A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 2012

News & Updates

Welcome to our new blog!

The Master’s Apprentice
is a ministry of Christian Chefs International, and the purpose is to bring Christian cooks and chefs, and other Christians in the food-service industry, together to form of a virtual community. We are always looking for guest writers (if you are interested, please contact us at http://www.christianchefs.org/contact.phtml), and at the end of the blog, all members are welcome to join in the fellowship through the comments section.

Oh, and don't forget to become a "follower"!
A new blog article appears on the first day of the month.


The Soul of an Apprentice

- Food for your spirit

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."  - 1 Peter 1:13-16NIV

The word “holy” makes more than one of us uncomfortable. We think it is something hard, something that requires more than we are willing to give - God is the ultimate killjoy. But what if instead of thinking of holiness as a deprivation of pleasure, we think of holiness as a deprivation of evil? The difference makes, well… all the difference.

When we see holiness as a deprivation of evil we begin to see holiness as something fantastic, something we all agree we want. As our minds are renewed by the Holy Spirit, instead of conforming to evil desires, we begin to run from evil. And the farther we run from evil, the closer we get to holiness. It’s that simple.

But what about pleasure? Should we not avoid all those things that give us pleasure? Isn’t enjoying the good things in life terribly sinful? Pleasure becomes a sin only when we get so caught up in all the sweet and wonderful things the world has to offer that they begin to control us. Life is not meant to be a prison of controlling desires, but neither is it meant to be a barren desert void of all joy. Self-control is the key to a happy balance between excess and nothingness.

Food is one of the great sources of holy joy and pleasure God gave humanity. A well-prepared meal enjoyed in the company of good friends brings heaven and earth together; spirit and matter become one. Preparing a meal makes one a co-creator with God and a sustainer of life, something that is holy in itself. In other words, holiness doesn’t always begin in the church; sometimes it begins in the kitchen.

Susanna Krizo
Board of Directors, CCI


God's Garden

- Herbs, Spices, Vegetables, Fruits, and Grains 

Garlic [Allium Sativum]

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.
– Alice May Brook

Garlic, the quintessential spice in the kitchen - love it or hate it - comes in many forms. Other than the pristine looking white or pink bulb with its manifold cloves, garlic can be found also in the form of a salt, granules, flakes, smoked, minced, oils and capsules.

Garlic is a benign spice until exposed to air. A baked or cooked whole clove has a nutty flavor, far from the pungent aroma usually associated with garlic. Sliced garlic begins to give you the idea, but the more surface is exposed to air, the stronger the flavor of the garlic, wherefore minced garlic provides the greatest punch (an enzyme called allinaise is released when the cells are ruptured, creating the (in)famous smell). Although polar-opposites as far as flavor is concerned, garlic and chocolate do have one thing in common: once burnt, it cannot be saved. When sautéing, keep an eye on the temperature and stir often, to avoid the bitter flavor of burnt garlic.

Do not refrigerate garlic
When buying garlic, avoid garlic imported from China as the bulbs have been irradiated using radiation, and are literally dead. You can tell irradiated garlic from its lack of flavor and its mystical ability to last forever (since it’s dead, it won’t sprout). Another kind of garlic to be avoided – unless you use your garlic quickly - is the one found in the supermarket. The garlic is usually stored in the fridge before brought into the store, which causes it to think spring is here! as soon as it hits the shelf. Because garlic works like other bulbs - it rests during the cold winter and sprouts as soon as spring appears - the supermarket garlic will sprout within a couple of weeks and quickly deteriorate afterwards. The best kind of garlic is that which is alive and has been properly stored, which usually means homegrown. And although you may not have the time to grow your own, your local farmer does!

Garlic is divided generally into two groups: hardneck and softneck varieties. Softneck garlics have more cloves, are easy to braid (due to their soft necks), and last longer; hardneck garlics have larger cloves and more complex flavor profiles, as they are closer to the original wild garlic and reflect the soil and weather patterns of their growing regions. Earthenware (instead of airtight plastic), held in a cool place (55-65 F/13-18 C), is recommended for storage. Homegrown garlic will hold 4-12 months, depending on the variety. A sprouted, dry garlic is more pungent than fresh, so use less.

Garlic is considered a medically beneficial spice due to the amino acid Alliin, which, once introduced into the body, breaks down into sulfides and other compounds. It takes time for the alliinase to react with alliin to form allicin, wherefore, once you mince the garlic, let it sit for awhile before consuming it. If you don’t have the time, drink some water with the garlic, or blend it with oil, in order to insulate the garlic from the acids in our stomach, which will prevent the chemical reaction, and send the garlic either to the small intestines (water) or the lymphatic system (oil). Garlic is said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, prevent cancer, function as a natural antibiotic, among other health benefits. (For more information, see http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/health.htm) But as with all other good things in life, moderation is needed even in the consumption of garlic. A daily dose of three cloves is usually recommended.

Susanna Krizo
Board of Directors, CCI


From the Burner

- Life lessons from Christian chefs
 26 Years and counting…

26 years ago I told my wife (who was 6 months pregnant) that I wanted to become a chef. I was in nursing school at the time so I thought this would be a shock to her, but being the loving, praying, Christian woman she is, she said “If God has given you that talent, then go for it, I will support you 100%.” That statement changed our lives forever. Not knowing where to go from there I just jumped in where ever I felt led.

If I could leave something on earth that I have learned, that would help people in their lives, it would be to listen to the Holy Spirit. That first thought (or voice) that comes to you every day, many times a day is the Spirit in you, guiding you. I believe that we all can know what God wants for us. It is written in Matthew 7:7:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Think about it, when you say, “I knew I shouldn’t have done that!” that’s because your first thought was “Don’t do that!” Or “I should have done that.” That’s the Holy Spirit - listen and you can hear. Ask yourself a question and the first thought that comes to you is usually the right one.
This spiritual skill can be sharpened by spending time in prayer and meditation daily.
Someone once said

We are not human beings living a spiritual life but Spiritual beings living a human life.”

This is so very true. Incorporate this principal into your culinary work and you will see the difference.

 “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” - John 14:17

Chef Bob Vaningan
Board of Directors, CCI
Local Chapter's Director


Did you know….?
- Miscellaneous helpful hints and technical advice from the kitchen

Did you know that although those fancy crème brulee torches, that range from $ 30-60, are cool to look at, you don’t really need one? Instead, go to your local hardware store and get a $ 15 butane torch. It works just as well, although you lose in the looks what you gain in the price. But luckily the customer sees only the end product, making it a worthwhile exchange.

Ira Krizo
Board of Directors, CCI