Monthly Archives: March 2014

Equipment You Need for a Fish Fry!

Fried_Fish_and_French_FriesEaster is upon us and that means the Lenten season is in full fish fry mode. Fish fries have long been a staple in communities across the Unites States. Luckily, they’re low maintenance affairs that require just a few pieces of equipment – whether you’re doing them in your restaurant or at your church. Here’s what you’ll need for a successful fish fry:

The Fish: You will need a dry whitefish that is easy to coat with a thick batter and stays in one piece once it’s in the fryer. Varieties such as cod, tilapia, and halibut are great choices for a fish fry.

Equipment for Your Fish Fry: If you have access to one, a commercial fryer will work best for your fish fry. Commercial deep fryers are available in a variety of sizes and as gas fryers and electric fryers to meet your kitchen’s needs.

If you are feeding a large crowd and do not have access to a commercial deep fryer, consider a countertop commercial fryer. Countertop fryers are user friendly and efficient while requiring only a fraction of the space of a traditional commercial deep fryer. They’re also great for appetizers!

You might also consider an outdoor fryer. You can easily fry fish, French fries, and more with an outdoor fryer. Look for a model with at least two baskets so you can keep up with large servings. As an added convenience, typically the fryer tank will detach from its stand so you can transport it anywhere.

Finally, you’ll need fry baskets so your fish can be safely lowered into your fryers. Be sure to check the measurements of the basket before purchasing to assure that it will fit in your frying space.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to deep fry, I recommend peanut or canola because they have the ability to get hot enough to give your fish a nice, golden brown crisp without starting to smoke. Corn and soybean are also good oils; however they will break down quickly, especially at the 350ºF to 425ºF temps you need for a good solid crisp on your deep fried fish.

Buying Guide: All About Cookware

A set of saucepans, stainless steelAlong with your range and oven, good cookware is one of the most important long-term investments you can make for your restaurant. A well-stocked kitchen likely contains most of the pieces listed below. Browse our guide to build your perfect cookware collection.

Frying Pan

Frying pans have curved side walls for easy stirring and sliding food out of the pan. They’re ideal for scrambling, sautéing, searing, and…well…frying. Their sloped sides prevent steam from forming in the pan.

Sauté Pan

Sauté pans have a wide bottom area for maximum heat conduction. They are ideal for sautéing, searing, deglazing, poaching, and stir flying. Their straight, tall sides help contain food and expose all sides to heat and minimize spattering.

Stir Fry Pan

Stir fry pans offer deep, curved sides to promote excellent food movement. These flat bottom pans sit level on cooking surfaces as opposed to a traditional wok, which has a round bottom.

Saucier

A saucier is a hybrid between a sauce pan and a frying pan. Sauciers can sauté, brown, poach, stir-fry, and build a sauce. Their curved sides allow for thorough and efficient whisking too.

Straight Sided Sauce Pan

A wide bottom area allows for maximum heat conduction in straight sided sauce pans. They are ideal for creating and reducing sauces and cooking vegetables. They often come with a lid to control evaporation and accelerate cooking.

Tapered Sauce Pan

A tapered sauce pan features a small bottom diameter for less heat exposure. The flared sides allow for good stirring action. Tapered sauce pans are ideal when you need to cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

Brazier

The wide heating surface of braziers allows you to cook meats and vegetables in small amounts of liquid. Braziers are ideal for slow cooking and for hot baths along with tapered sauce pans for melting butters, heading sauces, or for blanching vegetables. With their large diameter and short side walls, they are a great multi-use pot in any kitchen.

Sauce Pot

Sauce pots are shorter and wider than stock posts to make it easier to work over the pot. They feature a wide bottom area for maximum heat conduction and they’re ideal for slow cooking stews, sauces, soups, casseroles, and roasts while reducing the amount of liquid. They often have two handles for easy pouring and movement.

Stock Pot

Stock pots have a smaller diameter and taller height to preserve liquids longer. Their dimensions force liquids to bubble up through the ingredients, maximizing your flavor. Stock pots offer a thick base for a good slow simmer and are ideal for soups, pastas, bulk vegetables and seafood.

Griddle

A griddle pan is designed to heat or brown foods. It has a wide, flat bottom for a maximum cooking area. Griddles are a great place to cook eggs, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and sandwiches.

How To Build a Concession Trailer

SLE TrailerA well-designed food truck kitchen is an absolute must if you want your mobile kitchen to be efficient and safe. Careful planning in the design of the kitchen will save you money and time during the build-out phase and over time will increase the profitability of your truck.

A food truck kitchen design is primarily dictated by the minimal space you have as well as your required equipment and budget. If this all seems a little overwhelming, check out SLE Equipment (http://www.sleequipment.com). SLE Equipment offers fully customizable concession trailers. You can purchase a concession trailer with commercial restaurant equipment installed such as griddles, hot plates, steam tables, refrigeration, freezers, gas packages, and generators. Or you can work directly with SLE to design and customize your trailer with the equipment you need.

Each listing on SLE Equipment’s site has multiple pictures and offers a video tour of the trailer so you can get to know it inside and out. If you have a general sense of what you’re looking for but still want ideas, SLE Equipment also features previously built custom trailers on their site. You can peruse trailers of similar size and function. In fact, if you like a custom trailer so much, SLE can build an exact replica for you!

If you like the idea of starting from scratch, SLE will provide a dedicated CAD Specialist to work with you in developing a design that meets your business needs. Within 24 hours of the CAD drawing, SLE Equipment will send you a cost quote. After your approval, you can have your custom built concession trailer in as few as 4 weeks. Financing is available through various SLE Equipment partners, helping you afford your dream.

SLE Equipment is located in Antioch, Tennessee – a few minutes outside of Nashville. Get online, or get over there today!

Celebrate the Taste of New Orleans with King Cake!

King Cake PicThe King Cake is a New Orleans tradition that involves a party, as pastry, and a plastic baby baked in a cake. Really, that’s it. As the tradition goes, a small plastic baby is hidden inside the cake; the person who gets the slice with the baby baked inside is the party host the following year.

It’s no secret that I love sweets, but I’m an average baker – at best. Below is a super awesome recipe I found some years ago, it’s easy enough and tastes great. This recipe makes a standard 8 serving cake. You can double the ingredients if you’d like to make more than one cake. If you have a favorite recipe, send it my way. I’d love to try something new too!

PASTRY:

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup melted butter

FROSTING:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons water

Directions

Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours, then punch down the dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup raisins. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.

Roll dough out into large rectangle (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form an oval shaped ring. Place the ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the ring at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries.

Note: Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow!

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