All posts tagged: recipe

New Website Design, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chili, New Ceramic Paring Knife & Kosher Knives

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Welcome to April!

Spring is in full swing and Ergo has some new and exciting news for you all. First up is the new design of our website and blog. We’ve made them much more user friendly, with a new sleek look and, we’ve added a great new “Live Chat” feature so you can now talk live to a customer service rep with any order or product questions you may have. Just click the blue “Live Help” button on the lower right hand side of the home page.

In this edition of Chop Talk, Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips covers a topic we can never revisit enough Knife Basics & Sharpening. We’ve got a delicious Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chili recipe for you from Elaine Giammetta,The Gourmet Girl. Finishing up, we have 3 new products for you to check out; Our new Presidential Chef’s Choice 4″ Stealth Black Ceramic Paring Knife and our Pro-Series Extra Wide 2.3″ Chef Knife with no hollow grounds and our #Kosher Marked Knives by Rabbi-Q’s Mendel Segal. Enjoy!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

Sharpening Your Knives

 

sharpenerIt’s important to keep knives sharp to stay safe when cooking, as dull knives are a safety hazard and can be very dangerous. The more blunt a knife’s edge is, the more pressure it takes to cut something, the more likely you are to slip and cut your finger instead. Sharpened knives reduce the time it takes to prepare your meals as well. To sharpen a knife, you can use a professional sharpening stone, also known as a whetstone, or a sharpening stick. Directions are usually provided with the sharpening products. Our 10″ and 12″ diamond sharpeners will keep your knives razor sharp with just a few passes or you can use our new Fast Edge manual pull through sharpener which cuts an 18 degree edge on your knives every time.

See the different types here: Ergo Chef Sharpeners. If you don’t feel comfortable sharpening your knives yourself, many retailers offer professional sharpening or you can Google for knife sharpening in your area. You could also try your favorite cooking supply store, as most offer sharpening services.

How To Properly Hold & Use Your Knife

Ergo_Knife_Collection_1448910000_2965029_ver1.0_640_480For more precise control, adopt a grip on the blade itself, with the thumb and the index finger grasping the blade just to the front of the bolster and the middle finger placed just opposite on the blade. When slicing or chopping, keep your fingertips curled inward. Use your fingernails in what is called a “claw grip,” to help grip the food. The knife blade should rest against the foremost knuckle, helping keep the blade perpendicular to the board.


Recipe

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chili courtesy of Elaine Giammetta

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chili

Ingredients
Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 large jalapeno pepper, deveined, seeded and minced
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes
1 c each: black beans, pinto beans (if canned, well drained)
2 c red kidney beans (if canned, well drained)
1/2 c dark ale
2 T chili powder
1 1/2 dried hot red peppers (crushed)
1 t oregano, dried
pinch cumin powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground pork
1/4 c low fat or organic creamy peanut butter
3 T serrano chili sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T shaved dark chocolate

Method
Heat 2-3 T oil in a large heavy bottom pot. Add the onion, green peppers, & garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent. Next add the crushed tomatoes, beans, beer, and spices. In a separate pan brown the ground turkey and pork, then add to chili mixture. Simmer for 45 minutes over low heat. Add the peanut butter, hotsauce, lime juice, cilantro and chocolate. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Plating
Spoon into soup bowl, top with dollop of yogurt or sour cream. Shave chocolate over topping. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves and shredded cheddar. Serve with a tall glass of the ale used in the recipe.

Bon Appetit!


Product Spotlight

Presidential Chef’s Choice Stealth 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife

black ceramic knifeThis knife is crafted from high quality ceramic ground to a razor edge. The ceramic is much more durable than past ceramic knives due to new technology and fibers to strengthen the blade. Ceramic is the next hardest material to diamonds so it will hold an edge with years of proper use. The handle is non-slip providing great feel and control for all your smaller cutting tasks.  Created in a stealth black ceramic with Presidential Chef’s Choice, Chef Sam Morgante.

Every purchase helps support “Rolling Thunder” by giving 10% of profits from sales to help veterans and active duty military & their families.

Includes: Official Silver Foil Printed Gift Box with Presidential Chef’s Choice Seal Special Stealth 4″ Ceramic Paring Knife w/ Protective Sheath Comfort Texture Handle Grip for Safer Control. Exclusive “Presidential Chef’s Choice The White House” Seal Laser Etched on Ceramic Blade. 

To Order: Ceramic Paring Knife $24.99


Pro Series 2.3” Wide Ergonomic Chef Knife

8 inch pro chef - wideOrder the New Pro Series 2.3” Wide Ergonomic Chef Knife & get a Free Diamond Sharpener!* Clean sides with no hollow grounds!Pro Series 2.3” Wide Ergonomic Chef Knife This new 8” Pro-Series Wide Ergonomic Chef knife has an extra wide blade height 2.3”, and is NOT hollow Ground.

Nice clean sides with no hollow grounds for easy cleaning and keeps it’s strength and durability even after you sharpen it for years. Precision balanced and fully forged for a lifetime of use.The 8″ Chef knife is the work horse in the kitchen. Our patented design, with its ergonomic angled handle, can make virtually all types of cutting more comfortable and effortless than standard knives (cutlery).

This chef cutlery helps reduce wrist movement during chopping, and can decrease stress on the muscles in your wrist, hand and forearm; and the extended heel or blade of the knife prevents your knuckles from contacting the cutting surface. The cutlery is perfectly balanced and ground to perfection. Once you try it, you will want no other. Our knives were highly rated by many publications and by many culinary professors!

Features: Blade: German Made Carbon Stainless Steel (X50CrMoV15), Blade Length: 8″ of Cut, Blade Height: Wide 2.3″, Handle Length: 5.2″ Long, Handle Material: Durable POM, Knife Weight: 9.3 Ounces, Precision Balanced at Bolster, Lifetime Warranty & 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

To Order: Pro Series 2.3″ Wide Ergonomic Chef Knife $69.99 

*Limited Time Offer. While supplies last.


rabbi_q_web_bannerWe now have #Kosher Marked Knives by Rabbi-Q’s Mendel Segal. Save 10% with coupon code: IntroRabbiQ10
These are the best, most ergonomic and affordable knives on the market for your Kosher Kitchen! All knives are laser marked “Pareve” “Dairy” or “Meat” by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi-Q.
Available knives:
Mendel’s RaBBi-Q 8″ Chef Knife Marked Dairy by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi-Q. This 8″ Crimson G10 Chef knife is laser marked for Dairy use in the Kosher kitchen. Cut with confidence feel the ergonomic difference in these precision balanced and edged kitchen knives. The 8″ Chef knife will slice, and chop everything except bone in your Kosher kitchen.
6″ Utility Knife Marked for Dairy by RaBBi Mendel of RaBBi-Q. This Crimson G10 handle utility knife is made from high carbon stainless steel for long edge life and easy maintenance. Designed for slicing all small dairy products with ergonomic comfort, balance and precision in your Kosher Kitchen.
8″ Chef knife marked Meat for a Kosher kitchen by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi-Q. This Crimson G10 Chef knife features a high carbon stainless steel blade for precision cutting of all your meat. The ergonomic handle creates a comfortable grip for superior control and performance with great balance for smooth efficient slicing in your Kosher kitchen.
This 6″ Utility Knife Marked Meat for your Kosher Kitchen by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi Q is easily identifiable. Made with quality high carbon stainless steel and G10 fiberglass resin handles for extreme durability. Slice your smaller proteins easily with the precision sharp edge on this quality blade in your Kosher kitchen.
This 8″ Bread Knife Marked Pareve for your Kosher Kitchen by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi-Q is easily identifiable with the laser marked “Pareve” for your kitchen. It’s made with quality high carbon stainless steel for long edge life and durability in any kitchen. The ergonomic G10 fiberglass resin handle is one of the world’s strongest materials for a lifetime of use. Slice your breads, cakes and all items Pareve in your kitchen with this offset serrated bread knife.
This 3.5″ Paring Knife Marked Pareve for your Kosher Kitchen by Rabbi Mendel of RaBBi-Q is easily identifiable. Made from quality high carbon stainless steel for long edge life and easy maintenance. The G10 fiberglass resin handles are one of the world’s strongest for a lifetime of use. This is a perfect paring knife for small Kosher kitchen tasks.
To find out more or place an order click here: https://www.ergochef.com/Kosher-Marked-Kitchen-Knives-by-RaBBI-Q.php
Until next time, happy cooking!

Ergo

Mike StaibNew Website Design, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chili, New Ceramic Paring Knife & Kosher Knives
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Autumn means Stocks & Soups, Food Shows, Sweepstakes Event, Chef Kern & a Fall classic, Pork Osso Bucco…

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Welcome to October and the start of the Fall Season. We love this time of year for so many reasons. One, is that we get to attend some of the great food and culinary shows around the country and we look forward to to meeting and greeting you all face to face. That said, coming up this month is the Metro D.C. Cooking Show, Oct 24-25, 2015 in Washington D.C. & we’ll be heading to Cleveland Nov 13-15, 2015 for the Fabulous Food Show.

The Metro DC Cooking Show banner-15Headlining this year’s DC show will be Giada De Laurentiis and our good friend and partner, Chef Michael Symon. We’ll be displaying and demoing all our great products, including the new Michael Symon Cutlery Line (Chef Symon will be at the booth both days to greet you up close) and the new Myron Mixon Grill Tool.
Saturday October 24 – Sunday October 25, 2015
Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, DC
Saturday Hours: 10 am – 6 pm ~ Sunday Hours: 10 am – 5 pm

We’ll be at Booth #1315. We hope to see you there!
Ticket prices: General Admission – $18 in advance; Children 4-12 – $10 in advance
Children under 4 free

The Fabulous Food Show, Nov. 13-15, 2015

FFS-Logo-156x203_50584The Nation’s Premier Culinary Celebration is bigger than ever! The 10th annual Fabulous Food Show returns to the I-X Center November 13-15, 2015. This is not your ordinary cooking show, it’s a full weekend of food, fun, and entertainment! Spread out over 400,000 square feet of indoor space, this unparalleled cultural experience features the country’s largest presentation of fine food, fine art, craft breweries, wineries, restaurants, and purveyors all under one roof!The Market Place: Sample and shop from a collection of hundreds of companies showcasing a variety of specialty foods and culinary gadgets.Taste, Try & Buy just in time for the holiday entertaining season.

SymonSimmonsValastroGiant Eagle Market District Theatre: Custom built open theatre hosted by Jason Roberts. Featuring live exclusive content on stage all weekend with Michael Symon, Buddy Valastro, Gail Simmons, Aaròn Sànchez, Frankie Avalon, The Samples and Gospel Brunch presented by House of Blues Cleveland. All performances are included with admission. Seating is first come, first served.

We’ll be there with all our great products and I’m sure Chef Symon will be stopping by to talk to you all about his new Michael Symon Cutlery Line. We’ll be at Booth #1352. For more info, visit the official website here: www.fabulousfoodshow.com


Food Tips & Kitchen Tricks

Stock

To begin, let’s take the simple definition. Most soups start with some type of broth or stock which is defined as; a liquid (usually water) that is fortified with a definite flavor. Different types of stocks include, vegetable, chicken, beef, duck, fish, lobster, corn, asparagus, etc The list is endless depending on what flavor you are looking for and, of course the ingredients that you are going to use it in. The final flavor you are trying to achieve determines how you are going to treat the ingredients going in. As an example were you to be making corn stock, your flavors would take on a completely different profile if you were using raw corn vs. roasted corn. Developing a base flavor is an important part, if not the most important part, of a successful soup and that can be achieved in many ways. If the home cook wants to make a meaty and rich soup for instance, it is important to caramelize the meat and vegetables first, then deglaze the pan with a liquid (sometimes red or white wine) to remove the flavorful pieces from the bottom of the pan (called fond) and add those flavors to the soup resulting in a richness of flavor called Umami.

A French term called ‘Mirepoix,’ is the foundation of most soups and stocks. This is a mixture of 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, and 1 part celery. Make sure you have a good sharp Chef knife to break them down. Aromatics are flavor enhancers that are added to your stock to bloom or boost flavors. Aromatics include: peppercorns, bay leaves, juniper berries, any herbs, any onions, or garlic. Most importantly, we need to determine what type of stock we want to create, and then decide what the future of our beautiful stock will be. After you have added all your ingredients, you are now ready to let your stock simmer. A simmer is a temperature between 190-200 degrees and different stocks have different simmering times in order to reach their fullness of flavor:

Vegetable stocks~45 minutes
Fish stocks~1 hour 30 minutes,
Chicken (Poultry) stocks~2 hours,
Beef stocks~6 hours ( pre-roast the bones)

Once your stock is completely simmered to it’s full richness, the final step is straining it properly. What we are looking for is a pure, smooth and beautiful liquid so at this point we need to pass it through a strainer or “cheesecloth” to remove all impurities and vegetables, or large ingredients. Your stock can now be used immediately, or can be frozen in smaller batches to be thawed and used the next time you decide to make a soup or sauce.

Soupfallsoup

Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consomme. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with béchamel sauce; veloutes are thickened with eggs, butter and cream.

Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grains and beans. The word soup originates from “sop,” a dish originally consisting of a soup or thick stew which was soaked up with pieces of bread. The modern meaning of sop has been limited to just the bread intended to be dipped. Cooking with the seasons can be a lot of fun, so when thinking soups and stocks, consider ingredients available at that time of year and enjoy gathering ingredients that are at their peek of freshness. Autumn is a great season for soups, so be creative and enjoy!


Chef’s Spotlight

JSKMHPChef Justin Kern

When you see Justin Kern handling a busy kitchen you’ll immediately say to yourself “that dude is fierce.” You’re not wrong. He gets it done. Hailing from Kingston, NY Chef Kern has been in the business since 1999. His love affair with food goes all the way back to his father. His father might not have been a chef, but he loved to cook and put his own spin on things. He explained, “From what I understand my mom couldn’t cook to save her life. Sorry Mom. My father was a Marine and he just loved to cook, nothing fancy, but very eclectic. I learned to eat a lot of different foods very early. My Grandparents also used to dine out on all types of cuisines, so they really exposed me to lots of different cuisines.”

Since building his initial kitchen chops at a pizza and BBQ joint in upstate NY, Chef Kern has been a private chef and caterer, been involved with beer dinners and special events as well as an uber successful series of pop-up dinners here in Connecticut. He stated, “I remember when I first started, it was a job. My very first job was pizza delivery and watching the guys in the kitchen, I was fascinated. I was 16 and within a year I was running the place, making all the food etc.”

Chef Kern has worked with chefs from all over the county, and quite frankly, from all over the world. He knows a thing or two and is passionate about delivering not just a delicious meal, but also one that uses quality ingredients. At the top of his list is always locally grown ingredients. He believes it’s important to support the people and businesses around him. Justin came to Meetinghouse Pub because he loved the vision of the owners. He also loved the team and how all the different personalities worked so well together. His favorite part of being a chef? “When you do it right, you can bring joy and make people feel good.”

Justin KernI asked him about his cuisine and food philosophy and he answered. “I love local and try to be local as much as I can with regard to my ingredients. For instance I can’t get Ahi Tuna locally but I can get deep water shrimp from local day boats, caught the morning in Connecticut waters and have them on the plate that night. As for my cuisine I’d call it Americano, upscale pub food, focused on local ingredients and simple comfort food flavors. Simple dishes executed with great technique consistently.” I asked him about Ergo Knives. “I love my Ergo knives. I have tendonitis in my hands and working with the Pro Series does take a learning curve, but I can use them all day with minimal abuse to my hands. I recommend them to everyone. They’re quality knives. My go to is my 10″ Pro Series Chef Knife.”

We then ended with brief rapid fire question and answer.

CT: Crocs or no crocs?
JK: No crocs
CT: Favorite tool in the kitchen?
JK: My 10″ Ergo Chef Knife
CT: Favorite junk food?
JK: Gummy Bears
CT: What do you eat after shift?
JK: (laughs) Alcohol
CT: Least favorite ingredient?
JK: Coconut
CT: Favorite ingredient?
JK: Pork
CT: Favorite spice?
JK: Salt
CT: Favorite cuisine to cook?
JK: Recently I’m exploring Italian. Sauces, pastas, etc.
CT: Favorite cuisine to eat?
JK: I’m a huge seafood fan, regardless of type, be it Asian, American.
CT: Fine dining or casual?
JK: I’m all about casual. The best things happen over food. Weddings, birthdays, holidays, all over food.

You can connect with Chef Kern via social media here: Twitter: @Chef_JKern Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jkern01?fref=ts


Recipe

12053374_10154261051874517_585699994_nPork Osso Bucco With Creamy Grits and Pumpkin Beer Gravy

Courtesy of Chef Justin Kern

 

 

 

Pork Ingredients:
4 Pork Shank
6 pack of your favorite pumpkin beer
1 Qt chicken stock
1 white onion roughly chopped
2 large carrots roughly chopped
1 bunch celery roughly chopped
1 head garlic
3 tbs EVOO

Grits Ingredients:
1 C Grits (yellow corn)
1 ¼ C Chicken stock
1 ¼ C Heavy Cream
½ Onion diced
3 Garlic cloves minced
1 Tbs EVOO
2 Tbs Mascarpone

Method
In a large pan sear off pork with EVOO until golden brown on all sides. Add vegetables to pot and cook until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Then pour in beer and chicken stock until pork is completely covered by liquid. Cover your pot with a snug fitting lid or tin foil and place in a 375 deg oven for 4-6 hours depending on thickness of pork.. Your looking for it to pull apart with ease. Salt and pepper before you wear off meat and salt and pepper to taste.

When Pork is finished, in a medium pot add EVOO and turn to high heat. When pan is hot add Garlic and onions and sweat until onions are translucent. At that point add chicken stock, heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Turn heat to low and add grits. Stir frequently until grits have become soft and they absorbed all liquid (if there is no liquid left and there is still to much texture to the grits add chicken stock ¼ C at a time until done). Stir in Mascarpone to finish

Reserve about 2C of your braising liquid. In a small pot add 1 Tbs of cornstarch and water mixed. Bring to a boil and smother pork on plate!


Product Spotlight

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

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

Get 15% OFF this month with coupon code: OCT15 


Ergo Chef & Simply Symon Fall Sweepstakes

erg047_19.5x19.5_DISPLAYheadersContest on Ergo Chef’s Facebook Page!

Contest Starts October 15th at 10am! The Winner will be announced by November 16th via video on the event page by Chef Symon.  Simply join the event and RSVP as “Going” for your chance to win.  Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/ergochef 

Mike StaibAutumn means Stocks & Soups, Food Shows, Sweepstakes Event, Chef Kern & a Fall classic, Pork Osso Bucco…
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Tailgating, Chef Whitney Miller, Wine Tips for Tailgating with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash!

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vermont_valley_largeWelcome to the September edition of Chop Talk. It’s hard to believe it but Summer is gone and soon we’ll be getting ready for Goblins, Turkey and Pumpkins! With ‪football‬ season here and ‪Fall‬ right around the corner, in Food Tips & Kitchen Tips we’re talking ‪‎tailgating‬!! We’re also sitting down with the 1st US Masterchef winner, Whitney Miller, for some advice for this season’s contestants in this month’s Chef’s Spotlight. Whitney also provides us with a delicious Red Snapper Cevich Recipe‬. We’ll need something to wash it down with so we’ll be talking wine with The Wine Stash’s, Michael Stubelt, who gives us tips for what wines to have when we’re tailgating and his pick for this Autumn’s ‘must try’ wine. Last but not least it’s all about Kitchen Kapers, who’ve been “inspiring a little homemade fun in the kitchen since 1975….”


Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

firing-up-the-tailgate-grillIt’s that time of year sports fans….tailgating season and we’re giving you the lowdown on this annual fall tradition from it’s humble beginning right up to the modern day extravaganza’s fans now create before, during and after their favorite teams game. There are a few theories with regard to the origins of tailgating.

The first theory is that the tailgate party occurred during the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton. Apparently, spectators spent their pre-game ritual grilling sausages at the “tail end” of the horse. This theory seems a bit weak to me, but it has persisted for a long, long time. The second theory seems a little bit more plausible, as it seems logical to the human mind. The story goes that a train transported a large number of fans to a Yale football game in 1904. By the time the fans had arrived to the game, most were quite famished and, according to Peter Chakerian’s excerpt, the fans made sure to bring food and beverages to the stadium prior to the start of the game. The third is that Green Bay Packers fans coined the actual term “tailgating” during the teams first year in business in 1919. Back then, the fans would back their pickup trucks around the field and fold down their tailgates for seating. Naturally, food and beverages were brought along to keep the appetite in check. Unfortunately, says Packers team historian Cliff Christl, there isn’t evidence to support this theory, however romantic. “I don’t believe the story about Packers fans tailgating around the field is true, and we have no pictures that even prove there was tailgating at old City Stadium (the Packers home from 1925-56),” he states, adding that, like the Yale fans, he believes people would bring food and drink in their trunks, a practice that “continued at the new City Stadium.”

Today tailgating is almost a full time occupation and it’s so popular that a full 35% of the people that attend tailgate parties don’t actually attend the game. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the so-called Vols Navy dock their boats outside of Neyland Stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River and partake in a floating tailgate they call “Sailgating.” In Oxford, Mississippi, students and alumni gather at The Grove, an atmosphere likened to the pomp at the Kentucky Derby. The Sporting News called The Grove the “Holy Grail of Tailgating Sites.”

The most famous tailgating party takes place on neutral turf. Since 1933, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs have met in Jacksonville, Florida to, ostensibly, play football. What ensues from Wednesday to Saturday, this year’s game taking place in early November, is what’s called “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party,” a term coined by a Florida Times-Union sports editor in the 1950s. The city of Jacksonville even embraced the nickname, using it as the game’s slogan until 1988, but has since ceased doing so after a series of alcohol-fueled college antics.

Tailgating Defined

A tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be ‘tailgating’. Tailgate parties have spread to the pre-game festivities at sporting events besides football, such as basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball, and also occur at non-sporting events such as weddings and barbecues.

In schools and communities throughout the United States, there are athletic departments, coaches and parents of student athletes who rely on post-game tailgating parties to build community and support for their program and team. Smaller, underfunded programs are assisted by the voluntary participation of parents and friends to feed the team and coaching staff post-competition, which establishes a strong core of support year after year.

Click the link for a comprehesive guide to tailgaiting: Play by play guide to tailgating


Chef’s Spotlight

DSC_0308-650x380Chef Whitney Miller

Inspired by the hospitality of her 97 year-old great-grandmother and creativity of her mother, Whitney Miller’s passion for the art of cooking began at an early age. At twenty two, she won the show “Masterchef,” gaining the title of Fox’s 1st U. S. Masterchef. Soon afterward, Whitney obtained her degree, with an emphasis in nutrition, from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Whitney has conducted cooking demonstrations at many Home and Housewares & Food shows with celebrity chefs such as Guy Fieri and Curtis Stone, Buddy Valastro, UK’s “The Spice Prince” Reza Mahammad, and Italian Michelin Star chef Giorgio Locatelli.  Her cooking demos have also been featured in the Masterchef app. As the youngest contestant and winner of Fox’s first America’s Masterchef, Whitney continues to inspire children, youth, and young adults, through cooking demos and speaking events at public and private schools, culinary classes and colleges, and children’s museum events across the United States. She has a new cookbook coming out and there’s even talk of a new cooking show. We caught up with her during a vacation break to get her take on this season’s Masterchef contestants and what’s happening for her now.

Chop Talk: So tell us about great-grandma and mom and their influence on your career….

WM: My mom I learned creativity of cooking…she had us in the kitchen from when we were little. Everything from scratch. From my great-grandmother I learned authentic Southern basics, from biscuits to how to make a roux to good gumbo. She taught me hospitality and how to feed a crowd. We had huge Sunday dinners at her house every Sunday after church. 30 people. I learned the skills of hospitality watching those great women cook and I decided I wanted to cook for a living. I saw how my grandma’s cooking made people feel happy, and I wanted to emulate that.

Chop Talk: So how did Masterchef happen? 

WM: I was in college and I saw online that Masterchef was having auditions in New Orleans. When I got chosen, I had no idea who Gordon Ramsay was,  so I went back and watched his shows and thought, ‘Oh no,  what have I got myself in for?’

Chop Talk: Do you have any advice  that you can pass along to this year’s or future year’s contestants?

WM: For me what really helped was my background in pastry and desserts. I see the same thing happen now, that happened in my season. When it comes to desserts those that are comfortable seem to have a better chance than those that are intimidated by pastry. Come knowing what you want to make as well. Have recipe’s down cold.

Chop Talk: How did winning Masterchef change things for you?

WM: First let’s talk the cookbook…they gave me four months. I grew up watching my grandma and a pinch of this pinch of that, we didn’t measure anything. so that was an experience.  I got to travel to four different countries after I won. Experiencing different cultures. Being in those kitchens was an education for me as well. and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to cook for so may people and introduce them to real Southern cooking.

Chop Talk:  So what’s coming up for Whitney Miller?

WM: I continue to do recipe developing for a number of publications. Guest blogging, writing for a few magazines my second cookbook is being released October 27th, 2015 called Whitney Miller’s Southern Table. I have a cooking show in the works, so that is a bit exciting as well.

Chop Talk : You use Ergo Knives…

WM: I do. They are my everyday knives. I love them. They are so easy to use. I have my roll kit and they go everywhere with me. Just the ease and the use of them, knowing that it’s gonna help prevent damage to my wrists in the long run is why I’m using them for the rest of my life.

You can find out more about Whitney on her website here: whitneymiller.net Whitney develops recipes, gives lectures, cooking demonstrations and cooking classes, and also can be booked to judge or MC awards events and benefits.  She can tailor an appearance to suit your needs.  To book Whitney Miller, contact Mary Miller by phone 601-795-3883 or email mary.e.miller7@gmail.com


Recipe

Red Snapper Ceviche by

Ingredients
1/2 ceviche-300x300pound skinless red snapper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup julienned jicama
7 grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
fine sea salt
Homemade or store bought Corn Tortilla chips

Method
Slice the red snapper into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the cubed snapper in a shallow container or bowl. Pour the lime juice over the top to almost cover the snapper. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Add the jicama, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño to the snapper. Lightly toss to combine.Season the ceviche with salt to taste. Serve immediately with the chips.


Wine Tips with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash

stubelt 2We caught up with artisinal winemaker, Michael Stubelt, of The Wine Stash for some expert advice on what wines go best with tailgating and thinking outside the box when selecting wines this fall.

He arrived in Northern California (by way of the east coast) in 1995 and he’s been appreciating Napa Valley wine and terroir ever since. Growing up enjoying wines from across the pond, he was deeply influenced by French styles with subtle notes. If there is one thing that most French wines have in common, it is that most styles are meant to accompany food. The pairing of the two is a love that Michael and his wife Coleen (a talented culinarian) both share. Michael’s philosophy remains in this tone; to let the grapes and the land dictate the direction of the varietal.

He does not limit himself to one region or style but truly appreciates the diversity that each bring. This opens the door for a wide-ranging culinary adventure. It’s a rough life…but someone needs to do it. By sharing his deep passion and first-hand knowledge Michael creates lasting memories and friendships – one glass at a time. With its first vintage in 2007 “The Wine Stash” was formed by a group of friends with one common interest, to make and share great hand crafted wines with friends and family. Today the list of friends and family have certainly grown but the partner’s philosophy is still the same. They locate small farmers and producers bringing hand crafted wines to the growing list of “Stash” followers.

Chop Talk: So Michael, what wine should we be bringing when we’re tailgating? 

MS: Start with light and crisp before the food. Something that wakes up your palette. Then, with meats and the types of spicy foods like chili, you want to keep it crisp,  not too much alcohol content. Some of the more hearty rose’s for example pair well with whatever’s coming off the grill and still has a lighter touch. .

Chop Talk: With Fall coming , so also comes the list of the traditional ‘Fall’ wines.  Can you give us something outside the mainstream thinking that makes a nice fall wine?

MS: Find a single varietal of a grape that is normally used in blending. It’s worth it to try different wines like this to see the subtle differences. Cab Franc for instance. This season through the Holidays. It’s a soft and subtle wine, but has a  lot of character. It’s very inviting to a wide variety of people because it has less astringency, it goes great with the cuisine this time of year. It’s usually used as a blend to soften say,  a Cabernet’s, but on it’s own it’s great, hint of cranberries, subtle little fruit notes.

Chop Talk: Tell us about The Wine Stash

MS: Everything we do is from Napa. so we have relationships with growers and producers in each district and the Valley really determines what wines we’ll be making. We’re located in Yountville and we seem to like varieties that are mountain/hillside grown, the complexities, a bit stressed. Something about the thicker skin, smaller more compact fruit.

The Wine Stash

Wine-Stash-ID-1From the Wine Stash website:

“The Wine Stash® is dedicated to crafting wines in small batches for friends and family. After 5 years we have produced some exciting and exceptional wines and as one can imagine we have a bunch of new friends.

All of our grapes are grown on family vineyards that in many cases are just a few select acres. We are very selective about the vineyards and how the fruit is harvested. In some cases the Wine Stash® team even goes out into the vineyard and will pick the grapes ourselves. We implement a gentle gravity flow system that allows us to reduce “bottle shock” so the wine goes directly from barrel to bottle. We produce some very small, select lots which will occasionally be hand crafted and labeled as well as now with production increasing we utilize a boutique bottling line to bring you the very best wines with the teams personal touch. Thanks for your support, sharing and allowing us to bring some of our wines to your dinner table.”

In addition to the retail establishments listed on their site, The Wine Stash can ship wine to all states that allow direct to consumer commerce. Click here for details: Where to Buy


Gourmet Store Spotlight

2011-logoA National Retailer with Local Roots, Kitchen Kapers has been Inspiring A Little Homemade Fun Since 1975. The seed was planted in 1975 when they opened their first store in Voorhees, New Jersey. Over the years they’ve carefully expanded their business and have been serving neighborhoods and communities all across the Greater Philadelphia Region with 10 retail stores from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey. The secret for Kitchen Kapers continued success is rooted in offering customers value, selection and quality, combined with fast, friendly and knowledgeable service. The web, along with our mail order business, gave us the opportunity to serve neighborhoods and communities well beyond the Mid-Atlantic. Casual cooks and serious chefs throughout the United States have come to depend on them for the latest cooking and baking innovations along with a great selection of gourmet cookware, bakeware, kitchen knives and the hottest kitchen gadgets. And, of course their passion for good food and cooking with family and friends.

The Moorestown, New Jersey store located in East Gate Square features the Cooking School. Classes range from Cooking for Kids, Couples 5-star Cooking, to Girl’s Night Out Classes and Private Birthday Parties. ”

Visit thier website here: https://www.kitchenkapers.com/

Mike StaibTailgating, Chef Whitney Miller, Wine Tips for Tailgating with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash!
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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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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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Barbecue Styles of America: A Guide to Regional Barbecue Flavors

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Hi and welcome to another edition of Chop Talk. As you all know we are all about BBQ here at Ergo and October is no different. Summer is over but we still spend many waking moments thinking about grilled meats. After all what better excuse to ‘test our knives’ than with a nice brisket hot and juicy off the grill. To that end, we have a guest blogger this edition who has been here before, Robyn Medlin Lindars. and this time she brings us on a trip around the country with her Guide to Regional Barbecue. This month also brings our own Chef Randall Smith competing with Doug Keiles and Adam Feinberg on the Ribs Within BBQ team for Ergo Chef in the 4th Annual High Point BBQ Battle in Clarksburg, MD October 10 – 11, 2014. And this month’s Chef Spotlight is David Letterman who provides us with a great Fall recipe, Apple PepperJack~Pumpkin Cheese Cake.

Guide to Regional Barbecue Written by Robyn Medlin Lindars

Barbecue is personal. Ask anyone what makes for good ’cue and the answer varies, probably based on where they’re from. To understand barbecue styles is to understand what barbecue is. Barbecue is a method of cooking meat, traditionally tough, less expensive cuts, in a wood-burning pit over a low temperature for a long period of time to create tender, moist, flavorful results. Regional flavors are based on the type of seasoning used. The seasoning may date back to the first settlers in the area. For example, Germans settled in South Carolina and brought a strong mustard-based influence to barbecue. Here is a historical breakdown of barbecue by region: the history of each regional flavor, its differences, and restaurants that serve it. Who knew barbecue was so diverse?

Kansas City

Barbecue Styles of America – Kansas City Style BarbecueKansas-City-style barbecue includes a wide variety of meats, and is perhaps the most popular style in the U.S. Kansas-City-style sauce, a tangy and sweet, tomato-and-molasses-based sauce, is what many think of when they think of barbecue sauce. Memphis native Henry Perry, known as “The Father of Kansas City Barbecue” opened up the first commercial barbecue restaurant in 1907. His disciple Arthur Bryant opened up shop in 1930. Today, Arthur Bryant’s is one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the country. Kansas City is home to the American Royal, known as the World Series of barbecue. The Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) has over 15,000 members and is the largest sanctioning body of barbecue competitions, at more than 400 per year. KCBS contestants enter four main categories: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket, judged on taste, appearance, and texture.

Signature Style: Tangy, Sweet; Tomato-and-Molasses-Based Sauce Meat Specialties: Burnt Ends from a Beef Brisket Where to Taste: Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City, MO

Memphis

Barbecue Styles of America – Memphis Style BarbecueMemphis-style barbecue is primarily pork, notably ribs, often served dry versus the wet western style of other regions. “Dry” means chefs use only a dry rub for flavoring, while wet style uses a sauce applied during the entire cooking process. A “mop” sauce is often mopped on during the cooking process to keep the meat moist. Traditional Memphis-style dry rub consists of salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, sugar, and a variety of other spices. Many restaurants serve their ribs dry with sauce on the table for those who want it. Memphis is home to the legendary Memphis in May or “Superbowl of Swine:” the largest pork barbecue competition in the world. Notable restaurants include Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous (named to the list of top five best ribs and mail-order meat byEsquire), Interstate, Neely’s, Corky’s (known for their presence in national grocery stores and mail-order service), and Memphis Barbecue Company.

Signature Style: Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Cayenne, and Sugar Dry Rub Meat Specialties: Pork Ribs Where to Taste: Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous in Memphis, TN

Texas

Barbecue Styles of America – Texas Style BarbecueTexas-style barbecue is all about the beef, especially the brisket. Texas has four distinct styles of barbecue: East Texas, Central Texas, West Texas, and South Texas. The emphasis in Texas falls on the meat, not the sauce. Texas-style sauce is usually thin and tomato-based, mixed with beef drippings, chili pepper, and spices. The Germans and Czechs brought meat-market-style barbecue to the central part of the state; it originated in the butcher shops and can be found at places such as Mueller’s or Kreuz Market near Lockhart. “Hot Guts” is the old-school terminology for the German-inspired local sausage of the nearby Elgin area, known as the sausage capital of Texas. Every spring, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo hosts the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. The contest is one of the largest in the state and typically hosts over 300 teams. Austin is home to Franklin Barbecue, named by Bon Appétit as the best barbecue restaurant in the country.

Signature Style: Thin, Tomato-Based Sauce with Beef Drippings, Chili Pepper,  Meat Specialties: Beef Brisket Where to Taste: Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX

North-Carolina

Barbecue Styles of America – North Carolina Style BarbecueNorth-Carolina-style barbecue has two distinct styles: Piedmont (also referred to as Lexington style) and Eastern style. Lexington, North Carolina, refers to itself as The Barbecue Capital of the World. Lexington style uses pork shoulder; the sauce is a vinegar-and-tomato-based red sauce that is often used in place of mayo as the base for coleslaw. Go to Lexington Barbecue Restaurant for authentic Lexington-style ’cue; don’t forget to order a Cheer Wine, the state’s local cherry-flavored soda, to go with your sandwich. Eastern style, found in the eastern and coastal parts of the state, focuses on the whole hog; the sauce is only vinegar and pepper, which is often used as a mop sauce during cooking. There is much debate within the state as to which style of barbecue is most popular. North Carolinians show off their barbecue chops at the Lexington Barbecue Festival, which was named the Official Food Festival of the Piedmont Triad Region of the State of North Carolina.

Signature Style: Vinegar-and-Tomato-Based Red Sauce, and Vinegar-and-Pepper Sauce Meat Specialties: Pork (Whole Hog) Where to Taste: Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, NC

South-Carolina

Barbecue Styles of America – South Carolina Style BarbecueSouth-Carolina-style barbecue can be divided into three different styles, one of which is the only one that uses a mustard-based sauce. The state’s western section features a peppery, tomato-based sauce. The central area focuses on a German influence with that notable mustard sauce, referred to as Carolina Gold. The third style hails from the coastal Pee Dee region and uses a thin, spicy, vinegary, peppery sauce. The South Carolina Barbecue Association holds more than 10 different barbecue competitions through out the year. Based on their competition results, the association names an overall state champion each year.

Signature Style: Mustard-Based Sauce Meat Specialties: Pork (The Whole Hog) Where to Taste: Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC

Kentucky

Barbecue Styles of America – Kentucky Style BarbecueKentucky-style barbecue has two separate barbecue regions: the western region and south-central region. The western part of the state, home to the most popular style, is known for its mutton-based barbecue, which comes from the wool production that began in the 1800s. The mutton from a mature sheep is typically served with a vinegar-based sauce called mutton dip. This popular combination can be found at the Old Hickory Restaurant in Owensboro. Owensboro hosts the International Bar-B-Q Festival, which features a Mutton Glutton party, followed by a 5k that helps burn off some of those calories.The south-central part of Kentucky is known for its use of thin-sliced pork shoulder dressed with a pepper-and-vinegar sauce.

Signature Style: Mutton Dip, a Vinegar-Based Sauce Meat Specialties: Mutton, Mature Sheep Where to Taste: Old Hickory in Owensboro, KY

Alabama

Barbecue Styles of America – Alabama Style BarbecueAlabama-style barbecue is all about the pork. You will find smoked pork shoulder, butt, or ribs. Various parts of Alabama embrace bordering regions, including the styles of nearby Tennessee and the Carolinas. Their influence can be seen in the sauces: one sauce is distinctively Alabama and called Alabama White Sauce. This characteristic mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce also includes cider vinegar, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Big Bob Gibson’s of Decatur, Alabama, lays claim to the creation of Alabama White Sauce, which was originally used for “baptizing” chickens; however, it is now used as a sauce for pork as well. Alabama’s finest barbecue chefs compete each year for the Alabama Governor’s Cup, which is presented to the barbecue teams who complete the Alabama Barbecue Trail with the most points.

Signature Style: White Sauce (Mayonnaise-Based, With Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Horseradish, Salt, Pepper, and Hot Sauce) Meat Specialties: Pork (Shoulder, Butt, Ribs) Where to Taste: “Big Bob” Gibson Bar-B-Q of Decatur, AL

Chef’s Spotlight

DaveOur Chef’s Spotlight is David Letterman (and no relation to the comedian/talk show host) David grew up in the family food business, Bonafatto’s Fruit & Grocery, started in 1919, transforming to a take home meal shop in the 1970’s,  gradually adding a small restaurant. In January 1990, David became the third generation of Bonfatto to enter the business, and within a year he successfully established a second location.

 

neon_logoIt wasn’t long before catering services were added, and then, in July 1999, David and his wife, Sherri, became full owners. The hard-working couple’s first order of business: the launching of Bonfatto’s Restaurant and Lounge, which opened in November 2000 on Bishop Street in Bellefonte and featured everything from American-Italian dishes to Bonanza Subs.

wing_logoComing from the Bonfatto family, of course David had to make his own new innovation to the family business; a new line of award-winning Bonfatto’s Wing Sauce and Marinade! They searched the world, gathering exotic spices, peppers, and yes, even fruits that make Bonfatto’s hand-crafted Magnificent 9 sauces truly magnificent.

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Sweet with a kiss of heat! Dessert with a dash of daring! Each of the uniquely original Bonfatto’s Spice Cream creations is a savory dessert treat—a gourmet take on premium vanilla ice cream that’s sure to keep tongues wagging! The secret is in the sauce—Bonfatto’s Wing Sauces—lightly infused throughout French vanilla ice cream with all-natural ingredients. It’s ice cream that’s a little bonkers—a sweet with a tickle of heat. And it’s everything Mom told you not to do.

Recipe

Apple PepperJack~Pumpkin Cheese Cake
courtesy of David Letterman

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For the crust
3/4 cup gram cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling
4-8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (plus or minus)
Bonfatto’s Apple Pepper Jack Wing Sauce & Marinade

Method
Mix the ingredients for the crust in a bowl. Put into a greased spring-form pan, pressing in place to create a uniform crust. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, remove and cool. Put the cream cheese, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend the ingredients on low speed. Once they have come together, increase the speed of your mixer to medium high and mix until very smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, cream, vanilla, and the spices. Put this into the cream cheese mixture and mix until completely incorporated. Drizzle some of the Apple Pepper Jack onto the crust (may need to put the jar into the microwave for 30 seconds or so to make it pour easier-take the lid off first).

Spread the cream cheese mixture into the spring-form pan. Drizzle the remaining marinade across the top.  Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the cheesecake batter and marinade creating a marbling effect.  Be careful not to over blend or cut through the crust. Bake for 50 minutes. The cheesecake will be done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool on rack then release the springform.

Events

maryland bbq

 

randyhighpoint

Our own Chef Randall Smith will be competing with Doug Keiles and Adam Feinberg on the Ribs within BBQ team for Ergo Chef in the 4th Annual High Point BBQ Battle STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in Clarksburg, MD October 10 – 11, 2014.

Held annually, is a The Kansas City Barbeque Society -sanctioned event, operating under KCBS rules. It is locally operated as a fundraising event on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association by High Point Events, the Montgomery County Career Fire. Fighters Association and the Montgomery County Career Officers Association. Come spend a beautiful fall day at Montgomery County’s premier event facility, High Point Farm, while watching some of barbecue’s finest grill teams compete for top marks in four gastronomic categories: Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Chicken and Pork. Competition has never tasted (nor smelled) so good…nor happened for such a great cause!

Mike StaibBarbecue Styles of America: A Guide to Regional Barbecue Flavors
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The Art of Braising & a Chef’s Spotlight on Chef Barry Sexton….

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Hi and welcome to a special edition of Chop Talk. We would like to congratulate Adam Petramala who has been selected as the winner of our Gourmet Kitchen Store Sweepstakes and will be receiving our Crimson 6″ Santuko Knife. In this edition’s Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips,  as we approach fall, we are covering braising, teaching you how to produce those falling off the bone dishes that we all love. In our Chef’s Spotlight, we bring you Chef Barry Sexton, who gives us not one, but two great recipes. Thanks for being here and we hope you enjoy!

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: The Art of Braising

ShortribcloseupTender, falling off the bone, full of meaty flavors with rich yet balanced aromas of red wine and hearty vegetables. Ahhh, the art of braising! Not an easy technique by any means, but when prepared properly, a braised item can be a very memorable dining experience. Cooking, by simple definition, is the application of heat to food. But all heat is not created equal. In the kitchen, there’s a big difference between moist heat and dry heat. Whenever you add a liquid to the pot or pan, for instance, when you simmer, boil, steam, or braise, you’re cooking with moist heat. If you don’t add a liquid when you sear, sauté, fry, roast, or grill, you’re cooking with dry heat. Braising is a very unique cooking method where you are actually cooking with dry and moist heat.

In order to achieve a great flavor profile of your braised item, it is important to sear the protein in a hot pan (dry heat) in order to develop caramelization – browning flavor profiles– and seal in the juices. Then by adding a liquid (moist heat) and cooking at a low temperature for a longer period of time, the braised dish will be very tender and moist. This is definitely the best of both worlds as you benefit from all spectrums of the cooking world!

SearingSteak4Once you have decided to experiment with braising, it is important to decide which cut of meat you wish to braise. Typically, braising is a very economical way to feed the family, as cheaper, underutilized and less tender cuts of meat are used. The slow and long cooking method allows the connective tissue and fat to break down much more, leaving those tougher cuts of meat melting in your mouth! Popular cuts of meat to braise include: shanks, brisket, flank, baby back ribs, short ribs, most cuts from the shoulder, arm and leg. These parts of the animal are exercised much more than others, which builds up and toughens the muscle, therefore it is necessary to break that muscle down during the cooking process. The very popular Filet Mignon, is a much more tender cut of meat coming from the tenderloin and it is not necessary to braise it in order to tenderize, but of course it can be done. Don’t just stop with beef though, it is very common to braise poultry, pork, lamb, fish, and many vegetables a well.

coq-au-vinblork.orgNow that we’ve chosen the cut of meat, its time to develop those delicious flavors! Many popular braised dishes include Pot Roast, Beef Stew, Swiss steak, Coq au Vin, Chicken Cacciatore, Goulash, Braised Tilapia, Beef Bourguignon and Moroccan Tagine dishes.(we’ll be covering cooking in a Tagine in an upcoming installment) All of these popular dishes begin with important ingredients; the item to be braised, vegetables, (in most cases, Mirepoix; carrots, onions, celery), normally an alcohol such as a red or white wine, a flavorful liquid or stock (water can be used), and aromatics. Once the item is seared and removed from the pot, flavor development begins with the caramelization of vegetables and with the addition of a tomato product. From here, you can deglaze with an alcohol and return the meat to the pot. Cover the item with the stock, about two thirds of the way up. Bring to a quick boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and place it in an oven for a few hours. Depending on the size and cut of the item, it can sometimes go for up to 8 hours.

aromaticsAromatics play a very important role in braising. Fresh and dried herbs, spices, vegetables, and seasonings are all ways to enhance a braised item. They can be added all at once in the pot, or bunched up in a Sachet: a small cheesecloth bag, containing various herbs and spices, used to infuse flavor into stocks. These can typically include; bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems and black peppercorns.

How do we know when it’s done? The terms “falling off the bone” or “fork tender” are great gauges of doneness. Remove the cover and test the product with a fork. If it is moist enough to fully pierce through with a fork, it is probably ready.

Now it’s time to serve! We can ladle the braise or stew over mashed potatoes, rice, or vegetables, or choose to remove the meat and create a sauce with the left over braising liquid. All of those pronounced flavors will only get better when reduced down in a 2007_02_27-PotRoastpot further to fully develop and concentrate.

There’s really nothing to be afraid of and this is really not as hard as it sounds. Just take your time and like we’ve learned in prior installments of The At Home Cook Series, just follow the steps. It’s almost like a one pot meal, where presentation and knife skills are not nearly as important as the infusion of flavor from the cooking method. If you follow these easy steps to success, you are bound to create a very flavorful and palate appealing masterpiece!

Chefs Spotlight

Chef Barry SextonChef Barry E. Sexton is an accomplished chef, food stylist, food consultant and a motivational speaker with his creative talents and training, Also a culinary dynamo who is making waves.

Philadelphia native, Chef Barry E. Sexton has successfully acquired over 30 years experience in the culinary arts. The Philadelphia Art Institute graduate always believed that great food is a combination of bold tastes, textures and color. Like fine art, crucial ingredients waiting to be blended on a canvas. Chef Sexton was classically trained for more than a decade under the tutelage of Master Chef Jean Pierre Tardy, who was the Executive Chef of Le Bec-Fin for seven years.  Chef Barry worked closely with him keeping the creative process alive by using his imagination with the best and freshest ingredients available to create signature dishes at Jean Pierre’s French Restaurant in Newtown, Pa. He contributes his success to having great mentors and a vast amount of passion for food, wine and art. Throughout his career, he has practiced his culinary artistry at some notable Philadelphia restaurants and hotels also located in Bucks County.

This award-winning chef is well known for his keen sense of creativity, gourmet catering, and private cooking classes that showcase his style of cooking.  His cuisine integrates the sophisticated flavors of African, Caribbean, Italian and Asian all infused with a cultural blend from around the world.  In 1995, he was voted the Top Chef to watch, while working at Striped Bass, a well-known restaurant that specialized only in seafood flown in from around the world. Chef Sexton created dishes that reflected his proven track record among those with discerning taste. He also helped launch Zanzibar Blue, a popular upscale jazz/blues restaurant located in the Philadelphia Hyatt Hotel. Chef Sexton’s menus have been well received by notable personalities such as Rosa Parks, mother of the Civil Rights Movement, actor Denzel Washington and former congressman Bill Gray. His artful plating and delicious food attracted admirers of his unique cuisine.

Chef Sexton has also been employed as Executive Chef of the Buck Hotel & Conference Center in Feasterville as well as abroad at the five star Round Hill Hotel & Resort, Jamaica, W.I. During his stay at Round Hill, Chef Sexton was invited to prepare exquisite dinners for several Ambassadors and Prime Minister’s of the Caribbean Council.

logo_opinionated-palateA classically trained Chef, innovatively creative cuisine and a commitment to service. That’s how clients characterize the Opinionated Palate catering service. Chef Sexton’s vast culinary knowledge, great reputation for the love of food and impressive presentations, has contributed to the company’s popularity. As a caterer the Opinionated Palate won’t settle for less than the best and will exceed your expectation. They offer a full package of catering menus that can fit almost every need with many options for any type of event. The Opinionated Palate has cuisine that’s tailored to your palate. They will also collaborate a menu based upon personal tastes and budget to make the artistic vision of your event a reality. Check out the website here: https://www.opinionatedpalate.com/

Recipe
Mushroom & White Bean Soup
Courtesy of Chef Barry Sexton

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Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1c white onion, chopped
c celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
2 Tbsp flour
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 cups heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp rosemary leaves, minced
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1 can small white beans
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste

Method
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add in garlic, cook until lightly brown.  Add in the onions, and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add carrots and continue to cook stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat, add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently until the mushrooms sweat and release water. Stir in flour, add the water, stock, cream and remaining ingredients except the beans. Bring soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer allowing the flavors to combine. Add beans and continue to cook for 12 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve & enjoy!

Crispy Mushrooms & Goat Cheese Purse
Courtesy of Chef Barry Sexton

Ingredients
24 wonton small square wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2cup onion, minced
3 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
6oz. goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons parsley, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoon of butter in a large pan. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes then stir in minced garlic and cook until golden. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. In a food processor, add cooked mushrooms mixture, bread crumbs, goat cheese and parsley. Pulse until combined.

To assemble
Place 4 wonton skins on a dry work surface. Fill center of each with 1 teaspoon of mushroom goat cheese mixture. Moisten remaining corners with egg; around the edge and fold the wonton in half diagonally. Press with your finger to seal the edges of the dough. Bring the two outer corners up with a pinch and a twist to seal them tightly. They can also be shaped as a flat triangle. Repeat process until all the mixture is gone. Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large saucepan or medium skillet to just under 350 degrees (you don’t want the oil too hot or it will burn the wontons! Experiment with a spare sheet of wonton wrappers to check. Add the purses, 3 or 4 at a time, in the hot oil and let fry for about a minute to a minute and a half, just until they are golden and crispy. Flip them halfway through. Remove from oil and drain onto a paper towel. Season with a sprinkle of salt.

Raspberry Lavender Honey Mustard
Ingredients
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
4 tsp honey
1/2 fresh raspberry
1/8 tsp crushed lavender
Salt & pepper to taste

Method
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain and set aside until ready to use.

Till next time,
Ergo Chef

Mike StaibThe Art of Braising & a Chef’s Spotlight on Chef Barry Sexton….
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Some BBQ, maybe a nice piece of cake, chefs, recipes…Happy Birthday America!

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Hello and welcome to Summer and America’s birthday month. July 4th is here and grills everywhere are being fired up and the tradition of barbecue is in full swing. In this edition of Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips we are covering the the different styles of BBQ across America from region to region. Many of you cater your 4th of July parties and picnics, and we have a great caterer for you in our Chef’s Spotlight, Chef Joseph Yorio, Owner of, Event Caterers, Connecticut’s Premier Gourmet Caterer. From one-of-a-kind weddings to fully customized dinner parties, Chef Joe creates unique dining events, with personalized service that goes above and beyond. We also have a delicious recipe from Iron Chef Judge Mario Rizzotti.

Styles of American Barbecue

From Carolina pig-pickin’s to Kentucky mutton, the idea is the same everywhere; an outdoor party with friends, food, and beer. The meat is generally marinated before being put on the grill, where it’s brushed with whatever kind of sauce is available or popular. More than anywhere else, American barbecue makes use of specific kinds of wood to impart flavor in the meat: in Texas, mesquite brush is common, but hickory and oak are more readily available elsewhere. Outside the South, culinary specifics often take a back seat to the social aspect. You’re more likely to find burgers, hot dogs and vegetable skewers than pulled pork at a BBQ, but the soul of the barbecue is alive and well.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is probably best known for its dry barbecue. Most frequently used on ribs, the dry style is highly flavorful and is less messy to eat than wet. In the dry process, the ribs are coated with a rub made from ingredients such as garlic, paprika, onions, cumin, and other spices. They are then cooked in a smoker until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Typically, dry ribs are served with a sauce on the side.

Memphis barbecue sauce has its own distinctive flavor, as well. Though the specific ingredients will vary from cook to cook, Memphis sauce is usually made with tomatoes, vinegar, and any countless combination of spices. It is generally thin, tangy, and somewhat sweet. Memphis sauce is poured over pulled pork or served along side of dry ribs. Nicknamed the “Pork Barbecue Capital of the World,” Memphis considers itself a leader in the world of barbecue. In his book, The Grand Barbecue, Doug Worgul credits the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which started in 1978, as the country’s oldest barbecue competition.

Meat: Smoked pork ribs on the slab, and pulled or chopped pork for sandwiches.
Sauce and Flavoring: Ribs are served with a dry rub made with ingredients like garlic, paprika, onions and cumin. The sauce, made with tomatoes, vinegar, and spices, is served on the side.
Cooking Method: Slow-cooked over indirect heat.
Side Dishes: Coleslaw and baked beans.

Kansas City, Missouri
This style barbecue is characterized by its use of different types of meat (including pulled pork, pork ribs, burnt ends, smoked sausage, beef brisket, beef ribs, smoked/grilled chicken, smoked turkey, and sometimes fish) along with its sweet and tangy sauces which are generally intended for liberal use.

Kansas City has more than 100 barbecue restaurants and is known in Missouri as “world’s barbecue capital.” Ribs are mostly pork, but also come in beef varieties and can come in a number of different cuts. Burnt ends, the flavorful pieces of meat cut from the ends of a smoked beef or pork brisket, are a popular dish in many Kansas City area barbecue restaurants. Kansas City barbecue is also known for its many side dishes, including a unique style of baked beans, french fries, coleslaw, and other soul food staples.

Henry Perry is known as the “Father of K.C. Barbecue.” Perry is famous for the slow-cooked ribs he served for .25 cents a slab out of a trolley barn in the early 1900’s. His legacy thrives with the city’s countless barbecue restaurants and The Kansas City Barbecue Society, which has more than 8,000 members worldwide.

Meat: Beef and pork.
Sauce and Flavoring: The sauce is tomato-based and sweetened with molasses or brown sugar.
Cooking Method: Slow-cooked over hickory wood for as long as 18 hours.

North Carolina

Two styles, western (aka Lexington) and eastern, dominate North Carolina barbecue. The annual Barbecue Festival has been held in Lexington, N.C. every October since 1984. According to the festival’s official website, the event attracts more than 100,000 people each year.

Meat: Pork shoulder (western) and whole hog (eastern) chopped or pulled.
Sauce and Flavoring: The western style sauce is called “dip” and is a thin tomato-based sauce mixed with brown sugar and spices. In the east, the sauce is a blend of vinegar, sugar, water and pepper.
Cooking Method: Both styles are slow cooked over indirect heat with oak or hickory wood. To preserve the pork and smoke flavors the meat is never basted.
Side Dishes: BBQ slaw, hush puppies (western), mayonnaise-based coleslaw and corn bread sticks (eastern) complement the barbecue. Sweet tea for a beverage and banana pudding or peach cobbler for dessert is served in both the western and eastern parts of the state. The town of Lexington alone, with a population of about 20,000 people, boasts more than 20 barbecue restaurants.

Texas 
According to the Travel Channel show “Food Paradise,” the state legislature declared Lockhart the BBQ capital of Texas. The Office of Texas Tourism marks the so-called “Texas Barbecue Trail” as starting just north of Austin and continuing further south to Luling.

Meat: Beef, particularly untrimmed brisket.
Cooking Method: Slow-cooked over coals or wood in above ground smokers.
Sauce and Flavoring: No sauce is used before or during cooking. Pepper and salt are the most common seasonings. A thick tomato-based sauce with a sweet and spicy taste is served on the side of the barbecue meal.
Side Dishes: In Texas the focus is on the meat, but occasionally beans, potato salad and thick toasted white bread called Texas Toast are added to the meal. Traditional desserts include pecan or lemon chess pies.

We’re pretty sure we’ve covered the topic thoroughly. Now, all that remains for us and barbecue is the eating. Our grill has been heating up for the last 15 minutes, the ribs and shrimp marinating for the last 24 hours and veggies are all prepped and ready for grill marks. Enjoy yourselves! Experiment. have fun. Oh, and for you ladies especially; the next time your man is standing at the grill staring at an overdone hockey puck of what used to be a meat patty, feel a little pride. He’s also standing with a long line of men who, throughout history, have regularly asked, “Honey, can I get another piece of meat, this one’s had it…”

Chef’s Spotlight

JoeChef Joseph Yorio has more than 20 years of culinary expertise, catering and cooking from Rhode Island to Manhattan. A Culinary Arts graduate from Johnson & Wales, Joe has created one of the most talked about caterers in the region. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll meet, and has hired an outstanding staff of professionals. His exquisite, creative cuisine paired with a unique approach to event planning and design are a recipe for success whatever your occasion calls for. His two companes, Event Caterers and Picnic Caterers can take care of all your personal and corporate party and picnic needs.

WEDDINGS, CELEBRATIONS & BBQ’s

eclogoAll Wedding and Gala Event clients enjoy the full service treatment:

A Complimentary Tasting at the  Gourmet Kitchen with Chef Joseph, where they’ll create your menus together. Fully Customized Menus and Table Arrangements to make your event just as you envision it, with food that looks as amazing as it tastes. Ask about their trusted Partners, including Florists, Bartenders, Musicians, Event Venues, Limousines and More. 

313503_253522441364475_1268838894_nHost a party in your home, from a festive dinner to showers and once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, create a menu to fit your needs. Ask about their Personal Chef Service. For more about Joe and Event Caterers, visit his website here.

Event Caterers~45 Padanaram Rd~Danbury CT~ 06810    To Contact Joe: info@eventcaterersct.com~203.207.4669

pclogo

 

Picnic Caterers is Connecticut’s Most Tasteful Outdoor Catering Company. From Backyard Picnics to Corporate Events, We Do it All in Style.

Sister company of Event Caterers, Picnic Caterers of Connecticut specializes in Outdoor Event Catering. They take our gourmet kitchen on the road, and can set up wherever you need them, supplying portable fire pits, ovens and refrigeration, and customizing menus to fit your specific needs. If needed, they Picnic Catererscan even help you find the perfect venue for your event. Ask about their full range of catering options and all−inclusive event planning services.

Check them out on Facebook as well.

Recipe

Veal with Tuna Sauce
Servings 6
photo-10Our Recipe this installment comes from Iron Chef America Judge, Mario Rizzotti, This is a light, fresh recipe of Piedmont. The delicate flavor of the veal is paired with the more aggressive flavors of the sauce, making for a completely Italian dish. Look for a Chef’s Spotlight on Mario in our next Chop Talk post later in July.

Time:1 hour and 20 minutes
Difficulty: 
Medium

Ingredients
1 ¼  lb  veal tenderloin
1  oz  stale bread
1 ¾  oz  vinegar
½  lb  drained tuna
⅛  oz  capers
3 ½  oz  extra virgin olive oil
½  cup  white wine
2  anchovies
3  hard-boiled eggs
rosemary to taste
sage to taste
meat broth to taste
salt to taste

Vitello-Tonnato-P1000612Method
40 minutes preparation + 40 minutes cooking
Salt the veal top round and brown in a frying pan using olive oil. Add the garlic and herbs to the veal and cook in a 180-200oC (350-390oF) oven, until the veal is slightly pink.
When the veal is cooked, remove from the frying pan. Using white wine, deglaze the meat drippings in the bottom of the frying pan to achieve a thin gravy. In the meantime, rinse the capers and anchovies of the salt and soak the stale bread in wine vinegar.
Allow most of the wine to evaporate from the frying pan. Then, add the capers, anchovies, bread, and tuna, removing the oil from the tuna. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
Add in the egg yolks and stir all the ingredients. Using the beef broth, thin the tuna mixture until a desired consistency is achieved for the sauce.
Slice the veal roast and serve with the tuna sauce.

Food History
Capers can be found in most of the Mediterranean countries. They were known and sought after since Ancient times and were even mentioned in the Bible as an aphrodisiac. One of the most famous caper varieties is that of Salina, a small volcanic island located off the coast of Sicily in the Aeolian archipelago. Salina is known for its beautiful landscape and its name derived from the large quantities of salt that was produced on the island in the past. It is also famous for the variety of plants that grow on the island. The most famous is the caper bush. It has unique characteristics including the strong flavor and its olive and magma-like aroma.

Til Next Time,

Ergo

Mike StaibSome BBQ, maybe a nice piece of cake, chefs, recipes…Happy Birthday America!
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