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Tag: cooking

Product Spotlight: The SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane Culinary

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A growing trend, sous vide cooking (pronounced “soo-veed”) involves using submerging vacuum-sealed food in pouches into a precisely-controlled water bath held at a constant temperature. The SousVide Supreme is the world’s first water oven designed specifically to bring the extraordinary sous vide cooking method into the home kitchen.

We recently had a chance to try out the sous vide method of cooking at home using the SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane Culinary (the Canadian distributor). We decided to give it a try using bone-in rib steaks. Our triple AAA steaks were thawed from frozen and 1.5″ inches thick. We powered up the SousVide Supreme, and set the temperature to 57 Degrees Celsius. While the machine got up to temperature, we seasoned the steak with the montreal steak spice. We placed the steak into the provided vacuum seal pouches, along with a piece of butter. We sealed the steaks using the provided SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer. Once the Supreme reached temperature, we submerged the steaks into the water bath, set the timer on the unit for 60 minutes, and placed the cover.

After an hour, the timer went off and the meat was ready to be removed. We pull out the steak from the water bath, and cut open the pouches. The meat came out looking extremely tender and perfectly cooked. One thing about SousVide cooking is that unlike traditional methods it doesn’t brown or sear the meat. As a result, although ready to eat, the meat can sometimes look unappetizing. A quick sear will easily remedy this.

We chose to sear our steak on the grill. With the barbecue set at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, we placed the steak on the grill for just a few minutes to make grill marks and a perfect sear. Although not required by the SousVide cooking method, we let the steaks rest for a few minutes before cutting into them.

The meat was perfectly cooked, succulent, tender, and juicy. We served it alongside roasted potatoes, eggplant parmigiana and caesar salad. The SousVide is an easy and precise way to cook meats, fish, vegetables and more, perfectly every time. Looking forward to cooking with the SousVide Supreme again!

sousvide_supreme

The SousVide Supreme kit we used was the SousVide Supreme Deluxe Promo Package (which retails for $549.00). The promo package includes everything you need to start cooking sous vide today, including the SousVide Supreme water oven, vacuum sealer, pouches, the Easy Sous Vide cookbook, and more. The push-button simple SousVide Supreme allows anyone to prepare meals with maximum flavour and nutrition that will be cooked to perfection and ready when you are. The result is food of incomparable taste and texture:  steak perfectly cooked edge-to-edge, vibrant vegetables, juicy tender chicken breasts, and ribs with the meat literally falling off the bone.

The steps to sous vide cooking are simple: season and vacuum-seal your food, drop it into the SousVide Supreme at the desired temperature, and walk away. Unlike the hostile high temperatures of stovetop, oven, or grill, the SousVide Supreme gently and precisely cooks food to its perfect serving temperature and cannot overcook.  Foolproof gourmet results with push-button simplicity.

SousVide Supreme Features:

  • Hands-off, time-saving meal preparation. Just set it and walk away
  • Easy and foolproof. Never overcook a meal again. Perfect results, every time.
  • Gourmet taste. Capture the full, TRUE flavor of foods
  • Saves you money. Tenderizes inexpensive cuts.
  • Added nutritional value. Natural juices and nutrients are retained in the food-safe vacuum seal bag.
  • Easy clean-up. No messy pots and pans. Just empty and wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.
  • Energy-efficient operation. Uses energy equivalent to a 60W light bulb once at target temperature. Quiet operation.
  • Precise temperature control to 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius)

SousVide Supreme Tips and Tricks:

One of the best things about the SousVide Supreme and sous vide cooking in general is that it is very simple to create gourmet meals at home with minimal hands-on time and almost no risk of overcooking! Cedarlane Culinary shares a handful of tricks and tips that will help you cook SousVide successfully one your very first attempts.

Cooking Times and Temperatures

  • Pork chops or tenderloin at 60 degrees C for a couple of hours at least.
  • Steaks and Chicken breasts can do for an hour. Medium rare steak is 57 degrees C and Chicken should be done at 64 degrees C.
  • Beef roast at 57 or a couple degrees higher if you like a bit more well done. Do for 4-8 hours.

Sealing & Cooking Liquids and Liquid-Rich Foods

  • If the liquid or sauce is freezable, put it in the freezer beforehand to solidify it and add it to your pouch of food while in it’s frozen state. It won’t take long to start melting once the pouch is in your SousVide Supreme and it won’t give you any issues during sealing.
  • Our preferred method is to take advantage of all 3 button on the vacuum sealer (Vacuum seal, Cancel, and Seal Only). Prepare your pouch as you normally would and hit the Vacuum Seal button. Once the majority of the air is removed you will start to see the liquid being pulled up the pouch. At this point quickly press the ‘Cancel’ button, followed immediately by the ‘Seal Only’ button. This will maximize the amount of air removed while stopping the suction before the bag is sealed and before any liquid can reach the top of the pouch.
  • A third option is to use the Archimedes Principle of Water Displacement in which you fill your sink or container with water, and submerge the pouch before using the ‘Seal Only’ button to close the pouch. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also combine Tips 2 and 3 to remove as much air as possible before sealing.

Sealing ‘Bone-In’ Meats

  • If you’re having trouble sealing meats with the bone left in because the bone is puncturing the pouch, use some tinfoil to wrap around the exposed bone area before sealing. This will protect the pouch from any sharp edges that may pose a concern.

Searing Afterwards

  • One thing you want to remember after you remove the food from the pouch and before searing on the grill, in a pan, or with a blowtorch, is to pat the surface of your food with a paper towel to remove the moisture on the exterior of your food. You want to sear it for a very short amount of time (20-30 seconds per side) on very high heat and if there is a lot of moisture on the exterior of the food, it will take longer to evaporate this moisture and you will need to sear it longer to achieve the exterior browning you desire. This added time can quickly start overcooking the interior and can ruin the amazing results you just achieved by cooking it sous vide.

For Sous Vide Recipes, Cooking Tips, Industry News and more like Cedarlane Culinary on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. If you are interested in purchasing a SousVide Supreme or learning more, please contact Cedarlane Culinary.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

Interview: Roger Mooking of ‘Man Fire Food’

Chef and host Roger Mooking talks about the whole cow being fire roasted and smoked at Bovinova 2.0 in Greer SC on May 19th 2012 as seen on Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food, Season 1.” Photos by Peter TaylorChef Roger Mooking, returns to Cooking Channel for the second season of Man Fire Food. Roger’s fascination with flames continues as he travels across the country in search of the most inventive ways to cook with fire, and this season the heat is hotter and the flavours are bolder. From traditional Hawaiian grub smoked in an underground lava pit to whole ducks on Brazilian skewers cooked on top of an outdoor oven, each stop delivers sizzling recipes and out-of-this-world heat.

Where did you get your passion for cooking? Who was your inspiration?

My grandfather came from China and ended up in Trinidad in the Caribbean. After many years of working hard he opened his own bakery and restaurant, at one point my dad bought one of those restaurants off of him and ran the restaurant for 20 years. All my aunts and uncles on that side of the family owned restaurants and catering companies to this day in the Caribbean. So it was really in my blood and I wanted to be a chef from the time I was 3 years old. I don’t know if I could cite one individual. My grandmother on my mother’s side was an amazing cook and artist so I’ve just been surrounded by really creative people and food interested people my whole life so it’s kind of been a patchwork collective of people that have fed that interest. Then I went into professional kitchens and learned from other chefs. I saw how driven they were and interested and I was a sponge for all these people.

What can viewers expect from Season 2. What’s different from the first season?

From season 1 to season 2 we’ve really honed in on what the concept of the show is. Because we go into shooting the shows and we don’t get to see what the final edits are until we are halfway through shooting one of the seasons. So in the first season we didn’t get to see what the show feels like until we halfway shot it, and then we want to make little tweaks, but we’ve already shot it. So going into season 2, we had the kind of breadth of experience of knowing all the things that we feel are really powerful and meaningful from all of those captivating things from season 1 and now we get to take all of that artillery and build it into season 2. We just really refined the concept, honed in on it. Really made sure we got really captivating people who are building fantastic contraptions and who like to build big fires and make delicious food and we’ve been really strict about making sure we only adhere to that.

You get to meet some pretty interesting people while shooting the show. Who was the most colourful person that you’ve met?

There was a guy we met actually named Tink Pinkard in Texas. He’s just a big grizzly bear looking guy with a heart of gold. He has a great  group of friends around him. He does some really delicious food, whole hog porchetta, and he was just a warm person and so inviting. Normally we do two locations in every episode but we were just so compelled by him and what he’s doing, and his passion and his whole lifestyle and we stayed with him for a whole episode. That’s the first time we’ve ever done that in a season.

What locations have you visited?

We went to Hawaii, we’ve been to the san francisco area. Right now we are in the Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts area. Next week we go to Jamaica. We are really focused on making sure we capture the best stories. The best contraptions. The best fires. The best food.

Which location has really stuck out for you?

One thing I realize about doing this show is everybody in every nook and cranny has a passion for cooking over a fire. I just think it’s something so primal that people are just drawn to a fire. If I light a fire in the middle of this grass right now somebody is gonna show up with some marshmallows, somebody is going to show up with a guitar. Somebody is gonna bring some lawn chairs, and someone is going to bring a cooler with some beer.  And before you know it you have a little party going on. Just all these nooks and cranny’s and I’m always surprised by the most remote areas how inviting people are and receptive they are to sharing their stories with us.

Roger Mooking South Carolina

What’s your favourite thing to throw on the grill?

With this show it’s not just about BBQ, although it’s impossible to do a show like this and not cover the traditional BBQ stuff. It goes way beyond that. We go into this area right now, we’re doing clam bakes and Salmon. We go to Napa Valley and people are cooking whole lambs Asado style on a cross. We go to Hawaii and they are doing Emu, traditional Emu, like how you see a Luau with lava rocks and the laulau. Everybody just has their own little thing to it man, and that’s the beauty of it. You think “Oh, it’s a BBQ show”, but it just goes so much deeper than BBQ.

What’s a tip you’d give about cooking with fire?

One thing I’ve noticed, and the more expert pit masters will support this too. I think a lot of people think I want to cook dinner, I’m gonna turn on the BBQ on high, put my steak on there, keep it on high and it will be cooked faster. There’s a lot of benefit, especially when you’re using tougher cuts of meat and slow roasting, to go long and slow. With those kinds of cuts of meat. And even delicate cuts, like a rib eye, you can do it kind of quick and fast, but if you slow smoke that stuff, it’s great like that too. My number one thing is just don’t cook it on high, there’s a range of temperatures. A range of applications. A range of different types of woods. A range of what that heat source is. Proximity to the fire. Is it direct heat? Indirect heat? Are you smoking? You know there’s just so many variables, you gotta know what you want your end product to be and what your starting product is and how you want to get from A to B.

What do you want people to take away from the show?

At the heart of it, I think the show is about passion and community. At the end of every program there’s an eating scene with a feast of people and everybody is sharing this big thing that we just cooked and spent who know sometimes 12-24 hours, 48 hours if you include the marinating process and all that stuff. This process of cooking and preparing this meal that gets consumed for people. You don’t endeavour to do such a long winded project, unless you love it. I think that you are drawn to the passion of myself. The passion of the person that I’m cooking with who is my host for the day. And also the passion of the people who are coming to share this incredible feast. At the essence at the core of it, it’s all about love and community and fire is the conduit for all of those things.

How is this show different from the other shows you’ve done?

Everyday Exotic was an instructional show. That was basically me talking to the camera the whole time. And that’s a completely different animal than Heat Seekers, for instance, where that really is about me and Aarón Sanchez going out and trying to one up each other like frat boys. That’s a totally different dynamic, because not only am I talking to the person I’m cooking with in the kitchen, but it’s about me and Aarón having a rapport and a chemistry. We hit it off right away, so that was natural, but that is a completely different dynamic. With a show like this where I’m always meeting a new person every two days. We’re always doing a new type of contraption, new type of dish, new type of food, and new type of history that they bring to it. A lot of people are bringing their family traditions, whether they’re from Argentina or France or America, or Napa Valley specific. Everybody brings those things and I can’t treat every single person the same way. I can’t go and say we’re going to build this fire, we’re going to cook this steak and then we’re going to go home. Everybody is different. I gotta approach every interaction with all of these individuals in a completely different manner. Some people are more playful. Some people are more stoic. Some people are really conservative. With the playful people it’s easy, and sometimes you have to reel them back in. With the conservative people I have to be more playful to draw them out. So from host perspective it’s about adapting constantly, which is truthfully the essence of life.

What’s your favourite dish or comfort food when you relax at home?

An egg with soy sauce. Just a hardboiled egg with soy sauce. It’s magical!

What’s the importance of the connection of your love for food and music?

Well at the end of the day what I like to do is just make things. The things that I’m interested in making are what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about music and I’m passionate about food. At the end of the day they all fall under the umbrella of entertainment. I love to entertain. I love to see people have a great time. And what better way to do that than to share that entertainment through music or through food. I can’t think of a better way to entertain and have fun with people you don’t know. All of the sudden it’s like you’re friends, you’re down.

What music do you like to listen to while you cook?

It changes. Sometimes if I’m in the middle of working on an album I might be playing some of the music that I was working on in the studio the day before. So that I can formulate ideas for lyrics. Or sometimes I’ll have the lyrics in my head and I’m working on a piece of music, and it’s in my brain, so I don’t want any other music playing. Sometimes I just want to turn on some Cassandra Wilson, or Kanye West, or Simon and Garfunkel or Odd Future. My musical tastes run a fairly wide range.

Roger also has Feedback, a new album coming out July 9. For more information visit rogermooking.com and Man Fire Food on the cookingchannel.com.

July 2, 2013 | By | Reply More

Lidia Bastianich Speaks To Us About Family, Her Inspirations, And Some Of Her Favourite Foods

Photo Credit: Diana DeLucia

Celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich is bringing her Italian gusto to Canada with Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!” February 10, 2013 at 3pm, at Toronto Centre for the Arts. Beloved celebrity chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich has spent the last forty years promoting Italian culture and cuisine across North America. And while adoring Canadian fans have enjoyed watching Lidia on TLN, they’ve never had the opportunity to see her in a Lidia Live performance… until now! Lidia’s culinary roadshow, Lidia Live!, makes its Canadian debut this February 10, 2013 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in Toronto.

Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen recently spoke with Lidia for Foodea about her live tour, Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!”, her inspirations, her family, the importance of eating together at the table, and much more! Read the first part of our interview here.

Where do you get the inspiration for your recipes?

None of the recipes are my recipes. They are recipes from the Italian culture. I borrow them and I modify them. I travel. I taste. I see. The rest I might get an idea. But basically I’m very true to the Italian tradition. I don’t go wild with recipes and I don’t invent recipes. I modify them.

When you were learning these traditional recipes, who was teaching you to cook when you were growing up?

In Italy you’re at the restraints of your grandmother, mother and aunts. I would say it was my grandmother, my maternal grandmother and my maternal great aunt. Because my mother was a teacher and she was working. I spent a lot of time with grandma. She lived not to far away. She lived out of the city and had all kinds of animals; so fresh eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs. I would run and get them when grandma wanted to make some pasta, still nice and warm. Or if we wanted to make a frittata. She had a goat, and she would milk the goat and we would make goat cheese and ricotta. We had pigs and when it was the season, we’d make prosciutto and all of that. We had a garden with olives. Grandpapa made olive oil, he made wine.

My great aunt, on the other hand, was sort of herbalist, and she would take me foraging for herbs like camomile flowers. We’d pick them and leave them to dry. All of the different fruits. She’d make them into different teas. So I had this connection to the earth, a sensibility for food at an early age. I think that set the stage for my whole repertoire of flavours and references. I remember harvesting potatoes with my grandmother and they were still warm in my hand, they had life. You take the potatoes, you clean them, and you fry them in just plain olive oil. It’s completely a different world. And I think all of those things set the ground for my passion.

And then having to go away and migrate and leave all of that. I think that cooking is my connecting link, the perpetual connecting link to those wonderful memories I had with my grandmother. And also I realized that maybe food is the carrier of culture and family. In retrospect now I can see that was it, but I didn’t know what was happening then. People loved what I did. I had a great time. When you’re good at something and people love it, you do more of it.

What made you decide to take your knowledge to the public and embark on a career in food media?

It’s all the road taken or not taken. I think that my passion, and I’m also very positive and I’m also academic about food. I want to know. I wanted to understand the ecology of food, I wanted to understand the science of food. Way before it was in vogue. I continue to do that. When you have this knowledge, I guess because my mother was a teacher, you want to share it. And then along the way come opportunities. Certainly for my first book it was Jay Jacobs who was a writer for Gourmet where he wrote restaurant reviews. He said “Lidia you should write a book” and I said “Well I’m not a writer” so he said “Let’s do it together!”. And that was my first book, La Cucina Di Lidia in 1990, still in print and I’m very proud of it. Along the way I opened to the idea and really became a regional Italian chef. I sort of cooked regional Italian food, which was maybe a novelty of going from Italian American to North Italian food to regional. I realized that regional food is what Italian food is. I knew my region. Then I went on and visited every single other one and how much they offered. By then as Lidia, I had a following. Julia Child asked me to do one of her shows. I did two of her shows, The Master Chefs series, and the producer said “Lidia you’re pretty good. How about a show?” I think my style of cooking show, my mentor was Julia. How she approached teaching for her was important that the audience cook. That the audience gets to see. It wasn’t about how much she can do. She wanted to share with them and she wanted them to do it and so I knew it, but it wasn’t about showing how much I could do. It was about me transmitting that knowledge and empowering the viewers whether through my books or through my television show. And that meant really simplifying things, and explaining the why, the how, the context, making people happy and comfortable and to some extent I think I achieved that and maybe that’s why the following. Most people out there that cook my recipes. In middle America someplace, Arizona, or Missouri, they send me emails that say “when my kids come home and ask what’s for dinner, and I say Lidia’s for dinner. They say, “Yay! Lidia’s for dinner!”. That’s a great feeling.

What were meals like for you when you were growing up with your family?

Tables full of people, not necessarily candles and all that, but people were gathered and trans-generational. It was three generations most of the time at the table. I loved it! There was a sense of security, the aromas, the smell. Food was part of life. Life dedicated to nourishing the family, at least for my grandmother and grandfather. They dedicated their whole life from early in the morning until night to go out, to plough, to harvest, salt and cure in the winter time, shell the beans and peas, so we’d have some in the winter. This whole idea of dedicating almost 24 hours to the existence and the pleasure in doing so. Of your family, and your children and your grandchildren. If that isn’t love and dedication, I don’t know what is.

Everybody had a role. My grandfather worked in the shipyard. He came home and tied the grape vines and pruned the tomatoes. And we would always be in tow and running around. I remember, we would play hide and seek in the rosemary bushes and we would come out smelling like rosemary. For us as kids, it’s not like now when you have a hot bath or shower every night, so I was a whole perfume of rosemary, it was beautiful. Tomatoes, the smell of tomato leaves. I don’t know how many children know that smell. It’s a shame that we are so distanced from the source of food, especially the children today. So I’m trying to recapture all of that. I have written also, two children’s books. Where I’m trying to communicate this to children. It’s all about Nonna telling a story, the stories I would tell my children, and then the grandchildren. I told you we had goats, and then baby goats. We used to put nice red ribbons on their neck. And the baby kids, if you tie the mother, they will not go distant. So you don’t have to tie the baby kids. And we used to play with the goat kids. We used to drink the milk that they drank, because the goats would give an abundance of milk. Kids are not as blessed today. It’s a different world. It can’t be the same, but how can we make them conscious of it? We have every means of communicating, so let’s communicate it! I’m trying.

How important do you find having dinner with the family at the table is?

I think it’s the most important place for talking and understanding each other and developing good skills. Unless the children get familiar with these smells and grow up with them, let’s take for example broccoli or cabbage. The smells when they cook, it’s huge. If you’ve never smelled it, then all of the sudden when it’s put in front of your nose when you’re 6 or 7 you’re gonna say “what’s this?”. I always say that diverse vegetables have to be eaten by the expectant mother, have to be cooked in the house as the children are growing up, eaten so it permeates the milk of the babies, the smells, so on. Because smell is the first sense that children learn, they smell their mothers, they know their mothers milk. So can you imagine how important introducing all of these things through that are. It’s a non-evasive way of teaching children, just by cooking in the house. Whether it’s garlic, or onion, all of these. Cooking in the house, eating it. Children will eventually fall into place and taste it, it’s part of the family. And these foods being part of the family, will be cooked by the family, and served at the family table.

The one thing growing up about food being part of your family, the smells and all of that. The table. It’s such a venue for communicating. Why do we do business lunches? Why do we celebrate special occasions? All at the table. Basically we are animals, and we need to eat to live. Eating is not an option. It’s that animal instinct at the table that kicks in. What that does is our human defence systems, subside and go down. And we are taken in with nourishment that keeps us alive. So when you are in that stage of taking in whatever is being said, whatever is being discussed. You’re not allowed to let the sense load, you’re not supposed to do because you’re at the table. You’re much more predisposed to taking in what’s being said. How you then process it is another, but if you’re at the table, and everyone eats, children eat, parents say things, children listen. Sometimes it becomes confrontational, maybe sometimes. I remember arguments at the table. The table is such a special place. If you want to discuss drugs or whatever, you begin to talk with your husband about it, and everybody all together. The table, if you do it nice and easy, is a great place to do it. Children learn from you, and if you just say ok, we’re going to talk about drugs. Your kid is going to be on the defence. That’s it, that’s the end. I think not enough parents, for that matter, or anybody, understand the potential, or the strength of being at the table and eating and the power that can be communicated at the table.

Are there any rituals that you keep with your family that you learned when you were growing up?

I think children should always stay at the table with the grownups. I don’t believe in separate tables. I don’t believe in separate menus. I do believe in diversity so that the children can taste and enjoy. I think they need to be a part of the table, and be a part of the adult conversation and food. I think children should be free at the table. Yes, there’s the elegance that if you go out to dinner, you don’t get up until everybody else. But I think there should be some freedom allowed. I need to go to the bathroom, I need to scratch my back. It should be relaxed. I think that with food, children should learn responsibilities and chores. They should be part of setting up the table, cleaning, helping, even shopping and understanding. There’s so much opportunity to teach with food. How does an eggplant feel? How does a tomato smell? And so on. It’s all when you go shopping and you bring your children and to the market. Food offers endless opportunities to connect. It’s fathers day, what’s dads favorite dish? Mother’s day? Those are all based around food. I think that professional men now use cooking as a connector. If they can make something delicious for their families, they are literally providing food for their families.

What would be your ultimate comfort food?

It all depends on what season it is. I love all pasta of course. Spaghetti, garlic and oil. Or spaghetti with clam sauce. And a good glass of Friulano.

What is your favourite dish to make?

It’s like picking my favourite child, or grandchild. There is none. It’s different all the time. So it depends. But the most exciting is to see a product just come into season. It’s beautiful and I haven’t had it in 9 months. The first fava beans, the first peas, the first chicory, all of that. Responding to a great seasonal product. It all goes back to a recipe. But what are the products. That’s the recipe that will work well with the product. And watching my shows and having my books, it’s about that feeling. And I tell them all the time is that I have a Chicken Gratinate and I make it with mushrooms now because it’s seasonal, but i do the same dish with chicken and eggplant in the middle of july. So being able to master a recipe, and be so comfortable with a recipe that you can change it according to the product that you get.

About Lidia

Lidia’s live and interactive performance is being admiringly entitled “Stirring Stories: From the Kitchen and the Heart” and comprises a live cooking demonstration of favorite recipes intertwined with enthralling personal story telling.  Audiences have a rare chance to see Lidia in action, live and in-person, ask her questions and learn tips from the Queen of Italian Cuisine herself! From humble immigrant roots, Lidia’s passion for food, family and pleasing people drove her to build a gastronomic empire consisting of six restaurants, vineyards, a cooking school and Italian food emporium (EATALY in Manhattan), a television production company and a series of best selling cook books.  According to Lidia, “Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways.  It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from”.

Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!”, Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 3pm, at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Purchase Tickets through Ticketmaster.

About Abbey

Abbey Sharp is a registered dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger (for both a personal blog, and Eat St. Food Network’s blog), a passionate home chef, and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen. She has a BASc. in Nutrition and Food, and has participated in numerous formal and informal professional culinary courses. Balancing the ideological demands of being a foodie and dietitian, Abbey understands that food represents so much more than nutrients, numbers, calories, and portions. It can symbolize culture, family, love, identity, and sensuality at its peak. With its role in such a variety of delicious domains, Abbey believes that a pleasurable relationship with food is inherently essential for good health. Abbey has embraced this philosophy in all aspects of the Abbey’s Kitchen brand including her social media activities, speaking appearances (i.e. TEDx), blogging, food events (ie. Sips and Nibbles), food demonstrations, as well as through academic and popular writing. Her goal has been to break the common association of healthy food as boring and bland, and demonstrate instead its inherently satisfying, flavourful and sexy qualities.

February 7, 2013 | By | Reply More

Lidia Bastianich Speaks To Us About Her Live Show And Connecting With Her Canadian Audience

Photo Credit: Diana DeLucia

Celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich is bringing her Italian gusto to Canada with Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!” February 10, 2013 at 3pm, at Toronto Centre for the Arts. Beloved celebrity chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich has spent the last forty years promoting Italian culture and cuisine across North America. While adoring Canadian fans have enjoyed watching Lidia on TLN, they’ve never had the opportunity to see her in a Lidia Live performance… until now! Lidia’s culinary roadshow, Lidia Live!, makes its Canadian debut this February 10, 2013 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in Toronto.

Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen recently spoke with Lidia for Foodea about her live tour, Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!”, her inspirations, her family, the importance of eating together at the table, and much more! Read the second part of our interview with Lidia here.

What made you want to stop in Toronto and give the Canadian fans a chance to see you live cooking in action with Saputo Presents… “Lidia on Stage”?

I think Toronto is a beautiful city. I’ve been before visiting friends and doing events. I think because I am on television in the United States and now with the audience building in Canada and TLN (Telelatino), about two years ago decided to carry me and it was such a great success. The audience in Canada really connected with me, especially in Toronto. I want to come and see them. I do a lot of that in the United States. I do book signings, presentations, fundraising, and so I just wanted to extend the same to my audience in Canada. I want to touch them. I want to see them and I want them to see me in person.

What is the structure of the live show? How is it going to work?

The structure of the live show is there will be a live audience, and there will be a kitchen set up on the stage with a screen. I kind of go back and forth. I cook three recipes and those are the recipes I’m teaching like a cooking class. They see through the video, the practicality, the same way that I do on television, so they see the same thing, the same Lidia, “that’s how she does it.” I think what’s wonderful about that, is that the smells permeate and they get a chance to hear what I do. And within that we have an opportunity for questions at the end. Between all of that I intertwine my life. The same things they ask me when they send me emails. They love my family, they want to know more about my grandchildren, more about my children, my mother, my life, how did I get into cooking and this is really a kind of a one-on-one personal discussion with them. And I do what I do in person. There will be a screen and it will have interviews of Grandma, who cannot be there, so that they get a chance to understand Grandma and her philosophies. What it was like for her to come here as an immigrant and have a family and her philosophy about food. My daughter as well. How has it been to grow up in this family, what affect did it have? And because what you see on television is the real thing, even the setting is my real kitchen, and so we do that, we do that regularly. Yesterday was Sunday. I had my brother, for two days, lunch and dinner, 10 people at the table and I loved it! I just love cooking, I still do that. So I’m going to share all of that. And I think opening with tips of cooking, they get to go out with ones they love, they take away the recipes, and then we sit down with a glass of wine and answer questions.

It sounds like a really unique experience for audience members.

I think that you know, that’s what food is. Food is a profile of who we are as individuals. We all have our flavour profiles that we love and that goes back to our ethnicity. Where do we come from, you know. Do we come from the North of Africa? Do we come from the North of Europe? Two different cultures all together and that reflects into who we are, but it’s also important to make us feel stable. It’s important to gather the family, because yes you have the same name, yes you have the same genes, and you look alike. Yes you eat and cook the same food, and you have favourite recipes that carry and transcend through the generations. I know my father, he’s long gone, it was 30 years ago, but he loved Baccala Mantecato. So for Christmas you know we make this Cod dish and every Christmas eve I must have this Baccala Mantecato because that means that he is with me. So I think that this is the way people relate to food. It’s nostalgic. It gives you identity and all of that.

Do you like having a live audience there or do you prefer shooting on a set for television better?

I like both. You wonder sometimes. I modestly compare myself to some of the stars of the screen and broadway. Ultimately they all want to be on broadway. On the screen is great, but you don’t have that immediate reaction. In front of an audience you hear them. You hear them sighing or chuckling or whatever, you know! They’re really into what you’re doing and I love that.

Any clues on what recipes you’ll be featuring on the tour?

I will make a Frico with potatoes, onions, and sausages. A Frico is very familiar. What it is, it’s a shredding of asiago cheese. This is a traditional recipe that I make. I crumble onions and sausages first and that’s the filling. And add some cooked potatoes, like home fries, to the onions and sausages. And then in a non-stock skillet I put the shredded asiago cheese, I put the filling and I top it again with the shredded cheese and the cheese melts and it forms a nice crust on one side and I flip it over and it forms a nice crust on the other side and you have this cheese, crusty cheese pancake, with a filling of home fries, sausages and onions. And it’s easy!

And then Pasta. Pasta Amatriciana, traditional pasta with tomatoes and onions. Very traditional. Very simple in a sense. What happens here is that all the tips of cooking the right pasta, the water, and how long to cook it and not to wash it, and not to put olive oil. All of these, you know, I’m making this recipe, but with it goes all this general pasta wisdom.

And then I make a Chicken Gratinate with Mushrooms and that is a one pot delicious recipe that is very seasonal. And could be done at home easy. And it’s one pan. In this case I make it with mushrooms because it’s kind of mushroom season. Brown them in the same pan with a little oil and butter. And the chicken breast, lightly flour, brown. And I take the chicken breast, the mushrooms cut, top 2 on each of the chicken breasts and then in the same pot I put a little bit of wine, some tomato sauce, some sage and a little water or stock. Let that simmer and the sauce will be made. Then I take some grated cheese, could be asiago, could be grana, and put it on top of the mushrooms. I put a cover on and I let it simmer and as the chicken cooks, and the sauce denses, the cheese melts and you have a perfect meal. You can do it with mushrooms, sometimes I do it with zucchini, sometimes eggplant, depends on the season. And Chicken, everybody loves, but it could be done with pork, or veal or chicken that everybody relates to. So I’m going to give them the diversity of this dish within the season and tell a one pot meal they can make for 6-8 people, depending on how big your pot is on top of the stove. You can have your vegetables and your meat all together.

Then I will do a Zuppa Inglese with Panettone. How you can make delicious things at home not necessarily dessert where everyone gets all hyper. I use Panettone, and then I make some savoiardi, and some some custard. And soak the Panettone and make layers and put it a pan and then you know, you make a Zuppa Inglese, which is just like a trifle. With Panettone and and savoiardi and whether you like a little rum flavouring or whatever. And all of that sort of settles overnight in the refrigerator. It sets and then you can kind of, like a trifle, spoon it out and in Italian it’s called Dolci al Cucchiaio, spoon to eat. And in Italy they have a lot of those desserts. Again, all of these are very family friendly recipes and delicious desserts. So we’re going to go through all of this. And they’re going to have lots of tips to walk away with.

Your show is available on TLN. Why did you feel that was an appropriate fit for your message of family and food?

Teletino is very ethnically oriented. I think you always go with what you think is safe and a sure bet. I know that that’s their culture. But we’ve sort of transcended that. I think that food being ethnically Italian or whatever, food is the common denominator for all of us. Food is a great collective.

Your shows also air on PBS. What’s it like working with PBS?

That’s where I wanted to be. When a producer came to me and said “Lidia, how about thinking about making a show.” So I gave it some thought and I came back with two things that I needed. Number one that it is taped in my home because I was afraid of the studio. I know my home, I know my stove, I know everything. I’m very comfortable there. The second one is that my shows run on public television because I’m about culture and education. Concrete information, not making something in a kitchen set, that’s not me. And so I think that my home is public television.

Lidia shares her recipe for Italian Rum Cake – Zuppa Inglese from Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!” with us.

Italian Rum Cake – Zuppa Inglese

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Saputo Mascarpone at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Teaspoons Cornstarch
  • Pinch Kosher Salt
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Diced Candied Orange Peel
  • 1/4 Cup Rum
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Sleeves Savoiardi (lady fingers)

Method

  1. For the pastry cream, pour the milk and ¼ cup of the sugar into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sugar, the cornstarch, and pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the egg mixture bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Return saucepan to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring and whisking, until mixture just simmers and thickens. Immediately remove from the heat and scrape into a bowl to cool. Once cooled, mix in the chopped chocolate and candied orange. Refrigerate until chilled and thickened, at least 1 hour.
  2. For the sugar syrup, bring 3 cups water and 1 cup of the sugar to boil. Boil until reduced by about ¼. Remove from heat, stir in the rum and let cool completely.
  3. When you are ready to assemble the zuppa, whip the cream, the remaining ¼ cup sugar and the mascarpone to soft peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream mixture, along with the cinnamon, into the chilled pastry cream.
  4. In a 9-by-13 inch Pyrex or other rectangular dish, make a flat layer with half of the savoiardi. Brush with half of the sugar syrup to moisten all of the savoiardi. Spread half of the pastry cream over the savoiardi. Top with another layer of savoiardi and brush them with the remaining syrup. Spread the rest of the pastry cream over top in an even layer, the spread with the whipped cream. If you have any savoiardi left, crumble them over top. Chill several hours, or overnight, to let the flavours come together before serving.

Mascarpone

The distinct creamy consistency and fresh milky character of Saputo Mascarpone guarantees its superb flavour, making it the ideal cheese for a wide range of recipes. With its delicate fresh creamy taste and easily spreadable texture, it is the ideal ingredient for desserts.

Download Recipe as PDF.

About Lidia

Lidia’s live and interactive performance is being admiringly entitled “Stirring Stories: From the Kitchen and the Heart” and comprises a live cooking demonstration of favorite recipes intertwined with enthralling personal story telling.  Audiences have a rare chance to see Lidia in action, live and in-person, ask her questions and learn tips from the Queen of Italian Cuisine herself! From humble immigrant roots, Lidia’s passion for food, family and pleasing people drove her to build a gastronomic empire consisting of six restaurants, vineyards, a cooking school and Italian food emporium (EATALY in Manhattan), a television production company and a series of best selling cook books.  According to Lidia, “Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways.  It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from.”

Saputo Presents… “Lidia, Live on Stage!”, Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 3pm, at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Purchase Tickets through Ticketmaster.

About Abbey

Abbey Sharp is a registered dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger (for both a personal blog, and Eat St. Food Network’s blog), a passionate home chef, and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen. She has a BASc. in Nutrition and Food, and has participated in numerous formal and informal professional culinary courses. Balancing the ideological demands of being a foodie and dietitian, Abbey understands that food represents so much more than nutrients, numbers, calories, and portions. It can symbolize culture, family, love, identity, and sensuality at its peak. With its role in such a variety of delicious domains, Abbey believes that a pleasurable relationship with food is inherently essential for good health. Abbey has embraced this philosophy in all aspects of the Abbey’s Kitchen brand including her social media activities, speaking appearances (i.e. TEDx), blogging, food events (ie. Sips and Nibbles), food demonstrations, as well as through academic and popular writing. Her goal has been to break the common association of healthy food as boring and bland, and demonstrate instead its inherently satisfying, flavourful and sexy qualities.

Original Audio


February 6, 2013 | By | Reply More

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