Friday, March 21, 2014

The Different Styles of Knife Sharpeners

Choosing the right knife sharpener for your kitchen cutlery encompasses several factors. Should you select a manual or automatic sharpener? Should your sharpener be guided or unguided? Let’s review a few of the different knife sharpeners available at J.L. Hufford and see how they compare to one another.
chefs choice diamond sharpening stone
Manual sharpeners like this Chef’s Choice Diamond Sharpening Stone are perfect for knife purists. This stone is made of ultra-fine 100% diamond abrasives to speed up the sharpening process without overheating or damaging your blade. The stone is also versatile enough to tackle any household knife with ease. While using whetstones is an age-old practice, it does require a steady hand and angle to make sure you’re sharpening your blade evenly.

wusthof 2-stage handheld knife sharpenerIf you’re not familiar or comfortable with whetstones, perhaps a handheld knife sharpener would do the trick. The Wusthof 2-Stage Handheld Knife Sharpener is an unguided sharpener that features a carbide steel system for sharpening and a ceramic notch for honing the blade. It features a strong, rubber grip with a weighted edge for complete control while it’s on your countertop, and just a few passes will sharpen your blade in a flash. As mentioned, this style of sharpener is unguided. While the notches are there to provide sharpening for both sides of the blade at once, a steady hand is once again required for a consistent sharpening angle.
chefs choice prontopro
If you need more structure to your sharpening, a guided sharpener is for you. The Chef’s Choice ProntoPro Diamond Hone Manual Knife Sharpener is perfect for any knife blade set at a 15 or 20 degree angle. The ProntoPro also features precise bevel angle control and notches set for both European/American style knives and Asian knives as well.
chefs choice edgeselect
If you need a sharpener that takes care of all the work for you so you can get back to cooking, an electric sharpener takes the cake. The Chef’s Choice Diamond Hone EdgeSelect is an excellent electric sharpener that uses a state-of-the-art precision guide system to sharpen knives through three stages to ensure the finest cut and polish for any 20 degree class knife. As long as a blade isn’t damaged, the EdgeSelect can reset your blade’s edge to factory sharpness in a matter of seconds.

The style of knife sharpener you choose for keeping your kitchen cutlery in top form has a lot to do with preference and knife skill, but we’ve been able to identify some main differences in the various styles. A whetstone is more traditional and simple, but requires better control over the blade to avoid uneven sharpening. An unguided sharpener cuts down the sharpening time by addressing both sides of the blade at once and is certainly a very economical option, but it still requires a steady hand to produce an even, polished blade. A guided sharpener provides you with options for different degrees of knife by region and requires less manual control over the angle of sharpening. Lastly, an fully electric sharpener will restore your blades to their factory-set angle in a matter of seconds, but it is the priciest of all sharpener options.

Which style suits your needs? Stop by J.L. Hufford today and browse our selection of knife sharpeners with free shipping on most orders!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Product Preview: Vitamix S30 High-Performance Personal Blender

Vitamix S30 High-Performance Personal Blender
Vitamix S30 High-Performance Personal Blender
Vitamix S30 with 20-oz Travel Container
Vitamix S30 High-Performance Personal Blender with new 20-oz Travel Jar


Your favorite blender from Vitamix - the brand you've grown to know and love, will soon be available in a more personal size!


The New, Portable Vitamix!

The brand new Vitamix S30 combines powerful performance technology with the convenience of a personal blender, utilizing a compact design that makes the blender far more portable and much easier to store under your counters.


Vitamix Quality You've Come to Expect

The S30 features all of the components that define a Vitamix blender: A powerful motor with 100% metal drive system that crushes ice and blends the toughest ingredients with ease, Variable speed control with a pulse feature that helps you to achieve the perfect texture and lets you quickly chop for easy prep work.
With smaller dimensions than a traditional Vitamix blender, the S30 has been designed from the ground up to be vastly more portable than other blenders, making it a breeze to take your Vitamix on vacation or anywhere else that you need it to go!


Making it Personal

What makes this unique blender personal is that it comes with not only the traditional 40-ounce container with spill-proof vented lid. The Vitamix S30 also includes the all-new Vitamix 20-ounce personal container. This container lets you easily create single and double servings of your favorite recipes and take them on the go with a flip-top lid for convenience. Switching containers is a breeze too with an interchangeable blade base that features laser-cut blades that attach easily to either container. As always, both containers are made from BPA-free, shatter proof plastic and all containers, lids and the blades are 100% dishwasher safe to make cleanup a breeze.

Included with the Vitamix S30 is a revolutionary cookbook from Vitamix that features tantalizing recipes for every meal of the day straight from the Vitamix test kitchen. With recipes for flour, soup, smoothies, milks and more, this special Vitamix cookbook will keep you tinkering with new, healthy recipes for a long time to come.


Vitamix S30 - The Future of Healthy Blending

Whether you’re making smoothies for yourself, or hot soup for the entire family, the S30 can handle anything you’ll throw its way with plenty of blending power to spare. The Vitamix S30 will go on sale in summer 2014 and the $399 MSRP price tag means that it is one of the most competitively priced Vitamix machines available on the market today.





Friday, March 14, 2014

Slow Juicers vs. Blender Juicers


When deciding on what type of juicer to purchase, several factors come into play. One of the more prominent deciding factors is whether to choose a slow, vertical masticating juicer or a conventional blender, AKA whole food juicer.

Slow Juicers

hurom slow juicerA slow juicer uses one auger pressing food against a filter to extract liquid from food. This single The speed at which this auger spins is what makes this juicer gain the distinction of being slower than your average machine. Despite the name, slow juicers are not drastically slower than your more produce juice at about the same rate as conventional, high-speed juicers.

Benefits of Slow Juicers

A slow juicer gives off generates less heat since it is moving more slowly. This prevents the finished product from losing too many nutrients and produces a juice with a thicker viscosity with higher fiber content, and little to no separation. Additionally, your juiced foods will experience less oxidation, resulting in less foam in your finished juice and a fresher,less foamy, longer-lasting fresh juice. This type of juicer is greatcan also be used for delicate foods like wheatgrass or nuts that need extra time to be properly juiced.

From a mechanical standpoint, slow juicers are quieter, more compact and feature no sharp blades.

Disadvantages of Slow Juicers

As slow juicers are smaller, their input apparatuses are smaller as well. This requires more food prep on your end to make sure all your juice components are small enough to be easily deposited. With several pieces to account for, cleanup can take some extra time.

Whole Food Juicers (Blenders)

You’re most likely familiar with this style of juicer as it is your conventional blender. It’s a popular choice for smoothies when you need something with a little more substance than just juice.

vitamix blender Benefits of Blender Juicers

When fiber content is a must-have, stick with a blender juicer. Nothing gets removed from your mixture, so every ounce of nutrients stays in the finished product and your juice yield is much higher. Food prep won’t take as long as slow juicers since you don’t need to cut anything down into very small pieces.

If speed is an issue, the blender juicer is your best friend. Without a doubt, a blender juicer is the fastest way to get your finished drink. Your post-juicing cleanup is also a breeze since a blender juicer has only a few pieces.

Additionally, since the whole food juicer is also a blender, a high quality model, such as a Vitamix, can also be used for total meal preparation from sauces and purees to emulsifying and chopping and even whole grains grinding.

Disadvantages of Blender Juicers

While a whole food juicer is fast once you are ready to juice, your prep time is increased beforehand since seeds, stems and other inedible parts will need to be removed. Furthermore, if the bulk of your ingredients have a very low moisture content, you’ll need orange juice, water or some other liquid to lubricate the mixture into a drinkable form. Heavy churning causes blended juices to be more aerated, and this means they should be consumed immediately.

Choosing between a slow juicer and a blender juicer has several factors. Make a decision that is best for your daily diet, food budget, schedule and kitchen space. If you need more ideas, take a look at the Hurom slow juicers and blender juicers we offer at J.L. Hufford!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Making Iced Coffee at Home

Iced Coffee
Delicious Iced Coffee In Your Own Kitchen!


Spring is almost here and as the last bits of snow begin to melt away, coffee lovers everywhere are excited about getting to sip on their favorite iced coffees as a cool and relaxing treat. Today we’ll be taking a closer look on how to churn out some of the most delicious iced coffee you’ll ever have from the comforts of your own home.

How NOT to Make Iced Coffee

First Things First: Quality iced coffee does not come from tossing a few ice cubes into a cup of steaming hot coffee. Anyone who’s ever tried to cool down their cup of morning Java knows that the only thing this accomplishes is to water down your coffee, leaving you with a half-diluted ghost of the beautiful cup of coffee that it once was!

Great iced coffee requires you to completely change the way that you think about the brewing process itself. Instead of using piping hot coffee, we’ll be looking at how to cold-brew your favorite coffee using a French press and cold, filtered water to steep and chill our brew overnight for an extra-cold and extra-strong brew that only needs a little ice and milk to be truly excellent!

The Cold Brewing Method


The key component to cold brewing coffee is time; the more you allot the less bitter your coffee will be. This doesn't mean that other factors which are traditionally important to brewing coffee are any less important when using this method! (i.e – grind size, amount and type of water, amount of coffee, etc) 

For this method we are using an extremely coarse grind setting (the highest available on our machine actually). I would classify this grind as a “slightly large than a French Press” grind, meaning that you want to use a grind size that is just a little larger than what you would normally use in a French Press. The water that we are using is extremely cold, not frozen but cold to the touch.

There are varying opinions as to the amount of coffee that you should use for this and the ratio of coffee to water. I find that ½ cup of coarsely ground coffee for an 8-cup press is the ideal amount for making iced coffee, more and the brew can end up bitter, less and it will be too watery. As for water, I use the same amount that I would for any 8 cup French Press, around 3 ½ cups.

What You'll Need


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of whole coffee beans - I used our Mocha Java Harrar Coffee for this 
  • 1½ cups of cold, filtered water
  • Ice, milk, sugar and syrups to taste

Equipment:

  • Coffee Grinder
  • French Press - (We even carry a press designed SPECIFICALLY for making Iced Coffee with this method, the Bodum Bean Ice Coffee Maker)

Instructions:

  1. Grind the coffee: Grind ½ cup of whole coffee beans at a coarse setting. (Note: If you prefer a finer grind setting, ensure that it is not so small that it passes through the screen in your press)
  2. Combine ground coffee and water: Place your French Press on a flat, even surface and carefully pour the ½ cup of ground coffee into the cylinder. Add the 3 ½ cups of cold, filtered water to the top slowly and in a swirling fashion to try and cover as much of the ground coffee with the water as possible.
  3. Stir: gently stir all of the coffee into the water until all of the ground coffee has been saturated.
  4. Place the lid on the press: ensure that you DO NOT press the plunger down, leave it in the upright position during brewing.
  5. Place the press in the refrigerator and brew overnight: make sure that the plunger stays in the upright position during this time period.
  6. Press the plunger: remove the french press from the refrigerator and depress the plunger to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee
  7. Make your Iced Coffee: a little milk, a lot of milk, no milk, sugar, no sugar, this step is completely up to you! (some people swear by just a pinch of sea salt but you’ll have to try that one yourself! We did however enjoy some Crème de Cacao syrup as it provides a nice sweetness without being overpowering)

A Different Iced Coffee

Yes, it’s really THAT simple! With just a few easy steps you’ll be well on your way to enjoying some great iced coffee for a much lower price than you’d pay at one of the big chain coffee places. Also, we found our iced coffee to have a much lower acidity level than other brewing methods, meaning that those who have a difficult time with coffee due to gastrointestinal issues will have a much easier time with this brewing method.

So there you have it, simple iced coffee from the comforts of your very own home. Have you tried making iced coffee using this method? What are your favorite ways to spruce up an iced coffee? Let us know in the comments section below and happy brewing!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Top 5 Uses for a Vitamix Blender

So you've got yourself a brand new Vitamix blender and simply don't know where to start? Luckily for you, there aren't many things that a Vitamix CAN'T do, and while we won't be recommending this blender as a means of recycling your old cell phone, there are plenty of legitimate ways to use your Vitamix blender that will have you looking and feeling better than you ever have before! Below are our five most favorite ways to enjoy a Vitamix blender along with some tasty and valuable recipes for you to try!

Smoothies

What's better than a delicious, thick smoothies on a hot day? How about two smoothies!? With a Vitamix, blending up delicious smoothies for the whole family is a breeze and you'll be on your way to enjoying the perfect healthy snack or breakfast on the go in no time with these favorite vitamix smoothie recipes.

Vitamix Blender - Going Green Smoothie
Going Green Smoothie


Smoothie Recipes

Juices

A Vitamix Blender makes it easy to turn whole fruits and vegetables into sweet and enjoyable juices. What separates a Vitamix from other juicing machines is that it utilizes the ENTIRE fruit or vegetable, providing you with added nutritional value over other juicers that only use a part of the fruit or veggie.

Vitamix Juicer Feature
Delicious Juices from Scratch!

Juice Recipes

Soups

A Vitamix Blender allows you to prepare ready to serve hot soups in less than 10 minutes, all in your blender! How? Vitamix blenders operate at such a high speed that the friction actually cooks the soup components and heats them up over a period of time to serving temperature. Making soup has never been this easy!

Vitamix Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup
Amazing Soups Heated in your Blender!

Soup Recipes

Flours

With a Vitamix, you can quickly grind fresh, whole grains into smooth flour for use in a number of homemade dishes. The Vitamix gives you the ability to create flours from a variety of different seeds and/or wheats to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece in your very own kitchen!

Vitamix Bread
Delicious Breads from Scratch!

Flour Recipes

Food Prep

One of the most overlooked uses for a Vitamix blender is it's usefulness when prepping food items! Save a bunch of time and precious energy by chopping and dicing ingredients in your vitamix machine. You can also use this same process to combine ingredients into some tasty a delicious dips and salsas!

Vitamix Food Prep
The Perfect Tool to Prep a Variety of Foods

Salsas & Dips