The Importance of Quality Kitchen Tools

Taking Your Successful Storefront Restaurant To The Streets? How Should You Outfit Your First Food Truck?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Taking Your Successful Storefront Restaurant To The Streets? How Should You Outfit Your First Food Truck?

With relatively low financial barriers to entry and the ability to travel to where the crowds are, the food truck industry has been booming during recent years, even when many new restaurants continue to struggle. If you already have a successful storefront restaurant and are interested in taking your cooking game to the next level, you may have considered purchasing and outfitting a food truck that can help you expand your customer base. However, scaling a full-service restaurant to fit in the back of a small box truck can be easier said than done. Where should you begin when choosing restaurant equipment and supplies for your company’s food truck? Read on to learn more about the must-have ingredients for food truck success.  Adequate and compact refrigeration Having a freestanding restaurant in addition to a food truck can provide you with a number of advantages over your competitors, and one of the chief advantages is access to industrial refrigerators and freezers. Because it can be difficult to predict day-to-day sales volume for a food truck, food that can’t be preserved or saved until the next day is often thrown out—but the ability to refrigerate this food at your storefront restaurant and even use it for meals served in this restaurant can take away one of the main complicating factors for many food truck restaurateurs.  However, in addition to your restaurant’s existing refrigerators and freezers, you’ll want at least one compact and portable combination refrigerator and deep freezer that can keep your food at the coldest possible temperature for hours at a time. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you must either drive back to your restaurant (and away from waiting customers) to get your ingredients to a refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling.  Depending upon how you plan to supply power to your food truck, you may also want to consider a backup energy source to ensure your refrigeration doesn’t fail at the worst possible moment. Keeping extra generator fuel or even a battery backup on hand can keep your refrigerator humming along even when everything that could go wrong does.  Ergonomic prepping stations Having the extra preparation space of a storefront restaurant is also a tremendous advantage when it comes to getting your food truck ready for a long, busy day. Rather than spending time in ultra-cramped quarters attempting to make a high-quality meal, you’ll be able to prepare and assemble ingredients ahead of time so that you can cook to order, assembly-line style, rather than starting from scratch with each customer.  Even with much of your ingredient preparation already done, you’ll want to design your truck to include some ergonomic preparation stations to allow you to take orders and serve customers more quickly. A prepping station can be as simple as a table that folds into the wall when not in use, but can be a major source of help when it comes to handling big orders and busy periods.  Climate control Working in a hot kitchen during the summer months can be an unpleasant experiment in temperature extremes; compressing a full-scale kitchen into a food truck whose peak season generally runs from spring to fall only exacerbates your risk of heat stroke or other heat-related issues. If you plan to run an oven in your...

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Getting The Party Started: 3 Alcoholic Mexican Drinks To Try During Cinco De Mayo

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting The Party Started: 3 Alcoholic Mexican Drinks To Try During Cinco De Mayo

There’s no better time to party than on Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, which is a day dedicated to commemorating the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Local Mexican restaurants may offer unique dishes and drinks that are otherwise absent from their menu. On top of trying delicious new dishes, you should celebrate by ordering these 3 special alcoholic drinks that are difficult to find anywhere else. The Spiciness of Michelada If you’re a beer lover, you’ll definitely want to order a cup of Michelada. This beverage is one of the most popular drinks in Mexico, and is basically a beer-based cocktail with lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce mixed in. The glass is usually rimmed with salt, chile, and even ground up maguey for that extra kick. Generally speaking, Michelada is made from a nice, dark beer rather than a light one. This beverage can be paired with just about any type of Mexican dish. In fact, it’ll go nicely with some tacos or even a burrito. Be careful if you order Michelada because it is really easy to down an entire glass of this within seconds. Before long, you’ll have ordered more than enough to get your buzz going. The Sweet Goodness of Tejuino Those who are always on the lookout for a nice sweet cocktail will love Tejuino. Tejuino is essentially fermented corn masa mixed with piloncillo, an unrefined sugar. Most of the time, this beverage is served over ice with a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lime, which further enhances the flavor of this beverage. This alcoholic beverage has a unique sweet flavor to it that is similar to honey or molasses. Due to the sweetness of this cocktail, Tejuino is a beverage that will go well with just about any type of Mexican dish. The sweetness of the Tejuino complements the spices in Mexican dishes very well. This alcoholic beverage has very little alcohol in it, which makes it very appealing to casual drinkers or those who like to avoid strong alcohol. In fact, it has so little alcohol that some Mexican families even allow their kids to grab a cup or two during dinner.  The Pineapple Goodness of Tepache While most Americans typically throw away the the pineapple core and peels, Mexicans make a wonderfully delicious alcoholic beverage known as Tepache. The pineapple core and peels are mixed in with piloncillo, a dash of cinnamon and filtered water and allowed to ferment for a few days. The cinnamon will enhance the flavor of this beverage. Some restaurants and people even add beer or a shot of strong alcohol, like vodka, gin or tequila. If you add beer or more alcohol into the Tepache, you will find that the beverage will become less sweet. It’s difficult to describe the flavor of this drink. It encompasses the fruity taste of pineapples mixed in with some spices.  Depending on how long the pineapple core and peels were left to ferment and whether any additional alcohol was added, the alcoholic content of this drink usually tends to be quite low. As a result, those who order this beverage at their local Mexican restaurant will usually be sober enough to drive home afterwards. Conclusion Many...

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Chia Seeds Are Not Just For Christmas Anymore: Learn How To Choose, Buy And Use These Super-Nutritional Seeds

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Chia Seeds Are Not Just For Christmas Anymore: Learn How To Choose, Buy And Use These Super-Nutritional Seeds

If you thought chia seeds were only for growing funky green hair on Chia Pets, you may be surprised to learn that they are one of the latest super seeds packed with fiber and nutrients. These tiny black or white seeds are about the size of a strawberry seed. Adding them to your diet is easy as they can be added to yogurt, sprinkled on cereal, added to smoothies or used in baking. Their nutty flavor also enhances salads or cottage cheese. Check out the health benefits of chia seeds and learn how to choose, buy and use them. Health Benefits of Chia Seed Chia seeds are high in omega-3’s and fiber, two of the vital ingredients for promoting heart health and controlling cholesterol. In addition, the high fiber may help control blood sugar levels for those with diabetes and may encourage weight loss, too. They are also high in calcium, phosphorus and manganese. Where to Buy Chia Seeds Chia seeds are readily available in health and natural food stores. They are also becoming more common in grocery stores, especially grocery outlets that have a health food aisle. They can also be purchased from a variety of online outlets such as www.sincerelynuts.com. What to Look for When Buying Chia Seed Organic: Look for chia seeds labeled as organic or natural. This ensures you are getting pure chia seeds and not a product laced with chemicals from pesticides and insecticides. Reputable Company: Always purchase chia seeds from a company you know and trust. Reputable companies stand by their product and won’t try to sell you an inferior product. Country of Origin: Check the country of origin on the package and choose one that has the highest food and safety regulations. According to Food Safety News, Canada, France, the U.K., Norway and the United States top the list for food safety. Whole Chia Seeds vs Ground Chia Seeds Chia seeds can be purchased either whole or ground. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Whole Seeds: Whole chia seeds have a long shelf life and maintain their flavor and nutritional value longer than ground seeds. According to Eat by Date, whole chia seeds will maintain their flavor and nutrients for 2 to 4 years, if stored properly. They are typically less expensive than ground seeds and allow you to choose whether you want to use them whole or ground. Whole chia seeds can be ground as needed by storing them in a pepper mill for quick grinding. Ground Seeds: Ground seeds are convenient and ready-to-use. If you commonly use ground chia seeds in cooking or simply prefer the flavor and texture of ground seeds, this may be a good option for you. They won’t stay fresh as long as whole seeds, but by buying only what you need or will use within a few weeks, you will always have fresh chia seeds on hand. How to Store Chia Seeds Both whole and ground chia seeds need to be stored in a dark place in an airtight container. Whole seeds can be stored in the kitchen cabinet, but ground seeds must be refrigerated. You can also extend the life of both whole and ground chia seeds by storing them in the freezer. While whole seeds do not require refrigeration, it may prolong their...

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Want A Breakfast That Will Fill You Up But Not Weigh You Down? Try This Modern Twist On Himalayan Butter Tea

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Want A Breakfast That Will Fill You Up But Not Weigh You Down? Try This Modern Twist On Himalayan Butter Tea

Do you struggle to find a breakfast that will fill you up and give you the energy you need to get through the morning, yet won’t weigh you down and make you feel sluggish? If so, it’s time to try warm butter tea — a drinkable breakfast concocted by people of the Himalayas sometime before the 10th century and still popular today. What Is Butter Tea? Traditionally, butter tea is strong-brewed tea, blended with plenty of yak butter and a bit of salt. The tea leaves used to make the tea are steeped for half a day, strained, and then hand-churned with the yak butter and salt until a thick consistency (similar to that of condensed milk) is achieved.  What Are The Benefits Of Butter Tea? Yak milk has roughly double the fat content of cow’s milk, so the butter made from it is super thick and creamy. The high-caloric content of this butter gives the people of the Himalayan Mountains the energy they need to trudge through the snow on some of the highest peaks on the planet.  The salt in the brew is a multi-purpose ingredient. It detracts the taste buds from bitterness in the tea, helps to regulate blood pressure, and increases awareness by assisting in the transmittal of nerve signals throughout the body. How Can You Make Butter Tea At Home? Living in the United States, chances are good that you don’t have access to a steady supply of yak butter. You probably also don’t have access to an old-school butter churn, or the time to spend half a day slowly steeping tea leaves to perfection before heading off to work. What’s the solution? Grass-fed cow’s butter and black tea k-cups. Much of the butter on today’s market is processed or has added sugar or preservatives. If you’re going to be making butter tea part of your daily routine, you’ll need a healthier option. Grass-fed butter eliminates the health risks of loading up on this high-fat food, because it’s made with the good fats that your body needs. It’s high in vitamins, has a better ration of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — a naturally occurring trans-fat that studies show helps people to lose weight and increase muscle. Many grocery stores carry grass-fed butter, but if you can’t find it at your local market, check your local health food store. Once you have your grass-fed butter, drop 1 tablespoon of it into your morning tea cup, along with 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Set the cup in your coffee maker, insert a black tea k-cup, and hit the brew button. K-cups, like those found at 11th Street Coffee, have a precisely-portioned amount of finely ground tea leaves inside each and every one of them. You don’t have to worry about letting your tea steep; by the time it’s done brewing, all the flavor is already incorporate into your cup of tea. The tea will melt the butter as it brews, and a quick stir is all you need to get all the benefits of this winter power tea. If you want your drink to have the thicker consistency of traditional Himalayan butter tea, though, give it a quick whirl with an immersion blender.  If big breakfasts weigh you down and lower...

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5 Italian Dishes That Are Actually Italian American

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Italian Dishes That Are Actually Italian American

There’s nothing quite like Italian food. That delicious red (or white!) sauce, drizzled over scrumptious hand tossed noodles, topped up with some absolutely savory meatballs. Take a step back, though. Sorry to say, but that’s not an Italian dish! Many of the items that you have come to know and love are actually Italian American dishes, not straight Italian. While there have been plenty of myths and rumors that have arisen regarding the origin of some of these dishes, this article serves to bring them to a rest. Included throughout the course of this article are 5 Italian dishes that are actually Italian American. Spaghetti With Meatballs Nothing says “Italian cuisine” like spaghetti with meatballs. Unfortunately, spaghetti with meatballs is not an Italian dish at all. Spaghetti is, of course, a staple of any Italian’s diet and the placement of meatballs is quite common when it comes to Italian cuisine (many Italian forms of lasagna are filled with tiny hand rolled meatballs, for example), but never have the two met on Italian soil. Italian Americans actually came up with spaghetti with meatballs and not their brethren on the shores of Europe. Pepperoni Pizza If you go to Italy and request a slice of pizza with pepperoni as the active topping, chances are, you’re going to receive a slice of pizza with peppers on it. This is due to the fact that the term for pepperoni is quite close to that of pepper in Italy. Although quite popular in Italy now, pepperoni pizza first made its appearance on the shores of North America. That’s right, what many people assumed was an Old World classic is in fact as American as you or me. Italian Wedding Soup Italian American couples that decide on getting married love having Italian Wedding soup at their proceedings. However, it is highly recommended that you don’t request this for dinner, or at a wedding, next time you’re in Rome. Although you can occasionally find it under the name Minestra Maritata, Italian wedding soup is rarely found in the Old World. However, ask any old school New Yorker for some of the good stuff and you’re bound to find it. Chicken or Veal Parmigiana If you ask for any form of parmigiana that involves any form of meat whatsoever in Italy, you’re going to get a few weird looks from the natives. Chicken or veal does not belong in parmigiana; only vegetables do. In fact, there’s only one vegetable that the sauce flows over and that is eggplant. In some parts of Italy, you might be lucky to find a chef who will be willing to prepare the dish for you with ham, but those are few and far between. Chicken and veal parmigiana is an Italian American original. Italian Salad Dressing Italian salad dressing must be an Italian original though, right? It’s name is “Italian”, right there in the description of the food. Nope, it’s not! Italian salad dressing is an Italian American original and didn’t originate in Italy at all. Real Italian salad dressing is actually a much simpler affair than that which you will see on the shelves of your local grocer. Italians tend to dress their salad with extra virgin olive oil, salt and a bit of lemon. Anything else should not be...

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2 Chocolate Products That Can Take Your Candy From Drab To Delightful

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Chocolate Products That Can Take Your Candy From Drab To Delightful

Sometimes when people make their own chocolates, you can tell. In addition to being different shapes and sizes, those chocolates might be missing some of the special decorative touches that accompany professional grade candies. However, by investing in the right materials, you might be able to put a personal spin on those chocolates. Here are two chocolate products that can take your candy from drab to delightful: 1: Interesting Molds Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pop out perfectly symmetrical, interesting chocolates in a jiffy? Believe it or not, easy-to-use silicone chocolate molds are available in a huge range of themes. By simply piping melted chocolate into these molds and waiting for it to set up, you can create perfect, professional-looking chocolates each and every time. Here are a few tips for using chocolate molds: Keep Size In Mind: As you shop for chocolate molds, remember that size matters. Think about how the chocolates will be used, and whether or not they need to be bite-sized. You might need a large mold if you are making chocolate centerpieces or candy bars, while a smaller version might be perfect for cupcake garnishes.  Work In Layers: To make your candy more interesting, work in layers. By filling the bottom of your mold with white chocolate and topping it off with dark, you can create tasty, beautiful chocolates. Remove Bubbles: If air bubbles get trapped inside of your chocolate, it might ruin the effect. To remove bubbles, gently tap your chocolate mold on the counter as you work.  Watch the Edges: As you pipe melted chocolate into your chocolate mold, watch the edges carefully. If you overfill the mold or leave drips behind, it could make your chocolates look messy when they cool. Although you might be excited to see how those chocolates are going to turn out, resist the urge to release them before they are completely set up. If you release chocolates early and the insides are still molten, the entire chocolate could lose its shape and shiny sheen.     2: Colored Cocoa Butter Ah, the chocolate box dilemma. Since every chocolate looks identical, it can be hard to tell them apart—leading to underappreciated bites of nuts, caramels, or fruit-flavored fondants. However, by using colored cocoa butter, you can customize each chocolate to reflect its inner goodness. Sold in tubs or plastic squeeze bottles, colored cocoa butter can be poured or brushed into chocolate molds prior to the rest of the chocolate. Once chocolates are cooled and inverted, the colored cocoa butter creates a decorative top. Cocoa butter is a pale yellow vegetable fat derived from actual chocolate, so it behaves like chocolate and won’t interfere with the texture or flavor of your candies. Cocoa butter is available in a huge variety of colors, ranging from neon pink to deep ocean blue. Some cocoa butters even contain edible glitters to create a metallic or multi-faceted look. For example, you might decide to top off those chocolates with a touch of silver or a glimmer of gold.    Since cocoa butter is solid at room temperature, some tubs need to be warmed slightly to make the butter liquid enough to spread. As you work with colored cocoa butter, keep water far away from the inside of the container. Since water...

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