Walk-in Fridge: Safe Food Storage

The wonders of the walk-in fridge!

Have you ever wondered how restaurants, bakeries, pastry manufacturers and other kinds of businesses cope with storing large amounts of food in a way that respects all the relevant environmental health requirements? Well, the walk-in fridge, (or cold room) together with its big brother, the walk-in freezer, pretty much hold the key to how they keep their stocks of food products and ingredients at the right temperature. As their names suggest, these items of kitchen equipment are large enough to actually stand upright in. They can come in a variety of sizes, but all will adhere to fairly strict guidelines when it comes to temperature. Generally-speaking, walk-in fridges will maintain temperatures of between -2°C and 12°C. There are often two different temperature zones in play: a chiller, with temperatures of between 2°C and 12°C, and a colder zone, (-2°C to 5°C). Walk-in freezers, on the other hand, typically keep food at a constant -18°C to -22°C. At these temperatures, food can be stored safely for years.

How to store food safely

Fridges and freezers, of the walk-in type or any other, need to be used correctly to ensure they do their job properly. With this in mind, one of the most important things you can do is to keep a careful eye on your appliance’s temperature. Domestic fridges and freezers don’t always have their own digital displays – in this case, invest in a thermometer and check it at least once a week. Keep fridges clean by wiping up spills – this will help keep bacteria at bay. It is also extremely important that food that needs freezing or refrigerating is safely stored away as quickly as possible. Nothing destined for cold storage should be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. In warmer weather, this time limit is reduced further. Finally, neither fill your freezer too full – this prevents proper air circulation – or leave it mostly empty either, as it will have to work harder to maintain the proper temperature in a nearly empty space.

5 Tips for Ordering a Custom-Made Cake

When it comes to specialty cakes, it’s easy to get so caught up in the big picture that you forget about the little details. Who’s thinking about serving sizes when you’re trying to find the perfect cartoon dinosaur for Little Jimmy’s fifth birthday? But you do need to consider these things if you want the cake to be a success, so before you dive too deeply into the land of pterodactyl photos, here are five tips for ordering a custom-made cake.

1. Size

How many people do you need to feed? Think about portions instead of diameters. For example, instead of ordering a 10-inch cake and just hoping that it will be enough, tell the bakery that you’re inviting 15 guests. They should be able to suggest a size to accommodate your company.

2. Shape

Shape is important for both fashionable and functional reasons. In terms of style, a cake with an actual dinosaur tail is more exciting than a round cake with a dinosaur face on it; as for portions, the shapes and layers of your cake will determine how much you’ll have to go around.

3. Flavor

There are many different options for the body of your cake, including:

– White
– Yellow
– Chocolate
– Banana
– Carrot
– Red velvet
– Graham cracker

You can also request special blends and layers if you can’t decide on just one flavor. Ask your bakery for more information.

4. Filling

You can dramatically increase the tastiness of a cake by adding some filling. While ice cream is probably the most mainstream option, you can choose from dozens of options that include fudge, buttercream, custard, mousse, cream cheese and a variety of fruit fillings. The sky is the limit!

5. Icing

Last but certainly not least, the icing is the best part of the cake. You don’t even need to be told that you’ll have all kinds of choices in colors, flavors and textures, especially if you give the go-ahead for extra toppings like nuts and sprinkles. Just make sure that your icing tastes as good as it looks. Some decorative fondants can sacrifice flavor for style.

These are just a few helpful suggestions for ordering specialty cakes Chicago IL. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, holiday, graduation or promotion, a cake can be just what you need to celebrate life’s biggest moments!

Hits and a Miss in Valentine Cooking

Valentine’s day may be for lovers and being a singleton, it is easy to dismiss it as a regular day. However, Valentine’s day is also about love and I have loved ones around me so I try to make the day a little more special. To be precise, I do something special with food.  In the past, I have made popsicles and cooked a meal.

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This year, I planned to prepare breakfast, cook a meat dish,  make a salad and bake a cake.  However,  I had to finish a report so I ended up doing everything in batches. It was a good thing because Valentine’s for us extended until the 15th.

I ‘multi-tasked’  our lunch on the 14th. I was still doing the report and it was already  10 a.m.  I cooked the pork belly in the pressure cooker to soften the meat.  After which, I marinated the meat in a korean barbecue sauce. I cooked the marinated meat in the turbo broiler afterwards. I picked this type of cooking because I do not have to look after what I am cooking.  I just let the timer run and it rings when the food is done.  Voila! Say hello to our Valentine lunch. This was a hit.

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I was able to finish the report on the 14th so by February 15th, I was free! I woke up early to make breakfast.  I planned to make ‘egg on a cloud’. I saw that  Tasty video and it looked easy. Boy, was I wrong! These do not look like the one on the video.

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Yes, you can start laughing. The egg white looked fluffy in this picture but it tasted like paper.

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We tried to analyze what happened. It really looked like they were eggs on the cloud while they were in the oven. However, I left the eggs there when I turned off heat because I left the house to buy bread.  I did not want to leave them outside for fear there might be flies and other insects landing on the eggs. Maybe that caused the egg whites to continue cooking.  It is safe to say that was a fail.

After breakfast, I prepared the salad. Since Waldorf salad is best eaten cold. I made it first so I can chill it in the fridge. We love the Waldorf  salad that a family friend makes and since we have walnuts sent to us by my aunt in Canada, we wanted to try to make Waldorf salad. The Waldorf salad is said to be invented by the maitre’d of Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It is a simple salad made of apples, grapes, celery with lemon and mayonnaise for the dressing and topped with toasted walnuts. My version used cucumber instead of celery and calamansi instead of lemon. I also added yogurt and cashew nuts.

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For me, it tasted good. For my aunts, they wanted to add cream and sugar. I guess they are used to the salad dressing we often make.

The highlight of day is the caramel cake.  I wanted to bake a cake likes Estrel’s so I found Corinne’s blog. She shared a similar recipe from her aunt.

I love how my chiffon cake turned out. I used to burn my cakes because my old oven did not have temperature control.

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This is what it looked like when I poured the caramel icing.

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The Swiss buttercream frosting held up, too. I just need to practice the consistency of my swirls.

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It is a pretty cake (if you look past the imperfections).

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Beyond the aesthetics, the true measure of good food is the taste.  My aunts liked it. One aunt said that the buttercream is too much to her liking. My cousin also said that a thinner layer of buttercream will do. But I secretly love the buttercream. Real butter (as opposed to margarine) is divine! The buttercream hardened in the fridge when we stored the leftover. When I wanted to eat the cake, what I did was I let the cake rest beside me while I work and eat it when the butter softens.  Yum!

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This is hit.  But… I might not make this cake anytime soon. It took me 6 hours to finish from baking the cake to frosting it! But this will definitely be my go-to cake for special occasions.

By the way, belated happy Valentine’s day! Hope you all had a good one.

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Enjoy a Healthy Alcoholic Mixer

There is a new line of low carb alcoholic mixers on the market, especially VLING, which are exciting alternates to traditional mixers. Not only are these low sugar and low calorie and have no caffeine, but they are also electrolyte-infused to deliver the nutrients that promote the hydration that is so important when you want a healthy drink experience.

Those Hydration Mixers are also great tasting and are available in tonic, soda, citrus, and cranberry pomegranate and can be added to your favorite drink recipe.

Why to Stay Hydrated

Alcohol diminishes the body of essential nutrients that are related to hydration. If you stay hydrated all night long as you are drinking, you should be able to avoid the typical hangover symptoms of headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, poor motor skills, achy muscles, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

Since alcohol strips water from the body, it is important to prevent dehydration. Brain tissues are mostly made of water, so dehydration has the effect of shrinking those tissues, which creates the painful pressure of headaches and hangovers.

Make Better Choices

Choose a liquor drink that contains some water and/or a hydrating mixer. Some whiskey experts feel that adding water also brings out the alcohol’s deeper flavors. You can add a bit of wine to a glass of water, which will help prevent dehydration and keep those pearly whites clean.

With tomato juice, plenty of ice, and a celery stick as garnish, a Bloody Mary can actually help hydration. Be sure to stick with low-sodium tomato juice as some brands, especially commercial Bloody Mary mixes, are filled with salt, which makes dehydration worse.

The tropical Pina Colada can help out with hydration with lots of ice, coconut water, fresh fruit, pineapple garnish, and just a single shot of alcohol.

Coconut water contains essential minerals and vitamins like potassium, calcium, phosophorus and magnesium and has fewer calories, less sugar and sodium, no artificial flavors, and more potassium than a sports drink and many mixers.

Get fancy by blending booze with sparkling sodium-free carbonated water. The bubbles may cause you to drink less than you usually would.

Instead of snacking on high-fat sodium-filled foods, refresh yourself with hydrating veggies and fruits. Watermelon, celery, grapes, melons, berries, cucumbers and grapefruit are examples of those that contain lots of water that can hydrate you nearly as much as a glass of water.

Thank you, Nuffnang!

Remember that  Lemon Squares Inipit Contest by Nuffnang? This was my entry.

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I won!  Thank you, Nuffnang!

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I was supposed to claim my prize after that Coron trip but our flight was delayed and traffic was heavy. We arrived Taguig at around 7PM.  It was a holiday the next day and I left on June 13 which was a Saturday.  Nuffnang sent me a message asking me when I will claim my prize.  I told Nuffnang that I have no trip to Manila anytime soon and asked if I could have my prize shipped. I do not mind paying for shipping.  Nuffnang replied that they will send the prize and I do not have to worry about shipping. I just have to send them my mailing address. Thank you, Ren Tupas of Nuffnang, for facilitating the shipment.

Today, my prize was delivered!

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I got baking tools. Now I really need to have my oven fixed.

This is my-happy-but-trying-to-look-cool face!

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