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Archive | Crazy Eats

Learn about weird foods and crazy recipes from across the world.

How Restaurant Dining Differs in 10 Countries

How Restaurant Dining Differs in 10 Countries

One could say that the rules we eat by are almost subconscious in us. When confronted by eating etiquette of different cultures, they may seem arbitrary to us, yet we’re accustomed, comfortable with our own rules (of course). Here’s a look at traditional eating etiquette in 10 foreign countries.

Japan

In Japan, especially when you eat noodles and soups, it is appropriate to slurp the food, even at a high volume. Slurping is a sign of appreciation. In addition, it’s also appropriate to drink from the soup bowl, a questionable practice here in the US. For those of us that are good with chopsticks, be careful that you don’t cross them, lick them, or put them straight up in a bowl of rice – this is seen as disrespectful.

India, the Middle East and Some Parts of Africa

In these countries, it is seen as unclean to eat or pass food with your left hand. To Westerners this may seem unusual, but the reason these foreign countries find this disrespectful is because the left hand is associated with going to the restroom.

France

In France, it is considered unsophisticated to split the bill at a restaurant. You should propose to pay the whole bill or nothing at all. It’s also customary to use two hands to eat – either use the fork and knife or fork and bread, but never a single utensil at a time.

Speaking of bread, it’s not generally eaten alone as an appetizer, people use it to get the food on the fork. Bread is ripped off instead of being bit off directly from the slice.

Mexico

In Mexico, people eat more commonly with their hands (part of the reason why goes back to the origin of tortillas). It is considered an arrogant practice to eat with a knife and fork, but then again, it’s a lot easier to eat tacos with your hands.

Brazil and Chile

Unlike in Mexico, in Chile and Brazil you must use a knife and fork, even for traditional finger foods. It is considered ill-mannered not to do so otherwise. In Brazil, even pizza and burgers are eaten with a fork and knife.

Italy

If you find yourself in Italy, make sure to remember the rules of cheese. It’s considered bad to ask for cheese unless it is offered to you. It’s also bad practice to put extra cheese on your pizza, and really bad to put it on seafood (while people speculate on the reasons why this is so, a widely adopted reason is that the cheese will hinder the various subtle tastes in seafood).

How Restaurant Dining Differs in 10 Countries

Portugal

In Portugal, don’t ask for salt and pepper, unless they are already on the table. The chef will be insulted by this, because it appears that they don’t have the proper skills in the kitchen.

Thailand

In Thailand, they don’t use the fork as a utensil to eat from. The fork is only used to push food onto the spoon. Also, it is very unusual to use chopsticks there. If you make this mistake, play the tourist. It’s very common for foreigners to use chopsticks until corrected.

China

In China, belches and making a mess around the table are a sign of satisfaction and a compliments to the chef. Leaving a bit of food left on the plate shows the host that they have provided more than enough food for you.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria doesn’t put much stock in the whole ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ attitude. Here, the most important meal is dinner. When you’re eating with others, make sure to offer the eldest person at the table the first plate.

How Restaurant Dining Differs in 10 Countries

Because eating customs in other cultures may not be straightforward or may seem unusual to what you’re accustomed to, it’s important to do the necessary research to understand what’s acceptable in the country you’re planning to viit. This will make your dining experience much more enjoyable (and may save you some embarrassment as well).

Image credits: Japan, Italy, Bulgaria.

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Nothing Plain Vanilla about the Health Benefits of Vanilla

Nothing Plain Vanilla about the Health Benefits of Vanilla

Picture Credit – Wikimedia

Called vanilla planifolia, the vanilla orchid sprouts an array of fragrant flowers and grows on a host tree in hot, sticky, and wet climates – sometimes up to 12 feet tall. Vanilla essence is extracted from the long, greenish-yellow seed pods of this plant, which are picked unripe and cured in alcohol until they turn a dark shade of brown. Pure vanilla essence is composed of 35% alcohol and this process can often take up to six months.

Growing vanilla is considered one of the most labor-intensive processes in agriculture. The pollination of the plant must happen within 12 hours of the plant flowering and can only be done by the bees of the Melipona genus. It was this genus of bees that gave Mexico a 300-year monopoly on the production of vanilla. That was until 1841, when Edmond Albius, a 12-year old slave on the French island of Reunion in the Indian ocean, found a way to hand-pollinate the plant using a sliver of bamboo or a blade of grass. This method for pollinating the vanilla orchid is still used today. French colonists used Albius’ method of hand pollination in Madagascar, and the country, today, remains the leading cultivator of vanilla in the world.

History

Vanilla was first grown by the Totonac Indians of eastern Mexico, who believed that vanilla was the food of gods. They used to make a drink out of the vanilla bean, which they believed had aphrodisiacal properties, over and above its rich flavor and taste.

When the Aztecs conquered Totonac in the 1400s they too were vastly impressed with the properties of this plant and began using it in a similar fashion as the Totonac Indians. It came into the hands of the rest of the world around 1520, when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez conquered the Aztecs.

For a long time, vanilla remained a privilege of the rich and famous. The word vanilla finds its roots in the Spanish word ‘vainilla,’ meaning small black pod. The first documented use of vanilla in flavoring can be traced back to 1602, when an apothecary to Queen Elizabeth I, named Hugh Morgan, started using vanilla as a flavoring.

Benefits of Vanilla

Whether as an additive flavor in food or as a fragrance for personal health products, candles, or medicines, vanilla is widely used today. While a nice cup of vanilla ice-cream is an olfactory delight to many, not much is known about the health benefits of vanilla.

Vanilla essential oils are considered to have antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and antidepressant properties. Vanilla is also used as an aphrodisiac, febrifuge, and as a relaxing agent.

The central chemical component of vanilla is vanillin. It contains small amounts of B-complex groups of vitamins, which are helpful in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.

Has Antioxidant and Anticarcinogenic Properties

Oxidation is related to organic issues and infections faced by the human body. The free radicals called oxidizers burn living cells and tissues causing many problems in the human body. These free radicals can also cause mutation in DNA, resulting in cancerous tumors.

Vanilla essential oil has properties that neutralize these free radicals and makes it act as an antioxidant to protect the body against damage. It keeps the body sound at a cellular level by neutralizing the free radicals and preventing them from causing mutation in the cells, and helps heal any damage that has already been done. It also has properties that keep the body safe from colon cancer and prostate cancer.

Aphrodisiac

The ancients were of the opinion that the vanilla drink has aphrodisiacal properties and aromatherapy and studies have suggested that vanilla may increase sexual desire by boosting testosterone and estrogen levels.

Antibacterial

Vanillin, present in vanilla essential oils, helps clear skin problems, such as pimples and acne, which is why it is a widely used product in the cosmetic industry.

Helps Lower Body Temperature

Acting as a febrifuge, vanilla effectively reduces fevers and fights infection. It contains eugenol and vanillin hydroxybenzaldehyde, heavyweights in the body’s bouts against infections. It also contains antiphlogistic properties in its arsenal, which help reduce inflammation from fevers.

Antidepressant

Try this the next time you are feeling blue: grab yourself a vanilla-flavored drink or ice-cream, because vanillin hydroxybenzaldehyde is proven to be an effective antidepressant and mood-lifter. The sweet and soothing smell of vanilla works as a mood-lifter for many people.

A Soothing Agent for the Body

Vanilla acts as a mild sedative and helps in soothing inflammation in the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems. It is also a great help in reducing convulsions, anxiety, stress, and hypersensitivity to allergies.

Helps in Weight Loss

Some studies indicate that the efforts of people to lose weight can be aided with the regular administration of vanilla under the guidance of a dietitian. However, it is never a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise.

Eases Queasiness

How many times have you felt nauseated and someone suggested vanilla ice-cream? Vanilla extract, a few drops worth, added to a glass of water or vanilla tea, can also help calm the stomach.

Treats Cough

Cough syrup manufacturers have long since used vanilla extracts to mask the taste of cough medicine. Its mild anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties can also help ease sore throats.

Dental Health

Vanillin positively affects the central nervous system and is an effective pain reliever making it beneficial in fighting toothache and infection.

Relieves Menstrual Issues

Women with irregular periods are often advised to consume vanilla extract products to help regulate their cycles.

Cognitive Benefits

Vanilloids activate neural receptors in the same way as capsaicin (present in peppers). They help in increasing mental performance and aid synapse; however, cooking vanilla can destroy these benefits.

Antimicrobial Properties

Research indicates that vanillin may actively prevent microbial growth on food items. This can make it an apt candidate for food preservation, reducing the need of artificial preservatives.

Aromatherapy

Vanilla has found extensive uses in aromatherapy, with research showing that it can help alleviate stress and induce a feeling of calmness.

Today, the uses of vanilla in food preparation outstrip its uses for health and medicinal purposes, but needless to say, the ancient Totonac Indians were on to something. There are wide and varied uses to this unique orchid and we have only just scratched the surface.

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Amy’s Baking Company: What a Disaster

Amy’s Baking Company: What a Disaster
For any of you that aren’t up to date on Amy’s Baking Company, it’s basically the most amazing non-news story that’s happened in the last month. It’s highly entertaining and a bit unbelievable…

Situated in Scottsdale, AZ, there is a food service establishment so far down the tubes that even Gordon Ramsay’s show “Kitchen Nightmares” couldn’t save it. As a matter of fact, he quit working with the owners (Amy & Samy) because their business was so out of line.

As a result of the show, there was a viral uproar between Amy & Samy and the rest of the Internet. Let me break down the chain of events that lead to the social media meltdown.

  1. They ran through over 100 employees in one year.
  2. Waitstaff is treated incredibly poor. They aren’t trusted and don’t receive tips – the crazy owners do.
  3. The food is sub par, according to Gordon Ramsay (I trust him), and not completely made from scratch as stated by the owners.
  4. The customer is ALWAYS wrong – how’s that for best practice?
  5. Chef Amy can’t take criticism; thus, she has no idea how many unhappy customers leave her restaurant because the staff and Samy are terrified to tell her because of her backlash.
  6. Amy mentioned, “We have three little boys, but they’re trapped inside cat bodies. They’re cats.” …okay, that’s just strange.

Let’s just say they need a reality check.

After watching the show, I was completely baffled, but in the back of my mind I thought, this has to be staged, right? No one would treat Gordon Ramsay with such disrespect. Well, guess what? I was completely wrong. After the episode aired on national television, the Facebook page of Amy’s Bakery lit up with insults! Amy and Samy backlashed on all websites they felt were “bullying” them by other people posting bad reviews about them. Most of the posts and comments are too inappropriate to highlight here, but here are a few to give you an idea of how nutty these business owners actually are:

  • “To all of the Yelpers and Reddits: Bring it on … Come to arizona. you are weaker than my wife, and weaker than me. come to my business. say it to my face. man to man. my wife is a jewel in the desert. you are just trash. reddits and yelpers just working together to bring us down. pathetic.”
  • “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO RESELL THINGS WALMART DOES NOT MAKE THEIR ELECTRONICS OR TOYS SO LAY OFF!!!!”
  • “WE ARE NOT FREAKING OUT. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT A “WITCH HUNT’. I AM NOT A WITCH. I AM GODS CHILD. P*** OFF ALL OF YOU, F*** REDDITS, F*** YELP AND F*** ALL OF YOU. BRING IT. WE WILL FIGHT BACK”

Historically, the couple has been using social media to slander customers and reviews but suddenly they claimed their social media accounts had been hacked… Yeah right!

Amy’s Baking Company: What a Disaster

So what can we learn from this experience?

  1. DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS.
  2. DO NOT explain that God is on your side just to get away with slander.
  3. DO NOT call other people names.
  4. DO NOT explain that the other person is an idiot while misspelling your own words.
  5. DO NOT use erratic punctuation/grammar while calling the other person stupid.
  6. DO NOT describe your cats as “little boys in cat bodies” or “little people in cat suits” or “children, but actually cats, but really children” or “non-human children.”
  7. DO NOT refuse to stop arguing.
  8. DO NOT pretend you were hacked post social media backlash.
  9. DO NOT mistreat employees.
  10. DO NOT open a restaurant and say everything is fresh when it really isn’t.
  11. And above all, DO NOT disrespect Gordon Ramsay – come on people!

These were a given though,right?

The Washington Post named off a few of these DO NOTS and later said “They do everything short of comparing someone to Hitler.” It’s true!
They also created this awesome venn diagram of the meltdown:

Amy’s Baking Company: What a Disaster

Oh, and if you haven’t seen the episode, here is 43 minutes of laughter, OMGs, and “Are you serious” remarks. Make sure there isn’t something hard under your chin because it will definitely drop.

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Eating Utensils From Around The World

Eating Utensils From Around The World

Hungry Planet, What the World Eats from award winning author, Peter Menzel profiles 30 families from 24 countries and the food they eat during the course of one week. I came across this book on Time and the pictures revealed amazing stories that got me thinking: beyond forks, spoons and even chopsticks, does everyone in the world use what we Americans consider normal eating utensils?

United States

Like many countries food is a big part of the American culture. The major utensils of an American place setting include a spoon, fork and knife. And modern, hybrid versions have been introduced to the market –  the most popular being the combination of the spoon and fork, the spork. And how about the sporf?  It’s a combination of the spoon, fork and knife. Or the spife, a combination of the spoon and knife.

Asia

Eating Utensils From Around The World

Chopsticks are used as traditional eating utensils in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Chopsticks are most commonly made of wood, bamboo or plastic; however, in the United States, most are made out of wood. Chopsticks are held in the dominant hand, between the thumb and fingers, and used to pick up pieces of food.  You probably knew that part, but did you know there are different styles of chopsticks in different cultures?

  • Chinese: Chopsticks are longer (at about 25 cm), thicker (with squared or rounded sides), and end in either tips that are wide, blunt, flat or tapered.
  • Japanese: Shorter length chopsticks that taper to a finely pointed end. Japanese chopsticks are traditionally made of wood or bamboo and are lacquered. It is common for Japanese sticks to be of shorter length for women.
  • Korean: Chopsticks are medium-length with a small, flat rectangular shape. Traditionally, they were made of brass or silver, and ornately decorated at the grip.
  • Vietnamese: Long chopsticks that taper to a blunt point, quite like the Chinese style, and are traditionally lacquered wood or bamboo.
  • Nepali: Shorter and more blunt chopsticks that are usually made of bamboo.

India

Eating Utensils From Around The World

Would it disgust you or fascinate you to find out in India most meals are eaten with hands?

Hands are the main utensil in India, but there’s still some manners set aside for proper eating etiquette. Traditionally, the right hand is used for scooping, eating and mixing, as the left is used for cleaning (wiping the right hand, the mouth, picking up crumbs, etc.) and is considered dirty.  A form of flat bread can also be used to scoop and soak up food.

Ethiopia

Eating Utensils From Around The World

During a traditional Ethiopian meal, the food is served on a large piece of injera: a piece of flat-bread made from the grain teff. The injera itself serves as the plate and is used to scoop pieces of food up to the mouth. Ethiopian dining includes several rituals, like washing of hands before a formal meal and drink coffee at the table when the meal has ended.

Depending on what part of the world you’re visiting you may find yourself using forks, knives, spoons, fingers, chopsticks or injera to enjoy a meal. Dining etiquette will differ as much as the culture you may be visiting, so checking for cultural differences prior to vising a foreign country can save you the embarrassment of asking for the wrong utensil before it’s too late.

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Some Alien Ways to Enjoy Alcohol

Alcohol is imbibed, often over-indulged in, and equally appreciated around the globe. From a glass of wine with dinner or a pint of self-brewed ale over lunch to the cornucopia of martinis, margaritas, shots, and suds downed during hazy nights on the town, the list of ways in which we enjoy our alcohol is endless.

Some Alien Ways to Enjoy Alcohol

That said, pushing the boundaries of brewing and imagining new ways to mix and ingest liquor and the likes is a pastime humanity has proudly embraced.

Here are a few outside-the-box mixes and over-the-top methods for getting your buzz on:

Some Alien Ways to Enjoy Alcohol

Alien Brain Hemorrhage: This colorful concoction is better seen than ingested, as each ingredient adds a new element to the show, and the curdling affect combined with the red grenadine makes for an alien-looking shot indeed.

  • Fill ½ shot glass with peach schnapps
  • Add 2 tsp Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Top off with a few drops of grenadine
  • Enjoy

Cement Mixer: This shot is essentially the human counterpart to the Alien Brain Hemorrhage. Remove the grenadine and schnapps and add lemon or lime juice.

Tapeworm: While the two above shots may feel a little strange going down, I imagine this shot is nothing but sadness from the moment it touches your lips.

  • One part vodka
  • One part Tabasco sauce
  • Sprinkle with pepper
  • Top off with dollop of mayonnaise
  • Start crying

Smoker’s Cough: Keep the mayonnaise, but switch everything else out for some Jagermeister. Continue sadness.

  • 1 ½ oz of Jagermeister
  • Add dollop of mayonnaise
  • Sob while wishing you’d mixed a Tapeworm instead

Liquid Steak: The man’s man inside of you will force your brain into thinking you’re drinking steak while sensible human being you once were will wonder why you’re drinking rum with Worcestershire sauce.

  • One part rum of choice
  • One part Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustache comb for instant mustache you’ll grow afterward

Some Alien Ways to Enjoy Alcohol

Prairie Oyster: To anyone to ever mutter “This drink’s good, but what it really needs is a raw egg” …let’s be serious, no one’s ever said those words.

  • One part bourbon
  • Crack egg into glass
  • Add Tabasco for flavor (some add pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce – any hot sauce will do)
  • Prep griddle for bacon

Black Death: In Soviet Russia alcohol drinks you. But seriously, why would anyone mix soy sauce with vodka?

  • 1 – 1 ½ shots of vodka
  • ½ oz of soy sauce
  • Shake/mix
  • Pour over ice
  • Enjoy?

Seven Seas: Pirates are awesome, right? I knew a pirate once. Pete. Crackers. Polly. Zzzzzzz.

  • Walk into a bar
  • Ask for a Seven Seas
  • Watch bartender mix the first seven bottles they can grab
  • Start mumbling

Some Alien Ways to Enjoy Alcohol

Bone Luge: This one’s picking up speed around the country and has been said to be quite enjoyable. Some people say that about monkey brains and chocolate-covered grass hoppers as well, so…

  • Order roasted beef marrow bone in an upscale restaurant
  • Take out marrow and put on toast
  • Take your top shelf liquor (something to sip and savor under 80 proof) and pour down bone luge into mouth
  • Shares notes regarding richness and flavor with any hipster within earshot

Vaportini: Who knew you could vaporize alcohol.

  • Order your Vaportini Complete Kit
  • Follow instructions and vaporize your high proof liquor of choice
  • Realize you’re vaporizing alcohol and question your priorities

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Flavors of Fall: Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Potato

Tasty, easy and budget friendly fall recipes to try at your next party, catered event or restaurant menu change.

Aw…the familiar flavors of apple, sweet potato, pumpkin and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are enough to make anyone settle in for a cozy evening at home. It’s clear, Tundra Restaurant Supply is obsessed with food service products, and we carry everything from baking sheets and commercial refrigerators to pint glasses and salt & pepper shakers. In our effort to bring more to the table, we’re featuring a couple of rich, flavorful recipes we thought you might like to try!

Pumpkin Cheesecake BarsFlavors of Fall: Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Potato

These cheesecake bars are quick, easy and undeniably tasty. Give them a try at your next catered event, party or to simply share with family and friends.

Crust Ingredients

  • 20 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos are great)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil so that foil overhangs sides. Mist with cooking spray.
  2. Make crust: Process cookies in food processor until ground. Pulse in butter. Press evenly into pan. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. Make filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, then eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla, flour, spice and salt until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into pan. Put pan on a large rimmed baking sheet; place in oven. Pour hot water into baking sheet until it’s nearly filled. Bake until cheesecake is set around edges but jiggles slightly in center, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pan from sheet; cool completely on rack. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
  5. Cut into bar sized servings.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe is courtesy of My Recipes.

Classic Sweet Potato PieFlavors of Fall: Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Potato

Perfect pie recipe for beginner home chefs or on-the-go professionals!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 3 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar, the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix.
  3. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Place the pie on a rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue.
  5. For the meringue, using an electric mixer beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around.
  6. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until delicately browned.
  8. Cool, serve and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Food Network.

Apply & Grape PieFlavors of Fall: Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Potato

Use red grapes to achieve a deep purple color – great for any fall setting!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening

Filling:

  • 3 pounds tart, crisp apples (such as Pink Lady), peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound red grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional as a topping)

Directions:

For crust:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse just until coarse meal forms. Add 1/3 cup ice water; pulse until dough forms clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into a ball; divide in half. Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  2. Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface into an 11″ round. Transfer to pie dish; press gently onto bottom and up sides of dish. Trim dough flush with edge of dish, leaving no overhang. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Add scraps to remaining dough disk; roll out on parchment paper to a 12″ round. Slide paper with dough onto a rimless baking sheet and chill in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line dough in pie dish with foil or parchment paper. Fill foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are just beginning to turn golden, 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Return dish to oven; continue baking until crust is dark golden all over, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let crust cool completely.

For filling:

  1. Mix apples, grapes, sugar, and flour in a large saucepan; stir to coat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until fruit is translucent and juices are thickened, 30-40 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer fruit to crust. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator. Using a decorative cutter, make a pattern in center of dough, leaving a 2″ plain border; reserve cutouts. Invert dough over fruit in crust; peel off parchment paper. Trim dough along edge of crust, leaving no overhang. Arrange reserved dough cutouts decoratively over top crust, pressing lightly to adhere. Place pie on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake pie until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, 50 minutes-1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

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Autumn’s Best Apples

Whether you went apple-picking at an orchard, the farmers’ market, or the grocery store, we have some delicious ways to showcase fresh apples! These tasty dishes are sure to please even the pickiest of guests!

Autumn’s Best ApplesApple Pie Baked in an Apple

A simple, natural blend of ingredients with a gourmet presentation.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Pie crust – homemade or pre-made

Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Directions:

  1. Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a melon baller very carefully, as to not puncture the peel.
  2. Remove skin from remaining apple(s) and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you the additional filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking.
  3. Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples.
  5. Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more sweetness to the pie.
  6. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips.
  7. Place apples in an 8” x 8” baking pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.
  10. Enjoy!

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt CakeAutumn’s Best Apples

A true fall classic, garnish frosting with toasted pecans for extra flavor.

Ingredients:

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Cake Batter:

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (1 1/2 lb.)

    Praline Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Directions:

  1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed in a stand mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.
  2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
  3. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14 cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1 inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
  4. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely.
  5. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly.
  6. Pour frosting immediately over cooled cake.
  7. Enjoy!

Warm Caramel Apple CakeAutumn’s Best Apples

Serve this delicious apple upside-down cake warm from the oven.

Ingredients:

Cake Batter:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (2 1/3 cups)
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3  cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice

    Cake Topping:

  • 2/3  cup Betty Crocker Whipped fluffy white frosting (from 12-oz container)
  • 1/2  cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping
  • Caramel topping, if desired

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

Directions:

  1. In 1-quart heavy saucepan, cook butter, whipping cream and brown sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into 13” x 9” pan. Sprinkle with pecans; top with sliced apples.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, eggs and apple pie spice in a stand mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Carefully spoon batter over apple mixture.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Loosen sides of cake from pan. Place heatproof serving platter upside down on pan; carefully turn platter and pan over. Let pan remain over cake about 1 minute so caramel can drizzle over cake. Remove pan.
  4. In small bowl, mix frosting and whipped topping. Serve warm cake topped with frosting mixture and drizzled with caramel topping.
  5. Enjoy!

Tundra Restaurant Supply stocks everything you need to create the most delicious fall dishes. From kitchen supplies to dining room supplies and cooking equipment to specialty cooking supplies eTundra.com is your one-stop shop for baking and cooking this season!

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Fall Menus, What to Expect This Season

Restaurants to highlight affordable happy hours, seasonal ingredients and vegetables!

Fall Menus, What to Expect This SeasonAs the weather begins to cool and the economy remains mild, many food service operators expect innovative side dishes and vegetable based menu options to become more popular, giving their customers the opportunity to mix and match, or share a few sides at happy hour.

While local, seasonal ingredients will continue to show up on fall menus, restaurateurs and chefs alike are focusing on food creations that allow guests to customize their experience and to eat and drink at unconventional times. Happy hour courses including charcuterie platters, cheese courses and extensive bar menu options are ideal for this crowd. Being creative is key; almost any food item can be dressed up or down and made in a small portion – making it perfect for happy hour. Mini pizzas, roasted almonds, parmesan straws and homemade salt & vinegar potato chips are just a few ideas.Fall Menus, What to Expect This Season

Football season is just around the corner and there are plenty of food promotions that go with it. Play off tail-gating classics, including anything BBQ, grilled or dippable. These types of food items make great happy hour appetizers.

Vegetables are expected to take center stage in more dishes this fall, with protein acting as supporting character. When looking at seasonal items, think about launching a micro menu around a particular fruit or vegetable. For example, launch an autumn apple-inspired menu. Apple muffins and apple streusel French toast make decadent breakfast options while savory apple herb roast chicken and grilled chicken apple salad make fantastic lunch and dinner options. Squash and zucchini are other great menu items that can be incorporated into everything from sweet breads to rich, flavorful main courses.

Fall Menus, What to Expect This SeasonShareable vegetable dishes are a way to help customers feel better about what they’re eating without making them sacrifice their protein packed main courses. At the same time, side dishes are a great way to boost check averages. Among our favorite ideas are crispy okra, pureed cauliflower, winter squash with horseradish and braised cabbage.

Fall is a busy time in the restaurant and food service business, highlighting happy hour specials and seasonal fruits and vegetables will get guests excited to dine at your establishment.

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The Church of Cupcakes

The Church of Cupcakes Priests. Prayers. Candles. Confessionals. Cupcakes?

Are you looking for a new place to worship? Need a way to fill the void in your spiritual life? The Church of Cupcakes may be the delicious solution to your problems. This is not your typical church. This culinary cathedral will satisfy even your sweetest tooth.

The Church of Cupcakes is religious in its cupcake construction; comparing it to the indescribable sensation experienced after hiking a mountain, kayaking a river or rafting through raging rapids. They welcome all worshippers to join in the “euphoric bliss” gained through preparing and enjoying a cupcake.

The Denver based company recently changed its name from Lovely Confections. The Church of Cupcakes is very excited about the new direction of the business but could use some extra funding to get this plan in action. They are currently registered for a grant contest and could use your help. The contest is sponsored by Chase and Living social and designed to award 12 small businesses with a $250,000 grant. In order to be considered for one of the grants each small business needs at least 250 votes.

The Church of Cupcakes brings a new and exciting approach to the world of cupcakes. They are dedicated to providing tasty treats made with organic, local and sustainable ingredients and making sure their entire operation is environmentally safe. This is clear when reading the company’s “Ten Commandments.” This is a list of ten culinary laws that the company cooks by. These commandments vow that the company will always bake from scratch, never use artificial colors or flavors, use renewable packaging and always celebrate the cupcake for bringing joy.

Along with offering fresh local ingredients the company’s style is unique because of their ironic humor and clean, vintage design. The colorful store is complete with glitter floors, a foosball table, photo booths and scripture chalkboards in the bathrooms. The company also sells custom t-shirts and bumper stickers as well.

The store isn’t the only unique aspect the Church of Cupcakes offers to customers. The menu is one of a kind because of its ingredients and clever names. From rapture raspberry to sprinkle salvation and pillar of salted caramel all of the menu items are fun and delicious. The cupcakes are baked in small batches throughout the day in order to offer customers the freshest cupcake every time. The Church of Cupcakes offers a “virgin” cupcake that is gluten free and available in chocolate or vanilla which can be paired with any frosting option.

The Church of Cupcakes is located at 1489 Steele Street in Denver. The store’s hours of worship are Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5p.m. You can also visit churchofcupcakes.com or call (720) 524-7770 to place an order.

The church bells are ringing, come in to the Church of Cupcakes today and enjoy a little piece of heaven in every bite.

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Menu Trends: Restaurants Are Introducing A South American Super Crop

Menu Trends: Restaurants Are Introducing A South American Super CropThis is a story about how an Incan super crop is starting to take over health food stores and trendy restaurants in the U.S.  The rest of the world is already on board with this mysterious super plant; we’re just now catching up.

What’s so great about this plant?  Well, it doesn’t rot, doesn’t need refrigeration, is a complete protein but is dairy and gluten free, and is rich in important vitamins like iron, magnesium, and riboflavin.  It’s easy to cook and also very affordable.

So what’s the name of this super crop?  Quinoa is a grain from South America that was once cultivated by the Incas.  It’s been around in the U.S. for 20 years, but has only very recently started to gain momentum among professional chefs.

That momentum, however, has started to reach terminal velocity.  Quinoa is very versatile from a cook’s perspective, and its ability to absorb the spices with which it’s cooked means it can be prepared in an infinite number of ways.

Give a chef an opportunity to get creative with a new ingredient that’s hearty and healthy, and you won’t need a second explanation.  That’s precisely why quinoa has started popping up in restaurants across the country.

Quinoa is available in white, red, and black varieties and also comes in flour and cereal form.  I guess it’s not called a super crop for nothing.

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