Shuckin’, Crackin’, and Peelin’ – Let’s Dish Shellfish!

shellfish

Our customers are always asking about seafood. So we wanted to share some settings for turning out perfect, tender-firm shellfish from a CVap®.

The delicate nature of shellfish requires extra care and attention during the cooking process. It is easy to overcook and sabotage the flavor and texture of your favorite mussel or clam. CVap is excellent for cooking shellfish because you have precise control over time and temperature. Below are some suggested settings for a variety of delicious crustaceans. 

  1. Select an ingredient and target temperature from the table below.
  2. Set CVap Vapor and Air to the same temperature. Legacy models will be set to temperature and have a zero differential.
  3. Prep shellfish as preferred* and then place in CVap for recommended temp and times.
shellfish
Shellfish Preparation Vapor/Air Time
Clams or Cockles
Blanched and Shucked
133° -135°
2 hours
Lobster Claws
Shelled
140°-154°
2 hours
Lobster Tails
Shelled
129°-145°
2 hours
Mussels
Blanched and Shucked
146°-149°
2 hours
Oysters
Shucked
118°-126°
2 hours
Razor Clams
Blanched and Shucked
140°-146°
2 hours
Scallops
Whole
122°-129°
2 hours
Shrimp (Prawns)
Peeled
140°-165°
2 hours

*Note that clams, cockles, mussels and razor clams should be par blanched in boiling water for two minutes and then removed from shells. Reserve shells if you prefer to serve the finished product in them.

For a different riff on cooking with clams, check out this recipe from Michelle Bernstein, Chef/Owner of Michy’s in Miami: Pork Belly with Sake Braised Clams, Bok Choy, and Shitakes, click here.

Got a favorite shellfish dish to share? We’d love to hear from you!

CVap® Operators Groups

Share your recipes on Facebook or Linked In. These groups are all about Winston CVap Technology.  Sharing settings, recipes, and tips on how to utilize CVap in your kitchen. 

Exploration of Eggs: Creamiest Cheesecake Ever

baking cheesecake

Baking a picture-perfect and delicious cheesecake in a commercial kitchen can be a lot more difficult than people realize. You could have the perfect crust, a satiny-smooth filling, the best pan on the market, an appropriate bains marie, a great oven, mad skills… and still you wind up with those cracks in your custard!

As promised, I’m sharing a cheesecake recipe that I love, not only because it’s a tasty classic but also because it’s as fool-proof as the crème brûlée recipe I’ve already shared. I am again offering two methods: one is prepared in a CVap® Cook and Hold and the other in a CVap Retherm Oven.

Cheesecake Baked in a CVap Cook and Hold

Recipe/Process:

Crust: Mix 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs with 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press into to bottom of a springform pan.

Filling: In a mixer, cream together 4 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Then mix in 4 eggs, one at a time. Mix on low until very few clumps are visible and be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once the filling is finished, pour it over the crust.

  1. Set the unit to 200 + 0 Constant Cook and allow approximately 30 minutes when preheating the unit.
  2. Set the timer to 1:30
  3. Once the unit reads load, place the cheesecake in the unit and press start.
  4. After 1:30, the unit will read sell and the cheesecake has finished baking.
  5. Remove from oven and refrigerate (with the springform still in place) for at least 3 hours.
  6. After refrigeration, remove springform and slice for serving.

Cheesecake Baked in a CVap Retherm Oven

Recipe/Process:

Crust: Mix 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs with 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press into to bottom of a springform pan.

Filling: In a mixer, cream together 4 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Then mix in 4 eggs, one at a time. Mix on low until very few clumps are visible and be sure to scrap the sides of the bowl. Once the filling is finished, pour it over the crust.

  1. Set the unit to Channel 1 and allow approximately 30 minutes when preheating the unit.
  2. Set the timer to 1:15
  3. Once the unit reads load, place the cheesecake in the unit and press start.
  4. After 1:15, the unit will read sell and the cheesecake has finished baking.
  5. Remove from oven and refrigerate (with the springform still in place) for at least 3 hours.
  6. After refrigeration, remove springform and slice for serving.
baking cheesecake cvap

There are 100 ways to cook an egg, and whether they are center of the plate or part of a cake or custard, there are so many ways to serve them. If you have a favorite cheesecake recipe or even want to share a past cheesecake calamity, please let us hear from you!

CVap Pineapple Chinese Five-Spice Pork Riblets

Happy New Year! 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

The Year of the Dog is nearly upon us. Though commonly thought of as Chinese New Year here in the US, it’s a holiday celebrated by much of the Asian world, and nearly a fifth of the planet’s population. Let’s CVap some pineapple, pork riblets.

Like any good holiday, an important part of it is sharing good food with family and friends. In that spirit, we’d like to pass along this recipe to you. It’s an amazing rib recipe shared with us by Chef Chas Tatigian of Twin Eagles Golf and Country Club. Chef Tatigian created this recipe specifically to showcase one of his CVap techniques, and this one – involving a slow braise under vacuum seal – is a real winner!

If you like what you see, let us know and tell us how you CVap!

RUB FOR THE RIBS (enough for approximately 4-5 Danish racks)

  • 1/2 Part Ground Coriander
  • 1 Part Allspice
  • 1 Part Chinese 5 Spice
  • 4 Parts Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne to taste

BASE COOKING MARINADE

  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Bacon Fat
  • 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 ¼ Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Roughly Chopped Scallion
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally rub ribs and let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  • Char ribs on hot grill and refrigerate.
  • When cooled, slice ribs into pieces leaving a little meat on both sides of the rib bone and bring to room temperature.
  • Combine ingredients for cooking marinade (this is enough for 4-5 Danish racks).
  • Heat the cooking marinade to approximately 100° to melt sugar and fat.
  • Place room temp ribs in a vacuum bag and put enough warm marinade in to cover ribs.
  • Seal bag at 90% to 95% vacuum.
  • Cook ribs in CVap Cook & Hold oven at 135/0 for 32 hours.
  • Cool bags in ice bath to use at later date OR, to use immediately, remove liquid and flash-roast bare ribs at 400°F until a little crisp, garnish with diced grilled pineapple and green onions, cut on a long bias.

Chef Tatigian is a long-time member of the CVap Nation. But don’t just take our word for it. Take his.

The Story of a Perfect Turkey Starts with CVap

There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a perfect turkey. The skin has a consistent golden brown hue and a crisp texture. The breast meat is tender and juicy while the dark meat is succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating. It fills the kitchen with a scent that evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.

Brining is an option many cooks exercise though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include salt + sugar + paprika + granulated garlic + granulated onion + peppercorns + water or salt + sugar + aromatics (onion, carrot, celery) + thyme + rosemary + Italian parsley + bay leaves + water. The benefit of brining a turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if you cook a turkey correctly, brining is unnecessary! No brining or stuffing was done for these turkey tests. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.

Perfect Turkey Test

First, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8, and we cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.

For our next test, we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.

An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.

No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!

Bring Bodacious Benedict to Your Breakfast

Life is busy. That fact is as true for us here at Winston as it is for anyone. Taking the time to have a good breakfast is a rarity. I suspect that’s the case for most of us. What if you could easily provide your customers with eggs benedict, without a big investment in time, ingredients, or manpower? Staging with your CVap® Cook and Hold Oven makes this possible.

Eggs benedict is a simple recipe, and can easily be prepared and staged in a CVap oven. It requires a simple handful of ingredients and only takes minutes to make. It’ll make your customers want to slow down – at least for a moment – to savor the fantastic flavors.

The recipe, as listed, is for a relatively small batch. But it can easily be scaled up to fit larger operations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Dozen biscuits (canned or frozen)
  • 1 Dozen eggs,
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Set a CVap Cook & Hold Oven to Vapor Temperature 150°F / Air Temperature 350°F, and allow to preheat. Place biscuits on parchment-lined half sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Next, remove biscuits from oven, brush with melted butter, and use a pastry cutter to remove the centers. Importantly, be careful to leave bottom crust intact! Place a raw egg and a pinch of salt and pepper in the center of each biscuit.

eggs benedict biscuit

Adjust preheated oven to Vapor Temperature 156°F / Air Temperature 161°F. Place the egg-filled biscuits in the oven for 25 minutes.

eggs benedict with ham
eggs benedict with sauce
eggs benedict closeup

Once the eggs are poached to your liking, remove the biscuits, sprinkle with cheese, and place the pan back into the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt. The beauty of staging is that you can pause at virtually any point in the cooking process, and the food will remain unchanged until you’re ready to garnish and serve – whether that’s in ten minutes or five hours.

We garnished ours with shaved Woodlands Pork Mountain ham, Parmesan cream sauce, minced scallions, and paprika. You may want to use bacon, prosciutto, sausage patties – whatever savory protein appeals to you – to make it your own benedict.

Baking Bagels in a CVap Oven

Reading a post on social media about New York-style bagels got me thinking…can I do that in CVap oven? We were already proofing in our CVaps, but I wanted to know if I could mimic the step where the bagels are boiled.

I found a generic recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website. This was an easy, straightforward recipe. As usual, there’s a point in the recipe that calls for the bagels to be boiled. As a test, I chose to go with tradition and boil some, and prepare the others in a CVap oven. I also prepared the water with honey instead of lye, baking soda, malt powder, or other ingredients that people often use, simply because I was aiming for a sweeter bagel.

Next, I prepared my bagels, let the dough proof, shape, and rise again. The next step was to boil.

I brushed the proofed bagels with the honey water, and placed them in the CVap Cook & Hold. The unit was set at 200 Doneness and 1 Browning, Constant Cook ON. I elevated the bagels on a baking rack to ensure that the vapor would reach all sides of the bagel for five minutes.

Surprise, Baking Bagels Works!

The CVap results were better than expected. The bagels were very similar to the ones that I boiled, but they didn’t rise as much as the boiled bagels.

The next step involved baking. I reserved a few bagels to bake in a conventional oven, and baked the rest in the CVap (90 Doneness, 10 Browning, Constant Cook ON). The recipe recommends baking the bagels, then removing them from the oven to add toppings. This was a bit difficult – the bagels were hot and had to be sprayed with water to make the topping stick. I chose to make a variety of flavors; everything bagel, asiago bagel, asiago jalapeno bagel, and a few plain bagels. The bagels destined for the CVap were much easier, as I was able to top the bagels right after boiling them.

Not only were the CVap bagels easier to prepare, they also browned more evenly.

The Bagels are Delicious.

When they had cooled just enough to not burn my mouth, I dug in. The boiled/oven-baked bagels were much chewier on the exterior, and the toppings fell off. The CVap bagels were a little denser and crisper on the exterior. Both were delicious! A bit more tweaking of recipe and technique would probably result in a seamless process in the CVap. No boiling, no adding toppings mid-bake – painless and delicious!

Beautiful Beef Brisket: Smoky, Juicy, and Tasty!

brisket is particularly good for overnight cooking

Every pitmaster worth his or her salt knows that producing a proper beef brisket is something to be proud of. Between the fatty and the lean parts, there are special challenges. Smoke or cook it too long and the lean portion will dry out, but not long enough and the fat will be undercooked and not rendered enough. Allow the temperature to get too high and the brisket will be bone dry. That’s why low and slow does the trick, and CVap makes a perfect partner for brisket. You want a robust bark, a consistent smoke ring, and tender, juicy meat. No problem, right?

CVap Beef Brisket

Marinate a 3.5 lb. beef brisket in a mixture of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce and Worcestershire, and then liberally apply a seasoning rub.

Smoke the beef brisket at 200°F for about 2.5 hours, and then it went into a CVap Cook and Hold Oven set at Constant Cook ON /135°F / Browning Level 2 / for ten hours.

As you can see, the bark is set, the smoke ring is consistent, and the meat is definitely juicy! Our final yield was about 85%.

As an alternative, you could omit the smoking step and cook the brisket in the CVap overnight at the same setting to come up with this result. Again, it is juicy, tender, and very evenly done.

Please note this setting produces a brisket ideally suited for slicing. If you want a shreddable brisket, set your CVap Cook/Hold Oven to 170 + 2 and cook it overnight. Your yield will be slightly less, but it will shred beautifully.

For the perfect BBQ feast, serve your classic smoked brisket, slice it, slather it with your favorite sauce, and serve it with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, sweet onions, dill pickles, and sliced white bread. Oh – and plenty of napkins or paper towels!

Looking for some alternative serving ideas for brisket? Whether you smoke your brisket or not, any of these suggestions will showcase this inexpensive cut of beef very nicely:

Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions

  • Chop your brisket and use it as a topping on BBQ pizza
  • Make brisket tacos with cabbage, crema, and fresh avocado
  • Serve brisket hash as a breakfast or brunch item
  • Fill ravioli with a brisket mixture and serve with a sauce made with dark beer and caramelized onions
  • Create a smoky BBQ-style brisket cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes
  • Add chopped brisket to your chili for a delicious departure from ground beef
  • Give your vegetable beef soup a different dimension by using sliced or chopped brisket

Celebrate National Barbecue Month with Crowd-pleasing BBQ

May is National Barbecue Month! Nothing signifies the arrival of Summer like the rich flavor of barbecue. Recently we did BBQ a big crowd, and we had a blast doing it!

We cooked 7- to 10-lb. Boston pork butts traditionally for about ten hours on a Good-One® smoker until they reached an internal temperature of 180°F. Then they were quick-chilled on the bone and refrigerated. (Check out The Good-Ones website for some awesome smokers.) You can also add versatility to your CVap oven with the Winston Smoker Box.

Boston Pork Butts Settings

The morning of the event, we rethermalized the butts in a CVap® at 200 + 100 for one hour, then pulled the Boston pork butts and placed it in hotel pans. We tossed in our favorite sauce and held the pork in a CVap for three hours during service at 150 + 5.

The neat thing is that we cooked baked beans and scalloped potatoes at the same time, in the same CVap we were using to reheat the pork butts. So on the day of the party, we had an entire BBQ feast ready to serve in an hour and were able to keep everything fresh and hot for three more hours without babysitting anything. Best part (besides how good it tasted)? The cooks got to enjoy the party instead of slaving over the food!

Who Doesn’t Love Cupcakes?

cupcakes

Certainly, cupcakes are getting more popular. Walking down the street and peering into the local cupcake shop, I often wonder, is that a sweet treat or a piece of edible artwork? Indeed, we can show you how to use your CVap® Cook and Hold or Retherm Oven to rival the cupcake shops!

Cupcakes

Ultimately, just take your favorite cake recipe and set the CVap oven to the settings below. Notably, CVap ovens make a moist and light cake that will be a hit for any occasion.

With endless variations and recipes for cake, use your favorite recipe. Otherwise,  if you need a quick and easy cupcake, here is a modified box recipe that I personally love to use:

  • Cake mix – standard size box (whatever is your favorite)
  • Eggs – 4 eggs
  • Oil – ¾ cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Sour cream – 1 cup
  • Sugar – ¾ cup

Mix and bake.

fresh cupcakes

Cook and Hold Oven settings:
Vapor Temperature 165°F
Air Temperature 350°F

Bake at the recommended time listed for your specific cake recipe.

Retherm Oven Settings:
Channel #4
Cook for recommended time and check mid-way through cook cycle

Icing
When it comes to icing, buttercream is my favorite. Critically, Italian buttercream is made by cooking sugar and only using real butter. Cooking the sugar gives it a smooth texture and the butter gives it a rich flavor. Below is my recipe 🙂

Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar – 1 1/4 cups
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Egg whites – 4 (about 1/2 cup)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Butter (unsalted) – 1 cup (2 sticks), cubed and softened at room temperature
  • Salt – pinch (optional)

*Makes buttercream for 12 cupcakes.

mixing the buttercream for cupcakes

Buttercream Process:

  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Then heat over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Next, increase heat to medium-high and allow syrup to come to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a medium bowl if using a handheld mixer. Then beat until whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
  3. Cook syrup until it reaches 235°F. Immediately remove from heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Critically, don’t pour the syrup onto the whisk, or the syrup may splatter against the sides of the bowl. Instead, aim for a spot close to the whisk.
  4. Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to body temperature.
  5. Add butter one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. The mixture may start to look as if it’s separating, but don’t panic: just keep mixing and whipping until the buttercream comes together and becomes smooth and gorgeous.
  6. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or a zipper-lock bag in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to two months. In order to use buttercream that has either been refrigerated or frozen, first allow to come to room temperature then beat until smooth and spreadable again. Cakes or cupcakes decorated with buttercream generally keep up to three days, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve buttercream at room temperature.
cupcake party!