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Archive | August, 2012

6 Key Elements that Make a Strong Brand

When you hear the word brand, what do you think of?

Maybe BMW or Google comes to mind. Others may envision Wal-Mart or Coca-Cola. People all over the world would recognize these brands after just a glimpse and immediately associate it with past experiences. For BMW many people think of luxury and fine automobiles; while for Wal-Mart discounts and enormous retail stores comes to mind.

A brand is a promise. It’s a consistent message to the consumer about what the company does, how they do it and why they do it. This message should be so clear and obvious to the public that just seeing a logo or a sign will immediately provoke specific thoughts and emotions connected with the company.

Branding is a very important step along the path to success for any business. No business is too small for branding. Creating a unique and consistent experience for customers every time they visit the business will keep your loyal customers coming back and also attract new customers. A brand provides a sense of security to consumers; it’s comforting to know what you will get from a business every time, no matter what.6 Key Elements that Make a Strong Brand

Branding is especially important for restaurants. A strong restaurant brand can build a loyal customer base that a company can rely on. One of the best examples of a strong restaurant brand is Chipotle. Chipotle has built a brand that stands for organic, quality ingredients. This is clear every step of the way. The name Chipotle refers to a jalapeno pepper, the company’s tagline is food with integrity, the ingredients are in clear view for diners and even the bag is covered in text about the quality ingredients. Chipotle has many devoted customers and some of them can absolutely be attributed to the strength of the restaurant’s brand.

Establishing a strong brand is a process and takes time to be successfully completed. Before any branding can begin the company needs to set a clear message from which the brand will be based. Remember this message is a promise to customers about what to expect when dealing with the company at any point in the future. Once this message is clear, branding can begin. A company’s brand should be evident during every aspect of a customers experience with that company.

Business Name

In most situations a business’ name is the first piece of branding a customer is exposed to. The business name in most cases will become the most recognizable piece of the branding strategy. The name needs to logically correspond with the desired brand.

Logo

A logo is another extremely visible part of your branding campaign. This design should be symbolic of the company’s overall message or theme that has inspired the brand. The keys to having a great logo are consistency and awareness. This decal should be easily recognizable by customers so that just catching a glimpse of it will remind them of your business.

Color Scheme

It is important to pick the appropriate color combination for your brand to help set the mood and feeling that customers experience during every visit. Different colors have different effects on people. For instance, many restaurant chains utilize warm colors (red, orange, yellow) because they are known to stimulate hunger. Choosing a color scheme gives you the opportunity to influence what customers will feel when walking through your restaurant’s door.

6 Key Elements that Make a Strong Brand Uniforms

Uniforms add to the customer experience and a brand’s consistent presentation in two ways. First, uniforms add to the brand’s presentation simply because all of the employees are dressed in company designed clothing that complement the restaurant’s atmosphere. A dress code also positively impacts workers’ attitudes. Marilyn Schlossbach , principal partner of Kitschens Hospitality Group, says, “Being in uniform puts you in a frame of mind of being at work and getting into the role for your theater production.” The theater production is employees playing their role and doing their part in the effort of presenting the brand in a positive fashion.

Tagline

A good slogan is something a company can hang their hat on. This is a brief message that sums up the company’s mission in a few words. A good tagline must be original and creatively specific to the company. Some good examples of successful slogans are:

•    Nike-Just Do It.
•    Wendy’s-Where’s the beef?
•    M&M Candies-Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Customer Experience

The final and most important element is customer experience. This includes the way the food is cooked, how customers are greeted at the entrance, average time they have to wait and every other experience they have while at the restaurant. This experience needs to be consistent every time the customer is in the restaurant. This will make customers more comfortable visiting your restaurant because they know what to expect each time they come in.

A superior branding strategy has to be unique and consistent. Straying away from the overall theme or message at any point in the process can result in a weaker brand. Maintaining a strong cohesive brand throughout all company media elements will give your restaurant an advantage and set it apart from the competition.

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Delicious Deli Recipes

Delis are great for the on-the-go customer, and we all have our favorite sandwich shop that makes a sandwich just the way we like it. When choosing to stay home, try one of our favorite sandwich recipes – they’re quick, easy, toasty, and, most importantly, delicious!

Deluxe Deli Club Sandwich
Delicious Deli Recipes
Ingredients:
3 slices bread, toasted
1 Tbsp. Real Mayo Mayonnaise
1 American Cheese Slice, cut in half
2 slices Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
2 slices tomato
2 slices Bacon, cooked
Lettuce leaves

 

Directions:
1.    SPREAD 2 toast slices with mayo.
2.    COVER 1 toast slice with 1 process cheese slice half, 1 turkey slice, 1 tomato slice, 1 bacon slice and lettuce; top with second toast slice. Repeat layers.
3.    CUT into quarters.

BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches
Delicious Deli Recipes
Ingredients:
1  red onion, divided
2 cups  each shredded green and red cabbage
¼ cup Miracle Whip Dressing
1 bottle (17.5 oz) Barbecue Sauce, divided
1 Tbsp. oil
1  beef brisket (3 lb.), trimmed
1 can  (14.5 oz.) beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 Kaiser rolls, partially split, toasted

Directions:
1.    HEAT oven 350ºF.
2.    CUT half the onion into thin slices; place in large bowl. Add cabbages; mix lightly. Mix dressing and 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce. Add to cabbage mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3.    HEAT oil in large skillet. Add meat; cook 5 min. or until browned on both sides, turning after 3 min. Transfer to 13×9-inch baking dish. Chop remaining onion piece; sprinkle over meat. Mix broth, 1/2 cup of the remaining barbecue sauce and garlic; pour over meat. Cover.
4.    BAKE 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is done (160ºF). Let stand, covered, 10 min. Shred meat; place in large bowl. Add remaining barbecue sauce; toss to coat.
5.    FILL each roll with 1/2 cup meat mixture and 1/3 cup coleslaw just before serving.

Festive Turkey Sandwich
Delicious Deli Recipes Ingredients:

1 slice whole grain bread, toasted
6 slices Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
¼ cup hot prepared Stuffing (we recommend Stove Top Brand)
1 Tbsp. whole berry cranberry sauce

Directions:
1.    TOP toast with remaining ingredients.
2.    ENJOY!

 

eTundra.com stocks everything you need, from countertop cooking and warming equipment to display cases and food prep equipment for your deli.

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Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own restaurant? What concept do you think would be the most successful? Would you serve specialty cocktails, micro brews, wine, coffee or all four? How big would the kitchen be? Would you have a brick and mortar establishment or a mobile food truck? Would breakfast, lunch and dinner be on your menu or just dessert? What would the name of your dream restaurant be? Would your restaurant have a great view or be located in a trendy dining area? Where would you go to hire your employees? Will your restaurant be seasonal or open year round?

Becoming a restaurant owner is always fun to dream about but what if you got one chance to make your dream a reality? Would you do it?

Tundra Restaurant Supply has just launched its first ever “Dreamstaurant Contest”. This contest offers a unique opportunity for one lucky winner to realize their food service dreams. From October 1st throughDo You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea? December 31st you can enter to win a $20,000 restaurant design and equipment/supplies package for your dream restaurant concept. Jeff Katz, the VP of Tundra Design Group – Former Principal of Katz Company, will help the winner design their dream restaurant space and pick the best equipment and supply package for their concept. The equipment and supplies packages will include products from Cambro, T&S Brass, Comark, Robot Coupe, Mercer Cutlery, Star Mfg and Nor-Lake refrigeration.

Tundra will also be offering $500 shopping sprees to two home chefs who enter the best kitchen ideas. This is a great opportunity for foodie bloggers, residential cooks or anyone else who is passionate about cooking get commercial grade supplies for their home.

Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

The contest will be judged by a panel of judges including Chef Kelly Liken, Chef Ian Kleinman and Jeff Katz.

Chef Kelly Liken owns and operates Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO – an Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner in 2012. Chef Kelly hails from Pittsburgh, PA but has always thought of herself as a “small town girl at heart.”

She graduated first in her class at the Culinary Institute of America, was a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2010, a two-time James Beard semi-finalist, and has been called one of America’s most promising female chefs.

Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

Chef Ian Kleinman is a pioneering molecular gastronomist and owner/operator of The Inventing Room , a unique catering and food entertainment company based in Denver, CO.

Chef Ian has been cooking since the age of seven, when he helped out on the line at his father’s restaurant in Breckenridge, CO. Since then he has worked behind the scenes at many popular Denver restaurants, including O’s Steak & Seafood, The Rialto Cafe, and Rattlesnake Grill.

Now that Tundra can get you through the first step of opening your dream restaurant, is it time to pull the trigger? Do you think you have the creativity and determination to be a restaurant owner? If so, sign up for the Dreamstaurant contest. There is a chance you could WIN!

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Creating A Sexy Back Bar

Having an attractive and organized back bar is important for several reasons. A presentable bar will show your customers that you care about your business, property, product and furthermore, them. You want to do everything you can to trigger a spark in your customer’s mind that tells them your establishment has great drinks, food and atmosphere. Presentation is often half the battle of retaining repeat business and happy customers. Another reason to keep your back bar organized is for your bar staff. The easier it is for your bartenders to find what they need and get to it quickly will significantly reduce customer waiting time which, in turn, will boost customer loyalty. Here are a few tips on how to make your back bar “sexy”.

Bar Refrigeration

Your bar refrigeration has a tremendous impact on your customers. People like their drinks cold when served. Even a chilled glass can make a world of difference. It is important to keep your back bar refrigeration orderly, clean and visible to your patrons.

Back bar coolers are a must behind the bar. These coolers either have a glass door or solid door. Glass door bar coolers are great for bars with a wide selection of bottled beer or wine. People will generally not have to ask “What do you have in bottles?” if they can see your selection. Just remember that you must stay on top of your coolers organization and cleanliness because everyone can see what is inside. A solid door bar cooler is great for storing refrigerated garnishes, cocktail mixers or anything else that may not be as visually appealing to your guests.

If you have ever had beer in a frosty mug you know how exquisite the cool liquid feels and tastes as it hits your taste buds. Glass and plate chillers allow you to chill beer mugs as well as small plates in a hurry. Chilled plates are great if you serve cold appetizers or desserts.

Draft beer dispensers are another great addition to your back bar. They allow customers to easily see what beers you currently have on tap. Kegs are easily stored in the cabinet under the taps where they are refrigerated to ensure a cold brew with every pour.

Bar Glassware

Make sure your restaurant glassware is accessible and displayed in an appealing way. First decide the types of glassware your establishment needs and then how to display it. Glass hangers work Creating A Sexy Back Barwell and keep glassware out of your bartender’s way while still making it easy to grab when needed. Just make sure to have enough storage for all the glassware your bar needs. Hand drying glasses is a great habit to take on in order to avoid water marks. You do not want your glasses on display to look dirty or smudged.

Bar Organization

Liquor displays are not only eye catching but helpful for your patrons. Make it easy to differentiate top shelf bottles (more expensive liquors) from well bottles (less expensive liquors). Often restaurants put their most used liquors on speed racks below the counter and display top shelf bottles on tiered displays or shelves that are easily visible. It is common practice to put your less expensive bottles on the bottom of the display and more expensive at the top. Many bars will actually display empty bottles and keep back stock under the bar in liquor storage cabinets for easy-to-reach access.

The last products I would like to encourage are garnish centers and bar caddies. Making garnish centers available to your customers is okay but not encouraged. You do not want your customers periodically sticking their dirty hands in your garnishes. What I do recommend is making them visible to remind customers about your citrus selection and Bloody Mary toppings. Bar caddies should be in your drink mixing stations as well as on your counter top. Your bar staff can then easily grab what they need in a hurry and customers can grab extra napkins, straws or a toothpick without interrupting your staffs’ workflow.

An organized and clean back bar will result in a sexy back bar. You must always remember that what your customers see will make a lasting impression on your establishment.

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Dreamstaurant Contest 2012

Dreamstaurant 2012 has come to a close, but be sure to visit us next year for another round of fun!

 

Dreamstaurant Contest 2012

Tundra Restaurant Supply is excited to announce the Dreamstaurant 2012 winner: Chef Adam Hegsted!

Quick Contest Facts

  • Grand Prize: $20,000 – A restaurant design and product package to help one lucky restaurateur realize their dream restaurant concept
  • Two (2) Home Chef Prizes: two $500 Tundra shopping sprees for home chefs who enter the two best home kitchen ideas
  • Celebrity chef Kelly Liken, a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef, will sit on Dreamstaurant’s panel of judges and help Tundra select the winner. Chef Kelly, owner and operator of Restaurant Kelly Liken, worked with Tundra’s restaurant designer Jeff Katz on the design of her dream restaurant in Vail, CO.
  • Contest timeline: Entries accepted from October 1, 2012 thru December 31, 2012. Winners will be announced January 21, 2013.
  • Those that qualify for the Grand Prize will receive a follow up survey and then Tundra will select the Grand Prize winner with the help of our professipanel. All other contestants will be eligible for the two second place prizes.
  • In 2013, follow our winner’s progress creating their Dreamstaurant on www.etundra.com.


Why, Who and What

  • Tundra’s mission is to achieve success through the success of our customers. That’s why Tundra has decided to help one lucky food service entrepreneur realize their dream and start their own restaurant.
  • The contest is great for aspiring restaurant owners, existing owners who want to remodel, and anyone who has ever dreamed about creating a dream home kitchen.

Dreamstaurant Sponsors

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Not Your Typical Concession Stand

Who doesn’t love a good concession stand? Whether you’re at a baseball game, fair, carnival or concert, concession stands are a must. People expect to see concession stands at events and probably salivate like Pavlov’s dog over the classic staples for hours leading up to their arrival. Hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, soft pretzels, sno-cones, cotton candy, you name it, these tasty goods are exactly what a concession stand is all about! Here are some concession stand recipes with a twist that will take your customer’s taste buds on a while ride.

Grilled Hot Dog with Mango Chutney and Red Onion Relish
Not Your Typical Concession Stand
1 (9-ounce) jar mango chutney (such as Major Grey’s), any large pieces chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard plus additional for serving
8 beef hot dogs
8 hot dog buns, opened

Directions: Mix chutney, onion, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon mustard in bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill hot dogs and buns until heated through and grill marks form, 2 to 3 minutes per side for hot dogs and about 1 minute per side for buns. Transfer buns to plate. Place 1 hot dog in each bun. Add mustard and relish; serve.

Walking Tacos
Not Your Typical Concession Stand
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 little sweet peppers or 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 Cup Salsa
1 small can tomato paste
1 Cup warm water
3 cans of beans, drained (black, pinto and red kidney)
1 can black olives sliced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Pinch of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and garlic salt (to taste)
1/2 Cup fresh chopped cilantro
Bags of Fritos or Doritos
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Jalapenos or green onions

Directions: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion and peppers for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Drain if needed. Pour in tomatoes, salsa, and tomato paste then stir to combine. Add 1 Cup warm water to thin out slightly then add in beans, olives, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Start with a pinch and continue to add salt to your liking. Add chopped cilantro and reduce heat to low to simmer until ready to serve. When ready, open bags of Fritos or Doritos. Spoon in chili, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos. Stick a fork in it and eat!!

Mango Strawberry Snow Cones
Not Your Typical Concession Stand
Ice
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lime juiced, plus wedges for garnish

Directions: Fill a food processor with ice. Process until the ice is very fine, like snow. Add the mangoes and strawberries and pulse to blend. Pile the crushed ice into dessert glasses or dishes and squeeze over the lime juice. Garnish with lime wedges; serve immediately.

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E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry

Any restaurateur knows that hiring the wrong employee can be very costly for business. Not only will a bad employee cost you literally, by spending the money to hire and train them and the employee that eventually replaces them, but the level of work they bring to the table in your restaurant can also be very costly. While employed this problem employee is representing your business to the public. This can be more costly than the money spent to hire and train them because your company may lose current or potential customers as a result of the poor customer service.

E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry This makes employee interviews and knowing how to recognize a good worker when you see one an important skill for a restaurateur to master. This skill does not come easy; people can seem like a very capable candidate in an interview and turn out to be a below average employee after they are hired.

Before starting an interview it is always important to be prepared. First thing to do before an interview is know exactly what characteristics and experience you are looking for in a potential candidate. Setting a clear list of required skills and work experience will help you judge the candidates and find the ideal employee. Also, before the interviews, review each candidate’s resume carefully and form a list of questions for each one. It is important to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to do most of the talking. This will give you a better insight into the person’s personality and work history. Some key questions are asking them to describe previous jobs, how they preformed and why they left.

It is not always easy to identify a good candidate in an interview but there are a few personality traits to look for that can indicate a good restaurant worker. The characteristics of a successful restaurant worker can be outlined by the acronym: E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.

Engaged

When working in a restaurant atmosphere it’s always important for an employee to be engaged with their work and the customers they are serving. This means that they are always focused on the task at hand and are ready and capable to handle any problem that may arise. A good way to test if a job candidate possesses this quality is to judge the way they carry themselves in the interview, an engaged person will not only give you their full attention but also capture yours with their answers.  Also talk with past employers to get a feel for if this characteristic was evident in their past working experiences. This includes being engaging with customers who come into the restaurant by being able to interact with them and keep them comfortable and satisfied throughout their visit

Mature

Many workers in the restaurant industry are students and young adults. This demographic can be tricky to judge and manage in a work environment. If you aren’t careful it can be very easy to hireE.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry someone in this age group that simply is not mature enough to thrive or even survive in a work environment. An employee like this can be very toxic to a restaurant’s work environment.  An immature employee will struggle to carry themselves in a professional matter when dealing with coworkers and customers which will hurt customer service and staff teamwork. This may be the easiest personality trait to identify in an interview by judging the way they carry them self and looking at the quality and importance of their prior responsibilities.

Positive

Attitude is contagious in a work environment. The way one employee carries them self in the restaurant affects the attitude and work ethic of the staff around them. For example, if an employee is constantly complaining it will bring down the morale of the whole team and negatively affects productivity. And the opposite is true as well; a positive attitude can raise the staff to another level. This personality trait will be evident in the interview and when checking on past work experience.

Leader

Having leaders on a restaurant staff is crucial. It is important for staff members to know what they need to do at all times and be willing to take the initiative when they know something needs to be done. An employee that always needs to be told what to do and needs help with simple tasks is not a very productive employee. Leadership skills will be evident when looking at a person’s extracurricular activities and other tasks that they have voluntarily taken on.

Organized

Being well organized in any professional setting is crucial to an employee’s success. In a restaurant this skill is paramount. A restaurant worker needs to be organized in order to stay on top of incoming orders and customer requests. An unorganized restaurant staff can be a big headache for a restaurant manager. A well-organized candidate will be very easy to spot. A well put together resume and appearance are good indications of this skill.

Yes Sir”

A restaurant employee must be able to take orders from managers, customers or anyone else in a position of power without resistance. This is especially important when dealing with customers. In the restaurant industry the customer is always right; even if they really aren’t. When customer makes an employee aware of a mistake that has been made it is that employee’s job to accept the complaint, admit they made a mistake, apologize to the diner and immediately fix the mistake. Many people struggle with this and it can be very detrimental to customer service if an employee can’t swallow their pride and fix the problem. This characteristic may be hard to spot in an interview but can be verified by checking with the candidates past employees.

Efficient

E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry As stated before jobs in the restaurant industry are demanding. Restaurants are fast paced environments where timeliness and quality of the product being served are very important and is commonly how a restaurant gains an advantage over the competition. Employees must be able to complete tasks quickly and without mistakes. Efficient employees help the business run smoothly and make up for the inefficiencies of others on the staff. This is another trait that will be obvious upon contacting the candidate’s references.

Energetic

The last but absolutely not the least important trait is energetic. Having energy in the work place can be contagious just like attitude. One employee’s level of energy can either bring others down or raise them to new heights. An energetic candidate will bring energy and great work ethic to your restaurant and help to positively influence workers around them. Energetic people will obviously bring energy to the interview and come across as extremely active on their resume.

These are in no way set in stone as qualities that every good employee must possess, but this is a good place to start when judging the quality of a job candidate. Some potential employees may be very well organized but not possess any leadership skills or they may be highly energetic and not as efficient. These types of candidates can still be highly successful but combining all of the qualities together should describe the ideal employee.

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Baking With Tundra

Baking With Tundra

It’s obvious we’re a bit obsessed with food service – we strive to bring you products, service and knowledge that will better serve your restaurant, bakery and café. We thought we might try to inspire your culinary senses with these fun, fresh summer recipes!

Peach Cupcakes w/ Peach Cream Cheese Frosting
Baking With Tundra
Makes 24 cupcakes

Peach Cake Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1.75 oz freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini food processor
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup pureed fresh peach
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners.

2.    Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix together buttermilk, peach puree and vanilla extract. Set aside until needed.

3.    Using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in pulverized peaches.

4.    Mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed. (I like to mix the last bit by hand using a spatula to make sure I get all the stuff at the bottom.) Scoop batter into cupcake tins.

5.    Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 21 to 24 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes, and then remove cupcakes and place them on a cooling rack.

Peach Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes

Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup of butter, softened
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
1.75 oz freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini food processor
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, mix butter until it is softened and uniform. Add cream cheese and beat together until it is uniform. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add pulverized peaches and mix. Add 3 cups of sugar to the mixture and mix. Add more sugar if necessary. Mix again until mixture is creamy and spreadable. Add more sugar if necessary, otherwise prepare to frost cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Unique Technique
Baking With Tundra
Makes about 3 dozen, 3-inch cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark grown sugar, preferably molasses sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Directions:
1.    Position racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.    Sift flour and baking soda into a medium bowl.  Stir in the salt.

3.    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat half the butter (1 stick) on medium speed until fairly smooth.  Add both sugars and the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes until mixture is light and creamy.  Scrape down sides of the bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping the bowl as necessary.  Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine.  Mix in chocolate.

4.    Remove bowl from mixer and fold dough with a spatula to be sure the chocolate is evenly incorporated. The dough or shaped cookies can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 5 days or frozen for 2 weeks.  Freeze shaped cookies on the baking sheets until firm, then transfer to freezer containers.  (Defrost frozen cookies overnight in the refrigerator before baking.)

5.    Using about 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape dough into balls.  Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between, because the dough will spread.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are not longer shiny, switching the position and rotating pans halfway through baking.  (I just baked pans one at a time in the middle of the oven.)

6.    Cool cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, and then transfer to the racks to cool completely.  Repeat with second batch of cookies.  (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Chocolate Banana Cake
Baking With Tundra
Makes one 9 X 5 inch loaf or a 9 inch round

Cake Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)|
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

1.    Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350.  Grease bottom and sides of 9 X 5 inch loaf pan or 9 inch round pan.

2.    Sift together flour, coca powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

3.    In the bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minutes.  Gradually beat in the sugar and beat at high until well blended, about 2 minutes.  At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix at low speed until blended.  Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions.  Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrap batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.

4.    Bake cake for 55 to 65 minutes (loaf pan) or 45 to 50 minutes (round pan), until a cake tester into the center comes out clean (except for any melted chocolate.)

5.    Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

6.    Unmold cake onto the rack, turn right side up and cool completely.

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How To Earn a Passing Grade on Food & Health Inspection

How To Earn a Passing Grade on Food & Health InspectionRestaurateurs have a lot on their plate; hiring and training employees, attracting new customers, providing quality ingredients, keeping diners happy, treating workers well to start, but the list never ends. On top of all this these businesses must also make sure that their restaurant can pass a health inspection with flying colors.

Restaurant owners know this is harder than it sounds. It is well known in the industry that inspection requirements and transparency differ by state, county or even city. Different parts of the country grade on different scales with different requirements that need to be met.

Health departments across the country are also making these inspection scores more visible to the public. Health scores are revealed in the newspaper, online or are even required to be posted in the front window of a restaurant in some cities.

Restaurateurs must be educated and completely aware of their jurisdiction’s health codes and inspection policies in order to protect their business from the wrath of a bad inspection score.

Health inspections focus on food temperatures, food handling, employee hygiene, facility maintenance and pest and rodent control. A restaurant can receive a low grade for anything from food cross contamination to missing ceiling tiles to cockroaches.

Restaurant health inspections can be a good thing or a very bad thing for a business depending on how its operation is run. With the public’s heightened interest in good food with quality ingredients health inspections are as important now as they have ever been. A couple good or bad reviews could quickly swing consumer opinion on a restaurant and affect its business.

A new restaurant grading system was implemented in New York City in July 2010. This grading system requires restaurants to post their health inspection grades in the front window of the business. This makes receiving a good grade that much more important for restaurant owners.

The problem is some of the cooking requirements in the health code are hard for cooks to work with while still trying to maintain good tasting food. These cooking requirements indicate temperatures at which food must be stored and served at. Some temperature requirements go against decades of cooking practices.

Table d’Hote, a French Bistro in New York City, serves a country-style terrine that is best served at room temperature to give the dish a soft texture. The city’s health code requires the restaurant to serve terrine frozen, which William Knapp, the restaurant’s owner, knows is not appetizing. He says serving the dish according to regulations, “just not a satisfying experience for our customers.” Even though Knapp knows the dish is not the same, he is forced to serve it this way in order to avoid a 7 point violation that would bring his restaurant’s health inspection score down to a B.

Other restaurant owners risk violations for the sake of better tasting food. Some chefs decide that some requirements are not completely necessary and decide to ignore them in favor of their own discretion on what is safe. An example of this is a chef allowing steak or poultry to reach room temperature before throwing them into the pan. The city requires them to begin cooking these meats while they are still frozen. This is something that people do while cooking at home and doesn’t seem like a serious infraction but could actually drop a restaurant’s grade down a letter or even two and greatly affect the business’ public image.

One way to avoid health regulations and prepare a dish in a different way is by customer request. If a diner requests a meal be prepared outside of health department regulations, only then can the restaurant disregard regulations.

There are a few ways restaurateurs can help induce these requests from customers:

  • Train servers to inform customers about the regulations and how they changed the traditional cooking method
  • Add a note below menu items that are prepared differently because of health inspections
  • Post a list of health regulations somewhere in the restaurant to spread awareness on the issue

The key for restaurateurs in the case of health inspections is to be aware of your jurisdiction’s requirements. This can be done by simply doing some online research about your state’s health inspection guidelines. These requirements vary by region and can be altered when deemed necessary. Knowing what is required is the first step toward meeting all of your health department’s guidelines. With public awareness on the issue at an all-time high a good score is all the more important.

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Asian Style Recipes

Part 1 | Asian Recipes

Asian cuisine is on the rise in the United States! It’s said we’re in the middle of an Asian-food renaissance that’s being led by two fronts – dedicated students of Eastern culinary traditions and by young chefs who are reinventing traditional, boring Asian dishes! With our newly launched recipe series we have a couple of Asian dishes for you to try in your kitchen.

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Spring Rolls Recipe
Asian Style Recipes

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

For the grilled pork:
1 lb pork chops, loin, butt or shoulder. Sliced thin.
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil

Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe:

1 cup (8 oz) hoisin sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 garlic, crushed
1 minced Thai chili, or more for desired spiciness

For spring roll rice paper assembly: About 10 rice paper wrappers

Lettuce
Cucumber, cut into long slices
Fresh herbs: mint, cilantro, basil, Vietnamese coriander, balm or perilla
Bean sprouts

Directions:

1. In plastic bag, combine all ingredients for the grilled pork. Let marinade for about 20 minutes. Grill both sides of pork for about 2-3 minutes, or until desired texture.

2. In blender, combine all ingredients for the hoisin peanut dipping sauce. Blend until everything combines smoothly together. If it is too thick, continue adding warm water until desired consistency.

3. In bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper for about 3-5 seconds (depending on rice paper thickness). Do not over soak your rice paper wrapper! Place on work service and allow rice paper to soak up water and become gelatinous and pliable (about 30 seconds to 1 minute, again, depending on the thickness rice paper).

4. On top 1/3 side closest to you, lay lettuce on the bottom for added strength to the wrapper. Then place meat, herbs and other vegetables. Roll up spring roll about 1/3 way through, and then fold in the sides.

5. Serve with hoisin peanut dip on an Obon serving tray.

Banh Hoi (Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Beef)
Asian Style Recipes
Beef: (Serves 4)

1 1/4 pounds well-marbled tri-tip (bottom sirloin) steak, well trimmed (about 1 pound after trimming)
2 large cloves garlic, minced and crushed to a paste
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 1/2 tablespoons total)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Generous 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground preferred
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
2 tablespoon oil
1 pound fresh banh hoi fine rice noodles
1/2 cup Scallion Oil Garnish
1 small head soft leaf lettuce, such as red leaf, green leaf, or butter leaf
8 to 12 sprigs cilantro
8 to 12 sprigs mint
1 small English cucumber, seeded and sliced, optional
8 to 12 sprigs of other Vietnamese herbs, such as red perilla (tia to) and Vietnamese balm (kinh gioi), optional
3/4 cup Nuoc Cham dipping sauce

Directions:

1. If you have time, freeze the place the steak for about 15 minutes to firm and be easier to cut. Slice the beef across the grain into thin strips, a scant 1/4 inch thick, about 1 1/2 inches wide, and about 3 inches long. You may need to angle the knife to achieve the ideal width and make sure you are using a sharp, professional grade chef’s knife.  Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, shallot, brown sugar, salt, pepper, fish sauce, soy sauce and oil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the beef and use your hands to massage the seasonings into the beef, making sure that each slice is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate overnight, letting the beef sit out for 30 minutes to remove the chill before grilling.

3. While the beef marinates, make the scallion oil, if you haven’t done so. Before grilling the beef, prepare the banh hoi noodles. Use kitchen shears to halve each piece of the noodles into pieces the size of playing cards. Arrange them on 2 platters in overlapping layers, with some scallion oil atop each piece of noodle; leftover scallion oil can be served on the side for extra richness. Cover the noodles, and set aside to prevent drying while you cook the beef. Arrange the lettuce, herbs and cucumber on 1 or 2 plates and set at the table. Put the dipping sauce in a communal bowl or individual sauce cups and set at the table.

Orange Chicken Recipe
Asian Style Recipes
Ingredients:

1/2 pound chicken breast (cut into bite-size cubes)
5 dried red chilies (cut into 1.5 inch length, seeded and soaked in warm water)
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced)
1 stalk scallion (use the white part only, cut into thin threads for garnishing)
2 teaspoons oil
Oil for deep frying

Orange Sauce:

1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
5 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon corn starch
Salt to taste

Frying Batter:
1/2 cup water
2 oz. all-purpose flour
1 oz. corn starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 egg
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 small pinch of salt

Directions:

1.    Mix the orange sauce ingredients and set aside.

2.    Mix the frying batter and dip the chicken meat into the batter. Heat up a pot, or even better, a wok of cooking oil. When the cooking oil is hot enough for frying, drop the chicken pieces into the oil and deep fry them until they turn golden brown or crispy. Transfer them out onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

3.    In a wok, add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and quickly stir-fry the minced garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add in the dried red chilies and toss around until you smell the spicy aroma. Follow by the minced orange zest and then chicken. Quickly stir the chicken around before adding the orange sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens. Dish out, garnish with the scallion threads and serve immediately with steamed white rice.

4.    Prepare a charcoal or preheat a gas grill to medium (you can hold your hand over the rack for no more than 4 to 5 seconds). To broil the beef, position a rack about 4 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven for 20 minutes so it is nice and hot.

5.     I usually grill the meat as individual pieces, working the meat with tongs to turn them frequently. If you prefer, skewer the meat on soaked bamboo skewers (soak 16 to 20 skewers in water for 45 minutes) so that the pieces are easier to grill; you can serve the meat on the skewers or remove them from the skewers. Whether grilling or broiling, cook the beef for 5 to 7 minutes, turning frequently, until browned and a little crispy.

6.    Arrange on a platter and serve with the noodles, lettuce and herbs, and dipping sauce. To eat, invite guests to take a palm-size piece of lettuce, add few leaves of fresh herbs, a piece of banh hoi noodle, and a piece of beef. Bundle up the parcel, dip it into the sauce and deliver to the mouth.

Tundra Restaurant Supply offers over 200 Asian Restaurant Supplies to help you cook the best Asian food around!

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