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Those of us lucky enough to have outdoor space at our restaurants long for summer weather so that we can delight guests with refreshing open air meals and showcase our lovely exteriors.  Indeed, there are few dining settings more intimate, enjoyable and guaranteed to bring throngs of people to your eatery than an al fresco option. However , in order to make this ideal culinary setting a reality, there are a number of steps that should be taken to make your restaurant patio or deck into the perfect outdoor meal setting.

restaurant patio

If you hear the term “Omega 3” and think fraternity group or distant galaxy, then you need to keep reading this article. In fact Omega 3s can be key players in the prevention and alleviation of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and several cancers as well as depression and schizophrenia, among other ailments.
omega 3

 
With Halloween comes autumn´s multicolored squash season. While the pumpkin is the best known type of squash,  its other family members come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and are well worth discovering. 
 
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Some Winter Squash Varieties
 acorn squash 938936 640

Acorn squash

The acorn squash is difficult to peel. It has a hard and ribbed skin that can be dark green, orange or white. The flesh is sweet, and ranges in colour from pale yellow to orange. This variety of squash is harvested when fully ripe.
 butternut squash

Butternut squash

The butternut squash is pear-shaped and has a thin yellowish-tan skin that can be easily peeled. The flesh is bright orange, and possesses a sweet, rich flavor somewhat similar to sweet potatoes.
 pumpkin

Pumpkin

More carved than eaten, the pumpkin comes in different sizes but it is best to choose a small "sugar pumpkin" for cooking (1kg-2lb). Pumpkins range in color from yellow to orange, but they can also appear grey-blue. The flesh is deep yellow with seeds in the central cavity.
 Hubbard squash

Hubbard squash

The Hubbard squash can appear pale grey/blue to dark green and orange in color. Resembling a watermelon in size, this squash is usually rather dry and sweet. For optimum flavor, it is best to choose a mid-sized specimen.
 Turban squash

Turban squash

Because of it unusual shape and mix of colors, the turban squash is often used for decoration rather than eating. You can even use it as a festive soup tureen.
 spegetti squash

Spaghetti squash

This yellow, elongated vegetable is also known as vegetable spaghetti. Its name comes from it ability to separate into thin, spaghetti-like strands when cooked. It has a rather bland taste, and can be a good substitute for pasta.
 delicatta

Delicata squash

A long squash with stripes in green and orange. Also called sweet potato squash, this vegetable boasts a yellow flesh with a sweet taste reminiscent of fresh corn.
 
 
How to Choose a Squash?
 
Winter squash and pumpkins should be firm and heavy for their size, with no cracks or bruises. Avoid any with soft spots. Winter squash and pumpkins will keep for several months if they are ripe and the stem is attached. Store them in a cool, dry place, like on an open shelf or countertop. Do not store them in the refrigerator.
 
How to Prepare and Cook Squash:
 
Unlike summer squashes, the skin of most winter squashes is not edible so the squashes should always be peeled before or after cooking. Some of them, like the acorn squash, are difficult to peel, so you will find it easier to cook before using the flesh.
 
In the oven: You can cut winter squash in half and bake them in the oven for 45 minutes at 190oC (375oF), or until tender. You can even bake them whole in the oven if you poke holes in the skin. Scoop out the cooked flesh and use it in a recipe, or simply serve t well-seasoned with your favorite spices.
 
In the microwave: Cut your squash in half. Scoop out seeds and strings. Place halves face down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Cook on high (H) for 6- 8 minutes per pound.
 
Boiled: Squashes that are easy to peel can also be cut in cubes and boiled until tender.
 
Pumpkin: You can eat the seeds of winter squash and pumpkin. First, remove the seeds from the flesh; rinse to remove strings. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, a pinch of salt and any other seasonings you desire. Roast in a hot oven (about 400F) until seeds are toasted but not burned.
 
Spaghetti squash: This squash is also called "vegetable spaghetti". It is usually boiled or baked in its skin, and the flesh is forked out and served with other foods.
 
Squash or Pumpkin?
 
The squash family is divided into:
 
  • Summer squash: any of various fruits of the gourd family that mature during the summer; eaten while immature and before seeds and rind harden. The flesh and skin are soft.
  • Winter squash: any of various fruits of the gourd family with thick rinds and edible yellow to orange flesh that mature in the fall and can be stored for several months. Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash.

 

Vegetables Fundamentals
 

While most people love to eat a nice, juicy steak or hamburger now and then, studies increasingly show the importance of cutting down on red meat in favor of a diet rich in vegetables, nuts and fish. The excessive consumption of red meat (eating it twice per day or more) has been linked on numerous occasions to a 30% or more increased risk of heart disease when compared to people with low red meat intakes in their diets. 

fish market

An application of chemistry to the culinary arts, molecular gastronomy gas gained new attention and devotees in these first years of the 21st century. Some of the world’s most renowned chefs today, such as Ferran Adria from El Bulli Spain, Pierre Gagnaire from his eponymous restaurant in Paris and Heston Blumenthal from The Fat Duck in England employ molecular gastronomy to the delight of their guests.

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As the global population continues to rise, scientists and world leaders are searching for food sources capable of adequately sustaining our growing numbers. Traditional meat proteins are viewed as less and less feasible solutions, as it is not only cost prohibitive to feed and rear the source animals, but also the production of these meats rivals automobiles as one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Insect food stall

The Bocuse d’Or is the world’s most renowned culinary competition, and has taken place in a different international destination each year since its inception in 1987. Named after one of France’s culinary legends, Paul Bocuse, the competition has launched the careers of many young chefs and spawned new culinary trends that are later adopted by restaurants worldwide. Hosted in conjunction with SIRHA (Salon International de la Restauration, de l'Hôtellerie et de l'Alimentation), the competition attracts over 190,000 professional visitors and allows international audiences to watch the world’s greatest up and coming chef talents at work. The next SIRHA is 21-25 January 2017. 

Paul bocuse

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