Hi everyone, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. We are well into 2016 and great things are happening here at Ergo. First up, we will only be producing 4 blogs this year, 1 per quarter, but we’ll make sure they are jam packed with lots of interesting and important info.
The 2016 International Home+ Housewares Show
We will be at the IHH Show in Chicago, March 5th through 8th, 2016. Ergo Chef has a prominent placement in the shows South Building Booth S1460 setup to be partially incorporated in with our US distributor Harold Import Company to optimize buyer & Rep flow as well as efficiently handle direct customer contact and needs as well. This year, in addition to the new Myron Mixon 3-in-1 Grill Tool and our new Iron Chef Michael Symon Signature Cutlery Line, we are introducing 2 new knives.
We will have show promotions and introductions of Michael Symon’s new 6pc. Knife set with Magnet Strip and The Myron Mixon Pitmaster’s Grill Tool with demonstrations for hands on understanding of our superior products. A new introduction and presentation by Chef Samuel Morgante where he will introduce his new Presidential Chef’s Choice 4” Ceramic Paring Knife in a gift box and tell his stories of working with presidents as well as his military adventures around the world. We’ll also be showcasing our new Pro Series 2.3″ wide 8″ Chef Knife with no hollow grounds.
The International Home + Housewares Show features more than 2,100 exhibitors from over 40 countries and more than 62,000 total attendees from over 125 countries. The Show brings buyers and sellers together to create the home + housewares industry’s key marketplace!
The International Housewares Association is the 77-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$331.1 billion at retail worldwide in 2014 ($75.1 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at www.housewares.org and group buying discounts on business.
Famed chef Emeril Lagasse, Food Network chef Aarón Sánchez and, Addison, the most recent winner of MasterChef Junior, join the line-up of celebrity chefs appearing in the Cooking Theater at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show, March 5-8 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Other chefs recently added include Ron Ben-Israel, host of the Food Network’s Sweet Genius and guest judge on Cake Wars; Lorena Garcia of Top Chef Masters; Sarah Grueneberg, runner-up on Top Chef: Texas; and Fabio Viviani, a Top Chef “Fan Favorite.”
Also appearing will be George Duran of Better TV; Tom and Patty Erd, second generation owners of The Spice House, listed as one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Top Spice Shops in the World;” Vivian Howard, star of the PBS series A Chef’s Life; Manuela Kjeilen, baker, Passion for Baking blogger, author and Swedish TV personality; Tess Masters, The Blender Girl; and local favorite Anupy Singla, a Chicago-based cookbook author and journalist. They join previously announced celebrity chefs Rick Bayless, Ming Tsai, Trisha Yearwood, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Bernard Guillas, Sara Moulton and Billy Parisi. The Cooking Theater, located in the Dine + Décor Expo in the South Building, is jointly sponsored by KitchenAid, Oneida® and WellnessMats. The chef demonstrations will begin on Saturday, March 5 and continue through Tuesday, March 8.
The 2016 International Home + Housewares Show will feature more than 2,200 exhibitors and attract 62,000 total attendees. The Show opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 5 and closes at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. To register for a Show badge or for more information, please visit https://www.housewares.org/show/register-plan.
Location; McCormick Place~2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60616
Hope to see you there!
The new Pro Series 2.3” Wide Ergonomic Chef Knife
This new 8” Pro-Series Wide Ergonomic Chef knife has an extra wide blade height 2.3”, and is NOT hollow Ground. Nice clean sides with no hollow grounds for easy cleaning and keeps it’s strength and durability even after you sharpen it for years. Precision balanced and fully forged for a lifetime of use. The 8″ Chef knife is the work horse in the kitchen. Our patented design, with its ergonomic angled handle, can make virtually all types of cutting more comfortable and effortless than standard knives (cutlery). This chef cutlery helps reduce wrist movement during chopping, and can decrease stress on the muscles in your wrist, hand and forearm; and the extended heel or blade of the knife prevents your knuckles from contacting the cutting surface. The cutlery is perfectly balanced and ground to perfection. Once you try it, you will want no other. Our knives were highly rated by many publications and by many culinary professors!
Features: Blade: German Made Carbon Stainless Steel (X50CrMoV15), Blade Length: 8″ of Cut, Blade Height: Wide 2.3″, Handle Length: 5.2″ Long, Handle Material: Durable POM, Knife Weight: 9.3 Ounces, Precision Balanced at Bolster, Lifetime Warranty & 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. $69.99. Order yours today: Pro Series 2.3″ Wide Chef Knife with No Hollow Grounds
The Presidential Chef’s Choice 4” Ceramic Paring Knife
It was designed for former White House Presidential Military Chef, Sam Morgante from ceramic, which is second hardest material next to diamonds so it stays sharp for years when properly used. The razor edge also slices vegetable with ease. The ceramic doesn’t react like steel or duller knives and helps prolong your salad and veggies from browning. It has a non-slip grip handle for safety and the official Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal on the blade. Comes with protective sheath and gift box. The new age ceramic we use is more durable, so if you drop it chances of it breaking are slim to none. This knife will be available mid March 2016.
Till next time,
Mike StaibIt’s the IHH Show 2016, Chicago & Launch of Two New Knives!
Welcome to October and the start of the Fall Season. We love this time of year for so many reasons. One, is that we get to attend some of the great food and culinary shows around the country and we look forward to to meeting and greeting you all face to face. That said, coming up this month is the Metro D.C. Cooking Show, Oct 24-25, 2015 in Washington D.C. & we’ll be heading to Cleveland Nov 13-15, 2015 for the Fabulous Food Show.
The Metro DC Cooking Show Headlining this year’s DC show will be Giada De Laurentiis and our good friend and partner, Chef Michael Symon. We’ll be displaying and demoing all our great products, including the new Michael Symon Cutlery Line (Chef Symon will be at the booth both days to greet you up close) and the new Myron Mixon Grill Tool. Saturday October 24 – Sunday October 25, 2015 Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, DC Saturday Hours: 10 am – 6 pm ~ Sunday Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
We’ll be at Booth #1315. We hope to see you there!
Ticket prices: General Admission – $18 in advance; Children 4-12 – $10 in advance
The Nation’s Premier Culinary Celebration is bigger than ever! The 10th annual Fabulous Food Show returns to the I-X Center November 13-15, 2015. This is not your ordinary cooking show, it’s a full weekend of food, fun, and entertainment! Spread out over 400,000 square feet of indoor space, this unparalleled cultural experience features the country’s largest presentation of fine food, fine art, craft breweries, wineries, restaurants, and purveyors all under one roof!The Market Place: Sample and shop from a collection of hundreds of companies showcasing a variety of specialty foods and culinary gadgets.Taste, Try & Buy just in time for the holiday entertaining season.
Giant Eagle Market District Theatre: Custom built open theatre hosted by Jason Roberts. Featuring live exclusive content on stage all weekend with Michael Symon, Buddy Valastro, Gail Simmons, Aaròn Sànchez, Frankie Avalon, The Samples and Gospel Brunch presented by House of Blues Cleveland. All performances are included with admission. Seating is first come, first served.
We’ll be there with all our great products and I’m sure Chef Symon will be stopping by to talk to you all about his new Michael Symon Cutlery Line. We’ll be at Booth #1352. For more info, visit the official website here: www.fabulousfoodshow.com
Food Tips & Kitchen Tricks
To begin, let’s take the simple definition. Most soups start with some type of broth or stock which is defined as; a liquid (usually water) that is fortified with a definite flavor. Different types of stocks include, vegetable, chicken, beef, duck, fish, lobster, corn, asparagus, etc The list is endless depending on what flavor you are looking for and, of course the ingredients that you are going to use it in. The final flavor you are trying to achieve determines how you are going to treat the ingredients going in. As an example were you to be making corn stock, your flavors would take on a completely different profile if you were using raw corn vs. roasted corn. Developing a base flavor is an important part, if not the most important part, of a successful soup and that can be achieved in many ways. If the home cook wants to make a meaty and rich soup for instance, it is important to caramelize the meat and vegetables first, then deglaze the pan with a liquid (sometimes red or white wine) to remove the flavorful pieces from the bottom of the pan (called fond) and add those flavors to the soup resulting in a richness of flavor called Umami.
A French term called ‘Mirepoix,’ is the foundation of most soups and stocks. This is a mixture of 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, and 1 part celery. Make sure you have a good sharp Chef knifeto break them down. Aromatics are flavor enhancers that are added to your stock to bloom or boost flavors. Aromatics include: peppercorns, bay leaves, juniper berries, any herbs, any onions, or garlic. Most importantly, we need to determine what type of stock we want to create, and then decide what the future of our beautiful stock will be. After you have added all your ingredients, you are now ready to let your stock simmer. A simmer is a temperature between 190-200 degrees and different stocks have different simmering times in order to reach their fullness of flavor:
Vegetable stocks~45 minutes Fish stocks~1 hour 30 minutes, Chicken (Poultry) stocks~2 hours, Beef stocks~6 hours ( pre-roast the bones)
Once your stock is completely simmered to it’s full richness, the final step is straining it properly. What we are looking for is a pure, smooth and beautiful liquid so at this point we need to pass it through a strainer or “cheesecloth” to remove all impurities and vegetables, or large ingredients. Your stock can now be used immediately, or can be frozen in smaller batches to be thawed and used the next time you decide to make a soup or sauce.
Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consomme. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with béchamel sauce; veloutes are thickened with eggs, butter and cream.
Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grains and beans. The word soup originates from “sop,” a dish originally consisting of a soup or thick stew which was soaked up with pieces of bread. The modern meaning of sop has been limited to just the bread intended to be dipped. Cooking with the seasons can be a lot of fun, so when thinking soups and stocks, consider ingredients available at that time of year and enjoy gathering ingredients that are at their peek of freshness. Autumn is a great season for soups, so be creative and enjoy!
Chef Justin Kern
When you see Justin Kern handling a busy kitchen you’ll immediately say to yourself “that dude is fierce.” You’re not wrong. He gets it done. Hailing from Kingston, NY Chef Kern has been in the business since 1999. His love affair with food goes all the way back to his father. His father might not have been a chef, but he loved to cook and put his own spin on things. He explained, “From what I understand my mom couldn’t cook to save her life. Sorry Mom. My father was a Marine and he just loved to cook, nothing fancy, but very eclectic. I learned to eat a lot of different foods very early. My Grandparents also used to dine out on all types of cuisines, so they really exposed me to lots of different cuisines.”
Since building his initial kitchen chops at a pizza and BBQ joint in upstate NY, Chef Kern has been a private chef and caterer, been involved with beer dinners and special events as well as an uber successful series of pop-up dinners here in Connecticut. He stated, “I remember when I first started, it was a job. My very first job was pizza delivery and watching the guys in the kitchen, I was fascinated. I was 16 and within a year I was running the place, making all the food etc.”
Chef Kern has worked with chefs from all over the county, and quite frankly, from all over the world. He knows a thing or two and is passionate about delivering not just a delicious meal, but also one that uses quality ingredients. At the top of his list is always locally grown ingredients. He believes it’s important to support the people and businesses around him. Justin came to Meetinghouse Pub because he loved the vision of the owners. He also loved the team and how all the different personalities worked so well together. His favorite part of being a chef? “When you do it right, you can bring joy and make people feel good.”
I asked him about his cuisine and food philosophy and he answered. “I love local and try to be local as much as I can with regard to my ingredients. For instance I can’t get Ahi Tuna locally but I can get deep water shrimp from local day boats, caught the morning in Connecticut waters and have them on the plate that night. As for my cuisine I’d call it Americano, upscale pub food, focused on local ingredients and simple comfort food flavors. Simple dishes executed with great technique consistently.” I asked him about Ergo Knives. “I love my Ergo knives. I have tendonitis in my hands and working with the Pro Series does take a learning curve, but I can use them all day with minimal abuse to my hands. I recommend them to everyone. They’re quality knives. My go to is my 10″ Pro Series Chef Knife.”
We then ended with brief rapid fire question and answer.
CT: Crocs or no crocs?
JK: No crocs
CT: Favorite tool in the kitchen?
JK: My 10″ Ergo Chef Knife
CT: Favorite junk food?
JK: Gummy Bears
CT: What do you eat after shift?
JK: (laughs) Alcohol
CT: Least favorite ingredient?
CT: Favorite ingredient?
CT: Favorite spice?
CT: Favorite cuisine to cook?
JK: Recently I’m exploring Italian. Sauces, pastas, etc.
CT: Favorite cuisine to eat?
JK: I’m a huge seafood fan, regardless of type, be it Asian, American.
CT: Fine dining or casual?
JK: I’m all about casual. The best things happen over food. Weddings, birthdays, holidays, all over food.
Pork Osso Bucco With Creamy Grits and Pumpkin Beer Gravy
Courtesy of Chef Justin Kern
4 Pork Shank
6 pack of your favorite pumpkin beer
1 Qt chicken stock
1 white onion roughly chopped
2 large carrots roughly chopped
1 bunch celery roughly chopped
1 head garlic
3 tbs EVOO
1 C Grits (yellow corn)
1 ¼ C Chicken stock
1 ¼ C Heavy Cream
½ Onion diced
3 Garlic cloves minced
1 Tbs EVOO
2 Tbs Mascarpone
In a large pan sear off pork with EVOO until golden brown on all sides. Add vegetables to pot and cook until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Then pour in beer and chicken stock until pork is completely covered by liquid. Cover your pot with a snug fitting lid or tin foil and place in a 375 deg oven for 4-6 hours depending on thickness of pork.. Your looking for it to pull apart with ease. Salt and pepper before you wear off meat and salt and pepper to taste.
When Pork is finished, in a medium pot add EVOO and turn to high heat. When pan is hot add Garlic and onions and sweat until onions are translucent. At that point add chicken stock, heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Turn heat to low and add grits. Stir frequently until grits have become soft and they absorbed all liquid (if there is no liquid left and there is still to much texture to the grits add chicken stock ¼ C at a time until done). Stir in Mascarpone to finish
Reserve about 2C of your braising liquid. In a small pot add 1 Tbs of cornstarch and water mixed. Bring to a boil and smother pork on plate!
Ergo Chef is excited about introducing a new product in Kitchen Electrics called “My Juicer(TM)” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle to quickly and easily blend all your Fresh or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables into delicious healthy smoothies.
The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and save! To order click here: My Juicer.
Get 15% OFF this month with coupon code: OCT15
Ergo Chef & Simply Symon Fall Sweepstakes
Contest on Ergo Chef’s Facebook Page!
Contest Starts October 15th at 10am! The Winner will be announced by November 16th via video on the event page by Chef Symon. Simply join the event and RSVP as “Going” for your chance to win. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/ergochef
Mike StaibAutumn means Stocks & Soups, Food Shows, Sweepstakes Event, Chef Kern & a Fall classic, Pork Osso Bucco…
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!
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.
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.
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.
5. Have a waffle iron gathering dust. No more! Julienne those potatoes and make them perfect in your waffle iron every time.
6. Wrap banana crowns in plastic wrap and they’ll last 3-4 days longer.
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.
8. Rubbing egg shells with vegetable oil before refrigerating them helps keep them fresh for an additional three to four weeks.
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.
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.
Chef’s Spotlight: Michel Nischan
Michel 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.
Nischan 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
Nearly 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
One 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
American 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
Local 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.
Recipe: Chicken Wrap
Recipe courtesy of The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast by Chef Michel Nischan Grilled chicken salad wrapped in collard greens.
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
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.
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I 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.
I 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.
I 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.”
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.
I 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.
“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.”
Our 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.”
I 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 we 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.”
I 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.
As 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.
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,
Product Spotlight: Michael Symon Cutlery
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
This 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
This 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
This 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
The 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
Michael 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,
Mike StaibUp Close with Chef Michael Symon by blogger Louis S. Luzzo, Sr.
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
Cooking 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.’
Ming’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 University, earning 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.
In 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 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.
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.
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.
Perfect Eggs Benedict with Guilt Free Hollandaise Sauce from Chef Ming Tsai
Widely 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!
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Hey all, we have partnered with Big Green Egg
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.
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 This 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:
These 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:
Crops 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 Chef 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.
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.
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,
Mike StaibMarch: GMO’s, Michael Symon & the new Ergo/Symon knives
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 You, Shao 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-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)
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)
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Cakes and pies
Cookies and crackers
Imitation meat or seafood
Processed luncheon meats
Sauces, including soy sauce
Seasoned rice mixes
Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
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 Carla 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.
I 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
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
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 The 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: email@example.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
The 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,
Mike StaibThe Lowdown on Gluten Free & The Chew’s Carla Hall…
Hello everyone and welcome to the last blog of 2014. Can you believe that the year has gone by already? Seems just yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and here we are again with Christmas and 2015 right around the corner. It’s been a great year and we thank you all for you continued support of our blog, Chop Talk and our company. All of us here at Ergo appreciate your patronage and look forward to bringing you more great content throughout the coming year. To that end we thought we’d give give you a preview of what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year with our latest Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, Food Trends of 2015. We have a special Chef’s Spotlight with 3 starred Michelin Chef and host of Top Chef Desserts, Chef Johnny Iuzzini, who also give us a delicious and easy Recipe; Butternut Maple Blondies. In our Gourmet Store Spotlight we bring you Warren Kitchen & Cutlery. Our Where’s Randy follows the Ergo/Costco Road show and Chef Randy to New Jersey and finally, a fantastic announcement: We are introducing a new product for 2015, called “My Juicer(TM),” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle that we know you’re going to love. If you pre-order now, we’ll give you a 20% discount!!! So without further ado, let’s Chop Talk!
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Food Trends of 2015
Perfect for a year ending #FTKT, we bring you a preview of what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year.
The Rise of Fermented Foods
2015 will be the year fermented foods – foods like yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut take center stage. These foods contain live cultures, or are preserved in liquid so their sugars and starches can become bacteria-boosting agents. After multi-year growth of gluten-free foods, many consumers have found their digestive health improved.
Locally sourced meats and seafood The trend in using locally sourced meat, seafood and produce will hopefully continue and increase throughout areas that aren’t already utilizing their local communities. Purchase seasonal, sustainably raised, locally and regionally farmed products without the use of antibiotics, hormones and genetically modified ingredients; and limited or no use of herbicides and pesticides. Spend our dollars purchasing from local and regional small farms committed to sustainable farming practices.
Locally grown produce The term “local food system” (or “regional food system”) is used to describe a method of food production and distribution that is geographically localized, rather than national and/or international. Food is grown (or raised) and harvested close to consumers’ homes, then distributed over much shorter distances than is common in the conventional global industrial food system.
Environmental sustainability Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking action that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. Environmental sustainability is about making responsible decisions that will reduce your business’ negative impact on the environment.
Healthful Kids’ Meals Demand for healthful kids’ meals is increasing. “Feeding kids healthfully is not taking anything away from them but instead gives them the building materials they need, through nutritious foods, to grow and learn and live a full life,” David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.
Natural ingredients/minimally processed food This is a bit misleading. “Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and do not contain manufactured ingredients, but the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing.
New cuts of meat Tri-tip, Flat Iron Steak, Spinalis, Boneless Chuck Short Ribs, Filet of Sirloin, Denver Cut Steak.
In recent years, as foodies have proliferated, culinary topics have become increasingly vital and the once impenetrable wall between professional chefs in the kitchen and the public has come tumbling down, and there has been increased use of the term “chef’s cuts” to describe tasty but less common cuts of meat (not just beef).
Hyper-local sourcing Restaurant gardens, is a practice that is gaining ground among local restaurateurs and barkeeps. chefs are planting gardens, keeping bees all in an effort to control the quality of herbs and vegetables making their way to your plate.
Sustainable seafood Sustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans. It was first promoted through the sustainable seafood movement which began in the 1990s. This operation highlights over-fishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods.
Food waste reduction/management We throw away 7.2 million tons of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. This costs us billions a year, harms the environment and wastes resources. Preventing food waste is better for the environment than any treatment, and can save money for businesses and households.
Gluten-free Cuisine For anybody paying attention to new health and food trends, gluten free diets have become very popular lately. For Celiacs, this has been an all to real lifestyle requirement. A number of experts now are beginning to believe that celiac disease is at the extreme end of a spectrum of gluten sensitivity, and a number of people are adopting gluten-free diets to treat celiac-like symptoms in the absence of a positive test for celiac disease.
Our Chef’s spotlight this months is Chef Johnny Iuzzini.
Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s interest in the pastry arts began at age seventeen when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary focus at the restaurant was in savory, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and eventually became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man. Johnny traveled to Europe in 1998 where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris. He also completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Patisserie. In the Fall of 1998, Johnny returned to the US for the debut of Café Boulud and then moved to the 65th Street location of the new Daniel for its opening. Johnny was named Executive Sous Chef for the new restaurant and held that position for the next two years under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comité Colbert named Johnny one of the “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.”
In 2001 Chef Daniel Boulud promoted Johnny to Executive Pastry Chef. In May 2002, Chef/Owner Jean Georges Vongerichten named Johnny the Executive Pastry Chef at his famed four-star namesake, Restaurant Jean Georges, as well as its café, Nougatine. In addition, Johnny also oversaw the pastry program for the opening of Perry Street from 2005-2006, which earned three stars from the New York Times. During that same year, Restaurant Jean Georges earned its most prestigious award to date, three Michelin stars. It was one of only four restaurants in New York City to receive this honor. In this position, Johnny was recognized with numerous awards including “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine and “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” and Forbes.com identified Johnny as one of the 10 most influential chefs working in America.
Johnny’s first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef, was published December 30,2008. Through beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes, this book enables trained chefs and home cooks alike to explore Johnny’s use of single ingredients as primary inspiration for the dessert quartets featured on his seasonal menus at Jean Georges. Johnny has appeared in numerous TV segments for The Food Network, Martha Stewart, Top Chef, Today in NY, Paula’s Party, Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tony Danza Show, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Iron Chef America.
He was the head judge of Bravo’s culinary competition series “Top Chef Just Desserts” for two seasons. Since leaving Restaurant Jean Georges, Chef Iuzzini has started his own pastry consulting company, aptly named Sugar Fueled Inc. In addition to participating in numerous charity events and initiatives, Johnny is a chef ambassador for Family Reach foundation. His highly anticipated second book Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking was published in September 2014. To order Johnny’s book, click here. You can also follow Johnny via social media on facebook & twitter.
Courtesy of Chef Johnny Iuzzini
Makes 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.
One 2-pound butternut squash, halved and seeded (907 g)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan (170 g)
2 to 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar, for the pan
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (232 g)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (34 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (6 g)
¾ teaspoon ground cumin (1.5 g)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger (1.5 g)
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon kosher salt (2 g)
6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped (170 g)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the squash halves on it, cut side down. Roast until the flesh is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skins into a food processor and puree until smooth. 3. Transfer the squash to a saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture. Remove from the heat, measure 1 cup for the blondies, and reserve the remaining puree for another use. 4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Grease an 8 × 11-inch baking dish or cake pan with butter and coat it generously with the Demerara sugar, tapping out the excess. 5. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, toss the ¾ cup butter and the brown sugar together with your hands until the butter is coated. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until lightened and no clumps of butter remain. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Add the syrup and vanilla and mix well. 6. Sift the flour, baking powder, cumin, ginger, and mace together; sprinkle the salt over the top. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Add the cooled squash and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in two thirds of the white chocolate pieces. 7. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces evenly over the top. Bake on the center rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. 8. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into 12 equal-sized pieces.
Located in historic Rhinebeck, in New York’s beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, Warren Kitchen & Cutlery is a true kitchenware emporium – a place where inspired chefs and cooking enthusiasts can find their favorite knives, cookware, appliances, kitchen tools and serving pieces for home or restaurant. Knives are their specialty; they have more than a 1,500 different styles and sizes in stock. They encourage you to take advantage of our in-store sharpening and engraving services.
Mon. Dec. 15 — Wed. Dec. 24 (10 days)
Randy will be at the Costco
100 Grand Ave, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Come out, say hello & see Chef Randall Smith. He’ll be all set and waiting with all the great Ergo products! Great Christmas gifts for the chef, cook or culinary student or home cook or food enthusiast in your life!
Ergo Product Showcase
Ergo Chef is excited about introducing a new product in Kitchen Electrics called “My Juicer(TM)” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle to quickly and easily blend all your Fresh or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables into delicious healthy smoothies.
The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and save 20%! To order click here: My Juicer
From all of us at here Ergo Chef, from our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a healthy Happy New Year!
Till next time,
Mike Staib2015 Food Trends, Johnny Iuzzini & My Juicer
Hi everyone and welcome to this frigid Thanksgiving edition of Chop Talk.
We just want to thank everyone who came out to the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland. We had a great show and our Ergo Products were a big hit! In this edition of Chop Talk we are all about Thanksgiving! First up is tips on making the perfect holiday turkey from the Gourmet Guy, Louis Luzzo, who gives us a delicious cranberry sauce recipe. Next, we have a special Chef’s Spotlight on actress Kelly Le Brock, who also graces us with a simple green bean side dish recipe. Last but not least we have our Gourmet Store Spotlight Kitchen Gadgets and Beyond with two stores in Connecticut. Take advantage of savings with our Black Friday Sale and Cyber Monday SalesSAVE 20% on all product when you purchase from our website here online, Friday, November 28, 2014 and Monday, December 1st, 2014.
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips
Making the Perfect Holiday Turkey
by Louis S Luzzo, Sr.
Roasting a turkey during the Holidays can either make or break a successful meal. Like many at home cooks, I have a few horror stories of the days before I became the self proclaimed, “Gourmet Guy.” I am going to give you some fool proof rules-of-thumb and methods to insure that your Thanksgiving meal comes off as a complete success that will wow your guests. From the Menu Planning, to Proper Seasoning , to how to pick the right turkey, we’ll take a look at all the basics.~ Lou
How big of a turkey should I roast?
Most importantly, we need to count the amount of guests we will be serving. A good rule of thumb to go by would be:
~One (1) pound of raw turkey per person which includes a moderate amount for leftovers.
~1 1/2 pounds per person, if you have hearty eaters or want ample leftovers.
~3/4 pound of whole turkey per person for no leftovers.
To properly thaw the turkey (if frozen), we recommend leaving it in the refrigerator for 4-5 days to slow thaw under a cool temperature. If you are pressed for time, you may place it in a sink or a container in the sink and run cold water over it for a few hours. Once the bird is thawed, you are ready to prepare it for cooking.
Not every home cook will go the extra mile at home, but I found that brining your turkey can incorporate a great level of flavor and make your turkey extremely moist. I typically brine most poultry and pork before cooking, and have made several different types of flavored brines. A brine by definition is; a strong solution of water and salt used for pickling or preserving foods. A sweetener such as sugar or molasses is sometimes added. I really enjoy molasses and brown sugar and balance it out with some savory herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic. Depending on the size of the bird, you can brine a turkey for a few hours, or even let it go overnight. But, it is very important to remember that the brining solution is high in salt and you must adjust and lessen the amount of salt you use in your seasoning when you prepare your turkey for roasting.
Seasoning & Prepping the Bird
The next step can be a lot of fun, as you get to be very creative with seasoning and preparing your turkey. Seasonings offer a great deal of flavor and can be as simple as salt and black pepper, or as elaborate as Cajun spice or a rub consisting of garlic, chilies and dried herbs. Be sure to rub the entire cavity with your seasoning blend of choice, and always lubricate the outside of the skin with oil or butter so the seasonings will adhere and cook into the bird.
*Tip For Crispier Skin
Crisp skin and a moist center is what we all desire when roasting the perfect turkey and I have learned a little trick to enhance the outer skin. Carefully lift the skin up around the bird and slide a few pats of softened butter underneath. Generously rub the outer skin with butter and your seasonings, and let them sink in for about an hour before roasting. Many family recipes include stuffing the bird with all kinds of aromatics or even a traditional bread stuffing. It is totally up to you to decide which way you want to go, but stuffing a turkey’s cavity can really enhance the flavor of the meat. It’s important to have a good carving set and Ergo has you covered. just click the link to see more about Ergo’s Carving Set
Stuffing & Dressing
There are two schools of thought when it comes to stuffing; In the Bird (stuffing) and & Out of the Bird (dressing). In my house we make both, or sometimes do a Cornbread Oyster dressing as well. In some households, the turkey is stuffed with other birds; a boned chicken is stuffed into a boned duck, which is then stuffed into the turkey.
Roasting Your Turkey
So, now that we are ready to roast, how do I know how long it should cook for, and how high the temperature should be? USDA says that a turkey should not roast under 325 degrees Fahrenheit, so that’s a fair starting point. Approximate cooking times for an unstuffed turkey are as follows: (it is around 20 to 30 minutes per pound)
~10 – 18 lb bird 3 to 3 ½ hrs
~19 – 22 lb bird 3 ½ to 4 hrs
~22 – 24 lb bird 4 to 4 ½ hrs
~24 – 29 lb bird 4 ½ to 5 hrs
One helpful hint to achieving a nice golden skin, is to start the “searing” process by cooking it in a 400 – 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size) to start the browning process (sugars begin to caramelize), then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and slow roast for the appropriate time. Basting is another way to impart even browning and to distribute some of those great flavorful juices. You may baste with the juices found in the bottom of the pan, or use some type of fat.
Also popular, is to baste with another flavorful liquid, for example a brown stock fortified with apple cider vinegar and herbs. If the bird begins to brown too much, you may cover it with aluminum foil until it has reached doneness, and then finish for the last few minutes uncovered. Be careful not to cover the bird entirely, as you don’t want to steam the turkey.
How do I know if my bird is done? The USDA recommends that the turkey be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees as measured in the innermost part of the thigh. If the thigh is 165 degrees, the breast meat is likely to be 10 degrees hotter. Many cooks would tell you that a turkey roasted to those temperatures is overdone and would taste unacceptably dry. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, try not to rely on those “pop up timers” that come with most turkeys. You can also prick the leg joint with a fork, and if the juices run just slightly pink or clear, the turkey is done.
To test the accuracy of your instant read thermometer, insert the tip about 2 inches deep into boiling water. At sea level it should register 212 degrees F. If it does not, replace it; or if it has a calibration device, reset it for accuracy. Nobody wants an overcooked bird, so start checking your bird about 3/4’s of the way through the total recommended cooking time.
Gravy Time to make the gravy! On the stove top, use the same pan that you roasted this delicious turkey in. The drippings and leftover fat and liquid are going to make this gravy a very tasty one. I like to use a ratio of 1 Tablespoon of fat to 1 Tablespoon of flour to create a “roux” that will thicken my gravy. You can use chicken or turkey stock, or even just deglaze with sherry or white wine and add water. Just be sure to cook out the flour so it doesn’t leave a raw taste to the gravy. Season to taste.
Turkey is done, gravy is ready and now it’s time to roll out all the fix-ins. Cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie, cornbread stuffing, yams, green beans, creamed onions, apple and pecan pie are just some of my favorites! Try something new this year and let me know how it comes out! We all have a lot to be thankful for and I am very blessed with such wonderful family and friends. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving.
Our Chef’s Spotlight this edition is actress Kelly Le Brock and her new food platform, “Kelly’s Kitchen.”
Interview excerpt courtesy of the blog Kitchen Rap with Louis S. Luzzo, Sr. Click the link to read the full interview.
“With Kelly’s Kitchen, Kelly is all about healthy eating and good healthcare, starting in the kitchen, at the table. “It came about within the last four years,” she offered. “I am just horrified at the way people are eating and I really want to get out there and show people how to make a delicious meal out of a bag of beans or a bag of brown rice. It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat well. Yes it is expensive in time, but thatis something that people have come to confuse with eating healthy being expensive in dollars. Seems that people don’t have time anymore,” she lamented, “but you can make a decent meal in 30 minutes. Families should have to drop their phones in a little basket when they come through the door and sit down every night at the dinner table and look at each other. Really talk to each other.”
She has lent her voice and become an ambassador for a cause she believes in, foodtweeks™ and has re-emerged from a self imposed cocoon with a new-found, vibrant voice. “It’s time to give back,”she declared. “We don’t need to leave our country to help people, they are right here in our face. I know what it’s like to struggle for food or not have enough to eat. There are people in this country a paycheck away from hunger. I am the ambassador for this great new app that is affiliated with 50 food banks across the country. The beauty of it is that there are people who are always trying to get healthy cutting calories, they take those calories and put them into foodtweeks™ and those calories go into the food bank and translate to available food.” For every calorie users “tweek” from their food, foodtweeks™ makes a donation to a local food bank so they can distribute the same number of nutritious calories to feed a hungry child and their family. There’s no cost of any kind to the foodtweeks™ user and it’s easy for food banks to participate. You remove calories. They give them away!” Find Kelly on Social Media; twitter: @KellyLeBrock, @AtKellysKitchen
Sauteed Green BeansCourtesy of Kelly Le Brock Ingredients
20 oz bag of french green beans(if using fresh beans us a good handful per person)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp butter
Salt to taste
If using fresh beans, remove the ends and julienne. Place beans in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove immediately and place in an ice bath to stop cooking keep color. On the stove top, heat a cast iron skillet. Place butter and garlic and sauté until garlic is translucent. Add green beans and sauté for another minute until beans are heated through. Remove,place in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt to taste and serve.
Old Fashioned Cranberry Sauce Courtesy of Louis S. Luzzo, Sr.
12 oz Cranberries, Fresh Frozen
1 3/4 Cups Water
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Cup Orange Juice
1 Tbl Orange Zest, Chopped
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
Place all ingredients in a sauce-pot, except for the cranberries and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, add the cranberries to the liquid. reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until all of the cranberries have “popped”. Remove the cinnamon stick, and cool. The liquid will be loose and will thicken once it cools.
Gourmet Store Spotlight
Founded in 2001, Kitchen Gadgets and Beyond, formally Chefs Equipment Emporium of Wallingford, opened its doors to the public as a kitchenware specialty showroom retailer that prides itself on quality, affordability and accountability. At Kitchen Gadgets and Beyond, they are passionate about cooking and understand your need for reliable, long-lasting and high quality kitchenware.
With an additional expanding of products offering to meet all your kitchen needs, Kitchen Gadgets and Beyond also offers commercial and residential cookware, cutlery, bakeware, small kitchen electrics, gourmet food and ingredients and Kitchen Tools, Utensils, gadgets and more gadgets. Their wide selection along with their friendly, well-trained staff ensures that they are your authority for cooking, dining and entertaining.
They are a customer focused, family owned company serving the Connecticut area and beyond! Their friendly and knowledgeable staff is always on-hand to help you navigate your way through the thousands of unique items they offer in order to make your next culinary adventure the greatest yet!
If you have questions that their website does not address or items that you cannot find, you can call them at860-828-9601or email them atinfo@Kitchengadgetsandbeyond.com. Visit their two locations:717 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin, CT 06037 (860) 828-9601 ~ 920 South Colony Rd, Wallingford, CT 06492 203-269-3971 and follow them on facebook here.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale
Save 20% on all Ergo products on our Black Friday Sale, November 28, 2014 and Cyber Monday Sale, December 1, 2014 when you purchase online at www.ErgoChef.com.
From all of us at Ergo Chef, we wish you and yours a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving.
Till next time,
Mike StaibThe Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey & Spotlight on Actress Kelly Le Brock’s, Kelly’s Kitchen
Brrr!!! Welcome to a brisk, chilly November. We are getting excited as this month, we will be traveling to Cleveland for one of the best food shows in the country, The Fabulous Food Show, at the I-X Center, Nov. 14- 16th. If you are in Cleveland and attending, stop by the Ergo booth and say hi to Scott, Mike and Chef Randy and check out all the great Ergo products available. This time of year, one great way to feed your family is simple one pot meals so in this edition of Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips we are covering Cooking with Woks. Our Chef’s Spotlight is the Jersey General Chef Frank Benowitz. We have a deliciously healthy Chili recipe from Kimberly Winder. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight this edition is Bowery Kitchen, located in NYC’s Chelsea Market. And lastly, we have an awesome Spotlight and coupon code discount on our Crimson Series Knives.
Food Tricks and Kitchen Tips: Cooking with Woks
One of our favorite methods of cooking is in a wok. They are simple, yet very versatile, require little oil, making them an economical way to cook. A woks unique shape allows it to distribute heat evenly through the pan and get very hot, making them perfect for stir-fry cooking. While they may not be necessary for every kitchen, for true food enthusiasts eager to recreate their favorite Asian recipes and flavors in their own kitchens, a wok and steamer are musts in their kitchens.
Thousands of years ago, Chinese cooks figured out how to prepare healthy food quickly using a simple piece of equipment – the Chinese wok. Once you’ve decided to add a wok to your supply of kitchen equipment, you’ll want to shop around to choose the best model. Originally, all woks were round bottomed and made of iron – designed to be used with the traditional Chinese wood stove. Gradually, the iron was replaced with carbon steel. Today, there are all types of woks on the market: aluminum, copper, stainless steel.Traditionally, the wok came with two metal handles, making it easy to lift in and out of the stove. I prefer the modern woks that have one long wooden handle, like a skillet, they are easier to handle in my opinion.
The wok’s most distinguishing feature is its shape. Classic woks have a rounded bottom. Hand-hammered woks are sometimes flipped inside out after being shaped, giving the wok a gentle flare to the edge that makes it easier to push food up onto the sides of the wok. Woks sold in western countries are sometimes found with flat bottoms — this makes them more similar to a deep frying pan. The flat bottom allows the wok to be used on an electric stove, where a rounded wok would not be able to fully contact the stove’s heating element. A round bottom wok enables the traditional round spatula or ladle to pick all the food up at the bottom of the wok and toss it around easily; this is difficult with a flat bottom. With a gas hob, or traditional pit stove, the bottom of a round wok can get hotter than a flat wok and so is better for stir frying.
Seasoning Your Wok: You may have heard that it is very important to season(carbonize) the cooking surface your wok before trying it out for the first time. This is a the most important step, if you are to get years of fabulous food from your wok. This only applies to carbon-steel or cast-iron woks. If you have purchased an electric or non-stick coated wok, be very careful as the pan can get to hot ans catch fire. See your instruction manual for specifics on seasoning if you have one of these types. Seasoning removes the preservative oil manufacturers place on the wok to prevent it from rusting, replacing it with a light coating of cooking oil. It is also important to properly clean your wok after each use.
~Wash the wok in hot water with a small amount of liquid detergent and a scrubber (such as a stainless steel sponge or pad).
~If needed, scrub the exterior of the wok with the scrubber and an abrasive cleanser. Do not use the abrasive cleanser on the inside of the wok.
~Rinse the wok and dry thoroughly.
~Place the wok on high heat. ~Move the wok, turning it and tilting it up to the rim and back, until the metal turns a blueish-yellowish color.
~Remove the wok from the stove element. Turn the heat down to medium-low
~Add a thin film of oil (about 1½ teaspoons) over the entire inside surface of the wok. There are several ways to do this. One is to use a paper towel to rub the oil over the surface. You may want to use tongs to hold the paper towels. Another way is to use a basting brush for barbecues or any other heat-proof brush to brush on the oil.
~Heat the wok on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes
~Wipe off the oil with another paper towel. There will be black residue on the towel.
~Repeat steps 7 through 9 until no black residue comes up on the paper (about 3 times). The wok is now ready to use.
If your wok becomes gunky and sticky or gets rusted you can clean the wok with salt. Simply put half a cup of salt in the wok and heat on high, reduce the heat if it gets too hot. Using your spatula send the salt up to the edges very carefully. Hot salt is dangerous. Do this for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Allow the salt to cool to warm. Using a cloth rub the spots where the salt has stuck to in order to get rid of the gunk or rust. Discard the salt and wash the wok in hot water with a soft sponge. Re-season the wok.
Cooking With Your Wok:
Cooking in a wok is very simple. Many things can be cooked in a wok. Remember that woks are meant to cook very quickly so it will be necessary to have everything prepared. When preparing food to be cooked, remember that small uniform pieces will cook the most evenly. After adding a tablespoon or so of oil, heat your wok on medium to high heat. Cook meat first and when it all seems done on the outside, add any vegetables and sauces. In only a few minutes, the meat will be completely done and the vegetables will be tender yet crisp. You may also fry, braise, or poach in a wok. Gauging the temperature for each of these cooking techniques is very important. Keep in mind that oil and water do not mix, so if you decide to poach in a wok, be sure to dry and season the pan thoroughly after you’ve finished.
Recognized as the cleaning whisk or the bamboo wok cleaning brush, this small broom-like brush is made of bamboo bristles. Bundled jointly and tied at the top with strings, this easy device is the answer to removing stubborn food remains while not damaging the wok. Just use the bamboo wok cleaning brush in a swirling motion below running water. The bamboo whisk is tough and functional and it can be used for mainly stainless steel cookware. This bamboo wok cleaning brush may be ordinary in appearance but it is a well-organized and simple way to clean your wok. After using the brush to remove the food bits, scrub your wok with dish detergent and hot water. Dry the wok and rub a bit of oil around the inside of the pan. This will make sure your wok lasts a long time and that it gives your food a great flavor.
Chefs Spotlight Chef Frank Benowitz
Since 2003, Chef Instructor Frank Benowitz has been employed by Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in West Windsor, NJ as a professional staff member in the Hotel, Restaurant Institutional Management (HRIM) & Culinary Department and teaches a multitude of HRIM, Culinary and Business courses. Chef Benowitz is a MCCC graduate and went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree through Thomas Edison College and his Master’s Degree through Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Spending only a few years working in hotels and restaurants, much of his culinary knowledge was a result of culinary book study/classes and then working with dozens of extremely talented Chefs and absorbing information/culinary techniques to build a sound foundation to teach his students. His love of food and cooking is apparent in each demonstration and each class in which he teaches. He truly feels that you must continuously learn and improve your knowledge/skill base to be successful in the culinary world. As such, he serves as Hospitality Club Advisor (winning the prestigious Advisor of the Year Award twice already) – creating/serving menus for catering efforts typically between 50 – 300 guests. Also, he has served as a Judge for a variety of savory and sweet culinary competitions throughout the Tri-state area.
In 2006, he became co-host and co-producer of Dish It Out with Chef Doug Fee (originally airing only locally in Mercer County, NJ and now available in multiple counties in NJ along with upstate New York, Maine, Connecticut, South Carolina and soon in to appear in additional states via their local television channel markets). Dish It Out, will enter its 9th season in Fall 2014, and has won multiple awards, including a 2014 Silver Telly. Several episodes are now available on the internet via You Tube shown in many culinary schools throughout North America.
Speaking of awards, he has earned the 1st Place People’s Choice Salsa Award, many years in a row, at the annual NJ State Chili and Salsa Championship. Also, in 2013, Chef Benowitz won 2nd Place in the NJ State Seafood Challenge held at the Governor’s Mansion. By popular demand, following numerous awards, his famous mango salsa is now available for purchase via The Jersey General.
In recent years, Chef Benowitz has had the pleasure of working with/for several celebrities along with some well-known Chefs such as: Robert Irvine, Walter Scheib, Ellie Krieger, Michael Voltaggio, Fabio Vivani, Mike Isabella, Aaron McCargo, Jr., Jose Garces, Cat Cora, Sara Moulton, Bobby Flay, Rick Bayless and Emeril Lagasse.
Here is a Healthy Fall Recipe where good knives come in very handy to prep. From Kimberly Winder– who will be a regular monthly contributor. Here is a recipe for Vegetarian Chili that is really delicious and requires a lot of chopping. I make it frequently in the winter and fall. It is a perfect football recipe, too. Even carnivores like it.
by Kimberly Winder
Prep time: 15 minutes
Prep notes: Cooking time: 30 minutes Yields: 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced, (or one can organic diced tomatoes)
1 carrot, cut into quarter moons
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups cooked or canned red, black or kidney beans
1 cup water
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
Heat oil in a large heavy pan and sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, carrots, chili powder and cumin and sauté for 5 minutes. Slowly add beans, water, tomato paste and salt. Cook on low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Notes
Add as many veggies as you like such as bell peppers, zucchini and corn kernels.
Gourmet Store Spotlight
Shop with the top Restaurant chefs and professionals as well as Food Network Stars at Bowery Kitchen Supplies. Opened for business on the famous Bowery Street Restaurant Supply Street in 1975, supplying New York’s finest Restaurants, Bars, Lounges, Deli’s, Bakery, Pizzerias & Caterers! they opened a second store in the The Chelsea Market Home, also home to The Food Network Studios and numerous other well known food related establishments.
On a daily basis the on-stage personalities and talented chefs in hundreds of kitchens in New York use their cool gadgets and traditional chef tools to create feasts for the stomach as well as the eyes. Visit them and experience the market yourself.
Bowery Kitchen located in the New York City’s Chelsea Market, with entrances at 75 Ninth Avenue and 88 Tenth Avenue. Chelsea Market is an indoor arcade-style market (one whole NYC avenue-to-avenue block) with the finest raw and prepared food shops in downtown Manhattan. Mailing Address is: 460 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Telephone: 212-376-4982 Fax: 212-242-7360 Or you can email them at: Info@Bowerykitchens.com
Chop Talk Product Spotlight
Ergo Chef Cutlery’s Crimson Series Chop Talk discount coupon code for 15% OFF.