Archive for the ‘Tools of the trade’ Category


That knife really ties the kitchen together!

January 12th, 2012

 

 

Everyone has things they really love and enjoy, something that no matter how many you buy, you are always looking at the next one your going to buy. For some it is shoes, bags, & hats, sometimes it is all of these things! for me it surely IS all of those things, and we can add Chef knives right at the top of that list. My brother has always had a love for knives as he has collected them for most of his life, I think that rubbed off on me a bit as I seem to have the same obsession with them, just that I prefer kitchen knives. With my new job we get to use every possible top of the line product in our classes, so I can not resist when they offer the opportunity to add these products to our home kitchen collections. This latest knife I picked up today, it is one I have used at work a lot and have absolutely fell in love with. Two of my favorite chefs, Morimoto and Alton Brown have been backing Shun Knives for a long time, but I was skeptical, and now I am a believer. It is hard to pick a favorite because I have knives for every job needed in the kitchen, each one is perfect for a certain task. I like to have my one go-to chef knife, and this being the fifth santoku to join my collection has made it hard. But for now the Shun will be my main knife at home, and I can rotate my classic Henckles to my knife kit for catering and personal chef gigs.

Here is some information on the knife, check out the website as well. These are truly some amazing knifes and comes with a fully backed warranty.

 

 Shun Classic 7-Inch Santoku Hollow Ground Knife

The Blade: Kasumi is a traditional Japanese style of knife making in which an extremely hard core of high-carbon steel is clad—that is, sheathed or covered—with an exterior jacket of another steel. The somewhat “softer” exterior cladding protects the inner cutting core. In Japanese, kasumi means “mist” and is so called because the exterior steel can have a lovely misty appearance when compared to the harder cutting core. 
 Kasumi construction provides an ultimate mix of properties: an extremely sharp edge and ease of sharpening. This clad construction is similar to how samurai swords are traditionally made.
  
The Handle: PakkaWood® is a premium handle material made of genuine hardwood impregnated with resin. The resin makes it moisture resistant, strong, and durable. Sanding and buffing brings PakkaWood® to a beautiful gloss finish. As with natural wood, no two pieces of PakkaWood® are exactly alike.

 

The perfect all-in-one Sweet Potato Spice

April 25th, 2010

by Scott Ingenito

Now, for the first time ever, available for your eating pleasure,

my own, hand ground, all-in-one SWEET POTATO SPICE!!!!

The Enlightened Chef's Hand ground Sweet Potato Spice

I have experimented for the last year with trying to get my mixtures just right, and I finally have done it. This spice adds such a depth of flavor to your sweets, you will never want to make them any other way. I use them with Sweet Potato fries and Mashed sweet potatoes, it is a very sweet, savory and refreshing combination of high quality, super fresh whole spices hand ground and mixed and ready for you to use.


Each 0.2oz bottle is filled with the highest quality of sweet & savory spices, specially ground and blended by Scott to take your sweet potato recipes over the top, way over the top. The only thing you need to do is bake, steam, or boil your sweets, add a little butter or oil, sprinkle with my spice and you will be amazed!

Inside the jar: Light Brown sugar, Cumin, Vietnamese cinnamon, allspice, pacific sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, orange zest & 2 other of my secret savory ingredients.

You can order now through Paypal for $5 (includes shipping & handling -U.S. only)

visit www.paypal.com and sign up or in (no charge for this) and you can pay with your credit or debit card.

Use this email for my identification of whom to send the $ to: scottvincent78@yahoo.com

ORDER NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Kitchen Essentials Part 1: Tools you should have

January 19th, 2010
By Scott Ingenito

We have all heard the slogan ” It’s not the wand, It’s the magician”. Although this may be true, sometimes it is a great combination of the two that can make a difference. When it comes to the kitchen this is definitely true. If you have some knowledge of ingredients, fresh spices, and some basic, decent kitchen tools you can make some incredible meals. It seems people will find any excuse to not cook for themselves or their families, and I believe with a small investment in some simple, quality kitchen tools and smart shopping people will realize that they can find their way in the kitchen.

I will post a part 2 article relating to some of the neccessary spices and “must-haves” for your pantry soon, but for now here is a simple list of tools to make cooking easier, healthier and in some cases faster.

Cutlery

Every good cook needs a decent chef knife, it does not have to be pricey but you need something of quality that will hold an edge and get the job done. There are too many options to list, and in most cases it is a preference of which blade style or grip each person will like. My chef knife of choice is the 7″ Santoku. Price range approximately $30+

7″ Santoku Chef Knife

The word Santoku has Japanese historical significance meaning ‘three virtues’, and a Santoku knife wears its name quite proudly, with its marvelous chopping, dicing and mincing abilities. Typically, they range in sizes from 5″ to 7″ in blade lengths, but smaller ones are available. Sporting a unique styling somewhat like a narrow-bladed cleaver, the Santoku knife is designed for a comfortable, well-balanced grip, while allowing for full blade use. Santoku knives are best known for their sharp edges, either beveled or hollow ground, which enhances their cutting performance. Another feature is the ‘granton edge’ release pattern (scalloped) on the blades that not only adds style, but helps to release thin slices and sticky food after slicing.

I have found with practice that this knife works for every kitchen task that I need to accomplish. There is no need to have the 24 peice knife set out on your counter, you will most likely never use any of them. The only other two knives I rely on are my 5″ Santoku and my Pairing knife. These are used for small tasks typically when I am trying to create something artistic for plating presentation.  Price range approximately $20 +

5″ Santoku Knife & Pairing Knife

Other Tools to make cooking stress-free

Steamers

There are many different styles of steamers on the market, I mostly use my microwave style steamer. Very primitive and simple to use; just fill with a tiny bit of water, place vegetables, grains or proteins on the screen and place in microwave for the desired cook time. This one is great for its simplicity and because it does not use up one of your grills leaving more room on your stove top for other projects. Price range approximately $8 – 25

Microwave style Steamer

Another type that is inexpensive and easy to use are the electric Rice cookers with a steam pan. They come in many different styles and sizes, I recently purchased one of these and I find that it cooks the rice to perfection. Steaming vegetables is super easy as well as proteins, the only drawback is it will take up some counter space. The plus side is that you can cook your rice, vegetables and proteins all together at the same time making for one pot meals (similar to a slow cooker), OR you can use it for each ingredient seperatly. Very conveinent and easy to use, simple to clean and just like the microwave style steamer it does not use up one of your grills leaving more room on your stove top for other projects. Price range approximately $14 – 50

Electric Rice Cooker w/ Steam tray

Slow Cookers

Most everyone has one in their home, they are so simple to use, easy to clean, inexpensive and super conveinent. There are many different styles on the market now, some with special features, even models with multiple pots. They can be used for everything from stews, soups and chilis, to slow roasting meat for amazing dishes. They are a great way to save time and money yet still provide a satisfying meal with little effort.  Price range approximately $25 – 200

Single pot Steel Slow Cooker

Double pot Steel slow cooker

As you can see, with a small investment in these kitchen essentials, some smart grocery shopping, and meal planning you too can cook healthy and take your meals to the next level.

Coming soon…. Kitchen Essentials Part 2:  Spices & Pantry Essentials for the everyday cook

” Time, is on your side, yes it is…”

January 18th, 2010
By Scott Ingenito

So you keep telling yourself that you want to be healthier, be more active, eat better, but it’s only a few weeks into the new year you have given up on your new years resolution…

In todays economic climate we have to work hard, some of us even long odd hours just to make a living. So being active can be very difficult, and for some eating healthy is even harder. Most of us eat-and-run, and we raise are kids the same way, it seems that my parents the “baby-boomers” generation were the last to make dinner a family event each day to take the time to sit down and eat a hearty healthy meal everyday. These days too many people rely on precooked frozen & horribly unhealthy microwave meals, or even worse, Fast Food because they are quick. This needs to stop, most people do not realize how bad these meals are for you even if they seem healthy. Once you stock your kitchen with some basic essentials you will see how easy it is to eat healthy and make quick, healthy, delicious meals that last.

Whether cooking for yourself, a couple, or a whole family you can cook once or twice a week to make it last throughout your whole week. Leftovers can be used for lunches and dinners with just some minor additions each day making preparation quick and easy, yet still providing a delicious, healthy sit down dinner.

Here are some easy tips:

* Pick 1 or 2 days during the week, a few days apart where you can put aside time to cook for around 1 hour or so.

* Utilize kitchen tools like Slow-cookers, dutch ovens & steamers to save time and cook “clean”.

* Shop smart, buy fresh vegetables and ingredients that can be used in multiple meals.

Think outside the box, experiment, you will probably surprise yourself!

Sample meals and ways to use the leftovers throughout the week:

Meal Idea # 1 dinner first night.

* Pork tenderloin

( Season with salt, pepper. thyme, Herbes de Provence, then pan sear all the sides, place in the oven to finish cooking)

* Sweet potatoes. (make what you need for dinner and one or two extra)

* Vegetables of your choice (more than you need for tonight’s dinner)

(both the potatoes and vegetables can go easily into your steamer)

 While this is all being put together you can have a pot of brown rice cooking on the stove.
(make 4-6 cups depending on how many people your cooking for)

The leftovers:

Idea # 1 lunch the next day.

* Cut up a few pieces of the pork, add some of the brown rice, lettuce, tomato or salsa, cheddar jack cheese, and mix it up.

* Lay out the mix on a whole grain soft wrap . add some ancho chili or cajun seasoning, Now when you get to work you have a fresh “pulled pork taco”

Idea # 2, Dinner next night.

* Take some of the pork and chop it in small strips, add barbeque sauce, chopped onions, add to a pan on medium heat, mix together until the barbeque sauce condenses and the onions caramelize.

(approximately 15 minutes).

* Add to a whole grain Ciabatta roll or just eat plain on a plate to save on the carbs.

 while this is cooking

1. Take your leftover sweet potato, chop it up into cubes, add to a bowl,

2. Add tbs of butter, pinches of salt, pepper, garlic, all spice, brown sugar, orange zest, then mix together.

3. heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, mash with a fork and you have some flavor packed mashed sweet potatoes to go with your pulled pork.

Now that is at least 3 meals out of 1 cooked meal. By cooking a little extra when you have time you can create quick, healthy, delicious sit-down meals that take only minutes to prepare.

Another quick Idea:

Meal Idea # 2 Dinner

Make my Vegetarian Vida Chili which cooks in your Croc-Pot all day, hassle free while you are at work, the gym or watching the game.

The chili will be enough for days if you follow my recipe. You can have it as your main dish the next night as well, add in some of the left over brown rice if you like.

* Take some for lunch the next day.

If you are bored the next night you can use it as a dip:

1. Melt some cheddar or jack cheese on top.

2. Add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt, fresh cilantro and dip your corn chips in.

These were just some easy examples of meals I have made that help me save time throughout the week and help me eat healthy while still creating satisfying sit-down dinners. There are a few great recipes on this blog you can use for this type of cooking and of course I will be adding more each week so check back frequently. In the mean time, try some of your own ideas out and I am sure you will see that in the long run it is easier, healthier and much cheaper to spend a little time in your kitchen.