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HOW TO KEEP STAINLESS STEEL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT FROM DETERIORATING

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Even though stainless steel kitchen equipment are considered durable, rust-proof, and tarnish-resistant, not taking care of these will actually open these up to damage and deterioration. You can keep your stainless steel kitchen equipment from deteriorating by making sure that take good care of these, and by ensuring that you keep these clean day in and day out.

It is also imperative that you keep a very clean kitchen from start of day till the time you close, and not just for equipment maintenance but also for health reasons and for compliance. To keep stainless steel prep tables, stainless steel shelves, and other stainless steel equipment in your kitchen clean and away from damage, here are some things you should do:

Routine cleaning – when you say routine cleaning, this means cleaning on a regular basis, like once when you open in the morning, and before closing at night. This will require cleaning agents like dishwashing soap, ammonia, disinfectants, clean water, and sponges. You will also need clean rags or pieces of cloth to wipe down these stainless steel kitchen equipment after washing.

Grease removal – sometimes stubborn grease and grime stick to stainless steel stoves and ovens, and will require more than just soap and water to clean off. One mistake people make when they try to remove grease and grime from their stainless steel stoves and ovens is they use a scouring pad without realizing that this can actually damage the surface of the metal.

All you need to remove grease and oily dirt from your stainless steel equipment is some hot water, strong dishwashing detergent, some elbow grease, and some rags. Hot water melts and softens the grease, strong dishwashing detergent ( the kind that say they can strip grease away), and careful scrubbing with soft rags can help get this job done.

Always wash and dry – when cleaning your stainless steel equipment with the use of water and detergents, make sure that after you have finished washing that you wipe the surface of your equipment dry. Do not leave any droplets of water or moisture on it since this will leave streaks and stains that are unsightly and can sometimes be difficult to remove when left to dry on its own.

Never use rough and sharp cleaning materials – while stainless steel is indeed tarnish and rust proof, it is not scratch proof. Using scouring materials on it will leave scars on the metal, which will look very ugly over time. Use only soft cloths for cleaning and always use a cutting board on it when cutting stuff on the stainless steel tables and surfaces.

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE COMMERCIAL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT YOU NEED FOR YOUR BUSINESS

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When you decide to put up a commercial food business, you will need equipment for this kind of an operation. There is always the tendency however to buy more than what you need when it comes to the things you think you will need for your business, and this is why you need to be careful at the onset. In order for you to ensure that you buy only what you need at the beginning of your endeavor, there are a few things that you need to do:

Make a list of the things that your business truly needs – do not go equipment shopping without a list. This will open you up to the possibility of overspending since you will start envisioning things that your kitchen and business will need when you see the many different items that are on sale. You can end up buying a commercial cake display case because you “might” include baked goodies on your menu.

You might end up buying a 12-slot food warmer because you “might” consider doing buffet sometimes for your food business. The word “might” can be a tricky thing, and while you might think you needs something, and end up not using such a piece of equipment from the start. You will have something that cost a lot of money just eating up space because you are not yet ready to use it, or don’t really need it at all.

Make a list of things that you already have and can be used in the meantime – no, you do not have to buy a 12-burner stove or a massive flat-top if you are just planning on starting small. You will require those things if you are going big or are expanding your business to serve more and do more. Buying these rather expensive items at the start will not only eat into your capital but will also limit your spending capabilities when it comes to buying the things that you do need, like the ingredients for the food you will cook and the utensils that you will need to cook with.

Plan for both big and small enterprises – do not limit yourself to being just a small business, if you believe that you have what it takes to make it big. Make a list of the things you will need to have in order to run a small business successfully, then make a list of possible upgrades you will need when the business does well. You can then buy the bigger and more expensive commercial kitchen equipment you require as the need or demand arises.

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HOW TO ADAPT AN INTERNATIONAL RECIPE TO LOCAL TASTES

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If you are into baking, then there is a huge likelihood that you are also into cooking and cooking shows. Most of the cooking shows that you will find on TV nowadays, and even online, are made outside of the country and show you recipes that are geared towards the palates of the people in those countries. How can you adapt such recipes to suit the tastes of local markets and what changes can you make in order to do this?

Adapting international recipes to local tastes is not that easy yet it is not that difficult either. All you need to do is to trust your own palate and of those around you. You might also want to get feedback from people that you know will tell you honestly whether or not your translation of an international recipe is indeed a good tweak or if it does not do the meal justice.

Some of the things you will probably need to consider are the propensity for people in this country for salty, sweet, sour, and savory flavors. When it comes to desserts, creamy, cold, sticky, and luscious are what people like locally. If these are not flavors that come naturally with the items you are planning on emulating, you will need to find a way to incorporate such flavors into what you are cooking, but in such a way that it does not totally change the end product drastically.

For example, if you are cooking American style burgers, the chances that these will be less savory and salty than what locals will like is very high. You might want to add a bit more salt and some spices to your patties in order for these to be suited to the local palate. Another example would be beef stews and casseroles. These will also be less salty than what locals are used to, so you might want to add more seasoning to your recipes to suit the people around you, or you can add a number of spices that will increase the flavor of the food without adding too much sodium to it.

Another thing you will also need to consider would be the availability of the ingredients for these recipes. Most of the time, particularly these days, you will find these in gourmet stores and upscale supermarkets. If you cannot find these however, you can easily substitute these with local versions of such ingredients or acceptable alternatives.

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HOW TO ENCOURAGE KIDS TO BAKE

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Cooking and baking are two things that everyone should be able to do. After all, people do need to eat regularly and if there is no one there to cook for you, how can you feed yourself good food? Learning how to cook and to bake can be inculcated at an early age, and as a parent (or a guardian), you can help encourage kids to learn how to do these with the help of these methods.

Make cooking and baking fun – while most people see these as chores (which they actually are), you can make kids think of these as fun activities that ends in them eating what they created. In order for you to make baking and cooking fun, you should start with recipes that are fun to do. Recipes that involve dough, which results in shaping, rolling, kneading, and the like, should help do the trick.

Invite their friends over for a bake-off – another thing you can do is to make baking or learning how to bake into a group activity. Invite over a few of their friends for a baking activity where the best baker gets a prize. Of course, the prize does not need to be expensive, but has to be something that the children will want to try their best for (coloring books and crayons, or other similar prizes will do).

Have them help you when they need baked goodies for school – you can also encourage your kids to bake when they need to create goodies for activities in school. They can “brag” to their friends that they made or helped make whatever it is that they bring to these activities. Some of the best baked goodies for this include cookies, cupcakes, and cake pops.

Enroll them in a kids cooking or baking camp – there are a number of summer programs that help encourage kids to learn how to cook or bake, and these are usually hosted by businesses that specialize in equipment for these activities. Kids will enjoy learning at these camps because they will be doing so with other kids like themselves.

 

Have them try mini workshops like those sponsored by popular stores – some stores that you can tap for this include Krispy Kreme and Goldilocks, which hold mini seminars where kids are shown how donuts and cakes are made. The kids are then given hands-on training in cake and donut decorating after these tours.

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HOW TO FIND BUDGET FRIENDLY INGREDIENT ALTERNATIVES

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When you bake, you will notice that there will be recipes that will call for ingredients that can break your budget, so to speak. More often than not, ingredients like walnuts, pecans, and the like tend to be more expensive than other nuts. Almond flour, Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and other ingredients that are also pretty difficult to find in the Philippines can also be rather expensive when you find them.

How can you bake the recipes you want to try without going over your set budget? You will need to use alternatives that are not as expensive but will still produce similar results. In order for you to do this, you will need to figure out which expensive ingredients can be swapped for lower costing ones without affecting the outcome of your cake or pastry.

Of course, it would be difficult for you to find ingredients that can replace very specific items in your list that are not common in your area. Your solution for this would be to create ingredients that are similar in taste and texture, which is easy enough with a search of the internet. Remember, the internet is your friend when you need to find alternative, lower-costing ingredients for your recipes.

To give you an example of these budget friendly alternatives, here are a few:

Cheaper alternative for walnuts – some of the nuts you can use in place of walnuts include cashew nuts, hazelnuts, and even peanuts. If you need candied nuts however, you have to choose nuts that can hold caramelized sugar pretty well. Almonds and cashews are the best for this.

Cheaper alternative to Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt can be rather pricey, so you might want to look for an alternative. Some people suggest using sour cream since it has a similar consistency. If you want the texture and flavor of Greek yogurt and find sour cream to be too sour, simply buy unsweetened regular yogurt and strain this with the use of cheesecloth and a bowl. The liquids of the yogurt will pass through the cheesecloth, leaving you with the thicker yogurt that is similar to Greek yogurt.

Alternative to buttermilk – the reason why buttermilk can be pricey at times is because people in the Philippines rarely use it. If you cannot find buttermilk for your recipes, you can actually something similar on your own. All you need to do is to pour a tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup, then add milk to this until you get one cup of liquid. Let this mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes after stirring, and you now have a great substitute for buttermilk. You can also use sour cream mixed with an equal amount of water for your buttermilk needs.

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HOW TO EMULATE RECIPES THAT YOU LOVE

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Eating out at our favorite restaurant or diner is something that comforts our taste buds. There are meals in the menu that we consistently order when we dine at our favorite restaurants because of our culinary craving. While this is a pleasurable experience, this can become costly after a while and there are times our wallet would prefer to cook at home. This frustration amuses our culinary senses and challenges us to emulate these recipes that we love.

Emulating and recreating recipes is not an easy task. It is a challenging trial and error process. Here are some tips to help you save time and frustration when recreating your favourite recipes:

Research – Restaurants will possessively guard their recipe secrets so as to not lose business. Chances are when you ask the chef or server what the recipe is, or what secret ingredient or cooking technique was used, they will not tell you.

While you don’t know yet how to recreate the dish, you do not need to reinvent the wheel and start from scratch. You simply need to do some research. Google is your ultimate modern tool when researching something. You might be surprised that there are actually recipes posted online that are similar to the recipe you are trying to recreate. There are even copycat recipes available on the internet that you can start with.

This doesn’t guarantee it will yield a replica of your favourite recipe however. It will still require your intuitive culinary senses. You need to smell and taste the result, and improvise if necessary.

Ingredients – When following the recipes you researched (or found with the help of Google), try to use the exact ingredients described first. For example, if the recipe calls for whole black pepper, DO NOT use ground black pepper. The same goes for the quantities of the ingredients. This is a trial and error process, in case you feel it doesn’t taste the same or as good as you remembered the original to be, you can now improvise by changing the quantity or even substituting ingredients.

Cooking Method – Cooking methods and techniques are critical in any meal. The restaurant may give you a hint on how it was cooked. Researching will also help you identify the cooking method used in the recipe. For example, it might be pan-fried, baked, grilled, etc. It is important to follow the original cooking method. A different cooking method may result to a different taste, texture or even smell.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MEAT PIE

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Meat pies are not that popular in the Philippines, but in other parts of the world, these pies are constantly found on dinner tables and lunch menus. These pies are similar to our favorite empanadas, with a flaky crust and savory filling, but the difference is that these pies are baked while empanadas are fried. Although we do have baked empanadas, these are not as popular as the fried variants.

These baked meat pies are said to have originated in England in the 1800s, and were considered the most convenient form of lunch for Cornish miners. This is because these pies are said to be easy to eat, does not get any dirt in them due to the pastry casings, and keeps the filling warm. It is also said that these very same Cornish people were the ones who brought the meat pie to the US when they immigrated.

Meat pies can be made out of any filling, with some of the classics being beef meat pies, chicken pot pies, and liver & steak pies. Variations have emerged through the years, and people have experimented with different kinds of fillings, with some people even combining meat and vegetables in one pie to make for a complete meal. You can even make your own local versions of these pies, but in order to do so the right way, here are a few tips that may be helpful:

  • Make sure that your fillings are cut in sizes that make these easy to cook, or fill your pies with fillings that are already pre-cooked to avoid having anything raw inside.
  • While your fillings should be moist, to counterbalance the dryness of your crust, make sure that these are not soggy or too wet. If you want to these to be juicy but not make your crust soggy, a thick sauce should accompany it and not juices.
  • Just fill your pies with enough filling and do not overfill. If you have leftover filling from one of your pie-making days, you can freeze this and use another day when you create another batch of pies, or you can make empanadas with this.
  • Want your pies to have a filling that is not overcooked and not soggy? Freeze your pies for an hour before baking. This will solidify and cool the insides enough to just warm up and retain its consistency after you bake it and brown the outside pastry.
  • Don’t serve your meat pies hot. Let these cool for half an hour or so before serving to help flavors intensify and to let the crust solidify a bit.
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HOW TO EFFECTIVELY USE YOUR CONVECTION OVENS

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If you do not have a standard oven, and are actually using a convection one, then there are a few things you need to learn in order to use such an oven properly. For starters, these ovens are not like your conventional ones that generate heat from the top and the bottom, and this can create hot as well as cold spots in the oven. Convection ovens are noted to cook more evenly and faster than conventional ones, and this is because of how it is built. These ovens have fans that circulate the heat all over the oven’s cavity, which is what makes the heat distribution even.

In order for you to properly use your convection ovens, here are some things you need to take note of:

Make sure that air can circulate in your oven properly – when using a convection oven, you need to make sure that your pans are spaced in such a way that air can properly circulate in its cavity. Placing your pans too close to each other will not allow the proper circulation of the air in the oven, so you need to make sure that your pan placements are done the right way for this kind of an oven.

Tweak your recipes for the best outcome – since convection ovens cook faster due to its construction, you need to adjust either your cooking time or oven temperature. You can choose to lower the temperature by 30 degrees or you can shorten your cooking time. If you follow the instructions in recipes that are made for conventional ovens, you might find yourself with overcooked or dry food if you do not make these adjustments for a convection oven.

Use pans that are ideal for convection ovens – these ovens work well with pans that allow the hot air to circulate properly around the food, so low sided pans and cookie sheets work real well in these ovens.  You can also try to elevate stuff out of pans, like roasts, when you are using convection ovens.

Follow manufacturer guidelines – follow what the oven’s guidelines tells you about usage, care, and maintenance to make this work as best as it can, and to make your oven last for as long as it should. Misuse may not give you the best cooking experience with your oven and may even open it up to the possibility of damage.

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