Thursday, December 25, 2014

how to roast beef tenderloin with yorkshire pudding

How to Trim and Roast Beef Tenderloin with Yorkshire Pudding

By: Chef Cristian Feher

Just in time for the holidays! In these two videos you will learn how to trim and roast a whole beef tenderloin, and you will also learn how to make yorkshire puddings!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kenmore Elite Digital Countertop Convection Oven Review

Review of the Kenmore Elite Digital Countertop Convection Oven
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Recently I had the pleasure of receiving a countertop convection oven from Kenmore to review. Kenmore is known for quality, and innovative kitchen appliances. So, I was excited to take this oven for as spin.

The first thing that caught my eye were the sleek, sexy lines - is that possible with a toaster oven? In this case, yes. Kenmore took the time to make this thing look as good as it cooks. The main focal point is the ultra-sharp, bright LED digital display which flashes crisp, blue and orange information (like mode and temperature).

To test it out, I decided to make three foods that typically end up in the toaster: chicken salad melts, chicken wings, and, because this unit actually comes with a really nice pizza stone, a pizza. They all cooked quickly, did not burn or over-cook, and the pizza cooked really nicely at 450 degrees - crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.

Here is how it scored:

- The quartz heating elements are not only really nice looking, they also heat up very quickly. It took less than 4 minutes for the oven to heat up to 450.
- A fully-functional convection fan inside the oven circulates the hot air around the food, allowing it to cook faster and more efficiently.
- The pizza stone that comes with the unit is great for small and medium sized pizzas. It's thick and heavy as it needs to be to retain heat properly.
- There are several modes to choose from from bake, to broil, to specific modes like pizza and bagels. You can also position the rack 3-different ways in order to best cook your food according to which heating elements you're using (top, bottom, or both).
- The digital timer can be set with a knob, and so can the different function knobs.
- A digital timer is an included function. You can set it easily by rotating the knob.
- You can cook at accurate temperatures by setting the digital thermostat.
- The oven is big enough to cook a 12 inch pizza, but small enough to fit on your kitchen counter comfortably.

- I am king of a computer and electronics geek, so the digital menu was easy enough for me to figure out. However, a person who is not good with computers or electronics - like my grandmother - would never be able to figure out how to use this oven. If you can use a smart phone, you can use this oven.
- The metal handle on the door got pretty hot. Which my previous toaster oven did not do. But it was not so bad that I couldn't handle it with a kitchen towel. An insulated acrylic handle would have been better.

All in all, not only will this oven out perform most other toaster ovens, but the sheer looks of it is sure to increase the visual value of your kitchen. It's the best-looking toaster oven I've ever had!

Pick one up online at This would make a great holiday gift for your avid cook!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

the best water filtration system

The Truth About Water Filtration Systems

By: Chef Cristian Feher

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the owner of a company who makes water filtration systems - who actually started making state-of-the-art water filtration systems as a contractor for the Department of Defense. His company has been in place for decades and is on the leading edge of water filtration technology. So, I took the opportunity to pick his brain on the subject of water filtration, and what I learned, changed the way I look at water, and water filtration. 

What is the question? 

The first question I had about water and water filtration had to do with what is found in our municipal tap water. If you could send a sample of your tap water to a lab for analysis, you would find that there are significant amounts of chemicals, bacteria, and living organisms. And what is most troubling to me, is that our tap water is medicated - there are significant amounts of pharmaceutical drugs and even birth control hormones present.  

Every time someone takes an anti-depresant, a heart pill, shoots heroin, crack, cocaine, a sleeping pill or even a birth control pill, they eventually flush it down the toilet. And guess where that goes? Yep. It finds its way back to your tap water.  Not to mention factory run off and general chemical pollution.

Our water treatment plants seem to be only somewhat effective in removing harmful bacteria and living organisms from our water by use of chlorine and other such chemicals. But removing drugs from the water is either, not of much interest to them, or the technology (or cost thereof) is just not there yet. Yes, much of those chemicals are filtered from that water, but not nearly enough, in my opinion. So our water is medicated and poisoned.  Conspiracy theory? Nope. Anyone can send a sample of their tap water to a lab and see the results for themselves.

The drugs and poisons are there. In small amounts - yes - but what do you you think the results might be of ingesting a small steady stream of drugs and poisons into your system over a period of months, years and decades? We are not exactly the healthiest people on Earth, and I think it's pretty obvious why - we ingest the most drugs and chemicals.

Would you collect all of the pills from your neighbors, put them in a big candy bowl, mix them up and eat a handful of them? No, or course not. That would be dangerous! Well, you're doing it in small amounts every time you cook with tap water, drink tap water, brush your teeth with tap water, bathe in tap water and swim in tap water.

So, back to my first question: Is there a filtration system available that effectively eliminates these chemicals from our tap water? Reverse osmosis? Boiling or distilling water? Charcoal filters? Electrolysis? 

The answer, thankfully, was activated charcoal filters. And I say thankfully, because activated charcoal is cheap, plentiful, and accessible for most people. Apparently, activated charcoal can remove most chemicals and drugs from tap water to a significant degree. You can buy these to fit your sinks, shower heads and even in the form of charcoal filtered sports bottles!

Reverse osmosis does it too, but to a lesser degree than activated charcoal, and it has a big drawback. 

The process of reverse osmosis removes minerals, like calcium and magnesium from water. So, why is this a drawback? Well, your bones and teeth are made of this stuff. And if you fill your body with mineral-devoid water, guess what? It creates an imbalance, and in order to balance itself out, the water will leach calcium and magnesium from your teeth and bones! This can be a big problem which may lead to pretty serious health issues. Distilled water can be harmful too, because it's also mineral-devoid. 

Alkaline Water

I'm sure most of us who have health-zelous friends have hear all about the wonders of alkaline water, right? For those who haven't, alkaline water is simply water that has had its ph changed from acidic or neutral to basic, by various means.

So, my question was this: What (if any) benefits are there to drinking alkaline water? And, doesn't that water turn right back to acidic water within a couple of seconds of reaching your stomach (which is full of a very strong hydrochloric acid)? 

The general consensus, which aligned with my own idea about it, is that alkaline water serves very little purpose as a health-increasing agent for the human body. And that it's more of a marketing strategy, than an actual benefit. 

Here are some additional interesting facts about alkaline water. Most bacteria and microscopic organisms cannot live in alkaline water. So, by drinking alkaline water, you are more likely to be drinking water that has no living creatures in it.  Which is good - you're drinking antiseptic. 

However, your body has a very carefully balanced system which actually uses and needs the help of bacteria and microscopic living creatures. So, if you actually managed to make your body's fluids more alkaline (or more basic) you would actually be killing off the good bacteria, the good fauna and flora which help you do a million different little things inside your body.

In view of this, it is my opinion that alkaline water is for suckers! So is distilled water, and so is mineral-devoid water from reverse osmosis. You may be doing yourself more harm than good - by the way, some reverse osmosis systems are susceptible to black mold, which is a whole other can of bad-for-you worms.

The good news is that you can remove most drugs, chemicals, sediment, and organic compounds with a simple charcoal-based water filtration system. In order to remain strictly factual and impartial, I am not going to identify my friend's company or tell you that one brand of charcoal filter is better than another.

What I am going to tell you is that they are cheap, and very effective, and if you consume tap water, you should put some charcoal filters between you and it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

How to smoke beef brisket in a pressure cooker

How to Pressure Smoke Beef Brisket

By: Chef Cristian Feher


Beef brisket is one of the best things you can smoke. The long strands of meat and fat in brisket, when cooked under ideal conditions, melt together and absorb flavors in a special way. It's no wonder brisket is on the top of most people's list when it comes to smoked meats.

But, let's say that you don't have the time to smoke a beef brisket, or you simply don't have a smoker. Can you do this at home? The answer is most definitely yes - if, you own a pressure cooker, that is. 

The cooking process of a pressure cooker tends to drive moisture into the meat. So, when surrounded by liquid smoke and spices, a piece of brisket will pick them up. Now, this isn't going to be as dramatic as the results you would get from using a real wood smoker, but the results are quite nice - a juicy, tender, and pleasantly smokey piece of brisket.

The best part is that you can do this in just one hour! 

Ofcourse, if you have time to let the brisket marinade overnight in the spice and liquid smoke mixture, it will turn out much better when pressure cooked on the next day. But I made this recipe for someone who wants smokey brisket, and they want it now! 

Please watch the video for the recipe.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

a really good recipe for alaska halibut

Halibut in a Chili Tomato Cream Sauce

By: Chef Cristian Feher

I delivered a private cooking class to a couple of customers that had recently returned from a trip to Alaska, where they had collectively caught about four hundred pounds of fresh, Alaskan fish. I was thrilled when my tip at the end of the night involved several frozen samples of the fish they had caught: silver salmon, king salmon, ling cod, and two beautiful halibut fillets.

I prepared the halibut in this off-the-cuff-sauce with a couple of thoughts in mind. I wanted a sauce that was slightly creamy, and slightly spicy with a hint of citrus. Halibut has a delicate flavor, and while I love flavorful dishes, I didn't want to over-power it - not completely, anyways.

Recently I have been making a Thai chili butter sauce which I have found to be a beautiful base for fish and seafood. The sauce that I made for this halibut was based roughly on that Thai sauce recipe, with the exception of wine, and the addition of field tomatoes.  Part of what makes this sauce so good is mixing Asian and Western ingredients together, as in the chili garlic sauce with wine (or in this case, chicken stock and lime instead of white wine). Try it! It's quick to make, and I guarantee this will quickly become one of your favorite fish sauces.

Yield: 2 large portions of halibut

  • 2 large halibut fillets (about 1/2 lb each)
  • 1 tbsp of Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 fresh lime, juice of
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of fresh, diced tomato
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Get all your ingredients prepared before you start cooking. This means, mincing the garlic, preparing the chicken stock, dicing tomato, etc.
  2. Melt butter in a hot skillet. Add the chili garlic sauce and minced garlic. Fry for about a minute to get the aroma of the chili and garlic. Keep it moving so that it doesn't burn.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another two minutes. Make sure the skillet is nice and hot, so that the tomatoes break down and the water that comes off of them evaporates instead of pooling.
  4. Add the chicken stock, squeeze half a lime of juice in the pan, and bring to a simmer. Once it's simmering, add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the halibut and cook in the simmering sauce. As the sauce reduces, the fish will cook, absorbing all that wonderful flavor!
  6. Once the sauce has reduced, and the fish is cooked through (do not flip fish over), season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over Jasmin rice or garlic mashed potatoes with your side of choice and enjoy!
NOTE: Fish is cooked through when it's opaque and you can easily flake it apart with a fork. In this recipe it only took about 10-12 minutes once it was simmering in the sauce.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jerk Chicken with Brown Sugar and Lime

Jerk Chicken with Brown Sugar and Lime
By: Chef Cristian Feher

 Whether you’re grilling out, or using the oven, this recipe makes a flavorful, juicy and tender chicken you will not soon forget! I find traditional Jamaican Jerk chicken, delicious, but a little too hot (from the Scotch bonnet peppers). So I skipped the hot peppers, and created this recipe to capture the essence of jerk chicken, with the sweetness of brown sugar and tang of fresh limes!

For this recipe, you can use pre-mixed jerk seasoning from the grocery store, or you can make your own (recipe below). You can also choose to use bottled lime-juice if you don’t have any fresh limes.

It’s important that after seasoning the chicken, that you let it sit overnight in the fridge to let the flavors of the spices, sugar, and lime juice soak into the chicken. It will be worth it, I promise!

If you are going to mix your own jerk seasoning, here is a basic recipe:
- 2 parts white sugar
- 2 parts onion powder
- 1 part dry thyme
- 1 part allspice
- 1 part salt
- 1/2 part turmeric
- 1/2 part cinnamon
- 1/2 part cloves
- 1/2 part dried red pepper flakes

Main recipe:
- 6 chicken drumsticks (skin on)
- 4 chicken thighs (skin on)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp of jerk seasoning
- 4 tbsp of lime juice
- 4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of salt
- 2 limes, sliced


1. Make sure the chicken is completely thawed out. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Put in large container, pot, bowl, or whatever you’re going to put it in.

2. Coat chicken with jerk seasoning, salt, and brown sugar. Mix well with wooden spoon or your hands.
3. Drizzle the chicken with the lime juice and soy sauce. Mix well with wooden spoon or your hands.

4. Place the lime slices over the chicken to infuse it with the essential oils of the lime, cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Grill on the BBQ until done, turning often to avoid burning, or roast at 375 until chicken is browned and cooked through (about 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven).

NOTE: To prevent the sugar on the chicken’s surface from burning in the oven, cover loosely with a sheet of non-stick foil during roasting process.

BASTING: For the last five minutes of grilling the chicken, baste it with 1 tbsp of Japanese soy sauce and 2 tbsp of lime juice.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

how to cook braised pork tongue Chinese style

Pork Tongue! It's what's for dinner.. 

By: Chef Cristian Feher

This recipe is for those of you that can appreciate the finer cuts in life - the finer cuts meaning: organ meats.  Those of us who have ventured to eat the "nasty bits" have been rewarded for our bravery with something much finer and more complex than your average steak.

This recipe goes back to one my most cherished of Chinese-Canadian foods - braised pork tongue on steamed rice with bok-choi. Easily found at most Chinese BBQ shops. For decades, this dish (along with crispy roast pork belly) has been one of my staples.

The best way to enjoy this dish was having the meat piled high on a take-out container of steamed white rice, drenched in braising liquid, accompanied by parboiled bok-choi greens, and - although any Chinese person will tell you that it's only for chicken - I love pouring ginger scallion oil over top (recipe included in video).

Typical Chinese BBQ restaurant in Toronto, specializing in BBQ duck, pork, chicken, and braised organ meats.

Now that I live in Tampa Bay (and good Chinese food is non-existent here) I make this dish for myself whenever I come across pork tongues at the restaurant supply store.

I will provide a list of ingredients below, but for instructions, you are best off watching the video above. So, enjoy! Or as they say in Chinese, Xiǎngshòu!

 Ingredients for braised tongue:
- Pork Tongue
- 1 inch of Ginger
- 3 Star Anise pods
- 1/2 tsp White pepper
- 1/4 cup White Sugar
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 4 tbsp Chinese Dark Soy Sauce (mushroom flavored if possible)
- 4 cups +- Beef Stock (mixed from bullion)
- 1/2 tbsp salt

Ingredients for Ginger Scallion Oil
- Ginger
- Scallions
- Salt
- Peanut oil