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BASIL

Basil is a large, green, leafy plant that is used in many different cuisines around the world. It is mainly used fresh, but can also be dried and used in stocks, sauces, or as a seasoning, although it has a much less intense flavor than the fresh. Many types of Basil exist, however the most common are “Genovese”, “Lemon”, ”Mammoth”, “Globe”, and “Cinnamon.”

 

Culinary tips: Basil is the key ingredient in Pesto, an Italian sauce that is primarily fresh Basil and Olive Oil. It’s also used by rolling several leaves together and slicing them into thin ribbons, called a chiffonade, that can be used over salads, soups,  sauces or just as a garnish. It is also one of the primary ingredients of a bouquet garni, which is an assortment of aromatic herbs and spices used to flavor roasted meats or vegetables while cooking. It is usually removed and discarded after cooking is completed!

broiling

BROILING

Broil is used to cook foods such as thick bread, meat, fish, or poultry with an intense radiant heat source produced by the top element only.  Viking ovens have the added feature of a close door broil.  Viking ovens also offer Mini Broil and Maxi Broil, which allows you to choose how much of your broiling element you wish to use.  Broiling is an excellent way of bringing out the food’s natural flavors without a lot of extra fat.

In previous times, broiling was achieved by superheating a solid piece of metal known as a salamander.  This was then passed over the surface of a finished dish to give it a lovely brown glazed color.  Baked custard sprinkled with a thin   layer of sugar will caramelize under a broiler.  Also, foods dotted with butter or sprinkled with cheese will brown nicely and give it a delicious toasted quality.  This is achieved in current times by the infrared broiler (gas) or high wattage adjustable (electric) broiler.

FOOD SUITABLE FOR BROILING

  • Tender cuts of beef or lamb
  • Shrimp and lobster
  • Scallops
  • Organ meats (liver and kidney)
  • Fish (whole or filets)
  • Finishing and browning (any dish)

CONVECTION:

Convection cooking is the controlled movement of hot air.  The addition of a fan in the oven cavity ensures even heat distribution; so multi-rack cooking can be employed.  Viking ovens have another element behind the convection fan, which enhances the whole process even further.  This is known as “true” or “European” convection.  This mode allows for meats and poultry to sear quickly on the outside as the heat enters the food at different angles and breaks the thermal barrier faster.  Convection will brown the outside of meats nicely and leave the juices inside the food for better taste.  Convection also will allow you to cook on several racks at the same time without having to rotate the items around.

FOODS BEST SUITED FOR CONVECTION

  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Cream Puffs
  • Meats
  • Poultry
convection

HINTS FOR COOKING WITH CONVECTION

Preheat oven at least 20 minutes or until thermostat indicates that the oven is up to the desired temperature (models will vary).  Ovens with concealed baking elements will require a slightly longer preheat time.

  • Use the timer to signal the minimum cooking time and then check foods for doneness.  To check the cooking process: turn the oven light on and look into the oven without opening the door (the oven temperature drops 25-30° each time the door is opened, depending on the length of time the door is open!)
  • Choose the correct utensils when cooking with convection.  Recommended cookie sheets will have little to no sides and a flared lip on one side.  The standard Air Bake cookie sheets work best.
  • Use the recommended size and material required for the recipe.  When in doubt, measure it out.  Viking ovens will include one pan with each oven.  These pans have flat sides and are recommended for any convection cooking.
  • Allow at least an inch of space between pans and the oven walls for even air circulation.  Stagger the pans in multi-rack cooking so that not one pan is directly above another one.
  • Aluminum cookware gives the best browning results.  Shiny pans reflect heat and give a light, tender, golden crust.  These pans are best suited for cakes, cookies, quick breads, muffins, etc.  Non-stick light finishes do not affect the cooking time, but may result in less browning.

CONVERTING THERMAL TO CONVECTION

The general guideline is as follows: reduce temperature by 25° as stated in recipe.  Example: instead of using 350°, turn the selector 325°.  You may leave the temperature the same if you choose to, but you must reduce the cooking time by 15-25%.  The time adjustment will vary upon personal preference of the doneness of food, especially meats.  Always check food before the end time to make sure the time adjustment is sufficient.

NOTE:  Every recipe will differ each time it is made.  Some foods may take longer than others, so be aware of this and adjust accordingly.

cooking

METHODS OF COOKING - INDOORS

All cooking methods fall within one of two categories, moist or dry. As a general rule, the moist cooking process is used if the food is not naturally tender.  Examples are meats that contain large amounts of connective tissue or vegetables that consist of a lot tough fibers.

MOIST HEAT COOKING

  • Boiling, simmering, poaching, and stewing
  • Steaming
  • Pressure cooking
  • Braising
  • Deep frying

DRY HEAT COOKING

  • Baking, roasting
  • Toasting, broiling
  • Pan frying

OVEN - BAKE:

Cooking in an oven, which utilizes the heat created by the element on the bottom of the oven, is known as thermal cooking, or conventional cooking.

Foods that are suitable to cook with the bake mode:

  • Appetizers
  • Breads
  • Cakes, cookies, and pies
  • Desserts
  • Main dishes
  • Meat roasts
  • Poultry
Viking-griddle-with-food

PROFESSIONAL GRIDDLE INFORMATION

SEASONING THE GRIDDLE:

  • Clean the surface with hot, soapy water to remove the protective coating.
  • Rinse with a mixture of ¼ cup white vinegar and 1 quart of water.  Dry thoroughly.
  • You may also use club soda and a scrubby pad to remove the protective coating.
  • Pour approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or canola (don’t use corn or olive oil) onto the center of the griddle.  Rub into the surface with a heavy cloth.
  • Turn control knob to 350°. When the oil begins to smoke (8-10 minutes), turn control knob to OFF.  Allow griddle to cool.
  • Repeat the heating and oiling process again.
  • When the griddle has cooled, wipe it clean with a heavy, coarse cloth such as burlap.  The griddle is now ready to use.
  • NOTE: never use cold water or club soda on the griddle, as it can warp the griddle surface.  Use only room temperature liquids.

USING THE GRIDDLE:

Turn the griddle control knob to the suggested temperature on the griddle-cooking chart below.  Preheat the griddle for 15 minutes, or until a drop of water dances on the surface.

Eggs 250-300°F
Bacon, ham, pork chops 300-325°F
Sausage, grilled cheese 325-350°F
Quesadillas 325-350°F
Pancakes, French toast 375-400°F
Hash brown potatoes 400-450°F
Fish fillets 300°F
Steaks or hamburgers 350°F

 

NOTE:

The griddle will darken with use, which is normal.  It will become a non-stick surface if it is properly seasoned.  The use of oil or shortening can be used depending on the flavor desired.  The griddle must be level or tip slightly forward for proper operation.

COOKING TIPS:

  • Preheat griddle to desired temperature.
  • Use liquid cooking oil, cooking spray, or butter for eggs, pancakes, French toast, fish, and sandwiches to reduce sticking.  Meats generally have enough natural oils.
  • Remove food particles with a flat edged metal spatula during cooking to make the cleanup easier.
  • DO NOT overheat the griddle.

CLEANING TIPS

Clean the griddle using Club Soda, a soft bristled scrub brush and terry cloth rags or thick paper towels (thick enough to keep from burning yourself).  Before cleaning, first allow the griddle to cool around 200°.

  • Pour Club Soda onto the heated griddle surface.  The Club Soda will loosen food residue.
  • Scrape the soda and residue into drainage port.
  • Let cool briefly after residue is removed, and wipe down the terry cloth towel or paper towels to remove any remaining surface residue.
  • When surface has cooled, apply a light coating of mineral oil or vegetable oil.  Using the oil will give the griddle surface a protective coating and will make it ready for its next use.
grill_-_chicken

GRILLING ON A PROFESSIONAL RANGE GRILL

When cooking food on the indoor gas grill you can achieve the same results as an outdoor barbeque.  The grills are equipped with a 15,000 BTU stainless steel tube burner typical of those found in commercial equipment.  The burner flame should be blue in color and stable without any yellow tips, excessive noise, or lifting.  The flames should burn completely along both sides of the burner tube.  If the flame does flutter, make excessive noise or lifts, check to see if the burner ports are clogged.  If they are clogged, use a wire brush or a straightened paperclip to clean the ports.

USING THE GRILL:

  • Turn the grill knob to the LITE position.  After the flame is ignited, turn the knob to HI and preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes.
  • Place the food on the grill and cook to the desired doneness.  Adjust heat setting if necessary.  The control knob can be set to any position between HI and LOW.
  • After cooking is complete, leave the grill on HI for 10 minutes or so to burn off excess fat and food particles.  Using a spray bottle with just water, spritz the grates lightly to loosen remaining particles of food, then use a wire brush to clean the grate surface.  Repeat a couple of times.
  • Allow the grill adequate time to cool completely before removing the grates.  Clean the burner and heat shield with soapy water, rinse, and then dry completely.

GRILLING HINTS:

  • To avoid flare-ups use a spatula or tongs to turn the food over.  Avoid applying excessive amounts of oil on what is being prepared.
  • To check for doneness without cutting into the meat use the clenched fist method.  For rare, feel the area between your forefinger and your thumb while your fist is barely clenched.  For medium, squeeze your fist half way, and then feel the same spot.  For well-done clench fist tightly, then test the spot.
  • NOTE:  There is an optional stainless steel cover to hide the grill when not in use.
utensils

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN COOKING UTENSILS/VESSELS

While pots and pans are basic pieces of equipment in every kitchen, choosing them is far from simple!  There are a wide range of materials and gauges to choose from including stainless steel, or copper: no-stick or conventional surfaces: and residential versus commercial-style.  The prices for a basic 7-10 piece set range from $50 to well over $500. So while the choices are many (and the confusion), the kind of cookware you choose depends on how you cook.

SHAPE:

Many pieces of cookware are multi-purpose, but some have special advantages.  A skillet with flared sides makes sautéing and flipping omelets easy.  A straight-sided skillet is better suited for frying.  A tall pot is good for making soups, stews, and pasta.  A wide pot lets you cook the previous dishes and also brown meats, then cook them in the oven.

INTERIOR FINISHES:

The first non-sticks coatings, introduced more than 30 years ago, were thin and scratched easily.  Non-sticks today still have limitations.  Most shouldn’t be used be used with metal utensils or with very high heat, but they have greatly improved.  Non-stick finishes are good for cooking sticky foods like rice; non-sticks are also good for low-fat cooking.

HANDLES:

Solid metal handles can be awkward but are sturdy.  Solid or hollow metal handles can get hot, but are able to go from stovetop to oven. Lightweight plastic handles don’t get as hot, but can’t go into a high heat oven.  Wooden handles stay cool but aren’t dishwasher safe and may also burn in a hot oven.

WEIGHT:

Heavy pans are often sturdy, but are hard for some people to maneuver.  Before you purchase any item, pick them up and imagine how it would feel with the extra weight of food in it.

BOTTOM:

It is imperative to have a good quality, flat bottomed cookware, especially when using electric cooking surfaces.  A bottom that is concave or convex will not make proper contact, therefore, will not heat properly and may even wobble on the burner surface.  A triple-ply (or higher) construction is recommended for gas surface cooking.

home-appliance-chef-cooking-tips-tip1

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR WARMING DRAWER

The warming drawer will keep hot, cooked food at serving temperature. It works in two ways:

  • It seals the natural moisture of the food inside the drawer to keep the food moist. This is achieved on the “MOIST” setting.
  • It allows the moisture to escape keeping the foods crispy. This is the “DRY” setting.

Always start with hot food for best results. Food’s fat and moisture content will affect heat retention, as fatty foods stay warmer longer than leaner foods. The same can be said for solid foods versus liquid foods like stews. The most influential variable of all is whether the food is covered or not.

DO NOT LINE DRAWER WITH ALUMINUM FOIL!!! Foil is an excellent heat insulator and will trap heat beneath it. The aluminum could impair the performance of the drawer, and may damage the interior finish of the drawer.

  • The warming drawer has a thermostat with variable temperature settings from 90-250°. 90-160° (LOW), 161-190° (MED), and 191-250° (HIGH). Plus (+) for steam and minus (-) for dry/crisp. Use lids for added moisture, or add water to the cup inside the drawer. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the drawer to preheat.
  • Yeast dough can be proofed in the warming drawer. Preheat the warming drawer for at least ten minutes. Place the dough in a bowl that will allow it to double in size. You may place some water in the cup if you choose. Turn the temperature control to the lowest setting to facilitate the fermentation time. A (slightly damp) towel should be placed over the dough to minimize surface drying. You may lightly cover the top of the dough with oil, either with a pastry brush or a mister. The dough should remain in the warming drawer until it has doubled in size and a slight depression remains when the surface is touched gently with a finger. Check after 30 minutes, however, more time may be needed.
  • You can crisp stale items by putting in a low-sided dish or pan. Preheat drawer at MED / DRY and leave in for 20 minutes or so.
  • To warm serving bowls and platters, be sure to only use heat-safe dishes or pans. Preheat empty serving dishes while preheating the drawer. Remember, it is actually more beneficial to heat a dinner plate for service than a serving platter. An unheated plate will cool the food before you finish eating the meal.

TEMPERATURE OF FOOD FOR CONTROL OF BACTERIA

FARENHEIT

TEMPERATURE WHAT ACTION OCCURS:

  • 250° Causing temperature for low-acid vegetables, meat, and poultry in a pressure canner.
  • 240-212° Canning temps for fruits, tomatoes, and pickles in water bath canning process.
  • 212-165° Temperature that destroys most bacteria. Time required to kill bacteria decreases as temperature increases.
  • 165-140° Some bacteria growth occurs, many bacteria survive at this temperature.
  • 120-60° DANGER ZONE! Food at this zone allows for rapid bacteria growth and the production of toxins by some bacteria. Foods should not be held in this temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • 60-40° Some growth of food poisoning bacteria occurs.
  • 40-32° Cold temps permit slow growth of some bacteria that cause spoilage. Raw meats should be used within five days ground eat, poultry or fish should be cooked in two days.
  • 32-0° Freezing temperatures stop bacteria growth, but may allow bacteria to survive. Adapted from the “Keeping Food Safe to Eat, home and Garden Bulletin #162, US Department of Agriculture” 1988