Monthly archives of “September 2016

comment 0

Zucchini Overload

It is the end of September, the most bountiful month of the year, it has become a fan favorite and holds many fond memories for most of our chefs. Most of us literally are unable even think about strolling through our local farmers markets with out tracking down the freshest fruits and vegetables. One of the best seasonal bounties in this time of harvest is veggies. Gardeners and restaurant owners alike are very likely to either supply locally or grow their own locally, one of our favorite vegetables of the season – Zucchini.

One of the most obvious receipts that allow zucchini to be put to work and is truly everyones favorite is Zucchini Bread. And like everything else your customers will have their own personal favorite style of zucchini bread.  There are the classic takes on the scrumptious treat and then there are totally outrageous over the top recipes that will be sure to delight even your most adventure clients.

Our personal favorite recipe that we truly think your guest will enjoy as a healthy alternative to dessert is our chocolate zucchini bread! Yes, we know that not everyone will jump in excitement when we recommend trying this new dessert but, it is a great way to be different and to appeal to those who try to eat healthy and would tend to look the other way when offered dessert.

Our version tastes like a bakery version of zucchini bread, because, well it’s a recipe used and created by a well trained baker. What we love about his bread, besides the double dose of chocolate, is its texture. Many time zucchini breads can taste oily and dense. To prevent this our recipe uses less oil and cream cheese is added, giving the brea it’s rich flavor and tender crumb. Chocolate flavor is develop in two ways: cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

We also recommend preparing your own whip cream to serve with this absolutely brilliant cake! It will have the true essence of a home cooked dessert and leave your customers wanting more and most importantly coming back for more!

Because, we know you want the recipe here it is!

 

This quick bread is a the best of both worlds: healthy thanks to zucchini and a true chocolate cure thanks to a double dose of cocoa and chocolate chips.

Servers : 1 Loaf

Ingredients

•3 ounces cream cheese

•1½ cup sugar

•2 eggs

•⅓ cup canola oil

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•¼ cup cocoa powder

•1 teaspoon baking powder

•1 teaspoon baking soda

•1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean

•¾ teaspoon salt

•2 cups grated zucchini

•1 cup pecans, chopped

•1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

•**For high altitude baking, decrease the sugar by 2 tablespoons and reduce the baking powder and baking soda to ¾ teaspoon each.

Instructions

1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9½ X 5¼-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time and blend, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Mix in the canola oil and the vanilla.

2-In another bowl or on a piece of parchment paper, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese mixture and blend well. Mix in the zucchini, pecans and chocolate morsels and spread into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the edges of the bread begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. Cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the pan.

 

 

 

comment 0

Successful Blog Posts Translating to Bottom-Line Dollars?

We have all heard the saying all publicity is good publicity. Most of us are also well aware that there are countless blogs on the internet today, in our case thousands of food blogs. Yes, some bloggers may have started their social media platforms as a place to share their love of cooking and dining out but, with enough followers they are able to showcase and entice fellow consumers where to eat next.

Typically, bloggers with professional kitchen experience are those who started off cooking in restaurant kitchens, but started their food blog after leaving the industry. Some may be self taught home cooks that have a true love of food – recent studies show that about 41% of bloggers have a professional background in food or foodservice. Not bad considering these critics are starting to play a large role on consumer trends, you can sigh in relief knowing that the people influencing your current and potential customers have validity.

It is true that loving food is enough reason to start a blog, but it isn’t enough of a reason to start a restaurant. Hence the reasoning behind why many believe that both bloggers and restauranteurs should work harmoniously together to create a stellar restaurant that everyone wants to be at.

Using successful bloggers in your area as a platform to gain larger restaurant visibility in your surrounding community has its advantages. From opening day, to special occasions and promotions when done properly bloggers are able to influence your diners decisions, with tremendous force. As owners you are able to showcase bloggers how wonderful your establishment is and what you are able to offer.

The sheer momentum that bloggers have in today’s businesses is exponentially higher than it was, even five years ago. We highly recommend reaching out to local bloggers and see what they would be able to help you with. With a little research on who the proper bloggers would be in your area, the outcome from having them come in and try your restaurant could help turn a slow time of year into a profitable one, help sell out that wine dinner or even help gift card sales. True professional bloggers know will know how to captivate their audience and sell what it is your looking for them to showcase.

Because, many bloggers only write part time and do not get paid for what they do, we recommend send a gift card so the meal they purchase is either free or at a discounted rate. You can also do a blogging event, this allows you to entertain numbers local bloggers and be viewed by more potential clients.

Blogger events are usually held on slower evenings, you set aside a part of of a private room or the bar area. Typically, you send out a few appetizers and allow the guests one or two cocktails. They are able to get a feel for the venue and write about their experience. Remember, it takes money to make money!

comment 0

Oktoberfest 2016

Looking at our calendars it is hard to believe that Saturday marks October 1st and with this comes the fabulous flavor of fall and our favorite German Oktoberfest Brews. Oktoberfest is the traditional beer festival that happens every year.  The festival may begin as early as the last few weeks of September and last up until Halloween.

As odd as it seems to abruptly switch from sweet corn and tomatoes to wurst and weiner schnitzel, but that’s Fall for you- no sooner that we were commenting of Labor Day do we go into Oktoberfest. The raucous celebration of Bavarian culture is far to fun to ignore and quite frankly too devious too miss. Even this most refined restaurants ploy us into believing that we just have to sample every Pilsner stain and sausages for the entire month of October.

When this 200+ year old festival began, there was no beer. Yes, you read that correct, Oktoberfest started as a wedding that was dry. The nuptials of Ludwig von Bayern, the King of Bavaria, and princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. In the old days the festival was kicked off with real horses.

The beer Americans most associate with Oktoberfest celebrations is, naturally, Oktoberfest beer. But, as any beer nerd who has made the pilgrimage to Munich in late September will tell you, the beer served at the festival is a blonde lager, not the amber Oktoberfest beer we all know and love.

What we think of as Oktoberfest beer in the United States is, strictly speaking, a Märzenbier, or “March beer.” Traditionally brewed in March, this malty amber lager would have been stored away in caves to sustain the thirsty masses throughout the summer. Come fall, any remaining Märzen would have been consumed to free up barrels for the new season’s beers.

As restaurant owners and managers we have a huge advantage at our finger tips. We are able to satisfy our consumers want to participate in tasting traditional Oktoberfest beer and food while increasing out profit margin in what may be a traditionally slower time of year.

We recommend keeping a small collection of Oktoberfest brews in house during the magical time of year and even adventuring out into the unknown and sampling traditional German food. It may not always be easy but, your clients will absolutely love if you are able to have a true sampling of beer and food even if it is for only a week. By advertising and getting the word out about the promotion your Oktoberfest will surely be a success!

comment 0

The Importance of Dessert Presentation

It is hard to believe that some restaurant owners and managers forget how important the dessert and coffee course of a meal is to a guests experience. The presentation, the pace and even the visual appearance of each dessert and coffee being served to your guests plays a vital part of the meal and can make or break a guests perception of a restaurant.

Everyone knows, you eat wit your eyes first and the way a dessert looks is just as- if not more- important as the way it taste. This being said, hiring an experienced pastry chef will play a large role int he importance of delegating the creative/ planning of advanced and creative desserts. Even the simplest try of rustic cookies can holds the potential to be beautiful and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

We can not stress enough the importance of having a trained pastry chef to set your business apart from the competition. One who is able to work with more advanced techniques, making molding chocolate, wrapping it around cake in fondant and forming it into ribbons to adorn the top. Chefs who are willing to experiment with extra-fancy gold leaf and dust and those who will pay attention to every single creme brule, chocolate soufflé, and cheesecake that leaves the kitchen doors.

As we gain a steady clientele base we sometimes become compliant and forget that we still have to impress even our most loyal customers. If we forget, even just once, to properly garnish  their favorite desserts or the lemon twist for their double shot of espresso, those guest will look down on the establishment and will may choose to dine else where the next time they eat out. It is crucial to remember the importance of appearance and the importance of the last course served to your guest, it is after all the last impression given.

If your establishment has been found guilty of looking the other way on dessert presentation fear not! There are a few tricks we would like to share to ensure your staff serves only the best to your guests!

1- Take photos of all desserts and coffees – post the imagines near the expo line so all   items can be checked prior to service

2- Train your staff on each dessert item – if they don’t know what it is suppose to look like they won’t be able to find a mistake

3- Test your product every shift- taste your dessert and thoroughly look at them to make sure they are up to par with what your guest expect

 

 

 

 

 

comment 0

Fig(uring) the Pair

Figs with leaves on a white background.

One of our favorite ingredients making its way onto menu in the recent season is Figs. Although

dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of

fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh,

the smoothies of their skin, and the the cushiness of their seeds. California figs are available

from June through September and some European varieties are available through the late

autumn months.

Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, we highly recommend purchasing the fruit

only one to two day in advance of when you and your chef plan on preparing and serving them.

Because, figs are plump, deep in color and extremely tender they do tend to become mushy if

they not used in a timely manner.

Fear not, this delightful fruit can be prepared easily and quickly and create rich menu items are

will be sure to impress your guests palates. It is important before eating or cooking figs to wash

them under cool water and then gently remove the stem. Gently wipe dry. You can then decide

to either did the fruit or set aside to use in a recipe.

The versatility of figs is undoubtedly a impressive selling point and reason to procure the

product. Whether you are preparing a delicious oatmeal dish, poaching the figs in juice/red wine

and serve them for dessert, quartered figs into a salad with fennel, arugula and shaved

parmesan or even fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds that be served as

hors d’oeuvres or desserts. The options are endless and we know that your guests will

absolutely be enthralled that you are serving such a tantalizing item.

Some of our favorite recipes are cost effective and will help you branch off into new segments.

Below we hope you enjoy some of our favorite recipes incorporating figs.

Fig and Fresh Apple No-Bake Cobbler

Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 small apples

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1 TBS apple juice

4 dried figs (or fresh when in season)

4 TBS chopped almonds

1/2 tsp lemon zest (*Use organic lemon for zest, if possible)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of cloves

pinch of allspice

2 tsp honey

Directions:

1 Cut apples into quarters. Cut out core and slice fruit into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Turn apples and cut across slices for diced apples. In a mixing bowl, toss with

lemon and apple juice.

2 Cut the stem off of the figs. Cut figs into quarters and chop to produce pieces

1/4-inch or less. Add to the apples.

3 Add the remaining ingredients and toss until well combined. For best nutrition,

eat immediately. If you prefer it chilled, cover well and place in the refrigerator for

up to 8 hours.