MATZO MAKEOVER IDEAS.

nina | March 28th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Matzo, the unleavened cracker-like bread traditionally eaten during Jewish Passover celebrations, on one hand, a food you want to be proud of — a Jewish tradition. But frankly, it usually tastes like cardboard.

During Passover, leavened breads and most grains are prohibited. The tradition is intended to recall the flight of the Jews from Egypt after being freed by the pharaoh. As the story goes, they had no time to let their bread rise before baking it. So today, matzo — the production of which is a highly regulated process — is central to Passover meals.

It can be eaten as is, or ground into coarse crumbs or even a fine cake meal and used similar to traditional flours.

When cooking with Matzo chefs tend to treat it as a blank canvas upon which to build dishes. These days matzo is available in many varieties — including whole wheat — many of which taste quite good.

As a chef, try developing a tortilla recipe with tomato-mint salsa and guacamole.  We all know how much families like having a taco night and want a Passover-suitable option.  And then there’s always Pizza Night.  Try using Matzo in your pizza crust.  But remember to use a very hot oven when baking a pizza crust with Matzo.  This will ensure the matzo doesn’t get soggy.

One important thing to always remember, don’t be fooled into thinking that using matzo crumbs and meal is the same as using flour or breadcrumbs, and it’s recommend that you don’t go out of your way to try to use matzo products to recreate dishes you might make at other times of the year.

Matzo, unlike leavened breads, doesn’t have developed glutens (a protein that helps bread rise), so baked goods using matzo meal and cake meal won’t have the same textures as ones made with traditional flour.

One good trick for baking and cooking with matzo meal and cake meal is to start out by emulsifying it by whipping it together with olive oil and egg, almost like making a mayonnaise. This technique is great when making a matzo cake meal-based coffee cake and achieves very light and fluffy results.

Another favorite during Passover is fried green tomatoes made with a seasoned matzo crumb coating. Or try making a stew and soup thickened with a roux made by browning matzo meal and either olive oil or chicken fat. Matzo can be embraced it with plenty of culinary flair.

The #1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. Serving restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.

Source:  Associated Press, 3.20.2013

MARCH MADNESS PUB FARE – CHICKEN WINGS

nina | March 27th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Basketball fans, it’s down to the March Madness Sweet 16! And whether you’re a Syracuse Orange fan or a Louisville Cardinals lover, you need sustenance to get through the games (all eight of ‘em). In our world that means plates piled high with chicken wings, those meaty, spicy bites that satisfy and add a little heat to […]

EASTER MENU IDEAS FROM SAVAL FOODSERVICE.

nina | March 26th, 2013 - 9:00 am

AN EASTER MENU!
Great ideas for your restaurant’s menu.  Available at Saval Foodservice.
Saval Foodservice proudly serves local restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.  We are the #1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Marylkand, Virginia and Washington, DC. 

Brunch Ideas

White Fish Salad, Brkbst, 1/5#, #70945 
Smoked Salmon, Dry Cured, Sliced, Service, 1/3.5#avg, #70194
Bialy Baked Bagel, Bell’s, 60/3oz, #75095
Everything Par-baked Bagel, Brooklyn Bagel, 40/4oz, #75200
Healthy Harvest Muffin Batter, David’s, 2/8#, #27802
Creamed Chipped Beef, Stouffer’s, 4/76oz, #5671
Corned Beef Hash, Saval, 4/5#, #39000
Hard-cooked Eggs, Dry pack, Deb El, 6/1dz., #90461
Liquid Eggs, Whole (Citric) Past., Deb El, 1/20#, #31908
Pink Grapefruit Sections, Fresh, 4/1gal, #21718

On The Lighter Side
Egg Salad, Sally’s, 1/5#, #60151
Magnum Shrimp Salad, Don’s, 1/5#, #85370
Rye Marble Bread, 22 Slices, Ottenberg, 6/32oz
Traditional Dinner Rolls, Traditional, 150/1.3oz, #76030
Italian Wedding Soup, Campbell 3/4#, #73260
Maryland Crab Soup, Campbell, 3/4#, #71260
French Brie Cheese 1k, 60%, Jn Arc, 2/2.5#, #16650
Cream Cheese, Plain, Raskas, 10/3#, #8970
Carr’s Banquet Crackers, Carrs, 24/40ct, #1130
Crackers, Varity Pack, Medley, Kebbler, 25/sleeves, #1104
Hummus, Grecian Delight, 4/.5gal, #42875

 Center of the Plate
Catering Ham, Natural Juices, Saval, 3/8#avg, #36339
Whole Ham, Bone-In, Smoked, 3/22#avg, #88044
Turkey Breast, Catering, Pan-Roasted, Saval, 2/8#avg, #79680
Beef Rib-eye, Choice CPB, National, 3/14#avg., #49800
Beef, Inside Top Round, Choice, IBP, 3/20#avg., #13110
Leg of Lamb Brt, Domestic, 4/6#avg, #17010
Veal Stew Meat, Frozen, 4/2.5#, #67226
Chicken Airline Breast, S/L, Frenched, Holly, 20/10oz, #15862
Chicken, European Split, Holly, 1/14ct, #13273
Crabmeat, Jumbo Colossal Lump Past., Byrd, 12/1#, #77557
Shrimp Cooked, Peeled & Deveined 21/25ctg, 5/2#, #61337
Scallops, Dry Pack 10/20ct, Frz, IQF, 2/5#, #70668
Shrimp, Breaded Bite Size, K&P, 8/3#, #66270
Clam Strip, Super Breaded, Seawatch, 2/5#, #10655
Italian Meatballs, Cooked, 1oz, Rosina, 1/10#, #42810
Pasta Ravioli, Five-Cheese, .5oz, Rosina, 2/5#, #43025

Sides
Macaroni & Cheese, Stouffer’s, 4/76 oz, #5681
Au Gratin Potato Casserole, Idahoan, 6/2.54#, 23652
Fresh Red Bliss Potato, A, 1/50#, #22346
Fresh Green Zucchini Squash, Med, 1/5#, #22405
Fresh Broccoli Crowns, 1/18#, #22020
Fresh Spinach, Stemless, 4/2.25#, #22394

Salad
Fresh Salad Mix, 50/50 Blend, 4/5#, #22585
Fresh Green Leaf Lettuce Fillet, 1/10#, #22070
Fresh English, Seedless Cucumbers, 1/12ct, #22106
Fresh Red Bell Pepper, 1/5ct, #22263
Fresh Red Jumbo Onion, 1/12ct, #22236
Grape Tomato, 1/12pt, #22437
Raspberry Vinaigrette Dress., F/F, Ken’s, 4/15gal, #44925
Home-Style Ranch Dressing, Ken’s, 4/1gal, #42653

 Desserts
Luscious Lemon Bars, Sweet Street, 4/2.38#, #41114
Cupcakes, Original Var. Pack, Sweet Street, 8/4ea, #90589
Cheesecake, Plain, NY Style, 10”, 14 cut, David’s, 1/2ct, #28050
Coconut Sheet Cake, 12×16, Sara Lee, 1/4ct, #27236
Apple Pie Cobbler, Homestyle, Sara Lee, 1/4ct, #27204
Sugar Cookie Dough, IQF, David’s, 107/3oz, #27836
Old Fashion Vanilla Ice Cream, Gifford’s, 1/3gal., #77214
Raspberry, Driscoll Clamshell, Produce, 12/.5pt, #21594
Golden Pineapple, Produce, 6/7ct, #22602

Beverages
Perrier Water Pet, 24/500mlo, #39880
Orange Juice Plastic Bottle, Fld. Nat., 12/10oz, #72077
Bloody Mary Bar Mixer, Bottle, Ocean Spray, 12/32oz, #72077

NEW BILL TO COMBAT SEAFOOD FRAUD.

nina | March 26th, 2013 - 9:00 am

A US Representative and Senate candidate introduced a new version of a bill to combat seafood fraud by tracking fish from a boat to a diner’s plate.

Amended legislation filed earlier in July to reflect input from federal agencies, fishermen, consumer and conservation groups. The new bill will require information already collected by fishermen, such as species name, catch location, and harvest method, to be made available to consumers and requires imported fish to have equivalent documentation.

It also expands the ability of the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to refuse entry of unsafe or fraudulent seafood shipments.

The bill comes after several years of high-profile reports, of rampant seafood substitution of species on restaurant plates.

The #1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. Serving restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.

Source:  boston.com 3.6.2013

 

THE WIDE WORLD OF CITRUS.

nina | March 25th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Now that it is spring and the only respite from the endlessness of winter is a basket of sunny oranges and lemons on the kitchen counter. Citrus fruits are at their peak, just when northerners need them most — not only for a daily dose of vitamin C, but for the sheer sensory pleasure.

Too bad so many of us limit our exposure to a single glass of juice in the morning. Beyond oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, there’s a whole world of lesser-known and quite versatile citrus fruits — from pomelos and blood oranges to kumquats and Meyer lemons. Eat them as is, or add them to cooking to heighten flavour and add a tangy end note.

Even lemons and limes, well-known as they are, could stand a little more time in the spotlight. Besides grating the zest or squeezing their juice, ever thought of chopping a whole peeled lemon into a rice pilaf or a cucumber salad?

The taste of citrus brightens up almost every food.  There’s the extraordinary fragrance and its palate-cleansing quality. Citrus wakes up your taste buds. And it brings out the other flavours that you are using, too. 

Try garnishing rice dishes with wedges of lemon for squeezing on at serving time. Use a microplane to finely grate lemon and orange zest onto fresh ricotta or mozzarella cheese. Segment Ruby Red grapefruit and toss it into a salad of radicchio, Belgian endives, dates and toasted walnuts. She eats kumquats whole, just like that. Slice kumquats up thin and toss them into salads for a sweet-and-sour effect.  It has been mild in San Francisco lately, and kumquats and lemons have been plentiful. 

Blood Oranges.  Sanguines, as they are known in Italian and French, are show-offs.  Cut one up and be prepared to be shocked:  blood-red, pink or speckled orange pulp with a sweet-tart raspberry-like taste.  They grow in Italy, Spain and California. 

Kumquats.  These little orange jewels are as small as robins’ eggs.  They grow in California and Florida.  Pop them in your mouth and eat them whole.  But be warned:  They pack a tart punch.  Slice and add to salads or toss a few into the pot while chicken is roasting. 

Pomelo.  Almost as big as a soccer ball, the pomelo – ancient cousin of the grapefruit – is king of the citrus world.  Light green to pale yellow on the outside and white, yellow or pink inside, once you’ve peeled away a thick layer of pith.  Mild and sweet, pomelos are popular in Thai and Mexican cooking. 

Meyer Lemons.  The sweet and fragrant starlets of the lemon family.  They are a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, with orange-yellow and very fine peel.  Great for making freshly squeezed lemonade, marmalade or cocktails.

Source:  nationalpost.com 3.18.2013

WOMAN AND STEAK HOUSES.

nina | March 22nd, 2013 - 9:00 am

The steakhouse has had a manly reputation for quite some time. Today, women are often the decision-makers in dining, and many forward-thinking restaurateurs have made women’s tastes a priority. But if marketing to women seems like a no-brainer, how a restaurant ought to go about doing so is not. Steakhouses have cut their own paths […]

LOWER-CALORIE OPTIONS CREATE BETTER SALES.

nina | March 20th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Restaurants that serve more lower-calorie options perform better financially, according to a new study. Throughout the past five years, chains that increased the amount of lower-calorie options had better sales growth, larger increases in customer traffic and stronger gains in total food and beverage servings than chains whose servings of lower-calorie options declined.

Consumers are hungry for restaurant meals that won’t expand their waist lines, and the restaurants that recognize this are doing better than those that don’t.

In 17 of the 21 restaurant chains evaluated from 2006 through 2011, lower-calorie foods and beverages outperformed those that were not lower-calorie. In addition, chains that increased their servings of lower-calorie items saw positive returns as a result. These restaurants generated:

*  A 5.5-percent increase in same-store sales, compared with a 5.5 percent decline among chains selling fewer lower-calorie servings;
*  A 10.9-percent growth in customer traffic, compared with a 14.7 percent decline; and
*  An 8.9 percent increase in total food and beverage servings, compared with a 16.3 percent decrease.

In this study, a main course item such as a sandwich or entree was considered lower-calorie if it had no more than 500 calories. Beverages with 50 or fewer calories per eight ounces were considered lower-calorie. Side dishes, appetizers, and desserts with 150 or fewer calories also were categorized as such. Items that did not meet the criteria are referred to as traditional.

Lower-calorie servings of foods and beverages increased as a percentage of total servings across all restaurants. Throughout the five-year period, the restaurants saw an increase of approximately 472 million in total servings of lower-calorie foods and beverages, compared with a decrease of about 1.3 billion servings among traditional items.

Companies can serve both their interest in healthy profits and their customers’ interest in healthier eating. More companies need to make this shift, and now as a result will see more profits.

Source:  pizzamarketplace.com, 2.8.2013

WHAT TO SERVE FOR SPRING BREAK!

nina | March 19th, 2013 - 9:00 am

If you’re a 21-year-old college student, those words signify the perfect time to step away from the books and enjoy the fun and freedom that comes along with spring break. On the other hand, if you’re an owner/operator of a restaurant that lies anywhere near a destination for college-age kids from around the country, spring […]

FRESH PRODUCE IS RAMPING UP!

nina | March 14th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Blueberries.
Blueberry production is ramping up in Florida and this year promises an abundant crop with ample returns to growers, despite a mild freeze in early March that damaged some fruit in the northern part of the state.  Still, it is not a bad time to be in the Florida blueberry business. Returns to growers last year averaged roughly $5 a pounds.

Growers are seeing that the farms are not going in as quickly this year as they did last year and they’re starting to see some of the small farms going by the wayside. It’s shocking, but there are farms as large as 10-20 acres that are so unskilled in the business that they can’t make money and they’re just throwing in the towel. Whether they can’t grow properly or can’t manage their labor or don’t understand the perishability of the crop, it’s unsure, but a number are either looking to get out or have gotten out and thrown up their hands and it’s expect to see more of this.

There is still room for much growth in the category and Florida farmers will have a banner year and a bright future, due in part to blueberries classification as a “superfood” and the seemingly endless stream of good health news about the fruit.

Navel Oranges.
The forecast for this year’s navel orange production in California is slightly above what it was last year, with a few months still left in this year’s season, growers are reporting adequate supplies and good prices on larger-sized fruit. 

Though there was a cold snap early in the year, that brought only minimal frost damage, growers have not reported significant damage to this year’s fruit. Quality has been normal, though smaller-sized fruit has been more prevalent this year than in other years.

Source:  IFDA, 3.8.2013

#1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.  Serving restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.

AH, THE PERFECT PASTA.

nina | March 12th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Whether it be our own local Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, one of the most favorite dishes in our area includes some sort of pasta!  A favorite food in America.

Even though it has taken a drubbing in recent years, caught up in the center of the anti-carb craze and foresworn by legions of carb-counting dieters.  We still like our pasta.  But in reality, most of us have a box (or two…or four) of dried pasta tucked away in our pantries; we must — right? — since Americans consume almost a quarter of the world’s pasta, the most of any one country (even Italy).

And that’s for good reason: pasta is one of the cheapest and most versatile foods ever invented by humankind. Cooked right, it can be one of the most delicious, too. “Soft as silk floss in the springtime/White as autumn silk, cooked just in time,” wrote the fourth-century Chinese poet Shu Xi of his country’s famed noodles.

We’ve all cooked pasta so many times, it’s hard to imagine there’s anything special to it. Yet we’ve all had those nights when something didn’t taste quite the same; the spaghetti we’ve cooked dozens of times before just didn’t taste as…good.

If one of the things you love about cooking pasta is how easy it is, then you’re in luck. Cooking pasta perfectly every time doesn’t involve any fancy tricks, just a few good tips.

(1)  Water first, right?
Tip #1: Don’t skimp on it! Bring to boil about a gallon of water (four quarts) per pound of dried pasta. You want the boil to be rolling when you put the pasta in, and to keep it rolling after. The constant motion will help cook your pasta evenly and keep it from sticking together.

(2)  Should you salt the water?
Yes! There’s no secret reason: it adds flavor. Use about a teaspoon per quart of water, so if you’re boiling a gallon of water, about four teaspoons. Add it when the water has come to a full boil, just before you put in the pasta.

(3)  Stirring your pasta
with a wooden spoon for a minute or two after immersion will also keep it from clumping together or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Most experts agree that adding oil doesn’t help, and it can actually keep certain sauces from clinging to the cooked pasta.

(4)  When is it done?
Really, whenever it tastes done to you. The shape of the pasta obviously determines how long it takes to cook, but the times given on the box are a good place to start. Things like altitude and whether you’ve keep the water at a rolling boil will have an impact, though. If the box says to cook for 10–12 minutes, start tasting at 10 minutes then every 30 seconds or so thereafter.

(5)  The ideal for most people
, though, is al dente, which you probably know means (roughly) “to the tooth.” Because the outside of the pasta cooks faster than the inside, the interior takes longer to soften. Al dente pasta is soft on the outside but maintains a pleasant firmness when you bite into it (as opposed to “crunchiness,” which means it’s not done). This is important because …

(6) 
Hot pasta keeps cooking once you drain it. So you don’t want to overcook it in the pot; you’ll end up with mushy spaghetti.  

(7)  Wait, though!
Before you drain the pasta, save about a half cup or so of the cooking water. It’ll come in handy in a minute. 

(8)  Don’t rinse your pasta after draining it — unless you plan to use it cold (like in a pasta salad). Then you want to rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking. But if you’re serving the pasta hot with sauce (or will be baking it, like in a lasagna), rinsing it just washes away a precious layer of starchiness that will help your sauce cling to the pasta.  

(9)  Pasta and sauce are a match made in heaven
, but you can make it more heavenly by following this simple trick which improves pasta immensely. Instead of just adding the sauce and tossing it with the pasta, stir them together gently, in the warm pot, with two forks and then let the sauce and pasta cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, so the pasta becomes imbued with the flavor of the sauce.

(10) If the sauce is too thick
, add the pasta water you saved in increments of about a tablespoon at a time until the sauce is your desired consistency. This thins the sauce without thinning out the flavor. If you’re serving your pasta in pasta bowls, you can also ladle some of the hot water into the bowls to warm them, and then drain them right before you ladle the pasta in. Warm bowls=warm pasta=perfecto!

Source:  www.recipe .com, 3.7.2013

“The #1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Serving restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.

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