Divine Design Cooking

Gaggenau Cooking Video

Divine Cooking

Divine Design Center showroom in Boston’s Battery Wharf is a must visit.

I am fortunate enough to be cooking in one of their beautifully designed kitchens, DOCA MUEBLES DE COCINA. In addition to educating their clients and staff on luxury brand appliances, I showcase various cooking techniques offered by Gaggenau.

Surf & Turf for Lunch
If you have ever had a Rotisserie chicken, you know that it is moist and flavorful. Typically this is done on the outdoor grill. The Gaggenau 400 Series 30” Wall oven offers this feature with a simple set up of your food on the included Spit and frame that locks in to the roasting pan. The heat is provided by the upper broil element and can be adjusted for quantity and enhanced with the convection fan.
Thinking beyond chicken I wanted to provide a nice vegetable for lunch so Cauliflower was the choice. Seasoned with tumeric, salt, pepper, allspice and some butter, the crispy exterior provided a nice crunch to the light flavor of the spice accompanied with roasted chic peas and fresh herbs.
The large window of the oven showcases what’s cooking and allows you to easily keep tabs on the progress of your food.
The Steam Convection Oven is my go to oven for many dishes and todays appliance choice for the ‘Surf’ and dessert.
Convection cooks fish perfectly but sometime it may dry it out. Having the addition of steam in the cooking process avoids the dryness without having to swim the fish in butter. Todays Codfish with Pistachio Crust was a hit!
I experimented with a new recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Butterscotch Banana Cakes. This oven provides the speed with convection and enough moisture so the batter bakes without drying out.
The Gaggenau Vario Grill produces todays ‘Turf ‘dish of cuban style marinated Chicken. The lava rocks under the burner offer a bbq flash of flavor back to the food without smoking out the kitchen. When grilling is done, carefully rinse the warm grates with hot water for an easy cleanup.
Gaggenau appliances offer more than just a pretty face. The precision and cooking options are inspirational to the amateur and seasoned cook.

STIR FRY

The key to cooking is technique. Temperature plays a giant role as to executing a good dish.

Here is a simple stir fry. This recipe I was using a Wok on a Gas Burner. I am certain that you culinary pirates out their can whip something up with foil over fire but this one is for the home chef who wants to create a routine, one night a week.

If you have an electric burner, just cover the wok during preheat time and after adding each ingredient. Have all of your ingredients (mise en place) together because this is not a dish you want to step away from to finish a level on AngryBirds.

I used vegetables for this one, no protein. I was testing the even heat of a 3 ring flame burner, the Capital Culinarian. This allows even heat from center to outer bowl of the wok. This is the ideal heat for this style of cooking. If you don’t have a burner like this make your stir fry in smaller batches for better results. Using too many ingredients drops the temperature of the pan and adds a lot of moisture. You may not get the sizzle you need for a great stir fry.

Cooking oil should be a high heat oil. Not your favorite olive oil or flavorless vegetable oil. Try grape seed, coconut, tea tree, safflower or canola to name a few.

If you are adding a protein, cook that 3/4 the way done and remove it from the pan. After the vegetables are almost done, return the protein to finish it through. You may get better flavor an appearance this way. If you are using a purchased Stir Fry Sauce, add it at the end.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oil

1 small medium onion, peeled and sliced thin

2 large carrots, peeled and slice thin 1/4″ on the bias

1 cuban pepper, seeded and slice 1/2″ strips

4 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced

Fist size bunch of broccoli, separated, cut uniform flowerettes

4 ounces pea pods, rinsed

4 ounces bean sprouts 

1 tablespoon Saracha

1 Tablespoon minced Ginger

2 tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth (rice wine or water will do)

2 tablespoons Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons of water

Salt & White pepper to taste

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Method:

Have all ingredients near. Heat wok on high heat, cover pan for the first minute. As the pan begins to smoke, remove it from the heat and add the oil. Carefully turn the pan to coat. Return to heat and add Onions and Carrots. Continue stirring or flipping so they do not stick. After a minute add the pepper and mushroom. Continue stirring and cook until vegetables begin to brown. (if you had pre-seared a protein add it now)

Stir in the ginger and saracha. Add the remaining vegetables and liquid then cover the pan to steam the greens and sprouts.

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After a minute, add remaining ingredients and continue stirring for 30 seconds until liquid begins to thicken. Season with salt & pepper.

Remove from heat and enjoy!

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.

Dream Kitchen turns to Nightmare

When you look through magazines or walk into a kitchen designer’s showroom you may get inspired by wonderful displays and amazing appliances.

So the seed gets planted and you begin to imagine your kitchen transformed from ‘Drab to Fab’ (to borrow an overused phrase).

But here are a few things to consider regarding a new kitchen:

Utilities– do you have enough power for what you want?

Cabinets– millions of designs, colors, quality, are you going to have enough storage space?

Kitchen Demolition– this can lead to more expenses and delays than you realize

Lighting – choose style or function?

Ventilation– Do you still smell the fish you cooked 3 days ago lingering in your house?

Flooring– Hopefully it is strong enough to hold the weight of that new Refrigerator

Sinks and faucets– This should be an easy choice (but it isn’t)

Appliances– if you haven’t been to a retail store or gone online to look at these, it is like choosing what to wear to a party that you don’t know is casual or formal

That only touches on a few considerations. What about selecting a contractor?

Confusion

 

Yes, it’s a nightmare.

Keep in mind those wonderful showrooms and magazine photos have been put together with a lot of talent, time and money.

If you have it or can hire it – fantastic. If not follow the KISS rule.

Remembering to keep it simple stupid to avoid the anxiety attack.

This is achievable

In the future I will add some client experiences and ask a few experts to share their advice.

If you have some please share.

Oven Self Cleaning

Self Cleaning does involve – yourself.

Most people never use the clean cycle in their oven. A few bad apples back in the day caused a fire in their kitchen, rumors spread and since then everyone is petrified that they need to update the Home Insurance rider.

Look at it this way, if you cooked on your outside grill and a few days later fired up the grill again, there appears to be some residual smell from the previous culinary excursion, is there not?

The same holds true when you have several spills in the oven that you leave unattended. Eventually this primordial ooze begins to smolder, emitting a fine fragrance of burnt grease that flavors your pies like apple wood in a smoker.

I suggest that every year on the morning of your birthday, after you get out of bed, set the self-cleaning cycle on your oven. Simple enough!

In every oven you have to remove the racks. I can hear your scream :                                                 “NO WAY, THE SELF CLEANING CYCLING DOESN’T CLEAN THOSE?”

No the Robotic-oven-rack-cleaning-cycle has not been invented yet. If you leave those bad boys in your oven they will warp from the extremely high heat and never slide easily again.

Treat your oven with a little water on some heavy spills or use a cleaner such as Bon Ami or Barkeeper’s Friend.

In this series of photos of my Gaggenau, I have the side Convection Fan Cover removed so I could clean some seriously burnt on residue on the sides of the oven. Once I put the cleaned cover and fan screen back on, I replaced the side rack guides and TA-DA!

Ok it wasn’t my birthday cleaning celebration, it was my post Thanksgiving cleaning requirement so that I don’t have a smoked turkey grease flavor in my chocolate souffle.

ILVE pro-style range

Looking for a new range for you home kitchen?

I recently got a chance to cook on an ILVE range. A great piece with nice options at that price level. Not tipping the high price point while not sacrificing on features. Check out the demo that is currently showing in area retailers.

This is a You Tube Post that covers the features of the range

Greatest feature of a Steam Oven

Whether you currently own a steam oven or thinking of specifying one for your kitchen, a daily routine pays dividens.

Re-heating leftovers. Sounds like no big deal but it is. When you use a microwave, the moisture is removed from the food resulting in toughness. When you steam reheat it looks and tastes like it was just prepared. In the photo I have a roast turkey breast and mashed potato. These are typical food items that take on a ‘refrigerator flavor’ once they have been packed and stored in the fridge. When re-heating in the steam oven there if virtually no flavor loss & no refrigerator flavor.

This saves you money in the fact that usually you may end up throwing away those leftovers because you thought that they wouldn’t taste good. This is not the case if you Steam reheat.

In my Gaggenau steam oven there are adjustments to moisture level and temperature. Many steam ovens may not have that versatility but you still have the benefit of re-heating with a refreshing benefit. It is a kitchen must have.

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.