Monthly Archives: April 2014

History & How-To: Shrub Cocktails

Ruth Hartnup, Flickr Commons

Bar owners and restaurateurs nationwide began reinventing the Prohibition Era speak easy quite a few years ago, launching a craze for classic cocktails and the dashing mustachioed barkeeps who create them. But naturally, as when any style trend becomes conventional, foodie taste makers have had to move on to something new… or, in this case, truly old.

Introducing the shrub, a drink recipe colonial Americans brought with them from England.

A shrub is an alcoholic or non-alcoholic mixed drink built on the flavor of a shrub syrup (aka “a shrub”), which is a reduction of fruit, vinegar, and sweetener.

Shrub syrups are ideal for making use of cosmetically imperfect produce or an over-abundant harvest, something chefs new to managing their own farm-to-table yields may find valuable again here in the 21st century. Though the syrup is traditionally prepared with equal parts vinegar, sugar, and fruit, the possible flavor combinations are limitless when vegetables, herbs, and spices are used in addition to, or in place of, the fruit.

How To Make a Shrub Syrup:

Combine 1 part fruit and 1 part sugar, allow to rest until sugar has dissolved and combined with fruit juices to create a syrup. This could take up to a few days. Strain out the solids. Add 1 part vinegar and let the mixture mellow to taste. Once it’s ready, add it to this simple cocktail recipe.

Fruit Shrub Spritzer Recipe:

It’s a Fork! It’s Chopsticks! It’s the Chork!

Some diners boldly request chopsticks immediately upon entering an Asian restaurant and some diners boldly request a fork after being seated. The majority of guests are probably somewhere in the middle, either too embarrassed to try chopsticks in public or trying but getting hungrier as the meal goes on.

Meet the Chork—a single tensil that suits them all!Instructions for using the Chork.

Use the Chork in its original state as a fork.

Separate the Chork into its two halves and use them as chopsticks.

Flip the Chork upside down and it’s cheater chopsticks! (The respectable kind, solid red or solid black, without Pororo or Hello Kitty on top.)

The Chork gives timid diners an extra push to try the traditionally Asian way of dining and gives frustrated chopsticks users a little help for times when the rice just isn’t sticky enough. It’s a clever solution for restaurants and diners, and it’s sure to be a conversation piece for everyone.

10 Things to Make with an Easter Egg Cake Pan

Small Easter Egg Cake Pan by Chicago Metallic CGO-47685

12-on Small Easter Egg Cake Pan by Chicago Metallic Commercial Bakeware

Don’t relegate your Easter egg cake pan to dessert duty only! Specialty bakeware like our American-made Chicago Metallic Small Easter Egg Cake Pan can open up the floodgates of creativity. We’ll get you started with some ideas.

  1. Let kids do their own decorating with a variety of pre-cut fondant shapes and individual egg-shaped cakes.
  2. Bake individual frittatas using fresh ingredients chosen by the guests when they order.
  3. Create an Easter basket full of egg-shaped rolls and corn breads that include a variety of flavors: plain, spicy jalapeno, cheese, bacon, or sweetened with honey.
  4. Serve miniature Baked Alaskas in every combination of cake and ice cream.
  5. Layer fruit salad gelatin molds and serve as a side.
  6. Create a pretty appetizer of crackers and egg-shaped pâté.
  7. Make flavored ice eggs for pitchers of sangria, cocktails, juices and iced tea.
  8. Plate a main course on an egg-shaped bed of sticky rice.
  9. Bake puff pastry into an egg shape with a sweet or savory filling.
  10. Fashion egg-shaped bowls out of bacon or crispy hash browns and fill with scrambled eggs.

Through Saturday, Instawares is featuring cases of 6 Chicago Metallic Small Easter Egg Cake Pans at a special Deal of the Week price! Invest in these eggs while they’re on sale for Easter and get a return all-year long.