Wood Fired University - Advanced Skills
The Mile High City of Denver Colorado will be the host of this spring's
Wood Fired University. This premier culinary event consists of
three incredible days of hands-on, wood-fired cooking instruction,
demonstrations, tastings and panel discussions by world-class notables
such as Master Baker, Author and Sensory Scientist - Michael Kalanty,
Restaurateur and Pizza Chef - Tommy Garnick, Author and Renowned
Executive Chef for Panhandle Milling - Stephanie Petersen, Award-Winning, Executive Producer of Culinary-TV - Dr. Bill Rogers, and President of Fire Within and the Wood Fired University - Ajith Dharma.
The Wood Fired University held in Denver is the largest culinary school in the United States for wood-fired cooking. This will be the 46th class held in Denver and this session will focus on advanced skills. Class size is limited but a few seats remain available, check their website for more details: www.FireWithin.com.
“Being immersed in a chef’s thought process and culinary vision is wildly entertaining but it also gives everyone a greater appreciation and understanding how to make adjustments in your own operations to suit the needs of your specific vision," states Dharma.
Michael Kalanty will lead the class through a session of the proprietary sensory process that he developed. It will help you understand what’s
important to your customers and how to make modifications
to your dough to suit their preferences for increased sales.
On the second day of the workshop, Michael will show us
how to work with a natural yeast starter, or sourdough.
“Because natural yeast breads are easier on the digestion, it’s
a great way to bring a healthier dough choice to your
customers. Plus the flavor and texture changes you get in
your pizza are well worth it," remarks Kalanty.
Michael’s sourdough starter is part of the collection in the
Puratos International Sourdough Library in Belgium. As a
special gift, each attendee will get a sample of Michael’s
25-year old San Francisco Sourdough Starter to take home.
Whether you make pizzas, flatbreads, focaccia, or pretzels, these sessions will help you get more control of your dough. The sensory techniques will help you bring out the aromas and flavors your customers want.
Chef Tommy Garnick will be leading the discussions on advanced skills of wood-fired cooking for meat, poultry, whole suckling pig, fish and
seafood, in addition to advance Fire and Oven management
techniques (using the same oven for both low and high heat
Chef Tommy will also be covering the use of "clean ingredients"
and how it is an essential part of the culinary equation.
This advanced course will also cover Wood-Fired cooking with
Himalayan sea salt blocks. New to this session will be two
new workshops on Knife Skills and and the newest technology
on cutting-edge Knife Sharpening presented by Affinity Culinary's Tormek T-2.
Chef Stephanie Petersen from Panhandle Milling will be teaching and directing a couple of workshops on the ancient grain of Kamut.
Kamut is an ancient wheat prized for its nutrition, ease of
digestibility, sweet nutty-buttery taste and firm texture.
Compared to most modern wheat it has more protein, amino
acids, vitamins and many minerals, especially selenium, zinc
and magnesium. Chef Stephanie will be showing us how to
use Kamut to expand our menus and offerings to our clients.
We'll also learn that not all Kamut is created equal.
Kamut is a variety of wheat and thus has gluten. However,
many people with sensitivities to modern wheat report being
able to eat Kamut with no difficulty and as a result it has
become a very trendy grain and flour in the culinary world.
Panhandle Milling offers milling, blending and private
labeling of a host of grains and flours. Panhandle Milling
offers milling, blending and private labeling of a host of grains
and flours. Panhandle Milling offers traditional flour, organic
flour, ancient grains, specialty wheats and more.
The October Wood Fired University is scheduled from Friday,
April 26th - Monday, April 29th. Friday evening is a
meet-and-greet. Monday is a half day and concludes at 1pm. Advanced registration is required. You can learn more about the classes, schedule and registration on the website at: www.FireWithin.com
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Fun With Food (March 2019)
What type of Snacker are you?
Do you need gluten-free snacks, or are you just looking for healthy snack ideas packed with protein and not too much sugar?
Whether you’re a purist who only eats whole foods, a foodie looking for new ideas, or a busy on-the-go professional, there’s a healthy snack on this list for everyone.
And you can filter through the list of healthy & filling snacks to find the best ones for you.
The best healthy snacks on the list:
• Apple slices with almond butter
• Avocado and Salsa on Ezekiel Toast
• Banana, Peanut Butter and Honey Roll-Ups
• Celery Sticks and Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip
• Chef’s Cut Buffalo Style Chicken Jerky
• Cucumber Hummus Boats
• Healthy Egg Muffin Cups
• Mini Pita Black Bean Quesadilla
• Oatmeal Cookie Energy Balls
• Parmesan Garlic Oven Roasted Chickpeas
Through Thick and Thin
May 2019 - Recent Research from the CIA
Do you like ice cream? Maybe chocolate milk? Gummy bears? Okay, maybe something a little healthier like a salad—with your favorite dressing? Do you ever wonder how those gummy candies are gummy? Or how the chocolate milk and ice cream coat your
mouth oh so decadently, or why salad
dressing coats each little leaf of
lettuce? Well, the source of those
delicious aspects stems from the
addition of gelatin, gums, and stabilizers.
The main function that causes this
gumminess is gelatin. Now…here’s
where things get a little weird. Gelatin
is derived from animal origins; not the
delicious pork chop or T-bone you may
be imagining, but collagen to be exact.
Collagen is a soft protein found in an
animal’s connective tissue -the stuff
that connects bones, tendons, muscles,
and skin. All the scraps of the animal butchering process that are left behind—like, ears, hooves, and skin—are used for collagen extraction. Don’t worry, this process has some history behind it, and modern practices yield a
completely pure form of gelatin that is free of any impurities. This pure form of gelatin is refined and dried into either sheets or a powder at different strengths; these strengths are known as “bloom”. The difference in bloom is basically the strength of the gelatin. Some products that have gelatin are marshmallows, Jell-O, puddings, yogurts, cream cheese, and frostings. There are plant-based gelling gums and thickeners too, like xanthan, carrageenan, and alginates.
The workhorse of the food processing and other industries is xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is derived from the fermentation of a plant-loving bacteria. Since 1950—when xanthan was discovered by a USDA scientist—it has been used for thickening all types of manufacturing processes. It is so widely used for its range of viscosifying properties and can hold up at various pH levels and temperatures.
Xanthan is used to thicken products like soups, sauces, salad dressings, and even toothpaste and some cosmetics. It is also used a lot in gluten-free baking as its gelling properties can mimic those structural aspects of the absent gluten strands. Just be careful if you’re using xanthan to thicken when cooking; if overused, it can yield mucilaginous or synovial slimy textures. But if used properly, xanthan takes the cake and it's gluten-free.
While methylcellulose might sound scary, it’s gelation properties are very stabil. This is yet another plant-derived thickener, thinner, or stabilizer. However you want to categorize it, methylcellulose does something the previous gels mentioned can’t do - it gets thicker when it is heated and liquefies as it cools. It falls into a category of gels known as thermo-reversible gels, meaning it forms a gel at one temperature but can change to a liquid state at another. Usually, thermo-reversible gels like gelatin turn from a solid to a liquid when heat energy is applied. Well, methylcellulose does the exact opposite. It is used in manufacturing some food items like, for example, oven or microwavable chicken pot pies. When the pot pie is heated, the liquid center becomes a more solid gel to prevent it from boiling over, but once heat is removed, the center turns back into a liquid. Another interesting recipe that can use the properties of methylcellulose is “Hot Ice Cream” where an ice cream is served hot and begins to melt as it cools.
More Culinary News
The Past will unlock a healthier future!
by Bill Rogers
Many ancient grains, or heritage grains, are gluten-free and versatile. From amaranth to spelt, ancient grains are loaded with trace vitamins and protein to keep you going. This particular group of grains is revered for its age and history: Greeks and Romans offered spelt to the gods; Aztecs considered chia seeds worthy of tribute, and farro is noted in the Old Testament. A resurgence of the old and the antiquated has made these grains once again shine in the spotlight, but what are they really?
Ancient grains are more than just relics from the
past that have stood the test of time; they are
cereals and seeds that have a robust texture and
stellar nutritional profile.
“They contain lots of essential vitamins, particularly
B vitamins, minerals like magnesium and potassium,
more amounts of iron and they also contain
protective elements like fibres and antioxidants,”
said Chris Chapman, a nutrition project officer with
the Grains, Legumes and Nutrition Council, “They’re nutritionally similar to grains…but they’ve got a little more bit more, which is unique and that is part of their popularity.”
Quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, teff, freekeh, chia seeds, farro, spelt and Kamut all qualify as ancient grains. The latter three are not gluten-free, but some people with gluten or wheat sensitivities can tolerate them.
The health benefits of these grains range from a high omega-3 content to a hefty amount of B vitamins and zinc. A serving of farro or emmer wheat, for example, is high in protein (7 grams), fiber (7 grams), and iron (12%), plus it’s an easily digested strain of wheat. 10,000 years ago, farro was cultivated in the Fertile Crescent at the dawn of the agricultural revolution where it spread to Asia, Europe, Northeast Africa, India and Arabic peninsula. This variety of hulled wheat was said to have sustained the Roman army, but it is not sustaining health foodies and the health curious alike. But, farro’s story is not unique: all ancient grains have their place in history because their nutritional profiles, packed with complex carbohydrates, landed them a spot in it, just look at these three grains below.
The alkaline, complex carbohydrate and prebiotic, millet, is a staple of the Himalayan Hunzas, a people who have enjoyed superb health and longevity. The grain also contains serotonin for stress, niacin for cholesterol, and magnesium for migraines. Composed of 15 percent protein, millet is an excellent way for vegetarians and vegans alike to obtain sufficient protein requirements, plus it contains antioxidants, is gluten-free and hydrates the colon to ease constipation.
Hailing from Africa, this staple of Asia and West Africa is grown today in many countries, including the United States, India, and Nigeria, for it is the fifth most important cereal crop. Nutritionally, sorghum is high in fiber, protein, and B-complex vitamins. It is often used where conventional wheat is used.
This fun-size, quick cooking grain is super tiny and ideal for nomadic life, especially in the areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long-established ties. Teff can withstand many environmental conditions: it thrives in waterlogged areas, high altitudes, dry heat, droughts, and is not prone to plant diseases. Free of gluten, one cup of teff alone packs in 123 mg of calcium, a high dose of vitamin C, iron, protein, fiber, and resistant starch. Because teff is so tiny, it cannot be processed, so eating it in its whole form is necessary.
Ancient grains can be used in a multitude of recipes that traditionally call for wheat or rice. Pick up some freekeh, and make this delectable salad with earthy beets, crisp cilantro, and juicy lime. Vandana R. Sheth, RDN, CDE, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that this freaky freekeh is “higher in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and lower in glycemic index.”
Try some amaranth in a to-die-for baked goods with bananas, maple syrup, and flax seeds. Or, fall back on some quinoa and make a crunchy pizza crust that is sure to please.
Final Thoughts. . .
Don’t put ancient grains on a pedestal, and don’t be scared to try them. Journey on over to the local health food store and pick some ancient grains and relive the past and look forward to a healthier future. CTV
More Culinary News
Put the Fun in Fungus!
by Bill Rogers
Mushrooms are fungi. That truism alone lends substantial credence to any argument about it being the weirdest food we consume on a regular basis. The argument doesn’t even include the fact that you may die if you start munching on one freshly plucked from a
field (don’t do this, by the way).
However, such weirdness comes
with a wealth of reward for those
that indulge in the safe,
picked-by-a-pro variety. The
dense earthiness packed into
each bite of delicious fungi
instantly adds a dimension of
flavor complexity virtually
unmatched by any other
ingredient. This mighty power
makes it a tremendous asset to
any dish or even all on its own.
There are several ways you can
discover their singular goodness
of mushrooms featured in the
dish won’t harm you. However, they may leave you wanting more.
Mushrooms and Salmon
The look of an edible mushroom isn’t just limited to the round-capped, skinny-stemmed version that readily fills your local grocery store’s vegetable aisle. Chanterelles may provide the most definitive, delectable proof of that axiom. These golden-hued, horn-shaped mushrooms possess a nutty, herbaceous flavor with a slight tinge of pepper, making them a perfect match for a wide range of dishes. This is demonstrated rather well in a Crispy Skin Salmon dish I've sampled. Add some leeks, corn, harissa and Laurel crème into the mix, and you have a killer dish that’s worth its weight in gold.
Mushrooms and Short Ribs
There are certain main dishes that mushrooms were seemingly made for pairing. Braised short rib is one of these entrees, and their intertwining flavors are so ideally suited for each other, they can be enjoyed in virtually any setting. This is even the case when the hearty duo is served up with a heaping helping of wild mushrooms along with walnut gorgonzola ravioli, it’s the kind of dish that may appear to be an exercise in cognitive dissonance when you glance out at crashing ocean waves. However, it’s so absurdly flavorful, you won’t mind.
Mushrooms and Pasta
When we think of pasta dish toppings, you may gravitate to obvious choices like meatballs or a tangy marinara sauce. But mushrooms are a sneaky good addition to any plate of pasta, as they offer a near perfect textural and flavor balance to properly prepped noodles. The wonders of the wondrous pairing is the driving force behind the Mushroom & Spinach Cannelloni dish you can make by hand-made pasta tubes which are generously stuffed with fabulous fungi and fresh ricotta and accompanied by spinach and a rich parmigiano fondue, resulting in a dish that’s great.
Mushrooms and Pizza
Of course there’s going to be a pizza on this list. And with good reason, too – the combination of earthy mushrooms, gooey cheese, and rich tomato sauce is pretty terrific, even if you’re not much of a fungus fan. This trio of ingredients can be a stopping point at some pizzerias, but it’s just the beginning for you to try at home with Portobello and Pancetta Pizza with Black Truffle Oil. The naturally intensified flavors of the famously oversized mushroom are tempered by the smoky flavors and fragrant aromatics of the pie’s other two stars, making each slice consumed taste more like an indulgence rather than a mere treat.
Mushrooms and Burgers
Mushrooms make outstanding burger toppings. Yet a truly pleasurable meat and mushroom inner-bun experience rests in the quality of the beef. Try making a Filet Mignon Sliders. Yes, the duo of sliders is not a classic burger per se, but that’s a moot point. What really counts is the fact that these babies feature fire-grilled beef tenderloin topped with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. You'll love it after the first bite.
Bill Rogers has been covering culinary trends since 1986 when he and his wife were the stars of the Restaurant Review which aired on MTV. An avid lover of food, he revels in the diverse nature and multi-cultural influences of a worldwide table of foods, and will pretty much try anything at least once. And while his profession has enabled him to humbly enjoy some remarkably exquisite epicurean adventures, he always finds great joy in the simple pleasures that a perfectly cooked hamburger, a pizza and root beer float brings to his palate.