Archive for October, 2010

Cuisinart Toaster Oven

October 21, 2010

The Cuisinart TOB-195 costs a little more than most toaster ovens but it has loads of features

1. All the controls are right in front.
2. Oven has a great convection feature.
3. Non-stick walls for easy clean-up.
4. Fits the pampered chef circular baking pan.
5. easy to clean surfaces.

The two main complaints is that the door gets really hot and does not pull the tray out when you open it. The door was hot enough to burn my daughter’s finger which occurred only after a really brief touch when opening to pull out some toast. The other issue is that the crumb tray needs to be removed from the back of the oven. That makes it difficult to clean since you have to pull the oven away from the wall to remove the tray.

The really nice feature of this oven is the quick start up, coming up to temp in a few minutes. It’s been great for my family and excellent for dorm style living where a small oven makes short work of those late night hunger pangs. The oven is so versatile that it cooks pizza to a delicious crispness one moment and then is ready to toast of your favorite bagel the next. My family likes it because it’s also an energy saver vs using the larger wall oven.

I like the overall look and versatility of using the larger oven for bigger items and then using this oven for cooking breads, smaller vegetable dishes and fresh baked muffins and pastries for the family.

You will not be disappointed if you purchase this oven but I do recommend making sure that your little ones are warned about the hot oven door and the possibility of getting burned. If purchasing for a dorm room make sure you have ample space for the rear tray removal and keep in mind it will get hot across the entire surface area so don’t store items on top or place it into an enclosed space.

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Cooking with Passion – Is it true?

October 18, 2010

After a week at the Culinary Institute of America I came away with a resurgence of fire to cook well, eat well and run the best operation I know possible. For a week the honeymoon thoughts were in place, and then there was today.

Can anyone tell me what grilled means? Anyone at all? To me that means put onto a flat grill or char broiler and cooked over high heat. In that I asked for grilled cabbage I expected to see cabbage on the grill. No, what I received looked like tissue paper run through the washing machine, in essence steamed cabbage.

Grilling vs steaming, it’s not a difficult concept to grasp but it’s one that perplexes my mind when I look over the menu for service. Three step process

1. Turn on grill and season with oil when ready
2. Slice up cabbage and season with salt and pepper
3. Grill and pan up, and place on line for service.

Instead they went with a 4 step process

1. Turn on steamer
2. Rough cut cabbage and toss into pan.
3. Steam off Cabbage till is’ wilted and colorless
4. Add butter and walk it by the salt and pepper shaker and place on the line for service.

I guess I’ll need to have a cabbage grilling 101 course utilizing concepts of hot and cold and on and off for the grill. Maybe I should post a do not cross line around the steamer?

Healthy Cooking at the Culinary Institute of America

October 3, 2010

In looking at my Blog photo you can see the Colivata restaurant at the CIA. This week I return to the campus to continue my culinary training and honing of skills. I’ll be taking Healthy Cooking class in the morning and business management class at night.

The day starts at 5:30am and then ends around 8pm. What’s nice is that my place of rest is the Journey Inn, located directly across from the Vanderbilt Estate. Journey Inn is run by two sisters, Diane and Michelle DiNapoli, who are two of the most wonderful people you would ever meet. The B&B is beautiful and the rooms are comfortable, nicely decorated and relaxing. Service is top notch and if you get the chance, have breakfast, their selections are the best way to start your day.

I did enjoy my day, and was able to get to see the Vanderbilt property, FDR’s home and Eleanor’s home after her husbands passing in April of 1945. I then went to the CIA campus and spent a few hours at the library doing some research on healthy cooking along with recipe searches.

Tomorrow starts early so I’m heading off to bed.