January 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    Cooking a Turkey in a Convection Oven vs Regular Oven

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    turkey in an oven




    Everybody knows a high-quality oven is required to properly roast a delicious turkey. However, there’s some debate about cooking a turkey in a convection oven vs a regular oven. Does one method offer clear advantages over the other? By the end of this post, you’ll understand the difference between the two ovens and what it means when roasting turkey.

    When it comes to cooking turkey, convection ovens cook the Thanksgiving bird more quickly (about 30% faster) and evenly than standard ovens. This is a result of internal fans that actively circulate hot air within convection ovens. For comprehensive information related convection ovens, be sure to check out this convection oven guide

    Since convection ovens take less time to cook turkey, you should set them for a lower temperature than you would a regular oven. A 300-325°F temperature is perfect for producing a delicious bird that maintains a moist exterior while also reaching an ideal interior temperature of 165°F. Alternatively, regular ovens are usually set for 350°F when cooking turkey.

    Average cook time for turkeys in either type of oven is generally 3-4 hours, but that doesn’t account for the time it takes a turkey to thaw or be prepped. No matter what type of oven you use to roast your turkey, it shouldn’t make a significant difference in how delicious the bird tastes when it's served for consumption. 

    If you’ve roasted your fair share of turkeys and are looking into an alternate cooking method, you might want to consider deep frying.  


    roasted turkey

    How to Make Homemade Pizza with Store Bought Dough

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    store bought pizza dough


    The perfect blend of bread, sauce, and cheese, pizza is a delicious dish that’s beloved by nearly everyone who tries it. Since first invented in Naples, Italy in 1889, pizza has evolved to be offered in a variety of forms throughout the world. But what’s perhaps most amazing about pizza is how easy it is to cook at home, as every ingredient you need is available at your local grocery store. And while some home chefs swear by making pizza dough from scratch, doing so is a time-consuming process that’s not always so practical. Consequently, this post will cover how to make homemade pizza with store bought dough.

    The process of making pizza with store bought dough begins when you first grab dough off a shelf at the store. Pizza dough is extremely tender, so it’s essential to handle it with care. Try to get the dough back to your home kitchen without it incurring too much abuse in your shopping cart, during checkout, or on the trip home.

    Once you’ve gotten the dough safely into your kitchen, it’s time to prep it for cooking. When removing dough from the bag it comes in, you’ll want to focus on pulling the bag off the dough. There’s a small but important difference between pulling the bag off the dough and pulling the dough out of the bag. Doing the latter can compromise the integrity of the dough, while doing the former will ensure your pizza dough remains in peak condition.


    spread pizza dough


    After you’ve separated the bag from the dough, you have a couple different options. If you’re starving and want to eat your homemade pizza as soon as possible, just apply a little powder to the dough so your fingers don’t stick to it then start stretching the dough out. Do this by gently using your knuckles and thumbs, exercising caution as to not make any holes in the dough. If you accidentally make a hole, you’ll have to start over.  

    Maybe you have some time to spare and you want to go the extra mile. If that’s the case, make the dough into a ball by folding it on itself numerous times. Once the dough ball is smooth and all the air has been squeezed out, place it under a plastic container and let it sit for a couple hours. When you’re able to press the dough and it doesn’t bounce back immediately, you’ll be ready to spread it.

    After the dough has been spread, cover it with sauce, cheese, and whatever else you want on your homemade pizza. Bake atop a pizza stone or baking sheet until the crust is golden-brown. For optimal results, rotate the pie intermittently while it cooks. 


    homemade pizza

    How Old Do You Have to be to Serve Alcohol?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    serving alcohol


    Violating alcohol-related laws carry stiff penalties—especially for owners of bars and restaurants. Consequently, it’s in the best interest of both you and your business to know and diligently follow all laws related to the consumption and distribution of alcohol. This article will answer the all-important question, “How old do you have to be to serve alcohol?”

    Unlike the national minimum drinking age, there is no widespread age requirement for serving alcohol. The minimum age depends on what state you’re in and can even differ within the same state. Here is the minimum legal age one needs to be to serve alcohol in each of the respective 50 U.S. states:


    State Minumum Age 
    Alabama 19
    Alaska 21
    Arizona 19
    Arkansas 19
    California 18
    Colorado 18
    Connecticut 18
    Delaware 18
    Washington DC 18
    Florida 18
    Georgia 18
    Hawaii 18
    Idaho 19
    Illinois* 18
    Indiana 19
    Iowa 18
    Kansas 18
    Kentucky 19
    Louisiana 18
    Massachusetts 18
    Maine 17
    Maryland 18
    Michigan 18
    Minnesota 18
    Mississippi 18
    Missouri 18
    Montana 18
    Nebraska 19
    Nevada 21
    New Hampshire 18
    New Jersey 18
    New York 18
    New Mexico 19
    North Carolina 18
    Ohio 19
    Oklahoma 18
    Oregon 18
    Pennsylvania 18
    Rhode Island 18
    South Carolina 18
    South Dakota 18
    Tennessee 18
    Texas 18
    Utah 21
    Vermont 18
    Virginia 18
    Washington 18
    West Virginia 18
    Wisconsin 18
    Wyoming 18


    So in the majority of states, the minimum serving age for alcohol is 18. Utah, Nevada, and Alaska require servers to be 21 years of age, while Maine allows 17 year-olds to serve alcoholic beverages. While these age minimums seem cut and dry, they're not quite so simple. Each state has specific quirks when it comes to selling alcohol.

    For instance, 18 year-olds in Texas are allowed to serve alcohol only if they’ve completed an alcohol server/seller training course. Due to a local ordinance in the city of Chicago, one must be 21 years of age to serve alcohol. This is despite Illinois' state law requiring servers to only be 18. Other states require someone over 21 to be supervising 18 year-olds who serve alcohol.

    To stay on the safe side, always research your own city’s laws before allowing someone under 21 to serve alcohol in your establishment. 

    How Long Does it Take to Deep Fry a Turkey?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    deep fried turkey


    While roasting turkey in an oven is certainly the most traditional method, deep frying is becoming an increasingly popular alternative. Resulting in an extremely moist turkey that possesses delicious, crispy skin, deep frying is a cooking method that every serious chef should be well-versed in. This article will cover some important deep frying guidelines and also answer the question, “How long does it take to deep fry a turkey?”

    We’ll start with how long it takes to deep fry a turkey. The answer: it depends. Variables like the size of your turkey and the heat at which the turkey is being deep fried both have an effect on how long it takes. Turkeys that weigh between 10 and 13 pounds should be fried 3 minutes per pound, while turkeys that weigh between 14 and 20 pounds should be deep fried for 3.5 minutes per pound. Here is a detailed, easy-to-read chart that simplifies the math:


    Weight Time to Cook  
    10 Lbs. 30 minutes
    11 Lbs. 33 minutes
    12 Lbs. 36 minutes
    13 Lbs. 39 minutes
    14 Lbs. 49 minutes
    15 Lbs. 52.5 minutes
    16 Lbs. 56 minutes
    17 Lbs. 59.5 minutes
    18 Lbs. 63 minutes
    19 Lbs. 66.5 minutes
    20 Lbs. 70 minutes












    Some important guidelines:

    • Make sure that a turkey is totally thawed and completely dry prior to frying. It should have an empty cavity and be injected with a marinade for best results. Ideally, this marinade should be injected evenly throughout the turkey, and the turkey should be left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  
    • To be certain that the turkey is thoroughly cooked, confirm that its internal temperature is between 180-190°F.
    • After the turkey has finished frying, let it sit for 10-20 minutes before carving it.
    • It takes roughly 3 hours for the fryer’s oil to completely cool down. The oil can be used re-used twice more, but it starts to break down after its third use.

    The pleasure of consuming a mouth-watering deep fried turkey await you. Be sure to check back for other tips related to cooking, nutrition, and the foodservice industry. 

    Farm to Table Restaurants – What to Know

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    What is Farm-to-Table?


    farm to table


    The farm-to-table movement is a socially conscious practice by which restaurants receive food from small local farms as opposed to large corporations. Significantly increasing in popularity during the last 15 years, a farm-to-table approach offers restaurant owners a multitude of benefits:


    Fresher Food


    fresher food


    When produce travels hundreds or even thousands of miles to a destination, it’s often harvested prematurely to prevent spoilage during the long trip. While this process helps ensure the food arrives in adequate condition, it also means vegetables won’t be as fresh and fruits won’t taste as flavorful. Soups and sauces lack the delicious punch of produce that’s ripened completely prior to harvesting. But with farm-to-table restaurants, produce is allowed to ripen entirely on a vine or in the ground—resulting in better-tasting fruits and vegetables.


    Environmentally Friendly


    environmentally friendly


    Large corporate farms often utilize 18-wheel trucks to transport food all over the country. Leaving trails of diesel emissions in their wake, these trucks are predictably not so great for the environment. Farm-to-table restaurants combat this issue by receiving food directly from local farms, which are just a short drive away. This local relationship leads to less pollution and an improved outlook for the environment.  






    Receiving meat and produce from local family farms helps support the local economy. This is in stark contrast to getting food from a large corporation that’s potentially located across the country.


    Animal Treatment


    animal treatment


    A significant criticism of corporate factory farms is their inhumane treatment of animals. Receiving meat from local family-owned farms can help quell concerns regarding the animals’ living conditions. As opposed to large corporations that are driven by mass profit, local farmers are more likely to treat their animals humanely by feeding them proper food and providing adequate housing.


    A Brighter Future


    brighter future


    Proper soil maintenance is crucial to ensuring farm land remains fertile for years to come. While money-driven corporate farms make little effort to rotate crops, practice seed diversity, and promote biodiversity, local family farms are more likely to engage in these sustainable farming practices.

    Many farm-to-table restaurants feature seasonal menus that enable to farmers to cycle crops, which helps keep soil tilth healthy enough for long-term crop growth. Local farmers are also less likely to use pesticides, further improving the future prospects of a farm’s fertility. While they might not seem like such a big deal now, these practices will keep farms useable for our children and grandchildren.

    7 Foods and Drinks That Will Keep You Warm During the Cold Weather

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

    With temperatures dipping below 0°F throughout much of the United States, people are doing whatever they can to stay warm. While hot showers and sitting by roaring fireplaces are great ways to increase your body temperature, you can also do so by eating certain foods and drinking specific beverages. The following list contains 7 foods and drinks that will help keep you warm during the cold winter weather.


    Brown Rice


    brown rice


    The digestion of brown rice will also lead to an uptick in warmth for your body. The complex carbohydrates found in brown rice require significant effort to digest and are metabolized relatively slowly. This means an eater’s body will be working hard for longer periods of time, which results in a warmer core body temperature. Other complex carbs like quinoa, potatoes, and lentils can also help you feel warmer, but simple carbs such as white rice and pasta aren’t nearly as helpful.


    Ice Cream


    ice cream warm up


    Maybe the last food you’d expect to see on this list, ice cream will heat you up so long as you can deal with the food’s initial chill. Similar to complex carbohydrates, the fat packed into ice cream takes more time and energy to digest than most foods. Time spent digesting the fat is time your body spends working and expelling energy. When your body uses energy to digest, you’ll naturally get warmer.


    Coconut Oil


    coconut oil


    Chock-full of healthy HDL cholesterol, coconut oil will increase your internal temperature and can be consumed in a wide range of ways. To seamlessly implement coconut oil into your diet, you can use it as salad dressing, granola topping, or even cooking oil. Offering brown rice cooked in coconut oil is one sure-fire way to heat up your customers. And if you don’t want to integrate coconut oil into any of your dishes, you can always offer a spoonful on the house. Coconut oil has a variety of other health benefits that make it even more appealing.






    This root packs a spicy punch, but it’s the effect ginger has on your circulation system that makes it a great remedy for cold weather. By improving your blood flow and circulation, ginger increases your body’s core temperature. Part of the reason why ginger is so good at raising body temperature is because it features heat-producing oils called gingerols. There are a myriad of ways to consume ginger, including tea, cookies, bread, and more. You can even use ginger as an additive in sauces and other items.






    While any hot beverage will help warm you up, coffee has a special ingredient that can kick-start your internal heating mechanism. Stimulating your metabolism, the caffeine in coffee causes the release of fatty acids, which heat up your body. This is even truer with iced coffee, which usually has more caffeine than a hot cup of Joe. Even so, we can’t fault anyone for opting for hot coffee when the temperatures dip below freezing.






    For immediate heating up, accept no substitute. Soup might not last as long as other foods on this list, but it’s the ultimate choice for hungry diners who’ve just come in from the cold. The ideal situation is having a nice bowl of soup to warm up, followed up by a complex carbohydrate that will help keep you warm for the long run.


    Cayenne Pepper


    cayenne pepper


    This zesty spice boasts high amounts of capsaicin, a vanilloid that’s been proven to increase core body temperature. Cayenne pepper is almost always consumed as a powder and goes great with anything that can tolerate a dash of spice. Dishes like tortilla soup, fish tacos, nachos, chili, and southwestern rice all benefit from even just a pinch of cayenne pepper.


    What Won’t Work:






    Beer, wine, and liquor have long been touted as ways to warm up amid cold winter weather. Unfortunately, the effect of alcohol on the body is rather short-lived and not as helpful as its reputation might suggest. While a stiff drink can help you initially feel warmer, it actually lowers your body’s core temperature. Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, which moves blood flow closer to your skin. It’s this reaction that results in people perceiving an increase in bodily temperature. But since that hot blood is actually now farther from your body’s core, your core body temperature will decrease. This might be fine if you’re indoors at a log cabin. But if you’re out in the mountains looking for a quick way to stay warm, you should opt for something other than alcohol.



    Restaurants and food services might want to consider offering discounts on these items to drum up business during the slow season. Make sure to let patrons now how these foods and drinks can help keep heat them up and provide protection against the cold winter weather.


    restaurant fireplace