Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cheffy and Friends Talk About Roasting Proteins-January 2001

Welcome to the Chef's Office where great minds and palates meet 
The Chef's Office 
January 2001 
Roasting Meats and Vegetables 

Welcome to the Chef's Office 
Welcome to the first issue of the Chef's Office. The Chef's Office 
basically is a synapsis of conversations some Chef's and culinarians have. 
Our first issue is about Roasting Meats and read the 
conversations in their entirety please visit us at Culinary Artists, we 
really get into some cool conversations. To view the personal 
biographies of most of the people included in this newsletter please check them 
out at and if you would like to 
post your pic and bio please do by sending them to 

Roasting Meats... 
When I first presented the idea of organizing a newsletter to share 
some of the great conversations we have from a variety of different chef's 
and culinarians and housewives/husbands worldwide, we all jumped at the 
idea, thought it was an idea we could have some fun with. So, welcome 
to "The Chef's Office " 

Cheffy poses the question: 
" Got in this conversation last night after reading the article in R&I 
about roasting meats and veggies 

What are your favorite methods of roasting? Sear not to sear? Slow 
and low? Intense then lower heat? On pan or raised off of the pan? 

Favorite meats to roast?? Favorite Veggies?? Stuffed poultry, fowl or 

(then the CheffyBabbles rebuttal...) 

"...When sitting and thinking about my question, I realized how 
and broad my questions were to write about... 

There are of course, millions of ways to roast meats, poultry, 
fowl, game and vegetables. 

In my opinion, I love long marination of meats and confusing the 
tastebuds...I enjoy both personally and professionally combining a 
variety of senses...sweet, sour, bitter and salty and if I can 
discover a umami, I will add that also, but sometimes that quest is 

In general, I love combining a majority of the tastebuds in the 
entree, whether protein or vegetarian based, a neutral starch (or an 
in-between between the protein and vegetable...probably something 
soothing and sweet) and either a sweet or very aromatic vegetable... 

Throughout my professional life I have done a variety of things, but 
not until recently have I really taken a serious consideration to soy 
and soy products as a substitute for my salt in my marinades and rubs 
for roasting meats...meaning soy sauce, homemade teriyaki sauces, 
hoisin or oyster paste, miso among countless others. 

In Asian culinary philosophy, it combines sweet, sour, spicy and 
salty...and thanks to the provocation of my buddy Bento, I have 
learned and created some really cool stuff thinking along this line... 

To sear or not to sear? This is a tough one...if the piece of meat is 
small and manageable I marinate it for days and sear it (this 
excludes fowl or poultry, just red meat). I have never marinated a 
top round and seared it, but heck, it sounds like a great idea to 
me...or maybe larding or juicing the meat with something that I used 
to combine the tastebuds with...hmmmm...just an idea...have never 
tried it, but I may next time I have to cook one.... 

As far as the plate is aforementioned, I like to 
make the starch a neutral flavor, saffron is good, coconut milk used 
in pilaf is good, using a sweet sauce to compliment the protein is 
really good because it flavors the neutral starch and the protein at 
the same time, and I like my vegetable to be a total contrast of the 
protein or a very flavorful variety of garlic and herbs, no matter 
what the veggie is...It just makes life interesting...chungachungabam 

As far as methods of varies on the product...If I sear 
a product, whether it goes from the char-grill or not, (and sometimes 
it doesn't because I work in such volume), it is slow and low...If I 
am doing a larger piece of meat, I like to blast it to begin with to 
seal the exposed portion of the meat and then turn the heat down and 
let it cook for a very long time with low or no air. And although at 
home I like to raise any meat or other protein off the pan to allow 
air to circulate, I do not necessarily worry about this at work. 

Roasted Veggies???? Although sometimes I get really tired of seeing 
them, I LOVE roasted parsnips...tossed in an infused oil and an 
aromatic herb, (like garlic and basil or tarragon) they are so 

Other than that...I can ramble all day about my obsession with 
roasted peppers, especially poblanos and sweet reds...well seasoned 
roasted potatoes,(especially Hayman's), asparagus, carrots, the many 
varieties of squash, zucchini and eggplant...that list is endless 
primarily because at home I am basically a vegetarian, and... 

Cheffy Loves Roasted Veggies...ha ha 

Did I forget to run my mouth about Roasted Garlic??????...... 


Maybe next issue... 

Peace, Hugs and Cookies, 

It took Keith some thinkin', but he finally got around to his 
rebuttal...Chef Keith pointed out some really good points not only from a 
Chef's point of view but from a consumers point of view as well... 

Chef Keith Says: 

"...OK Mikey-you asked for ya got it! 

Let me start by saying that I respect your philosophy 
of "experimenting" with foods greatly. After all many foods have been 
discovered by experimenting-take potato chips for 
example...discovered on accidental serendipity of a smart assed chef 
like us-but that is another post on fried foods. 

I for one love for my taste buds to be confused...and if I were 
cooking for a panel of chefs, then I would follow in your footsteps 

But I do not think it is appropriate to deliberately try to confuse 
the taste buds of someone ordering a simple Prime Rib Dinner. The 
type of person who orders a prime rib dinner is not typically looking 
for that innovative apex of extremities and cutting edge creativity 
bordering on insanity...they are the middle of the road patrons who 
are thinking about a simple good piece of red meat. Do we agree? 
Provoking thought now... 

I prefer to simply try to perfect the mimification of that classic 
roast as done hundreds of years before me. I present it in such a 
manner of trying to expose and showcase the rib roast. After all, 
thats what they want....THE MEAT! They arent paying $30 a person for 
the starch and vegetable. Instead of throwing exotic ingredients from 
the orient at it like miso or wasabi-I prepare it simply and 
perfectly with focus on my talent of roasting correctly. I might put 
other ingredients on the plate for texture differences-but the 
flavors will probably be neutral, (like roasted garlic mashed 
potatoes) and other components will be few. Simply seasoned with 
fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic and shallots. Served with classic 
au jus and perhaps a perfect popover to absorb all of the juices. Oh 
yeah-as boring as it might be to chefs-ya just cant beat a perfectly 
seasoned, roasted piece of beef with good bread!!!! Begging for a 
glass of red wine has stood the test of time and always 

Roasting Beef-here's a new one that I recently learned that-believe 
it or not-is absolutely perfect. Season your rib roast with S&P and 
sear it on the hottest surface of your kitchen. Then roast it in a 
225 degree oven until it achieves your desired internal temperature. 
Mine is 130 degrees.....then let it rest. The end result is this: 
Searing is done to achieve color and a little caramelization that 
will not be achieved due to the low cooking temperature. But what you 
will have is a PERFECT piece of meat that is medium rare all the way 
through from the center of the cut to the outside. Unlike the typical 
350 degree roast that is crispy and browned on the inside layers and 
medium rare just in the center/middle of the cut. MY SECRETS REVEALED 

Roasting Poultry and Pork (excluding pork tenderloin)-BRINING must be 
done to attain the perfect roasted status. It keeps the meat tender 
while seasoning. Pork tenderloin needs little to no prep for 
roasting.....unless you ask Mike and he'll tell you to use chipotles, 
poblanos and some other crazy stuff like sesame oil with tofu...haha 

Favorite Roasted Veggies-Potatoes (especially fingerlings), Peppers, 
Garlic, Fennel (with a little balsamic) Cauliflower (try it you'll 
love it), Winter Squash, Tomatoes....hell almost anything. 

Of course the history and science of roasting has changed quite a 
bit. It used to be a one directional type of cooking on a turning 
spit with wood burning accents and smoky flavors. Now it is more 
convectional heat with gas or electric ovens.....I guess to be 
correct nowadays we should call it oven-roasted! 

In the end it is always about time and temperature control-the most 
powerful aspect of any good cook's repertoire. 


Now to our buddy Chef Tom, a Certified Executive Chef from Upstate 
Ohio, one of the greater stimulations for good conversations and trips down 
memory lane... 

"...Well you chose a good topic to start with Mike...I really enjoy 
cooking method, whether it be a high-heat roasting or a long and s-l- 
o-w roast. You can build layers of flavors by roasting meats and 
beginning with wet marinades, spice pastes or dry rubs. I really like 
to smoke-roast...add that extra layer of flavor. I will generally 
serve it as is or with a sauce. Or I'll have fun coming up with a 
relish, chutney, or salsa. 

I like marinades because of the way they blossom with fruit based 
flavors, herbs, wines and spices. The flavor range runs from sweet to 
spicy, piquant to fruity, with lots of zesty flavors throughout. 
I'll do a long soak with a tougher cut of meat to tenderize it, or a 
short soak for poultry or vegetables for flavor. 

My basic rule of thumb with rubs and pastes is that highly spiced 
rubs tend to work better on meats and poultry, while the pastes work 
better on seafood. 
Spice rubs will seal in juices by forming the crust on the outside of 
the meat to keep the inside juicy. This is great when searing or high- 
heat roasting...I love that crust you can achieve by doing this. 
For the long and s-l-o-w (smoke) roast, a spice rub will surrender 
all of its flavor to the meat while on its way to tenderland. Pork 
butts, ribs and briskets are my favorite to slow-roast (add that 
hickory or applewood too!). 
Pastes have moisture. I'll use pastes on seafood to keep the seafood 
moist and without overpowering it. Also, marinades may break down the 
flesh of some seafood if left in too long, pastes will add the flavor 
without ruining its texture. I don't usually marinate fish or seafood. 

Again...good topic to begin with Mike. I'm hoping that the deep fat 
frying topic is going to be low on your list of subjects. haha 

> Spice rubs will seal in juices by forming the crust on the outside 
of the meat to keep the inside juicy. This is great when searing or 
high-heat roasting...I love that crust you can achieve by doing this.> 

I meant to comment on this the other day when you were dicussing this 
and Keith made a comment on searing his prime ribs. Searing is 
awesome before the roasting process. The crust is a nice accent to a 
piece of meat. 
Although, one of my favorite items to sear is Tuna. Give it a chili 
spice rub or coat the steak with crushed toasted fennel. Gotta be 
served rare to mid-rare...MMMMMMMMM good. 

Chef Tom..." 

Marlene, a friend of Cheffy's and a personal chef in the Chicago area 
brought up some pretty good points in the opposite side of the spectrum 
which I found a good compliment to the conversation: 

"...Ok took me awhile to think about this.... first off I agree with 
you cheffy, on the surface your question seems like a piece of cake 

I needed alot of time to think about this because it made me rethink 
why I cook the way I do currently. I have made many adjustments and 
changes to my meat cooking methods from what I learned as a child, etc. 

Unfortunately the meat we remember eating when grandma made it (my mom 
passed when I was 9 so grandma cooked) is not the same as what we eat 
today. Because of pressures to lower fat in American diet, breeders are 
breeding and raising animals to be leaner. Thus, losing some of the 
flavor and producing dry less tender juicy meat. 

When we cook meat now using recipes from older cookbooks, or grandma's 
recipes, we are often disappointed. Pork comes out hard, dry, and 
juiceless; beef and lamb lack the succulent texture and robust flavors we 

The new meat demands a new approach to prepare so that they are tender, 
juicy and full of flavor. Now you add in the different cuts of meat and 
so many choices it is mind boggling. No wonder people are confused and 
make shoe leather. Depending on how thick the meat is and what part of 
the animal it is from is going to also determine how I am going to fix 
it. Shanks I will sear, roasts ...sometimes and sometimes not, it all 
depends ....I guess that it comes down to the cut of meat and thickness 
and what I am going to do with it and how I am going to serve it as to 
whether I am going to sear it or not. 

Now lets talk flavoring meats......seasonings can be as simple as dry 
rubs - or marinades, flavored bines (thats hwat I call them) for pork 
chops or pork loin - solutions of salt, water, sugar, spices. Or if 
crusted I would cook the meats differently, depending on what I wanted for 
the end product. 

Now for kicks I tried a can of apple juice and set a seasoned chicken 
on it and grilled it. It was my version of a non alocholic drunken 
chicken.....tasted awesome....... 

Marlene ..." 

LouAnne "Wasabimommy", a pastry chef from Missouri adds to what Marlene 
had shared... 

" to the roasting...I did a bit of it this week....the best 
out...the roasted veggies....large cuts, marinated in raspberry 
roasted till edges turned...I was worried that people would find them 
much....but that and the rice pilaf went first..I was really amazed 
since like the rest of you know that rice is usually the second most...I also roasted a top round..slow...250....wrapped in peppered 
bacon....a little garlic 
a little onion....thats it..raised the temp just at the end....perfect 
all the way through...whew.... 

Did turkey breast with honey and 
seasonings..slow again..and a ham with my all-time favorite Harry and 
pepper and onion relish used as a those that don't know 
me..I keep a case of it around at all is my magic 
ingredient....and everyone gets it for just opened two new 
outlets here in St Louis... 

Cheffy Closes it up with a rebuttal to Keith 

" In response to Keith... 

Of course there is absolutely no substitute for the traditional 
service of a good piece of prime served with au jus, nor a 
replacement for the good ol carved steamship served with silver 
dollar rolls and horseradish 

If either are done properly and perfectly...nothing compares really..." 

"...One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined 
Virginia Woolf 

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