Retro Slow Cookers Bring On Flavorful New Trend

Slow cooker use is a huge trend now, but it has roots dating back to the early 70’s. Its resurgence in popularity can at least partly be attributed to cookbook publishers that jumped on the bandwagon and started to use the theme of “set and forget,” referring to the easy cooking method of slow cookers. With slow cooker penetration in US households at 83%, twice what it was a generation ago, and demand for easy preparation it was bound to find success in today’s fast paced world.

slowcookerOf course when we mention slow cookers your mind wanders to slow cooked meats and vegetables, like pot roast or maybe chili. But slow cookers can do so much more. Check out Chef Claire’s Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe in this issue to get an idea how you can make a sweet snack with very little effort.

As parents are busy during the day, making dinner every night can become exhausting and more of a chore than a treat. With the slow cooker in mind, putting all the ingredients in the pot and letting it cook all day keeps any traditional dinner ideas easy to make and clean up after.

Here are seven reasons why slow cookers have become so popular again: ‹

  • Slow cookers are a one-time purchase ‹
  • You can use cheaper ingredients when using slow cookers and still achieve the desired taste and texture ‹
  • They use very little energy while cooking ‹
  • Slow cookers make eating healthy much easier ‹
  • Everyone has the ability to cook using slow cookers ‹
  • Clean up for cooking is just one pot ‹
  • They can save time by preparing the food in the morning and having it cook all day

With slow cookers becoming so popular, people have been creating more exotic recipes like slow cooker squash lasagna, cider-braised chicken tacos, veggie-stuffed peppers, and pumpkin maple pulled pork just to name a few. You can even go to the store and buy pre-made slow cooker sauces or just skip directly to a frozen meal designed to be prepared in your slow cooker.

These trendy items are a far cry from the bland meals one normally thinks about when stewing ingredients all day long. For a zesty on trend idea, find the Al Pastor pork shoulder recipe from our culinary team in this issue. It will give your old taco meat a run for its money. For more ideas direct from our culinary team check our website for their slow cooker recipe book…coming soon!

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Spotlight On Flavor: Apple Maple

Autumn is fast approaching, which means it’s apple season! Whether that means picking apples at the orchard, baking apple pie, or canning apple sauce, there’s no question that apples are the quintessential fall fruit.

applemapleWhile traditional pairings such as caramel and cinnamon are still present on menus, food service providers are finding even more ways to introduce apple into their menus. Menu penetration of apples has grown 5.1% in the past four years. With the popularity of breakfast any time of the day in food service or serving “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) at home, it’s no surprise that maple syrup and apples have become a popular pairing.

Maple syrup and apples as a combination has grown 21.8% in menu penetration the past four years, and 15.3% in just the past year. French toast and waffles are a couple of the most popular dishes incorporating the complementary flavors, but there are also several new launches in chicken sausage that pair maple syrup with apples. In retail, the maple syrup and apple pairing is made even more explicit as two recent global launches use the combination as a jam/jelly.

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Al Pastor Pork Shoulder

Our chefs have been hard at work in the kitchen. They have been working to replicate an authentic Al Pastor seasoning to easily take a protein and deliver the taste that consumers are looking for while also giving them the convenience of a crock pot meal.  This is just one of many seasonings we have developed for our upcoming crock pot cook book.  Ask your sales representative about seeing the entire line.

tacosIngredients:
4 – 5 lbs pork shoulder (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 can pineapple tidbits
8 oz water
143g NWF Al Pastor seasoning (G89948)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Directions:
• Lightly season pork shoulder with salt and pepper
• Heat 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil in a pan
• Sear pork shoulder on all sides
• Remove browned pork from the pan and set aside
• Deglaze pan with water
• Place browned pork shoulder, pineapple, water and seasoning in the crock pot
• Cook pork shoulder on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours; until meat is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork
• Serve on fresh corn tortillas with chopped cilantro and onions

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Recipes

Leave a Comment (0) →

Meal Kits: Culinary Creations On Your Doorstep

Meal kits are becoming a big industry. Technomic predicts that the meal kit market could grow to five billion dollars over the next decade. Blue Apron is the biggest meal kit company in the world as it ships over eight million meals every month. After becoming subscribers, people then go online and choose from recipes Blue Apron provides. After people receive their package, they find a box with all of the ingredients and directions on how to cook it.

mealkitsThere are many benefits to this way of handling dinner. The most important aspect is that meal kits are teaching people how to cook and giving them confidence in their abilities. They also allow people to save time by eliminating the grocery shopping and the searching for those hard to find ingredients. Meal kits also can accommodate different types of diets like organic, vegan, and vegetarian. Lastly, they encourage people to try new foods by giving people the ingredients delivered right to their door, and having very easy to follow instructions.

There are some downsides to meal kits though. These kits are more expensive than traditional grocery shopping, with the average per person meal price around $11.50. Another concern is the nutrition, with critics saying the portions are too big and the food contains too much sodium or fat. The final concern with meal kits is the packaging. Many customers do not like the excessive and wasteful packaging these meal kits come in. There is not a perfect packaging solution yet as the concept of meal kits is very new to the market.

A survey taken by Mintel showed 21% of people have used a meal kit service, while 40% of millennials surveyed have used a meal kit. According to this survey, the this trend is catching on and will continue to grow.

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Slow cooker cake? You bet.  Our culinary team has worked with our bakery division and come up with a mix that takes the guess work out of baking. Request a sample and try this out at home, you will be shocked at how easy it is to bake in a crock pot.

lemoncakeIngredients:
450 g NWF lemon cake mix A20177
3 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 ½ cups blueberries

Directions:
• Mix all ingredients, except the blueberries, in a bowl
• Gently fold in blueberries
• Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray
• Pour batter into slow cooker
• Cook on low for 5 hours or until the center is cooked through

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Recipes

Leave a Comment (0) →

Chef, Plus 1 To The Rescue

TGIF, the weekend is finally here and we are looking forward to some time at home. Except I forgot tonight is the final band concert for the 8th graders. “Looks like a carry out night.” And Saturday we need to get up early to take Sam to his golf tournament. This will leave us just a few minutes to pick up what’s needed at the hardware store to finish our home projects. We can get a coffee and muffin on the way and then eat lunch, near the course, while Sam finishes his round. At least we can have dinner at home. Except Sam is starving after golf so a snack on the go is a must, and now we’ve run out of time to prepare a good home cooked meal. Eating at home for sure on Sunday, if we have time after finishing the yard work and the painting we started last weekend. Oh yeah, Mary is flying home from DC on Sunday, so someone will need to make an airport run. Ran out of time again.

“Let’s make sure we get some dinners planned at home next week.” Sound Familiar?

Help! I want a home cooked meal, but I never seem to have time.

Chef, Plus 1 to the rescue; Plus 1 ideas can help save precious time, making it easier to plan ahead and let you “chef-up” your meals. By adding some unique and quick touches to common food items you can make any meal a little more special and flavorful.

PLUS ONE – PLAN AHEAD

  • ‹ When you roast a chicken always roast more than one since the oven is already on. Now you can eat the parts you like the most first, and save or freeze the rest for another day. ‹
  • Grilling is time consuming, because good things take time. While the grill is on add a few more items that can be used later. If you are cooking burgers and dogs for today, try grilling Italian sausage and onions at the same time, for later in the week. Just combine with a jar of tomato sauce to make it your own.

PLUS ONE – CHEF IT UP

You can Plus 1 (chef it up) any recipe or food prep by taking just a few quick steps. ‹

  • Sprinkle a little flake salt (smoked) on top of your steak just before serving ‹
  • Drizzle a little balsamic glaze (store bought & reduced) over a salad after plating ‹
  • Char or toast the bread when you make a sandwich ‹
  • Buy good olive oil, it makes a difference

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Protein Snacks

With summer vacation behind us, we are back to a regular routine with work and school. As our lives become even more fast paced and we adjust to accommodate our busy schedules, so must our attitudes change towards food. Snacking has become the norm for many Americans seeking to energize and satiate their hunger on the go. Ninety percent of Americans snack during the day and snacking now represents almost 50% of all eating occasions. In fact, 8% of Americans have replaced all meals with snacking throughout the day. It is no wonder that consumers are now seeking high protein snacks to give them the satisfaction and energy that a full meal would provide, and food service providers and consumer packaged goods companies alike have rallied to provide solutions.

protien1In food service, we see many QSR’s and c-stores providing affordable, smaller portioned, handheld, and on-the-go options on their menus. Whether it’s convenience store roller grills or the value menus at your local fast food chain, the options are neatly presented and accessible.

protien2In retail, there is a plethora of new snacking launches incorporating animal and plant proteins. On the animal protein side, companies have launched meat snacks portioned for one. New jerky brands and flavors are popping up, and meat is becoming a key ingredient in snack bars. Plant protein snacks are also attracting consumers, with ancient grains such as chia & quinoa to pulses like lentils or chickpeas being incorporated into crackers and tortilla chips.

We expect to see further innovation activity surrounding protein snacking in the coming years with an even wider range of flavor and ingredient offerings that appeal to the consumer on the go.

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Grocery Consumers Choose Convenience Over Nutrition

Prepared food has become a massive industry at about 29 billion dollars a year, growing twice as fast as overall grocery store sales. A recent survey of 63,000 participants found that more than 50% had purchased prepared meals at the supermarket. This trend can be explained by the convenience aspect where people can shop for retail and foodservice products in the same place, as well as following the other themes of time efficiency, health/nutrition and value for the money. Consumers have been buying prepared food at a very high rate, but possibly not all consumer expectations are being met.

supermarketNot all prepared food is fully prepared in store, according to a study conducted by Consumer Reports. Only around 50% of prepared meals purchased were actually made on premise. Another potential problem can be found in the nutritional value of the food. Made in store does not necessarily mean free of preservatives or ingredients found in processed foods. Many meals reviewed in the survey were found to have higher than recommended levels of sodium, fat, and other undesirables. The nutritional value is also hard to judge because there are no serving sizes available for consumers. An additional concern could be the higher price for prepared meals compared to those made at home. In some cases, the prepared foods could be twice as expensive.

Even with these downsides, convenience is key. Consumers have limited time and the last thing they want to do is spend their few free minutes in the kitchen. This is what is driving the prepared food trend.

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Dry Rubs & Pastes

Sometimes you already have that perfectly tender piece of meat, but it could use a little flavor enhancement. Enter the dry rub. It forgoes the acids normally used to break down connective tissue in the protein, and instead focuses on dry components like aromatics and spices to add taste and visual appeal.

dryrubAnother benefit is that the dry rub will form a crust, adding a great texture to the eating experience. You can add in an oil or soy sauce too, forming a paste if desired, but in either case application is the same. Gently apply the rub or paste and evenly coat the protein. The best way is to just use your hands.

Unlike a marinade, you can apply a rub just before cooking and get the same great taste benefit. However, if you want to get the rub flavor deeper into the muscle, wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Careful! You don’t need a lot of rub to get that flavor. A little goes a long way and you could overpower that delicious cut of meat.

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →

Plus One Ideas

Cream Cheese

Strawberry Yogurt Dip
1lb cream cheese
½ cup strawberry puree
½ cup vanilla Yogurt

Chive Cream Cheese
Whip 1lb of cream cheese
Add fresh chopped chives from your backyard garden (TT)
I like a little cracked black pepper

Salad Dressing

Italian Bacon Parm
1 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
1 tbsp “fresh” grated Parmesan (not the green plastic jug)
3 tbsp “cooked” Benton’s Bacon pieces (or you favorite bacon)

Spicy Avocado Ranch
1 cup ranch dressing
¾ cups pureed avocado
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp lime juice

Mustard

Zesty Orange Mustard
¾ cup Dijon mustard
1 ⅓ cup orange marmalade

Creamy Dijon Sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
2 cups sour cream
Black pepper (TT)
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp tarragon

Mayo

Shrimp Dip
1 cup mayo
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp Chesapeake Bay seasoning
2 tbsp chopped chive

India Dip
1 cup mayo
⅓ cup sour cream
½ cup orange marmalade
1 tsp curry powder

Read this article and more like it in our quarterly newsletter, Tasteology!

Posted in: Tasteology

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 11 12345...»