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Archive | May, 2013

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

Weddings have classically been known as a formal affair with rooms filled with round tables, elegant place settings that include seating cards, and a wedding cake large enough to be seen by everyone.  And even though a few wedding parties still opt for a more formal setting, there are many that have ventured over to the social side.  The idea is to add “foodertainment” to the mix – a perfect blend of culinary visual appeal and taste that allows for guests to mingle, instead of being locked at a table.

From drinks and finger foods to late night munchies, here are a few wedding catering trends that we hope to see more of this wedding season.

1. Creative Beverages

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

There’s definitely never a lack of alcoholic beverages at most weddings; in fact, the majority of us go for the wedding, but stay for the party afterwards.  Drinking and mingling with friends and loved ones always makes for a perfect night, but when a little fun is brought to the mix, what can go wrong?   A few fun beverage trends  we’ve seen at recent weddings include a bloody Mary bar, bubbly bar (make a custom glass of bubbly, which includes fruit juice and fruit slices), specialty cocktails and a variety of draft brews.

But don’t forget the guests that prefer not to divulge in alcohol for the evening.   We’ve also seen an increase in hot drink stations and water infused stations.

Lastly, when serving food, try recommending a paired beverage – a nice shot of Hefenweizen always goes great with salty finger foods.

2. Finger Foods & Small Plates

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

It’s easier for guests to mingle when they don’t have to sit at a table as they dine, which is why we’re guessing there’s been a huge increase in finger foods and small plates at weddings.  When the caterer offers to walk the room with plated food that can be easily grabbed and munched as guests carry on conversation, the night seems to flow much better – which sets even Bridezilla at ease.

3. Food Trucks & Picnics

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

We love this trend, it marries simplicity with great food where you least expect it.  If you would have told us a few years ago that food trucks would be making their way into weddings, we would have likely laughed, but the only thing laughable about this new trend is how much it encourages people to have their own laughs.

Yes, it’s informal, but how fun and easy is it to have a food truck for dinner and another for dessert.  Spread out some beautiful linen on the grass (or on tables) and the entire event can be picnic style.

4. Farm-to-Table

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

Farm-to-table isn’t just for residents anymore.  In fact, Lyons Farmette, located in Lyons, Colorado, has seen an increase in weddings that want to take place at the farm (and the wedding party has no issues mingling with the wandering farm animals).  But it’s not just about farm animals here, the culinary experience offers guests the freshest ingredients, while also being able to entertain guests with special dietary needs  – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and other allergies.

Think about a table in the middle of a farm surrounded with the rustic beauty that the land brings – it’s hard not to fall in love with the setting and food, even if it does involve a few goats and chickens.

5. Chef Stations

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

A lot of what attracts people to finger foods and farm-to-table trends is seeing the masterpiece of food on the plate.  It’s not just about the food, it’s an interaction that involves all of the senses, and getting food prepared right in front of you helps improve that experience.  Chef stations offer a great way for guests to be able to ask questions as they watch their meal being prepared.  They also get restaurant quality food that is served hot and fresh.

6. Family-Style

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

For those brides that still want a sit down dinner, there are always meals that can be served family-style to encourage guests to keep the chatter going.  Family-style catering delivers meals to the table in big dishes that are then passed, and helps to boost guest interactions.

As a word of caution, having big dinner plates and bowls on a table takes up a lot of room – the bride should remember to keep the centerpieces small so the table doesn’t get too crowded.

7. Dessert Bar

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

Sorry wedding cake lovers, brides are keeping the social train moving right on through dessert time.  We’ve seen some interesting dessert choices lately, like smores bars, frozen yogurt bars, fondue bars, and other extravagant dessert buffets.

But cakes aren’t entirely out the window.  We’ve also seen cake pops, rice crispy treat cakes, cheesecake bars, and mini-cakes.

8. Late-Night Snacking

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

Once dinner is done, it’s time to dance the night away, but all of that drinking and dancing leads to late-night munchies.  We love seeing that more caterers are offering to entertain the night-owls of the group by serving late-night snacks, like mini pretzel bites, sliders, meatballs, and other fun finger foods.  And don’t worry about going over the top; keeping it simple is perfect for this hungry bunch!

9. To-Go Bags

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

Bless those that are able to rock-the-night-away, but not all guests can stay up into the wee hours of the night to experience those late-night munchies, so opt for helping to cater for guests on the go as well.  Think of easy-to-pack foods like trail mix and cookies.  You can have the food pre-packed or setup buffet style so they can dip up their own grab-bag.

Top Wedding Catering Trends of 2013

For more fun wedding catering ideas, visit us on Pinterest.

 

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Cooking Shortcuts: Corn on the Cob in a Cooler

Cooking Shortcuts: Corn on the Cob in a Cooler

With summer weather trying to make up its mind and move in full force, the itch and urge to don the short sleeves and spark up the barbecue is strong. If you’re sizzling some steaks for a comfortable night in or covering the grill with a wide array of meats for a family barbecue, simple yet reliable shortcuts are always welcome; that said, a staple of any good backyard barbecue is corn on the cob.

Here’s an extremely easy, and arguably innovative, way to prepare mouth-watering corn on the cob.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 beer cooler
  • As many ears of corn as you’d like
  • Boiling water

How It’s Done:

  • Wash out the inside of your cooler for sanitary reasons (if extremely dirty you can sterilize with boiling water)
  • Shuck, clean, and rinse your ears of corn
  • Pile corn into the cooler
  • Pouring boiling water over the corn – enough to cover ears and then a little more
  • Let sit for 30 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Cooler Corn, as it’s unofficially being called, eliminates the need to keep your eyes on a big boiling pot of water. It’s simple, safe, and completely hands free after the lid closes. Just slide the cooler into a corner while the corn cooks, and go about your business for the next half hour. It’s that easy. Plus, people jumping on the cooler corn bandwagon insist the corn holds well long after the 30 minute mark – this means no sogginess or overcooking.

So, the next time you’re mouth starts watering over the thought of a scrumptious ear of cooked corn, remember it’s as easy as some boiling water and a cooler!

Great video, although I’d recommend wearing shoes when pouring out boiling water!

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Induction Cookware Made Simple

Induction Cookware Made Simple

The notion and method of induction cooking has been making its way into commercial kitchens for a while now. Impressive, attractive induction cooktops have saturated the market, and while the science behind the technology is sound, many consumers are still hesitant to take the plunge. We’re not here to try and convince you to jump on the induction cooking bandwagon, but if induction is the way you’d like to go it’s important to know what type of cookware will work with your fancy new cooktop.

From stock and sauce pots to braziers, steamers, roasting, grill, and fry pans, cookware comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials. Over time, and through trial and error, many cooks come to trust a particular brand or learn to stick with a specific material. Unfortunately, there’s a possibility you’re go-to pots and pans might not work on an induction burner.

Will It Work On An Induction Cooktop?

  • Stainless Steel
  • Cast Iron

  • Non-Magnetic Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper

Why?

Complex science aside, it’s the magnetism of the material used in a particular pan that’s important. The kiss between an induction cooktop’s electromagnetic coil and the base of a pan is what causes those metaphorical sparks to fly (no actual sparking occurs). With the right material (magnetic stainless steel and cast iron), it’s love at first site.

With the wrong materials (100% aluminum and copper), it’s the cold shoulder from both parties. Most induction cooktops don’t want anything to do with these “bad” metals, and when they are detected, the cooktop won’t even turn on.

The Magnet Test

Induction Cookware Made Simple

One of the most common ways to determine whether a pot or pan is induction ready is to do a magnet test. Unofficially named, but widely accepted, the method to this magnetic madness is easy. Simply take an everyday magnet and press it up against the bottom of a piece of cookware. If the magnet sticks then the cookware is induction ready.

Be sure to test the base of the pot or pan as opposed to the sides. Many cookware designs use different metals sandwiched together for the core/base to create optimum cooking conditions (see below). This core is all it takes to make a pan induction ready.

Induction Ready Aluminum and Copper Pans

If aluminum or copper is your cookware cup of tea don’t rule out an induction cooktop just yet. Some aluminum and copper cookware is created with a stainless steel sandwich on the bottom, and the incorporation of induction compatible materials as a base or core makes all the difference.

An aluminum pan, which is great for heat conductivity and even distribution, is shunned by the induction cooker (and vice-versa). But, once paired with a stainless steel base, the aluminum pan can now let the electromagnet work its magic. The induction burner gets turned on, the pan gets hot and bothered, and tasty little baby foods can be made.

So, when on the prowl for a new piece of induction ready cookware don’t immediately rule out anything copper or aluminum – read the details on the pan, and if all else fails whip out your trusty magnet.

Make Your Own Recipe

Cooking your cuisine using an electromagnet may seem futuristic to some, but for many chefs who have adopted the technology into their back line, it’s a welcome change of pace. Literally.

Induction cooking has been shown to heat pans almost instantly, and boiling water takes a fraction of the time as it would using traditional cooking methods. That said, cooking different foods requires different degrees of finesse, and with any new kitchen toy, the style and design of your tools is only part of the recipe.

Visit our main site to see a list of all of Tundra’s induction cooking products.

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Quick Service Restaurants Take on BREAKFAST!

Quick Service Restaurants Take on BREAKFAST!

Remember the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Research shows this to be true, and it may help control Americans increasing problem with obesity. Aside from the health benefits of eating breakfast (which are all important), there is also a business opportunity for quick service restaurants.

According to QSR, nearly half of all American consumers visited a quick service restaurant for their morning meal last year. With that stat, the market has acknowledged breakfast is on the rise and quick service restaurants across the country are stepping up to meet the needs of their customers.

Consumers are on the go and looking for breakfast options that are portable, save money and save time. If you are the owner or manager of a quick serve restaurant thinking about offering a breakfast menu the future is definitely bright! During the 2007 economic downturn quick service restaurants increased breakfast menu options, which were positioned in the market to attract consumers that would otherwise eat breakfast at more expensive, full service restaurants.

The QSR also said, Subway added breakfast options in 2010, and has since been followed by Wendy’s and Taco Bell. Last year, breakfast sales totaled nearly $25.5 billion and are expected to see growth in the 2% range this year.

Adding a breakfast menu to an already existing quick serve restaurant operation can be easy for food service operators. Simply adding coffee and a few good food offerings, along with opening earlier, is all it takes. Research shows the breakfast sandwich is the most purchased breakfast food item, after coffee of course. Whether using biscuits, bread, buns, muffins, or tortillas, the sandwich leads the morning menu. Alternatively, one-third of breakfast consumers are opting for breakfast pastries, including cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, muffins, Danishes, and scones. All of these food options cater to portability, which is what consumers are looking for. And adding healthier breakfast options like oatmeal, fruit, or low-calorie breakfast bars will cater to the more health-conscious on-the-go consumer.

Convenience is king and breakfast items that are portable are predicted to continue to grow. Independent quick service restaurants in higher density populations should consider entering the breakfast market space. Independent restaurants can build loyalty through convenience, value, and service. Quick service restaurants that effectively market menus to meet what consumers are looking for will generate repeat business and thrive.

If you are an independent quick service restaurant and recently entered the breakfast market; let us know how it’s going for you; we would enjoy hearing your experience!

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DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

With Pinterest’s popularity skyrocketing through the roof and wedding season at our front door, I decided to dig into Tundra’s product assortment to find some Pinnable DIY wedding items that a bride-to-be should know about. Tundra has competitive pricing, a low price guarantee and many items are sold in bulk which is ideal for couples on a strict budget.

So, here you have it – 10 items every DIY bride must consider!

1: Drinking Jars – Libbey Glassware manufactures a couple of awesome drinking jars that would look great on any DIY wedding table. Both jars that we carry are 16 ½ oz. mason jars with handles; their difference is that one is plain and the other has the text “COUNTRY FAIR DRINKING JAR” with a rooster logo on the front.

TIP: Both cups are high moving items during wedding season so make sure to order far in advance!

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

2. Tea Lights & Candles – Another must have in the wedding world. Tundra offers packs of 125 standard tea lights with 5 hour burn time, rechargeable tea light sets, as well as votive, pillar and floating candles. Candles can be used for a variety of DIY wedding decorations, including centerpieces and paper lantern inserts to illuminate pathways.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

3. Write-On Signs – More and more often I see restaurant sandwich boards and table top signs used at wedding receptions. Sandwich boards are great for directing people; for instance, if your reception is held at a location that is tough to find you can put a sandwich board by the road with the names of the wedding party and an arrow toward the venue. Write-on boards are also perfect for the gift table or hors d’oeuvres area if you feel instructions are needed, or to convey a heartwarming message about the marriage/engagement.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

4. Cake Stands – The secret weapon that will make all your guests Instagram your wedding cake. You’ll likely spend tons of time and money on a wedding cake and you can’t just let it sit on the table – ugh! A cake stand is the perfect finishing touch as it will add height and presentation.

TIP: The cake stand should be the same size if not a little bigger than the bottom of the cake. Go bigger if you plan to have decorations, like flowers, around the cake.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

5. Twine – Adds a trendy, rustic look to DIY weddings. Use twine for binding things together, hanging decorations from trees and wrapping around jars and bottles for centerpieces. You will be surprised how often this item comes in handy when you’re setting up the wedding day festivities!

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

6. Beverage Dispensers – Differentiate alcoholic from NA refreshments with different shaped dispensers or use a write on board for instructions. If you go with a clear container don’t forget to garnish the insides for presentation: some easy ideas include pink lemonade with lemon slices, margarita with lime slices, iced water with cucumber slices, iced tea with lemon slices and red sangria with orange slices.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

7. Beverage Tubs – Whether you’re filling the tub with ice and storing beverages or packing it full with late-night-dancing flip-flops for guests, these tubs are a great investment. Tundra offers a wide range of sizes and finishes to go with any wedding theme.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

8. Wine & Champagne Buckets – Champagne is a traditional wedding beverage served during toasts at the reception. Generally, the bartenders or catering service will serve the champagne, but for a low- budget wedding it’s beneficial to have champagne at each table in a bucket for guests to pour themselves during the toasts. The frozen flower ice cubes below add an elegant touch to the shiny metal bucket.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

9. Vases & Accent Towers – From bud vases to glass accent towers, Tundra has a variety of options for DIY centerpieces. You can fill them with flowers, succulents, rocks, candles, and much more to get the look and feel of your theme.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

10. TIKI torches – planning to have your wedding/reception outdoors? Tiki torches are a great way to light up the isle, illuminate the tent, or highlight the dance floor. Feel free to decorate the torches and keep extra fuel on hand just in case!

TIP: TIKI fuel has an advanced formula or citronella and cedar oil to naturally repel mosquitos.

DIY Wedding: 10 Must Haves From Our Secret Stash

Now that I’ve filled you in on Tundra’s secret stash of DIY wedding supplies, make sure you let all your bride-to-be pals know and pay it forward by sharing our secrets.

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