Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Cooking the Market with Kitchen in the Market

March 2, 2011


This Saturday, a pair of my girlfriends and I attended the Cooking the Market class at the new, expanded Kitchen in the Market (in the Midtown Global Market).

Verdict? Stark, raving mad about it. We can’t wait to go back.

Kitchen in the Market started in 2008, but owners Chef Molly Herrmann and Tracy Morgan just opened the new space — a shared commercial kitchen space as well as a cooking school and retail shop. See more if you’re curious.


We shook hands with some champagne cocktails before even removing our coats, and traced the origins of our delicious cheese (which led to numerous “Portlandia” references from our Peanuts Gallery), as guided by Grassroots Gourmet’s Vicky Potts. This intro eased the less-familiar cooks in the 16-person class into the experience, which is open to all levels.


Next, Molly took us on a tour of the market, highlighting the fresh, in-season and obscure (e.g. goat tenderloin). I jotted mental notes, as we created the night’s menu on the spot.

Our newly formed teams engaged in a menu-planning pow wow with the professionals (Molly and other chefs present) and got Market Money to buy necessary ingredients.

We got our goat…


…which probably wasn’t even a funny joke the first five times I used it.

After slicing the goat, we marinated it in zatter (a Middle Eastern spice none of us girls had ever heard of), each taking turns executing the steps Molly delineated.


Note the ubiquity of wine, equally important to those in our group who like to cook (me) and those who like to drink while watching others cook (Kelly).


Our goat “lollipops” entered the commercial convection oven pretty early in the night, compared to the duration of active time involved with other attendees’ dishes. Thus, we creeped on everyone else.


Another team prepared a Greek salad with wild rice.


This scene looks deceivingly chaotic. Everything remained calm and organized.


Smoked salmon croquettes with mango salsa.


Our team’s favorite dish: beef stew.


Tastefully simple (can I call this a) tablescape, with our free whisks. I love free stuff.


Hurry up, people. We’re ready to gorge.


Our presentation of skewered goat tenderloin with yogurt sauce (clearly, arranged with assistance).


Look at that, more wine! And the Greek salad…yum.

The beef stew atop pureed butternut squash proved the class favorite, as well.

Shaved brussels sprouts with lingonberries. Saffron rice.


Personally, I like when dessert isn’t afraid to tell me what to tell me what to do. A cookie who speaks her mind = very sexy. Though, hers wasn’t a bright future, unfortunately.


Warners’ Stellian
loves the idea of KITM and helped supply a Thermador induction cooktop for use in cooking demonstrations.


A view of the Thermador induction cooktop from KITM’s overhead camera feed.

Amber Procaccini Photography

Induction is a great choice for KITM because it’s as powerful and responsive as gas, but it only heats cookware that touches it…not little hands :)

 

From KITM's The Counting Chef cooking demo for kids.

Thanks to Molly and Tracy for a fun, unique night.

Has anyone else been to Kitchen in the Market or the Midtown Global Market in general? This experience inspired me to seek out more cooking classes, so I’d also appreciate any suggestions.

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Convection oven baking tips

December 20, 2010
.christmas snowflake food

It's cookie season. Do you need to brush up on your convection baking knowledge?

 

Are you taking full advantage of your convection oven (if you don’t know what that is, read What is convection?)?

You probably already know to decrease your oven temperature 25 degrees and decrease the bake time about 25 percent for convection oven vs. conventional oven.

But if you already know how to use convection cooking — and you probably do if you partake in holiday baking and cookie exchanges — I bet you’ll still learn something from Dacor’s convection oven baking tips (PDF).

Also, if if your convection oven cooking times seem to be longer now than when you first bought your convection oven, perhaps you need to clean your convection filter.

In a convection oven, the fan draws air through the filter. So especially if you do a lot of roasting,  grease particles will stick to the filter and could obstruct the airflow. Check your use and care manual for instructions on how to clean your filter. Some, like Dacor convection oven filter, are dishwasher safe.

Simmer down, now! Pay attention to burners’ BTU minimums, not just maximums

October 12, 2010

When Warners’ Stellian entered in the Builders Association of the Twin Cities Chili Cook-Off, I enthusiastically volunteered to make our entry.

We were encouraged to make more than 2 gallons, with the logic being more chili means more tasters means more votes for Warners’ Stellian. So, I made six batches. Observe:

 

Two-thirds of the chili produced, getting ready to "simmer"

 

When it came time for the massive amounts of chili to “simmer” for an hour, I lowered the controls on my (15-year-old) gas range to the flame’s lowest point before disappearing and tended to other responsibilities.

When I returned to dutifully “stir occasionally” 55 minutes later, all three pots of my chili were not simmering, but boiling. Of course chili isn’t as delicate as say, chocolate or Hollandaise sauce, but I don’t like the idea of keeping my chili at high heat for nearly an hour.

Apparently, flames on most ranges nowadays can only go so low.

Astronomically high BTU burners are trendy right now, but several brands also offer cooktops and ranges with extra-low settings for safer simmering.

 

Wolf gas cooktop

 

Wolf burners go down to 300 BTUs and absolutely will NOT scorch chocolate.

When I went to Wolf product training, a tiny Hershey’s square sat in a saucepan atop a Wolf simmer burner all afternoon, perfectly happy and melted.

 

Dacor gas cooktop

 

Dacor has burners that can go as low as 650 BTUs, but also includes a simmer plate with some models.

A simmer plate is an accessory that protects your delicate foods from the direct heat of the burner, holding it at the safest low temperature possible.

 

Thermador gas range

 

Thermador ExtraLow Simmer burners can simmer as low as 100°F at 375 BTUs.

If you’re wondering, I didn’t place in the top three, though I did win the prize for Most Colorful Chili (you are what you eat, right?). Of course, I blame my lack of victory on my non-simmering range.

What’s microwave safe? HOW TO: test microwave cookware

September 17, 2010

I CAN BE MICROWAVD?

Today’s HOW TO tip is a quick, but useful one.

If you’re unsure whether you cookware or dishes are microwave-safe, put them in the microwave with a cup of water next to it and nuke it for 1 minute.

If the cookware or dishes become hot and the water stays cool, don’t use them. Simple as that.

(Just so you know, baby bottles and baby food jars should never be microwaved.)

Happy Friday!

Should you put aluminum foil in the oven?

May 6, 2010

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Don't shoot yourself in the foot trying to keep a clean oven.

Warners’ Stellian‘s expert service guy, Gene, passed on a cautionary tale to me yesterday after he ordered a new, $90 oven floor for a customer.

A well-meaning woman lined the bottom of her oven with aluminum foil, to catch all the food that bakes into the oven.

Instead of having to scrape it all off, she could just pull out the aluminum foil and voila, no more mess.

Except she ended up with a bigger mess when the aluminum foil melted onto the oven.

For years, people had lined their ovens with tin foil to speed clean up. But these days, we don’t use tin foil. We use aluminum foil. And aluminum has a much lower heat tolerance, apparently.

And aluminum foil-maker Reynolds warns against it.

From the Reynolds FAQ webpage:

To avoid possible heat damage to your oven, we do not recommend using aluminum foil to line the bottom of your oven. Rather, we recommend that you place a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on the oven rack beneath the pie or casserole you are baking. The foil should be only a few inches larger than the baking pan to allow for proper heat circulation. The foil will catch any drips before they reach the oven bottom.

There you go. Smart play on Reynolds part, right? Because you know people will end up getting rid of the sheet of foil and using a new one next time…

Another successful Grill Expo

April 13, 2010

Another delicious day at work for me -- cedar plank-grilled salmon on a gas DCS grill

Our 4th annual BBQ Grill Expo fired up gas grills and charcoal grills at all Warners’ Stellian stores this past weekend, April 10-11.

Representatives from Weber, DCS, Vermont Castings, Holland Grill, Wolf and the Big Green Egg cooked up meats, sides and desserts (“S’moretilla,” anyone?) for hungry and curious guests.

Kind of intrigued/grossed out by the "S'moretilla" (marshmallows and Nutella grilled between two tortillas) on the Vermont Castings gas grill

Almost as quickly as the food vanished, $50 Von Hanson‘s gift certificates flew out the door for those who purchased a grill $599 and over. (And Warners’ Stellian dressed them up with some nice swag, too — see below.)

This apron takes its cue from me.

The deals are still hot (pardon all the bad puns), and I’m especially excited about grills this season, because I’ll actually be buying one myself. (If you have opinions, please share!)

Check out more pictures from the BBQ Expo, including grills and grilling fare, on Facebook and Flickr.

Stu "King of the BBQ" Glock grills chicken wings on the Big Green Egg charcoal smoker.

Pizza waffles?

March 2, 2010

Yes, pizza waffles. (No, this isn’t our entry for thisiswhyyourefat.com.)

See it for yourself.

Ross Svebeck demonstrated this delicious hybrid recipe on KARE11’s Showcase Minnesota last week and will be hosting his “Waffles Redefined” cooking classes at our stores this month:

Don't let the topping confuse you. The pizza's in the batter, too.

March 16 – 6-9 p.m.
Warners’ Stellian – Edina
3533 W. 70th St.
Across from the Galleria

March 18 – 6-9 p.m.
Warners’ Stellian – St. Paul
1711 N. Snelling Ave.
Falcon Heights (2 blocks north of the State Fairgrounds)

Cost: $50

RSVP to ross@kon-tent.com

Stop letting your waffle iron collect dust. Come find out inventive new recipes that make waffles something you can eat for lunch, dinner and dessert:
Buttermilk Waffles
Herbed Waffles with Chicken Salad
Huevos Rancheros Waffles
Cinnamon Bun Waffles

And of course, pizza waffles.

If you can’t wait, here’s the recipe:

Pizza WafflesBasic Yeast Batter:
1 ½ cup milk
8 T butter
½ cup warm water
1 pkg dry yeast
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 T sugar
2 large eggs
¼ tsp baking soda

Place the milk and butter in a small pan over medium heat until the butter has melted. In a liquid measuring cup, place the warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine and let sit for ten (10) minutes. Combine the flour and salt. Add the milk/butter mixture. Stir in the yeast mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 ½ hours. The mixture will bubble. Remove the plastic wrap and stir in eggs and baking soda.

For Pizza Waffles:
1 ½ cup minced pepperoni
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus more for garnishing)
2/3 cup fresh diced mozzarella cheese
1 recipe Basic Yeast Batter

For the waffles, stir pepperoni, parmesan and mozzarella cheese into batter. Pour batter into waffle iron and bake until brown. Transfer onto a rack in the oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees to keep them crisp if necessary.  Serve with tomato-basil sauce (recipe below) and Parmesan cheese.

For Tomato-Basil Sauce:
1 – 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
½ bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 tsp oregano
8 basil leaves, minced
Salt

Heat oil in a frying pan and add garlic. Heat until it has softened. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Cook slowly for 15 minutes to reduce the juices and infuse the flavors. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

HOW TO: clean and season a griddle

February 5, 2010

If this were my griddle, the pancakes would be bacon.

I blogged yesterday about my trip to the Roth Distributing Minneapolis Showroom’s Culinary Center.

There, I got my first taste — pardon the pun — of Wolf cooking and loved it. I especially liked the built-in griddle feature.

I don’t eat a lot of pancakes, probably because they always turn out like Oreos in a pan (dark and crispy on the outside, white and creamy on the inside). The pancakes we made on this griddle were dummy-proof.

I wish I would’ve taken my own picture of Roth’s griddle because it was so expertly seasoned. Apparently, some Wolf owners start to freak out a little when their griddle starts turning more brown than silver.

Well don’t freak out. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.

Here’s how to season the griddle:

You want to season the griddle before ever using it. Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil (not olive oil!) per 11 inches in the center. Spread the oil with a dry paper towel.

Turn the griddle on to 350 degrees and heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Then turn off the heat, wait until the griddle is cool enough to touch and wipe the excess oil off with a paper towel.

Repeat.

Now, to clean the griddle, pour sparkling water (we used Perrier — when in Rome, right?) on it while it’s hot. Excess oil and food scraps will bubble up and off.  Use a metal spatula to scrape everything into the grease collector.

Once the griddle’s clean, pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil on the surface and spread it with another dry paper towel to reseason it.

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystalflickr/ / CC BY 2.0

Appliance geek gone wild

February 4, 2010

You’ve heard of the kid in the candy store. Well, my recent trip to Roth Distributing’s Minneapolis Showroom the other week was like the kitchen geek version of that.

Ten thousand square feet of professionally designed vignettes stocked with the latest Sub-Zero, Wolf, Asko and Best appliances.

Roth isn’t a retailer, but the regional distributor of those luxury appliance brands.

Now, we show a good amount of high-end stuff like this on our own showroom floors, but not all under one roof.

Roth’s staff knows their stuff. They’ll help you decide what you really want and then show you exactly how to get the most from it.

(p.s. I loved this round sink with built-in cutting boards and strainers. So cool.)

My favorite part, though was the Culinary Center, where Roth holds its live cooking demonstrations (which I seriously recommend) and where we cooked brunch that day.

Now, I love to cook. But my current kitchen isn’t there yet. (The adage about mechanics and their cars holds true for appliance company employees and their kitchens, I think.)

This “living kitchen” has the best of the best cooking products, from wall ovens to dual fuel ranges to built-in steamers, wok burners (or “power burners,” as they called them) and grills. And…

Wolf DF606DG (Dual fuel range, 6 burners, double griddle, my culinary fantasy)

…griddles. This 60-inch (that’s like, two standard ranges glued together) Wolf’s six gas burners flank a double griddle. It might not look big at 450 pixels wide, but I’ll give you a second to think about it at 5 feet wide.

Yeah. It’s big.

Of course, most people won’t need a 60-inch, professional range. But wouldn’t it be nice?

More on griddles later. Stand by.

Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 2

January 18, 2010

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As Susan Serra, CKD pointed out in Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 1, it’s easy to choose outdoor kitchen appliances like a geek in an Apple store (my words).

We Minnesotans get so excited when we get to spend time outside that doesn’t involve snow shoveling, it’s hard not to want it all when designing our three-months-out-of-the-year haven.

Be smart and think about your own entertaining and lifestyle needs when considering all the options in outdoor kitchen appliances.

Do you want a second kitchen or simply a spot to grill a burger and grab a beer while enjoying the great outdoors?

Gas grill

The workhorse of an outdoor kitchen, gas grills’ speed and convenience work best for weeknight dinners and impromptu get-togethers. If you’re looking to do more, some brands offer innovative features such as:

  • Searing zone to reach high temperatures (700 degrees!) quickly to give your meat a steakhouse-quality exterior
  • Rear infrared burner to deliver consistent, evenly distributed heat for rotisserie cooking
  • Smoker boxes to fill prepackaged hickory or mesquite chips, which give foods a distinctive, smoky flavor
  • Side burners to prepare sauces and sides like beans or vegetables or to keep food warm until it is ready to be served
  • Lighting to illuminate the cooking surface for late-night grilling

Charcoal grill/smoker

As our own grilling guru Stu Glock (also our rep for Holland Grill and the Big Green Egg) says, “You have two cars. Why not two grills?”

Charcoal grills, smokers  and/or cookers deliver flavor you can’t get in a gas grill — if you have hours to get it. Owners of the Big Green Egg rave about the unique flavor of their ribs, brisket and roasts they get in this ceramic cooker. Viking also makes a ceramic cooker, but with a stainless steel finish.

If you have the time to kick back and just grill, the extra time is definitely worth the flavor.

Warming drawers

Cut down on the running back back and forth from your main kitchen. Warming drawers keep grilled food warm (and sanitary) once prepared and work great for make-ahead dishes from your main oven.

I’d probably end up throwing some towels in mine to keep them cozy after a late-night swim. Now if I only had a pool..

Kegerator/beer tapper

Arguably as important as the grill itself is beer on-demand. Aside from the convenience, an outdoor keg fridge makes an unbeatable conversation (and party) starter. DCS, Viking and Marvel make draft beer dispensers specifically for the outdoors.

Outdoor kegerators come in built-in or freestanding. Again, if I only had a pool...

Wine chiller/beverage center

If you’re more of a wine-o than a beer gal like me, you might consider storing your bottles outside, in the proper wine chiller, of course. Look for models with precise temperature controls, racks to accommodate various bottle sizes and minimum vibration.

This Marvel Wine Cellar holds 54 bottles.

Beverage centers, though less precise in temperature control, make a viable option for combination beer/wine/soda, etc. storage.

Refrigeration

“But I already have a wine fridge!”

But your wine fridge is 55 degrees, remember? Even your beverage center isn’t designed to refrigerate food and condiments. Please don’t keep your barbecue meats in a beverage fridge!

Ice maker

If mixed drinks and soda are more your thing, maybe you’d like an ice maker. Marvel‘s and U-line‘s have UL Listed suitable for outdoor use clear ice makers that store 25-30 pounds of ice.

Patio heaters

Denial: it ain't just a river in Africa. It's an outdoor barbecue in St. Paul in October.

I might not have a pool, but living in Minnesota, you better believe I have a patio heater. Fueled by a the same kind gas tank you use for your grill, these easily extend construction season into early winter (or “fall”).


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