EMBRACE YOUR BLENDER AND EXPAND YOUR CREATIVITY
High-speed blenders can be utilized for practically any culinary application. From soups and sauces to puddings and purées, the blender can help you put your signature stamp on dishes and save time and labor by replacing hand mashing, mixing, and chopping. They can also eliminate waste by utilizing ingredients in their entirety, ultimately boosting your bottom line. As the popularity of “root to stem” cooking spreads throughout the industry, consider how your blender can transform your menu and benefit your business, especially when it comes to fresh produce.
PURÉE ALL DAY
Millenials’ eating habits focus on health and nutrition, offering one reason why plant-based purées are on trend for 2018. Whether elevating a protein or using as a sandwich spread, vegetable purées add a smooth, dynamic element to any dish. They add depth and flavor while simultaneously providing the health benefits many diners crave. Rather than relying on starches, vegetable purées can also thicken soups and sauces, enhancing both the flavor and nutritional value of these items. Chefs can also showcase their culinary artistry through the vast color palette vegetable purées offer. From bright beets and butternut squash to the neutral tones of cauliflower, use the plate as a canvas for seasonal, on-trend ingredients. Highlight seared scallops with a ginger-carrot purée or accent lamb chops with charred eggplant purée. Since customers also eat with their eyes, thoughtfully executed presentations with purées drizzled around proteins or brushed across a plate can add the “wow” factor that inspires loyal customers.
Diners always crave comfort food and the epitome of comfort is traditional mashed potatoes. Savvy diners expect more, however, and a unique mash is the way to deliver. Quick mashes can be made using cauliflower, parsnips, and rutabaga, or try using undervalued produce such as Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac. Bold, natural color is also trending this year—making a mash out of vegetables such as beets, carrots, or butternut squash intensifies the beauty of your presentation while contributing flavor. To differentiate your menu from the competition, try steamed broccoli mash with coconut milk or mashed celery root with toasted hazelnuts. Add bacon and kohlrabi to mashed parsnips or try an interesting take on twice baked using mashed sweet potatoes. With a little imagination, mash possibilities are endless.
The “veg-centric” movement is filtering into the bar as well, with cocktails featuring fresh vegetable purées gaining popularity. Desired health benefits plus refreshing flavor combinations generate demand for these particular spirits. Spice up a margarita with jalapeño purée or turn a favorite cocktail “pink” using beet juice. For a savory cocktail, mix vodka with edamame purée, a splash of soda, and fresh ginger. Serve gin with a fresh purée of cucumber and mint mixed with lemon juice, sugar, and soda. Regardless of the combination, use seasonal produce to amplify your cocktail menu and add buzz to your bar.
DIVE INTO DESSERT
Dessert is often more anticipated than the main course and a blender is the ideal tool for creating signature puddings, mousses, ice cream, cheesecakes, and pie fillings. Demand for healthy choices has penetrated the dessert menu with a hot 2018 dessert trend focusing on alternative diets. Vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options are becoming more prevalent as customers are opting for desserts that are lower in calories or accommodate a special diet. Vegetables are highly versatile for creating such desserts. Beans and legumes can be blended to a paste and replace flour and eggs in traditional offerings. Puréed sweet potatoes provide an excellent base for desserts such as maple mousse pie or chocolate spice cake. Red velvet cupcakes can earn their special color from puréed beets and sweetened chestnut purée can be swirled in cheesecake batter for an unexpected burst of nutty flavor.
According to Datassential, 52% of consumers have increased their fruit consumption in the past year. Fruit lends the perfect balance for sweet, refreshing, and low-calorie desserts as well. Sorbet, for example, is always a favorite and accommodates diners looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan choices. Endless possibilities lie in the array of fruits and flavor combinations available, making it possible to utilize ingredients already in stock or order special for an intentional twist of flavors. Consumers are eager to cleanse their palates with sorbets that highlight intriguing ingredient combinations such as nectarine, ginger-beet, cucumber-watermelon, lemon-balsamic, or strawberry-basil. Simple and requiring few ingredients, sorbet is the perfect finish to a delicious meal and an excellent vessel for showcasing seasonal produce.
HUMMUS IS A MUST
Mediterranean food continues to grow in popularity and hummus is at the forefront. While chickpeas are the standard, hummus has reached new heights with unique base ingredients such as beets, pumpkin, eggplant, avocado, red lentil, and black bean. Design a signature hummus with seasonal vegetables, spices and seasonings, using limitless creativity to make it your own. For example, try a simple seared halibut atop sunflower hummus or a bold bacon wrapped pork loin paired with spring pea and mint hummus. Hummus can be served throughout all dayparts, allowing you to experiment with unique applications in every menu category, from garnishing soups and wraps to encrusting chicken and fish, as a base for a bowl, spreading on burgers and pizza—even applying it to breakfast in scrambled eggs or on top of custom toasts.
Often considered an old-fashioned tool, the blender has enjoyed resurgence in the culinary world, re-texturizing an array of produce and enhancing items across menus. Savvy chefs are embracing this vital tool to stay on top of current food trends, create delectable dishes, and increase business and revenue.