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MENU du JOUR:
Christianity in the Kitchen - "Salt"
Culinary Learning - "Curing & Brining"
Recipes - Cured & Smoked Salmon (Gravlax)
Recent Job Listings - 3 New
Hints and Tips
Featured Website - Allied Kenko
Chef to Chef
A Little Something Extra
A Merry Heart
|A P P E T I Z E R|
As mentioned last month, the chatroom is pretty much complete. A group of us from the Message Boards tested it out and it works! This is a great place to chat about God, food, ask for prayer, or just hang out. This month we have a couple of general chat sessions scheduled. Login to the Members Area for these times and dates:
At random times, when a moderator is online for any time, we will also have the chatroom open. So when you're online, check into the Members Area to see if we're there.
|M A I N C O U R S E|
Salt is such an important ingredient in food preparation that even the Bible records Job asking: "can flavorless food be eaten without salt?" (Job 6:6a). But even though salt is associated mainly with food in today's culture, it wasn't just about savoring and preserving food during the centuries the Bible was written. In the ancient world, covenants were confirmed with a meal and due to the preserving nature of salt, which was always present, it became a symbol of the covenant and its enduring nature. The expression, "the salt of the covenant of your God" which is found in the Law of Moses (Lev. 2:13), signifies the permanency of the covenant which God had established between Himself and Israel.
Every offering that was offered to God in the Tabernacle had to be seasoned with salt (Lev 2:13). This seemingly insignificant detail becomes increasingly significant when we realize that leaven, the symbol of sin and corruption in the Bible, was never allowed to be present in any of the offerings (Lev 2:11). For while the presence of salt served as a reminder of God's faithfulness and of His everlasting love for His people (Ps. 119:90; Jer. 31:3), the banishing of leaven was a symbol of how sin cannot exist in God's presence, for He is absolutely holy (Isa. 6:1-5).
We are called to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1). But instead of sprinkling salt on ourselves, as the custom was in the Old Testament, Jesus told us to have it in ourselves.
"For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another." -Mark 9:49-50
In other words, we should have a preserving and purifying influence in ourselves (i.e. God's Word and an active pursuit of holy living), which hinders sin from rotting us inside out. As no sacrifice was allowed to be presented with leaven in the Old Covenant, neither should we add leaven to our sacrifice in the New Covenant and lead a life of open sin (1 John 3:9). Instead we should always confess our sins and forsake them (1 John 1:9). When we have salt in ourselves, then we can also truly be the salt of the world that Jesus said we ought to be and hinder the world from becoming completely corrupt due to sin (Matt 5:13).
But we have to take care that the salt that is in us doesn't lose its flavor. The salt that people used two thousand years ago was not the chemical compound of sodium and chloride (NaCl) that we use today. Instead it was gathered from veins or layers found in the earth and mixed with impurities. If the salt was exposed to natural elements such as rain, sun and air for an extensive period of time, it lost its flavor. The flavorless salt was good for nothing else but to be thrown on the streets where it destroyed all fertility. So instead of being a preserving agent, the salt became a destructive agent.
We have all heard of TV evangelists that have fallen into sin and caused Christianity to be mocked and despised by the world as hypocritical. Our sins may never be exposed before the whole world, but the danger of becoming a destructive influence is a very real one for every believer. Especially for the ones that spend a lot of time in an ungodly environment, such as a Christian chef in the secular cooking industry. To be like everyone else, instead of Jesus, is an ever-present temptation because it is easier to fit in if you sound and look like the rest of the world. But as you begin to compromise and forget to guard your heart, you'll become as useless for the Kingdom as the salt that has lost its flavor for cooking. Suddenly, one day you look, sound and even smell (perhaps due to excessive use of cigarettes and alcohol) like the rest of your co-workers instead of being pure and set apart. Everyone will notice the difference and instead of remaining a preserving influence at your workplace, you'll end up becoming a destructive influence as they watch your life and conclude that Christianity is nothing to pursue because it didn't really change your life after all.
Salt is a gift from God and as a Christian chef, you are able to fully appreciate the flavor it gives to the food you prepare. But it is more important to use the salt that you have in you than the salt that is in the shaker. While the salt we eat leaves our bodies without leaving a lasting effect (if used in proper quantities), the salt we have in us keeps our whole being pure by preserving us from the defiling influence of sin: "Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness [and] blasphemies" (Matt. 15:17-19). Keeping yourself pure is not only for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of those who watch you secretly but carefully at work, listening to every word you say. So, remember to "take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:16). And don't forget to "let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col. 4:6).
If you remain a preserving influence at your work, you may find out, on the day that all secrets are revealed (1 Cor. 3:13), that it was your example that led one of your co-workers to Jesus. And that will be the day you'll be very glad you did.
Your Sister in Christ,
If God is speaking to your heart about these things, and you need somebody to talk with, please don't hesitate to e-mail us about your need and somebody from the Fellowship will contact you as soon as possible. If you have a prayer request or would like to start a theological discussion on this or any other topic, please feel free to post it in our Message Boards:
Curing, brining, and salting in general are historically some of the most popular methods of preserving meats and fish. Currently they still are popular for preserving to an extent, but due to our better refrigeration and freezing, they are more often used to add flavor and texture to meat.
Throughout history, salt has been used. Even in the Bible, salt has been used in many sacrifices (Lev. 2:13), covenants (Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5), seasoning food (Job 6:6), providing hospitality (Ezra 4:14), and even childbirth (Ezek. 16:4). The Romans are some of the first people we know that used salt to preserve fish, olives, cheese, and meat. They even used salt as part of a soldier's wages, which is where the word "salary" came from.
Most chefs know that you need to cure or brine meats before smoking them, but why is that? When smoking meats, the heat and smoke eliminate almost all the oxygen, the meats are moist, and the meat is cooked slowly through the ranges of 90 to 160' F (32 to 71' C) - which all make for a perfect environment for growing our favorite food-borne poisoning, botulism. And botulism is one of the few bacteria that show you pretty much no signs of its existence, as it's both odorless and flavorless. Curing inhibits bacterial growth when cooking (and spoilage in general) by reducing the water content that bacteria needs for growth in meats.
The curing methods that are commonly used are dry curing, brine curing, combination curing, and the sausage cure method.
Dry curing is accomplished by applying a dry salt and seasoning mix directly to the meat and letting it cure in the refrigerator. This is used in curing salmon, ham, bacon, duck (generally legs for confiting), and other smaller cuts of meat. After rinsing thoroughly, the meat is usually cooked after curing, but not always (such as in cured salmon).
Brine curing is mixing the salt and seasonings with water to make a form of pickling liquid. This is done by soaking meats and poultry such as a ham, turkey, or beef (pastrami and corned beef) in the liquid, letting it cure in refrigeration, and finally rinsing and cooking it as well. Larger cuts of meats are often injected with the brine as well. The ratio for this is generally 1 gallon (4 L) of water to 1 cup (240 ml) of salt to 1 cup (240 ml) of sugar with your desired added seasonings for one night with small cuts of meat.
Combination curing takes place mostly with hams, but sometimes other meats too. This combines the dry rub directly on the meat with an injection of the brine. This is done to shorten the curing time. Also, as the inside and outside are cured at the same time, it reduces the chances of spoilage.
Finally, there is sausage curing. This is quite different from the other curing and brining methods, as the salt and spices for this cure are mixed with the ground meat.
Have you ever noticed that cured and smoked meats generally stay a bit pink no matter how much they are cooked? That's because a gas is formed, nitric oxide, which binds to the color pigment in meat (myoglobin), causing the pink color to form after cooking. Therefore, check the doneness of your meat with a thermometer, NOT just by color. Otherwise you'll have some overcooked, dried-out meats coming your way.
God bless, and try out a couple of the following recipes to add a new twist to your food and menus. Do some research on your own to make pickles, olives, jerky, ham, sausages, and more.
Questions about this article or any other culinary-related subject can be asked via the "Culinary Q&A" Section of the Message Boards:
First, this newsletter's question:
How many times is Jesus referred to as "The Word of God" in the Bible?
(if you know, please give references)
E-mail your answer to "trivia@ChristianChefs.org" with "Trivia Answer" in the subject column. Also, please tell us what brief title(s) ("Sous Chef," "Dallas, Texas," or whatever - see examples below) you would prefer for your name being listed in the next newsletter, as well as how difficult you found the question (so we can improve future trivia questions).
Solution to the last newsletter's trivia question:
What are the TWO most popular procedures historically used to preserve meats with salt?
Curing and Brining
Additional information found/submitted on the subject:
(see above Culinary Learning article)
The first people to answer this question correctly:
1. Gail Holleman, Prescott Valley, Arizona
2. Chef Bill, Alpine, New York
Prefer your measurements in a different format? (weight vs. volume)
I've been using this recipe for years and everyone is always amazed at how well the salmon comes out. You can puree it with some cream cheese and use it for smoked salmon mousse canapes (on toasted baguette slices or cucumber wheels), slice it, or whatever you like. One dish I really like making is eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon.
2 ea. side of salmon, medium
4 c (950 ml) kosher salt
1 c (240 ml) fennel seed
1 c (240 ml) light brown sugar
dill, chopped fresh or dry
pepper, fresh ground
1) Skin and pin bone the salmon. Dry well with paper towels
2) Mix salt, fennel seed, and brown sugar
3) Lay out plastic wrap and pour a thick layer of the salt mixture on it
4) Put the salmon on top of the mixture
5) Drizzle a little lemon juice and Tangueray on the salmon
6) Sprinkle some dill and grind some pepper on top
7) Add a large amount of the salt mixture on top of the salmon (you don't want to see ANY fish)
8) Wrap the fish with the plastic wrap and place in a perforated hotel pan. Place that pan in another deeper hotel pan to catch any moisture
9) Press the fish by placing a hotel pan with added weight in it on top
10) Refrigerate 2-3 days until the fish has acquired the desired texture you're looking for (generally a bit firm, yet still pliable)
11) Rinse all the salt off the fish and dry well
12) Start your smoker. Put the salmon in when the smoke is at its heaviest point and smoke for 6-8 minutes
13) Your cured and smoked salmon is complete. It tastes best fresh off the smoker, but will hold 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator and freezes well
We prefer to list recipes from Christian Chefs rather than from other sources, so if you have any good recipes of your own, please post them in the "Recipes" section of the Message Boards. Please include an introduction to the recipe with your personal comments of the stories that make them special, and if your recipe is chosen, it will be listed in our website forever and in our next newsletter.
More information on each of the below Job Listings, such as the job's timeline, responsibilities, pay, and how to contact the employer on each of these, can be found within the Employment area of our website (link below). There you can also find jobs that have been posted in previous months that haven't yet been filled and you can also post any job openings you have to be listed there and in this newsletter for FREE!
Name = The Salvation Army Mountain Valley Centre
Location = Melbourne (Australia)
Position = Assistant Food Services Manager
Name = Lake Pleasant Inn, Fjord Restaurant
Location = Speculator, New York (USA)
Position = Executive Chef
Name = South Side Mission
Location = Peoria, Illinois (USA)
Position = Executive Chef
If you are looking for kitchen staff and want to view more information about anyone listed below, each of the following listings is posted in the "Resumes" category of the Message Boards. If you are looking for employment, it's a free service to post your resume. Just make sure you include your name, location desired, and position desired in your post.
(There are no new posts this month of people looking for employment.)
|D E S S E R T|
Please note: Contest Listing(s) below are for PROFESSIONALS ONLY in the culinary industry. There are many more contests available for nonprofessionals as well, some of them ongoing or being repeated on a monthly basis. If you're interested in those, here's one excellent website to check out:
FIRST ANNUAL "CROCK-TOBER COOKOFF" CONTEST FOR FOOD PROFESSIONALS
Eligible Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Recipe Categories are: (1) Low-Carbohydrate Main Dishes or (2) Slow Cooker Innovation Dishes (Defined as: Gourmet-style dishes or recipes other than Stews, Casseroles, etc. that are not traditionally prepared in a Slow Cooker). Recipes will be judged in varying rounds with differing criteria (see rules).
DEADLINE: Begins Oct. 4 and ends Oct. 31
PRIZES: Grand Prize(2): an 8-day European Taste Tour for two to Italy and France with cooking lessons, tours, entertainment and $750 spending money (ARV. $10,000).
WEB SITE: http://www.crocktober.com
All contests listed above are provided by the company listed, NOT by CCF. For additional information on each contest, please contact the designated company for that specific listing. Enjoy!
Never hull strawberries until they have been washed or they will absorb too much water and become mushy.
Permission given from the "Tips and Shortcuts" area of the Message Boards:
If you know of any great hints or tips, please post them in the "Hints and Tips" area of the Message Boards. Of the ones posted there, one will be featured here in our newsletter.
Allied Kenko Sales is a butcher supply house specializing in sausage- and jerky-making supplies and equipment. Within their website you can find a great deal of information on curing, brining, and sausage making. You can even find the equipment and supplies there to make what you don't already have the ability to make (like sausage and jerky).
"Cold soups are very popular with our customers over the very hot summer we're having and I was wondering if you have any good cold soup ideas?"
You are welcome to respond to this message in the "Culinary Q&A" section of CCF's message boards:
If you're searching for particular instructions or cooking techniques or maybe have a special need, you can post these on our message boards. If you've done that and are still in need, please e-mail us and let us know so that we may highlight that need in this section of our next newsletter.
The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
He who angers you, controls you!
|T O O T H P I C K|
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Ira Krizo, Director
Christian Chefs Fellowship
Phone: (619) 429-0705
Fax: (508) 462-1068
Christian Chefs Fellowship
PO Box 608
Crestline, CA 92325