4th of July Menu Ideas for 2018

With guests traveling to the beach, family reunions, fireworks, and other festive gatherings, the 4th of July may be a slow time for your restaurant or bar. Luckily for you, we’ve put together 4 menu ideas for July 4th, including a tasty entree, side, dessert, and cocktail, that will attract guests and make them feel like they’re dining with the founding fathers.

4th of July Menu and Recipes

Serve this 4th of July food to get your guests into a patriotic spirit. These easy recipes are simple to incorporate into your menu, and their patriotic names help to create a festive theme for the holiday.

Cocktail: The George Washington

At the time of his death in 1799, George Washington owned the largest whiskey distillery in the country, so a whiskey drink is a natural choice for your selection of 4th of July cocktails. We honor our first president with this tasty 4th of July drink that uses cherry syrup for a patriotic red color.


Ingredients

  • 1.25 oz. white rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. Dolce cherry syrup
  • 1 whole lime

Instructions

  1. Measure 1.25 oz. of whiskey and add it to your shaker.
  2. Measure 1 oz. of cherry syrup and add it to your shaker.
  3. Using a lime squeezer, extract juice from one whole lime into your shaker.
  4. Cover your shaker and shake together the ingredients.
  5. Pour the ingredients over a glass of shaved ice.
  6. Garnish the cocktail with a cherry.

Entree: The Betsy Ross Burger

To celebrate the woman who sewed the first American flag, we created the Betsy Ross burger. This festive alternative to a traditional burger features red peppers, white onion, and blue cheese toppings to mirror the colors of Old Glory.

4th of July Menu Ideas

Instructions

  1. Prepare burgers on a griddle or commercial outdoor grill according to guests' temperature requests.
  2. Toast and butter the bun.
  3. Place a slice of blue cheese on the burger. You may also use blue cheese crumbles for this recipe, though the crumbles may not melt as well as a slice will.
  4. Add sliced vidalia onions.
  5. Top the burger with slices of roasted red peppers.
  6. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bun.

Side Dish: Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

This delicious twist on a classic summer favorite is sure to satisfy your guests’ desire for traditional American cookout food. Made with red, white, and blue potatoes, this salad is the perfect accompaniment to the Betsy Ross burger.

4th of july side dishes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. blue potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • Sprinkle of celery seed
  • Sprinkle of apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Boil the red and white potatoes for about 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Boil the blue potatoes separately for about 10 minutes. Let them cool.
  2. Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, and dill in a separate bowl. Add the celery seed and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Combine potatoes into one large bowl.
  4. Pour ingredients onto potatoes, mix, and season to taste. If you would like the red, white, and blue hues of the potatoes to stand out more, use less sour cream and mayonnaise.
4th of july desserts

Dessert: Boston Tea Party Earl Grey Cupcakes

Not all 4th of July desserts have to focus on summer berries or be red, white, and blue. The Boston Tea party, when Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty threw 45 tons of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the British tax increase on tea, is our inspiration for this unique dessert. This recipe makes about 24 delicious Earl Grey cupcakes.

Ingredients

For Cupcakes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons finely ground Earl Grey tea
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Strawberry Filling
  • 1 large jar of strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
For Earl Grey Syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 1/2 cup sugar
For Earl Grey Icing
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • about 1 tablespoon Earl Grey syrup

Instructions

For Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly boil the milk over medium heat and add loose Earl Grey tea. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the milk and tea mixture from heat and steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk. Set aside.
  5. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and finely ground Earl Grey tea. Add the butter, vanilla, and tea-infused milk and beat with a mixer on low until the dry ingredients are moist. Mix for one minute on medium-high.
  6. Add in the egg mixture. Do not overmix.
  7. Pour batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Once the cupcakes are cooled and your filling and icing are complete, use a piping tip to create a hole in the top of each cupcake. Spoon strawberry filling into the hole, and then ice the cupcake.
For Strawberry Preserves

  1. In a sauce pan over low-medium heat, cook a jar of strawberry preserves, the orange zest, and orange juice for about 10 minutes.
  2. Set aside to allow the flavors to mix together.
For Earl Grey Syrup

  1. In a small sauce pan, bring water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off heat and add the Earl Grey tea bag.
  3. Allow the tea to steep for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar and turn the heat back on.
  5. Stir occasionally, and cook until the sugar melts completely.
  6. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool.
For Earl Grey Icing

  1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Using a double boiler or a similar method, heat the egg-sugar mixture over boiling water.
  3. Whisk constantly and heat the mixture to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, or until it’s hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer.
  4. Whisk on high for about 10 minutes or until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature. You should have glossy peaks.
  5. Use a paddle attachment to mix in butter and vanilla bean on medium-low until smooth. Add the Earl Grey tea syrup and mix until combined.

From drinks to desserts, we have 4th of July recipes for every part of your meal. With these patriotic menu items, your guests can celebrate Independence Day while enjoying some delicious food! Plus, these classic recipes can easily become permanent parts of your menu if they are a hit at your 4th of July event.

Posted in: Holidays | Recipes | Menu Tips | By Emily Hepner

Ways Your Restaurant Can Give Back to the Community

Members of your community support your restaurant every day. Guests choose to spend money at your establishment while enjoying your delicious offerings. And with success in your business comes a social responsibility to give back to that same community in the form of charitable donations, events, and sponsorships. Whether you’re feeling generous around the holidays or looking to create a positive impact all year round, we’ve got a few simple ways to give back to the community through your restaurant.

Host Charitable Events at Your Restaurant

Hosting an event at your restaurant can be beneficial for both you and the charity you’re helping. It gives the charity a convenient location to host an event and creates exposure for your restaurant. The following are a few ideas for hosting events at your restaurant.

Food Drive Charity Event

Community Give Back Ideas

Hosting a food drive for a local food bank at your restaurant is a relatively easy and effective way to give back to your community. These are especially popular to host around the holidays, as people associate this time with the season of giving.

Set aside a visible space for your collection boxes and hang up some flyers to let your customers know what you’re collecting and who you’re donating the items to. Use word of mouth and social media sites to publicize your food drive, so customers know what to bring when they come in to eat. If you’re looking to provide more motivation, you could offer coupons or incentives for anyone who donates.

Fundraisers for Local Events

One of the most effective ways to stay involved with giving back to your community is to pay close attention to the news. Stay up-to-date with local events affecting the people in your city. If the opportunity arises, offer to host a fundraiser at your restaurant in support of those who have been affected. Be sure to ask customers for charity recommendations that are close to their hearts, and be sure to only host fundraisers for events you can be personally passionate about.

Host a Holiday Dinner for the Hungry

During the season of giving, offer up your restaurant space as a safe haven for those who may not have the means to cook their own holiday meal. Use this opportunity to cook a meal, whether it’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and feed hungry families in your community.

If you’re concerned about the price tag, reach out to other local restaurants or businesses and team up to split the costs. Instead of hosting a meal in your space, you could alternatively deliver food to local homeless shelters or churches looking to host their own holiday meal.

Donating through Your Restaurant

Ways to Give Back to the Community

If hosting an event seems too overwhelming, consider starting off with donation campaigns that can positively impact your community. The following are a few ways in which you can use your restaurant to help donate food and money to those who are in need.

Donate Unused Food

Although restaurant managers do their best to order the exact amount of ingredients that will be needed, it doesn’t always work out. However, food that goes unused in your restaurant doesn’t always have to be wasted. Get involved with local or national organizations dedicated to getting food from your kitchen and into the hands of families in need. This not only helps your community members, but can ease the guilt that comes with throwing away food at the end of the night.

Give Away a Portion of Your Profits

Set a day, or evening, to publicly commit to donating a percentage of the profits made to a charity of your choosing. Advertise this night well in advance to get customers excited and motivated to come participate. The extra business made by widely publicizing your event both benefits the charity and allows you to make up some of the profits donated.

Donate Gift Cards to Events

Donating gift cards to local charities, fundraisers, or organizations is a great way to gain exposure and draw customers back in to your restaurant.

When it comes to donating gift cards, consider implementing the following restrictions beforehand:

  • Clearly mark any blackout dates on the card
  • Decide whether they can be used to purchase alcohol or not
  • State whether gift cards can cover service charges or tips
  • Pick an expiration date

Offer Discounts for Military Members

While it’s not necessarily a donation, offering military discounts can be well worth a small loss in profits. This simple gesture can let military members and their families know that their service is appreciated. This can create a lasting impression and translate to repeat business.

Offer a steady discount, such as 10% off daily, or designate a day each week for special deals and prices. Supporting the troops in your neighborhood is a great way to give back, as well as a way to let customers know you care about our military, which most will appreciate.


Even if you’ve never hosted a charity event in your restaurant before, the holiday season is always a great time to get started. When you incorporate these ideas or one of your own into operations in your establishment, customers are sure to take notice and appreciate what you’re doing to help others in your community. The tax write-off is just an added bonus.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing | Management & Operation | By Rachel Jenkins

Types of Whisks

Whether you’re preparing sweet treats for your bakery display case or crafting housemade vinaigrette in your high-end cafe, whisks are a must-have tool to keep in your commercial kitchen. But did you know there are a number of varieties designed to help you with different tasks? Below are the most common types of cooking whips as well as what makes them unique and when to use each type.

What Is a Whisk?

Whisks, or cooking whips, are cooking utensils that feature a narrow handle on one end and wire loops joined together at the other. The configuration and thickness of the loops varies depending on the type of whisk you use. Whisks are used to either add air into a mixture or thoroughly blend ingredients together.

What Is the Difference Between Beating and Mixing?

Mixing involves simply combining two or more ingredients together, while beating is meant to both combine ingredients and add air into the mixture. While mixing can be done with any utensil such as a fork or wooden spoon, beating is best achieved with a whisk or electric mixers.

Can Whisks Be Used with Nonstick Cookware?

It is never recommended you use metal utensils on nonstick cookware. Instead, opt for whisks with a silicone coating or ones made of other materials including wood, rubber, or plastic.

Different Types of Whisks

The following are some of the most common types of whisks used in commercial kitchens. Each whip features its own unique shape and configuration designed to effectively beat and blend ingredients together.

Piano / Balloon Whisks

different types of whisks

Balloon or piano whisks are made with thin wires and typically feature a bulbous end. These whips are considered a multi-purpose or everyday whisk because they’re great for a variety of common kitchen tasks. This whisk is named for its resemblance to the shape of a balloon and because its wires are said to resemble those of a piano.

Because their wires tend to be springy and feature a large, rounded end, these whisks create more movement when mixing ingredients together than compared to other types of whisks. This added motion is especially useful for introducing more air into the mixture when beating.

Uses for Piano / Balloon Whisks

Here are a few common uses for piano or balloon whisks:

  • Whipped cream
  • Meringue
  • Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Lightly mixing dry ingredients as a substitute for sifting

French Whisks

French whisks are similar to balloon whisks, but they feature a slimmer profile with slightly thicker wires. While these thicker wires are perfect for mixing together heavier ingredients, they are still meant to be flexible enough to create added movement. Because these French whips feature a narrow end, they’re able to fit into the corners of your pots and pans to scrape up product and prevent foods from burning on the stove.

Uses for French Whisks

With their thick wires and thin frame, here are a few common uses for French whisks:

  • Sauces
  • Emulsions such as vinaigrettes or mayonnaise
  • Batters
  • Pancakes
  • Custards

Ball / Kettle Whisk

Kettle whisks feature long handles and a large, cage-like ball at the end. These kettle whips are used for mixing ingredients together in deep kettles or stock pots. And, because these kettle whisks feature long handles, you can mix ingredients together while keeping your hands away from the heat source.

Uses for Ball / Kettle Whisks

Kettle whisks are ideal for use with the following:

  • Soups
  • Sauces

Mini Bar Whisks

Mini bar whisks are designed specifically for whipping egg whites in a bar setting. Egg whites are used to craft light and airy cocktails such as the gin fizz, champagne flip, or a white lady. The miniature size of these bar whips ensures they work in any glass size and fit in compactly behind the bar. Because these bar whisks feature the same thin wires and bulbous end as piano whisks, they bring movement to your mixture and add air into your egg whites to create a fluffy, frothy final product.

Conical Whisks

Conical whisks feature thin wires formed into an elongated shape with a wider middle and narrow end. This distinct shape, which resembles a diamond, is designed to reach ingredients caught in the corner of your pots or pans. Plus, with their stiff construction, these conical whisks can be used in place of spatulas or scrapers to effectively incorporate all ingredients into your mix.

Flat / Roux Whisks

types of kitchen whisks

Flat or roux whisks feature a number of looped wires, typically four, in a flattened ballooned shape. These whisks are designed to be used with shallow pans in order to reach the optimal angle when mixing. The lower the handle can be to the pan, the flatter the whisk will lay and the more surface area can be covered. The flat wires allow the user to scrape up product in the pan and effectively combine ingredients.

Uses for Flat / Roux Whisks

Flat or roux whips are ideal for use with the following:

  • Gravy
  • Roux
  • Sauces in shallow pans
  • Removing poached eggs from water
  • Substitutes as a fish spatula when removing fish from liquid

Spiral Whisks

Spiral whisks are composed of a singular wire loop wrapped in tight coils. Because the head of this whisk is placed at an angle, it is meant to always be in contact with the bottom of your pan during the mixing process. This allows the whisk to catch all ingredients and prevent burning.

As the angled head makes contact with the bottom of the pan, the smaller coils work to break up clumps of dry ingredients for a smoother final product. Because of their flat, compact construction, spiral whips are also ideal for use in small bowls where balloon or French whisks may be too bulky.

Uses for Spiral Whisks

Spiral whisks can be used for a number of mixing needs including:

  • Gravy
  • Sauces
  • Vinaigrette
  • Salad dressings
  • Roux

Dough Whisks

Also referred to as Danish dough whisks, the flat profile of these dough whisks features an outer circle and inner oval with a small loop. While it may look like a painting by Picasso, these dough whisks are perfect for bakeries, restaurants, or caterers producing housemade bread and batters.

Dough whisks are, as their name suggests, perfect for handling tough doughs or batters without overworking the ingredients. Unlike wooden spoons, the thin wires are perfect for swiftly cutting into your doughs and scraping away flour pockets for a smooth and consistent mixture.

Uses for Dough Whisks

Use a dough whisk to create decadent desserts or freshly baked breads including:

  • Brownies
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • No-knead bread
  • Scones
  • Irish soda bread

From 24-hour diners to high-end hotels, every commercial kitchen should have the right whisk on hand to handle a variety of tasks. Whether you’re creating a roux to thicken crab mac and cheese or topping a wedding cake with flavored whipped cream, it’s important you use the right whisk for the job. Having the perfect tool in your kitchen can save time and labor costs while producing a final product you can be proud of.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Rachel Jenkins

What You Need to Know About Eggless Cooking

When running a restaurant, it’s always important to accommodate guests with allergies or restrictive diets. From diners to bakeries, eggs are an ingredient most chefs can’t live without. But with eggs being one of the “Big Eight” food allergies, it’s imperative your restaurant find and use suitable alternatives without sacrificing taste or quality. Below are a few egg substitutes that can be used to add moisture, leaven, and bind ingredients together. For more in-depth information on egg substitutions, check out Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking.

Function of Eggs in Cooking

egg substitution

Eggs are generally used for the following reasons in cooking:

  • Moisture: The liquid from eggs helps keep your final product moist.
  • Leavening: Because eggs trap air in foods, it can help your recipe to rise during baking.
  • Binding: Eggs provide structure by holding ingredients together to prevent your final product from falling apart.

To determine why eggs are being used in a particular recipe, simply take a look at the other ingredients. If there are no other liquids, they’re used to add moisture. If your baked goods are void of other leavening agents such as baking powder or soda, then the eggs are most likely being combined with acidic ingredients to make your recipe rise. And if your recipe is short on flour, nuts, or breadcrumbs, the eggs are being used to bind ingredients together.

What Is Egg Replacer?

Egg replacement powders contain binding ingredients such as potato starch or soy powder. These replacers can be mixed with water and react the same way as an egg would when used as a binder or leavening agent, though it is designed for use in baked goods.

This powder doesn't have a flavor, so this option won't affect the appearance or taste of your final product. A single box has the equivalent of over a hundred eggs for about the price of two dozen regular eggs, so this is an easy means of cutting costs.

Effective Egg Substitutes

substitutions for eggs

The following ingredients can be used for eggless cooking and baking in your kitchen. We’ve broken them down by purpose, including moisture, leavening, and binding.

Egg Substitutes for Adding Moisture

When your recipe needs moisture added, but you don’t have the eggs, you’ll need another liquid. Fruit juices or purees are good replacements when making baked goods like cookies, muffins, and quick breads.

If you’re looking to add moisture to a recipe, incorporate ¼ cup per egg when using the following egg substitutes:

Egg Substitutes for Leavening

Eggs are used as leavening agents in recipes for cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. If that's what you're making, you can try one of these for a similar result:

  • Buttermilk (1/4 cup)
  • Yogurt (1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. of baking powder, 3 Tbsp. of water, and 1 Tbsp. of oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of vinegar and 1 Tbsp. of baking soda

Egg Substitutes for Binding

egg leavening

Eggs are used as binders in many recipes, like meatloaves, casseroles, burgers, and drop cookies.

Use the following egg substitutes when making savory dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes (2 Tbsp.)
  • Nut butters (3 Tbsp.)
  • Silken tofu (1/4 cup)
  • Soy lecithin (1 Tbsp.)

The following egg substitutions are ideal for sweet dishes:

  • 1 Tbsp. of custard powder and 2 Tbsp. of water
  • 1 Tbsp. of gelatin and 1 Tbsp. of water
  • 1 Tbsp. of ground flax seed with 3 Tbsp. of water
  • 2 Tbsp. of arrowroot powder with 3 Tbsp. of water

Substitutions for Egg Whites or Egg Yolks

Many recipes may call for a specific part of the egg, either the whites or the yolk. If a recipe calls for egg whites, aquafaba is the best substitute to use. Aquafaba refers to the juice left over from cooked beans such as chick peas, lentils, black beans, or kidney beans. The mixture of proteins, sugar, and starch mimics the same effects when whipped like egg whites.

On the other hand, soy lecithin is an ideal substitute for mimicking the thick, rich texture of egg yolks. It is recommended you use 1 Tbsp. of soy lecithin per egg in a recipe.


There are limitations to the dishes you can use these substitutions on. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to make an angel food cake, where eggs are the base. However, if your restaurant or bakery is trying to cut costs on egg usage in foods like burgers and chocolate chip cookies, these egg substitutes are an ideal solution.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Rachel Jenkins
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