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Category Archives: Cooking

Grateful Gobbling

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With Thanksgiving a week away….here are some tips, a simple recipe, and some words of comforting wisdom from our own Jim Balano.

1. Do NOT Self Clean Your Oven. That type of extreme heat could stress your oven before the big day. Please wait until after the holidays to do it.

2. Turning the Turkey Lets It Cook Evenly. Roasting a bird breast side down for at least half of the cooking time shields the delicate breast meat from heat currents in the oven and exposes the thigh meat to direct heat. The bird will need to be turned breast side up allowing the skin on the breast to brown and crisp. Roast the turkey breast side up for at least the last hour of roasting. If the breast skin isn’t browning, raise the oven temperature slightly and baste the skin with clarified butter or oil. As an alternative to flipping, cook the bird breast side up the whole time shielding the breast with foil until the last half of the roasting time.

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3. Brining the Bird. Brining makes a bird juicy. Brining is soaking a whole turkey in a salt solution. The salt in brining breaks down proteins in the meat and exposes more bonding sites for water molecules, thus allowing the meat to retain more water as it cooks. During brining, a turkey absorbs 10 to 15 percent additional weight in water. As it cooks, the bird naturally loses 20 to 30 percent of its initial water content. Brining cuts the net loss in half resulting in a juicier, more tender turkey. Another plus, the salt in the brine makes the bird taste more seasoned. Pan drippings from a brined bird can be very salty, so be sure to use little to no additional salt in gravy made from the drippings. I use my larger cooler to brine the bird with ice.

4. Pies. Home made pies are the best if they are warm out of the oven. Place baked pies in the warm oven when you are ready to serve the meal.

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5. Letting the Turkey Rest. Take the turkey out of the oven 30/45 minutes before carving.  Tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.  This allows juices to resettle in the turkey.

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6. Meat Thermometer. Does your oven have a temperature probe? Set it for 165F.  It will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven. This will reduce the chance of an overcooked dried turkey.

7. Saving Tummy Room. Thanksgiving dinner has all of your family’s favorites.  Reduce or eliminate your appetizers before the meal so that you will have space in your tummy to enjoy the second helping or your mother’s pie or dessert.

8. Be Thankful. After our prayers are given, we hold hands and declare what we are so thankful for from the current year. Enjoy the company of your family and friends.

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I grew up in Massachusetts with a cranberry bog in my backyard. This recipe is so simple, but so tasty…

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup sugar 1 cup water 1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained

Directions

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

When you wish upon a BlueStar…

bs11My appliance adventures lead me to the crisp fall weather of Reading, Pennsylvania. BlueStar was the brand I was privileged to be wowed by this month….

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The setting of BlueStar was like stepping back in time as I walked into a manufacturing building from 1880. Within its historic walls I found hand crafted ranges, wall ovens, and cooktops still being made….by hand. I personally witnessed master welders expertly close stainless steel seams and sand them smooth into a one of a kind cooking masterpiece. They test every one of their products before they leave the building. Focusing on their free standing ranges, follow me into the land of appliance artistry and workmanship that is exceptional in this industry.

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BlueStar takes the open burner concept and puts their burner design in an elite class all on its own. How? Well, for starters there are ports all up and down the 8 prong burner, with a grate design that doesn’t interfere with the flame. Depending on the BTU of the burner, there are more or less ports. Their simmer burner goes down to 130 degrees. The Platinum Series offers a 25000 BTU burner. The grates are cast iron coated with porcelain for ease of cleaning. The way the burner is nestled within the grates it is easy to see how this particular open burner concept makes cleaning up a breeze. Cooled grates can be hand washed in hot, soapy water or thrown in a dishwasher. Spillovers land in an easy access, removable, drip tray cleaned in the same way. Removing the center of any grate allows direct flame cooking perfect for woks. The Platinum series offers a removable griddle/grill kit. The RNB Series offers built-in configuration options such as a griddle, grill, or French plate, along with burners.

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They offer 6 types of ranges depending on your cooking needs, your wallet, and your customization preferences. Any of their 30” ranges and up are able to hold a true to size catering sheet . The Platinum Series offers innovative heating with PowR Oven technology. The concept is that the oven cavity air is heated, not the oven walls, reducing pre-heat times as well as improving recovery time when the door is opened or food in put in. Their infrared broiler goes up to 1850 degrees.

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With all of that….they also offer 750+ color options and are able to create a range in any color from a swatch. The knobs and bezels can be custom colored as well. There are textures, jewel tones, and metallic to choose from as well. If you can dream it, I’m sure BlueStar could do it! 

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Fun facts about BlueStar

They manufacture pieces for other companies. They acquired Big Chill 5 years ago. They acquired Independent Hoods 3 years ago. They are owned by Prizer Painter Stove Works (hence all the uber-cool color choices). They are launching a refrigeration line at the end of 2015, beginning 2016. And……They totally blew me away. I can’t even fit all I learned in this blog!!!

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I can tell you this, if you want to wish on an appliance star, consider making it a BlueStar, because anything your heart desires may just come true….bs5BS CBS ABS B

 

In Living Color

TLK_4C_SMAn old show jingle used to play “Do what you want to do – in living color”. Do you remember it? Before your time? It came to mind to me today because if you know Aggressive, you know we do what we want to do and that usually means changing…..all the time.

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Our latest change is in our Subzero-Wolf section aka “The Living Kitchen” and it is very close to completion. We have a few finishing touches along with a few holes to fill in….but this area of our showroom is fast becoming my favorite spot to wander through. It really showcases the beauty of Subzero, Wolf, and Asko lines.

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I really love the way the Subzero wine storage column looks in its new home! The design elements selected really make the Wolf Pro 48″ range “pop” while the Asko dishwasher is set in a beautiful, cozy cove. The three brands come together with vivid textures and metallic finishes to truly showcase the beauty and quality of the appliances.

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Our showroom always has surprises springing up. We’d love for you to stop by so you can touch, feel, and look at “The Living Kitchen” in living color….TileCropCV

More Than Words

gaggenau-logoGaggenau. I’ve mentioned the name a few times to a few people outside of my industry with looks of “Huh?” But those who know Gaggenau, know Gaggenau. This super premium brand, with exceptional quality and styling, is worth knowing about. The design, while not for everyone, may just be yours. If it is you’ll recognize it immediately. Gaggenau2 The sleek design, innovation, quality, and artistry of Gaggenau has always caught my eye. The attention to detail and craftsmanship in their built-in cooking products, refrigeration line, ventilation, and dishwashers are a true reflection of their premium status in the appliance industry. I could tell you that the ovens have doors that never get hotter than 65 degrees on the outside. I could tell you that their built-in cooktops have knobs that are integrated into countertops creating seamless countertop views. I could tell you that you can combine a variety of cooktops to create a custom cooking combination.Gaggenau2__1807_x_1357_-1438x1080 I could tell you how the refrigerators disappear in a kitchen but have stainless steel interiors, precision temperatures, and are the quietest in their class. I could tell you that BSH, the parent company of Gaggenau, Thermador, and Bosch, with Gaggenau being the top of their lines, produce their dishwashers. Yes, that kind of quality. Gaggenau1 But talking and telling rarely translate to the actual experience. Seeing the product, turning the knobs, feeling the weight and sturdiness of the doors, viewing the lighting, touching the materials used to manufacture their product, that’s when you know Gaggenau. There are some things that don’t require words. Gaggenau is one of them.

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With a few pieces on display and a full kitchen to be completed by 4th quarter 2015, come in to our showroom and see that even one piece will tell you all you need to know without hearing a word.

DCS, ATK, Oh my!

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DCS by Fisher & Paykel has a quiet history since they don’t spend a ton of money on marketing; however, other well known names have used DCS in their lineups.  They began in 1988 in California when a commercial range was custom built for use in a residential application. Realizing they had a great product to offer to the masses they started selling their recipe for quality and function to companies such as Viking, Thermador, GE Monogram, and JennAir. Yup. You read that right. You didn’t even know you knew DCS, did you?DCSATK

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Last week I was whisked away to Boston, along with a crew of 9 equally appliance enthused (I’m not being sarcastic here, we love appliances that much!) sales reps from all over the USA, to take a few succulent bites into the world of DCS by Fisher & Paykel. To mix it up, we weren’t trained in a DCS facility, but in America’s Test Kitchen. ATK’s founder, Chris Kimball, has DCS in his personal kitchens, which prompted his natural choice of DCS appliances in ATK’s kitchens.

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ATK’s home is tucked away in an old building in Boston complete with a maze of quirky turns, steps, food, and dining tables with a backdrop of old school, historic charm. We were graciously welcomed by ATK to cook, learn, laugh, and eat within their bustling cooking, testing, and tasting world. In this cozy setting we learned DCS is truly a powerhouse of quality, function, and is user friendly whether you’re a master chef, a weekend cooking warrior, or a 30 minute weeknight meal maker. Using ATK recipes, mouth watering, waist growing meals were created by us all while learning hands on just how fun and easy DCS is to use.

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DCS1There’s something really remarkable about bonding over quality appliances and cooking with people that have an equivalent passion for appliances. DCS and ATK really set the table for a gracious, welcoming learning experience.

If you’re looking for meaty, commercial quality appliances without too many bells and whistles, DCS is the way to go. The DCS customer wants a tried and true, quality appliance with a minimal learning curve to get great results focused on highlighting the finished culinary masterpiece.

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With professional ranges, commercial quality wall-ovens, precision cooktops, versatile dish drawers, searing outdoor grills, and a built-in line of refrigeration due out any minute, this is a line to consider if you want hard-working, solid appliances without a super premium price tag. We have their line on display, so please stop in. We’d love to get you fired up over them!

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“Blank Space”

11873 1000_VIKING_PRWe’ve had a blank space in our Viking kitchen countertop for a short time while we patiently awaited the release of a brand new Viking piece. Much to the surprise of my appliance enamored heart it was filled last Friday with possibly one of the most magnificent 36” induction cooktops I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

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The LED lighting in Viking’s signature blue illuminates the surface to artfully let you know “Hey, I’m on! Look at me!”

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There is a subtle wavy image graphic in the corner of each element to indicate which burner, or burners, are on. The 6 elements are 9 inches squared beneath the surface and will boost to a high of 3700 watts (the gas equivalent of 26000 BTUs) for the first 10 minutes when turned on high. ALL of the elements can be on at once and allowing the full surface can be used.VikingCktp2

This model has a beveled edge and a grey-ish mirrored finish that is visually interesting and provides a very different look than any other brand currently in the market. See….

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If you’re still unaware of the pros of cooking with induction, let me fill you in. It’s energy efficient, much easier to keep clean, fast, and responsive. You really have to see it to understand just how fun induction is to use.  If you’re in the market for a new 30″ or 36” cooktop this Viking cooktop is another reason to visit us.

Maybe this choice will be forever, because it certainly won’t go down in flames…(cue guilty pleasure cheesy pop music)…

 

Whatcha Got Cooking?

bsh cREWThis week I was given the opportunity to fly to California for BSH immersion training. I’ve never been to California and haven’t been to an out-of-state product training in quite some time. I had no idea what to expect, who I’d meet, or how much I’d learn.

What I found in Cali was this…no matter where you go, or where people come from, good people are good people. The crew we had at this training was by far the best group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning with. We laughed, we laughed harder, we cooked, we learned, and we made some really great friends that became more like family on this trip.

BSH 2There is something to be said for being able to cook on Bosch products surrounded by bright, funny, creative people. It also helps to have a professional chef explaining what to do. We used induction, gas, steam, convection, and learned all the different ways Bosch can really make a decadent meal fast, easy, fun, and exciting. The BSH group gave me the chance to try out one of my own family rice recipes to give me that final push to give up my aluminum pot and fully embrace induction cooking. My classmates enjoyed my dish (or they were just being kind) and I was sold on induction.

BSH 3We have many of these pieces on display at Aggressive. BSH provided us all with a steam cooking recipe book. I’m heading back to Florida today armed with a plan to try these recipes, along with my own, on our live appliances.

bsh 4I gained so much knowledge this week, but one of the most important things I took away from this trip was that there are great people that live all over the world, people that have so much to share and teach you, people passionate in their appliance geekiness and sillyness. I feel honored and privileged to have met them all. Special thanks to the BSH family for providing us this opportunity!!!

BSH Crew NightNow….come on down and let’s take my Bosch knowledge for a spin!!!! I’ll be steam/convecting goodies REAL soon…

French, Love, and Wall Ovens

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“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~ Julia Child

When cuisine, culinary delights, and delicacies enter our minds we may tend to think of Paris. The French have inspired many things, kisses, cooking, art, fashion, design, scents, Julia Child, and doors. “Doors?” you ask? Yes. Doors. Schfancy doors that meet together, open together, and invite us in to all sorts of delights. French doors are slowly easing their way into our kitchens. They first began showing up years ago on refrigeration and have now sashayed their way into the realm of built-in cooking.

GE FD WO 5GE’s Monogram line debuted their first French door wall oven this year. It may have you saying “Ooh La La! C’est magnifique!” and here’s why. For a 30” single French door wall oven it boasts a spacious 5 cubic foot oven capacity. It offers true European convection using the rear convection fan and vertical vented slots to uniformly circulate the oven heat. Every cookie will be perfect and roasts will arrive to the table quicker, tender, and juicy. GE FD WO 4There are two glide-out, full extension racks, as well as one traditional rack. A rarity for self clean, all three racks can be left in the oven during the self clean cycle. This oven also offers a steam clean option. Features like LED theatre lighting and Wi-Fi capabilities are standard. The Wi-Fi feature allows you operate your oven from a smart phone or web-enabled device. (That is so cool!) It doesn’t stop there. With a 10 pass dual broil and a 10 pass hidden bake element, there is no doubt of how even and precise your results will be upon completion of your creations.GE FD WO 2 It is ADA compliant and also has easy open handles allowing you to pull open both doors by pulling either the right or left handle.

Monogram isn’t the only manufacturer that is offering a French door wall oven.  Viking, American Range, and Blue Star offer French door models if your inspiration is leaning more towards a color, gas, or double wall oven option.

To fall in love at first sight with your very own French door oven stop by our showroom.

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