The best cook top maybe Two sticks, Kindling and a Pan

     +  = DINNER

There are hundreds of options out in the market place for your kitchen appliance choice.

There are all sorts of burner caps that distribute heat in a way that the description can tempt you into believing that you MUST HAVE THIS IN YOUR HOME.

Here is my observation.

Through the years that I have been testing home cooking appliances, many brands have offered, in their opinion, the Best in some sort of category. Best is something that is personally preferred. What is Best for one person maybe a Worst for the next.

It is hard to provide the high output burner for the home chef with all the bells and whistles.

Many times I have heard “Why don’t they make one that has an…” – excellent high heat, a low simmer, easy to clean, light weight grates, heavy steady grates, sealed only, open burner, semi sealed, small burner for the smaller pan, a top that doesn’t scratch, a top that is easy to clean, a top that you don’t have to clean, a star burner, a dual flame burner, a multi flame burner, a single burner that sends the flame in various directions, even heat distribution from the burner, a burner that easily comes apart to clean, a burner that doesn’t come apart so no pieces are lost, color top, black top only, stainless steel top, glass top, etc. I believe you get the point.

For anyone who has worked in a food service kitchen, you know that you get a high heat and you don’t necessarily care about the rest.

When high heat requests translate to the Home Appliance Marketplace, it stumbles upon a few more road blocks such as the requirements that allow it to be installed in the home. Someone cannot just go to a restaurant supply store or an auction and get a true professional piece of equipment and install it in the home.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people who have done this. What they don’t understand or believe would happen is they could have a fire in the home. The radiant heat coming from the cook surface may heat a wall and create a fire within the wall in homes with old wood frames. Not to mention the fact that many true pro range tops have a lit pilot that can go out and fill the kitchen with gas. Most restaurants have ventilation that allows this gas to escape. This is a safe provision but not necessarily the most cost effective. Professional kitchens also have a fire protection system that can kick on in the event of an open fire. This is generally cost prohibitive for the home.

Bottom line is that understand the industry is smart and has been at this for a while. They have great people working on the latest and greatest to get you what you need. Just try to select the best for your kitchen and understand that you can’t always have everything. If you are overwhelmed, you can always go into your yard, rub two sticks together and create a fire. Add a skillet and your in business.

Valentine Sabayon

Take your significant other out this evening or even yourself for a great dinner at your favorite restaurant. Hold back on dessert and have that at home tonight with this easy and inexpensive recipe.

Okay, technically this is a bit of a rehash of a previous post but hey it’s easy and can save you some dough after you spend big $ on a great dinner out.

Chocolate Sabayon

Ingredients:

5 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar (castor or super fine works well)

zest from 1/2 an orange

2 T Orange Liquor

3 ounces dark chocolate, melted

pinch Sea salt

2 T of sour or whip cream

In a stainless steel bowl, whip yolks and sugar for a minute. Add 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 let it cool for two minutes then fold in the melted chocolate.

Pour over fruit or cookies. Top with Sea Salt, a dollop of cream and zest.

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

Enjoy!

Chocolate Stout Cup Cakes

Chocolate Stout Cup Cakes

8 oz Chocolate Stout ( I used Brooklyn Brewery Bkl Chc Stout) room temperature

1 stick melted butter

2/3 cup cocoa

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

1 T brandy or whiskey

2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cooking or baking spray

Frosting:

1 stick softened butter

4 cups confectioners sugar

1 espresso (1 shot=1 ounce)

pinch of salt

Set oven to 350˚

Combine beer with butter, cocoa, sugar in a large ss bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs and sour cream and add to beer mixture. Combine flour with baking soda and add to beer mixture.

Spray muffin tins and fill with batter 3/4 the way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick test show they are ready. Remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Here I used souffle cups baking in the combi-steam with 30% moisture

A nice touch is to pipe some frosting into the center before you top with some frosting.

This is a bulk batch baked in aluminum tins.

Bring Back the Glass Top Mason Jar

Okay perhaps you’re not going to start making preserves or pickled beets anytime soon, but you should.  It seems as though every day an article on health issues regarding something we eat appears.

Guess what!

This is another one.

Canning of food and beverage has been around longer than any of us.

Cans are great. They look cool, stack easy, ship well, cost efficient so what’s the problem?

A few years back people got botulism from bacteria build up in cans. So industry figured a solution, plastic lining. Problem solved.

Great!

Guess what?

A new problem, BPA or Bisphenol A. That was the stuff people talked about a few years ago and it was suggested to not use plastic wrap or containers in the microwave.

Outlawed in Canada and in Europe for use in baby bottles. This product is a polymer that is in all canned foods and thermal paper receipts (unless listed No BPA on the container). It is proven to leach into the food and results show high levels are in our bodies. Linking to obesity, neurological issues, diabetes, health issues during pregnancy and birth defects just to name a few.

Great!

I’ll spare you the details as to why they are still used in the USA and get to the point.

Consume only things that are fresh, organic, free range, minimally processed, no growth hormones, food items packaged in glass or labeled ‘No BPA’, whenever you can.

“But That stuff is expensive” you say.

It is worth the expense. In the 1950’s average US household spent 6% on healthcare and 29.7% on food.†

Guess what?

Today we spend 38% on healthcare* and 19% on food**. Think about that.

Again, I’ll spare you the details as to why.

You body is truly the only thing that you own. No liens, mortgages, notes against.

Stop worrying about buying the best internet connection. It wont save your life.

What you put in your body will.

Check out this blog for some great information

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/bpa-danger-may-be-greater-from-tin-cans-than-water-bottles.html

† US Bureau of Labor Statistics

* Milliman Research Report, (employer contribution not deducted)

** USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Here is a definite crowd pleaser. Baked in a Casserole or in Muffin Tins, top with powdered sugar, some fresh whip cream, ice cream or Fresh Berries.

 

Simple to prepare, I choose Portuguese Sweet Bread and cut back on sweetener using Agave Nectar instead of White Sugar.

Ingredients:

3/4 loaf Portuguese sweet bread , sliced

1 quart half-n-half *

1 cup heavy cream *

6 eggs, slightly beaten

3 egg yolks, add to whole eggs

3/4 cup Agave nectar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 teaspoon Salt

Cooking Spray or Soften Butter to glaze inside of pan

Method:

Spread out the bread on a few cookie pans and allow to dry for a few hours in a 200˚ Oven.

If you don’t have the time, use your toaster on a low setting and dry the slices out.

Butter the casserole dish and fill with torn pieces of bread (bite size).

Place cocoa powder in a mixing bowl and blend in eggs, salt, agave, vanilla. Then whip in half-n-half and cream. Pour over the bread, slightly pushing it down with a spoon so all is moistened. Allow this to set for at least 30 minutes ( you can place this in refrigerator overnight).

Heat oven 350˚. Place pudding in the center rack and bake until just set in the center, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let slightly cool before serving.

If using Convection, cut back on your cooking time by 25%.

Top with whip cream or enhance flavor with a dash of cinnamon, chocolate or caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

 

*If you want to avoid the cream, try Silk ® any flavor or So Delicious® Coconut Milk Unsweetened (beverage)