There’s no denying that you can taste the difference of freshly made dishes from scratch. The real question (and challenge) is finding the time (and money) to create products you can scale for the commercial market. You may find that a simple homemade vinaigrette or a freshly prepared hummus makes all the difference between charging $5 or $10.
Easy to prepare and easy to store, here are a few items you can whip up with an immersion blender (like this one from Dynamic) to quickly transform menu items from ordinary to extraordinary:
1. Whipped cream
It’s literally just, whipped cream right? Sure is—but when you make it from scratch, you forego all those added chemicals and “tinny” quality that traditional canisters impart on whipped cream. Also, consider adding a little vanilla or citrus zest for a subtle and refined flavor that will keep customers coming back for more.
2. Mayonnaise and Aioli
It might be the little things, but I’m a sucker for freshly made mayo on my sandwich, or a garlic aioli accompaniment to my fries. It’s creamy, inexpensive and tastes profoundly better than prepackaged mayonnaise. Call it the ‘umami’ of your sandwich—guests won’t know why it tastes so good, just that it’s the best sandwich they’ve ever had!
3. Creamy Vinaigrette
A housemade vinaigrette quickly turns a hum-drum salad into something spectacular. Easily transform your regular menu salad into seasonal favorites when you pair with a variety of vinaigrette that showcase what’s currently in season. It’s a simple way to add the popular ‘farm to table’ flair to your restaurant.
This Italian favorite is extremely versatile, and can be used on sandwiches, pastas, chicken, potatoes, salads and more. Try making the traditional way with basil and roasted pine nuts, or get creative and utilize different greens like spinach to create a nut-free option for guests with allergies. Pesto also has a great shelf life, and can typically be stored for up to 10 days.
A common appetizer perfect before lunch, dinner, or as a midday snack, hummus is lauded by many as a deliciously healthy treat that pairs well with a cold brew (we need to get our calories from somewhere, right). You can also get creative by whipping up batches that include red pepper, avocado, and (my favorite) some jalapeño for an added kick.
6. Mashed potatoes
A side dish that’s quick to prepare and easily dressed up (truffled mashed potatoes anyone?), an immersion blender helps you remove all the bumps and lumps in mashed potatoes that food processors and blenders may leave behind.
When you’re making a creamed or puréed soup, save the extra step of moving your soup into a blender or food processor by using an immersion blender in the stock pot itself. Not only will you minimize product loss bound to occur by changing vessels, but you’ll save yourself some extra dish work by keeping your sink free and clear.
8. Tomato Sauce
When you don’t have time to cook tomatoes down in your tomato sauce, try blending them instead. A quick way to add a lot of flavor to your dish, fresh tomato sauce will exhibit brighter flavors than competitor’s canned varieties.
A fancy way to refer to a thick sauce made from pureed and strained vegetables or fruit, you’ll find that a coulis is an easy way to elevate both sweet and savory dishes alike. Featuring concentrated flavor in a visually appealing bright color, a coulis can easily be paired to elevate existing menu items and delight diners.
You don’t need a large commercial-sized mixture if you’ve just started to dapple in baking. Cheesecake, crepe filling, and more is easily made in advance with an immersion blender that lets you prep, mix and store all in the same large container.
People are willing to pay more for value, but it’s your job to create and deliver that value in the first place. With just a little extra work, you can easily enhance your existing menu items to deliver a beautiful (and delicious) dish.