Your Breakfasts Would Be Amazing With the Toaster Oven

Have you ever heard about the toaster oven? Some of you might have seen it before. It’s definitely a toaster with some functions of an oven with smaller size. The main function of this machine is toasting food with the help of heat and timing, but it can do much more than that! Imagine you can prepare your breakfast for a whole month with just a little machine called toaster oven, and all of them are very mouth – watering that can’t be resisted. In addition, this type of kitchen appliance is very energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

So what are you waiting for? Bring out your best convection toaster oven and get ready to be stuffed with the beautiful and full of nutrition breakfast dishes every day!

best convection toaster oven

Preparations and Equipment

You can’t make anything without preparation. Getting the tools and equipment for the cooking process plays an important part in every meal. Using them in compatible with the toaster oven has a little bit different. You can’t use the same tools as you’re using for the oven because of the difference in size and functions. That’s why we should prepare a new set of tool that is specially used for the toaster oven.

  • Cookie Sheet: The regular sheet for basic ovens can’t fit into the toaster oven, so you have to buy something else that is designed just for the machine. An 8×11 – inch – cookie sheet is going to be perfect for regular size of this type of mini oven.
  • Muffin tins: People often use 12 – muffin – tin because it is the best number of muffin for a family, but with toaster oven, you just can’t put all of them inside. Even the regular 6 – muffin – tin can’t be matched either. You should choose the thin material for the tin so as to reducer the side areas of the muffin tin to put all of them into the toaster oven safely.
  • Bread pan: You probably have seen the size of the regular bread loaf as well as its pan, and it just can’t be put into the toaster oven. It’s a bit larger than the actual internal size of the mini oven. So what do we have to find? The answer is the 10×5 – inch – bread pan for the best compatibility.

Becoming an expert in using the toaster oven might not be as hard as you think. However, this is just the beginning of the challenge. You have more than that to learn!

Let’s Head To The Breakfast With Toaster Oven!

Breakfast with toaster oven

  • The first thing I want to introduce to you is a well – known food from Italia – pizza. Who can resist a mini – sized pizza for breakfast? Most of you might think that pizza is only for lunch, but if we can adjust the amount of ingredients, this dish is definitely the one that we want in the morning before commuting to work. The pizza with eggs and a little bit of vegetables would be a perfect substitution for a traditional English breakfast. In fact, the amount of protein, vitamin and fiber inside a piece of pizza is more than you can imagine and enough to ensure a day full of activities.
  • Combining food rich of protein with nuts and vegetables is a good idea: Before going to work, a sausage with some figs would be the best way to refresh your day. It’s very quick to eat, portable and clean. In addition, the amount of lipid, protein and minerals like Omega – 3, potassium or calcium is very rich in nuts like figs or peanut. And of course, no one can get away from the attraction of a hot sausage and some nuts – a deadly sense of taste.

So you have known some of my best recipes for breakfast using the toaster oven. Of course, this is just a little part that I want to introduce to you before going to the main topic. Cooking with the toaster oven is very quick and fun. As long as you keep trying, your heat and time control competence would be improved greatly and you’ll become a master at no time. Have fun cooking! 

What Kind of Food Is Good for Health? – Raw Food or Cooked Food

Food

For many of us, many people often ponder raw food or cooked food which is good for health before beginning cooking. You should know that some kinds of food cannot eat raw. It is mentioned that is the meat. Since the meat has contained the damaged bacteria, cooking is the method that helps to eliminate the bacteria. Nevertheless, nothing is absolute. According to several health experts, cooked food is better and safer than raw food, but the vegetables are quite the opposite. The fresh vegetables include plenty of the nutrient components such as vitamin A, B, C, K, fiber, calcium, and so on. However, these nutrient substances are absorbed the best when eating raw. Even though you cook them with the best rice cooker, the nutrient components will still be decreased. Is food good for health, raw or cooked? To answer this question, you ought to look at below.

Several beneficial tips that you should know how to eat properly

  • The taste

Cooked food

It can say that raw food has the most natural taste in comparison with cooked food because you recognize the taste through enzymes. However, these enzymes effectively operate with raw food. Of course, with cooked food, it is the opposite. In addition, the taste of cooked food depends on plenty of elements such as oil and spices which are added into during cooking. Let’s imagine that you are eating a fresh tomato or cucumber. What a great the feeling is! Cooked food can bring to the natural taste.

  • The digestion

raw food

Most of the people know that enzymes are more on raw food; especially, enzymes are beneficial for the digestive system. Each food has certain nutrient substances which are utilized for the additional energy in the body. For instance, fresh fruits and vegetables are rich enzymes, vitamin, fiber, antioxidant and so on. Even so, if you cook them overcooked, not only the nutrient substances will be lost but also they can cause the symptom such as flatulence, indigestion, pyrosis, intestinal disorder, etc.

  • The category

You also know that the food is able to be divided into fruit, vegetable, cereal, nut, seed, bean, meat, fish, egg, and so on. You can naturally eat the kinds of seeds, fruits and vegetables. On the contrary, the kinds of cereal, meat and bean need to have to be cooked. You will be difficult to digest them if you eat raw. Nevertheless, you also need to pay attention packaged, cooked or processed food which has contained the amount of extra salt because they are not good for health; especially, with the artery and the blood pressure.

  • The temperature

Every food is the certain temperature; especially, there are fresh foods. These fresh foods do not often suffer the high temperature. Like that, it will ruin the taste of foods. Therefore, you only need to cook with the certain temperature which is enough to kill the bacteria. When you cook with the proper temperature, you both keep the nutrient components and can supplement other ingredients into the dish in order to create the delicious dish. Furthermore, to preserve fresh food, you should place them in the fridge. By this way, you can preserve them at least a week.

  • The weight-loss diet

You want to lose the weight, don’t you? The best way, you ought to choose the raw food which is better than cooked food. It is true! The raw food not only contains plenty of necessary enzymes so as to turn fat, protein and starch into the energy but also helps you digest easily.

Let’s try eating fresh foods that you enjoy right now. A large number of people do not have much time to cook as students, workers, or single persons who often complain about this problem. Nevertheless, from now, you are able to simplify your life by raw foods.

In brief, through the above tips, you can determine what kinds of food you ought to eat raw and against. Don’t waste time with the best rice cooker if you are too busy. It will not be bad with raw foods. Even, several raw foods are healthier than cooked food. Let’s try!

The World Of Herbs And Spices

herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are common-place in kitchens today. These flavor enhancers add dimension to any food or beverage with which they’re coupled. This month in the Restaurant Business Test Kitchen we experimented with spices and herbs, and discovered some exciting uses for these long-time flavor enhancers.

There are many spices and herbs available to aid you in a culinary excursion. Before we begin exploring their possibilities, it is important to understand the characteristics and proper storage of spices. Spices and herbs are usually joined together in definition. Even though they both come from vegetable products and are used to add flavor to foods, there are some differences. Spices generally come from tropical areas and consist of aromatic dried seeds, buds, fruits or flower parts, bark, or roots of plants. Herbs such as basil, parsley, and chives are dried or fresh plant leaves (sometimes dried flowers) coming from a more temperate climate. A blend–like curry or five spice powder–is usually a complementary combination of both herbs and spices. A condiment (teriyaki sauce, chutney, or any mustard) is a prepared mixture of seasonings, often used in liquid form.

Oils

OilsOils in spices are what give us the aromatic, distinctive flavors. When the oil evaporates, so does much of the taste. So it is important to store them in air-tight jars or containers, as far away from heat as possible. We recommend that you purchase specialty spices in smaller quantities more often rather than in bulk in order to preserve maximum flavor. We also advise that you purchase dried spices in whole form (if possible), then grind them when ready to use in your recipes. In this way, you get the most flavor from your herbs and spices. They can be ground in food processors or electric grinders. There are many high quality pre-ground spices, but be certain to use them as quickly as possible and store them correctly to avoid losing flavor. We find that spices have a shelf life of about eight months under normal kitchen conditions and, if kept in a cool place, they will last up to 12 months.

It is most important to remember that spieces are meant to enhance, not overpower, a dish. You should only be able to taste a hint of the spice used. Over-seasoning, like over-salting, can ruin the end result. Also, we strongly advise that you season your dishes close to the end of cooking time as spices, with few exceptions, tend to get stronger the longer they cook.

There are several remedies to over-seasoning that are helpful. Adding peeled and quartered potatoes to a soup or stew will usually soak up the excess seasonings. Just remove the potatoes before serving the dish. If pasta or rice can heighten the flavor, you may add either to help blot out an overly spiced recipe. Of course, you can always reinforce the dish with more of what’s already in it (except spices obviously), but the trick is to under-spice and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Another point to consider is that with today’s trend to low-sodium diets, herbs and spices can play an important role in salt substitution. In fact, herbs and spices can create a delicious dish, eliminating the need for salt altogether! But if you do add salt, it should be done ever so carefully–and there should be salt and pepper shakers on every table for your guests to season their food as they wish. A rule of thumb with spices is that one teaspoon of dried spice equals three teaspoons of its fresh counterpart. This ratio stays the same as a recipe is enlarged.

Poultry

Poultry, one of the most versatile foods on a menu, offers a succulent yet relatively uncharacteristic taste–a taste that welcomes spices and seasonings. The simple addition of an herb or spice to a roast chicken can turn a mean into a feast. With a simple adjustment of seasonings, you can change the flavor, character, or ethnic accent of a dish. Pictured on page 223 is a roasted chicken with herbs. We’ve compiled a list of several flavor combinations which go particularly well with roasted or sauteed poultry:

poultry

  • Herbed roasted chicken: rosemary, thyme, sage, or parsley. Use one teaspoon of seasoning for a three-pound chicken.
  • Five-spice roasted chicken: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and fennel. Use one part each, mix and store for later use. Use one tablespoon of the mixture per 3-1/2-pound roaster or add mixture to flour, coat boneless breast, and saute.
  • Spicy fried chicken: add one teaspoon each of curry powder, oregano, dry mustard, and paprika to three cups of flour. Use this as the coating for fried chicken.
  • Roasted chicken curry: add 1/2 teaspoon each of curry powder, dry mustard, and chopped garlic per three-pound chicken. Serve with peanut sauce.
  • Oriental chicken: one tablespoon fresh ginger, 1/2 cup soy sauce, one tablespoon cilantro, and 1/4 cup scallions. Marinate chicken pieces in mixture. Broil or roast, basting with marinade.

Here’s a recipe for herbed chicken salad that we enjoyed in the Restaurant Business Test Kitchens:

Herbed Chicken Chutney Salad

Pasta makes a natural foil for a variety of seasonings (right), including garlic, oil, parsley, sweet and hot peppers, and cheese.

Breads, spreads, and butters can be enlivened with seasonings (following page). Try scallion cream cheese, herbed butters, flavored muffins and breads, and ever-popular garlic bread.

Herbed Chicken Salad

(Yield, 3 quarts)

2-1/2 qt. chicken, diced

2 cups celery, diced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

2/3 cup scallions, chopped

1/2 cup watercress, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper

  1. Combine chopped herbs and seasonings with mayonnaise and sour cream.
  2. Mix chicken with herbs and serve in pita, croissant, or on a bed of watercress or lettuce.

Vinegars and oils will take on the flavors of spices and herbs after several days of steeping. Simply add the desired spice to vinegar or oil and seal tightly. Usually one tablespoon of dried spice per quart of liquid or several whole sprigs of its fresh counterpart will create the desired flavor. These flavored vinegars and oils can best be used in salad dressings or as seasoning ingredients. Use garlic oil for Italian dishes, or tarragon vinegar in French sauces.

Breads and butters are natural hosts for flavorings of many combinations. Corn muffins will have extra appeal when you add chopped peppers and/or cheese to the batter. A basic muffin batter welcomes spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice as well as raisins and nuts. Garlic bread is an all-time favorite and basic bread doughs are even tastier with herbs added. Of course, chopped fresh herbs added to butter is a refreshing sight.

Butter and cream cheese used as spreads (or dips) take on a whole new dimension with a seasoning adjustment. Scallions or chieves added to cream cheese for bagels, fine herbs added to butter for dinner rolls or bread, and cheese spreads with cocktail crackers are a few examples of seasoned delights. Here are some recipes we enjoyed in the Restaurant Business Test Kitchen:

Herbed Butter

(Yield, 1 lb.)

1 lb. unsweetened butter

1-1/2 tsp. chervil

2 tbsp. parsley

1-1/2 tsp. tarragon

Blend all ingredients together well. Roll blended butter into a cylinder and wrap with foil. Refrigerate, slice, and serve.

Cheese Bread

(Yield, 24 slices)

2 cups water

8 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 lb. butter

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tbsp. tarragon

3-1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated

  1. Heat butter and water together until boiling, and butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add flour and mix well until a smooth paste has formed.
  2. Return pot to heat and cook one to two minutes until a layer films the pot. Remove from heat and add seasonings.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, waiting until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next egg.
  4. Add two cups of grated cheese and form pizza-like loaves on buttered sheet pan. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in 400 [deg.] F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes until brown and bubby. Slice and serve.

Pasta (noodles) is another food category that can change entirely by making a seasoning adjustment in the accompanying sauce. For example, pasta becomes a succulent dish with the addition of garlic and oil or a spicy treat with an herbed tomato sauce. Jalapeno peppers add zing to simple macaroni and cheese.

Our favorite is an herbed tomato sauce which can be served either hot or cold with pasta or many other dishes.

Herbed-tomato-sauce

Herbed Tomato Sauce

1-1/4 #10 cans tomatoes

3 large onions, diced

3/4 cup tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh dill weed, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

  1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in oil until garlic starts to brown.
  2. Add tomatoes and paste. When sauce boils, turn heat to simmer and continue to cook 1-1/2 to two hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and add herbs. Let sauce cool. Use accordingly, hot or cold.

For a free collection of tasty seasoned recipes, write: Kathleen Kenny Sanderson, food editor, REstaurant Business Magazine, 633 Third Avenue.

 

Update Food Stamps School Lunches

chool-lunchAs this publication goes to press and the Congress and Administration again go to the wire over the issue of government spending (with a second shutdown a distinct possibility), the manner by which the country provides for its less fortunate is worth a quick look. Both food stamps and the school lunch program continue to be the focus of attention inside the Beltway. The following is a brief wrap up:

As part of USDA’s continue effort of cut abuse and increase the efficiency of the food stamp program, a second state, Texas, has replaced the traditional coupons with the EBT (electronic benefit transfer) debit cards. Maryland has embraced this system with both state and Federal officials trumpeting EBT’s success. Congress, as part of its debate earlier in the year, has endorsed this plan for all states.

Meanwhile, participation in the food stamp program showed a decline for fiscal 1995 (which ended Sept. 30) over a year ago, with 26.6 million people receiving benefits. This compares with the average monthly rate for fiscal 1994 which showed 27.5 million availing themselves of this program. Officials attribute the improving economy with the drop, with USDA’s Dan Glickman adding that “nearly a million people who needed food stamps a year ago now are able to make it without help.”

However, September (the most recent month for which figures are available) revealed an increase of almost 57,000 – at 26,047,594 – over the August level. This marginal rise in enrollment is not usual, said the Agriculture Secretary, as the end of warm weather often brings a slight increase in participation.

The real action was on Capitol Hill and revolves around the school lunch program where major differences exist in how this program should be administered – by the Federal government or by the states in the form of block grants. This dispute has threatened the House/Senate reconciliation process for Welfare legislation, which is deadlocked over this issue. Washington observers see the conflict as representative of the ideological positions of some of the newer Congressional conservatives – championed by long-time school lunch advocate Rep. Bill Goodling – who favors giving more authority to the states and the more traditional views that the Federal government can better care for the nation’s needy – as espoused by Sen. Richard Lugar. And throw a healthy dose of presidential politics into the mix – Sen. Lugar seeks the Republican nomination – and you have a recipe for a Congressional shoving match. Stay tuned.

Palate Pleasing Pork

pork roast cookedPork is leaner than ever, according to the Pork Industry Group (humorously referred to as PIG). Recent nutrition updates provide facts and figures regarding pork that might surprise you. Did you know that a three-ounce serving of lean cooked pork contains only 197 calories, yet it has 42 percent of the adult male recommended daily allowance for protein? Pork also has an excellent vitamin B profile containing an abundance of B-6, B-12 and thiamin. As for cholesterol, it also comes out a winner with only 77 mg. per three-ounce serving–compared to veal at 83 mg. and dark meat turkey averaging 86 mg.

Party TableKeeping all this positive information in mind, it’s time to promote the leaner said of pork! In the Restaurant Business Test Kitchen we experimented with a variety of pork cuts and came up with some exciting light and lean recipes. These menu ideas coupled with the promotional programs developed by PIG (and geared towards restaurants) should aid you in your promotion of palate pleasing pork.

One of the more trendy menu features showcasing pork is barbecue. Americans seem to fancy finger licking ribs, with bountiful rib restaurants the result of this appeal.

One annual event that caught our eye is The National Rib Cook-Off held in Cleveland, Ohio. This contest boasts participants from over 40 restaurants throughout the U.S., as well as several international attendees. The ribs are judged for appearance, tenderness, taste, quality, and sauce by a panel of food critics and writers. Over 100,000 consumers attend this annual event spending an estimated $1.5 million.

This year the proud recipient of the “over-all best ribs” prize was Calhoun’s restaurant located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since the contest is held every August at Cleveland’s open air mall, now is the time to start practicing for next year’s competition. We’ve compiled a list of rib specifications for your benefit.

When featuring pork rib it’s important to know what to ask for from your meat supplier. Fortunately, the National Association of Meat Purveyors has prepared a specific coding system which will aid you in ensuring consistency. Each cut of pork (and all red meats) is number coded. The name of a cut will vary from region to region, so knowing the code number will help determine the desired cut.

Pork Back Ribs

This cut comes from the loin section of the hog and consists of the rib and meat between those bones. Often it is referred to as a slab of ribs.

Weight ranges: Tupe A-1 to 2 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up.

Pork Country Style Ribs

Prepared from the shoulder end of the loin section. This cut will include at least three ribs and the blade and chine bones are removed.

Weight Ranges: Type A-1 to 2 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up

Spare Ribs

The intact rib from the belly made section of the hog.

Weight Ranges: Type A-1/2 to 3 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up

PIG makes available a chart that illustrates all the necessary information on cuts and code numbers.

Pork is a natural at breakfast–the fastest growing meal period. Sausage links, patties, ham, bacon and Canadian bacon fit into this category with ease. These meats are being sandwiched between breads ranging from the home-style biscuit to the elegant croissant. And, they are enthusiastically received by patrons across the country.

A simple pork roast as pictured on page 190 can be complemented with myriad sauces. We’ve compiled a collection of recipes and would like to share them with you. Sauce recipes can also enhance pork chops.

Mustard Sauce (Yields 1-1/4 quarts) 1 cup chopped shallots 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup flour 4-1/2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup Dijon mustard

  1. Saute shallots in butter. Add flour. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add boiling chicken stock. Cook 10-15 minutes at low heat.
  3. At the last minute, add parsley and mustard. Serve with pork roast or chops.

Sauce Robert (Yields 1-1/2 quarts) 1-1/2 cup shallots, minced 1/4 cup parsley, minced 3/4 cup cornichons, julienned 1-1/2 cups white wine 3 cups demi-glace 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  1. Combine shallots and wine. Heat and reduce by half.
  2. Add demi-glace and cook 2-3 minutes. Add cornichons.
  3. Remove sauce from heat. Add mustard and parsley, and serve with pork, beef, or fowl.

Cumberland Sauce (Yields 2 cups) 2 oranges 1 lemon 1 cup port 1 cup currant jelly 1/2 cup Madeira wine 5 cloves 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard zests of orange and lemon

  1. Juice and julienne oranges and lemons. Set aside.
  2. Combine Port, Madeira, and cloves together in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce by half.
  3. Add current jelly, orange and lemon juices to reduction. Heat thoroughly.
  4. Finish sauce with zests and mustard. Serve with roasted pork.

Spicy Barbecue Sauce (Yield 1-1/2 quarts) 1-1/2 qts. barbecue sauce 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 3 tbsp. dry mustard 2 tsp. cayenne pepper dash of Tabasco

  1. Combine dry mustard with water to create a paste.
  2. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Coat cooked pork or ribs with sauce and glaze under boiler until brown and bubbly.

So look at your menu, keep pork in mind, and you will find it possible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

 

Lunch On The Grass

AS I SAID last issue, my idea of a good picnic is one that I can fix at home, and need only carry and unpack at the chosen picnic spot. I am by no means insensitive to summa cum laude picnics, but they have to be provided by others, and more power to those valiant souls. I remember the grand picnics of my youth in England, when the cooks in the kitchens (please note the plural) prepared these feasts and stuffed them into the famous English picnic baskets (no plastic plates or glasses in these grandiose affairs), to be carried by the chauffeur. But all of this is gone with the wind, and what remains is the pleasure of eating out of doors with the least trouble to myself, and to my guests.

Food At Bangalore Fine Dining Restaurant

When packing for a picnic, be sure to keep all the elements of each course together. Appetizers, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, desserts and fruits should be wrapped in foil first, assembled according to course, and labelled as such. This way, unpacking the food will be neater and quicker, and the food will not be too exposed to sun, sand, and /other insects. Admittedly. Admittedly, all the pretty foods spread out on a tablecloth as in the dejeuner sur l’herbe paintins look lovely, but if you want to do this, carefully survey your picnic spot fist.

If you want to heat up a casserole, be sure to choose a kettle or caserole that will not crack over an open fire. Many attractive casseroles are made for oven cooking only and won’t stand the direct heat of an open fire. If yours is to be a bird-and bottle picnic, carve the bird at home, because it is easier, and wrap each piece separately. But if you take along a roast, keep it whole or the meat will dry out. Take a board and a sharp knife, and carve the meat on the spot.

Carry cheese in a hunk and leave French or Italian bread whole–it dries out very quickly. Fresh fruit is the best picnic dessert, to my mind, with plain cookies or a slab of bitter chocolate. Crackers, guava paste, and cream cheese are also good, but avoid anything creamy that will drip on you or go bad in the sun. And be sure to bring lemon or two, because lemons are always very useful, if for nothing else than to make lemonade with the plentiful, cold water you must also bring along. Water is so often forgtten, but nothing takes its place when you are thirsty.

Finally, before I give you a few recipes that have served me well for my picnics, remember that you have invited people to eat with you and that you have the obligation to produce food at a reasonable time. If you can’t, take my friend Norbert Muhlen’s advice:

  1. The best restaurant is the best picnic of all. If you like fresh air, choose a restaurant that has a garden.
  2. CHICKEN SALAD WITHOUT MAYONNAISE About 4 cups bite-sized cooked chicken pieces White Wine Salad Dressing Watercress 2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters
  3. Put the chicken pieces into a big, deep bowl. Pour the White Wine Salad Dressing over the meat and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, so that the chicken will absorb the dressing. Garnish with watercress and hard-cooked eggs.

WHITE WINE SALAD DRESSING

wine salad dressing recipes

This dressing is excellent for cooked vegetable, meat, and seafood salads. It takes the place of mayonnaise, which, unless properly refrigerated, is apt to spoil when it is hot outside. 3/4 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup tarragon or other light, mild vinegar 1/4 cup minced onion 1 small garlic clove, mashed salt Freshly ground pepper Fresh or dried herbs (optional)

Combine all ingredients and blend them thoroughly. Mix with foods that are still hot (hot foods absorb better than cold ones). YIELD: About 1-1/2 cups.

FRENCH RICE CAKE

rice-cake-recipe

Different and good, and it keeps well. This French favorite has proved popular with my American guests. 1-1/2 cups mixed glace fruits, diced fine 1/2 cup kirsch or brandy 1 cup long-grain rice 1 quart milk 3/4 cup sugar 5 eggs, separated 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring 1 teaspoon rose or orange water (optional) 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped Fine dry breadcrumbs Fresh raspberries or strawberries

In a bowl, toss together the glace fruits and the kirsch or brandy. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or longer. Put the rice and milk in the top of a double boiler. Bring to the boiling point over direct heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set over water that has been brought to a boil in the bottom of the double boiler. Simmer covered over gently boiling water until the rice has absorbed all the milk–at least 30 minutes. Beat in the sugar and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove whole double boiler from heat, but keep rice over hot water, and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the almond flavoring and the rose or orange water. Add the almonds and the glace fruits and their liquid to the rice mixture, which will be on the stiff side. Mix thoroughly. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the rice mixture. Generously grease an 8- or 9- inch springform pan and sprinkle the bottom and sides with breadcrumbs. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350[deg.]F.) for 1 to 1-1/4 hours until the cake tests clean and is firm but not dried out. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Serve lukewarm or cold, with berries. YIELD: 8 to 10 servings.

Beef Roasting Ovens

roasting ovensThe typical commercial kitchen used to be fitted with one or more deck ovens. They were just one level high and were sized to take two or more of the standard 18 X 26-inch rectangular sheet pans. The difference between a baking oven and a roasting oven was simply the height of the drop-down door. Roasts take up more vertical space than baked goods. Two or more were stacked to save space, but they still took up a lot of room. Operations that did a lot of their own baking could opt for a ferris wheel type oven that produced more per square foot than the cumbersome decks.

The oven usually supplied under the range top was used for miscellaneous menu items and seldom for more than one roast at a time. Temperatures inside a range oven, just as in your oven at home, are not precisely consistent even though they are thermostatically controlled. The thermostat probe senses only a small parcel of the air in the oven and warm air rises. The re-arrangement of the shelf position, depending on the food product, was a constant chore.

Then came the invention of the forced convection oven. An electric fan circulates the heated air throughout the cavity. Unlike the one-layer deck oven, the convection oven allows several rack positions and all the food is cooked in virtually the same time. The idea was to provide more oven capacity in less floor space, and the concept worked. However, two other extraordinary side benefits accrued. Foods can be cooked at temperatures about 50[deg.] F lower and in about half the time.

It was determined that as food is cooked in a static hot air oven, the water molecules at its surface are constantly evaporating, producing a film of moist cool air. This boundary layer is an insulating barrier that slows down heat transfer. The high speed wind in a convection oven continuously sweeps this blanket away for faster, lower temperature cooking.

This method does wonders for meats such as roast beef because of two factors.

roast-beef-recipes

  • First, the lower heat dramatically reduces shrinkage. (The higher the heat, the greater the shrinkage). Meat is mostly water and as the connective tissue shrink, they literally wring the natural juices from the product.
  • Second, the meat is subjected to heat for a shorter period of time which means less loss of volatile flavors and nutrients due to evaporation.

By the way, the versatile convection oven is also used for baking. There are many brands and sizes from cabinets that take a roll-in rack to small countertop units.

But, if an operator is really serious about roast beef, there is an even better procedure. It’s called slow roasting. Instead of heating up an oven to 400[deg.] F, the slow roast cabinets cook at only about 200[deg.], then automatically turn themselves down to a safe holding temperature of 140[deg.]. The roasts can be left in the oven until ready for serving or can be transferred to other holding cabinets or refrigerated for later use. A common procedure is to start the roasts before the kitchen closes at night. They’ll be ready for serving in the morning.

Since the heat is so low, there is very little shrinkage and the product retains most of its natural juices and flavor. But something more magical also happens.

Meat is mostly water held together by a network of connective tissues. There are two types of these fibers. One is called “collagen” with fibers of varying lengths which appear white in quantity. The other is “elastin” and is yellow in color with its fibers in branches.

Older animals contain more of these tissues and are tougher. Animals that have been allowed exercise also have more of these fibers and are graded lower. However, there is a natural process that actually turns the tougher collagen fibers into gelatin. This tenderizing action takes place at low cooking temperatures that allow the natural enzymes in the meat to soften the fibers. The elastin fibers stay in place so that a firm yet tender product results.

There is no cooking procedure that attacks the elastin fibers. Not even boiling or steaming. However, commercial tenderizers do digest both types of connective tissues and will produce a mushy product if left on too long. They should be used on flat cuts, such as steaks, just before cooking.

Components And Characteristics Of  The Oven

  1. Convection ovens can be ordered with a special set of optional controls which include a second timer and thermostat. One set is for the cooking time and temperature and the other for holding.
  2. The slow cook and hold cabinets, designed specifically for that purpose, are available with probes that measure the internal temperature of the meat. Some have electronic digital readouts that constantly display the internal temperature of the roast as well as the temperature of the air in the cabinet.
  3. Some cabinet ovens are fitted with casters for mobility. This allows freedom in kitchen planning so that they can be wheeled into position when needed or stored out of the way while other tasks take their space. These electrically operated ovens do not have to be placed under ventilation hoods.
  4. Smaller models are available with a cutting board top and heat lamps above. The complete carving station will display one roast under the showmanship and safety of the infrared lamps, while down below a second roast can be cooking or just lying in wait. Heated pans can be provided for hot au jus and an electric slicer and portion scale may also be needed.
  5. Instead of one tall cabinet, two half-size units with separate controls can be stacked for further versatility. Roasts can be holding in one while pies are being baked in the other.

Using The Oven

The most common cause of what we loosely term “food poisoning” is the mis-handling of rare roast beef. The use of a meat thermometer is a must to be sure that the internal temperature is at least 145[deg.]. The controls supplied with the commercial convection or slow cook and hold oven are extremely reliable, with more and more use of sophisticated electronic sensors and digital readouts.

For institutional use, central commissaries and larger operations, there is another, relatively new, way to cook roast beef and have it come out on the rare side of doneness that many customers prefer.

This system, approved by the USDA, vacuum packages the roasts. They are lowered into a tank of heated water at a very specific temperature for a pre-determined time and the packages are not allowed to touch each other.

The controls and monitoring equipment mark the time within one minute and the water temperature in the tank does not vary more than one degree. After a 195-minute soak, the internal temperature will be only 128[deg.] F, providing a red and rare roast beef. The process does assure the thermal destruction of common Salmonella, making it safe for human consumption.

After the required cooking time, the hot water is promptly drained from the tank and chilled water is circulated to stop further cooking. The beef has a long storage life. It can be kept for up to three months at about 30[deg.] or, if frozen, it can be held longer.

The tank can process about 1,000 pounds of product at a time and meat processors may also start offering the product. Its slow cooking benefits provide for a tender roast, really rare, and with greater yield. Because it is vacuum packed the roast’s juices stay locked in.

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