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maestro grill capital cooking

A Review of Capital Cooking’s Maestro Grill by Chef Tony Matassa

maestro grill capital cooking

The Skinny:

Excellent grilling performance; Hybrid Radiant System; Grease Management System; Strong company history; Made in the USA

Things to Love:

These Capital Gas Grills are top notch, and have been here for a long time. The guys that run Capital have been in the high end gas grill and indoor range industry since the 80’s and 90’s. With all of that experience, it is really no surprise that these Capital Precision and Maestro gas grills are some of the best on the market. They are Made in the USA, and combine quality craftsmanship, innovation and with the Maestro Collection, a touch of modern styling. My personal opinion is that these Capital grills simply cook better than just about any other gas grill out there.

Under the hood, the Precision and Maestro Gas Grills both feature the same excellent grilling system. It starts with 25,000 BTU “U” shaped main burners, made of 14 gauge Stainless Steel and backed by a limited lifetime warranty. These burners pack some power, but can also be turned down very low, providing excellent heat control. Due to their large footprint, they offer great coverage across the entire grill surface, which helps to eliminate cold spots. Each grill also includes a ceramic infrared burner that produces 1800 degrees of heat at the burner surface, perfect for searing high end steakhouse quality steaks in your backyard.

Above the burners is one of my favorite features – the Hybrid Radiant System. This system provides incredibly even heat distribution, and helps reduce flare-ups. This system consists of ceramic rods that cover the entire grill surface area, which provides very even heat distribution. Each rod is individually wrapped in stainless steel which helps with durability. These are easily the most durable ceramic flame tamers I’ve seen.

Above the hybrid radiant system are the heavy duty, reversible, Cast Stainless Steel cooking grids. Place them in a flat position, V side down, for everyday grilling. Place them flat, V side up, for maximum vaporization and flavor infusion. Place them V side up at an angle, sloped toward the front of the grill, to channel excess grease away, to reduce flare ups when grilling extra fatty or oily food. This is considered their grease management system.

I also love the included heat zone separators. These vertical stainless dividers are placed in between each burner, which creates different cooking zones across the primary grilling area. This can be very practical when cooking different foods at different temperatures at the same time.

Each grill also comes with an awesome rotisserie system, powered by a ceramic infrared rear burner, and features a hidden, chain driven Rotisserie motor. This chain driven system provides stability when you are cooking large pieces of food and the hidden, integrated motor means you don’t have to find a storage place for it when not in use. Speaking of storage, the 36” & 48” models have concealed storage in the pull out drip tray for the rotisserie spit rod!

Along with the incredible grilling and rotis system, these Capital grills have some other smart features I love as well, such as the interior halogen lighting, silent hot surface ignition for quiet & reliable ignition of all burners, and easy-lift, spring assisted hood.

If you want some modern styling in your backyard, you should consider stepping up to the Maestro Series. These grills feature the same grilling performance and features listed above, but add a few bells and whistles. Maestro Grills feature a deep blue, tempered glass front control panel with bright blue LED indicator lights around the knobs. Another great feature is the large glass viewing window in the lid. This window makes it easy to watch your food without even lifting the lid. This window and the cool front panel creates a sleek design which gives the Capital Maestro a look like no other.

Things To Consider:

Although I love the infrared main burner for steaks and other foods that are best cooked over intense heat, if you don’t do much high heat searing, you might consider this a wasted zone.

You’ll Like This Grill If:

You want a high end grill that cooks incredibly well, is American Made, and backed by an excellent warranty.

Excellent4.7
Value4.0
Design & Style4.5
Construction5.0
Innovation4.5
Even Heat5.0
High Heat5.0
Minimum Flare-Ups4.5
Temperature Range5.0
Customer Service4.5
Warranty4.5

Sunday Fun at Dwell on Design

Sunday, June 23 – 12 noon
Capital Booth – #1331

Flames in the Kitchen?!

It’s not something that anyone likes to hear, but when it’s used to flambé deliciousness, well, flame is A-OK in our books.

We invited the fabulous Linda Miller Nicholson the kitschy madwoman behind popular food blog, Salty Seattle to show us her best flambé techniques in our booth at Dwell on Design on Sunday, June 23rd. Mark it in your show calendar!

Linda has been called everything from the Timothy Leary to the Lady Gaga of food on national television, but at the end of the day, she’s just a pen-wielding girl wearing heels in the kitchen.

Best of all?  She is currently building a home and cooking school on 5 acres outside Seattle with a test kitchen that showcases a beautiful Capital range.

Chef Doug Fletcher
Chef Doug Fletcher

Come by our booth at 12 noon on Sunday and watch Linda and Capital Chef Doug Fletcher demonstrate this technique on our Culinarian open burner ranges.

Battle of the Bloggers

2nd Annual Dwell on Design Cookoff!

Saturday, June 22 – 2:00 p.m PST 
Capital Booth – #1331

Yes, those designers and design bloggers are at it again in the Capital Cooking Equipment booth at Dwell on Design. Join us as the folks who usually design the kitchens, put their aprons on and show off their culinary expertise (or lack thereof!) in the kitchen and on our cooking stage.

Will returning champion Lori Gilder retain her crown in the head to head battle against last year’s opponents Brandon Smith and Stacy Garcia?  Or will newcomers Erica Islas, Arne Salvesen and Lisa Smith come out of nowhere and take the top prize?

ChefTrophy

Join us for the fun as the competition heats up!

Meet the Bloggers

Brandon Smith @dcoopsd
Brandon Smith
@dcoopsd

Stacy Garcia @Stacy__Garcia
Stacy Garcia
@Stacy__Garcia

Lori GIlder Headshot
Lori Gilder
@LoriGilder

Erica Islas @EMIIntDesign
Erica Islas
@EMIIntDesign

 

Lisa Smith @TheDecorGirl
Lisa Smith
@TheDecorGirl

Arne Salvesen @ArneSalvesen
Arne Salvesen
@ArneSalvesen

 

 

Image source: http://www.trophypartner.com/p-2148-chef-hat-knife-trophy.aspx

Top 10 Foods – The Origin of Pie

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/03/sugar-rush-banana-cream-pie-at-billys-bakery-nyc-manhattan.html

They are a symbol of home, of Americana, of simplicity. They are the classic way to finish off a meal — everyone saves room for pie — and if the menu offerings of McDonalds restaurants are to be trusted, we are all “Lovin’ it”. But the history of pie has been anything but easy.

You could say that pies date back as far as 9500 B.C. in Egypt, when the Egyptians began baking food into pastry shells in order to make them easier to transport. Evidence of these early pies can be seen on the walls of some Egyptian tombs, specifically that of Pharaoh Ramses. While often filled with sweets like honey, fruits and nuts, there were also “savoury” versions of pie which featured whole birds and vegetables.  When this type of pie was prepared, the legs of the bird were left exposed through the pie shell to be used as handles.

The early Egyptians, did not enjoy the flakey, buttery crust we have today as the original pie crust was hard and not intended to be eaten; their crusts were considered a disposable baking dish. The majority of pies were made with covers, which were known as ‘coffyns’ (literally meaning basket or box) while the lidless pies were called ‘traps’.  Egyptians shared pies with the Greeks, who turned over their recipes to the Romans who then took the notion of stuffing and baking pastry and spread it across their empire.

Pies slowly made their way into England, around the 12th century. Where they gained popularity. This is when people likely would have started eating the crust as it was passed down to servants after the people of the household ate the contents. By the 16th century, English chefs were creatively baking live birds into pies to be served as entertainment a dinner parties or Entremet. If you’ve ever sang the nursery rhyme A Song of Six-Pence as a child, you were singing a song from this point in time.

That which made pie easy to transport in its early days in Egypt, also made pie a natural choice for food to be brought over by colonial settlers traveling to America. Though there is no evidence of pies being served at any of the first feasts after the pilgrims landed, pies have become a staple of Thanksgiving dinners and the preferred choice of dessert for many American dinner tables.

Image Source: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/03/sugar-rush-banana-cream-pie-at-billys-bakery-nyc-manhattan.html

 

Friday Fun: Chef’s Apparel

Source: www.idbylandau.com

We’ve already explained the significance of the traditional chef’s hat, but what about the rest of his uniform? Here are a few fun facts about a chef’s apparel:

1.  In the mid nineteenth century, Chef Marie Antoine Careme introduced the white fabric into the chef’s uniform, believing that white symbolized cleanliness and professionalism. Most chef apparel remains white to this day.

2. The double-breasted chef’s coat has a hidden purpose: as well as being distinctive and fashionable, it is also reversible, allowing for chefs to hide stains when presenting themselves.

3. The size of a chef’s hat is equivalent to rank: a sous-chef’s hat would be smaller than the head chef’s, while that of a line worker’s would be smaller than that of a sous-chef.

Image Source: http://www.idbylandau.com/chef-apparel-s/177.htm

Fun Food Facts

Believe it or not, carrots were originally purple.

Food is delicious, fun to make, needed for survival and well, the best thing to ever happen to ones kitchen. But did you know:

Carrots used to be purple. Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white, and gradually developed them into the plump, crunchy veggie we have today.

The color of the twist tie on bread packaging actually means something? It signifies what day of the week the bread was baked on. The person stocking the shelves uses them to know whether or not the bed is too old to sell.

That Twinkies actually expire fairly quickly? When they were first introduced, they only had a shelf life of two days. By substituting chemicals for various dairy products and putting them in an air tight packaging, the shelf life has increased to 25 days.

That the color orange was names after the fruit? The word orange itself was introduced to English through the Spanish word “naranja”, which came from a Sanskrit work which literally means “orange tree”.

 Image Source: http://www.vegangela.com/2011/04/28/what-are-purple-carrots/

 

Friday Fun: Street Food Around the Globe

http://bakingsheet.blogspot.ca

The concept of “street food” has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years, with the proliferation of gourmet food trucks and vendors (artisanal grilled cheese truck, anyone?). Although its become easier to get exotic street food experiences closer to home, its still worth visiting the following cities to get a taste (literally) of what local street vendors have to offer:

1. Bangkok, Thailand: Whole books have been written on the street food of Bangkok, and for good reason. In addition to noodle, curry, and made-to-order stands, one can also find stalls offering oyster omelettes, biryani, and the bright purple “butterfly pea juice”.

2.  Penang, Malaysia:  Penang has become the mecca of street food, thanks to the local street food culture and the hawker centres where delicacies can be purchased for pennies. Specialties include laksa, sambals, and “roti panggang,” a toasted flat bread smeared with coconut jam.

3. Tel Aviv, Israel: The street food in Tel Aviv is not to be missed, especially since it encompasses not only Israeli dishes, but also African and Middle Eastern fare. As well as falafel and shawarmas, stalls offer Turkish burekas and Tunisian sandwiches called Fricassees.

Image Source: http://bakingsheet.blogspot.ca/2005/09/cooking-school-hot-dog-buns.html

The Secret History of Fortune Cookies

Although we may associate the fortune cookie with Chinese cuisine, it is, in fact, an all-American invention. The fortune cookie we know today is said to be inspired by a similar Japanese cookie made out of miso and sesame that also featured a fortune.

David Jung, owner of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, claimed to have invented the standard fortune cookie in 1918. Despite its popularity in America, the fortune cookie has enjoyed little success in China; Chinese consumers have generally rejected the taste and the cookie itself as being “too American.”

Image Source: http://www.semblog.com/things-fortune-cookies-and-quick-recipes-for-success-have-in-common

Top 10 Foods: A brief history of soup

It is said that soup is as old as cooking itself. It is a staple in the diets of almost every country and  has been as long as anyone can remember. No one knows the true beginning of soup or the very first person to ever make it, but there are signs of the even cavemen new how to boil water and residue sticking to pots in the Iron and Bronze ages.

Soup likely started out as a watery, gruel-like substance that was sopped up with bread. In fact, the English definition of “sop” is: a piece of bread soaked in liquid:  Between lunch and supper the second is usually a smaller meal. With a lighter supper came a lighter food, soup. The second meal started to be called “souper” which then transitioned in the word we know today: “supper.”

Soup has helped humans through some very hard times. In the Great Depression, soup kitchens served the poor and hopeless. Because soup can be made out of virtually any ingredients on hand, it can be an inexpensive source of nutrition. This method of helping those hungry and less fortunate continues today.

In 18th century Paris public soup houses started to become popular, they were called “restoratifs,” which is where are word for restaurant comes from. Some of the most popular, staple soups were created in France such as bouillon, broth and consommé.

From there soup has gained even more popularity with gourmet versions of classic recipes or trusted healing properties of homemade chicken noodle soup.

Image Source: http://kathdedon.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/quick-and-easy-chicken-noodle-soup/

The World’s Most Expensive Foods

White truffles. Don’t let their appearance fool you.

In the mood for a culinary splurge? Look no further than this list of the world’s most costly ingredients.

1. White Truffles (up to $3600/lb): Only found in one particular area of Italy for a few months of the year, the white truffle earns its price due to its rarity. Scientists have yet to figure out how to domesticate this notoriously hard to find mushroom, so if you are craving the white truffle, be prepared to pay a pretty penny!

2. Saffron ($500-5000/lb): The spice saffron is made from the dried stigmas of the purple crocus flower. Seeing as each flower only possesses three stigmas, an acre of crocuses is required to manufacture one pound of this expensive spice.

3. Matsutake Mushrooms ($3000/kg): The survival of this Japanese mushroom is in danger, due to the fact that a parasite has been killing the pine trees upon which these mushrooms grow. With the mushrooms becoming rarer, the price has become steeper.

4. Almas Caviar ($34 000/kg): This “black gold” is produced from the eggs of a rare albino sturgeon between 60-100 years old, found in the southern Caspian Sea where there is less pollution.

Image Source: http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/world/ten-ridiculous-purchases-from-prominent-billionaires/

Pubs: What’s in a name?

Ever wonder how your favorite pub got its name? Pub-naming traditions date back centuries, to the days when most customers would have been illiterate. Pictorial signs were hung instead of signs with words, so that people could associate the pub with the images on the sign. These images were often elements taken from noble coat of arms (the White Hart for Richard II, the Eagle and Childe for the Earls of Derby), animals, or occupations, among others.

Some seemingly nonsensical names are actually errors: Elephant and Castle is commonly thought to be a corruption of the name of a Spanish princess, “Infanta de Castile,” while Cat and the Fiddle is probably a corruption of “Caston la Fidèle”, one of King Edward III’s governors. Others, like the Pig and Whistle, are mispronunciations of Anglo-Saxon phrases; in this case piggin wassail, meaning “good health”.

Image Source: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2009/10/british-pubs-signs-of-times-part-two.html

Friday Fun: Your cup of tea?

Tea is one of those magical substances that can perk you up, calm you down, soothe, and rejuvenate. Drinking a cup of tea can be a simple affair or an elaborate ritual. Here are a few fun facts about one of the world’s favorite beverages:

1. Tea is a natural source of fluoride that can help protect against tooth decay and gum disease, and has health benefits that help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

2. Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is thought to have established the British tradition of afternoon tea. She would become hungry during the afternoon, and asked her servants to bring her sweets and a cup of tea to tie her over between breakfast and supper. She began sharing this ritual with her friends, and afternoon tea soon became popular among the aristocratic class and eventually the working classes.

3. The Japanese tea ceremony, or the Chanoyu, is a time honored tradition that is dictated by the concept of hospitality. The bowl of tea is meant to be prepared “from one’s heart,” and everything from the host’s physical gestures to the placement of tea utensils is directed at the guest.

4. In Tibet, it’s common practice to mix yak butter and salt with your tea. The people of Tibet are known to drink up to 40 cups of this butter tea a day!

Image Source: http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/01/tea-and-kombucha-what-to-use-and-what-to-avoid.html

Friday Fun: Acai Berries, Magic or Myth?

The acai berry has acquired a reputation as a superfood, product that include this ingredient are claiming lofty effects such as appetite suppression and weight loss, but how much of the hype is true? Turns out that many of the supposed “health benefits” are nothing more than marketing scams. One claim is true: the acai berry is high in antioxidants, which fight radicals that can lead to heart disease and cancer. However, other fruits, such as pomegranates and blueberries, contain higher levels of antioxidants! Conclusion? Before shelling out money for expensive acai products, peruse your local produce section to find cheaper and healthier alternatives.

Source: Canadian Living  Image Source: http://acaiberryeducation.com/

Friday Fun: Spotlight on Popcorn

Source file: Simply Recipes

For modern movie-goers, popcorn and cinemas go hand in hand. However, this wasn’t always the case. When vendors began selling popcorn outside of movie theatres in the late 19th century, the theatre owners were worried that the treat would distract their customers from the movies. As the sales of popcorn increased, it became apparent that this savory snack held money making potential; therefore, as of 1912, cinemas began selling popcorn. Nowadays, popcorn sales account for more of movie theatres’ profits than ticket sales.

Image Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present: French Fries

The humble potato, the base of the ubiquitous French fry, has had a long and rather surprising history. Did you know that potatoes came from the Incan empire where they were first discovered and cultivated as early as 750 B.C.? In addition to eating, Incas did many things with potatoes: treating illness and injury, telling time, divination. They even worshipped potato gods and made sacrifices to them if crops failed.

When the Spanish invaded and conquered the Incan territory, they were not interested in eating what they called an “edible stone” but brought it back to Spain anyhow. At this time, the potato was quite small and bitter so the Spanish used it mainly as an in-case-of-emergency food.  Europeans were distrustful of this new, foreign food, even after the Paris Faculty of Medicine declared it safe for human consumption, (our potato had to endure terrible rumors ranging from being poisonous to causing leprosy). Through some strategic marketing by a French gentleman called Parmentier, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette became fans of the potato but it took a true famine to turn the potato’s reputation around.

What happened next is controverted as both the Belgians and the French take credit for being the first to drop a potato into a vat of boing oil.   Whether or not the actual act of frying up a strip of potato happened in the Meuse Valley or Paris, it is irrefutable that the French fry has become one of the most popular foods across North America and the perfect complement to almost any dinner plate.

Image Source: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-french-fries-not

Sob Story: Preventing Onion Tears

A tearful affair

If your onion cutting experiences usually involve a full out sob-fest, you are not alone. Slicing into an onion triggers a chain of chemical reactions that produce a compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide (say that 5 times fast!). Your eyes, sensing this potentially dangerous presence, release water as a defense mechanism. Tired of crying over your onions? Here are a few tips on how to avoid tears:

1. Chop an onion beneath running water.

2. Turn on a fan while cutting an onion to scatter the sulfur compounds.

3. Wear goggles or glasses to protect your eyes.

4. Chill or cook an onion before chopping it.

Source: howstuffworks.com

 

Image Source: http://knowledgefog.com/chewing-gum-can-avoid-tears-when-cutting-onions/

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #7 Butter Tart Controversy

photo by Alyssa Bistonath

Any Canadian in possession of a sweet tooth will agree that biting into a warm, gooey butter tart is a moment of pure bliss.  This quintessential piece of culinary Canadiana is not only one of the country’s most beloved recipes, but also one of its most contested; the pastry, filling consistency, and additives vary from family to family, and when it comes to preference, it’s often “Grandma’s way” or no way at all.

Although it bears some resemblance to the British treacle tart and the Southern Pecan Pie, the butter tart has a distinct history of its own. When the French filles du roi were sent to New France to marry settlers in the1600’s, they were confronted with sparse pantries in their new homes. Making use of what they had, these young brides were thought to have concocted a filling for tarts using maple syrup or sugar, fresh butter, and dried fruits. The result was a precursor to both the Quebecois sugar pie and the English-Canadian butter tart. One of the earliest recipes for a butter tart can be found in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Royal Victoria Hospital Cookbook printed in 1900 in Barrie, Ontario. Attributed to a Mrs. Malcolm MacLeod and entitled simply “filling for tarts,” the recipe called for pastry shells filled with a mixture of sugar, butter, eggs, and currants.

With such a small list of ingredients, one might think it would be difficult to create a variation while still maintaining the elements of a traditional butter tart. This, however, is not the case. The debate rages on as to whether the pastry should be flaky or shortbread-like, whether the filling should be firm or runny, and whether raisins and other additives enhance or detract from the flavor. As writer Sarah Brown stated, there are three things which most Canadians have strong opinions on: religion, politics and butter tarts: “Never should these words, or any reference to them, be mentioned in social gatherings unless waging bloody battle is the intended result.”

Whether you love or hate raisins, prefer your filling oozing or set, or have simply never sampled a butter tart, we guarantee you’ll love these award-winning tarts from Capital Chef Doug Fletcher, which won Best Dessert in the Capital Cutting Board Chef Challenge at Dwell on Design 2012. Co-sponsored by Capital Cooking & American Standard, Capital’s booth was turned into a live kitchen for spectators & media alike. This pro chef showdown saw Chef Doug Fletcher battle with celebrity Chef Jamie Gwen to develop a main course and a dessert that includes one secret ingredient announced to them at the beginning of the challenge (bacon!). The chefs demonstrated their culinary prowess while entertaining and offer cooking tips and techniques to the audience.

Butter Tarts with Chocolate Covered Bacon   Two-Crust Pie Dough • 2 1/4 cups cake and pastry flour • 2 tablespoons sugar • 3/4 teaspoon salt • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces • 6 tablespoons cold water • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar   Butter Tarts • 1/2 cup unsalted butter • 1 cup packed dark brown • 2 large eggs • 1/2 cup maple syrup • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan pieces • 2 strips of bacon • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate     Directions Bacon

  • Fry bacon until crispy. Set on paper towel to dry and cool.  Melt chocolate over double boiler. With pastry brush paint bacon with melted chocolate and set on wire rack to cool.

Two-Crust Pie Dough

  • Stir the flour, sugar and salt to combine in a bowl or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cut in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter or on low speed until just small pieces of butter are visible and the mixture as a whole just begins to take on a pale yellow colour (indicating that the butter has been worked in sufficiently).
  • Stir the water and lemon juice together and add this to the dough all at once, mixing until the dough just comes together. Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge before rolling.

• Shape into 2 logs and chill.   Butter Tarts

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Pull the chilled dough from the fridge 20 minutes before rolling.
  • Cut each of the logs of chilled pie dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface to just under a ¼-inch thick and use a 4 ½ inch round cookie cutter to cut each into a circle. Line each muffin cup with the pastry so that it comes about ½-inch higher than the muffin tin, and chill the lined tin while preparing the filling.
  • Melt the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pot over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is bubbling. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture while whisking constantly until incorporated. Sprinkle a few pecan pieces into the bottom of each tart shells and ladle or pour the filling into each shell.
  • Bake the tarts for 10 minutes at 400 F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust edges have browned. Cool the tarts in the tin and after about 5 minutes, carefully twist them around in the pan to prevent sticking and keep them in the pan until completely cooled.
  • Chop bacon and garnish tarts with bacon.
  • The butter tarts should be stored refrigerated but are best served at room temperature. The tarts can be stored chilled for up to 3 days.
IMAGE SOURCE: http://alyssabistonath.com

Friday Fun: Alternative Uses for Food

Some foods are surprisingly useful around the house! We’ve compiled a short list of alternative uses of some familiar food staples:

  1. Milk can be used to clean patent leather: just dab it on, let it dry, and rub it off. Or try cleaning your leather goods with olive oil by dabbing it on, letting it set for 30 minutes, and then wiping off the excess.
  2. Add lemon juice to your wash to help brighten whites and remove stains.
  3. Need to scrub stubborn residue off of pans? Try crushed eggs shells as an alternative to steel wool.
Information Source: www.nutritionwonderland.com Image Source: english.chosun.com

Friday Fun: Bizarre Foods – Puffer Fish

Talk about killer flavor: unless prepared correctly, this Japanese delicacy is lethal. The puffer fish’s skin and certain organs contain tetrodotoxin, a toxin that is responsible for the puffer being named the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world. Consumption of tetrodotoxin can result in paralysis and asphyxiation. The preparation of this dish is strictly regulated in Japan, restricted to trained and licensed chefs who have undergone rigorous training. Fish anyone?

Friday Fun: Michelin Stars

The prestigious “Michelin Star” rating has become synonymous with a luxury dining and culinary expertise. The Michelin Guide, however, had much more humble beginnings. Established by André Michelin of the Michelin Tire Company in 1900, the guide was originally published as a suggestion book of decent lodging and food in France, complete with information regarding filling stations and local gas prices. Expanded to include restaurant ratings in 1926, the guide awarded one star to “interesting” restaurants, two stars to those that were “worth a detour,” and three to those that were “worth a special journey.” Today, there are less than 100 three star restaurants in the world. Up for a road trip, anyone?

www.michelintravel.com IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.herworldplus.com

 

Friday Fun: Baker’s Dozen

Thirteen for the price of 12? (We’re not complaining, especially if the units in question are goodies from the local bakery.) Although the origin of the Baker’s Dozen is disputed, a popular theory claims that the practice was born in 13th century England. When harsh punishments were established for bakers’ who cheated their customers, it reportedly became standard practice for the baker to give 13 goods for the price of 12 so as to ensure that he was not shortchanging his clients.

IMAGE SOURCE: stefanieharmon.tripod.com

Friday Fun: A Close Shave

PB&J sandwiches remind us of our childhood, but we’ve stumbled upon a more grown up use of our favorite nutty spread: peanut butter as a shaving cream! Applying peanut butter to your face in lieu of a shaving gel reportedly gives a smooth shave, while the natural oils moisturize your face. Talk about unconventional!

IMAGE SOURCE: uk-rasoi.blogspot.ca

Friday Fun: If the Bread Don’t Rise…

For the peasants of the Middle Ages, it was not common practice to use a leavening agent such as yeast in bread. Although they may have been missing out on the heavenly fluffiness of leavened bread, their flat loaves served a purpose; called “trenchers.” These thin, hard pieces of bread were used as plates on which food was served. The bread therefore absorbed the food’s liquid and became easier to chew and digest!

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #6: Chorizo Sausage (Dwell Edition)

If you’ve dined at a trendy tapas bar, chances are you’ve sampled chorizo sausage. Hailing from the Iberian Peninsula, this pork sausage is known for its deep red color and smoky flavor, and can be served in cured slices or fresh in a paella or pasta dish. Both the dried and fresh varieties are distinctive and delicious, and have become popular with the North American gourmands public in recent years.

The tradition of sausage making in the Iberian Peninsula dates back to the Roman times. The loin, belly, and other cuts of the animal would be stuffed into casings and preserved with salt and spices, providing protein for families during harsh winter months. Pork sausages were common, but it was only with the discovery of the New World in the 16th century that the chorizo variety was born. Spanish explorers brought back pimentón (a smoked Spanish paprika) from the Americas and soon discovered that this spice added flavor to sausages while acting as a preserving agent. Pimentón, garlic, and white wine became the main ingredients of this new type of pork sausage, and chorizo rapidly spread in popularity.

Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço were among the first varieties of chorizo sausage, and are very similar in taste, although the Portuguese variety is traditionally flame-cooked over alcohol in an earthenware pot or dish.  Immigrants from Spain and Portugal brought their recipes for chorizo along with them, resulting in the birth of Caribbean, Latin American, Mexican, and even Indian variations on the traditional sausage.

Want to sub chorizo sausage in your next dish? Be inspired with a recipe from interior designer/blogger Brandon Smith, as entered in the Designer Cookoff at Dwell on Design 2012 this past June. Co-sponsored by Capital Cooking & American Standard, Capital’s booth was turned into a live kitchen for spectators & media alike. This cookoff saw six designers and food/design bloggers go head to head in a battle of taste and presentation using Capital Cooking’s Culinarian range. Heading one of the teams, San Diego Designer Brandon Smith, joined by Stacy Garcia, Owner of Garcia Cabinetmakers in Huntington Beach, and Paul Buchanan, chef and owner of Primal Alchemy Catering in Long Beach, specializing in local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine.

Brandon Smith is the founder of d.coop, a boutique spatial design and development firm in San Diego, California. Besides immersing himself in all things design, Brandon enjoys blogging about everything from furniture to shoelaces, always entertaining followers with his unique flair for fun. He hopes that his findings prove to be “educational, inspiring, and above all, ME.”

Coq au Vin ala DCoop

  • Chicken – 3lbs.  Skin on (the best part!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4 medium leeks, white and pale green parts finely chopped to 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, halved diagonally
  • White wine – preferably Riesling
  • 1 lb small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • Lemon juice (preferably fresh)
  • Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper & thyme
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Swiss Cheese
  • 1 cup Crimini Mushrooms
  • Garlic Clove, chop finely

Directions:

Sous Chef Tip! It helps to prep your veggies ahead of time. Chop Leeks, carrots, parsley, garlic, and potatoes before starting the cooking process.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place mushrooms in bowl, cover with hot water and let sit.
  3. Prep chicken by either preparing full chicken using French method of butchering or with pre-cut breasts and thighs. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper.
  4. Heat oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a large dutch oven until foaming subsides and components have blended. I like to use a silicone baster to ensure that the butter and oil coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. In 2 batches, brown chicken on both sides, flipping once. Approx. 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate leaving juices in bottom of pan.
  6. In the dutch oven, add 2 tbsp of butter to the remaining juices. Cook leeks, shallot and ¼ tbsp of salt in the pan until leeks begin to brown, about 7 minutes (unless you’re using a Capital Cooking Culinarian Series range…)
  7. Add the chicken, skin side up, juices from plate, carrots, and chorizo. Add wine to oven. Most recipes say a full cup but I’m prone to drowning the chicken in a full bottle. The alcoholic content will burn off, I promise. At this point I like to add a little thyme. Boil the liquid concoction until liquid is reduced by half.
  8. Cover the Dutch Oven and place in the oven for 25 minutes. If additional time is needed, turn off the oven and leave in for another 15 minutes.
  9. While chicken is roasting – boil potatoes. Potatoes, 1 tsp salt, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Tip: I love herbs and will throw a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme (or both) into the pot. The herbs very very lightly infuse themselves into the boiling potatoes.
  10. Drain potatoes and toss with chopped parsley to coat.
  11. Drain mushrooms, keeping ½ cup of liquid as a reserve. Chop coarsely. In a sautee pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter until foam reduces. Add garlic clove and heat over medium high until browned. Add mushrooms, thyme, and a little parsley and sautee until mushrooms are tender. Remove mushrooms/garlic with slotted spoon, draining butter.
  12. Remove chicken from oven and add crème fraiche. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add potatoes and mushrooms.
  13. After plating, thinly shave Swiss cheese over chicken mixture for additional bite.
  14. Serve.
  15. Call the maid because someone needs to clean up.

Friday Fun: Bizarre Foods – Bird’s Nest Soup

 

 

 

 

This Chinese delicacy contains one of the most expensive animal products that humans consume. The bird’s nest in question is built by swiflets out of strands of saliva, and is exceedingly rare and delicate; a kilogram of nests can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 USD. The swiftlet’s nest is considered to have considerable health benefits, which justify the steep price of the soup ($30 to $100) and the nests themselves.

Friday Fun: Keeping Food Fresh

cheddar_cheese.jpg_250x250Food losing its freshness can take a toll on both our appetites and budgets. We’ve compiled a few tricks to maximize your food’s longevity!

 

1. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This works especially well on hard cheeses.

2. To keep cut avocados from turning brown, refrigerate them flesh side down in a bowl of water and a splash of lemon juice. They will stay green for several days.

3. Wrap your celery in foil to keep it crunchy for weeks. If it’s wilted, cut off the root and submerge the celery in a glass of ice cold water, then refrigerate it to restore it to a crisp state.

4. Storing sour cream upside down in the fridge will slow down the oxidization process and keep it from spoiling.

5. Don’t be too quick to throw out your eggs: there’s a simple method to test their freshness. Fill a saucepan with cold water and place the egg in it. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it’s fresh. If the egg sinks to the bottom, but stands on its point, it’s still good but needs to be used soon. If the egg floats to the top, it’s no longer good to eat.

IMAGE SOURCES: www.alibaba.com blogs.browardpalmbeach.com strangehistory.net

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #5: Tortillas (Dwell Edition)

What do well-known Mexican dishes like enchiladas, chilaquiles, and tacos have in common (aside from being delicious)? They all count tortillas as their keystone ingredient. The tortilla, a thin flatbread made from corn or wheat, is a staple of Mexican and Central American cooking. Although the packaged flour tortillas we find at every grocery store are mainstream, the traditional tortilla has a history that dates back thousands of years.

NCI_flour_tortillasMayan legend tells a story of peasants in ancient times that created the tortilla to appease a hungry king. Although this tale has never been proven, the claim of the tortillas origin dating back to antiquity is accurate; the first tortillas were discovered in approximately 10,000 BC. Grinding whole kernels of corn and maize into a cornmeal, the dough was then rolled into small balls, flattened by hand, and cooked over earthenware to create a flatbread that the Aztecs called tlaxcalli. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World in 1519, they renamed these breads tortillas, or “little cakes.”

Nowadays, tortillas have become the #2 packaged bread product sold in the USA, beating out muffins and bagels. Aside from traditional uses, tortillas have been reborn as an important element of Tex-Mex cuisine, and as an alternative to sliced bread. Deep friend or baked tortillas have found new life as tortilla chips, the quintessential party food.

SOURCES: Whatscookingamerica.com, ehow.com, articlesnatch.com, streetdirectory.com IMAGE SOURCE: en.wikipedia.org

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to look at tortillas in a new light? Try your hand at making your own, or incorporate store bought tortillas into delicious Mexican inspired dishes like this one from kitchen designer Rebecca Reynolds, which won Best Entrée in the Designer Cookoff at Dwell on Design 2012 this past June. Co-sponsored by Capital Cooking & American Standard, Capital’s booth was turned into a live kitchen for spectators & media alike. This cookoff saw six designers and food/design bloggers go head to head in a battle of taste and presentation using Capital Cooking’s Culinarian range. Heading one of the teams, Rebecca Reynolds, Owner of Culinary Kitchen Designs in Greenwich, CT, was joined by Lori Gilder, Interior Designer, Principal of Interior Makeovers in Beverly Hills, and Jennie Cook, local food advocate and blogger, owner of Plant Based Parties/Vegan Events in Los Angeles.

Rebecca Reynolds has been designing kitchens for 18 years. Growing up in an Italian family, cooking, eating and sharing food is a part of who she is, which is why she always endeavors to create a kitchen environment that encourages cooking, entertaining and sharing great times with family and friends. Rebecca believes that a kitchen is a very personal and intimate space, and always considers herself honored when hired to impart functional and fabulous changes in a person’s home.

 

COWGIRL CHICKEN JALAPENO Enchilada Casserole

“spicy cowgirl style is key to a perfect dish”

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • Olive oil for sautéeing
  • 1 – 26 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup (98% fat free can be substituted)
  • 2 cups milk (nonfat can be substituted)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Jalapeno peppers (canned pickled or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 3 whole chicken breasts OR chicken tenders
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (a favorite blend of Cheddar & Queso Blanco)
  • 4 fresh corn tortillas  (for crispy topping)
  • Note: At the #dwellcookoff, chorizo sausage was added – yum!

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven 350º F.
  2. Prepare Chicken: In nonstick pan coat light coat bottom of pan w/olive oil and sauté chicken strips (If using whole chicken breasts roast in oven for 45 minutes)
  3. Prepare Tortilla Strip Topping: Brush all 4 tortillas lightly w/olive oil, sprinkle w/ garlic salt and cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stack tortillas 2 at a time on top of each other and use rolling pizza slicer to cut into thin strips. Bake in oven until crispy and lightly golden. Watch carefully not to burn.
  4. Sautée onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent in large nonstick saucepan (when garlic is softened smash with fork and stir in well).
  5. Add soup, milk, chicken broth, chilies and salt and pepper to onion mixture.
  6. Bring to a simmer and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and add sautéed chicken.
  7. Bake in a 13″ x 9″ casserole glass pan or similar, layer chicken mixture with cheese and top with tortilla strips for 25 minutes.
  8. Serve in Mexican crisp tortilla bowls for beautiful presentation or dish (make your own or purchase at Mexican markets or your favorite local Mexican restaurant).

This dish is lovely topped with a tsp. of crème fraiche and a small scoop of fresh guacamole. Serve with warm bread and salad for a wonderful meal.

Did You Know…? French Fries

Sweet potato friesSummer is the season for delicious chips (fried or baked, yellow or sweet)!

Did you know that French Fries are not actually French, but Belgian? In the Meuse Valley during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, people began frying strips of potatoes when the small fish they usually fried were unavailable due to frozen rivers. The French adopted this practice and carried it over to America when they emigrated. These fried potatoes came to be known as “potatoes in the French manner,” and eventually “French Fries.”

Source: todayifoundout.com IMAGE SOURCE: glutenfreehelp.info

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #4 Cocktails

There is something undeniably glamorous and indulgent about sidling up to a bar and ordering a cocktail. Nowadays, the cocktail has become a consumable work of art, thanks to the introduction of boutique liquor, exotic ingredients, and creative mixologists (when did mixologist become a profession?). However, a quick glance into the history of the cocktail reveals more humble beginnings.

Cocktail_WallpaperForget the juices, fruits, and creative touches; there was nothing fussy or fancy about the original cocktail. American magazine The Balance first defined the “cock-tail” as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” The actual origin of the word “cocktail” is debated: some claim that the name refers to the colonial habit of garnishing these drinks with a feather from a rooster tail, while others maintain that the name is derived from the drink’s ability to make one “cock up their tail” like a horse.

Often consumed to clear the head or shake a hangover (hair of the dog, anyone?), the cocktail found a new purpose during Prohibition, when drinks were mixed to disguise the strong taste of the “hooch” that had been smuggled by bootleggers. Mixed drinks such as the Colony Cocktail (2 parts gin, 1 part grapefruit juice, and maraschino cherries) and the Sidecar (1 part cognac, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part lemon juice) soon became popular in speakeasies across America.

One of the earliest modern cocktails was the martini, which traced back to a recipe from 1862 for a drink called “The Martinez,” named for a patron who ordered the drink from San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel on his way to the town of Martinez. The Margarita was said to have been invented in 1941 by a Mexican bartender and named for Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador and the first person to taste the bartender’s concoction.

After suffering a decrease in popularity during the 1960’s, the cocktail made a comeback in the 80’s. Cocktails soon became the drink of choice for yuppies. And shows such as Sex and the City, in which a Cosmopolitan or two always accompanied the exploits of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends, added to the gaining popularity.

Whatever your poison, be it dry or fruity, shaken or stirred, go ahead and channel your inner Carrie with the cocktail from this month’s chef sponsor!

IMAGE SOURCE: wallpaperswide.com

Meet Steph Legari, the Grilling Gourmet®!

Steph the Grilling Gourmet® is a graduate of the prestigious George Brown College Culinary Management Program. Having worked in many different types of restaurants, Steph discovered his true passion: creating mouthwatering original delights on smokers and grills. Steph loves to share easy techniques that anyone can use and of course, his always-delicious creations.

I love the fact that Capital’s grill is so multi purpose (have you checked out the hidden rotisserie?!). It can be used for appetizers, desserts and even cocktails. How do I get everyone in the BBQ frame of mind? I start off with a few grilled cocktails of course!”

Steph the Grilling Gourmet’s® Grilled Orange Creamsicle Martini

Makes 2 Cocktails

  • 2oz Grand Marnier
  • 1.5oz Grey Goose Vodka
  • 2oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Juice Oranges
  • 1 cup of Ice Cubes
  • Cocktail Shaker
  1. Preheat your grill to high.
  2. Cut Oranges in half and place cut side down on preheated grill. Grill until oranges are golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from grill and place on counter until cooled down to room temperature. (Time-saving tip: You can grill all your oranges ahead of time and have them ready at the bar before your guests arrive.
  3. In a cocktail shaker place ice cubes, Grand Marnier, whipping cream, Vodka and the juice of grilled oranges (use a reamer to get every drop) with the zest of 1 of the grilled oranges.
  4. Place lid on cocktail shaker and shake until cocktail is cool, about 10 seconds then poor into martini glass and garnish with a grilled orange slice.
  5. Enjoy and Keep the Fire Hot!

Want to add a little something special? Purchase bar bags with all the ingredients for individual drinks (complete with mini 1oz bottles of Grand Marnier and Vodka) and include a recipe card for your guests to take home.

INFORMATION SOURCES: www.tree.com, www.cocktails.about.com
IMAGE SOURCE: FoodWishes.Blogspot.ca

5-4-3-2-1 Dwell on Design Countdown Begins!

Happy Monday! We are now four and five days away from special Capital Cooking events at Dwell on Design at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 22-24. Let us update you quickly…

There are a few face changes in the Designer Cookoff being held from 2-3 pm this Friday afternoon. Nick Lovelady (@cupboards) can no longer join us, but the show must go on!  We are now looking forward to the cooking antics of:

 

 

  • San Diego Designer, Brandon Smith @dcoopsd
  • Stacy Garcia, Owner of Garcia Cabinetmakers in Huntington Beach and founder of #kbtribechat @cabinetmakers
  • Paul Buchanan, chef and owner of Primal Alchemy Catering in Long Beach
  • Lori Gilder, Interior Designer, Principal of Interior Makeovers in Beverly Hills @lorigilder
  • Rebecca Reynolds, Owner of Culinary Kitchen Design in Greenwich, CT @CKD_Rebecca
  • Jennie Cook, local food advocate and blogger, owner of Plant Based Parties/Vegan Events in Los Angeles @jenniecooks

Rebecca Reynolds happily stepped up to the plate to be the team lead on her side of the oven and we’re thrilled and thankful that she did!

The buzz is building for the Pro Chef Challenge on Saturday as well!  Join us as Chef Jamie Gwen and Chef Doug Fletcher “go to battle” on Saturday, June 23rd from 2-3 pm in Capital’s Booth (#1230).

 

 

The Capital Cutting Board Chef Challenge at Dwell on Design

We’ve been talking about the Designer Cook off at Dwell on Design (Los Angeles Convention Center) on this blog on Friday, June 22nd. But guess what? There is an equally fabulous event the next day!

The headline event in the Capital booth next weekend with be the pro chef showdown between celebrity chef, cookbook author and radio personality Chef Jamie Gwen and Capital’s Chef Doug Fletcher that will entertain and offer cooking tips and techniques to the audience. Much like cooking challenges on television, the chefs will battle to develop a main course and a dessert that includes one secret ingredient announced to them at the beginning of the challenge.

The chefs will “go to battle” on Saturday, June 23rd from 2-3 pm in Booth 1230

And here is some more bio info about Chef Jamie Gwen. See why we’re so happy she’s cooking on our products?

Jamie Gwen is a Celebrity Chef, Certified Sommelier, Lifestyle Expert and four-time Cookbook Author.  For the past 13 years, she has brought the best to radio with her weekly Live Radio Show filled with delicious conversation, heard every Sunday from 8:00am to 10:00am on KFWB News Talk 980 in Southern California and heard worldwide on iTunes and the Internet.  Jamie can also be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius/XM and she can be seen stirring up something delicious on television shows and in print nationwide.  Jamie’s most recent cookbook entitled “Good Food For Good Times 2” is now available as an eBook and has been featured on Emeril Live, Martha Stewart and QVC. She is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and her website, www.chefjamie.com, is a scrumptious resource for food lovers everywhere.

Capital Designer Cookoff at Dwell on Design

 

 

 

We are incredibly excited to announce the final teams in the Capital Designer Cookoff at Dwell on Design next Friday, June 22nd from 2:00 – 3:00pm in the Capital Cooking booth (#1230):

Team East
Nick Lovelady (@cupboards)
Lori Gilder (@lorigilder)*
Rebecca Reynolds (@CKD_Rebecca)

Team West
Brandon Smith (@dcoopsd)
Stacy Garcia (@cabinetmakers)
Emily Ho (@misschiffonade and contributor to @thekitchn & founder of @lafoodswap & @foodswaps)

For anyone who plans events, you’ll know that a million things can go wrong. But how about the magical project where everything seems to be going right? We don’t want to jinx ourselves, but consider this…

We had hoped to develop an idea that emerged from a #kbtribechat and make it work. What we got was a co-sponsor, American Standard Brands, who are working with us to ensure it’s a success.

We hoped to get people interested in participating. What we got was an “A” list of participants – fabulous designers and bloggers – interested in food and fun. And, to spice it up, we have an ultimate foodie writer in the mix!

We hoped to attract the attention of the management of the show itself. What we got was incredible interest, support, ideas and contributions from the Dwell on Design Communications Department.

We had hoped to get some mentions with #kbtribechat. What we got was a Special Edition #kbtribechat held in the booth during the event.

So now that we’ve exceeded all of our expectations… it’s time for the cooking teams to get to work, get down to the nitty gritty, formulate recipes, ingredient lists and cooking approaches on our live Culinarian units. Just make sure the other team doesn’t find out your secrets. 😉

Good luck to Brandon, Stacy, Rebecca, Nick, Lori and Emily! Can’t wait to see you in action!

*Lori isn’t really from the East, but she’s a Canadian so we took a little liberty!

Friday Fun: French Foodie Facts

out-to-lunchFor the French people, food should be consumed with as much care as they were prepared. In fact, most lunch breaks are no less than two-hour midday breaks for people in the cities. Yes, most offices in France give employees two hours every day for lunch. And if you work in a small town, you could be even luckier because breaks there could be more than two hours. Lucky employees! Who wouldn’t want to have two-hour lunch breaks?

In France, when you mention truffle, people wouldn’t be thinking about a flavorful chocolate ball. They would be thinking of an aromatic fungus that would be perfect in an omelet. You read that right! Truffles are fungi. They are found mostly in Western Europe and collected in the wild by sicking pigs, or dogs on them. We’re not joking. Pigs and dogs are used to find these fungi because they’re the only animals that could smell and find this fungi, as these are usually buried underground. How one discovers buried fungi is edible is beyond us, but bon appetit!

INFORMATION SOURCE: madeincantal.com IMAGE SOURCE: trufficulture.ca rawstream.com

The Battle at Dwell on Design

Once upon a time in Twitterland, during a #kbtribechat where extremely wonderful designers, manufacturers and associates who work in the kitchen and bath industry gather each Wednesday afternoon from 2-3 pm EST, an idea was born. The lovely idea was to challenge designers, who actually specify appliances for their clients, to use the appliances, test their mettle, and put their spatulas where their mouths and typing fingers were. The mighty foodie Brandon Smith (@dcoopsd) and the fearless foodie Nick Lovelady (@cupboards) from opposite ends of the land led the charge by, well, doing the most talking and typing.

So Capital Cooking thought… hmmmm… why don’t we build a demo stage when we are displaying at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles from June 22-24, and see what these folks who tweet, post and engage about kitchens can REALLY do in the kitchen? Can these designers tackle the Capital Cooking powerhouse Culinarian range? Little did Capital know that someone else was listening in Twitterland. American Standard Brands, known for their toilet domination, but clearly having an important place in the kitchen with sinks and faucets, wanted to see these throwers of hashtags use their products too. And was it true that Capital Cooking would need a sink, faucet and display for their demo stage?

How does the story end? Wait… we’re just getting started! Stay tuned for the next chapter when we announce who else will be helping Brandon and Nick in the battle of foodie designers cookoff extravaganza and tweetup (because it wouldn’t be worthy of Twitterland without tweeting about it) at 2:00 on Friday, June 22 in the Capital Cooking Booth (#1230). There may even be a special LIVE edition of #kbtribechat from the cookoff!

Want to become a sous? Want to join the fun? Are you going to Dwell on Design? If so, tweet or DM us @capitalranges (and if we’re not following you, we will in an instant) or email leanne@flyingcamel.com to tell us that you’re interested before we anoint the teams and start the battle!

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #3 Pizza

Ahhh Pizza! The combinations of toppings are endless right? (Kind of like all the choices you have on our cooktop configurations – shameless plug, sorry.) You’ve got everything from meat lovers to vegetarian and even dessert pizzas! Now what, might you ask, is the history behind this true North American favorite? We instantly thought “Well, Italy of course”, but the story goes much deeper than that.

Recorded in history (dating back to 500 B.C.), we know that Persian soldiers would bake a flatbread on their shields and then top it with cheese and dates. We also know (thank you google, wiki and the gods of internet research) that Greece was baking unleavened bread and India was baking naan bread, both without toppings. So the question really becomes: What defines pizza? Considering tomatoes weren’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century (a time when the pizza we commonly know today started to take shape), there is definite debate over whether the Persians “on-the-go” meal could be considered a pizza or not.

No matter what side of the story you stand on, the origin of pizza, as we know it, does hail from Italy (insert sigh of relief). In fact, ancient pizza ovens can be found all over Italy, some dating as far back as the days of Pompeii, before it’s demise.

Fast-forward to 1531 and we have history supporting the first tomatoes being used on pizza. Until this time, Europe was convinced tomatoes were poisonous (they are a member of the nightshade family – commonly known for toxic plants); however, fear changed to love when they discovered how delicious tomatoes were over hot baked flatbread with cheese.

From there you could say the rest is history: The dish became popular with local peasants first, and then travelers started visiting the small neighborhoods to try this “pizzaioli”. Eventually pizza traveled to America with Raffaele Esposito (a pizza maker from Naples) during the Great Migration.

As we enter into prime pizza season (the summer – time dust off your outdoor pizza ovens), we’re pleased to present an interesting take on pizza crust from our chef sponsor this month.

Meet Elizabeth Walkowicz, Culinary Director of Eurostoves Culinary Center

After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, Liz traveled abroad (Switzerland, Europe, Australia, Mexico & the US) in pursuit new experiences, fine food and wine. Throughout her career she has catered, taught and worked as a Pastry Chef & Executive Chef. Presently Liz is the Culinary Director at Eurostoves Culinary Center where she teaches a wide variety of cuisines, skills, baking and pastry. She loves to share her enthusiasm for food and wine with others.

What else does she love? Well, pizza of course! “I am so crazy about pizza that I had a wood fired burning pizza oven built in my backyard. We have pizza parties all the time! That also has to be one of the favorites at Eurostoves. Guests love cooking pizza in the Capital Culinarian.” – Liz Walkowicz

Recipe: Flat Bread Dough – Perfect on the Grill!

1 ½ cups unbleached flour and more for kneading
3/4 cup warm/tepid water
1/2 teaspoon crushed sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1. This is a 5-hour rise

2. Dough ready for balling

 

 

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together with dry fingers in a large bowl. Add the water and oil and combine until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap set in a 70-80 degree environment for 4-12 hours. This is the primary mixing of the dough. Note: You can let it sit for only 3 hours, but the dough will need a longer secondary proofing for at least 45 to 60 minutes in a 70 to 80 degree environment.

Balling the dough and secondary proofing

 

 

 

1. The dough 2. Folding the gluten. 3. Making the dough ball. 4. Secondary proof

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on countertop, then remove the dough from the bowl with a scraper or spatula and place on countertop. Sprinkle flour over the dough to help with the stickiness.

Take all the dough in both hands and gently knead the outer edges into the bottom to form a ball. Use your fingers to push dough up and into the center of the ball. You are folding the gluten strands into a cohesive round that will make it easier to form a pizza. As you gently push more dough underneath, the top will get firmer. This is a good time to stop. If the ball gets too sticky, roll the ball in flour. Do not over knead.

You should have one 14-ounce dough ball. Place it on an oiled tray and cover with a generous sprinkling of flour and a clean cotton towel, for 15 to 45 minutes.

Forming the Schiacciata

 

 

 

 

1. Pushing into oval 2. Gravity stretch. 3. Two handed stretch. 4. Rest on countertop.

Take the dough ball in both hands and stretch it into a football shape. Set on a lightly floured countertop and push with fingertips sideways to push gluten strands into shape. Go all the way to the edge with fingertips.

Hold the dough over the countertop. Using the back of your hand, let gravity pull the dough into an elongated form. Make sure the thinner parts don’t rip. Set it down on the countertop and manipulate the dough to even out the thick and thin areas.

With the back of both hands, place with fingers together in the center of the dough. Slowly pull them apart while opening your fingers. This will gently massage and stretch the dough in an elongated form.

Leave the dough on the countertop to rest for 3 to 5 minutes; do not let it sit for longer as it will begin to stick to anything. With this all-purpose flour recipe, there shouldn’t be much “bounceback” (when the round or oval pizza dough contracts back) but there may be some.

All that’s left to do after this is throw it on the grill – cook both sides to your desire, add toppings and pop in the oven until cheese is melted.

Information Sources: Passion-4-Pizza.com, WhatsCookingAmerica.net, Fruit-Pizza.com, RecipePizza.com
Image Sources: FornoBravo.com, PizzaHutPizza.com

Friday Fun: Did You Know…

… the origin of a chef hat?

The tall chef’s hat, (or toque blanche, French for “white hat”, traditionally had a hundred pleats to represent the number of ways an egg could be cooked. These hats were originally worn by French magistrates and then adopted by the inventors of French haute cuisine, Marie-Antoine Caréme and Auguste Escoffier, to make it clear just who was boss – literally the “chef” – in the kitchen.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toque & http://www.mytoque.com/the-store.html
IMAGE SOURCE: jg57.wordpress.com

Friday Fun: All About Rice!

One of the oldest wedding traditions, the custom of throwing rice, originated with the ancient Hindus and Chinese. In these cultures, rice is the symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity. Tossing it after the ceremony was believed to bestow fertility upon the bride and groom while eating rice and other grains was thought to guarantee health, wealth and happiness for the newlyweds. Today, rice tossing is being replaced by the more ecologically friendly birdseed tossing, because uncooked rice is damaging to birds that eat it off the ground.

Here’s a few more tidbits:

  • In China a typical greeting, instead of “How are you?” is “Have you had your rice today?” A greeting to which one is expected to always reply, “Yes”.
  • Rice is the first food a new Indian bride offers her husband, perhaps instead of wedding cake; it is also the first food offered to a newborn.
  • Honda means “main rice field.” Toyota means “bountiful rice field.”
  • Arkansas is the largest rice producing state in the US
  • Louis Armstrong signed his autograph “Red Beans and Ricely Yours…”
  • In India, it is said that grains of rice should be like two brothers: close but not stuck together.
  • In Thailand when you call your family to a meal you say, “Eat Rice.”
  • The Japanese word for ‘cooked rice’ is the same as the word for ‘meal’.
SOURCE: RiceInfo.com IMAGE SOURCE: thailand-rice-exporters.com

Friday Fun: Food Facts

Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Banana-Cream-Pie-52962In a survey conducted in 1951 of the U.S. Armed Services, banana cream pie was the favorite dessert.  Rice pudding was the least liked.

Fig Newtons were created in 1891 by Kennedy Biscuit Works in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. The company had named many of their other cookies after nearby towns and almost called this one the “Fig Shrewsbury” before Newton won out.

Lollipops were first made in New Haven, Connecticut in 1908 by George Smith. They were named after a racehorse of the day, Lolly Pop.

Did you know that one ounce of broccoli has as much calcium as one ounce of milk?!

SOURCE: learnsomethingnewtoday.us IMAGE SOURCES: kraftrecipes.com surebaby.com/blog

Friday Fun: The Fact of the Matter… Part 2

The Fact: Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish The popular English sauce, is made from dissolved anchovies. The anchovies are soaked in vinegar until they have completely melted. The sauce contains the bones and all.

popsicle
The Fact: The Popsicle was invented by an 11 year who kept it secret for 18 years. The inventor was Frank Epperson who, in 1905, left a mixture of powdered soda and water out on the porch, which contained a stir stick. That night, temperatures in San Francisco reached a record low. When he woke the next morning, he discovered that it had frozen to the stir stick, creating a fruit flavored ice treat that he named the “epsicle”. Eighteen years later he patented it and called it a Popsicle.

The Fact: The most expensive coffee in the world comes from civet poop Kopi Luwak are coffee beans that come from Civet (a cat sized mammal) feces. The animals gorge on only the finest ripe berries, and excrete the partially-digested beans, which are then harvested for sale. Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States, but it is increasingly becoming available elsewhere. Our question is: who discovered that it tasted good?

Friday Fun: The Fact of the Matter…

The Fact: The largest food item on a menu is roast camel

The camel is stuffed with a sheep’s carcass, which is stuffed with chickens, which are stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs. This feast is sometimes featured in Bedouin weddings.

The Fact: The first soup was made of hippopotamus

The earliest archeological evidence for the consumption of soup dates back to 6000 BC, and it was hippopotamus soup!

The Fact: Refried beans are only fried once

The reason for this misconception is a translation error. The originals are frijoles refritos which actually means “well fried beans” – not re-fried.

SOURCE: http://listverse.com/2007/12/17/top-10-incredible-food-facts/ IMAGE SOURCE: allyoucaneattbilisi.blogspot.ca

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #2 Stir Fry

saute-asiatique-arachideStir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo and bào. The chǎo technique is similar to the Western technique of sautéing. First, oil is heated in a wok, then each new ingredient is added in after the other; dry ingredients, meat once you first smell the seasonings and then vegetables last. In the bào technique, the wok is heated to a dull red glow first. With the wok hot, the oil, seasonings, and meats are added in rapid succession with no pause in between. The food is continually tossed, stopping for several seconds only to add other ingredients such as various seasonings, broths, or vegetables. Which method do you use? I bet you didn’t know there was an actual name for emptying the veggies from the fridge one at a time and throwing them in the wok?

stirfry_recipe-image-legacy-id--7198_12The technique of stir frying dates back as far as the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220). During this time, chronic fuel shortages (not the kind at the gas station) meant that people needed to find a new way to cook food without using too much oil (in other words, develop a way to speed up the cooking process…and when the kids are hungry…wouldn’t we all like to do that?) Today, stir frying has become China’s most well known cooking technique.

Although the term “stir fry” was introduced into the English language during World War II by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, history credits Cantonese immigrants who worked on the American railroads in the mid-1800s with introducing North Americans to Chinese cuisine.

IMAGE SOURCES: arcticgardens.ca bbcgoodfood.com

Meet Kurt von Kahle, chef & appliance specialist.

“I love the flexibility while cooking on the open burner Culinarian range from Capital. Every burner pumps out 23,000 BTU/hr and can simmer when needed. The flame is distributed by three rings of ports that distribute the heat evenly from the center to outer edge of your pan. This is an ideal burner for a Wok pan… and wok cooking is exactly what I did!”

Kurt von Kahle is an appliance consultant for individual clients and manufactures. He provides consultant services helping clients determine the best choice for their personal culinary needs. He runs creative cooking classes for individuals and businesses. He’ll even teach you how to use your current equipment to its fullest potential, but most interesting to us, Kurt performs product testing and live demonstrations. Kurt can be reached at 774.264.0643 or email him for further information. kurtskitchen.com

Kurt’s Recipe for a Simple Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and slice thin 1/4″ on the bias
  • 1 cuban pepper, seeded and slice 1/2″ strips
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced
  • Fist size bunch of broccoli, separated, cut uniform flowerettes
  • 4 ounces pea pods, rinsed
  • 4 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon saracha
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (rice wine or water will do)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • Salt & white pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Have all ingredients prepped and near. Heat wok on high heat, cover pan for the first minute.
  2. As the pan begins to smoke, remove it from the heat and add the oil. Carefully turn the pan to coat.
  3. Return to heat and add onions and carrots. Continue stirring or flipping so they do not stick.
  4. After a minute add the pepper and mushroom. Continue stirring and cook until vegetables begin to brown. (If you had pre-seared a protein, add it now.)
  5. Stir in the ginger and saracha. Add the remaining vegetables and liquid then cover the pan to steam the greens and sprouts.
  6. After a minute, add remaining ingredients and continue stirring for 30 seconds, until liquid begins to thicken. Season with salt & pepper.
  7. Remove from heat and enjoy!
HISTORY SOURCES: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Chinese_cuisine & http://www.netplaces.com/stir-fry/

 

Friday Fun: Honoring Culinary Greats!

james-beardJames Beard televised the very first cooking class in 1946. This brought him fame and fortune, and then in 1954, the New York Times dubbed him the “dean of American cookery.” One year later in 1955, he started the James Beard Cooking School.

One of the most famous Culinary Artists is Julia Child, whose 1961 cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” brought her US acclaim, also spawned a radio program across the nation. Then in 1963, her famous television show “The French Chef “ was born. Her techniques and recipes are still seen as revolutionary today.

Fannie Merrit Farmer, a student of the Boston Cooking School, published the first cookbook in 1896, fittingly titled the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. The book is still in print and used as a reference cookbook today.

IMAGE SOURCES: phillymag.com delish.com foodhistory.com

Friday Fun: All About Chocolate!

Chocolate contains over 300 mineral properties that are beneficial to your health.

White chocolate really isn’t chocolate. It’s made from cocoa butter, the substance you get by pressing cocoa beans. Cocoa butter is absent of the cocoa solids used to make chocolate.

chocolate-10508306-largeChocolate does contain chemical elements that really can boost your mood and produce a euphoric feeling. Eating chocolate can give one the same feeling as falling in love (however fleeting it may be). This is probably why Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand in hand.

Eating chocolate can also reduce the symptoms of stress.

SOURCE: escoffier.com IMAGE SOURCES: commons.wikimedia.org al.com

Friday Fun: Chef Kurt von Kahle comes to Yale Appliance!

Yale Appliance of Dorchester, MA proudly welcomes Chef Kurt von Kahle to provide a cooking demonstration on the Capital Culinarian in their showroom on Sunday, March 11, 2012 from noon to 4pm.

Kurt will be focusing on the Culinarian’s open burner offering: The ability to blast 23,000 BTU/hr of power or provide a delicate simmer on each and every burner – now that’s flexibility!

Specifically, he will be focusing on:

  • Searing: Using a cast iron skillet (preparing dry rub sirloin rib tips)
  • Stir Fry: Both a healthy option and quick meal (perfect with this open-burner system)
  • Simmer: Both low and slow for keeping food warm (pulled pork is on the menu)

Learn how to use your Culinarian to it’s fullest potential or take the opportunity to get to know this restaurant-style range, perfect for the home chef. Chef Kurt von Kahle has over 25 years of experience in food service and appliance industries… so he knows a thing or two about good appliances.

Please visit YaleAppliance.com for location information. Hope to see you there!

Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #1 Mac & Cheese

We’re kicking off our foodie blog series for 2012, and we thought we would start with… say it with us… ahhhhh comfort food. What better than good old Mac & cheese? So we did some research and it reads like a delicious history lesson.

Although the exact origin of macaroni & cheese is unknown (as most things are) the earliest recorded mac & cheese recipe is found in the oldest of medieval cookbooks: Liber de Coquina (Latin for “the book of cooking”) during the 14th century. You can bet they didn’t have uniform little noodles to work with. And, would they ever have done a blue cheese or gruyere option? But we digress…

The dish is most commonly thought to have descended from Italy and introduced to America by Thomas Jefferson. In 1793, after a trip to Italy where Jefferson first ate macaroni & cheese (then cut up lasagna noodles tossed with parmesan cheese, known as “de lasanis”), he loved the dish so much that he bought a pasta maker to bring back to America. (Maybe those secret talks with the French were actually just recipe sharing?) He then served the first “macaroni pie” in the White House for a state dinner in 1802.

Kraft Foods started boxing macaroni & cheese (affectionately know as “Kraft Dinner”) in 1937 during the tail end of the Great Depression. Considering this product could serve a family of four for just 19 cents, (and hey, they were on sale at the supermarket for 99 cents last week…that’s not exactly a huge price increase in 75 years) staples such as fresh meat and dairy were in short supply, rationing was in effect, and women needed to join the workforce: It’s no wonder Kraft sold 8 million boxes in the first year. Kraft had a low cost meal that was believed to provide a nutritious alternative to a meat dish. It was quick and easy, and it became a generational staple for kids and adults alike.

Today, packaged mac & cheese has evolved to choices such as organic, white cheddar, spiral, homestyle, dinner cups, smart vegetables, etc., but we must implore… TAKE BACK THE MAC! Explore it, make it healthier, add some gumption and enjoy.

We challenged this month’s sponsor chef, Doug Fletcher (see bio below) to give us a WOW recipe that will not only please the kids, but make it still worthy of White House attention.

IMAGE SOURCES: thekitchn.com idsgn.org

Meet Doug Fletcher, your personal chef.

“I love that Capital acknowledges that the majority of meals cooked on their appliances may not be fancy dishes. Cooking for families is the majority of my business, and comfort food such as Mac & Cheese is a family pleaser. But, for an added twist, I offer an “adult” version of this dish, so perhaps a dinner party feature is in order?”

Doug Fletcher, from Got It Made personal chef services provides fresh, interesting food for a variety of situations – healthy home meal replacements for busy families, intimate dinner parties to celebrate special occasions, larger parties with friends and family, corporate events or any other special occasions in the Southwestern Ontario region. Doug can be reached at 905.977.8919 or email him for further information.

As Doug says… enjoy the small times and eat well.

ADULT MAC & BLUE CHEESE courtesy of Doug

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and start boiling a pot of water to cook your macaroni in. Cook bacon until crispy. Set aside to cool. Crumble when cooled.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, do not boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth.
  4. Off the heat, add Cheddar and blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into dish.
  5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top of the pasta. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Serve.

Friday Fun: Odds & Ends

reheating_pizzaWant to reheat pizza without creating a soggy mess in the microwave? Heat it in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove over medium-low heat until warm. You may need to put the lid on the skillet to melt the cheese.

If you don’t have extra-long matches, use an uncooked piece of spaghetti to light multiple or hard-to-reach candles.

Want more odds & ends? Discover four other new uses for old things on RealSimple.com.

SOURCE: SheKnows.com & RealSimple.com. IMAGE SOURCES: imgur.com realsimple.com

Capital Cooking is BBB Accredited

Build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy and embody integrity. Capital Cooking shares these standards for trust in common with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Colton, California and are proud to announce their continued BBB accreditation. With a commitment to protecting customers and advancing ethical business practices in the marketplace, being a member of BBB has always been of utmost importance to Capital Cooking.

Even though Capital Cooking Equipment was founded in 2001, our company’s management has enjoyed a much longer history (over 30 years) of successful business and valued relationships with vendors, suppliers and partners in its California community and across North America.

If you’d like to learn more about BBB, please visit: http://www.bbb.org.

Friday Fun: Did You Know?

If you love the taste of garlic, push it through a garlic press before adding to the rest of your ingredients. If you like a milder taste, chop or slice it. Pressing garlic makes the taste of garlic much stronger because there is more surface area of the garlic exposed. Also, be sure to add garlic towards the end of cooking when sauteing so you don’t burn it, which turns it bitter.

onion_fennel_bisqueSoak diced or sliced raw onions in ice water for 15 minutes to make them less pungent – ideal when adding to salads or sandwiches and you don’t want an overwhelming onion bite.

If a bell pepper has three bumps on the bottom it is sweeter and better for eating raw. If it has four bumps on the bottom, it is likely firmer and better for cooking.

IMAGE SOURCES: commons.wikimedia.org yummymummyclub.ca arab-diet.net