Is My Kitchen Equipment Required to Be Under a Hood?

steamy kitchen
steamy kitchen

Does your commercial kitchen equipment require a vent hood? It depends on several factors. These include the type of equipment, your menu, and your operation’s location. The ultimate judges of hood requirements are your local health and fire officials. They will advise whether hoods are required and, if so, what type. Always check with local officials before proceeding. Most states and municipalities adhere to the International Mechanical Code. But you may find that your locale has additional guidelines. For example, New York City’s codes are more stringent than most other municipalities.

Commercial kitchen vent hoods are expensive. Depending on the type, they can cost as much as $1000 a foot to install. Add to that the cost of operating and maintenance, and you’ve got a substantial chunk of change. So, in these days of constant inflation, you may be looking to save where you can. Perhaps you’re wondering if your equipment must be under a hood.

Different Hoods for Different Situations

frying in oil

Type 1 Hoods

Appliances that produce greasy by-products and smoke require Type 1 hoods. These hoods primarily deal with the removal of grease particles from the air. For this reason, many refer to them as grease hoods. Type 1 hoods are typically above deep fryers, cooktops, open-flame stoves, conveyor-pizza ovens, char-broilers, and such. Because of the grease by-products that Type 1 hoods capture, they require frequent cleanings to help prevent damage and fire risks due to grease buildup.

Type 2 Hoods

Type 2 Hoods are for other kitchen appliances that don’t have to pertain directly to cooking. These appliances can include dishwashers, pasta cookers, and other equipment that doesn’t produce smoke or grease. Since Type 2 hoods mainly deal with removing heat and steam from the air, the industry refers to them as condensate hoods or heat hoods. They help create a more comfortable work environment.

We strongly advise you to contact a consultant or other knowledgeable foodservice professional to determine whether a vent system is needed (and if so, which type). Adding a ventilation system you hadn’t budgeted for is a financial blow for an operation that already operates on slim margins.

foodservice products

Vent Hoods and Winston Products

Collectramatic® fryers must always be under hoods. Likewise, a Winston Smoker Box with your CVap® oven will require it to be placed under a vent hood or outdoors. That little box generates a lot of smoke.

Although the above Winston products require vent hoods, you can usually use CVap products without hoods. We hired the independent testing firm Intertek to verify CVap’s compliance with the EPA’s Method 202 – Condensable Particulate Matter standards. The ovens were checked for particulate compliance using full loads of pizzas (good and greasy food). The results speak for themselves. CVap ovens breezed through to a passing grade. Place CVap ovens, holding cabinets, and warming drawers where sufficient electrical power is available.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, please don’t just take our word for it. As mentioned, local codes can vary a lot. It’ll save you money and peace of mind to consult with your local authorities (and perhaps a consultant) to ensure you comply with your area’s codes.

Rethermalizing Prepared Foods in Bulk

Rethermalizing Prepared Foods

Retherming bulk packages of prepared foods can be challenging unless you have the right equipment. To clarify, let’s discuss rethermalizing, define prepared foods, and outline what operations are likely to use premade food. Finally, we’ll talk about what equipment is best suited to retherm them.

What is Rethermalizing?

Rethermalization is the process by which prepackaged food that is either frozen or chilled is brought to hot temperatures safely and effectively. Food must transition through the temperature danger zone (41°F to 135°F) in under two hours to meet the FDA Food Code. And although we’re primarily talking about commercially prepared foods, you can also use the retherming processes on leftovers. When reheating leftovers, food must reach 165°F in under two hours (though 90 minutes is preferred). (If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, find specific requirements in Chapter 3 Section 403.11 – Reheating for Hot Holding – Subsection A – E (page 91) and Chart 4-B.)

Rethermalizing Prepared Foods

What are Prepared Foods?

Prepared foods encompass a wide range of food products. In the broadest sense, prepared food is food that is ready for consumption. It has been produced elsewhere and sold to the consumer (be that an individual or an organization). We’re speaking primarily of commercially prepared foods. These are foods that are mass-produced long before consumption. They come in a can, a chub, vacuum-seal, frozen, or other forms.

Rethermalizing Prepared Foods
Rethermalizing Prepared Foods
Rethermalizing Prepared Foods

Popular with operators, prepared foods decrease labor by outsourcing the initial food product. Portion control is made simple. And when rethermed properly, prepared foods are indistinguishable from made-to-order food.

Who Typically Serves Prepared Foods?

Although commercial foodservice primarily serves prepared foods, they are also popular in these foodservice segments:

B&I (Business and Industry)

Businesses that are not primarily foodservice operators but purchase foodservice items (such as corporate cafeterias).
It also includes government facilities.

Education

This includes preschools, K-12, colleges, and universities.

Healthcare

Another broad category. Includes hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities, senior living facilities, and others.

Concessions

Stadiums, museums, conference centers, amusement venues, country clubs, and others.

Catering

Also implemented at event facilities and mobile caterers.

These seem like widely disparate operations, but they have one thing in common.
They all need the ability to retherm large quantities of food quickly and safely.

Retherming Equipment

Achieve retherming by utilizing several different equipment pieces. The most common are rethermalizing ovens (a.k.a., thermalizersthermalizer ovensrethermalizersretherm ovens, and others).

Some folks may think first of combi ovens. Combis certainly can do the job and do it faster than most other oven types. But they also involve a substantial investment in upfront costs and operating costs. They require expensive vent hoods in most locations. A more economical option is the rethermalizing oven.

history why we build retherm ovens

In many respects, retherm ovens are like convection ovens or cook and hold ovens. However, retherm ovens have greater wattage and air movement. CVap Retherm Ovens also feature vapor heat. Consequently, this improves energy transfer efficiency. Retherm efficiency is the transfer of energy from a heated cabinet to a thermal mass (food) at a fast and controlled rate. In other words, retherm energy efficiency measures how much power an oven consumes and delivers to the food product during rethermalization. Since heated vapor is tremendously efficient at energy transfer, CVap retherm ovens excel at heating a thermal mass quickly.

Critically, the larger the thermal mass, the more energy (kW) is needed to transfer to the mass. Similarly, the more energy (kW), the faster the thermal mass can absorb the energy and reach desired temperatures. Consequently, this makes retherm ovens ideal for reheating chilled or frozen foods. They deliver lots of energy quickly.

Winston CVap Retherm Oven

Of course, Winston’s CVap® Retherm Oven is the hands-down best. CVap Retherm Ovens feature two circulation fans, providing robust air circulation throughout the oven. The fans speed up the retherming process and minimize hot or cold zones within the oven.

Winston-Foodservice-No-Vent-Hood

CVap ovens have a maximum air temperature of 350°F and can operate without a vent hood in most locations. Winston has conducted independent testing to verify. Hood availability is an important consideration when choosing an oven.

Another thing to consider when choosing a retherm oven is versatility. CVap Retherm ovens aren’t one-trick ponies. Yes, they’re great at retherming. But they can also bake, roast, sous vide, low-temp steam, and more. Whether serving prepared foods or cooking from scratch, CVap Retherm Ovens are the perfect oven for any large-volume feeder operation.

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Lobster Tails

So you’re hosting a big catered event and want to impress your guests? There is nothing more impressive than lobster…if it’s done right.
We set out to show that CVap® ovens can stage lobster tails for catering right.

Staging Lobster Tails Process

Ingredients

  • 4-5 oz Lobster Tails
  • Melted Butter
  • Paprika

Allow the tails to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, per label instructions. Lobster (and all shellfish, for that matter) is unforgiving regarding safe handling. Make sure to only thaw in the refrigerator, and cook promptly once it has thawed.

Preheat the CVap oven.

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

The product we chose was Greenhead frozen lobster tails.

lobster

Settings

Cooking

  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Vapor: 136°F
  • Cook Air: Sous Vide

Holding

  • Hold Time: 2 hours
  • Hold Vapor: 136°F
  • Hold Air: Sous Vide

Prepare the tails by “boxing” them. This simply means to make an incision with scissors along the top spine of the shell. Crack the shell to carefully pull the lobster meat almost all the way out – BUT NOT COMPLETELY. Leave the end tail meat in the shell and lay the meatier portion on top, see image.

Douse raw tails with plenty of melted butter. Evenly sprinkle with a touch of paprika for color.

Staging Lobster Tails Results

To be honest, I LOVE crustaceans! But usually lobster is just meh. It probably has something to do with being hundreds of miles from the nearest coast. (yep, I’m a bit of a fresh seafood snob). Lobster is too expensive for the experience of chewing on rubber bands. Or at least that’s what I thought before cooking them in CVap. 

Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails

We reviewed these babies after about an hour into holding. The texture was tender and juicy. The flavor was buttery, briny, and sweet. They would be perfectly fine to serve in this state. But if you wanted to give them a little more texture or snap, you could finish them in a high-temperature convection, broiler, or even with a blow torch. This gives the lobster meat a toothier bite

CVap gives you so much flexibility and peace of mind. It ensures that all your hard work isn’t wasted by overcooking these tails and turning them tough and rubbery! Don’t shy away from utilizing them as a surf-n-turf option on your catering menu! CVap allows you to serve lobster with sous vide precision, but at a scale to feed scores of people.

What to do with all those lobster tail leftovers? Vac-packed and freeze them for later use! Or turn them into that New England favorite – lobster rolls!
That’s what we did.

We prepared two versions of lobster rolls:

OMG!!  So effing good!

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering
Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Essential Fryer Accessories Your Commercial Kitchen Needs

commercial fryer accessories

America loves fried food. It’s a love affair that’s persisted for decades. If your operation serves fried foods, you need a great fryer. And to make the most of that fryer, there are essential commercial fryer accessories that will make your job easier (and your fried food better).

There are many commercial fryer brands. Honestly, we’re not here to discuss the competition. The best commercial fryer is our Collectramatic®. Hands down. 

commercial fryer accessories

What kind of equipment is used for commercial frying?

Like most fryer brands, Collectramatic fryers are available in two configurations: pressure and open. Likewise, the fryers offer 4-head and 6-head capacities. Deciding which configuration and size are right for you depends on your menu and volume.

foodservice products Collectramatic LP46 Pressure Fryer foodservice products
Collectramatic OF59C Open Fryer

Pressure Fryers

Pressure fryers serve a dual purpose. They speed the cooking process, and help tenderize the meat. Pressure fryers were developed and improved by such industry pioneers as Harland Sanders and Winston Shelton. During the post-war boom, fast food operations exploded in popularity. Fried chicken took the country by storm. The poultry of that era was quite different from modern breeds. Mid-century poultry was tougher, with lots of connective tissue. Cooking food under pressure helped to break down that connective tissue, while simultaneously speeding the cooking process. 

Poultry has changed quite a bit. Today’s chicken bears little resemblance to its 1960s cousins. But the advantages of pressure frying remain the same. Of course, if you’re serving fried chicken, it’s a no-brainer to pressure fry. But the same advantages that make Collectramatic pressure fryers perfect for chicken also make them ideal for other proteins that have lots of connective tissue. Think ribs or pig wings. One advantage of Collectramatic pressure fryers is that they can be used to both pressure fry and open fry.

Open Fryers

As the name implies, open fryers are just that – fryers that don’t have a lid. They are ideal for foods that don’t require tenderization, such as tenders, poppers, fish, or shrimp. Open fryers offer a gentler cooking process and are perfect for cooking battered foods to crispy perfection.

What kind of commercial fryer accessories do I need for my kitchen?

Regardless of which Collectramatic configuration you choose, the essential frying accessories are the same.

Included Accessories

Every Collectramatic fryers ships from the factory with these accessories:

  • A clamshell basket (or quarter rack basket)
  • A drain hook
  • A pair of heavy-duty gloves
  • Two collector gaskets
  • A spatula

  • A Teflon brush
  • A long collector
  • A heat plate
  • Pressure fryers also include two lid gaskets
PS1163 Clamshell Basket

Clamshell Baskets (or Quarter Rack Baskets)

These are designed to be loaded with chicken (or other foods) and lowered into the fryer for cooking. Once cooking is complete, the baskets are pulled from the fryer, drained of excess oil, and unloaded. Additional baskets can be ordered through our partners at PartsTown.

ps1154 basket drain hook

Drain Hook

This commercial fryer accessory allows operators to safely lower baskets into cooking oil. Likewise, facilitates the removal of the basket from the fryer. Additionally, it enables the basket to hang for a moment above the cookpot, allowing excess oil to drain back into the fryer.

ps1001 safety gloves

Safety Gloves

Naturally, worker safety is paramount when working with hot oil. The heavy-duty safety gloves help protect hands and forearms from accidental burns. They’re a must whenever working around hot oil.

fryer accessories

Spatula

This long metal spatula is utilized to scrape deposits of the cookpot sides during cleaning and filtering.

fryer accessories

Collector Gaskets

These gaskets form a seal between the fryer’s cookpot and its long collector. These must be inspected and cleaned frequently and replaced whenever showing wear.

ps1120 teflon brush

Teflon Brush

This brush is used to scrub the fryer’s heating coils during cleaning.

Winston-Foodservice-OF59C

Long Collector

The long collector forms the Collectramatic fryer’s patented cold zone. It’s designed to collect cracklings and breading that fall from chicken during the cooking cycle. The cooler oil in the collector’s bottom prevents breading from burning and consequently degrading your cooking oil. The collector is easy to remove for cleaning.

heat-plate

Heat Plate

The heat plate is positioned inside the collector. It helps overcome thermal stratification and aids in oil circulation. The plate is easily removed for cleaning.

fryer accessories

Lid Gaskets

These gaskets form the seal on Collectramatic pressure fryer lids. Like other fryer gaskets, they must be cleaned and maintained. Likewise, they should be replaced when necessary. Additional quantities of all included accessories can be ordered through PartsTown.com.

fryer accessories

Although it’s listed here as optional, Collectramatic owners really need to invest in a Winston Shortening Filter. These powerful filters are designed to quickly filter impurities from the cooking oil and pump the cleaned oil back into the fryer. Winston’s filters are designed to move easily, so you can service multiple fryers with a single filter.

fryer accessories

Of course, each time the cooking oil is filtered, the paper filter will need to be replaced. Filter paper can be ordered in a range of quantities.

Baskets

As mentioned before, Collectramatic fryers include a basket. But Winston also offers several specialty baskets, including open, chicken liver, shoestring, and fillet baskets.

Quarter rack baskets are designed for loading and unloading with minimal tonging or handling. Acquiring additional shelves and frame sets can boost your commercial kitchen’s efficiency.

The tray cart provides a space to easily hang open baskets and remove the cooked chicken.

Displacer Tool

The displacer tool is a simple but effective tool used to force oil out of the fryer’s collector. It displaces oil from the collector and into the drain, making the collector easier and safer to remove.

collector removal

As anyone who had removed a collector for a Winston fryer can tell you, the seal between the collector and the cookpot can be a challenge to break. This simple tool slides beneath the collector. Consequently, it allows you to leverage foot power, making the collector much easier to remove.

Although it’s possible for Collectramatic fryer operators to get by without some of these commercial fryer accessories, including them in your kitchen can help make boost your kitchen’s safety and efficiency. You’ve already got the world’s best fryer. Make the most of it with genuine Winston fryer accessories.

How to Pick a Holding Cabinet for a Commercial Kitchen

holding cabinet

No matter what type of commercial kitchen you’re operating, there’s a holding cabinet that can benefit you. Holding cabinets are a crucial part of any kitchen that serves hot food. They save time and labor. Consequently, holding cabinets can increase your bottom line.

What is a holding cabinet?

CVap commercial kitchen equipment foodservice products

Basically, holding cabinets are heated appliances designed to hold cooked foods at a safe serving temperature. Some holding cabinets do this well and some do not. Of course, the quality depends on the manufacturer and design.

Notably, people sometimes refer to holding cabinets as hot boxes, warmers, insulated warmers, hold and serves, warming cabinets, and other titles. Nonetheless, their function is the same.

Winston’s CVap® technology started as a holding technology. Colonel Sanders (yes, really) challenged our founder Winston Shelton to invent a cabinet that could hold his famous chicken for an extended time. Critically, the chicken had to maintain the infamously high quality that Sanders demanded. Shelton was up to the challenge.

Although the Colonel didn’t live to see the final product, CVap technology was the result. It revolutionized the foodservice industry. Nearly four decades later, CVap is still the pinnacle of holding cabinets.

All holding cabinets have the same job; keeping food hot until it’s served. Clearly, some do this better than others. It’s dependent on their design. Holding cabinets fall into four basic categories:

  • Dry holding cabinets
  • Passive humidity cabinets
  • Humidified holding cabinets
  • Controlled vapor holding cabinets

What Can I Use a Holding Cabinet Holding Cabinet For

As the name implies, holding cabinets are used for keeping food hot while serving. Although they’re found in all sorts of commercial kitchens, they’re particularly well suited for high-volume operations. These include fast-food establishments and institutional kitchens (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.).

 Notably, holding cabinets cannot be used to reheat food – that’s a food code violation. But used with a little forethought, holding cabinets can reduce labor by allowing staff to prepare food ahead of rush periods. Depending on which type of cabinet you choose, holding cabinets can help you serve fresh hot food to all your patrons.

holding cabinet

How to Select the Right Select the Right Holding Cabinet

When it comes to selecting the right cabinet for your commercial kitchen, there are several factors to consider. In the interest of transparency, we’re only talking CVap holding cabinets here.

Your Volume

How much traffic do you see in a typical day? Is it spread throughout the day, or does it come in rush periods? If your volume isn’t particularly heavy, you may be able to thrive with a smaller CVap unit, such as a holding drawer or half-size holding cabinet. There’s no point in paying for more capacity than you need. On the other hand, higher-volume operations may want to consider larger cabinets, such as an HOV5-14UV or HOV3-14UV. Clearly, larger cabinets increase your holding capacity, so you can maintain food at high quality throughout meal periods.

Your Space

How much room is available in your commercial kitchen? If you’re in a confined space, such as a food truck or concession stand, you obviously don’t have a lot of room to work with. Smaller CVap cabinets, such as warming drawers, holding bins, or under-counter holding cabinets are a good solution. Likewise, larger spaces can accommodate bigger cabinets, from the half-size HOV7-05UV up to the HOV5-14UV. CVap holding cabinets don’t require vent hoods, so there’s no need to utilize that valuable space. Optional stacking kits give you the option of stacking two cabinets, doubling the footprint capacity. There’s a perfect size for any operation or workspace.

Your Menu

What food products are on your menu? CVap holding cabinets provide an extended hold on any food products. CVap truly excels at moist foods, such as soup, pasta, and seafood. The moist vapor environment inside CVap cabinets really interacts with the food’s moisture, locking in freshness for a long time. Foods that you wouldn’t consider particularly moist, such as pizza, burgers, or steaks will also hold fresh for an extended time. Nothing can hold forever, but these foods will hold for a substantial time before losing quality.

At the upper end of the scale are crisp foods, such as french fries. Again, CVap provides a respectable hold. But the high differential temperature required to properly hold crisp foods will inevitably cause food evaporation to creep up. This shortens the time before quality starts degrading. Don’t get us wrong, CVap cabinets still provide a respectable holding time. But it’s important to realize that even the best cabinets have their limits.

Does your operation offer baked goods? CVap holding cabinets are also excellent proofers. You can proof and hold in the same cabinet, getting double duty from the same footprint.

Your Budget

The brutal reality of today’s world is that everything is getting more expensive. Geopolitical turbulence (we’re looking at you, Russia), persistent pandemics, and supply chain strain is ratcheting up the cost of everything. This is particularly true of stainless steel. Naturally, stainless steel is the primary component of virtually every holding cabinet.

Money is always an issue. But at rocky times like these, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest cabinet you can get, namely a dry or passive cabinet. But you need to look beyond the initial cost. Buying the cheapest cabinets will save money up front, but over the life of that cabinet, the decrease quality of the food served from it will add up costs over time. In the end, it may cost you more than you saved by buying the el-cheapo cabinet.

CVap cabinets’ precision and elevated food quality really are the better option. We admit, CVap isn’t the cheapest brand out there. But it is the best. CVap in your commercial kitchen gives you the assurance that you are serving food at the absolute peak of quality.

Winston offers CVap holding cabinets in three feature levels, tailored to fit a range of budgets.

Our lowest tier is Series 3. The 3s feature simple membrane controls. They’re easy to operate, even for untrained staff. Although they’re the simplest CVaps, they still deliver the precise hold that people expect from CVap cabinets.

Next up are our Series 5 cabinets. The 5s have capacitive touch controls, desktop programming, a USB port for programming uploads and data downloads. Eight programmable channels cover about every type of menu. Convection fans minimize hot and cold zones with the cabinet.

The top of the line are our Series 7 cabinets. Series 7 have all the bells and whistles as the Series 5s, plus a few more. Wireless NFC programming enables you to reprogram the cabinet with the wave of your Android phone. Convection fans can be turned on and off. And a probe option gives you accuracy the is simply unrivaled.

As you can see, there’s a CVap holding cabinet to suit every budget.

Your Mobility

Sometimes you have to move it, move it. CVap cabinets come stock with casters, so moving them around your kitchen, whether to clean or to rearrange, is no problem. If you need to really move it around, consider adding the optional transport package. This includes 5” heavy-duty casters, push-pull handle, cord wrap, and evaporator cover. It’s perfect for commercial kitchens that need to move hot food from one area to another, such as from a school kitchen to a classroom.

CVAP Accessories

Ultimately, It’s Up to You

Nobody knows your operation as you do. In the end, you are the best judge of what you need. But if you need a little guidance, contact us. We’ll be glad to discuss your needs and options and suggest the best solutions for your commercial kitchen.

Retherming Brisket in CVap®

retherming brisket

Brisket. Is there a better product to cook to celebrate May’s National BBQ Month? Brisket is incredibly popular, with a 23% increase in menus over the last decade. Whether you’re preparing these babies in-house, or are opting for commercially produced products, CVap ovens are great for retherming brisket without sacrificing quality.

retherming brisket
retherming brisket

To test the full range of products, we rethermed two brisket types. The first was a fully cooked, house-smoked, whole unsliced brisket. The other was commercially produced Hormel sliced brisket. Notably, both briskets were whole, smoked, and fully cooked. But the commercial product was smaller, roughly seven pounds. Additionally, it came presliced. On the other hand, the homemade product is unsliced and was about 14 pounds. We set them up in the same CHV7-05UV oven, with the same program: Vapor 170°F/Air 200°F. We wrapped both briskets in foil and placed them into the preheated oven.

Retherming Brisket - The Same, But Different

Although these were both whole briskets, they fell under different Food Code 3-403.11(C) requirements. The code requires that rethermed proteins hit their required safe temperature in two hours or less

Because the Hormel brisket was a commercially produced product, the code requires it to reach the minimally safe temperature of 135°F. Our CVap oven easily hit the mark. The Hormel brisket reached safe temp in a little under two hours. Clearly, the lower retherming temperature requirement, coupled with CVap’s high humidity retherming program, and the added ingredients (like phosphate) helped keep this pre-sliced brisket perfectly moist.

However, the food code requirements for previously cooked homemade brisket are more stringent. Code dictates that it must reach a minimum safe temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. Our initial test reveal that this much larger brisket missed the mark on cook time. Unsurprisingly, this brisket, being twice as large as the Hormel product, took nearly twice as long to hit 165°F in the thickest part of the roast, between the point and flat. But no test is a failure, even if the results are not what we wanted. We headed back to the drawing board.

The solution was simple. We separated the whole brisket into the point and flat and wrapped them separately. Consequently, the two smaller cuts reached the required temperature within the two-hour limit. Although we didn’t test it, you could probably optimize the program by either decreasing the vapor and air temperatures or minimizing the temperature differential between the two (for example, Vapor 180°F/Air 190°F, or Vapor 190°F/Air 200°F).

Why Retherm?

What’s the practicality of retherming briskets instead of serving scratch cooked? Time. Briskets are a classic example of a protein you must cook low and slow to achieve the best results. Unless you can perfectly predict how much your operation needs on a given day (and plan accordingly), it is impractical to cook on-demand. But cooking ahead of time and properly refrigerating reduces the time it takes to retherm and serve. Think of it as a form of staging. Ultimately, anything that helps you serve faster and turn tables is beneficial.

Bathless Baking: Spotted Dick in a CVap®

It may be a surprise to some but bathless baking is possible in CVap®. We recently proved this cooking process on perhaps the most snicker-inducing food in the English-speaking world, Spotted Dick.

The etymology of this curiously named dessert is a bit hazy. It stems from the Victorian Era. There are theories that the name of this steamed pudding refers to its similarity in appearance to a spotted dog (spotted = raisins or currants, dick = dog (or perhaps, dough). Whatever the origin, the name continues to amuse those who have failed to achieve a sufficient level of maturity. Probably to reduce bawdy jokes, one local council in the U.K. has renamed the dish “Spotted Richard.”

Unlike the puddings that most Americans are familiar with, the spotted dick is spongey and only slightly sweet. Most of its sweetness is from the raisins, currants, or other fruits it contains.

Behold our grand experiment in British baking. Traditionally it’s prepared by steaming on the stovetop. We wanted to test it with CVap bathless baking, a safer process that still delivers fantastic results. You can find the base recipe on Tastemade.com. We tweaked the ingredients a little, and of course, for gentle steaming in a CVap oven.

bathless baking

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of Dried Fruit (Traditionally, you would use currants, but we used a blend of cranberry, blueberry, apricot, and golden raisins.)
  • 250 ml of Water
  • 250 grams Self-Rising Whole Wheat Flour (If you cannot find it at your retailer, you can “fudge” it quite easily; see below for ratios.)
  • 80 grams Sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 100 grams of Shredded Butter (Pop a stick in the freezer for more effortless shredding.)
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • 280 ml Whole Milk

How to Make a Self-Rising Whole Wheat Flour

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tbs Baking Powder
  • ½ Tsp Salt

             Blend well before using.

The Bathless Baking Process

bathless baking
  1. Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to 200°F Vapor/200°F Air.
  2. Weigh out all the ingredients according to the recipe amounts.
  3. Place the dried fruit into an oven-safe container, cover with water, and place into the preheated oven to rehydrate for about 10-15 (or until the fruits look nice and plump).
  4. Remove from oven, drain, and set aside to cool.
  5. While fruit is rehydrating, place butter into the freezer to firm before grating. Use the largest grain size on the box grater.
  6. The original recipe calls for suet. Suet is the raw, hard fat of beef, lamb, or mutton, for those unfamiliar. It often has a little flour added to it as well. The recipe said that butter is a perfectly suitable substitute for equal replacement. As suet is hard to come by in Kentucky, we opted for butter.
  7. Mix the dry ingredients and add grated butter, fruits, and milk until combined.
  8. Transfer mix to pre-sprayed pans (we used ramekins and silicone mini-bundt pans).
  9. Cook time will be dependent on the size of pans used:
    1. Silicone Mini-Bunt Pans – approximately 30 minutes
    2. Ramekins – closer to an hour
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.

As mentioned before, spotted dick isn’t particularly sweet. To make it more of a proper dessert, they traditionally serve it with crème anglaise, a.k.a., English cream (or English vanilla custard).

bathless baking spotted dick

Bathless Baking Results

Preparing this dish the traditional way – steaming on the stovetop with extra bits and bobs- is inefficient and dangerous. Preparing it traditionally in a foodservice kitchen is particularly challenging. Creating this in a CVap oven is an excellent (and safer) way to bake this dish. Save yourself the time and trouble with CVap bathless baking.

All snickering aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our spotted dick. We made sure to accompany it with proper English tea, sipped with pinkies raised.

BATHLESS BAKING

Cooking Vegetarian in CVap®

cooking vegetarian
cooking vegetarian

Cooking vegetarian cuisine in restaurants and commercial kitchens is now a thing. There are many reasons behind this growing trend. For some folks, it’s a desire to eat healthier. Others may take up vegetarianism out of a desire to avoid harming animals. Undoubtedly, sustainability factors into some people’s decision to be vegetarians. Plant-based foods certainly have far less impact on climate change.

Although CVap is well-known in culinary circles as being excellent for cooking proteins, we wanted to test it by cooking some vegetarian dishes with a carnivorous slant. It’s worth noting that while these are solidly vegetarian, they aren’t vegan. The cauliflower recipe includes butter, a vegan no-no. Nonetheless, they were a tasty, guilt-free treat for our resident vegetarians and carnivores.

cooking vegetarian

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot (or hot sauce of preference)
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Heads of Cauliflower (cleaned and cut into large bite-sized florets)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

The Process

  • Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to 200°F/350°F.
  • Place butter, hot sauce, and extra virgin olive oil in an oven-safe pan and into the CVap to melt butter and heat through
  • Toss florets with the sauce and place them onto a lined baking sheet, single-layer, with space.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes (RTV) – 40 min (CHV), or until reaching the desired texture.
  • Remove from oven, then sprinkle tops of buffalo cauliflower with freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for another two to three minutes.
cooking vegetarian

Serve with your favorite sauce (we used ranch), or enjoy as-is!

The base recipe came from allrecipes.com, but we adjusted it to suit our preferences, so technically, it’s our recipe now 😊

cooking vegetarian

CARROT BACON

This recipe is inspired by Tabitha Brown’s Carrot Bacon recipe. We’ll be the first to admit that good old-fashioned bacon is damn near the perfect food. But if you’re looking for a healthier substitute for bacon, this vegan bacon/jerky recipe fits the bill...

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • ¼ Cup Agave
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Onion
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 6-7 Large Carrots (peeled)

The Process

Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to:

  1. Cook Time – will be dependent on the size of carrot slices and expectations of “doneness.”
  2. Vapor OFF and Water Removed Air 300°F
  • Prepare the “curing spice” for the carrot bacon by mixing everything in a bowl and setting it aside.
  • Clean and peel carrots. Use a peeler, a Japanese mandolin, or a comparable slicer to make the carrot strips. The longer the pieces, the more it will look like “bacon.”
  • Toss strips with curing spices, cover, and allow to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer strips to a perforated sheet pan, single layer.
  • Bake in CVap oven until reaching the desired texture.

Remove the carrot bacon from the perforated pan immediately. Otherwise, it will stick to the pan as it cools.

cooking vegetarian

Note: We noticed that the strips get crisper as they cool.

Full disclosure – the original recipe was written for preparation in an air fryer. But we discovered that cooking in a CVap oven increased the volume output! We also realized that this spice blend is similar in flavor profile to Grippo’s Bar-B-Q Potato Chips! Happy accident!

All in all, our vegetarian cooking day was an interesting and
tasty success.

A Full Irish Breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day

irish breakfast

The full Irish breakfast harkens back to Ireland’s agrarian past. Farmworkers needed a good, hearty meal to have the energy to power through the rugged daily chores on the farm.

Like much of the world, farmers make up an increasingly small segment of the Irish population. But the popularity of the Irish breakfast hasn’t waned. It remains a favorite for genuine Irish folks and people who simply crave its hearty, basic goodness.

In the spirit of St. Patty’s we wanted to prepare a complete Irish breakfast in our test kitchen. The goal was to prepare as much as we could using our CVap® ovens and keep skillet-cooked foods hot, holding in the CVap® drawers.

irish breakfast
irish breakfast

What Exactly is an Irish Breakfast?

The exact ingredients of an Irish breakfast can vary. There are even regional variations in Ireland itself. But most involve some combination of the following:

  • Rashers (or bacon)
  • Irish sausages
  • Black and white pudding
  • Baked beans
  • Eggs (sunny side)
  • Tomatoes
  • Potato farl (or some other form of cooked potatoes)
  • Brown bread
  • Irish butter
  • Tea or coffee
irish breakfast
irish breakfast
irish breakfast

Settings for Breakfast Ingredients

  • Eggs – prepared sunny-side-up and held in a CVap Drawer at 140°F /+10
  • Beans – rethermed in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/200°F Air until thoroughly heated. The warm beans were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10.
  • Rashers (Bacon) – cooked in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until it reached preferred doneness (for an Irish breakfast, this means not cooking until crisp). Once cooked, the rashers were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10
  • Bangers (sausage links) – cooked in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until thoroughly heated. The cooked bangers were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10.
  • Potatoes (we used frozen rounds) – in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until hot and crispy. We then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80
  • White Pudding (pork sausage with cornmeal (like scrapple)) – sliced and cooked in a skillet, then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80.
  • Black Pudding (pork sausage with cornmeal and blood (like scrapple)) – sliced and cooked in a skillet, then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80.
  • Tomatoes – cleaned and sliced in half.

The CVap Advantage

Our big advantage was the availability of our CVap equipment. CVap enabled us to keep everything hot and fresh so that the full breakfast could be presented all together, with every element piping hot and incredibly fresh.

The results were delicious and filling. Just the thing for a cool late-winter day.

We’ll close out this chapter with an Irish prayer. “Bless us with good food, the fit of gab and hearty laughter. May the love and joy we share, be with us ever after!”