Category Archives: Cooking Tips & Recipes

Game-Day Snacking- Real French Onion Dip

It’s fall and football season is back in full swing.  And what kind of host would you be if you didn’t supply the best snacks for your guests?  Not a very popular one, that’s for sure! But fear not, we’ve got a delicious game-day dip idea that is sure to be a hit!  We’ve got what you need to know to make this gameday staple below.  Just add potato chips!

Real French Onion Dip -seriouseats.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 large yellow onions, finely diced (about 1 quart)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced chives

Directions:

  1. Heat sugar in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until completely melted and light brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add onions and stir with wooden spoon to coat onions in sugar. Add butter, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Toss to combine. Cook, shaking pan occasionally until onions release all their liquid and brown coating builds up on bottom of pan, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons water shake pan while scraping with wooden spoon to deglaze brown bits from bottom of pan. Continue cooking, shaking occasionally until coating begins to build up again, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat deglazing and cooking steps three more times until all water is used up and onions are deep brown. Transfer to medium mixing bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  3. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan, and Worcestershire and whisk to combine. For smoother texture, run through blender or food processor. Chill in a sealed container for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days (flavor will improve with time). Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve with chips.

Yield: ~2 cups

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Now that you’ve got the dip covered, just head on out and get your favorite potato chips! If for some reason you wind up with leftover dip, you can always put in on a hamburger or a nice roast beef sandwich!  You might be surprised how good it is!

Bite Me Monday: Homemade Mounds Bars

It’s time to bite back at Monday with this week’s Bite Me Monday recipe! This week we’ve got an easy to make treat that does not require a heap of ingredients or tons of equipment; Homemade Mounds Bars from Handle the Heat with Tessa Arias.  Monday doesn’t have to be a drag, take a bite out of it and smile!

Supplies Needed: Homemade Mounds Bars

  1. 8 X 8 inch baking pan
  2. Mixing bowl
  3. Small microwave safe bowl
  4. Rubber Spatula
  5. A fork

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Instructions

Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or tin foil. Spray with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl mix together the coconut, salt, and condensed milk until combined. Press mixture into prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Freeze for 15 minutes, or until slightly hardened.

In a small microwave-safe bowl melt the chocolate in 15-second bursts in the microwave, stirring between every burst, until smooth.

Remove coconut mixture from pan. Cut into 1-inch bars. Dip the coconut bars in the chocolate, turning to coat with a fork. Let excess drip before placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place mounds bars in fridge until chocolate has set. Bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days

Enjoy! Check back next week for another bite worthy recipe!

The Central Brew Podcast

Central Brew Podcast – June 30, 2017

Welcome to the end of the week… and the month!

We are excited to reveal our new podcast, The Central Brew! Sit back, relax and listen to industry-related news, Central promotions, and interesting foodservice tips.

Central Blogs

  1. Tuesday Tip: The Importance of Ice Machine Filters
  2. Types of Beer Glasses

Central Promos

The new catalog has arrived! Want the latest version? Click here to request a copy!

Visit CentralRestaurant.com to view current promotions, or click the links below.

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To keep up with the latest, subscribe to Central’s email list and get exclusive benefits such as discounts, new product alerts and early access to our clearance list. You can also follow us on the following social channels for the latest blogs, foodservice industry news and more!

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More than Pumpkin Spice: Fall Flavors to Utilize on Your Menu

Let’s face it, at this point in time, at least SOME of us are Pumpkin Spiced out. Each year, it’s Pumpkin Spice-this, Pumpkin Spice-that…enough, I say! There are so many other fall flavors and ingredients out there for you to utilize in your kitchen. Let’s take some of these out of the orange gourd’s shadow and highlight what they bring to your menu.

Apples

Photo via Visualhunt.com

Photo via Visualhunt.com

I love apples. LOVE them. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is go to my local orchard (Anderson Orchard, represent!) and get fresh apple cider. Apples are so versatile in what you can do with them. You can bake them in pies, make hard cider, accompany them with savory items like poultry or pork. Whatever your fall menu is, apples should be an important part of it!

Apple Recipes:

Butternut Squash

Photo credit: USDAgov via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Photo credit: USDAgov via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Believe it or not, there are other gourds out there besides pumpkin! Butternut squash has a nutty flavor, and can be roasted, pureed into soups, mashed and more. One of my favorite uses for it is butternut squash bisque, adding nutmeg, onion, stock (I use chicken, but vegetarian is fine) and a bit of cream. Delicious!

Butternut Squash Recipes

Brussels Sprouts

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Oh, don’t turn your nose up just yet! Brussels sprouts are becoming more widely accepted as a fall ingredient! I was skeptical at first myself. When I was a kid, television always portrayed them as the scourge of hell on a child’s plate, so I just assumed they were the WORST. However, I wised up a few years ago, and I’ve never turned back! My favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts is by roasting them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. The carmelization process gives them such a wonderful flavor; it’s almost like eating candy…I’m serious! Adding Brussels sprouts to your menu is a no brainer. Let’s work to change their image to something to be loved, not feared!

Brussels Sprouts Recipes:

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Okay, so maybe I went a little hard on Pumpkin Spice…I guess it’s not too bad. But it’s important to recognize there are so many other great fall flavors and ingredients out there! Try them out and your customer will thank you! And as always, whatever equipment or supplies you need to make the perfect fall dish, Central has them! Speak to one of our helpful Product Consultants online, or call 1-800-215-9293.

 

 

Summertime Eats, Drinks, and Fun! Celebrate in Style!

It’s the time of year when consumers finally crawl out of their winter-long hibernation and begin the hunt for good food and fun times. It’s finally summer – the season synonymous with warmer weather, longer days and nights full of festive excitement. So why not make of the most of it? Here are some suggestions for enjoying this season.

Up your patio game

Who doesn’t love sitting outside on a seventy-degree night, a cold one in hand, bonding with close friends? If you’ve got the space, use it.

Take your restaurant to the next level by making the most of your outdoor area. Create an ambiance with tiki torches and low hanging, decorative lighting. An open flame and dim lights can really set the scene and create a memorable environment for your guests.

Bring in live music to fuel the night and deliver an experience. If space is an issue, go acoustic with a solo singer and guitar act. Or setup karaoke and watch the good times unfold. Keep in mind, good drink specials may come in handy for those guests who might need a little encouragement.

Be sure to check out our massive selection of outdoor furniture, including tables, seating and fencing.

Refresh with cool treats and sizzling selections

Food. The great seasonal equalizer.

Summertime offers an opportunity to switch up your menu and try something new. Go big. Be bold. Standout.

Some hot ticket dishes include fresh seafood, grilled chicken (or grilled anything) and a diverse selection of crisp salads. To get the ideas rolling, check out these unique recipes for a seared chicken with avocado salsa and a sesame ginger salmon salad, as well as delish.com’s entire list of 75 Insanely Easy Summer Dinner Ideas.

Fajitas are also a sizzlin’ summertime favorite. The trick is in the marinade. We recommend some combination of lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, cayenne and black pepper. SONY DSCBring in your choice meat (steak, chicken or shrimp), along with bright, colorful veggies, and let soak in a zip lock bag for at least two hours (or overnight for optimum flavor potential). Then grill up and serve sizzling.

You can also have some fun with lighter bites too. Summer is an excellent season for refreshing fruits like watermelon. Check out these 20 refreshing watermelon recipes including watermelon slushies, salsas and salads. And don’t be afraid to get nutty. Coconutty that is! Check out this recipe for piña colada popsicles sure to inspire a refreshingly good time.

For more ideas, be sure to follow our Summer Sensations, Scrumptious Salads and Cookout Inspiration boards on Pinterest!

Don’t forget the drinks!

Summer also provides great cocktail inspiration.

Mules are a current trend, and offer possibilities for your own unique spin. Start with this:

  1. Pour 1 ½ oz. of vodka and 4 oz. of ginger beer over ice in a copper mug
  2. Add 1/6 oz. of lime juice
  3. Stir
  4. Garnish with basil and a lime slice

Other variations include the Kentucky Mule (prepared with whiskey instead of vodka), and the Garden Mule (made with blueberries and cucumbers!). Here’s a whole list of unique mule concoctions!

Or go the more tropical route with this coconut rum punch!

  1. Mix together 1 cup coconut rum, 2 cups orange juice, 2 cups pineapple juice, and 2 cups ginger ale
  2. Pour over ice and add 1 cup grenadine or cherry syrup for a tropical hue
  3. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherries

For you beer lovers, look for local cream ales or craft pilsners. They’re light, refreshing and will definitely hit the spot during the hotter days!

Host one big festival or summer event

Summer won’t last forever! Bring it all together for one, big blowout event your guests will never forget.

Let us know how you celebrate the summer in the comments section!

5 Ways to Win this Year’s March Madness Season

March Madness is almost here!

The first round kicks off March 15. Across the country, restaurants and bars are preparing to celebrate the annual college basketball tournament in style- from bracket contests, games, drink specials and more! So fill out your bracket and check out these ideas guaranteed to make your event a slam dunk!

1. Bracket contests are essential! 

Not only are they one of the most popular types of contests, they are a March Madness must! Keep an up to date bracket going on a large poster board and make your contest stand out by offering custom promotions like half-off appetizers or cheaper pints to those customers who win big!

Photo credit: Manchester Library via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Manchester Library via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

2. Nothing goes with basketball quite like beer!

Keep it flowing this season with good bucket and pitcher specials. And for those customers who aren’t beer fans, consider these basketball-themed cocktail recipes.

3. Have munchies on hand. 

Photo credit: heather_zidell via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: heather_zidell via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is a great opportunity to let your creativity run free! From basketball shaped sliders, bean dip and tortilla chips, to Nutter Butter referees, there are tons of inventive, out-of-the-box things you can do with food! Here are some other suggestions to get the creative juices flowing.

4. What about games?

If space allows, setup cornhole tournaments to complement the game, or mount a small basketball hoop on a wall or door. Is space an issue? Basketball themed trivia is also a blast! Here are 21 fun facts about March Madness to get you started.

5. Dress the part!

Go all out with referee attire or jerseys from your favorite college team. Whistles and basketball keychains make great party favors also!

Doing anything unique this March Madness season? Let us know in the reply section below!

Be sure to visit the Central Restaurant Products website to stock up on equipment and supplies to make this and future events a success!

 

House-Made Condiments and Dressings

Forget the store bought ketchup, mustard and ranch dressing. It’s time to get creative and healthy with your salad dressings and condiments! House-made salad dressings and condiments differentiate your dishes and keep your customers coming back asking “where can I buy this?!”

House-made condiments and dressings are simple to make and help provide a better experience to your customers. Grab your mixing bowls and whisks – it’s time to get to work!

Benefits

There are countless benefits to a restaurant utilizing house-made sauces. A few of the most important benefits include:

Orange Fennel Vinaigrette | Photo: My Recipes

Orange Fennel Vinaigrette | Photo: My Recipes

  • Health – with the growing concern of healthy eating options, not just ‘diet’ foods, house-made dressings and condiments give customers an incentive to try your newest dish without worrying about the fat content and preservatives in the sauce.
  • Freshness – customers want to know their food is made with real, fresh ingredients. Making sauces in-house on a weekly basis makes a major difference in the the taste of your dish. If you have the space to plant a garden and grow your own ingredients, that is even better! With spring right around the corner, it is a great time to start planning your garden!
  • Uniqueness – when customers are dining out, they want to know they are paying for something they could not just pick up from the store. The sauce used can take an ordinary burger to a phenomenal burger and create regular customers – make sure you use the best of the best!

Recipes to Try

Homemade Spinach Pesto. Photo: Simplistically Living

Homemade Spinach Pesto | Photo: Simplistically Living

Need some help getting started? Check out these delicious recipes!

 

 

 

 

After your sauces are created, be sure your sauce cups are up to date! And as always, speak to one of our helpful product consultants for any other supplies or equipment you need to make your restaurant great! Call them at 800-215-9293 or chat live with them now.

 

 

Featured Image: Simply Scratch

Photo Credit: Cooking Classic

Delicious Cookies to Enjoy This Holiday Season

Some of my favorite memories from the Holiday Season are gathering around with family to bake and decorate cookies. Now-a-days, there are countless recipes floating around the internet that you just have to try. We’ve rounded up the most scrumptious recipes we could find from the classics to cookies you would have never thought of trying!

 

Classic Sugar Cookies

When I think of baking cookies for Christmas, I think of sugar cookies. They’re soft, savory, and so much fun to decorate! Did you know that the first sugar cookie goes all the way back to the mid-1700s in Nazareth, Pennsylvania? According to Cook CFB, German Protestants first created the cookie which used to be known as the Nazareth Cookie. Now, we all know and love it by the name sugar cookie.

Recipes

Tip: For a unique decorating technique, try using Royal Icing!

 

 

 

Gingerbread Cookies

Photo Credit: Cooking Classy

Photo Credit: Cooking Classy

Gingerbread is used in a plethora of delicious recipes. Perhaps most famous for brightly candy decorated houses, gingerbread is considered another “classic” holiday treat. However, we want to give credit to the beloved Gingerbread cookies. Traditionally, these cookies are crisp and flavorful, but modern tweaks to the recipe have made deviations that are soft and chewy or even converted into “cookie bars.”

Recipes

 

 

 

 

 

New Cookies to Try

Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.handletheheat.com/chewy-chocolate-gingerbread-cookie/" target="_blank">Handle The Heat</a>

Photo Credit: Handle The Heat

While we find it important to keep your family traditions of baking the “classics,” we also encourage you to try a few new recipes this holiday season! We rounded up the most unique and delicious looking cookie recipes that we could find. Give them a try and let us know how they turn out in the comments!

 

 

 

Equipment

You can’t bake without the right supplies. But don’t worry, Central Restaurant Products has you covered with everything you need for baking the perfect holiday treats. Here are a few essentials to get you started:

Need more? See our full assortment of products at www.centralrestaurantproducts.com!