Getting the Egg Out of its Shell

Soft-boiled eggs can be a great topping for focaccia, salads, and stews, but peeling them without ruining their appearance can be tricky.

Most cooks I have met swear by some strategy for preparing boiled eggs to make them perfect, not only in terms of the actual cooking process, but also the tweaks that can be done to make peeling easier. Yet through all the advice, there never seems to be one, clear solution for the perfectly cooked, perfectly peeled egg. This article aims to put some of the classic tips into perspective.

Salt or No Salt?

There is often a debate between believers of the idea that cooking eggs with salt helps make peeling easier and those who believe the help is attributed to rinsing the eggs in cold water after cooking. Salt and vinegar cause protein to coagulate. Therefore, if some of the eggs crack during the cooking process, the salt will help minimize the risk of the whites leaking out, yielding unattractive products. Why is this something that should concern cooks? Eggs often contain an air bubble, which is responsible for that flat bottom of the egg. When heat is applied, the air expands, pushing against the white of the egg and causing it to be flat when cooked. However, if the pressure build to be too high, the egg may crack. This is where the salt comes in handy, helping prevent the whites from spreading. Some cooks choose to prick the bottom of the eggs with a toothpick before boiling in order to allow the air to escape, preventing cracking and flat ends. In this case, adding salt to the water will help eliminate the possibility of the white leaking out. Most cooks choose to forgo the pricking process, since the difference in the outcome is usually minimal and sometimes even ugly, causing the egg to take on an abnormal shape. Overall, adding salt to the water is a good idea, though it may not help make the peeling process easier.

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Changing your Menu Often: Should You, or Not?

A constantly changing menu can keep a restaurant interesting for returning customers.

A constantly changing menu has the potential to build customer intrigue, persuading loyal customers to frequent the venue on a regular basis in order to get a taste of the chef’s new creations. However, constant menu changes require monetary investment in the form of ingredients for recipe and dish trials, and work hours for employees responsible for developing the dishes. A changing menu also presents a danger of disappointing customers who will fall in love with a dish that they know won’t be repeated in the near future. Weighing the pros and cons of having a menu that changes often should be done on a venue to venue basis in order to reach a good decision about whether or not to adopt the custom.

Why you Should

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People get bored really easily. I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling of staring into a full fridge, not knowing what to eat, bored with all the options and possibilities we can think of. One cure for that could be to dine out. The wide variety of restaurants (…Read More…)

How to Select the Best Pans

A grill pan offers a quick way to get those beautiful “sear” lines on foods.“Pan” is a general name for cookware most often used to prepare foods on the stovetop. Pan-cooked food is a restaurant’s dream, since it’s usually quick to cook and easy to observe, lowering the chances of ending up with a burnt product. Almost every type of cuisine uses a pan-like cooking method- from laffas cooked on taboons in Middle-Eastern cuisine to French crêpes. As cookware has become more sophisticates, the types of pans available have increased. This article provides a short summary of important factors to consider when selecting types of pans that will serve restaurants and caterers.

The Type of Pan

Frying pans are the most commonly used pans. They come in many different materials from cast-iron to Teflon-coated. Each material lends itself to the preparation of different types of foods. While heavy cast-iron pans are great for preparing and heating stews and some types of pasta dishes, non-stick pans are best for delicate dishes such as omelets and fish. Plain old frying pans can be a great alternative to a wok for stir-frying vegetables, chicken, beef, and other ingredients.

A grill pan is a great alternative to having a full-out grill, giving foods those fantastic, sought-after lines. However, they will usually give the food less of a smoky taste when compared to a real grill, which can sometimes be an advantage, but a disadvantage at other times. Grill pans can be used to grill everything from steaks and Portobello mushrooms to gnocchi and cheeses. The heavier the grill pan, the more effective it will be at giving the foods char-grilled lines. (…Read More…)

A Guide to Types of Rice

Wild rice, though not technically a grain, can be a great addition to salads and rice dishes.

Rice is the main food staple in the diet of about half of the world’s population. The dominance of rice in diets throughout the world can be seen in the many types of ethnic dishes based on rice. Mexican rice, flavored with salsa, is a mandatory side, if not a main dish component, in many types of Mexican food. Sushi, a staple of Japan, can forgo the seaweed at times, but without rice it won’t be sushi. In Italian food, risotto is a main-stage rice dish, and in the Middle East, majadra, or rice with lentils, is a wildly popular dish. Though rice dishes with strong ethnic backgrounds can surely provide a basis for imagining rice dishes in restaurants, other popular menu items can be inspired by rice as well: fried rice balls, Nicoise salad with rice, risotto, and more. In addition to their versatile uses, various types of rice offer a wide range of health benefits. As an added bonus, rice is sodium, cholesterol, and gluten free, making it a great option for diners with strict dietary constraints.

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is round and starchy, making it ideal for use in risotto. Though the starch in Arborio rice gives risotto a creamy texture, it is not higher in carbohydrates than other, alternative types of rice. Arborio rice has a small amount of iron, and some vitamins and minerals, making it extra attractive to cook with. However, since it is grown mostly in Italy, it tends to be on the pricy side which may deter some venues.

Sushi Rice

Sushi rice retains shape and relative firmness when cooked, but is also sticky. The shape and sticky texture make it ideal to use in sushi, helping the roll stick together. Sushi is a virtually fat free dish, and therefore a good option for some dieters despite being high in carbohydrates. Since sushi has become an American favorite, many restaurants that don’t necessarily specialize in sushi have taken to offering sushi and sushi-style dishes, making sushi rice important to have on hand.

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Types of Disposable Gloves To Use in Restaurants

Disposable gloves are available in many different materials.

In June, 2014, a California law was repealed which would have required restaurant kitchen employees to use gloves at all times during food preparation. The law was motivated by sanitary concerns, but there are many other reasons to use disposable gloves in food businesses as well. Disposable gloves enable employees to handle foods with high bacterial counts without contaminating the next dish they touch. They can also prevent strong smells, such as garlic, from sticking to employees’ hands and influencing the flavor of other dishes. As a result, they enable employees to handle different foods without washing their hands as often as would be required without gloves, preventing drying out and cracking of the skin. Additionally, gloves provide a layer of protection, preventing employees with allergies to certain foods from having an allergic reaction when handling that food. The reasons for using disposable gloves are almost as vast as the materials in which disposable gloves are available. Many different material options are available, each with a set of pros and cons. Having a few options on hand is usually the most convenient solution for food service venues.

Different materials have different permeability. The protection and comfort a certain material offers will determine the options for use of disposable gloves made with that material. Gloves with low permeability can be used when working with possible contaminants and cleaning products which may be damaging to the skin, since they offer a high level of protection. On the other hand, gloves with higher permeability will be adequate for food preparation, where the main concerns are cleanliness and odors. It is important to note that most disposable and non-disposable gloves should not be used when working with fire or ovens. Melted gloves will stick to skin increasing the severity of burns.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are one of the least expensive and most versatile options available in disposable gloves. They are also probably the most popular. Latex is effective in protecting against most chemicals typically used in kitchens, as well as preventing food odors and bacteria from being transferred from surface to surface through contact. (Of course, prevention of odors and cross-contamination will only be efficient if the employee switches pairs of gloves when moving on to work on a different dish or (…Read More…)