. They also require less soil to be tilled, reduce runoff, and keep the soil in place. Scientists can create crops that contain vital nutrients. Swiss researchers created a strain of “golden” rice with high amounts of beta-carotene. Monsanto produced soybeans with lots of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Other crops, like papaya and cassava, can be made to withstand disease.

On the Negative side:

ban-gmo1Crops built to withstand herbicides could breed with each other and transfer their genes to weeds. These “superweeds” would also beat the herbicides. On the other hand, GM fans say this is nothing new. Even nonchemical technologies create superweeds. The process often mixes or adds proteins that don’t exist in the original plant. GMO foes fear these will create new allergic reactions. They also worry that foods made to resist disease and viruses will linger in your system after you eat them, and that could make antibiotics less effective. But no studies confirm this claim. The long-term effects of adding new genes to common crops are still unclear. While the industry and health leaders cite hundreds of studies to support its safety, not to mention 20 years of animal data, experts say studies that show bad effects on animals — like harm to the kidneys, liver, heart, or other organs — should carry more weight.

So Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

Are GMOs labeled?
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. 64 countries with over 40% of the world’s population already label genetically engineered foods, including the entire European Union. China labels genetically engineered foods. The same companies that fight GMO labeling in the US reformulate or label GMOs in the foods they sell overseas. Labelling was introduced to give consumers the freedom to choose between GMOs and conventional products. Essentially, if a foodstuff is produced using genetic engineering, this must be indicated on its label. Actual labelling practice, however, is far more complicated – and must be planned and regulated with issues such as feasibility, legal responsibilities, coherence and standardisation in mind.

How common are GMOs?
In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food.
Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

Some ingredients that seem low-risk may have less-visible high-risk ingredients.  Take, for example, dried fruit.  Raisins and similar fruit are sometimes packed with a small quantity of oil to keep them moist.  This oil, when used, is sometimes high-GMO-risk.  As such, it is critical that we do take the time to look carefully at ingredient spec sheets during the verification process, to ensure that risks like this are effectively mitigated, even in apparently low-risk products. Contamination incidents have occurred with seemingly “low-risk” products (rice, starling corn, flax). Non-GMO Project Verification supports manufacturers in being able to quickly and proactively respond to unexpected contamination issues. Verifying only high-risk products puts a heavy burden on consumers to know what products are at risk of containing GMOs.  Many people, even in the world of Natural Foods, don’t know what a GMO is, let alone which crops and processed ingredients are high-risk.

Through verifying low-risk products, the Non-GMO Project’s work builds consumer interest and industry investment in Non-GMO, even for crops that aren’t genetically engineered yet.  Biotech is constantly working to patent and commercialize new organisms (salmon, apples, etc.), and the more companies that have committed to Non-GMO production, the more resistance these new developments will see prior to release.

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

How do GMOs affect farmers?
Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

Chef’s Spotlight
0002957Chef Michael Symon cooks with soul. Growing up in a Greek and Sicilian family, the Cleveland native creates boldly flavored, deeply satisfying dishes at his four restaurants in America’s heartland: Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot. He also shares his exuberant, approachable cooking style and infectious laugh with viewers as an Iron Chef on the Food Network.

Since being named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine in 1998, Michael and his restaurants have been awarded numerous honors: In 2010, he was the first chef ever to host the annual Farm Aid benefit concert; Bon Appetit magazine included B Spot on their list of “Top 10 Best New Burger Joints”; and B Spot’s Fat Doug burger won the People’s Choice Award at the SoBe Wine & Food Festival. In 2009, Michael earned The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes and the Detroit Free Press named Roast “Restaurant of the Year.” In 2000, Gourmet magazine chose Lola as one of “America’s Best Restaurants.”

In 2010, Michael 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. Michael won season 1 of The Next Iron Chef in 2008, earning him a permanent spot on the panel of esteemed Iron Chefs. He made his debut on the network in 1998 with appearances on Sara’s Secrets with Sara Moulton, Ready, Set, Cook and Food Nation with Bobby Flay, before being tapped to host more than 100 episodes of The Melting Pot.  He is now the co-host of ABC’s popular daytime show “The Chew” and can be seen in a new Foodnetwork’s new hit show “All Star Academy

While Michael shines on television, he is a genuine hometown guy who made his name cooking in his Midwestern restaurants, all of which became critically acclaimed. Lola opened in 1997 and is now the cornerstone of Cleveland’s dining scene. Lolita, a Mediterranean-style bistro in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood, opened in 2005. Roast brought Michael’s meat-centric cooking to Detroit’s Westin Book Cadillac in 2008, and two Cleveland locations of B Spot opened in 2009, showcasing his passion for burgers, bratwurst and beer.

Michael published his first cookbook, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen, in 2009, sharing home cook-friendly recipes that draw on the flavors of his heritage. In 2012 he published Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers, and his latest book in 2013,  Michael Symon’s 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners

When he’s not working, Michael is riding his motorcycle through Cleveland, cooking at home, playing golf, thinking about his next tattoo, gardening in the backyard and spending time with his wife, Liz, and their bullmastiff, Ruby, and Old English bulldog, Ozzy.

Recipe
This month, rather than just give you one recipe we thought we’d spotlight our new partner Michael Symon, who gives us some great recipes from his Cooking Channel Show, Symon’s Suppers, using bacon. We hope you enjoy!

Till next Time,

Ergo

Mike StaibMarch: GMO’s, Michael Symon & the new Ergo/Symon knives
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The Lowdown on Gluten Free & The Chew’s Carla Hall…

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Welcome to the February Blog 

We hope you are keeping warm and safe with all this brutally cold weather. To begin, with Celiac Disease on the rise and problems with gluten becoming more prevalent than ever, we thought would give you all you need to know about gluten, it’s affects and where you might find it. Our Chef’s Spotlight this month is The Chew’s Carla Hall and we have a great recipe from her cookbook Cooking With Love: Comfort Food That Hugs YouShao Mai. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight this month travels to Fairfield, Connecticut and visits our friends at Kitchen Corner, a truly amazing store with over  5000 quality products, including our Ergo cutlery. Our Product Spotlight this month is our new 8″ Straight Handled Chef’s Knife and in honor of President’s Day, we have a secret sale. Just go to the link below, go to checkout and the discount will appear in your cart. Enjoy!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

gluten freeGluten-free diets (for reasons other than Celiac disease) have become a recent trend. A number of experts 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.

In addition, some parents are using gluten-free diets to treat autism, although evidence of the diet’s efficacy as an autism treatment is poor. Despite vigorous marketing, a variety of studies, including a study by the University of Rochester, found that the “Popular Autism Diet Does Not Demonstrate Behavioral Improvement” and fails to show any genuine benefit to children diagnosed with Autism who do not also have a known digestive condition which benefits from a gluten-free diet

People wishing to follow a completely gluten free diet must also take into consideration the ingredients of any over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins. Also, cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip gloss may contain gluten and need to be investigated before use. Glues used on envelopes may also contain gluten. Most products manufactured for Passover are gluten free. Exceptions are foods that list matzoh as an ingredient, usually in the form of cake meal.

Several grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are corn, potatoes, rice, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupin, quinoa, sorghum (jowar), taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are sometimes used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber.

Almond flour is a low-carbohydrate alternative to flour, with a low glycemic index. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, although many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable. Gram flour, derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free (this is not the same as Graham flour made from wheat). Chickpeas.

Gluten is also used in foods in some unexpected ways, for example as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products like ice-cream and ketchup. A gluten-free diet allows for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and many dairy products. The diet allows rice, corn, soy, potato, tapioca, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina and nut flours and prohibits the ingestion of wheat, barley, rye and related components, including triticale, durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, malt, malt flavoring or malt vinegar.

Standards for “gluten-free” labelling have been set up by the “Codex Alimentarius”; however, these regulations do not apply to “foods which in their normal form do not contain gluten”. The legal definition of the phrase “gluten-free” varies from country to country. Current research suggests that for persons with celiac disease the maximum safe level of gluten in a finished product is probably less than 0.02% (200 parts per million) and possibly as little as 0.002% (20 parts per million). Australian standards reserve the “gluten free” label for foods with less than 5 parts per million of gluten, as this is the smallest amount currently detectable. In the processing of gluten-containing grains, gluten is removed (shown in the processing flow below)

Alcohol
Several celiac groups report that according to the American Dietetic Association’s “Manual of Clinical Dietetics” many types of alcoholic beverages are considered gluten free, provided no colourings or other additives have been added as these ingredients may contain gluten. Although most forms of whiskey are distilled from a mash that includes grains that contain gluten, distillation removes any proteins present in the mash, including gluten. Although up to 49% of the mash for Bourbon and up to 20% of the mash for corn whiskey may be made up of wheat, or rye, all-corn Bourbons and corn whiskeys do exist, and are generally labeled as such. Spirits made without any grain such as brandy, wine, mead, cider, sherry, port, rum, tequila and vermouth generally do not contain gluten, although some vineyards use a flour paste to caulk the oak barrels in which wine is aged, and other vineyards use gluten as a clarifying agent (though it’s unclear whether gluten remains at the end of the clarification process). Therefore, some celiacs may wish to exercise caution. Liqueurs and pre-mixed drinks should be examined carefully for gluten-derived ingredients.

Almost all beers are brewed with malted barley or wheat and will contain gluten. Sorghum and buckwheat-based gluten-free beers are available, but remain a niche market. Some low-gluten beers are also available, however there is disagreement over the use of gluten products in brewed beverages: Some brewers argue that the proteins from such grains as barley or wheat are converted into amino acids during the brewing process and are therefore gluten-free; however, there is evidence that this claim is false.

Bread, which is a staple in the Western diet, is typically made from grains such as wheat that contain gluten. Wheat gluten contributes to the elasticity of dough and is thus an important component of bread. Gluten-free bread is made with ground flours from a variety of materials such as almonds, rice (rice bread), sorghum (sorghum bread), corn (cornbread), or legumes like beans (bean bread), but since these flours lack gluten it can be difficult for them to retain their shape as they rise and they may be less “fluffy”. Additives such as xanthum gum, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), corn starch, or eggs are used to compensate for the lack of gluten.

Always avoid food and drinks containing:
Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
Rye
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Wheat
Beer
Breads
Cakes and pies
Candies
Cereals
Cookies and crackers
Croutons
French fries
Gravies
Imitation meat or seafood
Matzo
Pastas
Processed luncheon meats
Salad dressings
Sauces, including soy sauce
Seasoned rice mixes
Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
Self-basting poultry
Soups and soup bases
Vegetables in sauce

Watch for cross-contamination
Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. It can happen during the manufacturing process, for example, if the same equipment is used to make a variety of products. Some food labels include a “may contain” statement if this is the case. But be aware that this type of statement is voluntary. You still need to check the actual ingredient list. If you’re not sure whether a food contains gluten, don’t buy it or check with the manufacturer first to ask what it contains. Cross-contamination can also occur at home if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that weren’t thoroughly cleaned after being used to prepare gluten-containing foods. Using a common toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination, for example. Consider what steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination at home, school or work. We hope this helps.

Chefs Spotlight
CAH-about-banner-1Carla Hall is a co-host of ABC’s popular lifestyle series “The Chew,” seated alongside restaurateurs and “Iron Chef America” stars Mario Batali and Michael Symon, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz. Hall is best known as a competitor on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” where she won over audiences with her fun catch phrase, “Hootie Hoo” and her philosophy to always cook with love. Hall is the owner of Carla Hall Petite Cookies, an artisan cookie company that specializes in creating sweet and savory “petite bites of love.” Her approach to cooking blends her classic French training and Southern upbringing for a twist on traditional favorites. She is committed to health and balance in everyday living. Her newest cookbook, Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World will be published March 25, 2014, and her first cookbook, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You, was published in November 2012 and recently re-released in paperback.

A native of Nashville, TN, Hall received a degree in Accounting from Howard University, but traveling through Europe awakened her passion for food and inspired a new career path. She attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland where she completed her culinary training, going on to work as a Sous Chef at the Henley Park Hotel in Washington, DC. She also served as Executive Chef at both The State Plaza Hotel and The Washington Club, and has taught classes at CulinAerie, Sur la Table and her alma mater, L’Academie de Cuisine. Hall is a true believer that, “If you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation.” She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Matthew Lyons, and stepson Noah.

Recipe
From Carla’s new cookbook, Cooking With Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You.

blog_Curried-Beef-DumplingsI first had Shao Mai (little open-topped dumplings) at dim sum, the Chinese-style brunch where you graze on lots of small dishes. I enjoyed the traditional pork and shrimp dumplings so much, I decided to do my own version with a curried beef filling. Curry powder is great! Because it’s a blend of many different spices, you don’t have to work as hard to get flavor. Plus, I love bringing Indian flavors into my food. The warmth and depth of spices add so much to the lean beef in this filling. For this recipe, be sure to buy thin wonton wrappers made with an egg-based dough, not the thicker dumpling wrappers made from an eggless flour-based dough.

Makes 40 dumplings

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 large eggs
3/4 pound lean (90%) ground beef sirloin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
1 tablespoon water, plus more for cooking
Forty 3 1/2-inch-diameter round wonton wrappers

Method
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, curry powder, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, and 1 of the eggs. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bell pepper, and scallions, then stir in the ginger mixture until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. In a clean small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with the water. Lightly brush a thin layer of the egg wash on a wonton wrapper. Use a measuring tablespoon to scoop 1 tablespoon of the beef filling into the center of the wrapper. Hold the filled wrapper in the palm of one hand and pull the sides of the wrapper up around beef with the other hand while slowly spinning the dumpling in your palm. You should be gently squeezing the wrapper around the beef and pushing the beef up so that it’s flush with the top of the wrapper. You’re not really pressing the filling, just gently shaping it. The beef should be exposed on top and the whole dumpling should be in the shape of a wide cylinder. Place wrapped dumplings on a wax paper- or plastic wrap-lined half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, egg wash, and beef filling. If you don’t want to cook them immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add just enough dumplings so that you can space them 1 inch apart in a single layer. Cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
4. Add enough water to come 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan. Cover and cook until the water evaporates, about 2 minutes. Again add enough water to come 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan. Cover and cook until the beef is cooked through, about 2 minutes more. You can tell when the beef is done when the dumpling feels very firm. If you want to be sure, cut one in half to check.
5. Transfer the cooked dumplings to a serving plate and tent loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve hot or warm.

Recipe Note: Catering Like Carla
To make this easy recipe even easier, set up an assembly line: Lay out 5 wrappers in a line, brush them all with the egg wash, place a dollop of filling in the center of each, and wrap them up, one by one, down the line. Repeat until you’re done.

There’s little difference between making 25 and 125 of these once you’ve got your assembly line set up. So why not make more, since they’re perfect for freezing? You can double, triple, or quadruple the recipe easily. Line half sheet pans with plastic wrap, place the dumplings on them, and freeze until very hard. Transfer them to resealable plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 month. Cook them straight from the freezer. They’ll take about 5 minutes longer than fresh ones to cook through.

Gourmet Store Spotlight
signThe Kitchen Corner, established in 1977, is your one-stop-shop for anything you need in your kitchen. With over 5,000 items in our inventory, They have everything from cookie cutters and cake decorating supplies to cookware, electronics, gadgets and more. They have the most unique kitchen ware around and Knife Sharpening; They offer professional knife sharpening, which restores the knife’s sharp edge. Call or stop by for pricing. You’ll get your knives back in only two business days!

The Kitchen Corner, established over thirty years ago, has become “Your Kitchen Store” with over 5,000 items in inventory. This includes a wide selection of electronics, textiles, cutlery, and cookware. In addition, they  have an unbeatable selection of cookie cutters, candy-making and cake decorating supplies. The list of quality products they have to offer, including our Ergo cutlery goes on and on.

The Kitchen Corner offers not only top-of-the-line products, but also services such as expert knife and scissor sharpening, gift wrapping and shipping, and cake decorating, cupcake, and cooking classes.  Their shop is perfect for your cooking, baking and entertaining needs. We offer free gift wrapping and have gift certificates available to make gift giving a cinch. Special orders are never a problem and we ship via UPS.

Earn a 20% discount off your next purchase. Inquire about our “Frequent Buyers Club”! Visit and experience the friendly and knowledgeable service that The Kitchen Corner delivers. Address: 2359 Black Rock Tpke., Fairfield CT * Phone: (203) 374-1118, Fax: (203) 374-4114 * Email: info@kitchen-corner.com * Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:30 – 6, Saturday: 9:30 – 5, Sunday: 11 – 4. Visit them on facebook for special offers and cooking class schedules.

Ergo Product Spotlight

8″ Chef Knife Crimson SH Straight Handle

SH Crimson Chef SThe New Crimson SH (Straight Handle) 8″ Chef knife is designed with a comfort handle and tapered bolster. Ergo Chef designed this for the tradition knife lover while sticking to our precision blades and heat treat process for longer edge life. The blade steel is made in Germany for unmatched quality and precision ground and finely honed to perfection. The handle is crafted with G10 (Fiberglass Resin) which is deemed the worlds strongest handle material by many.

The beautiful look is created to mimic wood grain without the maintenance of wood. Lifetime Warranty. Order yours today & discover the Ergo Chef difference! Just click the link below. 

Till next time,

Ergo

Mike StaibThe Lowdown on Gluten Free & The Chew’s Carla Hall…
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The Language Of The Kitchen & Food Network’s, Jeff Mauro

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Hi and welcome to the first Chop Talk of 2015. We’re excited this year with some new products and happenings here at Ergo. We’ll have more on that later on in 2015. Starting off this year since everyone likes a good list, in our first Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips we’ve compiled a pretty cool selection of phrases heard in professional kitchens everywhere. From Amuse-Bouche to Velouté, we cover the Language of the Kitchen. Next up is a Chef’s Spotlight on Food Network’s Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro. Jeff graciously gives us a recipe for a decadent Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich as well. We are proud to announce to new product for 2015. Last month we debuted our new Juicer, this month, Ergo is bringing you Crimson Series Straight Handled Chef’s Knives for you traditionalists out there. Enjoy!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: 

The Language Of The Kitchen…contibuted by Louis S. Luzzo

restaurant-kitchenTo some, the language of the professional kitchen is like a second tounge. I have heard it described as “the linguistic abnormalities that sometimes ascribe themselves to the professional, and/or commercial kitchens”  In this edition of  Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, #FTKT, we’ll explore and explain the phrases, definitions and concepts in relation to cheffing and working in a commercial kitchen. This way , the next time you receive a Tourchon, you’ll know what your getting! Following is a list of words and definitions. Some words you need to know. Some you probably should know. Some are just fun to know. Then there are the ones you want to know, in order just to show off. Secondly, because everybody loves a good list. Third is because in order to be a complete chef in your own kitchen, cooking, interpreting recipes and mastering the techniques, you need to be able to understand what’s being asked of you by a particular cookbook or chef’s recipe.  Enjoy!

Culinary Words Index
Amuse-Bouche ~  also known as amuse-gueule, amusee, petite amuse and lagniappe. A French term that literally means ‘mouth amusement.’ These are tiny bites of food served before a meal to whet the palate and invigorate the appetite. They’re more whimsical than hors d’oeuvres, and smaller than appetizers.
Aperitif ~ French term for an alcoholic beverage served before a meal as an appetizer to stimulate the appetite. It can be a punch made to complement the meal, but it is usually a white wine, sherry, champagne, or a sparkling wine.
Assiette ~ French for “assortment,” as in cheeses.
Bain-Marie ~ A  hot water bath that is used to keep food warm on the top of a stove. It is also to cook custards and baked eggs in the oven without curdling or cracking and also used to hold sauces and to clarify butter.
Béarnaise ~A classic reduction of wine, vinegar, tarragon and shallots, finished with egg yolks and butter.
Béchamel ~A basic white sauce of milk, butter and flour.
Beurre blanc ~A thick sauce of butter, white wine and vinegar.
Beurre noisette ~Butter cooked to a hazelnut (noisette) color.
Beurre rouge ~ Beurre blanc, but with red wine instead of white.
Blanch, blanching ~ To briefly plunge food into boiling water and then into cold water to stop cooking.
Bouquet garni ~ It is a small bunch of herbs, which traditionally consist of a bay leaf, sprig of thyme, and a sprig of parsley, tied together with kitchen twine and tossed into the sauce as is.
Braise ~ a slow-cooking method for tough cuts of meat or poultry and even stringy vegetables.
Brine ~ A mixture of salt water, sometimes herbs and spices designed to increase the moisture holding capacity of meat. by having the meat soak in it for from three hours up to three days, resulting in a moister product when cooked. 
Brunoise ~ It is a French word used to describe a mixture of vegetables, usually onion, celery, and carrot, which has been very finely diced, then cooked slowly in butter.
Butterfly ~ To split food (usually meat, fish, or poultry) down the center, cutting almost, but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly. Often this is the first step when preparing a roast that is to be stuffed and rolled.
Caramelize ~ (1) To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear caramel syrup ranging in color from golden to dark brown. (2) Heating of meats or vegetables until the natural sugars in them break down and turn light brown. Sugar will begin to caramelize at 320 degrees F.
Carry-over cooking ~ heat transferring from the hotter exterior of the meat to the cooler center. As a general rule, the larger and thicker the cut of meat and the higher the cooking temperature, the more residual heat will be in the meat, and the more the internal temperature will rise during resting, due to carry-over cooking. This means the meat must be removed from the heat at an internal temperature lower than your desired final internal temperature, allowing the residual heat to finish the cooking.
Cassoulet ~ A slow-cooked marriage of white beans and assorted meats such as pork, duck or goose.
Celeriac ~ More commonly known here as celery root.
Charcuterie ~ The French term for delicatessen-style items.
Chasseur Sauce ~ Chasseur is French for hunter. It is a hunter-style brown sauce consisting of mushrooms, shallots, and white wine (sometimes tomatoes and parsley). It is most often served with game and other meats.
Chef de Partie ~ Also known as a “station chef” or “line cook”, is in charge of a particular area of production.
Chiffonade ~In culinary terms, a chiffonade describes a way of cutting herbs and lettuces into thin strips or shreds, which look a bit like rags.
Coddle ~ To cook food slowly in water just below the boiling point.
Cold-smoking ~ Curing meat (hams, sausages, bacon, fish) in the smoke of smoldering wood or corncobs at temperatures from 60 to 100 degrees F.
Compote ~ refers to a chilled dish of fresh or dried fruit that has been slowly cooked in sugar syrup, which may also contain alcohol or liqueur and sometimes spices.
Compound butter ~ Also known as finishing butter, flavoring butter, or beurre composé in French, A compound butter is butter that has been flavored by blending softened butter together with various ingredients.
Confiseur ~ The candy cook.
Confit ~ Meat (usually goose, duck or pork) that is slowly cooked in its own fat and preserved with the fat packed around it as a seal.
Consommé ~ Meat or fish stock that has been clarified.
Coquilles St. Jacques ~ Scallops cooked in white wine with a little salt, peppercorn, parsley, bay leaf, chopped shallots, and water. A sauce of fish stock, butter, flour, milk, egg yolks, and cream accompanies them.
Coulis ~ A type of a sauce which derives its body (either entirely or in part), from pureed fruits or vegetables.
Court bouillon ~ It is a French term that means, “short broth.” It is used in place of water when boiling various types of food (mostly used for poaching fish or as a base for fish soups). The broth is made of wine, water, herbs, and spices. It usually is also flavored with onions, celery, carrots and cloves.
Crème anglaise ~Rich custard sauce, often used as a topping or plating accompaniment to fruits and pastries.
Crème fraîche ~ Cream that is allowed to set and thicken to a velvety rich texture.
Dauphine ~ Croquettes made by combining potato puree with pastry dough, forming the mixture into balls and then rolling them in bread crumbs and deep-fried.
Deglaze ~ To dissolve the remaining bits of sautéed or roasted food in (a pan or pot) by adding a liquid and heating. The resultant mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.
Demi-glace ~ A rich brown reduction of meat stock, Madeira or sherry, and other ingredients. Used as a base for many other sauces.
Duxelles ~ Often used as a garnish or to flavor sauces and soups, duxelles is a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs cooked in butter until it forms a thick paste.
Emulsion ~ The mixture of two liquids that cannot normally combine smoothly (e.g., oil and water). Mayonnaise and hollandaise are two familiar emulsions.
En croute ~ A food that is wrapped in pastry and baked.
Enophile ~ A person who is knowledgeable about and enjoys wine.
Epicure ~ A person of refined taste who cultivates the knowledge and appreciation of fine food and wine.
Fumet ~ An intense stock made most often from fish or mushrooms, used to add flavor or body to another stock or sauce.
Hollandaise ~ An emulsion of egg yolks, lemon juice and hot melted butter, the smooth, rich sauce is often an accompaniment to vegetable, fish and egg dishes.
Meunière ~ Literally “miller’s wife” in French, this cooking technique (used primarily for fish) involves a light coating of flour before sauteing in butter or oil.
Mirepoix ~ A combination of diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs cooked in butter; used to flavor a wide range of dishes.
Mousseline ~ A sauce made airy with the addition of whipped cream or beaten egg whites.
Niçoise ~ Dishes typical of cuisine from the Nice, France, region, where garlic, black olives, anchovies and tomatoes are nearly always part of the mix.
Noisette ~ a) French for hazelnut; b) small, very tender round steak, usually of lamb beef or veal, cut from the rib or loin; c) as in beurre noisette: butter heated until it turns nut brown; used as a finishing touch for many dishes, especially fish.
Paillard ~ A thin slice of meat, grilled or sautéed.
Papillote ~ The term “en papilotte” is used to describe a dish that is cooked (and usually served) in a parcel of greased parchment paper that protects it from the high heat of the oven and retains aroma and flavor.
Pâté ~ Ground meat, fish or vegetables blended with fat and seasonings; can be smooth or chunky, served cold or hot.
Pâte ~ French for dough, paste or batter.
Pot-au-feu ~ Meat and vegetables simmered in water.
Poussin ~ A small, young chicken.
Prix fixe ~ French for fixed price, a complete meal that features a limited number of selections at a preset price.
Quenelle ~ A small, delicate, poached dumpling of meat, fish or vegetables.
Rillettes ~ Meat, usually pork, slowly cooked in seasoned fat and made into a smooth paste, then packed and sealed with a thin layer of fat. Served cold.
Roulade ~ A French term for a thin roll of meat or cake around savory or sweet fillings.
Roux ~ A slow-cooked mix of flour and fat, used to thicken soups and sauces.
Terrine ~ a) kind of pâté made of pieces of meat in a deep dish with straight side; b) an earthenware container, or the dish cooked therein.
Torchon ~ Method of cooking foie gras by which it is placed in a towel (torchon in French) and poached.
Velouté ~ A creamy white, stock-based sauce.
Verjus ~ Sour liquid made from unripe fruit; used to flavor sauces and condiments.

Chef’s Spotlight: Jeff Mauro

home_slide1Born in 1978 in Chicago, IL, Jeff Mauro was a ham on a roll from the very beginning. As one of 4 kids, he competed for attention not by making his sisters cry, but by making his family laugh. Jeff’s flair for the stage was discovered early on in the Roosevelt Jr. High 3 legendary production of Let George Do It! From that point on, he immersed himself in the performing arts and flourished.

After graduating from Bradley University in glorious Peoria, IL, he opened up a deli with his cousin and instantly fell in love with cooking. During the day Jeff would craft sandwiches. During the night, he satisfied his comedic bug playing the role ‘Tony’ in Tony and Tina’s Wedding. With both his professional cooking knowledge and performance skills polished, he moved to Los Angeles in an attempt to meld his two loves – cooking and comedy.

After a few years hustling in Hollywood, he upped the ante and enrolled in culinary school to refine his cooking skills. Jeff graduated Valedictorian, packed up his Honda and returned to Chicago where he was a culinary instructor, a successful private chef, and local comedic home_slide0performer. After 3 unsuccessful audition attempts, he finally landed himself on Season 7 of Food Network Star, which he totally won.

Jeff Mauro is now the star of Food Network’s Emmy-nominated Sandwich King, $24 in 24 hrs and The Kitchen. He has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Steve Harvey Show, Chopped, Cupcake Wars. When not making TV,  Jeff loves spending time with his wife and first love Sarah, playing above average blues guitar and roughhousin’ with his five-year-old son and co-star Lorenzo. His favorite color is pastrami. You can get more information about Jeff on his website: www.jeffmauro.com Follow him on Social Media: twitter, facebook, instagram.

Recipe
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
Courtesy of Jeff Mauro
SHOW: The Best Thing I Ever Made
EPISODE: Bring the Heat

Ingredients
6 jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup shredded aged Cheddar
8 slices country white bread
2 tablespoons salted butter

Method
ED0206_jalapeno-popper-grilled-cheese_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapePreheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the jalapenos with 1 tablespoon olive oil, some salt and pepper and lay skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the skin is blistered, 10 to15 minutes. Place in a plastic baggie for about 5 minutes loosen the skin. Pull off the skin, remove the majority of seeds and ribs, and slice. Set aside.

Spread the mascarpone on 4 slices of bread and divide the Cheddar among the other 4 slices. Divide the sliced jalapenos among the 4 sandwiches. Close, and butter both sides of the bread.
Heat half of the remaining oil on a flat griddle over medium heat. Grill one side of the sandwiches until golden. Remove, heat the remaining oil and repeat with the second side until golden and the insides are all melty and gooey.

Ergo Products Spotlight

8″ Chef Knife Crimson SH Straight Handle

SH Crimson Chef SThe New Crimson SH (Straight Handle) 8″ Chef knife is designed with a comfort handle and tapered bolster. Ergo Chef designed this for the tradition knife lover while sticking to our precision blades and heat treat process for longer edge life. The blade steel is made in Germany for unmatched quality and precision ground and finely honed to perfection. The handle is crafted with G10 (Fiberglass Resin) which is deemed the worlds strongest handle material by many. The beautiful look is created to mimic wood grain without the maintenance of wood. Lifetime Warranty. Order yours today & discover the Ergo Chef difference! List Price: $130.00  Price: $94.99

 Gourmet Store Spotlight

storeCooktique, is located in Tenafly NJ. They celebrate 37 years of providing professional service in a small town atmosphere. Looking for an unusual gadget, a wedding present, a hostess gift, or specialty food?  They are just the place you need. Avoid the hectic rush of mall shopping while enjoying some of these perks: unbeatable prices, no lines and friendly service, park right behind the store; get free gift wrapping; have a custom made gift basket created as you wait; purchase and ship a gift the very same day; and much, much more.  There is always something new at Cooktique as they constantly seek out new vendors,  lines and colors, as well as the latest in specialty food trends and gadget inventions.  Check out the specialty gourmet coffee department. They offer 28 varieties, guaranteed to be fresh and satisfying, at the lowest prices or your money back. They carry all the Ergo Products so stop buy for all your kitchen ware needs. West Railroad Avenue. Tenafly, New Jersey 07670 Phone: (201) 568-7990 Fax: (201) 568-5966 E-Mail: cooktique@msn.com

Mike StaibThe Language Of The Kitchen & Food Network’s, Jeff Mauro
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2015 Food Trends, Johnny Iuzzini & My Juicer

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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

Fermenting-Foods2015 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
local meats seafoodThe 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
produceThe 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
Environmental-SustainabilityEnvironmental 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
healthful mealsDemand 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
food-label-made-with-natural-ingredientsThis 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
meatsTri-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).

Hyper-local sourcing
bigstock-Container-Garden-1692251-300x200Restaurant 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
Spanish Seafood MarketSustainable 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
Food Waste ReductionWe 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.

Gluten-free Cuisine
gluten freeFor 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.

 Chef’s Spotlight

Our Chef’s spotlight this months is Chef Johnny Iuzzini.

images (1)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.”

Johnny+Iuzzini+Electrolux+Celebrated+Chef+AYpCvFQLjAilIn 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.

9780307351371_p0_v1_s260x420Johnny’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.

51EumsC1h2LHe 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.

Recipe 
Courtesy of Chef Johnny Iuzzini

Butternut-Maple Blondies

Johnny Iuzzini - Sugar Rush - Butternut Maple BlondiesMakes about 12 blondies

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.

Ingredients

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)

Method

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

wkc-logoThis 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 warren-storefrontcooking 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.

6934 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572 ~ 845-876-6208 ~ info@warrenkitchentools.com ~ Facebook

Where’s Randy

10722_102660343078702_7921471_nThis month the Ergo/Costco Road Show will be in:

Mon. Dec. 15 — Wed. Dec. 24 (10 days)
Randy will be at the Costco
100 Grand Ave, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Phone:(732) 509-3905

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

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 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,

Ergo

Mike Staib2015 Food Trends, Johnny Iuzzini & My Juicer
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