Comparing Commercial Microwave Ovens and Conventional Ovens

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Microwave ovens have been making life in the kitchen easier since 1947.  The invention of commercial microwave ovens takes this efficiency to the next level.  They operate as high-volume heaters, and they are designed to withstand long hours and extended use in a restaurant kitchen (unlike home microwave ovens).  Both home microwaves and commercial microwave ovens use electromagnetic energy to make the water molecules in food vibrate, thereby warming them.  Foods high in water, like fruits and vegetables, will cook more quickly, as will those high in sugars and fats, like bacon.  A conventional oven, on the other hand, uses heat to cook foods, rather than the electromagnetic waves that commercial microwave ovens use.

So when are commercial microwave ovens best for cooking, and when should you use a conventional oven instead?  Read on for answers and ideas from ShortOrder.

Commercial Microwave Ovens

Commercial microwave ovens are great for quick work in the kitchen when a long cooking time in the oven won’t do.  A commercial microwave oven has a much higher wattage than home microwave ovens, and must meet NSF sanitation standards.  They are often more energy-efficient than other cooking methods, as well.

Conventional Ovens

Conventional ovens have the advantage of being able to bake, roast, and broil, the drawback being that cook time may be significantly lengthened, contrasting the quick convenience of commercial microwave ovens.  Note also that there are two kinds of ovens: gas and electric.  A gas oven often produces a moist heat but very little ambient heat in the kitchen, while an electric oven produces a dry heat, which is more optimal for roasting.

How to Choose

If you are still unsure of which type of commercial appliance would be right for your kitchen, or you have chosen but don’t know which brand to pick, read the reviews ShortOrder customers have written about the products we carry.  Reviews of Panasonic microwaves, Amana microwaves, Bakers Pride Ovens, and more can all be found on ShortOrder.com.

Tap into 2013 Toasted Breads Trend with Commercial Toasters

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

2013 has been proclaimed the Year of the Toasted Breads!  Why, you may ask?  Part of the upswing the popularity of toasted breads (and consequently, commercial toasters) has to do with a rising popularity in snacks and tapas featured more prominently on menus.  Stemming from a desire to appeal to a restaurant-going population that wishes to remain economical when dining out, more restaurants have begun incorporating “bar food”, snacks, and tapas into their all-day menus, often for prices under $5.

So, what kinds of dishes incorporate toasted bread that you can make using commercial toasters?  A whole variety, as it turns out.  You are hardly limited to a basic slice of toast.  There are toasted bread samplers, which allow you to utilize your commercial toasters and explore the different textures and tastes of various breads while pairing them with different spreads or toppings.  Similarly, the “bread board” is gaining popularity as well, which includes not only toasted sliced breads, but also rolls and crostinis as well.  These may be offered as appetizers or as bar food-style snacks to share.

As with any trend, the important thing to do when tapping into a new food style is to separate your dishes from the growing fad by utilizing unique flavors and new ideas.  The beauty of the toasted bread sampler is that it allows a restaurant to put its own spin on the dish, customizing it to the overall theme of the restaurant’s food.  The toppings you choose may be as tame and sweet as a flavorful house-made jam or spiced butter, or as filling and savory as slices of beef tartare or cured salmon.  However you choose to use your commercial toasters to make toasted breads this year, be sure that you can contribute something new to the trend.  Furthermore, it may be wise to change out the ingredients you pair with your breads from your commercial toasters from time to time.  This variety will bring patrons back to try your new menu items, turning a fad into an innovation for your restaurant.

To find the right commercial toasters for your restaurant’s needs, check out ShortOrder’s restaurant equipment today and begin experimenting with toasted breads in your own commercial toasters!

Change Your Ranges with the Locavore Movement

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Many restaurants are looking for ways to set their business apart from the rest.  This week we can help you change what goes on your ranges for cooking by investigating the popularity of the locavore movement.  A unique approach to buying, preparing, and serving food, the locavore philosophy can be a way to improve your relationship with both the surrounding community and with your customers.

About the Locavore Philosophy
The term “locavore” refers to a person who is committed to eating local foods.  What constitutes “local” can vary depending on who you ask to define “locavore”; it can mean keeping to foods within a 100-mile radius of your home to keep within an entire city or region of your state.  The type of food available to locavores ranges from eggs from local farms and vegetables from farmers’ markets to local honey sold at a grocery store.

Why Go Locavore?
Choosing to stick to the locavore philosophy may have some drawbacks for businesses, but the benefits are great as well.  The most obvious benefit of eating locally is that you and your customers know where your food comes from and what is in it.  The resulting menu for your ranges, then, consists of fresher foods, opportunities for seasonal dishes, and a greater variety of foods to cook on your ranges.  Patronizing local growers and vendors also puts money directly back into the local economy, avoiding the need to exact a chunk of profit for a middleman in the production or shipping process.

How to Buy and Eat Locally
Raw fruits and vegetables are main contenders in a locavore’s starting menu, but it is equally possible to find local poultry, eggs, dairy, and meats.  And this philosophy doesn’t just apply to raw ingredients!  The type of food you can get from local vendors ranges from the simple to the fully-finished.  Locally-made jams, coffee, baked goods, paper products, and even beer can be incorporated into your restaurant’s repertoire.

How to Alter Your Menu
You may not be able to turn your whole menu into a locavore’s feast—and that’s fine!  Instead, try swapping out 5 major ingredients for foods that you can easily obtain locally and use on your ranges and in your ovens.  Alternately, you could choose to make 2 or 3 dishes for your ranges that you can tout as completely locavore-friendly.  You should also advertise your vendors on your menu, even if only by way of a small list on its back.  This lets your patrons know exactly where their food is coming from—and isn’t that the point of going local?  Plus, it will help you strengthen your relationship with your vendors, who will appreciate the publicity.

 

Now Serving – Celebrating our 50th Issue!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

February 2013 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 50
Now Serving

Guess what! It is our 50th Issue! I can’t believe it, but I also can’t take the responsibility for it, since I just took over, back in September. I feel like we should look back over some of our best issues, the way talk shows review their favorite clips, but we don’t have the space, nor the time to do that, and we are here to keep you in the know of the new and now. No need to go back in fiftytime. We are always looking ahead to bigger and better things here at ShortOrder.com.

Speaking of “looking ahead,” don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page, so that you can stay up-to-date with what is going on at ShortOrder.com. It is also the only way to catch our random daily promotions. We give away a $50 Gift Card to use at ShortOrder.com to one product reviewer per month. Join me in congratulating this month’s winner: Steve Leamy. Be sure to submit those product reviews, good or bad, we want to hear about it. You could be next!

We often get calls from customers asking for discounts, so we want to remind you to always check our great clearance section first. We update it often. It has scratch and dent, and discontinued products that are all covered by the full manufacturer warranty.

In this month’s issue: Six elements to creating a strong brand, an easy recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherries just in time for Valentines Day, and our featured products: a Gen2 fryer, a Beverage-Air display refrigerator, and a Hobart slicer.

Remember, we have created this newsletter for you! If there is anything you’d like to know more about – give us a shout!

We would always love to hear from you!
Meghan Jarrell

 

How Strong is Your Brand?

The Six Elements to Creating a Strong Brand

What comes to mind when you hear the word brand? You might think of some brands that are recognizable world-wide such as Coca-Cola or McDonalds, or you might think of your local grocery store chain, or maybe a brand of car such as Toyota or BMW. No matter what brands come to mind, they all stand for something. A brand is a promise from a company to be consistent with what, how, and why they do something. Ryan Eby wrote 6 Key Elements that Make a Strong Brand which outlines some useful ways to make sure that you are headed in the right direction with your brand.

Branding is essential in the restaurant industry, as it can, and should, evoke emotions in your customers when they simply hear your name. It takes time to establish a strong brand. A brand should be consistent and evident throughout every part of a customer’s experience with a company. The six key elements that Eby highlighted are:

1. Business Name: first thing customers see, needs to logically correspond with the brand concept

2. Logo: a great logo has consistency and awareness, reminds customers of your company

3. Color Scheme: pick an appropriate color combination, different colors have different effects on people, ie: warm colors (red, orange, yellow) are known to stimulate hunger

4. Uniforms: need to compliment the company’s atmosphere, dress codes also positively impact workers’ attitudes,

5. Tagline: a good slogan should be original, creative, and yet, specific to the company

6. Customer Experience: there needs to be consistency across the board, from how customers are greeted, to their wait time, to the way their food is prepared and served,

Your brand needs to be unique and consistent. Each small detail should point back to your brand concept. When you maintain a strong cohesive brand throughout all elements of the company, you set yourself apart from others. This generates faithful customers, because they know what to expect every time. They will become familiar and comfortable with your brand which will create repeat business.

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Featured Recipe

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Celebrate your Valentines Day with a special touch from allrecipes.com

Yield: 60 Pieces

Ingredients:

  • 60 Maraschino cherries w/stems
  • 3 Tbsp softened butter
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 Cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Lb chocolate confectioners’ coating

cherries

Directions:

  1. Drain cherries, set on paper towels to dry
  2. Combine butter and corn syrup until smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and knead to form a dough – chill to stiffen (if necessary)
  3. Wrap each cherry in about 1 tsp of dough, chill until firm
  4. Melt chocolate coating in heavy saucepan over low heat, dip cherry by stem, place on wax paper
  5. Chill until set, then enjoy!
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Going Gluten-Free – Restaurant Equipment for a Menu of Favorites

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Have you ever been faced with a need to fill gluten-free requirements, but don’t know how to meet those needs with your restaurant equipment?  This week we offer some valuable tips about what gluten-free really means and how to incorporate it into your menus.

About Gluten-Sensitivity
Gluten is a protein composite (made up of two other proteins) found in foods processed from wheat and other grain-related species like barley and rye.  There are different levels of gluten sensitivity.  Those with only mild gluten sensitivities might be able to eat some things those with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that causes, among other things, a complete intolerance to gluten) can not.  For example, be extremely careful about cross-contamination!  If foods are cooked in the same restaurant equipment that was used to bake, cook, stir-fry, or dice a food with gluten in it, those with high gluten-sensitivity will be affected.  Likewise, a food that is technically gluten-free may sport a label that says “Processed in a facility that also handles wheat.”   You can’t tout your menu as truly “gluten-free” if you aren’t careful about exactly what goes into your dish.

Cooking with Restaurant Equipment Sans-Gluten
Before you plan a gluten-free menu, look up as complete a list as you can find of foods with gluten in them.  You might be surprised what makes the cut!  Favorite, seemingly harmless foods like soy sauce, certain lunchmeats, bouillon cubes, and salad dressings can all contain gluten or be contaminated by gluten.

Then, rather than focusing on the things that are not available to your restaurant equipment for a gluten-free menu, think about the things that are.  All kinds of meats, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and a myriad of spices can be incorporated into a gluten-free menu.  There are also, of course, many replacements for gluten-laden ingredients; corn, flax, buckwheat, soy, rice, and almond flour can all serve as suitable substitutes in plenty of recipes.

Gluten-Free Recipes for Restaurant Equipment
Searching for some ideas to add to a gluten-free menu in your restaurant?  Try these recipes out on your restaurant equipment.

Gluten-Free Brownies

These brownies from Jesika Rose of jesicakes.blogspot.com are moist and chewy, and are made incredibly decadent by the inclusion of dark chocolate and almond flour.  Add some mix-ins to make this brownie recipe your own.  Chocolate chips, peanut butter, and pecans can all add a twist to these brownies.

Broccoli Divan

Faith of anediblemosaic.com created a broccoli divan recipe that is vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free.  It relies on no meat substitutes and relies instead on seasonings, almond meal, and vegetables.  This dish, which is normally made with chicken, becomes a flavorful alternative.

Pistachio-Encrusted Salmon with Edamame Mash

Shauna James Ahern of glutenfreegirl.com has created a pistachio-encrusted salmon with edamame mash that is surprisingly sparse in its ingredients and takes very little time to make.  Shauna says you can replace the pistachios with another nut, or the fish with a different firm fish depending on your preference.  Give it a try and see what new creations you can come up with!

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