All posts tagged: Knives

The Do’s and Dont’s of Knife Handling

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At Ergo Chef, we are all about creating a better knife experience for you.  Whether you are a professional cook who spends their day slicing and dicing, or an enthusiastic home chef who just wants to have the best tools, we are here to help you with a selection of blades that are designed to handle better and bring less stress and the dreaded carpal tunnel or Tendonitis that comes with it.  So we are setting you up to succeed, and now we want to recap some quick tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your blades.

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DO make sure your knife is sharp!  Dull blades will slow down even the most seasoned of chefs, and they are less safe to boot.  Keep your blade in top shape with regular maintenance.  Shop our line of blade accessories here and give your knife the TLC it deserves.

DO hand wash and towel dry your knives.  Putting your knife in the dishwasher can cause the blade to dull faster, your handle to lose its shine & possibly crack.  Dry cycles can also cause stains on the blade from water drops as they attack the carbon in good knives causing rust (stain) circles. Not to mention – forget where you put it and you’re in for a nasty surprise when you unload the dishwasher!  Hand washing & drying a knife takes mere seconds and will prolong the longevity of your blade.

DON’T use one knife for every chore in your kitchen!  A bread knife will be clumsy and hard on your veggies, and a sharp chefs knife will ruin hard crusted bread.  Paring knives are specifically designed for small tasks, and a heavy duty chefs knife will make prep a breeze.  One size does NOT fit all when it comes to kitchen tasks, and one knife alone won’t be nearly as effective as a range of tools.  Get a set and make sure you’re handling prep like a pro.

DON’T use your index finger to balance the knife.  This is an easy mistake to make and we address is further in the video below.  Proper knife safety involves using your second and middle fingers to gently grip the blade on both sides, instead of using your index finger to balance along the spine of the knife.  Improper knife handling can lead to a wobbly knife – which can lead to cuts.  So practice safe knife skills, and to make yourself even safer, pick up a pair of our knife proof gloves here.

 

Mike StaibThe Do’s and Dont’s of Knife Handling
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March: GMO’s, Michael Symon & the new Ergo/Symon knives

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

We will produce five individual knives for the Symon series. The blades will include a 9-inch chef knife; a 6-inch chef knife; a 6-inch serrated utility knife; a 7-inch vegetable cleaver; and a 3.5-inch paring knife. A four-piece steak knife set will also be available. Symon says that the opportunity to produce his own line of knives was appealing because of the quality of the tools Ergo Chef produced for a small number of other celebrity chefs.

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

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

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

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

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

On The Plus Side:

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

On the Negative side:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next Time,

Ergo

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

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Welcome to the February Blog 

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

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

gluten freeGluten-free diets (for reasons other than Celiac disease) have become a recent trend. A number of experts are beginning to believe that Celiac disease is at the extreme end of a spectrum of gluten sensitivity, and a number of people are adopting gluten-free diets to treat Celiac-like symptoms in the absence of a positive test for Celiac disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makes 40 dumplings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ergo Product Spotlight

8″ Chef Knife Crimson SH Straight Handle

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

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

Till next time,

Ergo

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

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

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: 

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

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

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

Chef’s Spotlight: Jeff Mauro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ergo Products Spotlight

8″ Chef Knife Crimson SH Straight Handle

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

 Gourmet Store Spotlight

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

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

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Hello everyone and welcome to the last blog of 2014. Can you believe that the year has gone by already? Seems just yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and here we are again with Christmas and 2015 right around the corner. It’s been a great year and we thank you all for you continued support of our blog, Chop Talk and our company. All of us here at Ergo appreciate your patronage and look forward to bringing you more great content throughout the coming year. To that end we thought we’d give give you a preview of  what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year with our  latest Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, Food Trends of 2015. We have a special Chef’s Spotlight with 3 starred Michelin Chef and host of Top Chef Desserts, Chef Johnny Iuzzini, who also give us a delicious and easy Recipe; Butternut Maple Blondies. In our Gourmet Store Spotlight we bring you Warren Kitchen & Cutlery. Our Where’s Randy follows the Ergo/Costco Road show and Chef Randy to New Jersey and finally, a fantastic announcement: We are introducing a new product for 2015, called “My Juicer(TM),” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle that we know you’re going to love. If you pre-order now, we’ll give you a 20% discount!!! So without further ado, let’s Chop Talk!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Food Trends of 2015

Perfect for a year ending #FTKT, we bring you a preview of  what’s trending in food and culinary world for the coming year.

The Rise of Fermented Foods

Fermenting-Foods2015 will be the year fermented foods – foods like yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut take center stage. These foods contain live cultures, or are preserved in liquid so their sugars and starches can become bacteria-boosting agents. After multi-year growth of gluten-free foods, many consumers have found their digestive health improved.

Locally sourced meats and seafood
local meats seafoodThe trend in using locally sourced meat, seafood and produce will hopefully continue and increase throughout areas that aren’t already utilizing their local communities. Purchase seasonal, sustainably raised, locally and regionally farmed products without the use of antibiotics, hormones and genetically modified ingredients; and limited or no use of herbicides and pesticides. Spend our dollars purchasing from local and regional small farms committed to sustainable farming practices.

Locally grown produce
produceThe term “local food system” (or “regional food system”) is used to describe a method of food production and distribution that is geographically localized, rather than national and/or international. Food is grown (or raised) and harvested close to consumers’ homes, then distributed over much shorter distances than is common in the conventional global industrial food system.

Environmental sustainability
Environmental-SustainabilityEnvironmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking action that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. Environmental sustainability is about making responsible decisions that will reduce your business’ negative impact on the environment.

Healthful Kids’ Meals
healthful mealsDemand for healthful kids’ meals is increasing. “Feeding kids healthfully is not taking anything away from them but instead gives them the building materials they need, through nutritious foods, to grow and learn and live a full life,” David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.

Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
food-label-made-with-natural-ingredientsThis is a bit misleading. “Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and do not contain manufactured ingredients, but the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing.

New cuts of meat
meatsTri-tip, Flat Iron Steak, Spinalis, Boneless Chuck Short Ribs, Filet of Sirloin, Denver Cut Steak.
In recent years, as foodies have proliferated, culinary topics have become increasingly vital and the once impenetrable wall between professional chefs in the kitchen and the public has come tumbling down, and there has been increased use of the term “chef’s cuts” to describe tasty but less common cuts of meat (not just beef).

Hyper-local sourcing
bigstock-Container-Garden-1692251-300x200Restaurant gardens, is a practice that is gaining ground among local restaurateurs and barkeeps. chefs are planting gardens, keeping bees all in an effort to control the quality of herbs and vegetables making their way to your plate.

Sustainable seafood
Spanish Seafood MarketSustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans. It was first promoted through the sustainable seafood movement which began in the 1990s. This operation highlights over-fishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods.

Food waste reduction/management
Food Waste ReductionWe throw away 7.2 million tons of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. This costs us billions a year, harms the environment and wastes resources. Preventing food waste is better for the environment than any treatment, and can save money for businesses and households.

Gluten-free Cuisine
gluten freeFor anybody paying attention to new health and food trends, gluten free diets have become very popular lately. For Celiacs, this has been an all to real lifestyle requirement. A number of experts now are beginning to believe that celiac disease is at the extreme end of a spectrum of gluten sensitivity, and a number of people are adopting gluten-free diets to treat celiac-like symptoms in the absence of a positive test for celiac disease.

 Chef’s Spotlight

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

images (1)Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s interest in the pastry arts began at age seventeen when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary focus at the restaurant was in savory, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and eventually became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man. Johnny traveled to Europe in 1998 where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris. He also completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Patisserie.  In the Fall of 1998, Johnny returned to the US for the debut of Café Boulud and then moved to the 65th Street location of the new Daniel for its opening. Johnny was named Executive Sous Chef for the new restaurant and held that position for the next two years under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comité Colbert named Johnny one of the “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.”

Johnny+Iuzzini+Electrolux+Celebrated+Chef+AYpCvFQLjAilIn 2001 Chef Daniel Boulud promoted Johnny to Executive Pastry Chef. In May 2002, Chef/Owner Jean Georges Vongerichten named Johnny the Executive Pastry Chef at his famed four-star namesake, Restaurant Jean Georges, as well as its café, Nougatine. In addition, Johnny also oversaw the pastry program for the opening of Perry Street from 2005-2006, which earned three stars from the New York Times. During that same year, Restaurant Jean Georges earned its most prestigious award to date, three Michelin stars. It was one of only four restaurants in New York City to receive this honor. In this position, Johnny was recognized with numerous awards including “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine and “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” and Forbes.com identified Johnny as one of the 10 most influential chefs working in America.

9780307351371_p0_v1_s260x420Johnny’s first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef, was published December 30,2008. Through beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes, this book enables trained chefs and home cooks alike to explore Johnny’s use of single ingredients as primary inspiration for the dessert quartets featured on his seasonal menus at Jean Georges. Johnny has appeared in numerous TV segments for The Food Network, Martha Stewart, Top Chef, Today in NY, Paula’s Party, Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tony Danza Show, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Iron Chef America.

51EumsC1h2LHe was the head judge of Bravo’s culinary competition series “Top Chef Just Desserts” for two seasons. Since leaving Restaurant Jean Georges, Chef Iuzzini has started his own pastry consulting company, aptly named Sugar Fueled Inc. In addition to participating in numerous charity events and initiatives, Johnny is a chef ambassador for Family Reach foundation. His highly anticipated second book Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking was published in September 2014. To order Johnny’s book, click here. You can also follow Johnny via social media on facebook & twitter.

Recipe 
Courtesy of Chef Johnny Iuzzini

Butternut-Maple Blondies

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

There are really no rules on what you can and can’t use in a great dessert, and I find that vegetables offer flavors, textures, and colors that work well in the sweet environment. They also can add tons of moisture to a dessert, as the squash does for these blondies. Here the rich, moist squash eliminates the need for the heavy, flavorless corn syrup usually found in blondie recipes.

Ingredients

One 2-pound butternut squash, halved and seeded (907 g)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan (170 g)
2 to 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar, for the pan
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (232 g)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (34 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (6 g)
¾ teaspoon ground cumin (1.5 g)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger (1.5 g)
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon kosher salt (2 g)
6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped (170 g)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the squash halves on it, cut side down. Roast until the flesh is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skins into a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Transfer the squash to a saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture. Remove from the heat, measure 1 cup for the blondies, and reserve the remaining puree for another use.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Grease an 8 × 11-inch baking dish or cake pan with butter and coat it generously with the Demerara sugar, tapping out the excess.
5. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, toss the ¾ cup butter and the brown sugar together with your hands until the butter is coated. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until lightened and no clumps of butter remain. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Add the syrup and vanilla and mix well.
6. Sift the flour, baking powder, cumin, ginger, and mace together; sprinkle the salt over the top. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Add the cooled squash and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in two thirds of the white chocolate pieces.
7. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces evenly over the top. Bake on the center rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
8. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into 12 equal-sized pieces.

Gourmet Store Spotlight

wkc-logoThis month our Spotlight is Warren Kitchen & Cutlery.

Located in historic Rhinebeck, in New York’s beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, Warren Kitchen & Cutlery is a true kitchenware emporium – a place where inspired chefs and warren-storefrontcooking enthusiasts can find their favorite knives, cookware, appliances, kitchen tools and serving pieces for home or restaurant. Knives are their specialty; they have more than a 1,500 different styles and sizes in stock. They encourage you to take advantage of our in-store sharpening and engraving services.

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

Where’s Randy

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

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

Come out, say hello & see Chef Randall Smith. He’ll be all set and waiting with all the great Ergo products! Great Christmas gifts for the chef, cook or culinary student or home cook or food enthusiast in your life!

Ergo Product Showcase

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

The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and  save 20%! To order click here: My Juicer

From all of us at here Ergo Chef, from our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a healthy Happy New Year!

Till next time,

Ergo

Mike Staib2015 Food Trends, Johnny Iuzzini & My Juicer
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A Fabulous Food Show time of year.

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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

wok1The Wok
One of  our favorite methods of cooking is in a wok. They are simple, yet very versatile, require little oil, making them an economical way to cook. A woks unique shape allows it to distribute heat evenly through the pan and get very hot, making them perfect for stir-fry cooking. While they may not be necessary for every kitchen, for true food enthusiasts eager to recreate their favorite Asian recipes and flavors in their own kitchens, a wok and steamer are musts in their kitchens.

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

wok2The 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:
wok3You 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.
wok4~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.

wok5If 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:

wok6Cooking 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.

Wok-WhiskRecognized 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
images (3)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.

salsajar 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.

Recipe  
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.

Vegetarian Chili
by Kimberly Winder
Prep time: 15 minutes
Prep notes: Cooking time: 30 minutes Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients
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

Method
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

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Ergo Chef G10 CRIMSON Cutlery is crafted from high carbon German Steel with precision sharp edges. The handles are made with the world’s strongest G10 (Fiberglass Resin Material) in a redish brown wood grain look finished with 3 rivets & a polished end cap for perfect balance. No maintenance is needed on the handles. Polished blades are stain resistant and easy to clean and maintain. Includes the following precision sharp polished knives & tools: 8″ Chef, 8″ Carver, 8″ Serrated Bread, 7″ Nakiri, 6″ Santoku, 6″ Utility, 3.5″ Paring, qty. 8 – 4.75″ Steak knives, an 8″ Honing Rod and Heavy Duty Poultry Shears. All fit nicely in the beautiful Bamboo storage block. Order this ultimate kitchen set today and never buy another set of knives again. Lifetime Warranty!

Ergo Chef Cutlery’s Crimson Series Chop Talk discount coupon code for 15% OFF.

Coupon Code: VIPfall15

Till next time:

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibA Fabulous Food Show time of year.
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A Mixed Harvest of Fall Goodness and Flavor….

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Wow, fall has come on like gangbusters and we are full on into a great season of cooking and events. In this edition, we have a mixed harvest of goodness and flavor. We have a great new Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, we are ‘Cooking with Umami…the Fifth Flavor. In our Chef’s Spotlight we have Chef/Owner Peter Sinapi and his restaurant Sinapi’s Restaurant. We decided to get you healthy this month with a delicious smoothie recipe from Kimberly Winder of Wellness Solutions and last but not least we are introducing a new feature, Gourmet Store Spotlight and first up is Charles Department Store in Katona, NY, celebrating their 90th Anniversary.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Cooking with Umami…The Fifth Flavor

flavorwheelsmToday is all about taste and what’s known as “The Fifth Flavor,” Umami. Huh, you say? You’ve heard of Sweet, Salty, Sour, Bitter, but….Umami? While many of you may not be familiar with the phrase, but accomplished chefs around the world, more and more, make Umami the focus of their cuisine. Many specialists now understand that taste is actually more complicated, with the taste buds being helped along by sense of smell, by the feel of substances in the mouth and even by the noise that food makes when we chew it. This newly found taste for a while was almost unexplainable and a bit of a mystery.

Dr. Kikunae IkedaBut in the early 1900s, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo. Imperial University, identified this taste when studying the flavors in seaweed broth. Ikeda isolated monosodium glutamate as the chemical responsible and with the help of the Ajinomoto company, began commercial distribution of MSG products.

So what is it, and how do you cook with it? It is actually not a physical ingredient, but more of a natural occurring amino acid that gives off a pleasant savory taste. They are found in many meats, vegetables, seafood and dairy. The word Umami is a Japanese word which means tasty, delicious, or yummy. It has also been associated with other words including meaty, brothy and savory. Not everyone can differentiate the taste from the common four, but its popularity has become more widespread in recent years. For example, there is now a Umami Food and Art Festival in NY that is dedicated to educating culinary professionals and artists about this mysterious taste. Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce began an advertising campaign some time ago with top chefs from around the world using Umami as part of their slogan, to raise awareness of the uses of their soy sauce products to enhance the Umami experience.

tongueTaste and flavor are commonly associated as one in the same, but there is a definite distinction between the two. It is said that taste is the sensation caused in the mouth by contact with a substance, while flavor is the mixed sensation of both smell and taste. To simplify this research, it would be safe to say that the formula of taste + smell = flavor. Umami as an ingredient, becomes a flavor enhancer, bringing depth to your food without covering any flavors or subtle tastes. It is found in more mature foods such as an older Parmesan cheese, aged wine, or soy sauce.

Umami rich foods are very satisfying and can actually be a healthier way to cook as well. They tend to make salt taste saltier, which means we can lower the amount of sodium in a dish when using Umami rich ingredients. It also creates a sensation that most chefs call “mouth feel,” which is normally associated with the mouth sensation we get when we eat foods high in fat. Thus, we may lower the amount of fat in a dish, and let the richness of the Umami do the trick.

Here is a starter list of a few ingredients that are very Umami rich, and would lend a great deal of taste and flavor to any home cooked meal.

umami montageSeafood: fish sauce, anchovies, kombu, nori, dried bonito flakes, makeral, seabream, tuna, cod, prawns, squid, oysters, shellfish.
Meat: beef, pork and chicken.
Vegetables: dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms, corn, truffles, soy beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Chinese cabbage, carrots and tomatoes.
Other Foods: Parmesan cheese and Green Tea.

Even though we were all taught otherwise, since the time when we were children, it is time to put aside your mom’s admonitions. The only way to become a better cook and be more aware is to play with your food, so get to the store, buy some Umami rich ingredients and start playing and cooking for yourselves!

 Chef’s Spotlight

IMG_0178This edition is not so much a Chef Spot light at it is a Chef/Restaurant Spotlight of Sinapi’s Restaurant in Danbury, CT. and Chef Owner Owner Peter Sinapi.

When Pietro Sinapi came home over 28 years ago and told his family that he was going to open up his first pizza place, his family was taken aback. What does an auto body mechanic know about running and operating his own restaurant? But with will and determination, he took the risk that would change his life forever. Coming into any Sinapi’s Restaurant is like joining their family at the dinner table.

IMG_0168IMAG3311Every fresh ingredient is used to ensure the best tasting meals possible. Soups are made fresh daily, peppers are roasted to perfection and meatballs taste just like Nonna’s! Their pizza made us famous, but are dinners keep them coming back for more. Also available is the unbelievably tasting home-style desserts – from true Italian cheesecake, to biscotti & their famous, fresh made Italian Ices. Check out our Dinner for Two! Pietro decided to start offering his great Marinara sauce to the public and locals can now find it in Select Grocers & direct from Sinap1’s Restaurant. What started out as a small mom & pop pizza shop has slowly evolved into a full restaurant & catering experience with customer satisfaction their #1 goal. So come in and join their family for what will be an unforgettable and delicious dining experience!

Recipe

IMG_1085Our recipe today comes from Kimberly Winder of Wellness Solutions

Says Kimberly, “Stress is a part of our everyday lives – we can’t escape it. It is all around us – at home, at work and in our cars. There are always things pulling us in a million directions and distracting us from our sense of peace and harmony in the world. Have no fear.  There is good news! We can actually do things to help manage and keep the stress from getting too out of control and hijacking our lives. One very huge way we can mange stress is by eating healthful, whole foods that nourish our bodies and keep our energy levels high. But, how do we manage this when we are so busy and stressed out to begin with? Simple. Mix up a smoothie in your blender and drink your stress away! Follow my simple system for creating a stress relieving, healthful and delicious smoothie.”

STEP 1:  Choose half a serving of fruit (ie. 1/2 banana, 1/2 apple, 1/2 cup of berries).  Fruit gives sweetness and provides the body with the right kind of energy and fiber.
STEP 2:  Choose one vegetable (ie. celery stalk, carrot, 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 cup of broccoli, etc.).  Veggies provide the body with additional fiber and phytonutrients to nourish your body with the vital nutrients it needs.
STEP 3:  Choose one cup of dark leafy greens (ie. kale, spinach, parsley, chard, etc.).  Green leafy veggies are the powerhouse of the plant family and supply a super boost of phytonutrients to fight disease and build up the digestive system for greater immune function.
STEP 4:  Choose a cup of liquid such as water, almond milk or herbal tea.  Add more or less to desired consistency.
STEP 5:  Add a handful of nuts or seeds for added protein and healthful fats to keep you feeling full and reducing inflammation.  Try chia, sunflower, almonds or any other nut/seed that you like.
STEP 6:  Blend on high for 30 seconds.  I recommend using a high strength blender like a Vitamix or a Nutribullet. Otherwise, it may be kind of chunky.  In that case, you may need to strain before drinking. Enjoy!

Gourmet Store Spotlight

logo (1)In today’s world of over-sized, impersonal shopping malls, Charles Department Store is distinguished by a long tradition of personal service and good value. In fact, Westchester County’s only family-owned specialty department store is celebrating 90 years of being one of those great American “Main Street” stores where “everybody knows your name.”

With Victorian-style clapboard walls, original tin ceilings and creaky wooden floors, Charles takes shoppers back to a time when retailers cared about community and built their business one satisfied customer at a time. Present owners David and Jim Raneri of Katonah point with pride to photos of their grandparents, Charles and Isabelle Raneri, who founded the original Charles Dry Goods store in 1924.

Charles Raneri emigrated to the United States from Sicily when he was 14 years old. Settling in Mt. Kisco, he worked as a peddler along the railroad. It wasn’t long before Raneri opened his own store in Mt. Kisco, moving later to a larger premises in Bedford Hills. In 1939, he moved his establishment again, this time to its present prime location on Katonah Avenue, directly across from the old train depot.

In the 1940s, Charles Raneri’s son, Phillip, joined the family business, bringing his background in radio engineering and electronics to the growing store. In 1950, Phillip married Claire Schroeder and a family of five followed — four boys and one girl. While the entire Raneri family worked in the store from time to time, David and Jim chose to follow in their father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and run the family business. Today, David and Jim Raneri co-own the store, and have stayed true to their grandfather’s vision of incomparable personal service, combined with top quality products.

In the good old days, the success of Charles Department Store arose out of the shop’s ability to supply the folks of the quiet rural area surrounding Mt. Kisco, Bedford Hills and Katonah with all their needs, from pot-bellied stoves to Sunday bonnets. Charles continues to offer the best quality merchandise available, changing with the times to offer the high-quality products that people want. Dave and Jim Raneri carefully select all items, providing their customers with the best possible choices, answers to questions and service with a genuine smile. Grandfather Raneri might be surprised by some of the modern-day products for sale in his store, but he would have no trouble recognizing his families’ unwavering commitment to customer service and value. Some things never change, even after 90 years. We are please to be included in their October Top 5 Products!

Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibA Mixed Harvest of Fall Goodness and Flavor….
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Spring Has Sprung!!!

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Mike, Scott & Randy with Debra Wold, Chicago #IHHS2014

Mike, Scott, Randy & Debra Wold, Chicago 2014

Welcome to the first Chop Talk post of Spring! We had a great time out in Chicago and want to thank all of you that stopped by and supported us at the International Home & Housewares Show. It was great seeing you and hearing how much you love our knives, tongs and other products. In this installment, we’re offering another installment of  “Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips,” a highlight of  Chef Peter Silvano in “Chef’s Spotlight,” a hearty Peruvian Stew recipe and we can’t forget “Where’s Randy?,” the ongoing Costco Road Show adventures of our beloved Chef Randall Smith.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: How to Properly Season Your Food.

One of the most important yet overlooked skills the at home chef needs to master is seasoning! Now, not all foods need to have additional seasonings added, but the intricacies of cooking rely on a well seasoned palate and an ability to know how much or how little to use.

ID-10077877Seasonings can be broken down into a few different categories including herbs, spices and condiments. The most popular seasoning known to the world of cooking is salt. Many professional and home cooks mis-use salt in everyday applications, not knowing how much to really use. In today’s culinary world, there are also so many varieties of salt, each one having many unique characteristics and flavor profiles, that it can get a bit overwhelming for the at home chef. but fear not friends, Chop Talk is here to help.

On this subject, an Exec Chef friend of Ergo told an interesting story about when he was a student at CIA. One day, the chef had students line up in front of a pot of butternut squash soup, everyone taking turns tasting a spoonful of the soup. After each of the students tasted, the chef added a teaspoon of salt and they all tasted again. He explained that it was amazing to see the subtle changes in flavor and viscosity (mouth feel) of the soup. The Chef Instructor lined them up and did it again and again, about 6 or 7 times, comparing the finished product to the original unseasoned soup. The addition of salt had changed the soup so immensely, that it almost tasted like a completely different batch of soup.’ Learning about the ingredients you choose to cook with will make a big impact on how much seasoning you must add during the cooking process.

flavorwheelsmSo how do we find the proper balance of seasoning? The tongue has 5 known tastes; sweet, salty, sour, bitter and Umami. True balance is all about the marriage of those tastes on the plate and ultimately on the palate. When cooking with unfamiliar flavors or ingredients, taste them first! Try using classic flavor combinations that our culinary forefathers successfully paired. Practice makes perfect and as we learn the basics of taste and flavor, our ability to season will be much more successful.

There are many basic guidelines you may follow with regard to using herbs and spices, but remember, there are NO RULES to cooking savory dishes. You can change the flavor profile to what best suits your tastes. Some seasonings are much stronger than others, so begin using small amounts, and then add more as you feel fit. Heartier dishes such as stews and braises can be seasoned well with woody herbs like rosemary or thyme. Lighter dishes like sliced heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella cheese may only need a little parsley or basil to bring the palate to absolute harmony.

grillingsteaks4Other popular seasonings include vinegars, soy sauce, wines, spices such as; pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, saffron and turmeric, even anchovies, chilies, and garlic. Using herbs can really make a huge difference as well, so try and find a reputable supermarket for your herb selection, or even better, grow your own. Some favorites include basil, tarragon, parsley, chives, dill, mint, oregano, lavender, thyme, and rosemary.

A great way to incorporate flavors into foods like chicken, steak and seafood, is to combine some spices and or herbs, then add them to an olive oil, creating a marinade. Submerge the protein in the flavorful marinade and let all those seasonings permeate through the food. Be sure to brush most of the marinade off before cooking, as it may burn. Other ways to use spices include ID-10045736making dry rubs, which can enhance flavor, color, and texture. This is an important step when preparing BBQ ribs as without the rub, most ribs may seem lackluster.

Armed with some knowledge, support and practice, you’ll be making some pretty tasty food in no time! Try some of these ideas out at home, and don’t be disheartened if your first attempts, or two, are unsuccessful. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end.”

Chefs Spotlight

petersilvanoChef Pete Silvano grew up in two industries. Food & apparel. Growing up, his father was either involved in a food concept or slinging thousands of shirts, hats, and anything else you could print something on. One thing is for certain he always ate good and had the newest and coolest clothes in the neighborhood. Once the cooking bug bit him there was no turning back. Technically he has been in the food industry all his life, but professionally, for 26 years. He has worked up and down the East Coast as well as out west in Arizona. He has worked under high caliber chefs from 6 different nationalities. With their training and guidance he has learned to cook several different cuisines and has excelled at them all.

Chef Pete has won numerous awards such as Rising Star Chef in 1994, and in 2010 he was rated as one of the top 25 Chef’s in the city in Jacksonville Magazine. He has done local radio and TV appearances in the past as well in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. In 2012 he decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps and start an apparel company specializing in what he knows best: Being a Chef and having a passion for food and everything culinary. His company is called Chefs Life Apparel. The site has been viewed in over 800 cities worldwide to date. Chefs from all over the world have been ordering his one of a kind designs and comical slogan type shirts. Chef’s Life Apparel is now striving to be involved with foundations to give back and other culinary type companies for cross promotions. As of this year CLA has connected with Ergo Chef Knives and Chefs Roll, as well as doing a campaign this April for Cruz’s Crusade, to help a little boy with a bone marrow transplant. Check them out at www.chefslifeapparel.com and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Recipe courtesy of Chef  Pete Silvano 

Machu Piccu Peruvian Stew (Seco)

Ingredients

2# Stew beef tips or tri tip (cut into bite size pieces)

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

3 bunches of cilantro

2 red onions (sliced half moons)

1 bag frozen peas

 3 tbsp Aji Amarillo paste (Amigofoods.com) or 1 de-seeded jalapeno

1 cup water

3 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and pepper to taste

machu-picchu-peruvianIn a deep sauce pan add olive oil and heat over high heat. When oil is very hot add your beef tips and sear til brown on all sides. Take the beef out and reserve. Next add the red onions and garlic. Saute til translucent and caramelized slightly. While that cooks take the cilantro, Aji Amarillo paste(jalapeno) and water and add to a blender or food processor and puree till liquefied. Now add that to your pot with the onions and garlic. Turn the heat down to medium low. Add your beef to the pot and simmer for 1-2 hours or until beef in fork tender. Add peas at the end and warm through. Season with salt and pepper and lime juice. Serve over steamed white rice. Classically it is served with Peruvian Canary beans and Criolla (red onion salad).

Where’s Randy? 

10722_102660343078702_7921471_nAnd last up, but certainly not least, are the ongoing adventures of Chef Randy, who will be appearing with the Ergo/Costco Road Show these next two weeks at the following locations, so mark your calendar and come out and say hello…you never know, you may even see your picture here in one of our next installments!

March 27th-30th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Milford, CT

April 3rd-6th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Norwalk, CT

 

Till Next Time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibSpring Has Sprung!!!
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March Madness at Ergo Chef!

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Hello All.,

Yes March Madness indeed! We have so much going on we just can’t wait to share it with you, so without further, delay let’s get right to it.

First up, we want to call attention to a great cause and fundraiser that we will be involve with out in Chicago.

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CULINARY FUTURES CHICAGO

COCKTAIL HOUR AND SILENT AUCTION SUPPORTING C-CAP

Register Here

Sunday, March 16th, 5:30 – 7:00pm
You are cordially invited to join us at the Culinary Futures Chicago Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction to support C-CAP, as we aim to raise money to help change young people’s lives!

Learn more about Culinary Futures Chicago

If you would like to support Culinary Futures but are unable to attend the event, please send your donation to: C-CAP PO Box 60885 Chicago, IL 60660 All proceeds from this event will benefit C-CAP. Careers Through Culinary Arts Program is a national non-profit organization that works with public schools to prepare at-risk students for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Next up this month, you can reach out and get hands on with Scott, Mike and Randy well, er, not them..the knives, as they will be demonstrating Ergo Knives and Accessories at The International Home & Housewares Show March 15th -18th in Chicago.

 The International Home & Housewares Show

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 The International Home + Housewares Show offers you the opportunity to see first-hand consumer lifestyle and product trends for all areas of the home, both inside and out, under one roof at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. Come out and see Mike, Scott & Chef Randy as they demonstrate the best knives on the market. South Building, Booth #S1460

Chop Talk Chef’s Spotlight

 

RuminerJeffStretchIn this edition of Chef’s spotlight we are highlighting a very unique chef with a very unique name, ‘Stretch.’ @STRETCHartist To say that Stretch is eclectic is an understatement.

STRETCH believes there is a common thread between art, food and music, they cross all cultural boundaries. This vision is why he opened Grinders, Grinders West and CrossroadsKC at Grinders music venue in the Heart of the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.  Grinders has been an accumulation of STRETCH’s travels and life experiences — a food-art-music-fusion inspired by places like punk club CBGBs, Maxs Kansas City, night clubs, and classic dive joints with quality food and a fun atmosphere and was highlighted on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive In’s & Dives.  A great experience at a great price whether you’re an artist, government official, lawyer, a musician, or a clown.

Some of Stretch’s Sculptures

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You can see more of Stretch’s sculptures on his website: www.stretchsculpture.com

On Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Creating the menu for Grinders was an obvious choice for STRETCH.  He didn’t want to starve and missed his East-Coast roots filled with Philly cheese-steaks and NY-style pizza, the idea of Grinders was born. Infusing the menu with his artistic flair, specialties like the Death Wings, the Chili Bomb Pie and Grinders Signature Hot Sauces were created as well as featured on the FOOD Network.

This weeks recipe is a video recipe (we love when that happens) from Stretch with Guy on Guy’s Big Bite, making what’s called the Le Hog Pizza, one of Stretch’s masterpieces from Grinders.

Stretch and Guy are using the Ergo Pro Series 7” Santoku knife here. <~Click for more information.

Where’s Randy?

Randy ErgoAnd last up, but certainly not least, are the ongoing adventures of Chef Randy, who will be appearing with the Ergo/Costco Road Show this month at the following locations, so mark your calendar and come out and say hello…you never know, you may even see your picture here in one of our next installments!

March 27th-30th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Milford, CT

April 3rd-6th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Norwalk, CT

 Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibMarch Madness at Ergo Chef!
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The Presidential Culinary Museum & Ergo’s Presidential Series

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Hi Friends,

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we at Ergo Chef have made a move to support disabled veterans in business. We are proud to announce our affiliation with The Presidential Culinary Museum, former White House Military Chef Samuel Morgante, Executive Director of the Presidential Culinary Museum and Presidential Service Center Executive Chef’s Martin Mongiello and his wife Stormy!

Together with these wonderful Chefs, we are now offering:

Exclusively Licensed – The Presidential Foodservice Knife Set

pres-food-18pc-crimson-front-pic

 All knives have the Presidential Food Service Logo permanently laser etched on the blade. Click the picture for more details.

Chef’s Spotlight

banner_011Chef Sam Morgante is a native of Danville, Pennsylvania and a graduate of The First Coast Institute of Culinary Arts.  He retired from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer in 2005 after serving as a White House Chef under former President George W. Bush. During Chef Morgante’s assignment with Presidential Food Service, he was awarded the Five Star Diamond Award from the International Food Service Organization for 2003, 2004 and 2005.  His personnel decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7 awards), the Navy Good Conduct Medal (5 awards) and various service and campaign awards. Read more….

 

property-14-2012-main-photo.jpg.1024x0Martin C.J. Mongiello – is a disabled veteran, Master Certified Food Executive and Certified Executive Chef who retired after 21 years in the US Navy, with service at Camp David, the White House and in numerous war zones. He is a Qualified Submarine Service Warrior, served as a Seabee, conducted security for the Blue Angels, was trained as a Squad Leader in anti-terrorism by the US Marine Corps, graduated first in his class for Law Enforcement Academy and is a Qualified Surface Warrior. He was the Executive Chef to the President of the United States of America and a Manager of the world’s most exclusive resort, Camp David, hidden atop the Catoctin Mountain chain. He has the distinction of being one of the most decorated Chefs in the history of the Navy, was knighted in 2002 in Brussels, Belgium, holds several prestigious awards including a Presidential Service Badge, numerous world culinary medals, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge, five Navy Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbons with Oak Leaf Clusters, three Commendation Medals and the NJ Distinguished Service Medal.

Chef Stormy Mongiello is the Licensed Executive Chef (LEC) in charge of the kitchens at The Inn of the Patriots and has direct Country Club experience from White Manor Country Club of Pennsylvania, cooked at the Clinton Foundation, across the United States of America on stage with Chef Marti in front of one million visitors per day of the largest events in the USA and has cooked for audiences in Japan and Korea.  Her direct representation of Chef Emeril Lagasse and his food products at the Jacob K. Javits Fancy Food Show and Foxwoods Casino were monumental moments in her life as a Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine. Prior to becoming an Executive Chef, Stormy continued her studies towards a Bachelors Degree in Business from Western International University with specialization in Human Resources.  Her payroll, accounting, controller and financial acumen are highly noted for an Executive Chef that is extremely intelligent. Her awards include the Good Conduct Medal from the US Navy, Battle “E,” Cold War Service Certificate and the National Defense Service Medal.  In 2013 she was nominated to the Charlotte Business Journal as a Women in Business Leaders Award. Read the rest of their story here:  About Chefs Martin & Stormy

As a special treat Marti & Stormy have provided us with some outstanding “Favorite Recipes of Presidents of the United States” We hope you enjoy them:

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Click to get the recipe: 1850s Strawberry Lemon Charlotte Russe ~Homemade Blackberry Coulis~Whipped Cream~Fresh Mint~Crème Anglaise 

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Click to get the recipe: The World Famous Chi-Dog 

Jefferson's vol au vent

Click to get the recipe: Beef Demi-glace Vol-au-Vents for Jefferson in Paris 

Ergo Chef is a proud supporter of Veteran Owned Businesses.

The Presidential Culinary Museum® and Collections

As seen in The Official Museum Directory in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and officially listed with the North Carolina Museum Council (NCMC) featuring artifacts, antiques and private items sent from the United States National Archives, The Bush Foundations, President Carter, President Reagan and The Clinton Foundation.

You can learn more about The Presidential Culinary Museum by clicking the picture below.

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 We hope that you have enjoyed this latest installment of Chop Talk and will lend your patronage and your support to this great organization.

If you made it this far you deserve our thanks and a deal: Save 15% on your purchase with coupon code: Whitehousechef1776

Till Next Time

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibThe Presidential Culinary Museum & Ergo’s Presidential Series
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