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Category: Cooking

Professional Range Hoods Fight More Than Kitchen Odors

Beer battered fish and chips served with malt vinegar and tartar sauce. Baked salmon with a side of crispy bacon-wrapped scallops. Pan-seared chimichurri pork chops. We love the aromas of a flavor-packed home recipe. But the aftermath? Not so much. Especially when it comes to grease, splatter, and lingering kitchen odors.

If you love the home-cooking experience but hate the battle with lingering kitchen odors, it’s time to invest in a professional kitchen range hood. With a professional range hood, you can cook anything with confidence. It will help keep your newly remodeled kitchen smelling just as clean as day one. But did you know that a professional range hood fights more than just lingering kitchen odors? Read more.

fish and chips

Lingering Kitchen Odors

The aromas of food in the kitchen can be nostalgic. They can trigger childhood memories and often remind us of the holidays. Smell, after all, is the strongest of the human senses. But there’s a point when those wonderful aromas just turn into a distinct smell, aka lingering kitchen odors. Especially if you’re not equipped with a proper range hood.

These odors seemingly creep into every corner of your home like an invisible monster. They unknowingly cling to your furniture, your clothes, and your hair. Worst of all, these lingering odors can follow you right out the front door. Outside the context of cooking in a kitchen, the lingering smell of food is off-putting.

There’s nothing more intrusive in a social setting than smelling like last night’s dinner. And if you’re hosting a dinner party, a greasy, stuffy kitchen isn’t just unsightly but is bad etiquette. So, how does one #CookLikeaGod and keep the post-meal lingering kitchen odors at bay?

Better Habits

Before you start lighting up the scented candles, commit to better habits. Be mindful of kitchen ventilation. If you want to reduce or eliminate kitchen odors, simply start by using your kitchen range hood anytime you’re cooking food.

It takes 21 days to form a habit.

So, for the next 21 days turn on your range hood as soon as you turn on your cooktop. You’re committing to kitchen ventilation. You’ll smell the difference.

Reduce the Heat

Not only will you smell the difference, but you’ll also see and feel the difference in your kitchen’s atmosphere. If you’ve ever cooked a big meal or cooked for an extended period of time, then you know all about the stuffy atmosphere it creates. Combine it with additional people in the kitchen and you have an even bigger issue.

Heat and steam don’t just make us uncomfortable but can also attract mold and can drive up cooling and energy costs. With the help of a kitchen range hood, you can keep the surrounding kitchen air comfortable and enjoyable while you cook. And, as a bonus, your cooling system will rest easy.

Smoke, Steam, and Airborne Toxins

Besides eliminating kitchen odors and reducing the permeating heat from your cooktop, the range hood also rids the air of smoke, steam, and harmful airborne toxins. These toxins permeate from the smoke and steam as the temperature of the kitchen naturally rises from your cooking. Airborne toxins and heat are a dangerous combination.

Did you know that carbon monoxide is one of those airborne toxins? No one should have to be subjected to unhealthy, dirty air in their own home – especially if you have young children. It’s time to use your range hood for what it’s made for – kitchen ventilation. And, since your family’s health is always the priority then it might even be time for an upgrade.

3 Benefits of Upgrading to a Professional Kitchen Range Hood

Upgrading to a professional range hood by THOR Kitchen has 3 key benefits.

  1. Professional appliance at a practical price: It operates quietly while offering powerful suction that eliminates odors, smoke, and steam. It also features a large, commercial-style 430-grade stainless steel baffle filter maximizing airflow and grease filtration.
  2. Versatility and Efficiency: This vented range hood can also be converted to a non-vented (ductless) range hood with carbon filters (not included). The 7-inch round duct vent provides better ventilation performance and efficiency. And the LED lights illuminate your cooking while saving energy.
  3. High-quality design: The stainless-steel finish offers a modern design aesthetic and is built to withstand high heat, grease, oil, and steam.

The health of everyone in your home is too important to not have a source of reliable ventilation. Wouldn’t you agree?

furnished kitchen with range hood

Increase the Value of Your Home

Last, but not least, investing in a professional range hood may increase the value of your home! Any ordinary kitchen is going to come with a refrigerator, a range, and maybe even a dishwasher. The range hood? That’s an added bonus that is not always expected but always appreciated. Even more so when it’s a ducted hood – due to the time and skill needed to install the ductwork and hood properly.

Between eliminating kitchen odors, providing clean air for your family to breathe, and increasing the value of your home, a professional range hood should be the focal point in every kitchen. Opt for this in your kitchen remodel so you can cook anything at home without worrying about what you’re putting into the air. And, when the time comes to sell, you’ll be thankful you took the time to bring this addition into your home.

The Best Gas Grill for Outdoor Kitchen Cooking

Front View of 32 Inch 4 Burner Gas BBQ Grill
Thor's 32 Inch 4-Burner Gas BBQ Grill with Rotisserie in Stainless Steel

Whether you’re looking for a solid grill to break out once every Super Bowl, or building luxurious outdoor kitchen, the gas grill will be the cornerstone for all of your outdoor cooking endeavors. The best gas grill is an investment that showcases both your taste in cooking and your taste in décor. Thor Kitchen’s 32 Inch Gas Powered BBQ Grill checks both of these boxes and more. It functions exceptionally well on it’s own as a built-in gas grill and even better as the building block to the outdoor kitchen suite of your dreams. Enjoy cooking up a quick breakfast on the patio or hosting the next tailgating affair with Thor Kitchen – you’ll love the flexibility that the right gas grill can bring into your life.

Thor Kitchen 32-Inch Grill:

If you’re looking for the best grill for your outdoor kitchen, look no further than Thor Kitchen’s 32-Inch Gas Grill, model number MK04SS304 It’s designed to be built-in, or sit on top of the THOR 32-Inch Grill Cabinet (sold separately). This bbq grill is ready to use with liquid propane – or, you can convert it for natural gas with the THOR Natural Gas Kit (sold separately).

4 Burners, Including a Rotisserie:

Grilled salmon. Roasted potatoes and asparagus. Even a rotisserie chicken – you name it, Thor Kitchen can cook it! Thor Kitchen’s unique grill comes with four burners including a 10,000 BTU rear infrared rotisserie burner allowing you to rotate meats to really sear in the juices. In addition, there is a single 13,000 BTU infrared burner and three more tube burners at 12,000 BTU. You may shrug and say great, but what do 4 burners do for me? Having a grill that features 4 separate burners rather than a single grill that simply lights up the entire surface means that you have full control over the hot and cool areas on the grill’s surface. This is especially efficient when you’re cooking multiple items as you can cook them at different heat levels. 

Thor Kitchen 32-Inch Grill

If you are curious as to which grill is the best grill for your outdoor kitchen, look no further than Thor Kitchen’s 32-inch gas grill, model number MK04SS304. This stainless steel masterpiece is built to last. With pro-style power and a beautiful appearance, you can count on it to always show up.

 And why is it that the food you grill always tastes so much more delectable than the food you make on your kitchen stove top?

Enjoy a grilled feast more frequently when you create an outdoor kitchen by designing your backyard space into an oasis with a table and other outdoor furniture, an outdoor sink cabinet, and, of course, a grill. You can get as decorative as you would like, such as adding rugs and lights or keep it minimal. The idea is to have a space where you can get some fresh air, spend time with loved ones (or peacefully alone), and enjoy some delicious eats.

There is a catch, though. You cannot create this space and have it meet your desires by skimping on the biggest factor – the grill. Everything you do in your outdoor kitchen is going to revolve around that grill. So, what does this mean for you? It means you must get the best gas grill for outdoor kitchen cooking.

This grill warrants a deeper look at all of its features.

Built-In Status

Some people opt for those little grills you can purchase at your local discount store in a box. And while they may work alright for a little bit, they are not built to last. Don’t even get started on their lack of useful features.

If you are building an outdoor kitchen, you need more than a flimsy discount-store grill. See, this space is meant to look like a kitchen – not your backyard. You need a professional grade grill that will be a sturdy addition to the space. This particular Thor Kitchen grill is one that can be either built into the outdoor countertops and such or can be placed on top of a 32-inch grill cabinet. Either option will leave you with a very fitting grill.

Lights and Knobs for Style

Because you are creating an outdoor kitchen, you expect that the lighting is not always going to be as good as it is indoors – primarily after the sun goes down. Yet, you don’t want that to prevent you from cooking on your grill, right? Two halogen lights are the solution. These are located inside the grill so that you can always clearly see the status of your doneness regardless of the time of day.

Beautiful blue LED lights behind the knobs not only increase your visuals but also add some pizazz and style to your outdoor space. Against the stainless steel, these blue lights pop.

Burners, Including a Rotisserie

Thor Kitchen’s grill comes with four burners. One is a 13,000 BTU infrared burner and the other three are 12,000 BTU tube burners. You may shrug and say great, but do you really know what this means for you? Having a grill that has 4 actual burners rather than a grill that simply lights up the entire surface means that you can create hot and cool areas on the grill’s surface. This is especially appreciated when you are cooking multiple items as you can cook them at different heat levels.

Ready for the bonus?

In addition to the burners we have already mentioned, you have a 10,000 BTU rear infrared rotisserie burner that allows you to rotate meats and sear in the juices.

Perhaps it’s the burners that make grilled food from the outdoor kitchen taste so delightful? Yum!

Choose Your Gas

Most gas grills are run off of propane tanks. This is common as propane is easily accessible in many places and very easy to use. However, if you are looking for a more permanent gas, you may choose to convert your grill to natural gas.

Thor Kitchen has designed this grill with a conversion kit to give you the freedom to choose your gas.

Stainless Steel Benefits

This outdoor gas grill by Thor Kitchen has a stainless-steel finish. This means that it is durable and long-lasting – and can definitely take the brutal weathering it may face being outside. Stainless steel does not corrode and will not rust. As beautiful as it is when you purchase it, this grill will remain a piece of beauty throughout its lifetime.

Another key factor that stainless steel brings to the outdoor kitchen is that it is super easy to keep clean. Wiping it down with a soft, wet, soapy cloth and drying it with another soft cloth is really all you have to do to keep it clean. Shine it with some oil by buffing it with the tiniest bit. Chemicals aren’t even needed. When you want to cook outdoors and spend time enjoying it – cleaning is going to be the last thing you want to deal with. Good thing you won’t have to! Stainless steel is a non-porous surface. There are no grains or pores for debris or germs to find their way into. With this grill being outside, you want the confidence in knowing that when you wipe it clean that it will be clean – with nothing lurking underneath.

Finally, are you looking to keep some uniformity within your kitchen? By creating your outdoor kitchen as an extension of your indoor kitchen, you are doing just that.

Create a space where you can spend time with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors. But, friends don’t let friends go hungry. Add a gas grill by Thor Kitchen to your outdoor kitchen. You’ll be glad you did.E

This unique stainless steel gas grill features 4 burners  plus a rotisserie burner all powered by your choice of liquid propane or natural gas (conversion kit sold separately). With pro-style power and a beautiful  stainless steel appearance, this grill warrants a deeper look at all of it’s features. 

Barbecued chicken legs. Roasted potatoes and asparagus. Even grilled pineapple – you name it, Thor Kitchen grills it! There is so much you can do with a gas grill, isn’t there? Whether you are wanting to cook a quick breakfast on the patio or are hosting a tailgating affair for the Superbowl – or anything in between – you will love the flexibility that a gas grill can bring into your life. And why is it that the food you grill always tastes so much more delectable than the food you make on your kitchen stove top?

Enjoy a grilled feast more frequently when you create an outdoor kitchen by designing your backyard space into an oasis with a table and other outdoor furniture, an outdoor sink cabinet, and, of course, a grill. You can get as decorative as you would like, such as adding rugs and lights or keep it minimal. The idea is to have a space where you can get some fresh air, spend time with loved ones (or peacefully alone), and enjoy some delicious eats.

There is a catch, though. You cannot create this space and have it meet your desires by skimping on the biggest factor – the grill. Everything you do in your outdoor kitchen is going to revolve around that grill. So, what does this mean for you? It means you must get the best gas grill for outdoor kitchen cooking.

Thor Kitchen 32-Inch Grill

If you are curious as to which gas grill is the best grill for your outdoor kitchen, look no further than Thor Kitchen’s 32-inch gas grill, model number MK04SS304. This stainless steel masterpiece is built to last. With pro-style power and a beautiful appearance, you can count on it to always show up.

This grill warrants a deeper look at all of its features.

Built-In Status

Some people opt for those little grills you can purchase at your local discount store in a box. And while they may work alright for a little bit, they are not built to last. Don’t even get started on their lack of useful features.

If you are building an outdoor kitchen, you need more than a flimsy discount-store grill. See, this space is meant to look like a kitchen – not your backyard. You need a professional grade grill that will be a sturdy addition to the space. This particular Thor Kitchen grill is one that can be either built into the outdoor countertops or can placed on top of a 32-inch grill cabinet. Either option will leave you with a very fitting grill.

Lights and Knobs for Style

Because you are creating an outdoor kitchen, you expect that the lighting is not always going to be as good as it is indoors – primarily after the sun goes down. Yet, you don’t want that to prevent you from cooking on your grill, right? Two halogen lights are the solution. These are located inside the grill so that you can always clearly see the status of your doneness regardless of the time of day.

Beautiful blue LED lights behind the knobs not only increase your visuals but also add some pizazz and style to your outdoor space. Against the stainless steel, these blue lights pop.

Burners, Including a Rotisserie

Thor Kitchen’s Stainless Steel 32 Inch Gas BBQ grill comes with four burners. One is a 13,000 BTU infrared burner and the other three are 12,000 BTU tube burners. You may shrug and say great, but do you really know what this means for you? Having a grill that has 4 actual burners rather than a grill that simply lights up the entire surface means that you can create hot and cool areas on the grill’s surface. This is especially appreciated when you are cooking multiple items as you can cook them at different heat levels.

Ready for the bonus?

In addition to the burners we have already mentioned, you have a 10,000 BTU rear infrared rotisserie burner that allows you to rotate meats and sear in the juices.

Perhaps it’s the burners that make grilled food from the outdoor kitchen taste so delightful? Yum!

Choose Your Gas

Most gas grills are run off of propane tanks. This is common as propane is easily accessible in many places and very easy to use. However, if you are looking for a more permanent gas, you may choose to convert your grill to natural gas.

Thor Kitchen has designed this grill with a conversion kit to give you the freedom to choose your gas.

Stainless Steel Benefits

This outdoor gas grill by Thor Kitchen has a stainless-steel finish. This means that it is durable and long-lasting – and can definitely take the brutal weathering it may face being outside. Stainless steel does not corrode and will not rust. As beautiful as it is when you purchase it, this grill will remain a piece of beauty throughout its lifetime.

Another key factor that stainless steel brings to the outdoor kitchen is that it is super easy to keep clean. Wiping it down with a soft, wet, soapy cloth and drying it with another soft cloth is really all you have to do to keep it clean. Shine it with some oil by buffing it with the tiniest bit. Chemicals aren’t even needed. When you want to cook outdoors and spend time enjoying it – cleaning is going to be the last thing you want to deal with. Good thing you won’t have to! Stainless steel is a non-porous surface. There are no grains or pores for debris or germs to find their way into. With this grill being outside, you want the confidence in knowing that when you wipe it clean that it will be clean – with nothing lurking underneath.

Finally, are you looking to keep some uniformity within your kitchen? By creating your outdoor kitchen as an extension of your indoor kitchen, you are doing just that.

Create a space where you can spend time with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors. But, friends don’t let friends go hungry. Add a gas grill by Thor Kitchen to your outdoor kitchen. You’ll be glad you did. 

 

Celery Soup

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Derrick Fox. Each month, Chef Fox will be sharing his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures, and his signature style. Ever go into the grocery store and see some sort of vegetable and think, “what in the hell do I do with that?”   Today I am going to help you with one of those daunting vegetables that I bet 90% of you have never picked up and put in your cart at the grocery store… The large, ugly, kind of hairy, and oh so delicious…. Celery Root! Celery grows out of the ground and is pretty and green and easy to eat, add to recipes, juice, and what not…. But it’s never the star of the dish. This super delicious root found down in the ground is ready to be a star! As a chef, whenever I work with a new vegetable, I approach it with a few ideas: Does it work as a puree? Can I put it in a soup, chopped up or blended? Is it good roasted? Can I turn it into a sauce? Celery Root is fantastic as a puree for a piece of fish or to put roasted vegetables with, and it is also super easy to turn into a soup. The natural flavor gives it a wonderful taste for a soup with little to no effort. Once you master this soup, you will no longer be scared of those intimidating vegetables in the grocery store. Have fun and tag me in your photos!
Celery Soup
Mirepoix Ingredients  Kitchen Equipment
1/2 diced white onion 1 large pot
1 diced celery stock blender
1 diced carrot vegetable peeler
2 tbsp minced garlic Diced chives for garnish
2 large celery root
2 veggie bouillon cubes
1 tsp cumin
1 cup heavy cream
6-8 cups water
salt & pepper to taste
Instructions First, peel the celery root and cut it into large 1-inch chunks.   In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté mirepoix with a bit of olive oil until onions become translucent. Add bouillon cubes and sautée. If the bouillon starts to stick, add a splash of oil or water. Once the bullion is broken down, add the celery root and sauté to coat with bouillon in the pan. Adjust your heat as needed- don’t let the onions in the mirepoix burn. Now add your water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to a simmer. Cook until the celery root is cooked all the way through, and you can easily smash it with the back of a fork. Once cooked, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, then season with cumin and salt and blend some more. Top with celery leaves, chives, or parsley. I topped mine with a basil oil and garlic flowers! Enjoy.

Steak, Mashed Potatoes & Red Wine Sauce

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Derrick Fox. Each month, Chef Fox will be sharing his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures and his signature style.

Sometimes we’re all looking to take a meal to the next level, and there’s no better way to do that than with a classic, well-cooked steak. Whether there’s a special occasion coming up or you just want to mix up the weekly dinner routine, a great steak can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

Pair the steak with creamy mashed potatoes, and you’re ready to #cooklikeagod!

Steak, Mashed Potatoes & Red Wine Sauce
Steak Ingredients  Red Wine Sauce Ingredients
2 NY Strip steaks, 1.5-2 inches thick (remove from fridge 45 minutes before cooking) 2 cups red wine (preferably Merlot)
Grapeseed oil 2 tbsp “More than Gourmet” Classic Demi-Glace (if you can’t find the “More than Gourmet” brand, there are others that can be used the same way
Fresh thyme sprigs 4 tbsp butter
3 fresh garlic cloves, crushed and peeled Diced chives for garnish
1 shallot, sliced
Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
3-4 large Russet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
8 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp truffle oil (or as much as you would like!)
Salt to taste

To prepare the mashed potatoes: Peel the potatoes, then rinse them off. Chop into large cubes and place the cubes into a large pot with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then, once boiling, drop to a simmer. Cook about 12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and easy to smash.

Once cooked, strain the potatoes and rice them through a potato ricer back into the pot.

Separately, warm up the heavy cream in a small saucepan. Add the butter and let it melt.

Place the pot with the riced potatoes back onto the stove on low heat for 30 seconds to dry some of the residual moisture. Whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture, then whisk in the truffle oil. Season with salt. Set aside on low temperature.

To prepare the red wine sauce: In a small saucepot over high heat, bring the red wine to a boil. Once the wine reaches a boil, drop to a heavy simmer and simmer until the wine reduces by half.

Tip: Sometimes the wine can be a little bitter, depending on the brand. If that’s the case, I’ve added a little sugar and a couple dashes of soy sauce, and that’s helped me in the past!

Once reduced, whisk in the “More than Gourmet” Classic Demi-Glace base. Whisk in the butter.

To prepare the steaks: Remove the steaks from the fridge about 45 minutes before cooking. After your steaks have rested, season generously with salt and pepper. Portion out the thyme, shallots, garlic and butter so they’ll be ready to baste the steaks.

Place an oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan over high heat. Once hot, add a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes, then flip to the other side. After another 90 seconds, drop in the thyme, shallots, garlic and butter and baste the steaks.

Place the steaks in the oven. Depending on the thickness of the steaks, here is some approximate timing for the cook you’re looking for:

  • Medium rare: 3-4 minutes
  • Medium: 6 minutes
  • Medium well: 7 minutes
  • Well done: 8 minutes

Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice, plate and enjoy!

January 12, 2021 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Chef Derrick Fox as he shares his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures and his signature style.  

As a private chef, I learn everything about the tastes and flavors my clients love and the ones that they don’t like at all. I also have to pay especially close attention to special diets, food restrictions and allergies, which can sometimes feel like a never-ending mecca.

That’s part of the reason that I am brought on board as a private chef. They need an expert that can take those restrictions and still make them something delicious. I go out of my way to make my vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dieting clients delicious meals that take their diet restrictions into account, but also will wow their taste buds.

I’ve also noticed that cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet just feels better. I feel lighter and more energetic!

Whether or not you follow a gluten free, dairy free or vegan diet, this recipe is delicious! Plus, I’m sure you have a friend who follows one of these diets that you can impress with this masterpiece.

Let’s #cooklikeagod! 

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Crust Ingredients  Equipment 
10 gluten free, vegan chocolate cookies (any brand) Food processor
6 tbsp vegan butter, melted 2 metal mixing bowls
Chocolate Filling Ingredients  Pie dish
7 oz. 70% dark chocolate Small pot
16 oz. Kite Hill cream cheese Plastic wrap
10 oz. oat milk Blender
1 cup of raw cashews
6 tbsp vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp monkfruit sugar

To prepare the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, blend the cookies on high to make cookie crumbs. Add the melted butter and cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl and combine into a wet, sand-like consistency. Press the crumbs into your pie dish to fully cover the bottom and the sides of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Once cooked, leave the pie crust in the dish and let cool before adding the filling.

To prepare the filling: Place the cashews in a small pot, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the cashews from the water and set them aside.

Break up the chocolate into a medium metal mixing bowl and add the butter and vanilla.

In a small pot, bring the oat milk to a scald (you’ll see small bubbles on the side of the pot). Once at a scald, pour the oat milk over the chocolate and butter mixture, then immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes, then mix until smooth.

In a blender, add the chocolate mixture, the cashews and the vegan cream cheese and blend until smooth. If you like your cake really thick, feel free to add more cream cheese!

Pour the blended chocolate cream cheese mixture into the chilled pie crust. Place in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight and enjoy!

December 23, 2020 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

Holiday Recipes: Rack of Lamb and Caviar

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Chef Derrick Fox as he shares his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures and his signature style.  

Rack of lamb with caviar

Like all families, the holidays always reveal its most interesting dynamics, whether your family is large or small or made up friends: you know the family you choose. My family is all over the place, and I wouldn’t be able to explain all the different dynamics and personalities in one blog post, but I can assure you, you are not alone. I have had the entire family together, multiple family gatherings, the divorced household, the stepdad Christmas, the friends Christmas, a Christmas alone, and a Christmas with the family I have made with my wife and our dog and cat! Whatever your situation, there are wonderful memories that we all hang on to, most of which revolve around food.

I remember when I was young and living in Florida with my mom, biological father and younger brother. Around the holidays, shortly after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, my grandmother Rosalie would send a box of Pizzelle: little Italian cookies pressed and cooked in a waffle iron that looked like it was meant to make the cookie in the shape of a snow flake.

Pizzelle, photo credit The Kitchen

Pizzelle, photo credit The Kitchn

I come from a long line of strong Italian women, and in Italian families, most traditions involve cooking. Through my childhood, my life changed a lot, we moved a lot – I never had the opportunity of staying in one place very long, so that meant new friends, different family members, and never sticking around long enough to form a tradition….except those Pizzelle. It didn’t matter where in the country we were, I could count on that box arriving. Crispy, flat, almond or vanilla flavored cookies. We loved them. My grandmother years later passed the tradition down to my mom and my aunt. In my teens, I remember my mom and dad (stepdad) making them for a few years and we would take them over to my grandparents’ house to keep the one tradition we had alive. Needless to say, the tradition fizzled out when my brothers and I moved to different corners of the country and well, my parents stopped cooking them. I guess the moral of that story is that it’s a good memory and I can always try and start it up again.

Rack of lamb resting

Now that I am older and a chef, I have developed my own personal traditions. Traditions that stick with me no matter who is present. For Thanksgiving, I always make Beef Wellington – every year it gets better, and every year new people get to enjoy it. For Christmas I make a rack of lamb. I’ve always loved making lamb, but when I made it for Gordon Ramsay, I learned I made it very well. I’ve made it for many people at all different times of year, but it’s extra special on Christmas, and now I’m going to share that recipe with you!

Its simple, cook it like a steak. Salt & pepper, sear on all sides, based with garlic, thyme, shallots, butter, and finish in the oven for a couple minutes depending on how thick your chops are to your preferred doneness. I’ll break it down below. ⏬

Seared rack of lamb in a cast iron skillet

New Year’s…. As a kid, my parents changed the clocks in the house to 4 hours ahead and put on the ball drop from a time zone that worked for their plan and put us to bed at 8:30. I was not happy about that when they told us when we got older. They thought it was hilarious.

I’ve always loved New Year’s as an adult, because growing up there were times we didn’t have much, and New Year’s felt like a taste of the high life. Champagne wishes and Caviar dreams. I love them both. Below are some tips to enjoying caviar and impressing your friends with fun ways to eat it.  

Let’s #cooklikeagod!

Rack of Lamb
Ingredients  Equipment 
Rack of Lamb x2 Large cast iron pan or large sauté pan
4 tbsp butter Large pasting spoon
2 shallots
Fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper

When you purchase the racks of lamb, look for Frenched: it’s the way the fat cap is trimmed (If it’s not already frenched, ask the butcher to French it for you). Pull your lamb out of the fridge 45 minutes before cooking to come to room temp. I recommend slicing the rack into doubles, meaning two rib bones per piece of loin. If you like them single, you will skip the oven step.

Basting rack of lamb

Set up your basting mise en place, by slicing the shallots thick, peeling the garlic cloves and give them a quick smash, but do not cut them. You want the garlic to be whole pieces. Smashing them opens them up for the butter to run through.

Now heavily salt and pepper your lamb. Get your pan hot. Add grapeseed oil to the pan and sear the lamb for 1.5-2 minutes on each side. Left, right, then the fat side. Once on the fat side, at the garlic, thyme, shallots, and butter to the pan. Take a large spoon and baste the butter over the lamb for 45 seconds. Then put the pan with the lamb in the oven for 4 minutes for medium, and 6 minutes for medium well. Times will vary depending on the thickness of the lamb chops and how hot your stove gets when you sear. It might take you a couple tries to figure out your timing. Serve with mashed potatoes and a red wine sauce on Christmas and it will be talked about until the ball drops on New Year’s. 🎄🥂

Now let’s talk caviar! Its fancy, it can be expensive, and when you have it served at your party, it means that your party is at a different level! It says you have a sophisticated palate, a desire for nice things, and you are a generous host. The next day your guests will tell their friends about the caviar if you serve it right!

Caviar on ice, sour cream and your favorite salty potato chip

Classic:

  • On ice with sides of minced shallots, chives, and chopped hard-boiled eggs, crème fraiche, and toast points.
    If you want to make it a classic tray-passed app, you can serve the caviar on a blini with a dollop of crème fraiche. A blini is like a savory mini pancake. The easiest way to do this is get the paleo pancake batter from whole foods, make the batter and put it in a squeeze bottle. Squeeze out tiny little bite-size pancakes in the pan and cook on low heat on both sides. Top with a small dollop of CF, then top with a spoon full of caviar, and sprinkle chives.

Fun way to serve:

  • Caviar on ice, sour cream, and your favorite salty potato chips. Classic flavors in a fun hip way.

Classic caviar on ice

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about my journey and some helpful tips to elevate your holiday season. This year is a little different and your gatherings should be small, but these will impress regardless. Take photos and tag @ThorKitchen and @ChefDerrickFox so I can see all the deliciousness you create!

Cheers, Happy Holidays! …. And Good Riddance to 2020!!!!

August 13, 2020 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

Enjoying A Backyard Cookout During Quarantine

Imagining a summer without a backyard cookout is like thinking of fall without pumpkin spice everything. Unfortunately, with so many states still battling new coronavirus cases, people are understandably being encouraged to stay home and keep the gatherings to a minimum. However, we know how hard it’s been, and some folks will host grilling events because they want to see friends and family. 

Luckily, new ways have come to light to help expand your personal quarantine bubble, and some restaurants are even beginning to open outdoor dine-in services. With these principles in mind, we want to offer some tips for enjoying a backyard cookout during the quarantine.

What Size Should My Cookout Be?

You’re probably ready to fire up your new grill and get your summer officially started with its first BBQ, but remember to keep the party within the maximum size for gatherings in your county. It is best to play this safe, both for the sake of safety and legality. A good rule of thumb is your party is too big if you can’t see everyone from wherever you’re standing.

Within that number, you want to make sure there is enough space in your yard for your guests to maintain six feet distance from each other. People living in the same household can be closer to each other so that proper seat planning can maximize your available space.

If you’re the party host, be sure to clean and disinfect everything, including tables, chairs, and common areas. Keep wipes and hand sanitizer on hand and available to your guests to maintain a sanitized space.

Should Guests Wear Masks and Gloves?

As a general rule, anyone serving food or drinks should wear masks and gloves. Everyone else should maintain restaurant etiquette and wear masks after eating, especially if they are within six feet of one another. Gloves are optional; they can help, but with snacking, dining, and drinking, people run the risk of going through endless pairs of disposable gloves.

Luckily, with the right products, the virus that causes COVID-19 is relatively easy to kill. Any household disinfectant should suffice for cleaning surfaces. Be sure to routinely disinfect during the cookout, paying particular attention to high traffic areas your guests will have access to, especially the bathroom. Make sure your hand soap and toilet paper are well stocked.

Keep it Outside

Most research states that you’re less likely to transmit or catch the virus if you’re outside, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing. The fastest way to turn your backyard cookout from a well-planned gathering into a safety hazard is to gather guests inside your house.

If someone must enter the house, make sure they know where to find sanitizing wipes and keep their trips to necessities, like trips to the restroom. 

If your cookout gets unexpected rain, do not invite everyone inside. It is in your best interest, and everyone’s health, to cancel the cookout and try another time. Conversely, if you’re at a BBQ and it starts raining, it’s fine to head home if heading inside will be too crowded for your comfort.

Best Foods to Serve and How to Handle Them

Treat your backyard cookout like a restaurant and follow the CDC guidelines for restaurants during COVID-19.  If you’re going to use top-of-the-line equipment, and professional-grade grills, you might as well maintain the same standards of practice that the best restaurants are following.

Avoid shared foods. We know chips and dip are a time-honored cookout food, but now isn’t the time for communal foods. Right now, sharing is not caring. If you must serve those snacks and appetizers, try to give guests a pre-prepared plate of chips and dip to avoid transmission via guests touching the same item.

As for serving up your favorite summer recipes, it’s a good idea to treat your professional grilling area like the kitchen of a restaurant. Keep it inaccessible and have a set number of food handlers. Remember, the fewer people that can come in contact with the food, the better. Designate one chef. We know it’s a tradition to check on the chef and have a talk by the grill, but give the grill master some space. If necessary, cordon off the grill area and have the chef and someone else prepare plates of food for guests, so everyone only just touches their individual dishes.

What’s the Safest Way to Serve Drinks?

What’s a backyard cookout without some cold drinks? It’s summer, it’s going to be warm, and people will get thirsty. The two absolute best options are:

  1. Buy individual beverages like cans or bottles instead of a communal drinking station.
  2. Explicitly tell your guests to bring your own beverages. That way, people can safely handle their individual drinks.

Now everyone knows that even if you’ve repeatedly informed everyone to bring their own drinks, someone is bound to “forget”. That’s fine because you planned for it. Hopefully, you’ve included some outdoor refrigeration into your grill station. While ice chests are a staple of the backyard BBQ, it might be best to keep them in the garage. Guests might find it hard to break from the habit of grabbing drinks themselves.

Having a built-in under-counter refrigerator drawer, or if you’re feeling a little fancier an indoor/outdoor wine cooler, will completely change your barbequing experience and will make it easy to keep things COVID safe. First, the units stay within the confines of the grill space, making it easy to control who has access to the drinks. Secondly, stainless steel is a lot easier to clean and wipe down when someone does touch it. So even if you have someone sneaking over to grab a drink, it’s easy for them to sanitize the handle and keep your space clean.

Conclusion

Your summertime might not feel complete without at least one cookout. After all, you didn’t spend all that time designing your outdoor cook space and perfecting your grilling techniques to not share it with your family and friends, right? 

With some proper planning and a few gallons of hand sanitizer, you should feel safe enough to dust off that grill, set a few beers and pops to chill, and enjoy at least part of your summer with loved ones. And with these guidelines, you won’t let COVID-19 crash your BBQ.

December 11, 2018 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

12 Different Ways to Cook A Turkey During the Holidays

Different Ways to Cook A Turkey

There are so many things that are different in this world. The way we choose to live, work, and play. Thankfully, it is the differences we find that keep things from being dull and boring, don’t they?

How we celebrate the holidays may be different, too. How your family celebrates is likely to differ from that of your colleague’s family. And, your next-door neighbor’s traditions will likely be different, too.

These differences spread into the food we eat, as well. Just as how every turkey is unique, so is the way you can cook it. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of ways to cook a turkey – and we’ve got twelve of those ways to share with you today.

1. Jamie Oliver’s “Best turkey in the world” recipe.

Orange turkey, anyone? What if you stuffed your turkey with clementines and herbs? Our first turkey is a roasted turkey that has an herbal, citrus flair. The flavorings work together to get a citrus spice that complements one another.

Rosemary and other fresh herbs keep this a light turkey delight.

2. A mayonnaise-roasted turkey.

When you decide to roast something, do you ever reach for the mayo? This is definitely not a likely choice for roasting. But sometimes you can get amazing results from something completely unexpected. This is a perfect example.

Create a mixture of fresh (or dried) herbs of your choosing. Then, mix them with mayonnaise and coat the bird liberally. Add some chunks of onion, butter, and celery for added flavor. Roast the turkey for the recommended time.

Rest assured, your final product will be juicy and delicious – and will not taste like mayonnaise.

3. Smoked turkey with bacon butter.

You can smoke all sorts of meats, such as ribs, pork, and chicken. So, why not roast a turkey? The smoky flavor is sure to be loved by all who are sitting around your table. Now comes the bacon butter. This blended combination of raw bacon, butter, and spices that is slid underneath the skin and all around the bird gives it a flavor you will love.

4. Slow cooking turkey with a honey glaze

There is no reason why you can make a sticky mess around your table this holiday season. If you choose to cook this fall-off-the-bone turkey, you won’t regret it. The sticky sweet taste is delicious – and will leave you wanting more.

The glaze is made with a combination of sriracha, cayenne pepper, honey, and spices. You know it is done when the meat falls off the bone.

5. Maple glazed bacon butter turkey

This recipe is like a combination of two turkeys (think pancakes and bacon). The sweet, sticky maple glaze combined with a salty flavor of bacon -what is not to love? Here you will find whole slices of bacon lying across the top. They crisp up as you bake the turkey.

This winning combination – maple and bacon – are very complementary to one another. And, of course, they offer a wonderful addition to any holiday table.

6. Bacon wrapped turkey

If you’d like to skip the mess with the sticky glazes, you could just go ahead and wrap your turkey in bacon and leave the sweet stuff for dessert. Bacon is something that just about everyone loves. So, smothering your turkey in strips of bacon can be a win-win for the flavor combo.

Create a lattice-type covering with the bacon on your turkey. The best part of this recipe is the bacon and onion gravy that keeps the turkey moist and oh-so-tasty.

7. Deep-fried turkey

Everything tastes good when it is deep fried. Chicken, fries, and even Oreos. So, it only makes sense that deep frying a turkey would leave you with something wonderful to eat. We should also probably mention that it is one of the fastest ways to make your holiday turkey, too.

Experiment with seasoning and oils and find the best flavor combination to suit your liking.

8. Barbecued turkey

Fire up that grill and watch how juicy your grilled bird is when it is time to eat. Grilling is a healthy way of cooking and it gives meats such a wonderful, unique flavor. There should be no reason why you can’t through that turkey on the grill, too.

If done right, your turkey will be flavorful, juicy, and tender. Plus, as an added bonus, you free up your oven for all the sides and desserts you have to cook.

9. A crockpot turkey

If crispy skin is not what you are about, then you may love to use your crock pot to cook your holiday bird. It is simple to throw the turkey and all your spices in at once, turn it on, and just let it go. What results is a juicy, flavorful,fall-off-the-bone turkey.

Just as the grilled turkey, utilizing your crock pot also means that you can free up your oven for other pressing dishes.

10. Grilled Jerk turkey

Why not have a festive turkey with a flavor of the islands? Fire up that barbecue pit and load on the Caribbean jerk spices. This will give you a twist on a traditional turkey, both in the way you cook it and the flavor of the final product.

11. Stuff it with other birds

Have you heard of a turducken? This is a chicken inside of a duck that is inside of a turkey. This provides a unique surprise when the turkey carving begins. The flavor combination is delightful, too.

12. Stew your turkey

Why not do something totally out of the ordinary this holiday season. Instead of cooking a whole, traditional turkey, why not make a hearty and scrumptious stew. Fill it with all the flavors of the holiday season – and warm your family with the chunky stew.

What’s your favorite way to cook a turkey?

Well, there you have it. It is differences that make our world so colorful. Why not bring these differences to your table this holiday season by choosing a unique way to cook your turkey?

 

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