As we gear up for holiday parties and catered events, keeping food warm and fresh is a big consideration. Chafers are not only traditional…they serve a purpose no other piece of kitchen equipment does. In fact, chafers are the most-purchased item for the professional kitchen at this time of the year.
It’s no wonder they are so popular, since chafers really shine during holiday social events. These events tend to go on for several hours, and chafers are the best way to keep food at the optimal temperature. Certainly, chafers are indispensable in volume situations, and they are especially useful for outdoor events and cocktail receptions.
Chafers work by supplying heat continuously to keep food at the proper temperature. They also ensure that food will taste as good as when you cooked it. The heat supply can be the flame from a candle, electricity, steam, or sterno canisters—anything that will keep the water hot enough to maintain the food’s temperature. To keep food safe and delicious, food should be kept at 141°F or more.
Holiday calories don’t count- right? The orange spiced buns bake together to form a heavenly beautiful round flower-like cake- a great way to end a holiday meal. Want to serve them as individuals? No problem. Instead of baking them in a round pan, place them on a large cookie sheet, leaving a 1-1/2” space between each bun.
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup warm orange juice
4 1/2 tsp dry yeast
5 to 6 cups flour
2 Tbsp grated orange rind
In a 2 qt saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
A big part of pulling together all of the elements of holiday affairs is Planning (with a capital P!), and caterers, of course, are the ultimate planners. Everything in our business has to work in synch. A beautiful table, often the focus of the event, takes definite planning and forethought. This season when you are planning table settings for a holiday event, think disposable tableware for unmatched elegance and practicality.
Disposable Tableware for the Holidays
The holidays are, in fact, a particularly good time to use disposable dinnerware and disposable tableware. So many events at this time of the year are off-site, and disposables definitely cut down on clean-up time and also avoid breakage. From disposable glasses, such as champagne flutes, wine glasses, and parfait cups for dessert, to disposable serving bowls in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, disposables offer a great way to add pizazz to your tables. Other disposables that are attractive and handy are disposable cocktail shakers and ice buckets. All of these quality disposables offer strength, as well as beauty. Consider mixing in some of these peripheral items, even when you don’t choose to do a completely disposable affair.
December 25. Stay warm while sitting around with your family, opening presents from under the Christmas tree. What better way to start Christmas day than with a nice warm cup of peppermint hot chocolate. ‘Tis the season!
1 cup dessert topping, chilled
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
½ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup crushed peppermint sticks
Whip up ½ cup topping, gradually adding 1 teaspoon sugar until soft peaks form. Cover and chill.
I always find it a challenge to field questions from friends and family about what holiday gift to give a professional chef. Since they figure it “takes one to know one,” I find myself at this time of the year being the source for all chef-related questions! On one hand, as a professional, I know that generally if I need kitchen equipment, I make sure I have it. On the other hand, the old adage that “the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot” sometimes applies. I often fall into the habit of working around kitchen equipment that I don’t have or making do with tools that should be replaced, so a gift of something I will use regularly is always appreciated. In the spirit of holiday giving, here are some gift ideas for a professional chef.
Consider a Gift of a Functional and Stylish Knife Set
As far as kitchen equipment goes, you can never go wrong in giving a gift of knives. Chefs use and overuse their knives, so it’s a cinch that they will need to replace knives on a regular basis. A knife set can be both functional and stylish. The Mundial Elegance Executive Chef’s Set is a particularly good choice. This 11-piece knife set is fully forged and includes many of the most important knives needed to get the job done. These knives are well-balanced and have a long-lasting razor-sharp edge. In addition to the fine knives,
This acorn squash with orange stuffing side dish is a definite crowd pleaser. It’s got it all, from the taste, to the look, to the wonderful aroma- simply delightful! Need I say more?
2 small acorn squash
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed, not diluted
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup corn flake crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons low fat butter, melted
The holiday season brings increased traffic to a commercial kitchen, and the holiday rush has the potential to interfere with an otherwise well-run operation. What every professional chef needs, especially when the season gets busy, is a seamless way to move food from storage to prep to a beautiful table presentation. Good planning and purchasing in the area of Transport and Storage is the key to accomplishing this. Whether it’s a space-saving device, such as the Winco Dunnage Rack or an apparatus for transport, there are many kitchen accessories that will help in organizing, making use of valuable space, and easily transporting food and supplies. This holiday season is a good time to give yourself a gift of new kitchen accessories—perhaps some extra shelving, racks, or a new utility cart.
Increasing Kitchen Storage
Let’s talk about kitchen storage first. Every part of the kitchen needs lots of storage and shelving. Food, cutlery, utensils, and kitchen accessories all need their own place. The ideal solution is to locate storage and shelving as close as possible to where you will use the items stored.
This cranberry relish is not only a turkey’s best friend, it complements pork, beef, meat, chicken and other Thanksgiving main courses. The pineapple adds just the right amount of sweetness to the cranberry, while the strawberry jello gives it a terrific texture. This relish is simple to prepare and even simpler to enjoy and can easily become a Thanksgiving dinner favorite!
2 package strawberry or raspberry flavored Jell-o
2 cup hot water
2 can crushed pineapple
2 can cranberry sauce
Place hot water and Jell-o in a bowl and mix well. Put the bowl in the refrigerator until it hardens.
What would a Thanksgiving meal be without a cranberry something-or-other? This unique, yet extremely simple recipe, combines the Thanksgiving favorite cranberry, with a good piece of meat, to create a delicious dish that will make your Thanksgiving meal mouthwatering. Add some sides, like asparagus, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, and your guests won’t know what hit them. Not only willl they be getting great taste, but lots of protein and other nutrients to boot!
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
1 cup water
6 slices of sliced steak
Combine the cranberry sauce, soup mix and water. Pour mixture over steaks. Place in a 9 x 13” aluminum pan and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Tip: To use this recipe for a whole roast, use a 3 to 5lb roast and double the sauce recipe. Bake in a large Dutch oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Every time I bite into an apple, no matter in what form, I am reminded of and fascinated by the variety of types, tastes and applications of this one particular fruit that is available throughout the world!
On today’s menu: Apple Turnovers. They look especially attractive on a display tray with other apples miniature and will create the perfect festive look. For an even classier effect, they can be made into miniature sizes by cutting smaller dough squares and of course, use less filling in each one.
1 package 5” pastry dough squares
3 large Cortland apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons boiling water