Friday, July 30, 2010

Corn Dogs

1 cup flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
Vegetable oil
8 hot dogs
8 wooden skewers

1. Sift together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and mustard into a bowl. Whisk together egg, milk, and 2 tsp. oil in another bowl. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, beating with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth.

2. Pour oil into a large, heavy pot to a depth of 3''. Heat oil over medium heat to 350°. Meanwhile, dry hot dogs with paper towels, then skewer them with wooden skewers. Dip hot dogs into batter until evenly coated. Gently place battered hot dogs in hot oil and fry, turning once or twice, until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with mustard and ketchup if you like.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why Update the Kid's Menu?

There are a number of reasons why a strong kid's menu is a great business decision for a restaurant.

Kids influence more than 55% of dining out decisions.

Parties with kids account for 1/3 of all dining out occasions.

For parties with kids, the major motivating factor in restaurant choice was friendly service scoring 86 out of 100. Specifically, parents appreciate when servers address their kids directly.

More importantly parties with Kids Have Significantly Higher Check Averages. Overall parties with kids checks are 83% higher than adult only parties.

1. Chicken Fingers
2. Pizza
3. Mac & Cheese
4. Hamburger
5. Grilled Cheese
6. Hot Dog
7. Spaghetti
8. Quesadilla
9. Steak
10. Grilled Chicken

If you haven't looked over your kid's menu in a while, it might be time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beef Paprikash

Yes the dish formerly known as goulash is making a big comeback, if it ever went away.

Authentic gulyás is a beef dish cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika powder, tomatoes and some green pepper.

Potato and noodles (csipetke in Hungarian) are also added according to some recipes.

Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it’s somewhere in between. Though in Hungary it’s considered rather to be a soup than a stew, so look for it among Soups on restaurant menus.

If cooked in the proper way goulash has a nice and evenly thick consistency, almost like a sauce. In Hungary gulyás is eaten as a main dish; noodle or pastry dishes, especially the ones made with cottage cheese (túrós csúsza, túrógombóc, strudel) go down well after the heavy soup.

• ¼ cup canola oil
• 2 pounds lean beef chuck, trimmed and cubed
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 3/4 cup ketchup
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add meat, onion, and garlic; cook and stir until meat is browned. Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and 1 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Blend flour and 1/4 cup water. Stir into meat. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Serve hot.
Serves 6-8

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mexican Shrimp Market Update

The situation in Mexico is not looking good for the upcoming season. The warmer temperature that Mexico has had in the last several few weeks has not stabilized the contamination of white spot disease in the shrimp ponds. The situation in the farms in Mexico has gotten worse. The farms in Hermosillo (northern Sonora), where we purchase most of our Mexican shrimp, have been contaminated with white spot disease; however some of the farms are being hit worse than others. Farmers, who are noticing even a little higher mortality than normal, are harvesting the ponds immediately.

Most of the farmers are not restocking the ponds that they are harvesting now because they are afraid that the new stock could be contaminated and lost. There is a “fire” raging in Mexico right now and the damage cannot be assessed until the “flames” are put out. We are still a few weeks away (mid August) from assessing the final damage. At this point in time, what ever shrimp will survive, will survive now and what ever shrimp will die, will die now. The health of a pond could change one day to the next. For the farmers that will make it to the final harvest in September-October, they anticipate pulling mainly sizes 26/30-36/40.

Our suppliers expect that we will see no farm-raised 16/20 and very limited supply of 21/25 this year. They believe that most farmers will be nervous about extending their final harvests any longer than September-October. The temperatures were unseasonably cold immediately after stocking this year. This set off the white spot outbreak, but also was responsible for very slow growth.

The Mexican domestic market prices will remain unusually high as buyers compete for the limited product that is available. Last week, one farmer sold 26/30’s in the domestic market at US$ 6.00/lb.! Depending on how long it takes for the demand in the Mexican domestic market to be filled, forecasts indicate that the volume of exportable shrimp from Mexico could be down as much as 75% this year, when compared to last year.

The projection for sizes of ocean shrimp this season indicates that we will see less of the larger sizes that normally come from Mexico, particularly from the bays. Right now, it seems that we may see 21/25 - 31/35 from the bays this season, as opposed to U/15 - 21/25. This is due to colder water temperature at the start of the growing season.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

• 1/2 green onion, minced
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
• 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
Combine green onions, orange juice, ginger, hot pepper, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Add chicken, and marinate for 8 hours. Prepare grill, medium heat. Cook chicken, and drizzle with left over marinade that has been boiled for 2 to 3 minutes
Serves 3-4

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brian's Savory Bread Pudding

We served this last February for the Brimanda Events Crabfest at Massimo in Walnut Creek.

1/4 Stick Butter
2 Leeks cleaned and sliced-Just the white parts
3/4 lb crumbled Italian sausage
1/4 lb shrooms
4 cups day old bread cubed
1 1/2 cups half and half
3 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup asiago/romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350
In a skillet melt the butter over medium high heat. Saute the leeks until soft. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes breaking it up. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes.

In a bowl toss together the bread crumbs, sausage, and veggie mixture. In another bowl mix the remaining ingredient, then combine the two bowls. Pour into a grease baking sheet and press down firmly. Aloow the pudding to set for 30 minutes before baking. Bake for 1 hour until nicely browned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Best Fried Chicken Ever!

For Frying & Dredging
Whole Chicken #8522922
1 qt buttermilk #9966607
Kosher salt and ground black pepper #773473, #9501156
Canola oil for frying #716167

Chicken Brine
5 lemons, halved #4384293
24 bay leaves #760793
4 oz flat leaf parsley #7326432
1 oz thyme #7326325
½ c clover honey #4327714
1 head garlic, halved #7489339
¼ c black peppercorns #760439
10 oz kosher salt #773473
2 gallons water

Chicken Coating
6 c all purpose flour #4341632
¼ c garlic powder #760264
¼ c onion powder #4353280
1 T paprika #760405
1 T cayenne #760611
1 T kosher salt #773473
1 T black pepper #9501156

Preparation For the Chicken Brine

Combine all the ingredients in a large to, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

YIELD: about 2 gallons

Putting it All Together
1. Cut each chicken into 10 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters and 2 wings). Place in a container with brine and cover. Refrigerate for up to 10 hours.

2. Remove chicken from brine and rinse under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels.

3. Combine all the ingredients of the Coating in one bowl. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls and put the buttermilk into a third bowl.

4. Preheat fryer to 340 degrees.

5. Beginning with thighs, dredge the chicken in the first bowl of coating, then dip it in the buttermilk, and finish by dredging in the second bowl of coating. Repeat with all pieces of chicken and place in the deep fryer.

6. Fry until browned and crisp and remove from the oil and allow to drain.

7. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Adobo Tilapia Grilled in Corn Husks

Tilapia is a mild white fish that really does well with the big adobo marinade flavor.


8 oz dry corn husks # 9043209
1 ½ lb tilapia filet # 611632
2/3 c adobo marinade
¾ c chopped yellow onion # 125633
3T Chopped Cilantro # 7326366
2 Limes # 2011781

Adobo Marinade

8 cloves garlic unpeeled # 1015577
4 med ancho chilies stemmed seeded and devained # 5109715
6 med guajillos stemmed seeded and devained # 2062834
½ inch cinnamon stick # 760165
1 clove # 760173
10 black peppercorns # 760439
2 bay leafs broken up # 760066
1/8 t cumin seeds # 3028743
½ t dried oregano # 760397
½ t dried thyme # 760694
1 ½ t salt # 773473
¼ c cider vinegar # 4328332

Get a griddle or cast iron pan hot and lightly coat with veg oil. Place chilies on the griddle and toast until slightly darker but not charred. When you have the chilies toasted on both sides remove from the heat and place the garlic on. Turn the garlic often till browned and remove from the heat peel and reserve. Break the chilies into small pieces and place them into a small bowl, cover them with boiling water and weigh them down with a plate to submerge, let soak for 30 minutes. Drain tear into smaller pieces and place in blender with garlic.

Grind cinnamon, clove, peppercorn, bay leaf and cumin in a spice grinder until fine. Add to the chilies along with the oregano, thyme, salt, vinegar and 3 tablespoons of water. Pulse until a fine paste. Run blender and scrape with a spatula repeat at least 12 times till very smooth. Cover and refridgerate


Soak the corn husk in boiling water covered for about 10 minutes. Let stand in water off heat for a couple of hours till pliable. When you are ready to make this ddish separate out the husks that are at least 6-7 inches long and at least 6-7 inches across at the widest part of the husk. Pat the chosen leaves with a towel.

Cut the fish into ½ inch thick strips and mix gently but thouroughly with 6 tablespoons of adobo paste. Cover and refridgerate for at least 2 hours.

Lay out the husks and spread 1 teaspoon of the adobo over a 2x3 inch area on the widest part of the husk. Lay half of a portion of the fish on the adobo rubbed husk and sprinkle with salt, to with the other half portion of fish and sprinkle with salt again then spread with another teaspoon of adobo paste. Bring the uncovered sides of the husk up and around the fish, tucking one under the other. Fold the unfilled narrow end of the husk up over the filled part. Then flip the package over on to the wide end of another husk open end toward the center. Bring the sides of the husk up and around the package, tucking one under the other. Fold the narrow end of the husk up over the wide part, repeat this wrapping process one more time for a triple wrap. Lay the finished package flap side down and tie it twice around its width with 2 thin strips made from the husk.

Cook on a hot skillet or griddle for about 6 minutes on each side. To serve open package, careful not to spill out delicious juices and sprinkle with lime juice, minced yellow onion and cilantro, add warm corn tortillas, Spanish rice and beans to complete the entrée