Endless Uses for the Zesty Lemons in Summer Recipes

Lemons: The Refreshing Addition to Summer Dishes

Lemons are the Perfect Addition to a Summer Menu

As temperatures rise and the novelty of the summer heat starts to wear off, the search for lighter foods becomes all consuming. Cold soups and salads are summer staples but, for me, if a dish isn’t lemony, it isn’t summery. From lemonade to lemon meringue pie, from lemon-based salad dressing to lemon-flavored Italian ices, the tart, unique, refreshing taste of lemons is synonymous with summer, and a cooking prerequisite for the hot summer months.

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A Beginners Primer to Different Types of Raw Fish

A Raw Fish Primer: From Ceviche and Beyond

Different Types of Raw Fish

Raw fish is all the rage right now, but in order to find a method in the madness we need to set things straight. What we’re talking about is raw or marinated fish dishes, with a variety of names that only the most dedicated foodie will easily differentiate between. Whereas raw fish dishes have been popular for a while on the West Coast, they are now creeping inland due to the never-ending search for new and unusual foods and because of the many plusses of eating raw fish, primarily the unique taste.

Raw Fish Should Come with Precautions

Before you eat raw fish – and certainly before you prepare it on your own – check out the guidelines for whether raw fish is safe to eat set forth by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Opting for high quality should be the number-one rule. (…Read More…)

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Steak

 tips for grilling the most tender, flavorful steaks.America is a melting pot made up of people with many different tastes and preferences. Have you ever stopped to question what tops the list of favorite foods in this country? Well, you no longer have to wonder.

According to research commissioned by Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs as reported by the Daily Mail, one food comes out the clear victor in the roundup of all-time favorite American foods: Steak. Let’s take a closer look at this meaty meal, along with highlighting some tips for grilling the most tender, flavorful steaks. (…Read More…)

The Allure of Free Appetizers: Why They Work

appetizer

TGI Fridays made headlines last winter by announcing that its Endless Choice Appetizer special would return in the spring. This deal allows customers to pay just $12 for a bottomless rotation of nine of the casual dining chain’s most popular appetizers, including everything from boneless Buffalo wings to loaded potato skins. Is TGI Fridays onto something? Should your restaurant also be getting on board with free appetizers and other appetizer-related promotions? Let’s take a closer look at the growing appetizer trend, along with why introducing free appetizers may be a savvy move for today’s restaurants.

Learning From TGI Fridays

Fridays announced its first, much-buzzed-about Endless Choice promotion two summers ago. Industry watchers weren’t surprised that the promotion following the sometimes scant winter months common in the casual dining industry. If the intent was to make up for slow winter sales, it worked. Fridays’ Chief Marketing Officer Brian Gies told USA Today, that it was “wildly successful.”

How much so? White Gies wouldn’t speak in specifics, he did reveal that sales not only jumped, but across double digits. The promotion also led a whopping 50 percent lead in sought-after Millennial customers. In the most recent Endless Choice go-round, Fridays anticipated even greater returns because — unlike in its first incarnation — diners were allowed to choose between refills of any appetizers as opposed to just the original appetizer ordered.

Three Benefits of Appetizer Promotions

Do you have to roll out a massive, well-publicized promotion like Fridays to lure diners in with free appetizers? No. As it turns out, even free appetizers like chips and salsa, popcorn baskets, and bread with butter can have the same effect. Here are some benefits of incorporating free appetizers of any ilk into your restaurant strategies.

1. Better Perceived Service

Aside from the fact that people simply like free things, offering free appetizers — particularly those which arrive at the table even before orders are placed– fosters positive diner perception of customer service. Why? Because free appetizers immediately satisfies the needs of hungry diners. In doing so, they also subdue hunger-related irritations, keep diners entertained, and give them something to do while they wait to place their order.
One caveat? Free appetizers served before orders are placed can delay diners from placing their orders, so some turnabout-minded restaurants prefer to wait to serve free appetizers until after meals have been ordered. As timing is everything in the restaurant business, finding the right formula is essential to making the most out of your free appetizer strategies.

2. Increase Consumption

If you’re looking to amp up your bar sales, free appetizers not only get diners in a festive mood, but also in the drinking mindset. After all, many appetizers are salty and fried — the perfect combination to make diners pony up to the bar. Many restaurants find that free appetizers kick off the perfect cycle of consumption: the more diners eat, the more they drink, and the more they drink, the more they order.

3. A Competitive Edge

Today’s diners have more options than ever before. What separates your restaurant from the one down the street? In the case of hungry, budget-conscious diners, free appetizers may be this differentiator. Introducing an appetizer or other promotion during slower times, meanwhile, can help fill downtime. Why appetizers? Not only are they immediate, but they also have a significantly lower cost than entrees.

Meanwhile, appetizers are also the way to go if you’re courting the Millennial market — which you should be: not only have Millennials recently overtaken the Baby Boomers as the largest generation ever, but they’ve also got some serious purchasing power. According to Technomic’s 2015 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report, Millennials make up more than half of appetizer-ordering customers.

Worried about being eaten under the table by greedy consumers? Fridays reveals that this hasn’t been a concern: most customers reorder only once. And even though the Fridays Endless Choice promotion may have — at least for the time being — come to an end, some tasty takeaways remain for today’s restaurants looking for new ways to attract and satisfy today’s diners.

Color Code for Food Safety

Color coding kitchen tools can help prevent cross-contamination in both commercial and home kitchens.Food safety is a constant and major concern for commercial kitchens as well as many home cooks. In an effort to prevent cross-contamination, many regulating bodies require separate cutting boards to be used for poultry, fish, meat, and produce. Little labels are sometimes used to mark food preparation equipment based on the type of ingredients it is used for. But labels can sometimes go unnoticed which presents a danger of cross-contamination in the kitchen. Color coding food preparation equipment can provide an easy and stand-out way to identify and notice which equipment should be used for which foods. Follow these steps to get started.

Choose you food categories

The amount of separation between ingredients in a commercial kitchen largely depends on the venue’s menu and its budget. For example, a vegetarian restaurant will obviously not need separate cutting boards for fish, meat, and poultry, since those ingredients won’t be used, but may consider having dairy and non-dairy equipment or even equipment used only for the preparation of gluten free foods or foods containing allergens. With celiac on the rise and allergies as dangerous as ever rampant amongst the population, even small amounts of forbidden ingredients can have a serious and dangerous effect on diners. Choosing to differentiate between the food preparation equipment of various foods can help increase food safety in such cases. Other venues offering different types of meat, fishes and poultry should separate the ingredients and the equipment used to prepare them based on the ingredient type  (…Read More…)

Guidelines for Food Safety During Catered Events

Good sanitation, proper food storage, and the right equipment are the keys to food safety during catered events.Food safety is a concern that every food business has heard about. Strict legislation has been passed on the topic, and the public has taken note of the damage which can be wreaked when food safety is compromised. Catered events pose a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to food safety, due to the nature of food service at such events. Many additional measures must be taken when handling and serving food at a catered event, as opposed to a regular restaurant. Catering businesses should map out the process from the time the raw ingredients are received, to the time to food reaches their diners, and pinpoint critical control points where food safety may be compromised. These points are often at the transitions between heating and cooling, where there are optimal conditions for harmful bacteria to grow. When analyzing the items and conditions which present a hazard to food safety, as a general rule of thumb, bacteria like what we do: all types of food, at room temperature to body temperature, and, like us, they also require water to grow. When applying this rule, it becomes clear that dry croutons are less of a risk for bacterial contamination than rice, for example.

Food Transportation

Catered events are occasionally located in a venue with the proper accommodations for preparing food from start to end. However, oftentimes this is not the case, and caterers must transport the food to the event and reheat it right before service. Food transportation can be (…Read More…)

A Guide to Food Portioners

Food portioners can be used to measure out dishes almost exactly, insuring the profit margin of a dish and providing a tool for aesthetic plating techniques.When pricing menu items and planning dishes, the defining factor is portion size. Whereas some potential customers will look for large portion sizes as the indication of a satisfactory venue, others will be happy with smaller portions, when they are offered a high level of food. Either way, the portions must be consistent. It simply won’t do to serve a small portion one time and a huge portion the next. Loyal customers will only be loyal if they expect the venue to keep up their standards. And on the business side of things, serving portions which are too large can cause the profit margin on the dish to be negligible, making the business less profitable. Food portioners offer a simple, efficient, and affordable solution for portioning most food items. This guide provides a review of some basic options available and outlines their potential uses.

Scales

Scales are the most often used food portioning solution. They are useful for food businesses not only when portioning the dishes, but also for preparing baked goods which require exact quantities of various ingredients, as well as when receiving raw ingredients to ensure the weighing and billing was done appropriately by the supplier. When it comes to portioning pastas, doughs, meats, and fish, scales provide the easiest indication of size. Many burger venues offer patties by the pound, and those portions are weighed out using a kitchen scale to ensure that the customer is getting what they pay for, and that the business is making the expected profit off of the ingredients.

Food Portioning Cups

Food portioning cups are similar to measuring cups, and can be used to add previously decided upon amounts of a certain ingredients to a dish (such as herbs, for example) or to dish out an estimated amount of a component of a dish. For example, guacamole can be a very pricy dip, so instead of piling it on in different amounts based on the chef’s estimate of what the dish should be, scooping a set amount of it with a food portioner can be a smarter option. Food portioners can be useful for side dishes as well. Not only can they measure out adequate amounts of grains to add to a dish, if a grain such as rice is packed in, and the food portioner flipped over directly onto the plate, the grains can hold the shape of the food portioner, producing an aesthetic plating scheme. Food portioning cups can be used for the variety of applications mentioned above, and can also help provide customers with an idea of the nutritional value of their meal, if they ask how many ounces are included. Though food portioning cups can be seen as less critical for commercial kitchens when compared to scales, they offer a multipurpose tool to be used for the cooking process itself, as well as for plating.

Cafeteria Trays

Cafeteria trays are ideal food portioners for school caterers, since they provide a reusable, super-easy option for portioning. When considering using food portioners for cafeteria meals, the factors which are important go beyond caterer profit. With the awareness of obesity and the health problems associated with bad diet habits, eating the correct portion sizes and amounts of different foods has become a focus for schools and parents. Offering portioned cafeteria trays can help enable students to make wise food choices, and help the school caterer provide healthy solutions and good portion sizes while making a profit.
Food portioning tools are valued for their ability to ensure the amount of food being offered, and therefore the nutrition facts of a dish and the profit margin it will have for a food business. They also provide an easy way to measure out ingredients for a recipe. On the other hand, they can also be used to easily and aesthetically serve different dish components. Imagine an ice cream store serving ice cream with a regular spoon…doesn’t sound so attractive, does it? The ice cream scooper not only enables the server to easily serve the ice cream in an attractive way, it also allows the store owner or manager to price the scoop based on their expenses and effort for a given amount of ice cream. Food portioning tools are a must have for every food business, but which ones? Each food business will have to decide which food portioning tools are crucial for them, based on their menu and service strategy. Caterers offering buffets, for example, may be able to forgo food portioning cups in many cases. Food portioning is a basic factor that must be taken into consideration by every venue, even before sales start, in order to estimate profit potential and provide customers with a consistently positive experience.

How to Brew Different Types of Coffee

Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant, grown in various regions around the world such as India, the Caribbean, and Ethiopia.According to the National Coffee Association, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. I, for one, view drinking a cup of coffee as the defining point in starting my day. The public’s addiction to coffee has been expressed in more than just statistics of $40 billion spent of coffee in the U.S. each year; the many different types which have been created over time in all parts of the world, attest to the popularity of the drink.
If the market share of the drink is not enough to convince businesses that coffee is worth keeping on hand, the versatility of the bean makes an even bigger case for using coffee. Chocolate-covered coffee beans can be used as garnish, while concentrated, brewed coffee can be used in desserts. From mousse to coffee flavored brownies, coffee lends itself to use in sweets. Coffee can also be used in spice rubs of meats, and sauces for chicken and meat, adding a slightly bitter, deep flavor.
The first step to selling coffee in a coffee shop or restaurant is knowing how to prepare the different popular types. This article provides basic information about the most common types of coffee, offering a good starting guide for how to prepare coffee and which equipment to purchase to best serve customers.

1. Espresso

Espresso is a small, very concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing very hot water through finely ground coffee beans, under pressure. Espresso is most easily prepared using an espresso machine. The beans should be freshly ground for maximum flavor, and the water should be high quality. A thin layer of foam at the top of the shot is formed from oils and other components of the coffee beans, and is associated with the quality of the beans. Businesses selling coffee should invest time and effort into make their espresso as good as it can be, since it also serves as a base for many other coffee drinks such as cappuccino and café latte.

2. French Press

French press is a relatively simple coffee brewing method, which consists of brewing and filtering the coffee in one pitcher. The grinds are topped with hot water, and after three to eight minutes, depending on who you ask and the freshness of the coffee grinds, the strainer can be pushed down. Using freshly ground beans will make for the most flavorful coffee. The method takes a relatively long time, but is a great way to get the best flavors out of the beans and into the water, when done right.

3. Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is prepared based on a similar method as French press, but without the filtration. The coffee grinds and sugar, if wanted, are place directly in the serving cup, hot water is poured on top, the coffee is stirred, and then the drinker waits for the grinds to settle before drinking the coffee. Leaving the grinds in the cup allows the flavors to be extracted from the grinds throughout the drinking process, but requires the drinker to pay attention to the amount of coffee left in the cup: eating the grinds is very unpleasant in many opinions and should therefore be avoided. Turkish coffee is almost always served black (without milk).

4. Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is more than just cold coffee. Throughout the brewing process, the grinds do not come into contact with hot water. The cold extraction results in different chemical compounds in the finished product, when compared to hot-brewed coffees. Namely, cold brew coffee is appreciated for its low acid content and higher levels of caffeine when compared to hot brewed coffee. Cold brew coffee is prepared by placing the grinds in a pitcher with water, and letting it sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight. It is a great type of coffee to serve in the summer, but is not usually heated and served hot, after preparation. Since cold brew coffee rarely has the bitterness which some hot brewed coffees have, it can easily be drunk without adding milk, and can also be a great base for ice cream and other desserts.

5. Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is the most commonly brewed coffee in diners and homes. The technique consists of pouring hot water on top of coffee grinds in a filter, and collecting the drip as it comes through. As the water makes its way through the layers of ground coffee, it extracts the color and flavor compounds. This method produces a relatively light coffee, since the time for which the water is in contact with the grinds is minimal, and it is not coupled with high pressure and temperature, as with the espresso brewing technique. Also, some of the flavor compounds may stay trapped in the filter, leading to a less flavorful cup of coffee.

Coffee is undoubtedly one of the world’s favorite drinks. Various cultures have entire ceremonies centered on coffee preparation. The best coffee preparation technique depends on the drinker’s flavor preferences, and in general each coffee lover knows exactly how he/she like his/her coffee, and has a defined, preferred preparation technique. Restaurants and coffee shops should offer a few different types of coffee, if possible, in order to best cater to all customers.