Mastering the Grill with a dog by your side

Grilling is perfect for the weekend. Definitely when the weather is great and the beverages are tasty.

I am not going to preach about the best dry rub, marinade or sauce. Just a few tips to help you master the grill.

  1. Use your grill brush before you put something on the hot grill. When you are turning your food or adding more, again USE YOUR GRILL BRUSH. This will keep items from sticking to the grates. The grill brush isn’t just for cleaning the grill when your are done cooking.
  2. Whether gas or briquettes, have one side on a high heat and one side on a low. This way thicker cuts of meat or pork along with bone in chicken can be seared on the high heat for a few minutes per side, then cooked on the low heat to avoid burnt chicken.
  3. Barbeque sauce is for finishing only or as a sauce on the side!  That means don’t marinate with a barbeque sauce; there is typically sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the bbq sauce, which burns quickly over a high temp.

Then again the dog has to eat too, so burn a piece for old times sake and let Fido enjoy!

When NOT to use Convection

Convection Cooking isn’t new technology. (oh thank you Kurt for that brainstorm statement!)

Most people who have it in their oven never use it. According to manufacturers’ Use & Care Manuals you can use that cooking mode for everything. 

Sure you can, but you may get results that go here

Try staying with the Bake mode for cakes. The batter needs the delicate surround of heat and not the variable flow that is provided by convection. 

Below are some Chocolate Cakes that I baked in Convection. 

No I didn’t throw them out!

Once I covered them in frosting they were fine. But they are individual size.  If you are baking in a standard pan you may not like the results. See how the tops are cracked?

This happens because convection heat dries out the top of the batter before the ingredients start to work their magic in the center.

Tangerine Sabayon


5 egg yolk

1/3 cup sugar

zest from one tangerine

juice from one tangerine

2 T amaretto

pinch salt

2 T of sour or whip cream

In a stainless steel bowl, whip yolks and sugar for a minute. Add juice and liquor and whip over a baine marie (hot water just shy of boiling, in a 3qt. pan). Whip to Double in volume and heat to 140˚.  At this point it will begin to thicken. Be careful not to overheat or the eggs will cook (like scrambled eggs).

Remove from heat and pour over fruit or cookies. Top with a dollop of cream and zest.

To serve as a cold dessert, immediately chill the bowl in an ice bath, occasionally stirring, then store in refrigerator until service.


Seared Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomato

Asparagus & sun-dried Tomato


by Chef Kurt von Kahle

1 lb. Asparagus, peeled* & cut into 2” pieces

1/4 cup Sun dried tomato, cut into thin strips

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 ounces white wine

Two Tablespoons Oil

Zest from 1/2 Lemon

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Heat a medium size sauce pan. After 2 minutes add oil.

Once it is warm add asparagus, cook for 3 minutes occasionally stirring.

Add garlic, stir, then add tomato and wine. Cover pan and cook for 3 minutes or until tomato starts to plump.

Season with zest, salt and pepper.

Serve as a side vegetable, in pasta, rice or as a topping on Pizza.


*If asparagus is thick, peel in a striped motion, if it is thin, skip peeling

Roast Pork Loin


Pepper Jelly Glazed

375˚ Oven *

Featuring: Lollipop Tree & Urban Accents

by Chef Kurt von Kahle

One 2.5-3 lb. Pork Loin**

Urban Accents Grilling Spice or Dry Rub, to taste

Two Tablespoons Oil


Baking or roasting pan with low sides


Heat 4 tablespoons of Lollipop tree pepper jam and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan. Keep warm until service..

Heat oven. Rub oil over the roast, then season with spices.

Place onto a foil covered baking pan, fat side down and place on the third rack level in the oven.

Check Temperature after 30 minutes, and turn roast over. Pour some glaze over the roast & continue cooking. Remove the roast when it reaches 155˚ internally when tested with meat thermometer.

Allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with additional glaze.


*If using convection, use same temperature & prepare for a 25% reduced cooking time

** if using pork tenderloin, sear in a skillet first, place in oven, check internal temperature after 12 minutes, glaze and enjoy

Lemon Ricotta Cheese Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


by Chef Kurt von Kahle


2 eggs, separated

1/4 cup melted butter

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup buttermilk or half-n-half

1 1/2 cup self rising flour

1/2 cup self rising cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

zest from 1/2 lemon

optional Blueberries or cranberries

Mix egg whites until soft peak. In ss bowl, combine yolks, ricotta, milk,

butter. In separate bowl combine flour, cornmeal and sugar.

Combine dry & wet ingredients and slowly fold in egg whites and lemon


Heat pan to 400˚ use fortified, clarified butter to cook. When dropping

batter, use a tablespoon point downwards to keep shapes even. Flip over

once bubbles appear and continue cooking for 1 1/2 minutes.

Top with syrup, fresh fruit & creme fraiche or lemon curd. Enjoy!

Steaming Shrimp

Here is a simple shellfish preparation. Great for lobster, mussels and clams.

1 pound Key West Prawns 10-12/lb. Set on 215˚ moisture level at 100% for 5 minutes. The preheat was about 6 minutes. Once removed, I shocked the shrimp in an ice bath to serve these cocktail style. Although served hot with a pasta, saffron rice, potato gratin etc. fantastic!

The oven comes with a perforated and solid pan. I placed the solid below to capture the broth (I froze it for a base for another time). This makes cleanup easy. Although this oven is plumbed and juices can go down the drain, but why waste them?

For a sauce I just used a mix of the following:

3 tbls Mayo

juice from 1/2 orange

1 tbls chili sauce

1 tsp prepared horseradish

dash sea salt

Combi-Steam Oven

One of my favorite appliances in my kitchen, is the Gaggenau Combi-Steam Oven.

By the title you can decipher that it steams. Duh!

When you think of steaming food, first thought are vegetables or shellfish. Not too exciting. Although it is a healthier option than frying or even boiling those nutrients out of your veggies. The results are amazing. More flavorful and you can control the texture to your preference.

Steaming to reheat is a weekly task in our kitchen. To reheat with water is better than re-heating with microwave. The microwave can remove moisture, this oven uses moisture to heat the oven with some flexibility at your finger tips. You can control moisture levels and temperature. This can allow you to keep the crispy items from getting soggy and the moist items from drying out.

Convection with or without moisture depends on the food that you are cooking. Roasts, breads, casseroles all are fantastic.

I will keep this category updated with what come out of my oven. Stay Tuned!

Oven Meat Probe, who uses THAT?

Ok we all have an ego. We don’t need someone watching over our shoulder telling us how to do something. Specially a machine.

Well, don’t we have an addiction to smartphones?

The built in probe in your oven is a must.

What better way to judge how things are going or when to start cooking the side dishes.

So go find that meat probe, lost in the drawer of miscellaneous cooking tools you never use and have a roast this weekend?

Who uses self cleaning in the Oven?

Here is a shot of a typical oven.

Most people don’t want to use self-cleaning cycle for a few reasons:

  • heats up the kitchen
  • takes too long
  • seems dangerous
  • stinks
  • forget to do it

Well, if you have a new oven, many have cooling fans that negates the danger aspect.

If you have a newer wall oven, they have a filter that helps to alleviate the smell and smoke that gets into the kitchen.

The stink aspect is what should trigger all of us to clean the oven. If you have experience using wood chips on a grill, then you understand that smoke inputs a flavor into the food you are grilling. The same is true in your oven.

That burnt cheese that fell off your lasagna last week, can create a burnt smokey flavor in your brownies tonight.

Take the time to clean your oven.