Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's All The Buzz

Electrolux sponsored a Foodbuzz event at the Maison des Relais & Châteaux in Manhattan on Tuesday night. The living room-like space was very attractive and comfortable with a gorgeous Electrolux-supplied kitchen. Brad Steelman, chef of Brooklyn’s The River Café, demonstrated some wonderful recipes.

He was using a drop dead gorgeous convection oven with “luxury design“ lighting, which doesn’t just go on and off, it gradually illuminates the oven and slowly dims to off.

Brad roasted a beautiful brined turkey using the “Perfect Turkey” button. The oven does everything...except wash the dishes and they have a machine for that too.

Here's the chef carving the turkey:

He also showed us their induction cooktop. I’ve actually used an induction cooktop and everything Brad told us is true.

BECAUSE all the heat stays in the pot, it’s fantastic if you’re living in a small space where the burners heat up not just your kitchen, but your bedroom and bathroom too. (Of course, if you’re living in a tiny place, you probably can’t afford an induction cooktop.)

It’s also the fastest way to heat a pan to high AND it keeps a simmer magnificently OR a barely bubbling heat. All of these things I can personally attest to.

Here's a good look at induction cooking. The heat gets transferred directly to the pot, so that’s the only thing that heats up - resulting in this striking image.

BUT…there’s a big but, you must only use pans that are magnetic on the bottom, i.e. cast iron frying pans, or Lodge-type cast iron pots; Le Creuset and their ilk; or Chantal pots are ones that come to mind, so all your beautiful stainless steel is useless.

How can you tell which pots to use? If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pot or pan, you’re good to go. However, Electrolux thought of this too, when they came out with a “Hybrid Stovetop” – 2 induction burners and 2 (or 3) sealed electric burners. As Chef Steelman explained it, you still can use your old pots and it’s convenient when you can have someone not familiar with induction cooking using the stove.

The chef whipped us up some fabulous things – goat cheese disks on melba toast with tapenade and chicken salad in tiny puff pastry rings.

This was followed by an excellent risotto.

He said I could share the recipe with you. (I'll post it tomorrow. It's long...) It may just become your go-to risotto.

During the cooking of the risotto, he reinforced an excellent mushroom cooking point. They should go in a hot pan with a bit of fat and NO SALT initially. I would have said that was because the salt will draw out the liquid and give a more steamed mushroom. Sort of, but not exactly.

Listen to this: The salt will draw out the moisture in the mushrooms and COOL DOWN THE PAN. Of course, it will! That makes such excellent sense, Chef. And, of course, a cooled down pan will begin to steam the mushrooms and take away from the browning and caramelizing on the outside of the mushroom. I just love an interesting chef. (It didn’t hurt that he was kinda cute too.)

And then he made not-at-all miniature roast turkey sliders with stuffing, cranberries and a bit of golden brown gravy.

On a different topic, I asked Brad about his well-known concern about sustainable fishing. He is committed to serving fish that come from sustainable fishing practices.

I try to avoid farm-raised fish and he agreed that was a good way to go. But that doesn’t cover all the bases. He suggested the Seafood Choices Alliance as a resource to learn more about the topic and look into which fish may be overharvested.

Okay, so I liked Brad’s boyish good looks and easy manner, but even better was his crème brûlée, served in tiny cooked pumpkins. What a fantastic dessert for pumpkin season.

His crème brûlée was so exceptional, though, that I would be nervous to have it compete with my Thanksgiving pies…It deserves to be served all on its own. Actually it was served with THESE, which couldn't have been shortbread cookies, because I don't like shortbread and I sure liked THESE!

I met (and re-met) some awfully nice bloggers. Michelle has a lovely new blog Taste As You Go. Grace from Grace [is] full was there too and Mike from NYC Donut Report!! is really great to talk to about doughnuts (and China). Yvo from The Feisty Foodie said hi; Yolanda from Kosher Soul Food is fun, fun, fun; and those Cupcake gals, Nichelle, Allison and Rachel are always entertaining.

Yolanda, Chef Steelman, Michelle and Grace


Adam said...

Very cool that Foodbuzz showed you a good time with the event. It looks exciting. My jaw dropped when I read about magnetic pans and the oven... that's a great idea. I can't tell you how often pans shift or even fall off the oven. Plus it keeps the heat right on. Awesome.

Sue said...

No, Adam, the electro-magnetic thing comes into play with the COOKTOP, not the oven. But that is an interesting idea...Actually that would be cool.

The oven was "just" convection and fantastic, but the cooktop had 2 induction burners and a couple of regular electric ones.

Yvo Sin said...

Hey Sue, it was a great event and it was nice seeing you again (I'm the girl who came up to you at the end of the night and said hi - we met at Lupa previously - but I realized too late that I'd already taken off my nametag and you probably had forgotten my name. Oops :) It's Yvo, Feisty Foodie. Hehe.

DebCarol said...

What a fun evening you had! The Induction Cooktop looks amazing - seeing the ice cubes sitting next to boiling water was surreal. The Shortbread Cookies remind me of the ones Ina made for her "Baby Shower for a Friend" show. She put them in glassine bags as party favors. Can't wait for the Risotto recipe

Sue said...

Hi Yvo,
I DID remember you, of course, but when I was writing my post I totally forgot that I had seen you that night. I remedied that. (Read my post NOW.)

It was a fun event. The food was yummy and it was fun talking to folks.

Hi DC,
We had a great time. THAT picture is amazing.

And the thing that was so funny about these cookies was that they were sooooo good. Ina's looked like the typical, kinda dry shortbread that most people like and I don't. I love Ina to pieces, but that particular menu was a bit strange and bound to give the mother-to-be heartburn.

Christo Gonzales said...

wow, your post was like attending a mini class - very was nice to meet you...

Laurie said...

It all looks so wonderful, but I think that crème brûlée
is calling to me! Great post!

Emily said...

Wow, you met lots of people!
I wish I could have been there.
The pumpkin creme looks amazing. I'm definitely going to try making it. Did you get a recipe for it?

I also wish I had an oven with a turkey button.

Michelle Rittler said...

Great review, Sue! If you ever find yourself making those pumpkin creme brulee treats, let me know and I'll help eat them! :)

Chef E said...

I really wished I had joined this food blog group, and food buzz before this event. It looks fantastic and yummy!