By Jacob King
Memorial Day is almost here and soon you, like many Americans, will probably take to the deck, don that cheesy apron your spouse forbade you from wearing ever again, and fire up the grill for some good eats and good laughs with family and friends. Whether this is your first time behind the spatula or you're a seasoned grillmaster, take a gander at our list of grilling do's and don'ts so you don't make a rookie mistake like…
Forgetting to Prep: Grilling isn't a spur-of-the-moment thing. Skimp on prep-time and your grill-a-thon is more likely to resemble a Swedish Chef skit from The Muppet Show.
Instead: Prep meats, veggies, sauces, etc. beforehand and have them ready to go when you fire up the grill. Also give cold meats a chance to warm up to room temp - letting them sit for too long is unsafe, but neither should you throw frozen steaks directly on the grill.
Using Too Much Heat: Most rookie grillers assume a grill has one setting; roaring inferno. But not all items need to be under direct heat all the time; that's a recipe for flare-ups and scorched results (especially on more delicate items like chicken, fish, or veggies).
Instead: If you're using a charcoal grill, don't cover the entire grill with briquettes. Make a hot zone directly over them, but leave an area to keep items that require gentler heat; this also gives you a place to move items in the event of a flare-up.
Getting Saucy: Simple chemistry on this one; most sauces contain sugar, and sugar burns in heat. Slather that porkchop in tons of barbecue sauce when you first throw it on the grill and you're likely to char it black and disappoint your guests.
Instead: Apply sauces closer to the end of the cooking cycle for that signature, savory taste…without burning your meats to a crisp.
Cutting the Meat: Ideally, the only time you want to cut the meat is when you're sawing off a piece that's about to go into your mouth. The more you slice, pierce, etc. during cooking (even to see if it's done or to turn) the more juices escape and the drier the result.
Instead: For flipping and turning, use tongs. For checking "doneness" invest in a food thermometer. And to be sure you're still being safe, here's a list of recommended internal temperatures for all kinds of foods.
Rushing Food to the Table: You may be going crazy from hunger and your guests probably are too, but don't make the mistake of sending your perfectly crafted burgers or steaks out to the table as soon as they leave the grill.
Instead: Let them sit for a few minutes; this lets juices circulate back through the meat for that perfect punch of flavor…while letting you prep that coveted first plate for yourself…win-win.
Photos by Lisa Kyler.
By Christopher Zook
It's May - the perfect time of year between Fall and Summer when the weather's just right and snow is a distant concern for at least another five months. So before Summer hits you full on, now is the time to restock your outdoor dining furniture, supplies, and equipment - and there's no better place to do it than here!
Furniture for Your Patio
For the casual dining establishment, we carry a variety of high-demand products like deck chairs and umbrellas. If you're looking for more durable furniture, we also have a variety of aluminum products. We've even got your outdoor bar covered with a ton of different bar stools that can work with any style bar. And to help with sanitation, we've got a variety of trash cans that'll help keep your business clean while complementing your outdoor motif.
Equipment for Your Patio
Cooking outside is definitely one of the best parts of summer. That's why we carry special lines of equipment that are designed exclusively to operate outdoors. Things like grills, fryers and ranges are all great additions to your outdoor dining experience, especially since you can probably replicate your entire indoor menu with these versatile pieces of equipment. For your thirstier customers, we also have kegerators and beer dispensers and a bunch of accessories to help get the weekend party started at any catered event.
Heaters, Dishware, and More
To help take the edge off those chilly evenings before July, you can also outfit your outdoor dining areas with a variety of patio heaters that can attach to walls or stand free around tables and help extend the outdoor dining season to bring in more customers. And it's a good idea to stock up on melamine dishware while you're at it since these dishes are more durable than their fragile counterparts. And if you don't want to risk your nicer glassware outdoors, try using plastic cups instead to help save some money. They're great for everything from water to beer to mixed drinks, and aside from a little mop-up, you won't risk anything if a cup is knocked on the floor.
With so much at your fingertips, how can you resist? Make sure you're prepared for all the summer fun with a few quick and easy buys from The WEBstaurant Store!
By Steven Ziegler
Whether you are an up-and-coming chef, a home cook, or a restaurant owner looking to renovate, you’ve all imagined what your dream restaurant would be. How do we know? Because we see our products being Pinned to Pinterest onto boards with titles like, “My Café”, “The Diner”, “Restaurant Project”, and “Yogurt Shop”. So, since we know you have dreams and we love seeing our products Pinned, we’re holding our first Pinterest Sweepstakes. Just follow the instructions below for your chance to win $250 in WEBucks to spend at the WEBstaurantStore! Pin quickly—you only have until 6/2/2013 to enter!
By Natalie Pronio
While the rest of the world slammed cold pizza and last night's leftovers for lunch today, The WEBstaurant Store treated its employees to a Cinco de Mayo lunch, complete with all the fixings...even mini margaritas!!
Employees with May birthdays took part in the preparation and cooking of almost all aspects of the lunch, including a kitchen tour and a lesson on cutlery, knives and cutting boards, and hands-on demonstrations from Matt Schuler, our corporate chef, and Steve Ziegler, our product expert. Dishes had all the spice and sass of a fiesta and included pork, chicken and beef burritos, re-fried beans and rice, tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and more!
Check out some pics by Lisa, one of our awesome photographers:
|Courtney and Kyle cut tortillas to make tortilla chips.||Chelsey, Amy and Natalie prepare vegetables to be sliced.||Steve preps mini margarita cups to be filled.|
Also make sure you follow us on Instagram to see pics of the preparation and the party, and other cool stuff we do on the daily!
By Steven Ziegler
Whether you are catering weddings, planning a picnic, or serving drinks on the deck, our May 2013 Coupon Code Update has something for you. Don't forget to try out our Terminate crawling insect spray to keep the your facilities free from insects!
Love Pinterest? Dream of owning or renovating your restaurant? Be sure to check out our "Dream Restaurant" Pinterest Sweepstakes and you could win up to $250 in WEBucks to spend on our site!
Use Coupon Code: MAYSALEFor any or all of the following items for the entire month of May!
By Christopher Zook
Signature drinks are a bar's punchline: You attract your audience with some advertised deals, set them up with a nice dinner, and take it home with a unique house-only cocktail. But fresh-mixed isn't always the best way to serve every drink. Dating back to the 19th Century, the practice of barrel aged cocktails are making a resurgence among bars the world over for one important and simple reason.
How to Mix
There are a few quick steps you need to take care of before making your actual cocktail. First, you need a barrel that will suit your needs. The smaller and newer a barrel is, the faster it will work. When you have it, fill it with warm water and let it sit for about two days to test for leaks. If it's all sealed up, you're good to move on.
Next, mix your cocktail as you would serving it fresh. But avoid perishable ingredients as often as possible - you actually don't want to use them at all. Egg whites, creams, and fruit juices are all off limits because they will eventually spoil and mess up the aging process. But once you're barreled, the hard part is over.
How to Store
The storage / aging period is fairly boring for a cocktail, but it still requires some important steps. The entire process takes about six to eight weeks depending on the flavor you're looking for, so it's a good idea to taste test about once a week to avoid over-flavoring. If your cocktail has aged before you planned to serve it, pour it into a glass container to keep it at its prime flavor. It won't absorb any flavor from glass, and you can use this as an opportunity to add bitters or additional flavorings. However, in the event your cocktail becomes over-infused, unfortunately there's not a lot you can do except try again.
If you plan on making multiple cocktail batches, keep in mind that while the barrel's flavor fuses with the cocktail, the cocktail's flavor also fuses with the barrel. So if you've used the same barrel to age Manhattans, don't start using it to age martinis. This will prevent flavor cross-contamination to help your drinks can maintain their signature tastes.
How to Serve
When your cocktail is ready to serve, it's important to take precautions to keep the beverage looking clean. Tying a cheese cloth to your barrel's tap will help strain the cocktail to hold back any wood sediment from the barrel's interior. You can also do this if you're serving from glass containers that weren't previously strained just to make sure your customers don't receive any stray solids with their order. If you're expecting a large number of orders for your cocktails, it's a good idea to strain it before the time at which you have to serve it. Otherwise, you may be replacing cloths and taking unnecessary time to filter when it could have been done earlier. After your barrel is empty, keep it water-tight by quickly filling it with warm water. This will help keep the wood soaked.
But really, this whole process isn't difficult. And once you find the optimum time for aging, it gets easier whenever you make a new batch. Barrel-aged cocktails are an excellent addition to any bar or restaurant's menu, and with how quickly they're catching on, it's better to be an early trendsetter than a late adopter.
By Emily Gertenbach
Put yourself in the perfect, relaxed Cinco de Mayo mood with the final installment in our Mexican drink series - almond horchata! This delicious, rice based drink is soothing and delicious, calling to mind relaxing summer afternoons spent under the shade of a cool tree. Different variations of horchata are enjoyed throughout Mexico, the United States, and other areas, but our version features sweet notes of almond and cinnamon for a refreshing, smooth experience.
Prep time: 30 min
Total time: 8.5 hours
This recipe makes approximately 5 servings
For Blanched Almonds:
- Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil and add raw almonds. Leave the almonds in the boiling water for 30 seconds before immediately removing from heat.
- Drain and rinse almonds in cool water. Almond skins should look wrinkled and puckered.
- Gently peel off almond skins and discard. Set aside the skinless almonds.
- Place uncooked long grain rice and skinless almonds in a large container or bowl; stir gently to combine.
- Add 1 cinnamon stick and gently pour in 10 cups of water,or more if needed, to completely cover the rice and almond mixture.
- Cover the container and place in the refrigerator. Allow the mixture to steep for 8 hours or overnight.
- When finished soaking, add the rice, water, almonds, and cinnamon into a food processor with 1 cup of sugar (adjust amount to taste).
- Blend the mixture, pulsing until a fine puree forms. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
- Working in batches, pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Allow liquid to collect in a bowl; press down on the grounds to extract all water.
- Discard the rice, cinnamon, and almond grounds.
- Continue to strain the liquid until little to no rice residue is caught in the strainer or cheesecloth.
- Add 1 cup of evaporated milk
- Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract and stir
- Chill before serving over ice with a dash of ground cinnamon. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks, if desired!
Don't forget to check out these other great summery, Cinco de Mayo recipes for a fun fiesta that your guests will remember for months to come!
By Suzy Biever
And they're off! And I'm not just talking about the Thoroughbreds. I'm talking about all of the mint juleps made and sold at the Kentucky Derby every year. A tradition that's nearly a century old, the mint julep is a drink made using sugar, bourbon, and mint leaves, and is typically served in the iconic pewter or silver cup. Using more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-To-Serve Cocktail, over 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, and more than 60,000 pounds of ice, a soaring 120,000 mint juleps are served during Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs. However, a $1,000 mint julep is also served at the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, the proceeds of which go to charity for retired racehorses. These luxury juleps boast gold-plated cups, silver straws, Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint leaves from Ireland, spring water ice cubes from the Alps, and sugar from Australia.
But if you're not able to travel down to good old Louisville, Kentucky for one of these $1,000 mint juleps, you can use the recipe below to make your own. Start your own tradition and make mint juleps for your guests (and yourself) during derby weekend!
- Put granulated sugar, water, and leaves from mint sprigs into a glass. Save a few leaves for garnishing.
- Muddle everything together in bottom of glass.
- Pour in the bourbon.
- Fill a separate glass with crushed ice.
- Using a julep strainer, pour the bourbon mixture over the ice.
- Garnish with remaining mint leaves, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
- Serve and enjoy!
By Emily Gertenbach
For many of us, "tequila" + "Cinco de Mayo" = "Margarita." They're tasty, refreshing, potentially fruity, and easy to make from scratch or with a mix. This year, though, why not add a new beverage to your celebratory menu? The Paloma is another tequila-based cocktail that's extremely popular in Mexico, and fantastically simple to make! With just a few ingredients, you can pull together this tart and refreshing drink for dinner party guests, bar patrons, or just for yourself. It was a big hit when we taste-tested it here at The WEBstaurant Store! This recipe makes one Paloma cocktail. If hosting a party, try making a big batch in a large punch bowl and ladling them out for all your guests!
- Rim a Margarita glass or other beverage glass of your choice with salt.
- Pour 2 oz. of blanco tequila into a cocktail shaker.
- Add 1/2 oz. lime juice and 4 - 6 oz. fresh grapefruit juice.
- Add a dash of salt. If a less tart beverage is desired, replace the dash of salt with a bit of sugar.
- Shake and pour over ice.
- Top off the cocktail with seltzer water to fill the glass.
- Garnish with a slice of lime and serve!
By Emily Gertenbach
I’m a big fan of Cinco de Mayo, as are many people in the United States. It’s fun! It’s in May, so it’s kind of warm! It’s a great reason to drink Margaritas and celebrate Mexican culture! I had a suspicion, though, that there was probably a more historical basis to the day that I was unaware of. A quick trip over to The History Channel's site enlightened me: Cinco de Mayo is actually commemorating part of the Franco-Mexican war, when the Mexican army achieved victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Regardless of where you are from, it's a great day to indulge in some delicious, traditional Mexican drinks. Aguas Frescas, literally translated as fresh waters, refers to a number of light and refreshing beverages commonly made from fruits, cereals, flowers, seeds, and water. You can make aguas frescas with a wide array of ingredients, but to encourage summer’s slow arrival here in Pennsylvania, we’re making a vibrant, cool, watermelon version!
Watermelon Agua Fresca
- 1 cup cubed seedless watermelon
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 lime, sliced
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
- Sugar to taste
- Divide your watermelon cubes into portions that are manageable for your blender. Blend the watermelon, pulsing as needed, until it forms a smooth puree. Repeat until all of the watermelon is pureed.
- Gently stir the watermelon puree in a large pitcher or bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of water. Slowly add in sugar to taste.
- Place 1 lime slice and 3 mint leaves in the bottom of a mason jar mug or other glass and muddle them gently.
- Fill the glasses with ice and pour in the watermelon puree. Garnish with additional lime slices and mint. This recipe makes two servings of watermelon agua fresca.
Check back later this week for another delicious Cinco de Mayo beverage!