By: Matt Bolus of The 404 Kitchen & James Beard Nominee
While I was visiting Napa Valley I was invited to the Hestan Test Kitchen to see their new Cue System. I was told it was a step by step foolproof way for cooking at home and that I needed to come out and try it. I was blown away by the entire experience. It took me days to quit thinking about how that system could be used by so many people to do so many wonderful dishes both professionally and for home cooks.
My favorite way to use the Cue System is at home with my wife and daughter (and soon to be son). I like browsing through the app looking at all the recipes and deciding which one we want to cook. It's kind of like being at a restaurant you really want to go to and ordering from their menu but it's at home and you get to have all the fun cooking the dish.
Cooking with Precise Time and Temperature on your Cooktop
When cooking, precise time is EXTREMELY important for anyone cooking food. I was told once, and I'll never forget—that food that is over cooked by only one minute is still just that... overcooked! By having exact times and precise temperature at your fingertips you no longer have to rely upon mediocre directions written in a book or on a website that often leave you wondering if the person who wrote it has ever tried cooking with it. This is not to say the Cue leaves you in the dark, in fact it's quite the opposite. With the Cue you get the precise temperature and exact timing and you also get to see it which is educating as well. To me it's kind of like driving to work the same way every day, if you look at the signs each time you drive pretty soon you know exactly how to tell someone to get there.
Cooking Nashville Hot Chicken on the Cue
My favorite recipe for cooking on the Cue is the Nashville Hot Chicken. The results you can achieve without the hassle of constantly adjusting your stove's knob for temperature are like nothing you've ever had. I first learned about it when I moved to Nashville and couldn't for the life of me figure out what everyone was on about. I kept thinking of it as a "buffalo" chicken of sorts. In fact it's NOTHING like that!!! The spice mix is a cayenne base and includes the likes of brown sugar, mustard, garlic, and more. How can you not like it?! It's a spice that has flavor, one that gives a little (or a lot depending on your taste) zing but isn't a one trick pony. The spice and sweetness go great together with the juicy crunchy chicken.
Pro Chef Tips & Tricks for Home Cooks
Never be afraid to adjust the seasoning. Taste your food, then taste it again, then taste it once more. Always taste through each step. Get to know your food and don't be afraid to add salt, or acid, or pepper when you feel like the food needs it.