Cutting up broccoli on new Cotton and Dust cutting board

Best New Cutting Board

I have been super pumped about this company called Cotton and Dust that I have recently discovered. They make some of the most beautiful cutting boards I have seen. As we all know a cutting board is a very important part of home and professional kitchens. I have been fortunate enough to have several conversations with the owner, and let me tell you, this company is the real deal.

They have a couple of big things going for them. One of those things is the quality. They have the unique outlook of wanting to keep a tight control of quality over a mass produced inferior product. It seems to me these days companies think more about the almighty dollar over maintaining a quality product. The other truly unique thing about this company is the “Lifetime Reconditioning Guarantee“. They give you the option of sending your cutting board in once a year to get the cutting board looking like new again. The best part about this is the fact that they pay for shipping both ways. How about that for some amazing customer service! And on top of that, this doesn’t just apply to you, it is the lifetime of the actual cutting board.

So you can plan on passing this down through your family and whoever owns it can still send it back to them to get it reconditioned. A really special guarantee that shows you how much work and care they put into this product.

Cotton and Dust Logo

Cotton and Dust

Lets Talk Cutting Boards. Continue reading

Cotton and Dust - The Ella

Kitchen Essentials: Cutting Board

So where do you start when you’re picking out a cutting board for your kitchen? This is a great question because a cutting board is really an essential piece of equipment for making delicious food. There are a few things to think about when making this decision.

The one style of cutting board that always makes me cringe when I see it being used is a glass one. These are for decorative purposes only!!!! There is nothing worse for your knife then cutting on a hard surface such as glass or metal. Please if you are using a glass board put it away and go buy a real board.

Now that I have that off of my chest lets talk about what you should be looking at. As you probably know there are so many options out there. But lets start narrowing down your choices and answering some questions.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic: This is a decent option because of the ease of cleaning. Most of these say that they are dishwasher safe so that is one bonus of them. However they do have some downsides. One of those is they are usually really ugly. I don’t know if I have ever seen a plastic cutting board that I though “oh wow, that would look great in my kitchen”. This just doesn’t happen. I am surprised that we don’t see more decorative plastic cutting boards but most of them are just plain colors and the majority of them are just plain white. The other thing about them is the fact that the more you use them the more knife grooves and cuts you get in them. This is only a big deal because of the fact that this is when they start growing the nasty stuff. The last thing you want to do is contaminate the food you are cooking for your loved ones.

Worn Out Nasty Plastic Cutting Board

Worn Out Nasty Plastic Cutting Board

So what are the alternatives to a plastic cutting board? Well how about a beautiful wood board! They are so much nicer looking then a plastic cutting board. They come in all different sizes, shapes and made from different kinds of wood. Now I know that your probably thinking that wood is porous so doesn’t bacteria have a better chance of sticking to a wood board over a plastic cutting board? The answer to that is no! There was a study conducted by UC Davis that proves that and you can read all about it here! The other really cool thing about wood cutting boards is that unless you are using a huge cleaver and hacking at bones you will not notice knife marks on your cutting boards. The other really nice thing is that most of the wood cutting boards or chopping blocks are beautiful enough that you will want to keep them out on your counter! The once downside for most people is that the wood cutting boards usually run a little more on the expensive side. However they are a item that if treated right you will not have to replace them like you do with plastic boards. The only downside to them is the fact that they cannot be run through the dishwasher. However they are super easy to keep clean. Don’t let this keep you from looking at them as the better option.

Another question I get asked quite often is “Is a wood cutting board worse for my knives than a plastic one?” While this is a good question it has a very simple answer. Using your knives is going to dull them no matter if you using a plastic or a wood cutting board. So there is really no difference between the two. The main factor for that is the hardness of the steel of your blade but that is a article for a different time.

Cotton and Dust- The Hannah Grace

Cotton and Dust- The Hannah Grace

So when when you weigh out your options in my opinion it always goes to the wood cutting boards. Make sure you do your research and get a good one. If you are going to be spending the money make sure you’re getting a good one. There are some big name companies out there but they are not always the best option. One of the really popular ones is John Boos. I have had the opportunity to use them in the past and the only problem I have ever had is sometimes they tend to swell and split. There is nothing more disappointing then spending the money on a nice chopping block and having that happen.  I have recently had the pleasure of talking to the owner of Cotton and Dust, and I am thoroughly impressed with him. He has a great outlook on what he is making and wanting to keep the quality at the forefront. One of the really special things they offer is “Lifetime Reconditioning”. And upon talking to him he told me that this is the lifetime of the cutting board. He is making a cutting board that can be purchased and handed down to your family and still get it reconditioned. Not only does he have this great guarantee but he also makes some of the most beautiful cutting boards I have seen. I really encourage everyone to check his cutting boards out! Let’s make this the new standard of what every home kitchen should have. No more plastic cutting boards. Invest in a product that is made here in the US and a better quality then the mass produced counterparts.

Cotton and Dust - The Ella

Cotton and Dust – The Ella

Finished Lamb with sauce

Sous Vide Lamb Shank

Sorry for the long delay in a post. We have been seriously understaffed at work which has resulted in me having to work 6 days a week. As you know this is not the first time this has happened, it has been several times since I have moved back to Portland. While this is not a bad thing paycheck wise, it does have some serious downsides. One is the fact that I don’t have a lot of extra time to play around with food and write up posts about it. But here we go. Time to let you in on my amazing sous vide lamb shank! Continue reading

Plating the Tonnato

Vitello Tonnato

A couple of weeks ago at work I was lucky enough to be able to show off some cooking with an immersion circulator. The dish I was able to show off with was vitello Tonnato. This is a traditional veal dish with a tuna and caper sauce. Yes, I am aware that this sounds like a bit of a weird combination but trust me it is such a delicious pairing.

Veal Tenderloins

Veal Tenderloins

So to do this dish we were using a veal tenderloin that was cleaned of the silver skin and excess fat. Continue reading

Creme Brulee

Sous Vide Creme Brulee

This has been a question that I have been asked several times now. How in the world do you make a creme brulee in an immersion circulator. Well let me share the secrets to this delicious dessert and change the way you look at it forever.

So this is a super easy to do. You start with your favorite creme brulee recipe or you can use the one I am posting at the bottom of this post. Continue reading

Pebo by Bodum

A Long Overdue Post

This post is long overdue and for that I apologize. Quite a while back one of my old classmates from Le Cordon Bleu and I were chatting. Turns out she works for a coffee company and offered to send me out some samples. I told her I would love to try some and would write about it on here.
Well as you know things happen and I totally spaced it. So here we go. The coffee is from a company in Portland called Kittridge & Fredrickson. They have a great selection of coffee and I have not tasted all of the ones that I received but so far the ones I have tasted are really spectacular. I received 4 bags, Kenya AA Gatugi Peaberry, Cafe Jondo, New Guinea Peaberry and Cafe Trato.

Coffee Samples

Coffee Samples

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Grilled Octopus on Marinara Sauce

Experiments with Sous Vide Octopus

I decided this week I needed to get my cooking and experimenting groove back. So on my days off I decided to pick up an octopus. My goal, techniques and experiments with sous vide octopus. Now getting an octopus isn’t as easy as running down to the local grocery store and picking one up at the seafood counter. So I got to take a trip to one of my favorite stores, Uwajimaya. Oh how I can get lost in that store. I really need to go in there some time with someone that can tell me what everything is. However I really love shopping there. They have such an amazing seafood department as well as the deli.

Left to Right: Buddah's Hand, Finger Limes, Octopus

Left to Right: Buddah’s Hand, Finger Limes, Octopus

So I grabbed my octopus right off and then decided that I wanted to walk through the produce section. I found two things that I have always wanted to try, finger limes and Buddha’s hand. Finger limes have been something that have always intrigued me. When you cut them open they expose a bunch of little spheres of  flavor delight. Buddha’s hand is another citrus which is known for its amazing scent and the zest is often used in desserts and drinks. Continue reading

876-albert-einstein-quotes-quote-wallpaper-2400x1350

Creative Desire

On my day off I spent my day watching shows on Netflix about food. There are some really great shows. One of which my Mom had mentioned that she read about is called “Spinning Plates”. It follows 3 different restaurants including Alinea, which as many of you know is run by Chef Grant Achatz who is someone that I find really inspiring. There is something about his passion and creativity and the way he looks at the whole experience of his food that I find truly fascinating.

But the real question I am sitting here asking myself is, where does the drive and passion come from. How does one get the creative desire to make something different? I think that one thing is the desire to always be learning. That is something that I hope I never lose. But how does one keep that desire alive? Is it a constant change in what you are doing? Is it finding some place that constantly pushes the boundaries of what can be done with food? Or working with someone or somewhere that constantly pushes you as a person or a cook?

creativity-signpost-1n962tn Continue reading

Kuhn Rikon Knife Review

I know it has been a long time since I have had an opportunity to post anything. We have been really short handed at work so I have been working 6 days a week and trying to get everything I normally do on my weekend done in one day.

I was given a really cool opportunity to try out a set of knives from Kuhn Rikon. I have been a big fan of the products they make for quite a while now. In my opinion they make some of the better and useful kitchen products out there. The product they sent me to check out was the Colori + Classic Professional Set. This set of knives includes a chef knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife. A great combo to do any job in the kitchen!

Kuhn Rikon Knife Set

Kuhn Rikon Colori + Classic Professional Set

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Mellow Sous Vide Cooker

New and Exciting Sous Vide Products

Just as with any other industry, there is constantly changes in the technology put into the tools we use. There are some really exciting new things coming out soon that I wanted to make mention of and to make sure you check out.

One of the first things that is getting added into circulators is WiFi. This is a huge improvement over the current Bluetooth that is currently used. This will give the ability to adjust your unit without the need to do it on the unit itself. Right now it seems like it is a race between a couple of companies to get it out first. But the one I am really excited to see is one from Nomiku. Continue reading