(BPT) - If you love entertaining, summer is a great time to let your inner chef shine. The versatility of using both indoor and outdoor cooking techniques opens up possibilities offering tasty results - for foodies and experienced chefs alike.
You can make sure your summer entertaining is a hit with these tips from Signature Kitchen Suite's Executive Chef Nick Ritchie.
1. Achieve perfect, edge-to-edge doneness with sous vide cooking
Don't let the fancy name fool you, this cooking method, which has been used by world-renowned chefs for years, is just as easy for home cooks as well. 'Sous vide' (pronounced 'sue-veed') is French for 'under vacuum,' and it's an innovative cooking technique known for achieving the perfect temperature, every time. Food is vacuum sealed, then submerged in water and slow-cooked at a constant precise temperature until it is perfectly cooked - without heating up your house.
Sous vide has become the go-to method in the world's best restaurants for years, and for good reason: it brings food to the precise temperature chefs look for and delivers perfect doneness, edge-to-edge, every time - with little effort.
Let's say you've prepared a bone-in ribeye using the sous vide method. As you cut into your steak, you'll notice something right away - the doneness you were hoping for goes all the way through your steak, without that gray-to-pink gradient and thin band of desired doneness that you get when simply grilling steaks. You'll have perfect, juicy steaks that only sous vide can provide.
Even better, you can use sous vide to do a 'reverse sear' - sous vide will ensure your steak is cooked to the desired temperature, then put it on the hot grill for that tasty, smoky char only outdoor cooking can give you.
Baby back ribs are another summer staple that can be prepared using the sous vide method. With the perfect fall-off-the-bone doneness from the sous vide, a nice smokey finish from the grill and a brush of BBQ sauce, you'll have all-day ribs without the all-day work.
2. Lock in flavors with steam and steam-convection cooking
If you're looking for healthier options, steam cooking is a great choice. There are several benefits of cooking with steam: it's simple to master, it ensures dishes are always evenly cooked and there are endless recipes you can prepare with this method. It's also known to be one of healthiest cooking methods because it doesn't require the use of oils or fats. Steam-equipped ovens also offer the best method for reheating leftovers, as moisture harnessed from the steam replaces moisture that was lost in the fridge.
To make things even more interesting, try steam convection cooking, which cooks more evenly than other methods, but also produces perfectly tender roasts, moist flakey fish and incredibly fluffy baked goods. Steam convection cooking combines two cooking modes to deliver gourmet results: steam, which helps retain moisture (and nutrients) while improving texture, appearance and taste, and convection technology, which offers more even heat distribution throughout the oven and cooks food more quickly.
Steam is an excellent technique for summer seafood dishes. Steam will gently cook shellfish like shrimp or lobster, as well as any kind of delicate fish, as it doesn't require much cooking time and helps lock in moisture. And don't forget about dessert. Steam convection is perfect way to bake a delicious summer cobbler.
3. Keep it simple with convection cooking
Convection is a tried-and-true cooking method that you can rely on for all sorts of recipes. Convection oven technology works to evenly distribute heat to every rack by heating up faster and cooking evenly to delicious perfection. Contrary to conventional ovens, convection ovens offer a more even cooking experience by using a fan to distribute heat evenly throughout the entire oven. This type of heating offers several benefits to the cooking process by distributing heat faster, reducing cooking times and providing consistent cook temperatures anywhere in the oven. This also makes convection cooking during summer months ideal, as your house won't get as hot.
How can you achieve perfection using all these techniques?
If you're ready to conquer these expert cooking methods, you may want to consider upgrading your kitchen appliances. Ritchie says today's high-end kitchens provide tools for all of these cooking methods. For instance, Signature Kitchen Suite is the only brand on the market to offer pro ranges and rangetops with sous vide built into the cooktop, along with induction and gas, plus several products that incorporate steam and steam-convection cooking functionality, to help you achieve the best results your creative cooking mind can imagine.
Learn more about these and other options to enhance your home cooking at SignatureKitchenSuite.com.