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Vancouver chef makes a gourmet meal using only small appliances

Big on taste, low on electricity

When our own Dave wanted to find out more about cooking with small appliances, he decided to learn from one of the city’s best chefs. Enter Cullin David, Executive Chef at Calabash Bistro.

A power smart twist on restaurant cooking

Many Lower Mainland dwellers know about Calabash, where they’ve been dishing up gourmet Caribbean dishes from their downtown eastside Vancouver location since 2010. But what foodies across B.C. may not know is that small appliances like toaster ovens can use up to 75% less energy than making the same recipe with an oven or stovetop. You can also save with options like pressure cookers that cook meals much more quickly.

Dave presented Chef Cullin with a unique challenge – could he recreate some of Calabash’s iconic menu items, using only small appliances? The answer was a resounding “Yes, Chef!”

Like a true master, Cullin set to work pulling together a gourmet Caribbean meal using only a panini press, a pressure cooker, a toaster oven, and a can-do spirit.

This was filmed prior to COVID-19 and social distancing measures.

Try the chef-created small appliance recipes for yourself

You don’t need to be a professional chef to make tasty meals and save energy at the same time. Just put small kitchen appliances to work, when it makes sense to do so.

Check out the recipes created by Chef Cullin David below. But don’t expect the exact ingredients for his secret jerk spice rub… some beans just weren’t meant to be spilled.

Bon appetit, and happy saving!

Small appliance jerk chicken and green beans

  • Ingredients

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    • 2 x 6 oz chicken breast (cut in 3 on bias)
    • ¼ tsp sea salt
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 Tbsp jerk marinade or rub (*note: Cullin’s specific jerk ingredients are top secret! Jerk marinade or rub can be found at your local Caribbean market or supermarket)
    • 8 oz green beans (cleaned)
    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • ½ tsp sea salt

  • Directions

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    Pre-heat toaster oven to 450°F.

    Cut each chicken breast on a bias into 3 pieces.

    Rub jerk into chicken, season with sea salt. Oil toaster oven baking pan and oil chicken on the pan.

    Cook in the toaster oven for 7-12 minutes, until done.

    In a small bowl, oil and salt beans, grill in panini press for 2 minutes.

Small appliance rice & peas

  • Ingredients

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    • 2 cups parboiled rice
    • 2 cups coconut milk
    • 2 ½ cups water
    • 1 cup cooked beans (black eyed, kidney or black beans)
    • ½ large onion (small, diced)
    • 2 Tbsp garlic (minced)
    • 2 Tbsp ginger (minced)
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
    • 1 Tbsp sea salt
    • 1 stalk green onion (slightly bruised)
    • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • Directions

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    In your pressure cooker, sweat/sauté onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, and green onion.

    Add beans, seasoning, salt, coconut milk, and water. Bring to a boil and add parboiled rice.

    Bring back to a boil, cover and cook on lowest heat for 20 minutes.

Mango avocado salsa

  • Ingredients

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    • ½ mango (small, diced)
    • ½ avocado (small, diced)
    • ½ medium red pepper (small diced)
    • 1 roma tomato
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil
    • 2 limes (juiced)
    • ½ bunch cilantro (chopped)
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper (ground)
    • ½ tsp coriander (ground)
    • ½ tsp ginger (minced)
    • ½ tsp garlic (minced)

  • Directions

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    In a bowl, combine all ingredients, taste. Adjust salt to preference.

New York-style cheesecake & fresh berries

  • Crust ingredients

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    • 9 large graham crackers (ground)
    • 5 Tbsp butter
    • 3 Tbsp sugar
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • Filling ingredients

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    • 12 oz cream cheese
    • ¼ tsp sea salt
    • 2 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 egg yolk
    • ½ cup sour cream

  • Prep directions

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    You can prepare the crust in one of two ways: baking or freezing. If baking the crust, position a rack in the center of the toaster oven and preheat to 350ºF. If freezing the crust, no pre-heating necessary.

    Whether you are baking or freezing the crust, wrap your 6- or 7-inch springform pan tightly in foil and spray the inside of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Crust directions

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    Combine the butter and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the butter melts, about 30-40 seconds.

    In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, pecans, and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter on top and mix, using a rubber spatula, until the crumbs are covered in the butter.

    Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Alternatively, you can cook in individual mason jars. Place 3 Tbsp crumb into 5 x 250 ml jars.

    If freezing the crust, place the pan or jars in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. If baking, bake in the toaster oven for 10 minutes and then allow the crust to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

  • Filling directions

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    Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. In the bowl, add the cream cheese, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and cornstarch and beat until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

    Add the sugar and let it mix in completely before adding the eggs, one at a time.

    Add the sour cream and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the crust. Cover the top of the springform pan with a piece of foil and wrap it tightly around the rim.

  • Pressure cook directions

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    Pour 1 ¼ cups of water into the base of the instant pot and place the steaming rack on the bottom. Place the spring form pan or jars on the rack. Lock the lid in place and seal the vent.

    Cook the cheesecake on manual high pressure for 37 minutes and allow the pressure cooker to naturally release its pressure for 25 minutes afterward (the ‘keep warm’ setting should still be on, you don’t want to turn your pressure cooker off completely).

    Let cool: carefully remove the springform pan from the pressure cooker, then remove the foil. Using a piece of kitchen towel, gently wipe the surface of the cheesecake if there is any moisture on the surface of the cake. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, about 3 hours, before placing it in the refrigerator to cool overnight.

    Cheesecake can be prepared 24-48 hours in advance. Top with whipped cream, fresh berries, or apple or cherry pie filling before serving.

Looking for more ways to save energy without skimping on flavour? Check out our small appliance recipes.