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Before You Open A Restaurant

If you have the dream of opening a restaurant, you may feel that nothing can hold you back. Even those staggering statistics that are not in your favor. The whole “60% will close in the first three years of business” thing. (Oh, that.)

Beth Casey, restaurant owner and manager says that you have to qualify for the following before you open a restaurant:

  1. Crazy
  2. Passionate about the business
  3. Have investors
  4. Get ready to rock and roll
  5. You live the job
  6. You live the job
  7. You live the job

We will go into further detail on each of these points. Rather than getting discouraged, get prepared. Armed with the tools and information for success, you can be in the 35%. Heck, you can be in the 1%!

Before you open your restaurant, here are some things to consider:

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7yGLbd

Knowing Your Responsibilities – As nice as it would be, restauranting is not all food and games. We certainly don’t want to shut down that dreamy look in your eyes, but we also want to get practical. Food Woolfe, which gives an inside peek at the hospital and service industry advises: “It takes a very special person—the kind of person who loves the rollercoaster rush of not knowing what’s going to happen next, enjoys making very little money, loves people, is calm under pressure, thrives in chaos, thinks a twelve-hour workday six days a week is reasonable, and feels more comfortable taking care of others than themselves—to survive the life of a restaurant owner.” If your dreamy look has not clouded over, then read on.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/iwqMgS

Deciding on A Concept – This is a little different from a theme party and it will definitely determine how you move forward. You have to consider who your customers will be. According to Agile Solutions, the age and income level of your preferred customers will point you in the right direction for your concept.

Allfoodbusiness.com goes one step further, encouraging you to know the main product line of your menu. This can help to determine the decor, or at least help you figure out your concept, which broadly fit into the following categories: Quick service, mid scale, upscale.

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Choosing A Location – We chose the Seinfeld diner as our photo not only because of the TV fame but also the location: 2880 Broadway. It’s all about location, location, location. This could potentially be the most important detail of your start-up.

Entrepreneur.com suggests that you look over details such as demographics and neighborhood traffic. Getting away from competition is actually not advised: “Quite simply, the best place to be is as close to your biggest competitor as you can be,” says Greg Kahn, founder and CEO of Kahn Research Group in Huntersville, North Carolina, and a behavioral research veteran who’s done location research for Arby’s and Subway and other major and minor players.

You can take advantage of your competition’s marketing and foot traffic and turn it to your benefit. Sneaky, but everyone does it.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/bnZLkt

The Business Plan – No one likes writing a business plan, but it is part of the journey. It also doesn’t have to fall directly on your shoulders – there are plenty of online resources (many of them free) that might help you get through the nitty gritty.

The purpose of a business plan is to help you understand the details. Don’t just read it over once. Business coach Darren L. Johnson suggests reading “over your existing business plan like you read the menu at your favorite restaurant.” Easy enough when your business is food.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/58cFd2

The Paperwork – Arriving at the bank, you have to have more than that business plan in hand. Personal income taxes, tax returns and anything else that can put you in good standing may help you to secure a loan. Only 40% of startup restaurants manage to get a loan, according to Businessweek. Most are backed by personal guarantees and personal property, such as equity in a home. Plan B: call Mom.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/drBtS8

What’s In A Name?- As you can see by the above example, not every restaurant name is appealing. It deserves thought and care. A unique spelling could be a drawback if people can’t easily Google it. Rebecca Hardy of The Guardian writes that “a restaurant’s success can hinge on the right words.” In the same article, Mark McCafferty at Captivate Hospitality says that a good name “stands the test of time and works in different locations.”

So what exactly is this perfect name? Think about drawing your customers in through their senses. Neuromarketer Roger Dooley says that sensory memorable names may be successful because we are so sensory deprived.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/nTR7ya

Writing Your Menu – We are approaching the details you probably like best: the food. If you have a dish that is not easily understood or translatable, you might want to get wordy, like Andy Ricker at Pok Pok in NYC (unless you know what Pik Kai Op Krob Khing Lae Si Ew Kap Sauce Phrik is). High minded restaurants often get minimal with their language. Your concept will help to steer you in the right direction.

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Hiring Your People – The staff you hire is supremely important, not only for the success of your restaurant but also for your own daily enjoyment. Bench Marque, a hospitality and event recruitment publication, weighed the pros of attitude versus skills. They came to the conclusion that if it must be a choice, attitude is the most important factor because “It is relatively easy to train staff in new skills, but it’s incredibly difficult to alter someone’s personality.”

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7xSwkE

Buying Your Supplies – Equipping your kitchen will likely be your biggest cost when opening your restaurant. You can buy used or new restaurant equipment and there are pros and cons to both. If you do decide to choose used, bizenergy.ca suggests finding out how hard the equipment has been working, if the equipment is energy efficient, and what it looks like and if it can be repaired quickly and easily: “Since 30% of restaurants fail within their first year, and an additional 30% will fail within two years, gently-used equipment is often easy to find.” Gulp.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/2jx3vF

Taking A Deep Breath – The American Institute of Stress recommends deep breathing as a natural way to elicit the body’s natural relaxation response. And to remind yourself that you can do this. You’ve got this.

Now the real work begins. Are you ready?

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Delicious When Dried: 10 Fruits You can Dry Without a Dehydrator

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Photo via Flickr member Christina Claßen

I was a fan of dried fruit from a very young age. Of course, at that time my tastes ran to the super sweet: fruit that was flat and rolled up in a tight snack pack. As I got older and wiser, my tastes became more mature, and my repertoire began to include dehydrated fruit both chewy and crunchy, eaten in trail mix or granola, or just enjoyed straight.

Dried fruit is a delicious and functional snack. It’s healthy, easily transportable, and crowd-pleasing. It can also be used in other culinary exploits, whether you’re making homemade granola, vaguely healthy cookies, or it can even be diced and added to savory dishes for a piquant, bright flavor.

Making dried fruit might seem inaccessible. After all, don’t you need a dehydrator to make that happen? As it turns out, no, you don’t. Here’s a guide to 10 fruits you can dry without a dehydrator.

What is dried fruit?

What exactly do I mean when I say dried fruit? Dried fruit is fruit which has had a majority of its moisture removed, so that it becomes shelf-stable. Think: raisins, dried mango slices, et cetera. Dried fruit can be kept intact, or diced into small slices. It can even be pureed to form the infamous fruit leather mentioned in the beginning of the post.

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Photo via Flickr member cowbite

Why dried fruit? As previously mentioned, dried fruit is a go-to snack for many reasons. It’s easily transportable, doesn’t require refrigeration, keeps well for long periods of time. It’s also healthy–it maintains many benefits of eating fruit. Some may argue that it is a fairly high calorie snack, but the fact is, it’s still much more nutritionally dense than other transportable snacks such as chips or candy bars.

Preparing dried fruit: If you were eating fruit out of hand, you’d wash and dry it first. Do the same for the fruit you’re preparing to dry, because the temperature of the oven may or may not be hot enough to kill bacteria, depending on the recipe. Remove skin or peel, if applicable, and remove seeds or pits.

Considerations:

These tips will ensure drying success:

  • Don’t slice too thick or too thin. A good size for slices of apple, pear, or similar fruits is ½ inch. Too thin and they’ll become too crispy; too thick and they’ll remain too soft in the middle.
  • Make sure that the slices are even in size. If some slices are thicker or much larger than others, your fruit won’t dry evenly.
  • Have you ever wondered why many dried fruits in the supermarket contain sulphur? It is to make the fruit maintain its coloring. You can ensure minimal loss of color by sprinkling or dipping fruit slices in lemon juice or in a mix of 2 tablespoons ascorbic acid mixed with one quart of water.

10 fruits you can dry without a dehydrator

A basic method: if the individual recipes below are too hard to remember, this recipe tutorial will teach you a method to dehydrate just about any fruit. It can be applied to all of the fruits listed below, though bake times may vary.

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Photo via Flickr member tusnelda

Apples: Sliced apples with a sprinkling of lemon juice can be put in the oven at 200 degrees for a few hours, until crisped to your desired point. Dried apple slices can be slow baked to your preference. The finished slices are great in yogurt, or granola mixes.

Apricots: You can use the same method as apples above for drying apricots, but because of their smaller size, they will require less baking time. Dried apricots are great for any of the same uses as apples, and are a great addition to apricot and chocolate cookies.

Avocado: These dried avocado chips are not made in the oven…but in the microwave. A three-minute zap is all they need to be dehydrated and ready for dip! These make a healthy snack rich in “good” fat.

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Photo via CakeSpy

Bananas: Once being coated with lemon juice, banana slices can be roasted in a 200 degree oven for a few hours or until crisped to your liking. according to. Delicious, homemade banana chips! Eat them straight, or use them as a border for a fancy banana pie.

Blueberries: These small berries can be coated with honey (optional) and baked in a 225 degree oven until toasty, about 2 hours, yielding simple, nutritious dried blueberries. Your morning yogurt just got a million times better.

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Photo via Flickr member cookylida

Citrus slices: Citrus slices may take longer in a low oven as noted, so you might consider a slightly higher temperature. Easy sweetened citrus slices can be made with your oven set to 200 degrees, with an amount of sugar which can be adjusted to taste. These citrus slices are perfect as a dessert garnish.

Kiwi: You can create dried kiwi slices by following the same method for drying citrus slices as listed above. I suggest removing the fuzzy skin from kiwis before dehydrating in the oven, as it can become hard and chewy (not in a good way) once baked.

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Photo via flickr member saitowitz

Pears: Using the same method for apples as listed below, you can create dried pear slices. Pear slices can be used in any of the same ways as dried apple slices.

Strawberries: Dried strawberries can fancy up your granola. Toasty dried strawberries can be yours in just a few hours: simply dip slices in lemon juice, then heat the sliced strawberries in a 200 degree oven for about 4 hours.

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Photo via Flickr member olgucz

Tomatoes: Don’t have time to wait for the sun to dry your tomatoes? Make it happen faster in the oven. ”Sun-free” dried tomatoes can be made by roasting sliced tomatoes at 250 degrees F for about 4 hours, with olive oil and seasonings. Dried tomato slices make salads, pizza, and sandwiches fancier and more delicious.

Storage tips: Store your dried fruit in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

What is your favorite way to eat dried fruit?

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What is Artisan Cheese?

Artisan cheese is handmade in small batches that are given plenty of care and attention. As a result, artisan cheese typically has more complex and greater variety of flavors. Artisan cheese can come from any type of milk such as cow and sheep to goat and buffalo. Different regions of the world have mastered different types of artisan cheese. What type of artisan cheese will you craft?

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How To Make Perfectly Poached Egg

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There is nothing I enjoy more than having my mother stop by and cook for me. Your mom always seems to know the best way to make your favorite dish. For me, that means her famous poached eggs over challah. This was a dish that spawned out of necessity and became a family favorite.

One day, we forgot to plan something ahead of time for dinner, and we didn’t really have much groceries in stock at the time either. We had to get creative with the available ingredients in the fridge, and it needed to happen fast.

We added creamy ricotta cheese and sprouts to a slice of challah, and topped it off with a perfectly poached egg. You would have thought we were using a recipe, because the finished product was a delicious and nutritious meal. The perfectly poached eggs were the highlight of the dish. When you cut it in half and the yolk soaks into your bread it creates the perfect bite.

The flavor of a poached egg is unbeatable. The soft and subtly flavored egg white watched with the rich, slightly buttery center can complete any plate and take it to the next level.

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Poached eggs are perfect anytime. Though people typically enjoy it as eggs benedict, or with a classic brunch, it is also great over a salad for a simple, yet fancy, healthy dinner. No need for a salad dressing! Just pop that yolk open and you’re good to go.

Besides being delectable, poached eggs contain many vital nutrients while having less fat or calories versus fried or scrambled eggs . Eggs are packed with B Vitamins which are crucial for overall health.

When the yolk is left runny, these nutrients are kept in tact, rather than being cooked out.

The preparation for poached eggs is quite simple. As long as you follow these tips and disregard the myths out there, you will end up with a perfectly poached egg.

Start With Fresh Eggs

Fresh eggs work best when making poached eggs because the egg whites stay together better.

The Float Test- To tell the freshness of an egg simply place your egg in a bowl filled with water. If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side then the egg is fresh. Older eggs will wobble on the bottom or stand up vertically. Any egg that floats should be discarded as it is likely inedible.

The Slosh Test- Hold the egg up to your ear, and gently shake it. If you hear nothing the egg is good to go. If you hear a distinct sloshing sound, it is best not to consume.

The Cracking Test- Crack the egg into a small bowl. Observe the egg and check for a tight egg white and a slightly globe shaped yolk. This would mean the egg is fresh.

If the egg white is a little looser, there is more watery liquid around it, and the yolk is a little less perky, then this would mean that the egg is a bit older, but still okay to eat.

If the egg white is completely liquid, and the yolk is completely flat, then the egg has spoiled and should be discarded.

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Once you have your fresh eggs ready to go, bring a pot of water (a few inches of water) up to a simmer and reduce it to 180-190 degrees F. Some people choose to add salt or vinegar, but poached eggs turn out better with plain water.

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Simply cracking the egg into the water will produce an irregular ragged mess. By cracking it into a fine mesh strainer first, you allow the watery part of the egg white to drain into your bowl. This leaves behind your yolk and a tight egg white. When you transfer it to the water, you will be left with a clean, perfectly shaped poached egg.

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Crack the fresh egg into a fine mesh strainer and gently swirl it around over a bowl. Expect about 1-2 teaspoons to drain off of each egg.

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Use the fine mesh strainer to transfer the egg to the water. Use a spoon to gently swirl the water around it, keeping it moving. After about 15 seconds, carefully flip the egg. Repeat with as many eggs as desired.

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Cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until the egg whites have set, but the yolks remain soft. This will take no more than 4 minutes.Carefully remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon.

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You could either serve your perfectly poached eggs immediately, or transfer to an ice water bath and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You can then reheat the poached eggs by warming them in 180 degree F water for 1 minute before serving.

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Perfectly Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • eggs

Special Equipment:

  • fine mesh strainer
  • cooking thermometer

Directions:

Bring a medium pot of water (a few inches of water) to a simmer, then reduce heat until it is 180 to 190°F. Carefully crack one egg into a fine mesh strainer. Gently swirl egg around strainer. Carefully tip egg into water. Swirl gently with a spoon for 10 seconds, just until egg begins to set, and turn over. Repeat straining and tipping with any remaining eggs. Cook, swirling occasionally, until egg whites are fully set but yolks are still soft, about 4 minutes.

Carefully lift eggs from pot with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately, or transfer to a bowl of ice water and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, reheat the poached eggs by warming them in 180 degree F water for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

How will you enjoy your perfectly poached eggs?

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How to Freeze Herbs in Olive Oil

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Photo via Flickr member icrontic

I consider fresh herbs one of the most powerful flavor tools in a chef’s repertoire. Fresh herbs add a sense of place, rich aroma, and delicious flavor to any food. But if the chef is a superhero, there comes a kryptonite with the use of fresh herbs: they’re not available year round.

So what to do when fresh herbs aren’t available?

You need not eat blandly when fresh herbs are out of season: you can preserve them for later use. Traditionally, herbs are dried. While this is a fantastic way of preserving and getting use out of your herbs year-round, it does dilute and slightly change the flavor. Plus, it takes quite a bit of time and space.

So I would like to present a simple and easy alternative: preserving fresh herbs in olive oil. It’s as simple as mixing your fresh herbs with olive oil, putting it in the freezer, and letting it chill out until you’re ready to use them.

Why preserve herbs in olive oil? There are many advantages of preserving herbs in olive oil. To name just a few:

  • Preserving the herbs in olive oil will discourage discoloration, keeping your herbs vibrant. After all, we eat with our eyes first, and green herbs are far more appealing than drab olive.
  • The fat from the olive oil will form a protective layer around the herbs, which will keep them from suffering freezer burn.
  • Since many recipes that call for herbs also call for olive oil, you’ve got a leg up on your recipe. You can simply pop your olive oil infused with herbs into a soup base, stew, stir fry, or braised dish and it will act as part olive oil, part bouillon cube. You can even measure out common increments in advance.

Freezing herbs in olive oil: The basics – Before you get started, here’s what you need to know.

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Photo via CakeSpy

What types of oil work best? In general, olive oil will be the best choice, because the flavor works best in cooking. You can use other oils, but keep in mind that you’d want to freeze the types of oil you’d like to cook with. For instance, while you can freeze your herbs in peanut oil, is that going to impart the flavor you’d like on baby asparagus? A little forethought can go a long way in this project.

That being said, freezing any oil will slightly reduce the flavor. Not only will the freezing have an effect, but also, the herbs will impart a flavor on the oil, and will likely become the dominant flavor. Because of this, I would suggest that this is not the time and place for your top shelf olive oil–a solid, middle of the road, mild-flavored olive oil is a good suggestion here.

What types of herbs work best? In general, you’ll want to stick with heartier, hard herbs when it comes to freezing. Even with their olive oil armor, they’re going through a cryogenic freezing of sorts, so herbs with a strong constitution and sturdy structure will work best. Rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme, would all be examples of hearty herbs.

Softer herbs, which you’d use to finish a dish, such as tarragon or licorice root, may not fare quite as well, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a try. They might just impart a slightly more subtle flavor.

365.184: Garden herbs

Photo via flickr member wordridden

Herb mixes – Why stick with just one flavor? Herb mixes can work beautifully in olive oil, too. You could combine the herbs that constitute herbes de provence (a mix that often employs savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano), an Italian spice mix, or a simple mix such as parsley-sage.

Preserving these herbs in advance ensures an easy and seamless addition to recipes later. But remember to label the frozen herb mixes, because I promise, you will forget!

How do I store the herbs? You can store the herbs in the freezer in a number of ways. To name just a few:

  • An ice cube tray, for small servings
  • Cleaned-out plastic yogurt or ice cream containers
  • Cupcake liners in a tin

Once the herbs have frozen in your vessel of choice, you can transfer the solidified units to freezer bags for long-term storage. Tip: be sure to mark the container with the contents and amount of olive oil per unit for easy use in recipes later.

Inspiration – What are some of the dishes you could make with your custom herb mixes? Here are just a few inspiring examples.

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Photo via flickr member lablasco

Vegan and Gluten Free – Did you know that herbs preserved in olive oil are vegan and gluten-free? A stir-fry such as the one pictured above, featuring vegan chorizo and beans, could be sauteed using olive oil-preserved herbs.

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Photo via Flickr member wonderlane

Skillet potatoes – Skillet potatoes will benefit from being fried in an olive oil which has been infused with herbs and thawed before cooking.

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Photo via Flickr member yandle

Marinade – Once thawed, your herb-infused olive oil will be 100 percent full of flavor. That means it’s a fantastic addition to a marinade for meats before grilling or oven cooking.

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Photo via flickr member suavehouse

How to freeze herbs in olive oil. You’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs
  • vessels for freezing: ice cube trays, freezer-safe plastic containers, cleaned-out yogurt or ice cream containers
  • Freezer bags, for long term storage
  1. Decide which herbs you’d like to use. Bonus points if they’re fresh from your garden, but this is not necessary.
  2. Chop them finely or slightly more coarsely to your taste, but consider that this is the size they will remain in the finished dish later.
  3. Place the herbs in ice cube trays or the vessel of your choice, filling each cavity ⅔ full with herbs.
  4. Pour your olive oil on top of the herbs, making sure they are completely covered.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until fully set–several hours or overnight.
  6. Remove from the cavities, place in labeled plastic bags, and store for up to 6 months.

To sum it all up? Fresh herbs are often the best, but they’re not available all year round. By freezing fresh herbs in olive oil, you can easily preserve the delicious flavor of fresh herbs to add flavor and depth to your cooking all year long. Just remember to measure out common increments so you know how much olive oil you are adding to your recipes.

How do you preserve herbs?

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Restaurant Cleaning List

There are the rare people who approach cleaning with zest. The “whistle while you work” types who approach tackling a pile of grime with joy. The rest of us know it has to be done, but don’t exactly relish the experience.

Having a spic and span restaurant not only makes it easier to work but also makes the entire restaurant more pleasing to the eye. It makes it look as though you have it together (even if that is a fallacy). Your customers might have dishes in the sink back at home, but by eating at your restaurant, they have the opportunity to escape from the realities of chores and life while they enjoy your delicious food.

Although we can’t grant you passion for cleaning via this article, we can make it easier for you. Behold, a handy dandy checklist. This will make it super easy to see what needs to be done and what can be put off until next week. Soon, a sparkling kitchen will be the norm, rather than the exception.

Before Cooking Shifts:

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Brush grill – Grill Master Karl Marsh says that to keep food from sticking, “you obviously want to have a clean grill.” Make sure that your grill brush is in good condition; otherwise the bristles can stick to the cleaning grates. Choose a brush with good quality stainless steel bristles and wear oven mitts if you are cleaning the grill while it is still hot.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/4MUTYu

Wipe down countertops – We don’t want to scare you in a Dr. Oz fashion, but the kitchen can be a breeding ground for germs. More so than a toilet. Elle Decor staff suggests wiping down with a spray made out of water and a mild dish detergent.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/56GunG

Switch or clean cutting boards – Nonporous surfaces like plastic or glass are considered the champ when it comes to food safety over wood. Wood cutting boards aren’t even allowed in commercial kitchens. Avoid cross contamination by keeping boards separate such as raw meats, seafood, vegetables and dairy. Invest in a lot of cutting boards.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/ebLNCE

Empty trash – Easy enough, as an overflowing trash can will not only smell bad but also take up more space that you can afford. It also may attract pests. It may be hard to do as the Zero-Waste chef does with “No packaging, no trash, everything from scratch” but do your best to cut down.

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Change sanitizing water, cleaning rags – There are standard principles in place to make sure you are clear on the word “sanitize”. In between wipe downs, rags should be in a chemical sanitizing solution. Pay attention to the color of the sanitizing water and as soon as it looks a little soiled, it is ready to replace.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7LbvSz

Check stock – People are coming to your restaurant to eat. Your supplies have to be checked on the regular to ensure that you will have a fresh and abundant supply of everything that is on your menu. This is particularly true of pantry staples but also of the dish elevating staples. GQ lists everything from hot sauce to pickled figs as ingredients great chefs cannot live without.

After Cooking Shifts:

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/b5GvuF

Clean fryers - The amount of food particles and cooking oil that may gather can make fryers tricky to clean. Unplug and let it cool completely before you clean. On a ChefTalk message board, a food writer wrote that “it is never a good idea to let oil sit in a home fryer…leaving it can lead to rapid oxidization and rancidness.”

Drain the oil into a food safe container. Clean the frying basket in the sink. Wipe the fryer clean inside and out. Fill with hot water overnight and drain in the morning.

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Brush grill – Chef Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York recommends cleaning the grill while you cook as well as after. He says, “a clean grill will heat better and therefore cook better.”

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Clean kitchen equipment - Every knife, every food processor, and every cutting board should look as clean as a whistle by the time you leave. The Kitchn suggests washing chef’s knives with plain old soap and water. Dry knife blades with a clean towel to prevent rusting.

Clean toasters and microwaves on the inside. Take appliances apart to clean each part. This will keep you from having to replace your equipment on the regular.

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Empty sanitizing buckets – Don’t bring your grime into the next day. Sanitizer can quickly become inactive and it may be clean, but is it sanitized? The ChefTalk website puts sanitizer as one of the key points in being a clean line cook.

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Put cleaning rags in laundry – Bar mop towels are inexpensive and can handle a lot of washing. Add vinegar or bleach to the wash to make sure they are properly sanitized.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/6aSFSc

Wash Aprons and chef coats separately in laundry - In some cases, dry cleaning is recommended but it depends on your budget. It is best not to use chlorine bleach, which may yellow the aprons and chef coats. Oxygen based bleach is the recommended way to keep the whites white.

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Wash and sanitize surfaces - Let the staff come into a sparkling kitchen the next morning. From a safety perspective, it can also keep people from injuring themselves.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/2A7eqy

Cover and date bins in cooler - Store ready-to-eat food above raw food. The bottom shelf of the fridge is normally the coldest. This is where you should store raw meats, fish and poultry. Gordon Ramsey declares that his fridges are cleaned twice a day but most kitchens don’t go quite that far.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/812Hbt

Sweep and mop the floors and wipe down mats - Mats will help to reduce the wear and tear on your floors. Iron chef Michael Symon says that his ideal kitchen has floor mats in front of the stove, because “these legs are old and tired!” Commercial mats are made for different areas, from a grease resistant cooking line to an anti-fatigue food prep. Pull them off the floor and mop them thoroughly at the end of the day.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/cCGkQN

Organize fridge – The Kitchn suggests that all kitchens should have fridges that are organized like commercial kitchens, because “they organize their fridges with food safety in mind.” Organize based on expiration date but also based on the temperature the food need to be cooked to. Only condiments should go on the door of the fridge, since this is the warmest area.

Weekly List:

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/94Moc3

Clean out grease traps - CPM cleaning informs us that grease traps “have to be cleaned periodically by grease trap cleaning companies.” If you decide to do it yourself, the name lets you know that this one won’t be too easy to clean. You will have to take it apart and put it back together. Do so mindfully so you won’t be left with parts at the end.

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Change foil linings – You may want to consider doing this daily. The bare minimum is weekly: change the foil on grills, ranges and flattops.It even makes a “cockroach prevention” cleaning list.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/8jFMqp

Wash can openers – Hopefully this made it into your daily checklist, but this one is often neglected. Let the can opener soak in vinegar for a few hours, scrubbing away any rust with a toothbrush. Rinse the vinegar with dish soap.

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Scrub dirt and grime off faucets and sinks – Faucets often collect more germs than basins. Check the finish on your faucet to determine how best to care for it (in many cases, a scrub brush or toothbrush will be your friend). After cleaning, olive oil can help it to gleam.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/ekJ5tp

Empty out, sanitize, and clean fridges - According to Red Beacon, restaurants carefully monitor and inspect fridges for cleanliness, temperature control and food handling. The Centre for Disease Control estimates that 48 million Americans experience food poisoning every year, and deep cleaning the fridge is one way to prevent this from happening in your restaurant.

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Clean oven – Cleaning regularly will maximize performance and minimize smoke. Food Service Warehouse insists that “if the oven is not properly cleaned and maintained, efficiency will suffer.” Different ovens should be cleaned in different ways. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

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Clean coffee machines - By not cleaning your coffee machine regularly, even the most upscale brew can taste funky and bitter. A regular cleaning routine will remove hard water deposits. Use a commercial cleaning solution or vinegar water mixture to run through the pot as you would a cup of coffee. Wash normally.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/CPq7v

Oil cast iron cookware – Ideally, you will rinse your cookware immediately after cooking. You may need to scrub off tough stains and you can use coarse salt for this. Once clean, rub the cast iron pan with oil and cook at 350 for 1 hour. This thin layer of oil will protect the cookware and help to keep it in good condition.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/Hdzm

Use drain cleaners on floor drains - Upkeep is much easier than dealing with a clogged drain in the middle of a workday. There are many cleaning products designed for this, but baking soda and vinegar can also work wonders to keep things moving smoothly.

Monthly List:

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Wash behind the hot line to cut down on grease – The line of stations in a kitchen can get messy. If you can pull out the appliances and look behind them, you will cut down on rodents and keep things manageable and clean. In Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain writes, “Messy kitchen, messy mind.”

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/DW1oc

Clean freezers – A little more time consuming than cleaning a fridge, you will need to unplug and unload your freezer. Get rid of anything that is covered in ice crystals. Remove the drawers and detachable parts and scrub them well. After it has been defrosted and plugged in again, you will find more space for your frozen items.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/56pi6N

Calibrate thermometers and ovens – This is actually a fairly simple procedure. Heat boiling water and place a thermometer probe into the water to check if it is between 210 to 214. You may need to readjust. Calibrating ovens varies from model to model, so do check manufacturer’s instructions. Ovens can be notoriously inaccurate at the best of times and Modernist Cuisine believes that “leaving temperature control to intuition is a recipe for disaster.”

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/9RzHGd

Empty and sanitize ice machine – The US Food and Drug administration classifies ice as food. It is important to sanitize according to the guidelines.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/bCrCsf

Scrub down walls, cupboards and dry storage areas - “Kitchen walls, even though they’re out of the public eye,” says Robert Doland of Jacobs Doland Foodservice Consultants, “still need to perform to a high functional standard. Durability, cleanability, and low-maintenance are the driving decision makers.” Wipe down walls using a circular motion. Allow food stains to soak for a few minutes before scrubbing off.

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Restock first aid kit – Accidents happen. Le Bernadin’s Michael Laiskonis lost the tip of his thumb cutting onions. It is easy to get refills for a restaurant grade first aid kit (although not so easy to replace a thumb). Some first aid supplies may not be in the kit: Locanda Verde’s Pastry Chef Karen DeMasco thinks butter works well for burns.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/6VUesy

Wash ceilings - Chef Robert Irvine says, “Keep your restaurant clean or shut it down!” Remove cobwebs with a vacuum. Place this task before you clean the floors. Make sure to cover furniture to protect yourself from the effects of gravity.

Yearly List:

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Check fire extinguishers - This should be a thorough check to make sure that the extinguisher will operate effectively and safely.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7rwdK9

Check hood lights on gas kitchen equipment – Keeping the manual will help you with this, or you can always hire a professional. The good news is that if you lost your manual, it is easily found online.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/m9mrqV

Check hoods – A range hood is considered to be a essential kitchen appliance for a commercial kitchen. Cooking without a range hood would be extremely uncomfortable because the heat and steam and odors of the kitchen need circulation. Make sure the fan is working well and that no parts have to be replaced.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/5mi3KW

Deep clean the fridge – As with the freezer, this may involve taking many things apart and putting them back together. Martha Stewart suggests that a good time for a deep clean is when there are fewer items in the fridge to begin with. Less work for you!

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/a7namV

Replace cleaning equipment - Mops and dish rags don’t last forever but they can last all year if maintained properly. Cleaning tools can be breeding grounds for bacteria and need to be washed frequently. One estimation is that a mop head can be washed 250 times or more before replacing. A year is a good time to see if it looks like it is worth keeping around.

Does the cleaning checklist come naturally to you, or do you need to see it in print to keep your kitchen so clean you could eat off the floor (although we recommend a plate)?

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The Basics of Upselling Restaurant Items

Would you like fries with that?

The infamous example of upselling is not just for fast food establishments. It has its place in every restaurant, but how do you do it without looking like a washed out car’s salesman?

There is an art to it. Knowing the art can be one of the things that helps your restaurant to thrive. It is an obvious way to make more money, but you do not want to do so at the expense of the customer’s enjoyment.

The old expression in the restaurant business certainly holds true here: “If you have a great dining experience you may tell your close family and maybe a couple of people at work that you had a great dinner last night. If you have a bad meal/service/experience you will make a point of telling everyone you know how bad it was.”

Striking the balance between not enough upselling and too much upselling is the key. Consider this article Upselling 101:

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7aDwE

1) Create a dialogue rather than a sales pitch. Ordering at a restaurant can sound like a set script. “May I take your order?” “The specials of the day are…” It is the server comfort zone, which is also predictable to the customer.

Ted Rubin, Acting CMO of Brand Innovators says, “Most often we don’t even pay attention to who we are talking to other than via the data we collect (and even that’s a maybe). In order to fix this and really start to benefit from social relationships (both as individuals and as companies), we need to start looking people in the eye. We don’t need to fit our world to social, we need to fit social to our world.”

How does this apply to you in the restaurant?

Look your customer in the eye. Improvise (with respect of course). Talk to your customer, rather than talking at your customer.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/6vYLeq

2) Give the customer enticing options. In an article entitled “The 20 Most Annoying Things Waiters Do in Restaurants” upselling made the list. Author Chris Schonberger got specific: “when servers try to play you for a fool and recommend only the most expensive dishes and wines on the menu.” Be honest about what is delightful on your menu and describe it in detail.

Buzztime recommends setting some time aside with staff to create mock scenarios. Would you believe what they were selling or do they sound inauthentic? In addition, don’t underestimate the power of upselling on social media: a beautiful food photograph can go a long way.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/mTHgZc

3) Add onto an existing choice with evocative language. It is imperative that the wait staff is knowledgeable about the menu. They should sample food and drink items on a regular basis, especially if there is a new menu item or special. Cynthia Meyers with Demand Media stresses the importance of knowing what you are selling.

The customer does not want to hear that “everything’s good.” For example, if there is the option of calamari on the side, it is possible to mention that casually or say, “The calamari is crispy and fresh and a house specialty.” This can make all the difference in persuasion. It is the difference between mouth-watering language and rushed communication.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/99rUjV

4) Get descriptive in between courses. A customer who starts with a main could be upsold the dessert. A customer that is already lingering on appetizers can learn which entrée is a beautiful pairing. It is easy to say no to the question, “Would you like dessert?”

HCareers has wonderful suggestions for how to upsell, including bringing along a dessert menu, even if it is not requested. It’s never just a piece of chocolate cake. It is a dessert that is unique to you. It is a five-layer cake with ganache filling. You can also let them know that there is a limited quantity available and ask they would like you to set one aside. VIP indeed.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/4bp5wW

5) Appeal to your customer’s taste buds and personality. Customers don’t come in a one size fits all model. Some want to design their own dishes. Some come into the restaurant having read the menu on your website, knowing full well what they would like to order.

Carey Business School Dean, Bernard Ferrari says, “You need to listen to lead.” If your client is watching their waistline, this may not be the time to pitch the mac and cheese. Let your choices for them be as individual as they are.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/mTHn3B

6) Keep your pitches to 1 or 2 to keep from aggravating the customer. It is just as important to know when to pull back when it comes to upselling. Too much too quickly makes it look like you are seeing the customer in terms of dollars and cents.

Upselling in moderation is extremely useful. After all, most things in life are better in moderation than in excess. WooThemes writes: “Upselling too hard, or too persistently, can make the customer feel like you’re trying to bleed them dry. And vampirism is never a desirable quality.” Touché.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/4Cf4DN

7) Mention takeout as an option. They are stuffed. They are finished. No, the cheesecake does not sound delicious. BuzzTimeBusiness suggests: “Maybe your customers are too full to eat dessert right now, but they can order it and bring it home for later.” It might also make for an exceptional breakfast.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/dkwVr7

8) Downsell if the upsell wasn’t successful the first time around. The customer does not want the sweet end to the meal that you have suggested. You can, however, suggest smaller plates of lower priced items. Who can resist trying small portions of a variety of desserts? Many restaurants offer shot glass or mason jar desserts which translate as “just a taste.” If even that is off the table, then a coffee or a digestive liquor may go down nicely.

No one likes being “sold” to but everyone likes receiving suggestions of what they may enjoy. It just requires a little finesse. USA Today columnist Steve Strauss writes: “Ideally, upselling works in a casual, friendly-suggestion sort of way. Upselling is not hard selling. They are very different things.”

Have you mastered the art of the upsell?

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The Best Egg Salad Recipe

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Egg salad always makes me think of summer, sunshine, and picnics. It’s an easy meal to make the night before an outing and it keeps well in a cooler with an ice pack. It’s the perfect pairing with a crusty bread and cold lemonade.

Because of these summery feelings, egg salad is one of my favorite things to make in the middle of winter. It’s glorious to sit in my kitchen with the winter sunshine streaming in and take a bite out of summer. I also feel good about eating eggs because they are rich in vitamins A, B, and D while also helping to raise good cholesterol levels.

Egg salad is also great because of it’s versatility. It makes an excellent sandwich, of course. A scoop is an excellent (and protein rich) addition to a light salad. And I’m also guilty of just eating it by the spoonful because it’s delicious.

Perfect egg salad begins with your hard boiled eggs. I choose farm fresh eggs from free-range chickens. Their more varied diets produce eggs with yolks that are more rich and flavorful. You’ll notice the difference in the gorgeous yellow of the yolks.

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https://flic.kr/p/FF6up

I tend to leave the eggs just slightly under cooked so the yolk is still a little creamy. When you break the egg, the yolk should be just a little bit transparent and not quite hard. However, it should not be runny or you’ll end up with a soupy egg salad.

The texture of egg salad is a very personal decision. I like egg salads with big bites of egg white mixed in with the creamy yolk “dressing” and lots of crispy bits of celery and onion. Use a fork if you’d like a chunkier egg salad or try a potato masher (or even a potato ricer) if you’re aiming for smooth and creamy.

While eggs are the star of your egg salad, mayonnaise is the supporting role. Mayonnaise helps turn your egg yolks into a creamy coating. It’s actually very easy to make your own. Whip some up in your food processor to add another delicate layer of egg flavor to your salad.

A tablespoon of spicy mustard actually brings the egg flavor forward. Finely chopped onions add another bit of spice, while some chopped celery sweetens the dish while adding some crunch. A squeeze of lemon at the end helps brighten up the dish with a little extra sour zing.

I like to buy organic onions because they are always spicier than those mass produced at the supermarket. However, when it comes to lemons that I am not zesting, I will opt for the less expensive conventional variety because their juice is protected by their thick skins.

The best part of egg salad is it’s ability to be customized. I’ve included a few of my favorite variations at the end of the recipe. It’s easy to make this recipe your own. You can start with the basic ratios provided in this recipe and then start experimenting with flavors.

What’s your secret to making the best egg salad?

The Best Egg Salad Recipe

Serves 4-6 people depending on serving style: it makes four sandwiches comfortably and can be a side scoop for about six salads.

INGREDIENTS

6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/4 cup mayonnaise, either store bought or homemade, plus more if needed

1 Tablespoon spicy brown or dijon mustard, plus more if needed

1 celery stalk, finely chopped*

1 small garlic clove, minced*

1/4 medium yellow onion, finely chopped*

2 Tbs fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus additional for garnish

1 slice of lemon

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

paprika or cayenne (optional)

*If you’d like smoother egg salad, blend these ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

  1. Fill a medium saucepan about three-quarters of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add eggs carefully with a spoon. Reduce heat to a hard simmer, cover, and allow to cook for seven minutes. Transfer eggs to an ice water bath and allow to chill for ten minutes. Peel your eggs under cool, running water for best results. Be sure that the membrane between the egg white and the shell is also removed.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the eggs into chunky pieces or your desired egg salad texture. At this stage, don’t over mash because you will continue to break the eggs down as you add your other ingredients.

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3. Mash your celery, onions, and garlic into your eggs.

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4. In a second, smaller bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and the mustard. This will insure even distribution of both throughout your egg mixture.

5. Using a spatula, add the mayonnaise and mustard mixture to your egg, celery, and onion mixture. Fold together until well blended.

image006. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. The size of eggs can vary, so sometimes you might need to add more mayo or a touch more mustard to achieve your desired consistency and flavor profile.

7. Fold in the chopped parsley, squeeze the slice of lemon over the salad, and season with salt and pepper. Dust the top with paprika or cayenne, if desired.

8. Serve on toasted, crunchy bread or next to a lightly dressed mixed greens salad.

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Variations:

  • This recipe is just as delicious when used with canned tuna or leftover roasted chicken (especially the dark meat). You may need to experiment with ratios for leftovers. The trick is to start with less, taste, and add more as needed.
  • Devilled Rendition: After you peel the hard boiled eggs, separate the whites and the yolks. In a small bowl, mix yolks, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and 3-4 tablespoons dijon mustard. Mash mixture in with the separated egg whites. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Curry Rendition: Toast some curry powder and cumin in a dry pan over medium low heat for a few minutes, just until the spices become fragrant. Allow them to cool slightly, mix in with your mayo, omit the mustard, and then follow the directions as usual.
  • Instead of parsley try adding a chiffonade of fresh tarragon, thyme, chervil, or even a lemon basil.
  • For an extra treat, fry up two strips of bacon until very crispy. Allow the strips to cool slightly on a paper towel lined plate. Then crumple the strips over the top of your egg salad before serving.
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20 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

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Photo collage via CakeSpy

Cooking is a wonderful art with many delicious rewards. But preparing food can take a lot of time and attention, so it’s awfully nice to discover shortcuts that will help maintain the quality of your ingredients and streamline your process.

These 20 easy kitchen hacks will make your life much easier, improving various culinary practices in sometimes surprising ways. From using a common household object for picture-perfect cheesecake slices to lengthening the life of your bananas and making the most of your ingredients, you’re bound to learn a new trick or two in this valuable collection of kitchen hacks.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Use dental floss to slice cheesecake. The secret to slicing cheesecake perfectly can be found…in your medicine cabinet. Really! Hold the floss taut, as you would to floss your teeth, and gently, with a slight sawing motion, slice through the cake. Clean slices! For best results, use plain (unscented) floss.
  1. Spray or oil a measuring cup before measuring sticky ingredients to ensure easy release. Make sure you get all of the honey, molasses, or other sticky ingredient out of your measuring cup by spraying it with non-stick spray before measuring. It will ensure an easy release of sticky ingredients.

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Photo via Flickr member cyclonebill

  1. Store avocado with a sprinkle of lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. It’s as easy as sprinkling lemon juice on top of exposed surfaces of avocado or avocado slices. It will keep them looking green and tasting fresh for far longer.
  1. Wrap the top of a bunch of bananas in plastic.

Seriously! Wrapping the top of a bunch of bananas with plastic will prolong their life by a few days, and will slow down the browning process.

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Photo via Flickr member doyland

  1. Run a knife under hot water for perfect bars, brownies, or cake slices. Run a knife under hot water, then dry using a kitchen towel or paper towel before slicing. The warmth of the knife will help it glide through the cake easily, for clean slices. Repeat, drying and cleaning off the knife between cuts.
  1. Make cookie dough in advance and freeze it. Most cookie doughs containing butter can be made in advance and frozen. For drop cookies such as chocolate chip, you can pre-portion dough into circles. For slice and bake cookies, you can form dough into logs then slice and bake as desired.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Combine herbs and oil or butter to make your own bouillon cubes. Start by combining butter or olive oil with enough herbs to form a thick paste. Form them into balls or cubes, wrap individually, and freeze or refrigerate. Voila–you have bouillon cubes ready to go when you are.
  1. Bring stale cake back to life by placing it in a steam bath. Place a slightly stale cake, either by the slice or whole, above a pan of simmering water. Let it steam for a couple of minutes, not so much as to melt the frosting, but to add moisture to the cake. Serve immediately after doing this.

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Photo via flickr member sarajane

  1. Freeze your broth in individual servings. If you’ve made homemade broth, separate it into common servings such as 1 or 2 cups, store in freezer bags marked with the amount or empty yogurt containers, and freeze. It will keep for months, and you’re ready to roll next time you want to make a soup.
  1. Flip natural peanut butter before you open it to help the oil incorporate. If you love the taste of natural peanut butter but don’t care for the messy mixing of the nut butter and separated oil, flip the jar for several hours or overnight. It minimizes the annoyance of stirring to combine, meaning less fuss and mess for you.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Soften brown sugar with a slice of apple. Place a slice of apple in an airtight container with hardened brown sugar. Within hours it will soften the sugar. Once softened, use the sugar immediately.
  1. Use a plastic bag with the end cut off for easy piping of icing. No piping bags? Not a huge problem. You can use heavy duty freezer bags instead. Simply fill with frosting, cut the tip of the bag off in whatever size you’d like to pipe, and get to work. It won’t be as fancy as if you have a fancy decorating tip, but it will do the job for simple piping work.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Make your own confectioners’ sugar by grinding granulated sugar. You can make your own confectioners’ sugar at home with regular granulated sugar. Simply put granulated sugar in a blender, and blend for up to 30 seconds. It will grind the sugar into a super-fine, confectioners’ sugar consistency.
  1. Use a bottle opener to open jars. If you’ve got a tough jar to open, use a bottle opener. Use it to gently pop the seal on top, making it much easier to open.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Combine vinegar and milk to make instant buttermilk. If you, like many, don’t use enough buttermilk to warrant buying an entire container, there’s an easy way to make it on command. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup and then fill with milk until the mixture totals one cup. Wait until it curdles for an easy DIY solution. Using the same ratio, you can make any quantity.
  1. Store lettuce in paper towels. Storing fresh lettuce between paper towels will not only keep lettuce fresher far longer than just keeping it in the bag, but it will remain crisp and won’t get slimy.

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Photo via CakeSpy

  1. Microwave citrus fruits for 10 seconds before juicing to release the most juice. Lightly warming citrus will help it soften and release more juice. Microwaving it for 10 seconds will help you get more juice out of each and every lemon, lime, or orange.
  1. Store pineapples upside down. Store pineapples upside down for the best flavor: it helps the sweet juice which has sunk to the bottom of the fruit travel back up the fruit, making every single slice juicy and flavorful.

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Photo via Flickr member robertbanh

  1. Pour hot milk into the “empty” peanut butter or nutella jar for a tasty drink. Don’t throw out that nearly empty jar! Those hard to reach bits can still be employed to make a delicious beverage. Simply add warm milk, shake or stir, and enjoy.
  1. Make your own yogurt by combining a few tablespoons of yogurt with cream or milk. Using the last few tablespoons of a container of yogurt as a “starter” you can combine it with a cup of cream or milk to create more yogurt. Use a bit of that yogurt as a starter for your next batch.

What is your favorite kitchen hack?

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The Top Ten 2015 Restaurant Trends

Hey, hot stuff. Oh sorry, we weren’t talking to you. We were flirting with our food.

With the rise of food photography, we have taken our epicurean choices up a notch. Restaurants and chefs can rise to celebrity status, but they have to keep au courant with what is trending in an industry that is changing faster than ever.

We don’t yet have the ability to see the future through a crystal ball but we did our best to compile the trending restaurant topics. Here are the restaurant crazes that you can expect will be major points of discussions among foodies in 2015. If we are right, we are buying a lottery ticket on December 31st.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/8zammV

1) Local Foods and Hyper-Local FoodsThe Independent joked, “What’s the difference between local and hyper-local food? Probably about two Euros per carrot.” All kidding aside, hyperlocal is when food is grown on site. As people pay more attention to what goes in their mouths, restaurants are responding by growing food right on their surroundings. A startup by the name of OtherShip Foods aims to help more chefs go in this direction by creating containers that can grow food, soil-free. This may make local food accessible to even more establishments.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/hhNTVS

2) Healthy Food (For Kids Too!) – It is not only carrot sticks on the side that make for a healthy menu. When coupled with soda and fried food, the side dish is almost negligible. Healthy restaurant menus have become vital to business as the demand for lower-calorie items increased at the same time that burger sales decreased, according to a study done by the Hudson Institute. Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at CSPI and a nutritionist says, “Having healthy options in general and for kids is very good for business.”

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/6yjZKi

3) Gluten free – Gluten Free is here to stay. The Gluten Free Agency estimates that their target audience is 44 million strong. Christine Couvelier of Culinary Concierge believes that gluten-free is “part of our way of eating and part of our way of life and the food world has accepted that. When developing products, manufacturers are getting better than ever at developing gluten-free products that taste great because I think that those two things have to go together.” Yahoo Food disagrees and thinks that in 2015 there will be a “wheat revolution.” Let’s see who wins.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7wSNi8

4) Local liquor – If we are getting local with our food, we can’t leave the alcohol behind. The National Restaurant Association predicts that micro-distilled artisan spirits, onsite barrel-aged drinks, and locally produced beer, wine, and spirits are going to be hot topics in 2015. Last year, craft beer kicked big beer’s behind. This works with a quote by Linda Johnson-Bell: “Like human beings, a wine’s taste is going to depend a great deal on its origins and its upbringing.”

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/jBbmhy

5) Street food getting off the street – With the meteoric rise of Food Trucks, it seems amazing that we still know how to sit in a restaurant. Food Trucks and Street Food don’t have the same rental costs as restaurants and can supply an amazing dish for a lower price. Yet, the inventive and handheld nature of popular street meals can work quite well in restaurants. Saltie restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, specializes in unusual sandwiches that frequently draw from world “street food” cuisine. The “Spanish Armada” with potato tortilla, pimento, and aioli adds ethnic flavours to an American style format. And you don’t even have to wait in the cold to get it.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/5WtHMn

6) Make way for brinner over brunch - Move over Brangelina. The next portmanteau (and food trend) is brinner. Breakfast as dinner is popping up in many restaurants. Everyone deserves “the most important meal of the day” even if it doesn’t fit into a traditional schedule. BBC Good Food adds “there simply aren’t enough Saturdays and Sundays to try all those wonderful breakfast and brunch recipes, so they’re making their merry way to our weeknight dinner tables.” Bring back the bacon.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/768ywK

7) Less organic, more sustainable - Let’s get specific with our terms to begin. Organic means crops grown without artificial pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs and animals raised without hormones or antibiotics. Sustainable means that the nutrients removed from the soil by growing plants are replenished without artificial inputs. But there are other definitions and some define sustainable as “ethically raised” or “eco conscious.” In any case, The National Restaurant Association and the American Culinary Federation predict environmental sustainability as one of the top food trends in 2015.

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Flickr Image,https://flic.kr/p/aKiiS

8) Smaller and bigger packages – There are definitely two schools of thought. Some restaurants like to get on board with eating challenges, where the assumption is that you cannot eat it all. Houston restaurant, Nom Nom Noodles, will give a free t-shirt and a $50 gift card to anyone who completes the e-NOM-ous challenge. This is two pounds of noodles, two pounds of meat and a giant bowl of pho. Of course, not everyone believes that bigger is better. Nancy Laird, who was the 2014 chairwoman of the New Jersey Restaurant Association says that “Guests love to mix and match small portions, in a way to make their own tastings.” Bite sized desserts and miniature sweets is the number two predicted trend for desserts by the National Restaurant Association.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/eWvQnM

9) The people behind the food - Knowing your farmer is becoming as important as knowing your food. Restaurants are beginning to get on board with food chain transparency. This can allow consumers to make informed choices even without cooking their own food, believes Jennifer Goggin, cofounder and CEO of FarmersWeb. People want to know the provenance of their food.

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Flickr Image, https://flic.kr/p/7F46BM

10) Beverages as the stars of the show – A diet soda or a glass of wine to complement the meal may be a thing of the past. With drinks becoming as customizable as meals, a decaf caramel latte with house whipped cream may take over dessert. Communal boozing is also back, with punch bowls that can serve multitudes taking up more space on the table than entrees.

Of course, without yet completing our psychic degree, we could be wrong, but we are curious to see which ones you plan on implementing in your restaurant. Or do you know which trends will be hot in 2016?

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