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Author Archives: Doug White
Doug White

Let’s Talk Turkey

It is almost time to turn a perfectly good turkey into a dried out, shoe leather entrée.  Or is it… Do you bake your bird at 325 until the popper pops?  If you do that and don’t stop what you are doing every twenty minutes to baste that baby you will have a dry and mealy turkey.  There are so many ways to make a perfect turkey that you shouldn’t suffer through another bad bird.

My personal favorite is a smoked turkey.  A few years ago I put my first turkey on the Big Green Egg.  I don’t personally cook many turkeys, but it was by far the best I have ever done.  This year, Aggressive Appliances added the Memphis Grill Line, we cooked our staff Thanksgiving lunch turkey on it just this week.

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It doesn’t cook better than the Egg, but it will cook just as good and be a whole lot easier.  Just fill the Memphis with your favorite wood pellets, set a temperature and place the probe in the thick part of the thigh.  You are free to watch the parade on TV until the smart phone app buzzes to tell you your meat is ready.  With both the Big Green Egg and the Memphis Grill you can slow smoke or roast at a high temperature.

If you want to cook outside, but don’t want to smoke a turkey, deep fry it on a power burner.  Several of our grill brands make built-in burners with up to 65,000 btu’s.  A turkey on the grill rotisserie is also awesome.

Some people prefer to cook in the kitchen.  If your oven has a convection fan, DO NOT cook your poultry on standard bake.  Convection Bake mode or True Convection (some brands have different terms for the same thing) are good, but Convection Roast mode is best.  If your oven doesn’t have that mode, come see us and we can get you one that does.  Convection roast uses the bake, broil and convection elements plus the fan to sear and lock in the juices of any big piece of meat.  Use a temperature probe since that is a faster cook mode; you do not want to overcook your turkey.  Or maybe you like the idea of rotisserie cooking but don’t like the idea of outside cooking; check out some of our ovens with integrated rotisseries.  If you are cooking a smaller turkey, maybe 10 to 14 pounds, you can probably cook that in your combination steam oven.  What?  You don’t have one?  Well you should.  They will convection cook while adding steam.  You will get a browned and roasted piece of meat that could not be more tender and juicy.  Combi-steam ovens are the new hot thing and many brands now offer those.  If none of those are quick enough, several Speed Ovens have a turkey breast pre-programmed cook mode.  A speed oven will blend heat with microwaves.  Restaurants cook that way for many foods and you can too.

If all of that sounds like too much stress, pick up one of our ovens with pre-programmed cook modes.  Just tell the oven that you are cooking a turkey and it will pick the mode and cook until the probe tells it the right temperature has been reached.  You should enjoy the holidays with your family and friends, not fretting over the best mode to cook your meal.

Why are grills so expensive?!

Why are grills so expensive?!

If you have ever bought a grill at one of the big box stores, it can make our grills that start about $1000 and up (way up…way, way up) seem kind of pricey. What are you getting with a $3999 DCS, $5769 Wolf or a $12,999 Alfresco that you do not get with a $199 Memorial Day promo grill? BTU’s and longer life are the key benefits.

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I was at my sister’s house a few weeks ago. She lives out of state and can’t easily buy appliances from us, so don’t judge her. As the appliance expert of the family, she asked me to look at her grill. Without even walking outside, I told her that her hardware store grill is only good for about two or three years and then maybe you can replace a few parts and get another year out of it. When I looked at it, I was exactly correct. Even though it has stainless steel burners and stainless flame tamers, they do not use the same grade or gauge metal as the premium brands. In her case, the caps over the burners that even out the heat were a pile of rust and the stainless base plate had so much rust that the brackets holding up the drip pan were gone. I was able to wire some things together and get one more season out of her grill.

Our premium brand grills typically have lifetime warranties on most of their stainless steel components. That doesn’t mean you can forget about maintenance. The burners, grates, fireboxes and other heat zone components are built of much thicker gauge material that last much longer. The other big advantage is that our grills are much hotter. If you want to sear a steak the way Ruth’s Chris does, you need a thousand or more degrees. The main burners from our grills are often 25,000 btu’s or higher. Alfresco’s sear zone will hit 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, you can create a great crust on your steak so quickly that you can keep a great rare zone in the middle.

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I don’t want to say that you cannot successfully cook on a less expensive grill; I did for years. Now that I have a great DCS grill, I can say without reservation that my ability to cook great meals has gone up substantially. Come in and let us show you some options to turn your parties into a more impressive event.

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Commercial Cooking and Cooling – Sort of

TrueA few of our brands got their start building products that were not intended for home use.  Products designed for restaurants and grocery stores tend to be larger, louder and less efficient, but more reliable than residential appliances.  While no one recommends commercial equipment for your house, we are able to recommend some commercial brands. 

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A large number of coolers and refrigerators in grocery and convenience stores carry the True logo.  True got their start in the 40’s building drink coolers.  Their first big contract was with 7-Up, building reach-in coolers for soda bottles.  They’ve grown to become the biggest supplier in the world for display coolers and restaurant refrigeration.  True Residential builds a complete line of under-counter refrigerators, wine coolers, freezers and ice machines for the home.  They have just added a 42” and 48” built-in side by side refrigerator that would look as much at home in a premium restaurant as it will in your kitchen.  These products have the super high quality components of commercial equipment, while meeting the stringent energy standards of the residential market. 

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The world’s largest restaurant company, Darden Restaurants, happens to be a local, Orlando based company.  Darden owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and several other restaurant brands.  They demand equipment that will not let them down.  Behind any Darden bar you will see Perlick refrigerators chilling their beer and wine.  You can have that same commercial quality with a sleeker look right in your own home with their residential under-counter refrigerators that come in widths from 15” to 48″.  Perlick is also an industry leader in stadium, arena, and bar beer systems.  Keeping your beer cold, whether it comes in cans, bottles or kegs, is no struggle for Perlick.

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Many people assume that Viking’s restaurant style ranges originated in restaurant kitchens, however, that would be untrue.  Viking was designed to look like it came from a commercial kitchen, but have the features and safety of a home range.  Over three years ago Fred Carl, who founded Viking, sold the company to Middleby Corp.  VikingCktp3

Middleby, a restaurant and commercial equipment manufacturer, has brought features directly from their restaurant division to their Viking residential appliances.  Their French door wall oven uses the same hinge used on a Blodgett commercial oven.  Their 23,000 btu 7 Series range burners are based on the Southbend restaurant range. The CookTek inductors in Viking’s new induction cooktop will outcook any other appliance in our store. Their speed oven, Turbo Chef, will begin shipping in a few weeks. 

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There is no reason you can not cook and cool like the chefs in your favorite premium restaurant.  Well, not having the skills of your favorite chef might be a valid reason for not cooking like them, but at least you can have comparable equipment to practice on!

Is New Technology Great?

JennAirWifiOven5Can you remember a time when you had to wait for the 11 o’clock news to get the sports scores? Have you ever had part of a song lyric in your head but couldn’t remember the whole song?  Or been in the grocery store and didn’t have the list of ingredients for the recipe you want to make?  Can you live without your smart phone?  With Google in your pocket, we can have a world’s worth of knowledge available anytime.  If you take your phone or tablet with you to the kitchen, you can look up recipes or cooking techniques with ease.   WolfWallOven2

I almost never reference a cookbook anymore.  Pretty soon, you may not even need to power up your phone or tablet to be a better cook.  We now have at least four brands of ovens (click on any of the pictures to go to their sites) with some pre-programmed smart cook functionality and at least four brands that are offering limited wi-fi connectivity to control or check your oven remotely.

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I said “at least” because new models are being announced or rumored all the time. If you don’t cook a prime rib regularly, you may forget what temperature to set the meat probe. A smart oven has that built into it.  Just pull up the smart cook function and tell it that you want a medium rare prime rib and the oven does the rest.  Today’s most advanced ovens have settings for beef, pork, poultry, baked goods, and many more foods.

DacorWalloven A few days ago we installed Jenn-Air’s new oven.  It has their second generation advanced touch controller with photos of food built in.  If you don’t know the difference in medium and medium rare, the photos show examples of each.JennAirWifiOven6

The interface is now easier to use and they have added app controlled Wi-fi connectivity.  I installed the app this morning and without touching the oven, I changed the touch screen image, turned on the oven, and set the timer.  The advantage is that you can start the pre-heat while you are at the grocery store or turn off the oven that you forgot before you left the house.

JennAirWifiOven2Come by and we can show you the advanced controllers from Jenn-Air, Miele, Dacor and Wolf. Be sure to bring your phone so you can play on one yourself….just make sure you turn off the oven before you leave!

You’re So Fresh!!!

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We really advocate using appliances correctly. Some may tend to generalize and use their appliances the same way every time even when they’ve updated or upgraded to new appliances.  This made me think that maybe we should throw out some hints on the best ways to use your appliances starting with refrigeration.

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Refrigerators are good at keeping things cold, but not everything needs to go in the refrigerator and not every part of a refrigerator does the same thing. Some foods do not do well in the refrigerator.  Most potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark cabinet – not the refrigerator.  Onions aren’t as light sensitive, but like potatoes shouldn’t be refrigerated.

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Check your tomatoes, peaches, pears, or nectarines for ripeness.  If they aren’t quite ripe, do not refrigerate them yet.  Leave them on the counter until ripe because refrigeration keeps them from ripening further. Lemons do well for a week on countertops but should then be stored in the crisper drawer of a refrigerator to keep fresh.

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For foods that do need to be refrigerated, pay attention to where you place them in a refrigerator.  The door shelves are the warmest part of the refrigerator, so the items that are most sensitive to temperature and temperature fluctuations should not be stored on the door. Eggs and milk are best stored deep in the refrigerator, even if your refrigerator has gallon door shelves. This helps maintain a consistent, cold temp that both of those items need to maintain their freshness.  Your produce bins are designed to maintain the best temperature and humidity for produce, so use them for that.  If you are not sure where your food will last longest, check your owner’s manual.

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If there is still any mystery as to wear to store your foods in your refrigerator, refer to your owner’s manual. If your owner’s manual was stolen by the same people that broke in and got your DVD remote, give us a call. We will help if we can. And if not…there’s always Google.

*This blog mostly written by Doug White and then mangled by Chrissy Varela

A Taste for Every Month

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Did you know that November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month?  I am among the lovers of peanut butter, so I intend to participate in this month long celebration.  Thinking about National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month made me realize that as a purveyor of awesome appliances, we should observe more of these tasty celebrations.  Here are some of the great monthly celebrations and links to some recipes.  If your current appliances won’t do these ingredients justice, come in to our showroom and let us show you the latest and greatest in cooking.  We can make this month (and every month) Celebrate Your New Appliances Month.

January: Oatmeal MonthWhole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

February: Cherry MonthCherry Stuffed Grilled Chicken

March: Quinoa MonthMediterranean Quinoa Salad

April: Pecan Month  –  Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels with Carolina Mustard Sauce

May: Sweet Vidalia Onion MonthHerbed Pizza with Grilled Vidalia Onions, Sausage and Mango

May is also Maytag Month.  Check back with us then for their best rebates and promotions of the year.  Yeah, there is a recipe too –  Maytag Blue Cheese Salad Dressing

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June: Turkey Lover’s MonthChipotle Turkey Meatloaf

July: Blueberry MonthBlueberry Beef Burgers

August: Catfish MonthBaked Cinnamon Chipotle Catfish with Sweet Pepper Slaw

September: Honey MonthCheryl’s Baklava

October: Chili MonthMultiple Award Winning Black Bean Chili

November: Peanut Butter Lover’s MonthPeanut Butter Surprise Cookies

December: Buckwheat MonthBuckwheat Mushroom Kreplach in Dill Tomato Sauce

I hope you can celebrate the great food months with us.  Did you know that June is World Naked Bike Ride Month (only in the northern hemisphere) or that March is Mad for Plaid Month?  For more special observances and food months check out www.brownielocks.com.  Food.com says that you can celebrate a food a day, but that would make this blog too big.

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Identity Crisis?

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What is stainless steel? When it comes to appliances stainless steel is considered a color. It really is a finish, a very popular finish, but not everyone loves stainless steel. Avoiding stainless steel for new appliances isn’t always black and white.  There are shades of grey and red and blue and green and…..

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With stainless, more and more we get the fingerprint complaint. Yes, stainless does show finger prints more readily than painted finishes. If you have been licking your fingers after scraping the cake batter bowl you will most likely be leaving a sticky mess on any finish, no matter what color.  Not everyone has the dexterity to touch only the handle so when visiting our customers we do often see fingerprints at kid heights or even nose prints at Labrador retriever height.

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For years, Viking Range Corp has offered special order finishes in several colors.  BlueStar is famous for their ranges but now has a great line-up of cooktops, ovens and hoods as well. The BlueStar name came into being when Prizer Painting (yes, a paint company) purchased the residential division of restaurant range manufacturer.  So it’s no surprise that a special order of a new BlueStar can arrive in nearly any color as well as a variety of metal finishes. We mentioned KitchenAid’s new Black Steel a few weeks ago (Link to KitchenAid’s “Black Steel My Heart” Blog); many of our customers think it looks awesome. Blue Star Color WheelIf color alone won’t meet your design requirements, check out the classic designs of AGA’s CookerLa Cornue’s French design, and Viking’s Tuscany SeriesVent-A-Hood goes a step further and doesn’t just offer traditional, classic and modern hoods in stainless steel and painted finishes, but allows special orders on their hoods in brass or copper with custom applied metallic trims.  Go crazy with it! In keeping with our tradition of being the best appliance dealer in Central Florida, Aggressive Appliances has all of these products on display with the exception of Viking Tuscany due in soon.  Don’t pass up the chance to see the Duck Egg Blue Aga, three different La Cornue ranges, and two custom Vent-a-Hoods.

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(Chrissy’s Favorite Appliance Color)

** A Special Birthday shout out to Aggressive Customer, Mr. Russell Bizette. Happy Birthday!!! **

Grill Season doesn’t mean you need to get your hunting license renewed.

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Full disclosure, I’m not a native of Florida; but I’m close.  My family moved from East Tennessee when I was only four years old.  As someone who considers myself a Floridian, I find it odd when 10162 OUTDOORKIT_MABpeople complain about missing the change of seasons.  We have a change of seasons here.  We go from beautiful to miserably hot and humid and back to beautiful.  We skip the unbearably cold and constantly gray season.  What is confusing to me is that if a northern transplant misses that so much, why don’t they move back?

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Some of our appliance manufacturers don’t quite understand our Florida seasons.  This time of year they start to get us ready for “Grill Season”.  Our grill season started when the first natives migrated south and will end at the apocalypse.  Since we never have to shovel a path in the snow to get to our grills, we do not have to call an end to grill season.  If we ever slow down our outdoor grilling, it is because of how hot and humid it is outside.  We offer some of the world’s most awesome outdoor grills, but if you want to accomplish the same type of cooking inside, we have products for your kitchen, too._DSC3133Edit

Wolf has an infrared grill option on their pro-style ranges and rangetops.  We have long considered the outdoor grills with infrared sear zones as the ultimate cooking machines.  Their indoor grill zone is not as big as the Wolf outdoor grills, but the performance is absolutely as good.  Viking, DCS, GE Monogram and several other manufacturers have grill options with traditional gas tube burners on their ranges and rangetops.  Expect performance on those to be similar to the traditional burners on outdoor grills.  Thermador has just introduced a high output electric grill option on their ranges and rangetops that is super easy to clean.  If you don’t have the space for a pro-style range, we have in counter grills from GE outdoor_grill_banner_02Wolf, Miele, Gaggenau, and BlueStar.  With any of these great indoor grill options available you never have to let weather (northern winter or Florida summer) ruin your grill outs, just make Wolf Grillthem grill ins.  No, you can’t effectively barbeque on an indoor grill and, yes, there is a big difference in grilling and barbequing.  Never invite an East Tennessean to a barbeque and serve burgers and dogs.  We love that kind of food, but it is grilled, not barbequed.  We can get into those differences in a future blog.

I Can’t Drive 55

 

Doesn’t the Highway Patrol try to tell us that speed kills?  Anyone that has seen me drive will think it is ironic that I’m pointing that out.  I really don’t drive that fast, but I do enjoy the turbo and the awesome suspension on my car sometimes.  In the kitchen, it is a different story.  When cooking, speed thrills.  Restaurant chefs love ovens that will blend a little microwave with baking heat.  In our industry, we call those Speed Ovens.  Thermador introduced that technology in the 70’s, but several brands now have speed ovens.  GE’s Advantium® oven is the best known speed oven.  Instead of traditional heating elements in a microwave, they have halogen light bulbs that get hot almost instantly.  When the halogen heat is used in conjunction with a little microwave energy, your food can be done up to eight times faster.  Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  Well, don’t worry, they made it simple.

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The home economists who work in GE’s Louisville, KY design center cooked and experimented with so much food they all gained lots of weight, but in the end they were able to program the Advantium to automatically use just the right amount of halogen, convection and microwave for dozens of foods.  Just dial up the food that you are cooking and the oven does the rest.  Miele, Jenn-Air, and Bosch have similar ovens, all of them with automated speed cooking.  If you just want to microwave, they do that too.  They will just convection bake as well, so it’s like getting three ovens in one.

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All of the ovens mentioned are based on microwave ovens.  They are big enough for most things, but maybe not everything.  If you want your Thanksgiving turkey in less than half the normal time, then you probably need Viking’s new TurboChef oven.  They are promising cooking speeds up to 15 times faster than conventional cooking.  Viking Range Corp was purchased in 2013 by restaurant equipment manufacturer The Middleby Corporation.  Middleby’s plan is to take commercial technology and migrate it into residential kitchens.  This month they begin shipping the Viking version of the commercial TurboChef oven.  The oven cavity is as large as a standard oven and it blends baking heat and microwave energy with up to 60MPH hot air.  With a TurboChef, you’ll be able to sing along with Sammy Hagar as long as you change the words from “I can’t drive 55” to “I can’t cook 55!”

Blog Author – Our In House Appliance Expert, Doug White