Archive for the ‘Product Demos’ Category

It’s Back!

January 14, 2016

Blog crashed and was only able to restore data to 2011, rest assured I’ll have new items and ideas in the very near future.  Stay tuned!

Check out some frozen drinks featured on WHAG 25 – Your4State.com

 

Red Monkey Seasoning and Rubs

July 4, 2011

I stumbled across the Red Monkey website over 2 months ago and they graciously sent me a few samples to try. I’ve been using them in a variety of recipes from commercial to home use and each seasoning is loaded with flavor.

The main three that I have utilized are:

Mango Habanera – a delicious blend of sea salt, dried mango, orange peel, spices, peppers, smoke, garlic and a few other spices.

Smoked Paprika and Roasted Garlic – a nice blending of sea salt, garlic, smoke, onion paprika and select spices.

Hickory Smoked Balsamic – a perfect blend of sea salt, dehydrated garlic, spices and herbs, dehydrated onion, apple cider vinegar powder, ground mustard, citric acid, and balsamic vinegar powder.

I used the seasonings on chicken, ribs, steaks, pork loins and chops, fish, lobster, shrimp, vegetables, dips, sauces, gravies and the list goes on. Don’t take my word for it, go online and look up the seasonings and pick up some to try. They are certainly worth it, and at $3.99 a bottle they go a long way. They also carry foodservice sizes in a few of their blends if you need larger quantities. I’ve been using the smaller bottles but will be placing an order for foodservice sizes in the next two days. I really hope they have the Roasted Raspberry Chipotle in stock so that I can try out on some smoked pork or beef brisket.

Try taking 1 tablespoon of the Smoked Paprika and Roasted Garlic seasoning and add it to 1/2 cups of sour cream, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt. Mix well and allow to sit for at least 3 hours for seasonings to blend. You can add more or less according to your personal taste, just remember that the flavor will intensify as it sits in the fridge.

Stay tuned in for more ideas and recipes featuring Red Monkey seasonings!

Cuisinart SM-70 7-Quart Stand Mixer

March 16, 2011

The Cuisinart Stand Mixer arrived on the doorstep and my two daughters were thrilled to be part of the unpacking and product testing. When I say product testing I mean anything and everything that comes out of the mixer, they want to taste.

Setup was easy and I had the bowl and attachments cleaned up and ready to go in a few minutes. I first tried out some chocolate chip cookie recipes and then moved onto fresh dinner rolls. I used a variety of flour in each recipe, even incorporating whole wheat flour to see how the mixer powered through thicker dough. The ease of adjusting the power by a turn of the knob was really nice and the fold button really helped when adding in the chips and other particulates. The 12 speeds give you a wide variety of mixing possibilities and pared with the auto shut off countdown timer you can work your recipe magic to the exact time needed. Cake mixes and muffin batters are equally a breeze with this awesome unit. I’ve yet to tax the powerful motor or find something that bogs down the paddle, dough hook or whisk when working up my recipes.

When I attached the dough hook I powered through several batches of whole wheat and buttermilk rolls back to back without an issue of overheating or loss of power. With the clear cover guard in place I simply added ingredients in the orders called for and went about my business until the dough formed a nice ball ready to kneed, rest, portion and bake. The cover is a nice feature in that my two girls and son at times ask to add ingredients, and I was forever worrying about the cover falling in or coming apart on my Kitchen-Aid. Well, no worries with this system, the cover pressure locks into place and will not slid off or move since it’s made to fir around the entire bowl as a one piece unit.

I don’t have the attachments yet, but I’d love to try out the three power ports available. If you pick up the attachments you can chop, blend, process, squeeze juice, grind sausage, make pasta, and so forth. With this one machine and it’s attachments you can have the power of a fully stocked kitchen in the space of a stand mixer.

Cleanup is a breeze with a simply wipe down and since there are very few corners and hooks you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning those occasional spills.

Here’s a listing of the stand mixer with included items:

Tilt-back Head
Top Cover
3 Power outlets
7 Quart Stainless Steel Bowl with Handles
Head-lift Release Lever securely locks stand mixer head into raised tilt-back position
On/Off, Fold and Speed Control Dial
12 speeds for precision mixing.
15-Minute Countdown Timer with Auto Shutoff
Chef’s Whisk
Flat Mixing Paddle
Dough Hook
Splash-guard with Pour Spout

If you are looking for a gift, or to replace and ailing mixer with a something that will stand up to years of use and mixing then look no further. The Cuisinart SM-70 Stand Mixer has what you need and I highly recommend it.

Cuisinart Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker with Fuzzy Logic Technology

December 15, 2010


I like the Cuisinart Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker with Fuzzy Logic Technology for one very important reason, it cooks with little guesswork on my part. As a professional chef it’s an easy setup and go cooking method and I really didn’t need to use the directions. I have noticed that a few review said that their rice cooking times seemed very long. On average cooking uncooked long grain or short grain brown rice does take some time. We are accustomed to having pre-done rice or minute rice, and cooking quality, healthy rice is simply not the same.

This is direct from the manufacturer: Cuisinart introduces a smarter way to cook rice…and a lot of other dishes, as well. Introducing the Rice Plus(tm) Multi-Cooker, the first product from Cuisinart with advanced fuzzy logic technology. This built-in “brain” senses fluctuations in cooking and automatically adjusts operation to ensure perfect results. With pre-programmed settings for six types of rice, plus oatmeal, soup, steam, slow cooking, and more – and easy dishwasher cleanup – this is destined to become a favorite.

I’ve used it’s many settings from cooking rice to making bean soup and everything has turned out perfect. I love it for cooking my brown rice. I simply add the rice, fill to the water level on the side based upon rice added and set it for brown rice and it’s done in about 1.5 hrs. Quick cooking is not necessarily the best for you even though it may be the simplest method of getting food to the table. If you want to eat healthy then you need to cook and prepare properly and this little cooker does the job. The interior wipes clean and the bowl for rice is easy to wash and wipe clean and the steaming insert just needs a quick rinse and you are ready to cook again. It doesn’t take up much counter space and I’ve kept it right by the sink to extend the faucet nozzle right into the cooker after adding rice to make the filling process that much simplistic. Lastly the nicest feature is the keep warm setting that allows you to hold the rice in the cooker without overcooking and turning to mush.

I did go back and spend some time on the directions after the initial setup and cooking and I must admit it is confusing and I could see how the common user would really have some difficulty in figuring out the cooking times and buttons. I give this rice cooker four stars for the quality of cooking and ease of setup, cleanup and service it offers but not five stars due to the complexity of the instruction manual. I think the steps and instructions could be written a little clearly and more towards the average consumer.

Just remember that quality cooking is more tan throwing food together it’s spending the time to create and bring out the best in your food. Do spend some time on the instruction manual if you are used to cooking minute of fast rice, because if you simply put rice in to cook 15 minutes before the rest of you meal is complete you will be waiting for your rice to complete the meal.

Cuisinart Rechargeable Salt and Pepper Mill

November 29, 2010

Right from the box this salt and pepper set worked well. There did seem to be an issue of charging but when I switched sides both units charged accordingly and have never been a problem since. The ease in changing the grind certainly helps with a variety of textures needed. Some recipes call for a coarse grind pepper such as grilled steaks but a finer grind in soups and sauces. This also applies to the salt mill as well and it’s ease of use.

The handle is ergonomically designed and comfortable to hold and both units have an easy to press button on the top to start the grinding. The base unit is great for storage and makes recharging easy as well as economical, thus saving on tossing batteries into landfills.

I also like the light feature so you can see what your grinding into and how much. The hoppers hold a nice amount of salt or pepper and are interchangeable and it you desire to add a variety of herbs or dried garlic/ginger the grinders are equally up to the task. Once I’ve used the grinder I simply put back into teh charging base and it ready for the next culinary need. Very simple and straight forward without a lot of guesswork on operation and cleaning the grinders and base charging station is a snap with a simple wipe with a damp cloth.

Pick up a set and enjoy the versatility of grinding wihtout the constant twisting of your wrist. Both grinders are also kid friendly, just make sure they hold them high enough above the food without dropping them into the pot, dish or plate.

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.

Cuisinart ICE-30BC 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

August 6, 2010

This machine has been really neat to use. It’s has a very small counter foot print, everything stores within itself, and it’s very easy to use and clean. The quality of ice cream, yogurt, sorbet or mixed drink is dependent upon what you place into the freeze bowl before you switch it on. I’ve made ice cream, ice milk, frozen yogurt, frozen drinks and everything mixed up quite well and were very flavorful. The more fat in the mix the better the consistency and flavor. The ice milk did freeze up nice but after going into the deep freeze it hardened up too much. My recommendation is to stick with the full flavor varieties of ice cream and yogurt.

However, sugar free drinks did not freeze well at all in the machine. They tended to cause the machine to run hard and stop when the ice built up on the sides. That nice slushy granular ice texture never formed and I had to stop the machine and pour warm water into the bowl to remove the ice. You need the sugar to combine with the ice to get he granulated texture so I suggest to sticking to the real thing and use sugar.

Cleanup is fast and simple and took just 2 to 3 minutes and every component was cleaned and the freeze bowl was back in the freezer ready for the next mixed drink or luscious creamy dessert. You need to be careful with the freeze bowl and make sure that you refreeze the bowl upside down so any water can run out of it while it’s drying and freezing.

You won’t be disappointed when you purchase this machine, and you will have loads of fun creating a plethora of frozen delights.

Canon EOS Rebel T2i

August 5, 2010

I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I do take a good bit of semi professional shots of food, landscapes and assorted images for my online reviews and publications. I was previously doing all that with a Canon 40D but it became to cumbersome and awkward and downright heavy when I had to go from location to location to shoot food images and landscape shots.

So, when the Canon T2i came out I looked over the material and decided it was time to sell the Canon 40D and look into a smaller more feature oriented camera, and I’ve never looked back. The setup was straightforward out of the box and I was up and running after a quick charge of the battery. The buttons are well placed and the manual certainly laid out the specifics of what I needed to select if I desired manual, semi auto or automatic settings. I attached hte body strap and was off shooting pictures.

The first images taken of my daughter were right on the money and I’ve been using a Canon 60mm Macro lens along with a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle and the kit lens that came with the camera. I’ve also purchased a SanDisk Extreme card that allows for rapid firing of pictures with a quick read/right capability and picked up a new sdhc external card adapter to use for downloading onto to my Macbook.

The software including is very easy to install and assisted in setting up my files to get my pictures from my SD card to my external Hard Drive. I can go on and on with the specifics of the camera or the details of the electronics but others have done so, and I don’t want to fill your time with extra words. Suffice to say that this camera is certainly worth every penny. It’s lighter, more user friendly and gives you the ability to take high quality video, something the 40D never offered. I’m looking forward to putting this camera through it’s paces at the next food test kitchen and family vacation.

If you decide to purchase this camera you will not be disappointed.

Chef’s Choice Professional Knife Sharpening System – Model 130

May 21, 2010

When you are looking at a pile of onions, fresh peppers or 10 pounds of tomatoes that need to be diced for fresh Salsa you certainly want the sharpest knife on the rack. Instead of pushing through the food and possibly slicing a finger or two from the added pressure you want to be able to glide through your work without a lot of knife force and effort. Ripping and tearing into your food leaves a mess, your bread is squished flat and your ripe tomatoes are splattered all over your cutting board. So you end up spending large sums of money to have your knives professional sharpened and then you try your best to keep a steeled edge as needed. Sooner or later, that edge will dull and you are back to the basics of forcing your knife through food.

Now with the M130, all your knife sharpening options are at your fingertips and in one compact appliance. You can now have that professionally sharpened edge for all your knives including Asian style, pocket, military and hunting knives, as well as all serrated and straight edge kitchen knives. By pulling your knife through the numbered slots you can be assured that the process is simple and straightforward without any guess work. “Stage 1, using 100% diamond abrasives, sharpens the edge. Stage 2 is a super-hardened miniature steel that develops a shaving sharp edge with ultra-sharp microscopic teeth, providing a superior edge “bite”. In Stage 3, a revolutionary flexible stropping disk polishes the edge to hair-splitting sharpness. Using these stages in different combination produces custom edges, suited to a particular cutting task.

If you want a sharp steeled edge then use 1 & 2, if you want a professional knife style edge then use 1 & 3, or you can use a combination of all three depending upon your task. The sharpener also takes the correct angle guesswork out of the process so you simply glide your knife through the marked slots at an even pull to get the best edge possible. The company guarantees “fool-proof sharpening”

In testing out the station I’ve sharpened chef knives, boning knives, fillet knives, serrated knives, military knives and pocket knives. Many knives I thought were too far gone to be of use but this Sharpening System brought the edge right back. I now have several sets of knives in my collection that were once cast offs. The hardest I’ve sharpened to date were an older style chef knife from the 1960’s, along with a U.S.M.C. K-Bar knife. Both knives needed a few additional passes through stage 1, but the stage 1 & 3 system gave the knives renewed life.

I highly recommend this system for any home cook and foodservice professional that needs to have the sharpest knives on the rack. You will not be disappointed.

Cuisinart GreenGourmet Hard Anodized Eco-Friendly Non Stick 12-Inch Stir Fry Wok

May 14, 2010

As a professional chef I run across all sorts of cookware and kitchen gadgets that are supposed to be the latest and greatest for the kitchen. However, this wok just so happens to be the next best thing, and I picked it up at my local Le Gourmet Chef in Hagerstown, MD.

This wok does the job of providing even heat throughout your cooking process. The surface is super slick but gives you a nice foundation for stir fry’s, stock reduction, or working up Pho Noodle bowl recipes. Cleanup is a breeze, with paper towel no less. The nicest feature is the stay cool recycled stainless steel handle. Some of the key features are:

* Exclusive Ceramica nonstick technology is PTFE/PFOA and petroleum free ceramic-based nonstick interior helps to reduce oil consumption and preserve the environment
* Hard anodized pan construction provides superior heat conductivity, requiring less energy to achieve desired cooking temperature
* Riveted stainless stick handle stays cool on the stovetop and is made from 70% recycled stainless steel
* Packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and is printed with soy ink
* Oven and broiler safe for

The deep rich browning created by this pan is uniform and flavorful. Don’t let the competition sway you, cooking till black is not the new brown! So, if you are going green, get this cookware, it’s certainly your next step! Simply put, the ultra smooth non-stick surface is smoother than glass; thus cooking requires little if no oil and clean up is a breeze with a simple rinse and wipe.

As long as you stay away from aerosol sprays you will have an enjoyable experience with this cookware or any cookware for that matter. If you must spray in your oil then I suggest you buy an oil mister because spraying from a can simply adds residue that ruins pans and takes away from the flavor of your food after buildup occurs.