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April 28, 2021

Translate the Promise of Spring to Your Menu

As we all emerge from what has been a taxing year to say the least, we come upon springtime. Spring is often symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and hope; it is a time of restoration and awakening. What a perfect depiction for the current state of our industry. As restaurants reopen and capacity limits are lifted across the country, we feel invigorated. Energized by the thought of guests enjoying a meal away from home, optimistic for the year that lies ahead, and strengthened by the year we have left behind.
 
Why not translate these feelings directly to the plate? The bounty of spring can liven up any menu with fresh and colorful seasonal offerings. Combine these attributes with the inherent nutrition found in spring produce and you’re sure to have a few new winners. In fact, consumers believe several of the vegetables harvested in the spring are top foods to increase immunity and help recovery in case of sickness, important characteristics accented by the pandemic. These include dark leafy greens, broccoli, garlic, and root vegetables. And other vegetables fill consumers desire for Vitamin C, Zinc, and antioxidants, such as peas and cabbage (Source: Datassential Health at Home, May 2020).
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Carrots, Swiss chard, peas, and garlic fill this Root Vegetable Primavera in which the “noodles” are spiraled sweet potatoes and carrots. Use the recipe as a jumping off point to put your own signature spin on the dish. For added interest, serve the pasta over oven roasted or grilled portobello mushroom seasoned with Custom Culinary® Gold Label True Foundations™ Vegetable Liquid Stock Concentrate. Or upcycle what ingredients you have on hand to cut down on food waste such as beet root and tops, celeriac root, parsnips, dandelion greens, or fennel bulb.
 
Humble cabbage is a great fit for more adventurous ethnic dishes. Transform five ingredients, including carrots, rainbow Swiss chard, and cabbage, in ten minutes into an on-trend Korean Kimchi using Custom Culinary® Kimchi Prep. This product is a traditional paste concentrate featuring garlic, toasted sesame and chili pepper that can be massaged into cabbage or other plant products for a quick dash of fermented flavor. Switching flavor profiles to the North African region, create another cabbage side dish using Custom Culinary® Gold Label Harissa in this quick, four-ingredient recipe for Harissa Infused Coleslaw.
 
Of course before we sign off we need to mention profitable soups with spring flare. Peas come into play in two of our favorite soups: traditional Split Pea Soup and light Spring Pea with Mint Soup. Both utilize our line of Master’s Touch ® bases with no added MSG. For spring days that still have a chill in the air, this heartier Tuscan Kale with White Bean and Potato Soup will warm your guests right up while using the popular dark leafy green, kale. 
 
We are passionate about utilizing seasonal produce and highlighting plant-forward dishes. In an effort to keep you filled with relevant and timely menu inspiration, our culinary team introduced Farmers Market Finds in early 2021, a weekly installment which pairs Custom Culinary® products with local ingredients from the earth’s seasonal bounty. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep up with the latest Farmers Market Finds recipes.

Happy spring, friends!
 

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Joe Beitzel
Brand Marketing Director
Custom Culinary, Inc.