Kopa Charcoal OvenRSS

KOPA CHARCOAL OVENS are the perfect combination of grill and oven. Controlled combustion of charcoal inside the oven chamber reduces flare ups and carbonization while the high quality insulation and heat retention allows the preparation of food with a unique natural fuel BBQ aroma and moisture retention.

Kopa ovens are a result of extremely high grade steel fabrication, with economical energy use and an elegant design at an affordable price. They are manufactured in Grosuplje, Central Slovenia. Various optional extras are available to adapt the Kopa to the demands of any professional kitchen.

There are 3 different models and sizes.

They feature:

* Stainless steel outer shell
* Enamelled front cover with 4 finish options
* 600 C Kopa analogue thermometer
* Built in ash tray
* Removable drip tray for fat
* Highly efficient insulation for low energy consumption
* Fire break standard to prevent the evacuation of sparks or combustibles through the chimney
* Fully adjustable air vents
* 2 grill rack standard on models 400 and 500

Polished chrome grill grates.

Charcoal rack.

Bottom damper to adjust airflow and consequently heat and rate of combustion.

Drip tray for capturing cooking fat.

Upper damper to control airflow evacuation.

Upper damper assembly with fire break.

Upper damper cover.

Upper damper airflow adjustment.

Due to the efficient high heat environment and proximity to the cook, the oven uses a special set of pliers / tongs that simultaneously allow movement of the food and is also notched on both sides to use as a tool to pull out and push back in the oven racks while maintaining a comfortable distance.


The Kopa oven operates on high grade hardwood charcoal. 
Generally brands that are mostly composed of larger pieces have a better controlled burn rate. 
Charcoal briquettes are strongly discouraged as they burn inconsistently and generate too much ash and debris.
Use clean burning hardwood lump charcoal.
Below are a few suggestions.

My personal choices from normal outdoor cooking:

HUMPHREY is a good brand. Use the 100% hardwood lump.

LAZZARI is excellent and my first choice.

Japanese SUMI charcoal works exceptionally well but cost may be an issue.

Japanese BINCHOTAN is also quite fantastic however cost prohibitive as a sole cooking fuel. A good compromise that allows you to take advantage of its delicate flavors at a lower cost is to start a natural hardwood charcoal fire and add a few logs of Binchotan as needed.

It is ok to add a few wood chips or even small varietal wood logs to generate smoke flavor, however you should realize that you will be  creating a permanent smoke profile to the oven cavity much like a traditional barbecue smoker.


Rule #1

Rule #2
Read Rule #1 again.

The best and only way you should light a Kopa Oven is with the LOOFTLIGHTER.
It starts a hardwood charcoal fire in 45 to 90 seconds with superheated air and no addition of chemicals or petroleum products.

For more information of pricing and options, contact me at    SOS@studiokitchen.com

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Foie Gras di Colonnata.RSS

Lardo di Colonnata is the finest expression of creamy textured fat. It is dry salted with spices traditionally in Carrara marble in Northern Italy.

A similar process is applied here to duck foie gras using a large tempered glass vessel.

While one could certainly carefully de-vein the lobes, I opted to leave them untouched to be able to shave them smoothly after the curing period and used grade A Hudson Valley foie gras.

Mix the salt, spices and cure.

This post will be updated with the actual gram weight  cure recipe pictured above in 48hrs








Rinse the livers with very cold water and pat dry with lint free towels.

The glass jar should be washed, well rinsed with hot water and dried with no traces of detergent.

Start with a 1 inch layer of the curing mixture at the bottom.

Place your first lobe of foie gras gently on the bottom and cover with more curing salt.

Continue layering the livers making sure each is completely covered in curing salt and not touching the edges of the glass jar.

Cover the livers completely with the curing salt till they are fully buried.

From a safety perspective, the glass jar was placed in a foam lined box, sealed to keep out light and refrigerated.

Previous batches of actual pork fat Lardo di Colonnata take anywhere from 6 months to a year for a full cure.

I am estimating time on the shorter side perhaps 6 to 8 months due to the softer density of foie gras fat.

Stay tuned.

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Vessels and Inspiration.RSS

Does the food inspire its vessel or does the vessel inspire the food served in it.

Stunning work by my friend TERESA CHANG.
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Rethinking Vegetable Stock.RSS

Stocks are often the backbone of flavor reinforcement in multiple applications like soups, risotti, sauces and braises.

From a meat protein perspective, stocks need to be cooked to release  flavors and other desirable attributes like gelatin and collagen which contribute to mouthfeel and palatability. 

The frequent short sightedness of plant based cuisine is it often  conceptually mimics meat preparations resulting in silly things like veggie-burgers / meatloaf / meatballs etc. The same issue may apply to vegetable based broths or stocks.

In more complex or nuanced cooking, "vegetable stock" is often made as a base for braising and cooking with the same theory of flavor amplification pertaining to meat preparations. Cooks have their own various blends of specific vegetables, some cooked and others simply steeped like tea in hot water.

The most well known is the concept of the  "aigo boulido"  as a cooking medium by Michel Bras.

In the realm of the fully cooked "vegetable stock/broth", one of the best is by the team at COOKS ILLUSTRATED.

The question here is to explore the possibility of a raw vegetable stock which is not  to be confused with a juice. The end product should be a relatively clear broth redolent of the fresh flavors of vegetables and balanced seasoning.

The answer is in a slightly less saline and short term lacto-fermentation of vegetables in a generous amount of water.

The vegetables are cut in a small dice of about half an inch and marinated in a low percentage salt solution at room temperature for 48 hrs.

The vegetables are then strained through a fine filter or strainer lined with cheesecloth.

The resulting broth has an accurate taste of fresh seasoned vegetables and almost no degradation.

It can be fermented further for  more complexity with multiple applications such as pickling, glazing, beurre monte, risotto, cooking grains like spelt and lentils, or as a base of non-traditional nages and dashi.

The strained vegetables can be used in other preparations.

Above is chilled concentrated  and lightly jellied raw vegetable stock infused with lemon thyme, Barnegat light scallops, allium flowers and preserved green fennel seeds.

Inspirations for spring 2016.

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Specialty Flours for Extruded Pasta.RSS

Extruding pasta in-house greatly improves the cost effectiveness and quality of pasta in any operation. It is well worth it however to seek out the finest specialty flour mills in the country. While slightly more expensive for the base ingredient, the quality of the extrusions is exponentially better in taste, aroma and texture. Why skimp on quality after taking the time to fabricate your own pasta.

One such place I recently connected with is HAYDEN FLOUR MILLS in Arizona.
The named "Fine Blue Beard Semolina" yields the best pasta made so far in the ARCOBALENO EXTRUDER.

Incredible aroma, very complex nutty flavor redolent of lightly toasted wheat.
Hydration ratios so far are hovering somewhere between 30 to 33% by weight but I expect to have a conclusive ratio shortly.

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Sea Grass.RSS

Sea Grass from FRESH ORIGINS.
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Die Cleaning.RSS

At some point you just have to power wash pasta dies on a full sheet pan lined with a rack.
Removes every last remnant of dough in less than 5 minutes.
Return into storage in white vinegar.

You do not actually need an electric "power washer", a hose with a correct high pressure nozzle works quite well.

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Ora King Salmon.RSS

Salmon is considered boring by just about everyone these days.

King Salmon definitely is not and neither is smoked salmon which is rarely made properly.

Too much salt, too much smoke, wrong wood, adding sugar and critically the fat content of the selected fish.

So far the best I have found is ORA KING.

Tremendous fish, great flavor and color with excellent fat.

Perfectly adaptable to the Scotch style of Salt-Rinse-Dry-Pellicle-Smoke-Firm with heat-Cool-Oil Bath-Eat.

Resting in neutral grapeseed oil for 48hrs to remove surface smoke and increase palatability.

Frankly I am confused why sushi chefs are not serving this fish.

It is excellent perfectly raw and untouched.

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Watermelon Pickle.RSS

Sanditas AKA mexican Sour Gherkin looks like a baby watermelon and has a texture suitable for pickling.

The idea is to pickle them in a pickle liquid based on watermelon juice.

Rather than juicing you waste less time by peeling a melon, saving the rinds, puree the fruit and pass the pulp through a chinoise.

Logic would dictate that a pickle liquid needs a way to get into the fruit. Sandita skins are not porous and cutting them in half defeats the purpose of making them look like a whole tiny melon.

The best solution is to "Equatorially" pass a Japanese yakitori skewer or similar implement through it. The tinier the whole the better. It is a cold vacuum compression using a chamber sealer.  

MINIPAK MVS-45 from Polyscience

Watermelon juice should never be heated.

Make a standard highly acidic pickle liquid that is over-seasoned and dilute with watermelon juice after it cools.

Compress the Sanditas with the melon pickle liquid.

Wait 48 hrs.

Eat them.

Below............watermelon rinds pickled in watermelon juice pickle is a quantum improvement over standard pickled watermelon rinds.

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Cross Utilizing Entire Dill Plant.RSS

Details to follow.
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