Ricotta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes Bruschetta

MAKES 12 BRUSCHETTA • Crisp bruschetta topped with savory, fresh ricotta and just enough honey to make the roasted tomatoes pop with avor.

INGREDIENTS

RICOTTA

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

HONEY ROASTED TOMATOES

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. clover honey
  • 2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 12 baguette slices, cut 1/2 inch thick on the bias
  • 1 Tbsp. buckwheat honey
  • 6 basil leaves, julienned or torn

DIRECTIONS

RICOTTA

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit rmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will rm as it cools, so do not judge its nal texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Inspired by Salvatore Ricotta, via Tasting Table

HONEY ROASTED TOMATOES

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, honey, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Scrape the tomatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and turn them cut side up. Bake the tomatoes for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, until they begin to shrivel and brown.

Let cool.

NOTE

The roasted tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Preheat the broiler. Spread out the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Broil for about 30 seconds on each side, until the edges are golden brown.
  2. Spread the ricotta over the baguette slices and top with the slow-roasted tomatoes.
  3. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes with the buckwheat honey, sprinkle with the sliced basil and serve with additional buckwheat honey on the side.
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Cinnamon Toast Crunch® Ice Cream with Peaches

 SERVES 6-8 • It’s a sweet taste of summer in a bowl: warm, fresh peaches and velvety ice cream with just the right hint of cinnamon.

INGREDIENTS

ICE CREAM

  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch®
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

PEACHES

  • Fresh peaches, halved and pitted
  • Maple syrup (for brushing)
  • Butter (for grilling)
  • Pecans, chopped

DIRECTIONS

ICE CREAM

  1. Start by pouring the milk in a bowl and putting ½ cup of the cereal in it. (You really only need one cup of milk, but some of the milk is going to get absorbed into the cereal, so it’s best to use 1 ¼ cups.)
  2. Let the cereal sit in the fridge for as long as you can. Six to eight hours is ideal. When you take it out of the fridge, it will be all soggy-like.
  3. Strain the milk from the cereal, making sure you have a cup of milk
    (if you need more, just pour more plain milk). Put milk in a medium saucepan. Heat the milk with the salt and sugar in the saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat.
  4. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl. Pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then pour that back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  5. Pour the cream into a separate bowl placed in an ice bath. Now, strain the warm milk mixture into the bowl of cream. Add in vanilla. Stir over the ice until cool. Then put the bowl into the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the cereal, so it’s nice and crunchy when you add it into the ice cream. First, put the two cups of cereal in a bag and crush it just a little bit. Heat the butter and brown sugar in a bowl in the microwave until it’s melted. Whisk it together and pour it over the cereal.
  7. Spread the cereal over a parchment-lined cookie sheet, so it’s in a nice even layer and bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350oF, until it’s nice and caramelized. Let it cool and then break it into little pieces.
  8. Process your ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon while the ice cream is processing.
  9. When the ice cream is almost done, mix in the Cinnamon Toast. Then store the ice cream in a separate container and let freeze for another few hours, or overnight.

from We are not Martha

PEACHES

Brush the peach halves with maple syrup. Smear butter on a grill or grill pan over low heat. Place the peaches cut side down onto the grill/grill pan and cook them low and slow for a few minutes, rotating them 90 degrees halfway through. Monitor the cooking temp and keep it low enough that the maple syrup doesn’t burn.

Remove the peaches when they’re slightly soft but not mushy and have great grill marks. Brush a little extra maple syrup over the tops.

SERVE

Scoop ice cream into a bowl, then cut peach halves in half. Press the slices into the ice cream, sprinkle pecans and extra Cinnamon Toast Crunch®.

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This iconic American dessert gets a restaurant-ready, deep-fried facelift

The Twinkie™ – in all its creamy, cakey goodness – has been the quintessential American treat since the Great Depression. New for 2017, however, is the Deep Fried Twinkie, because even with the increasing popularity of healthier, more wholesome menu items (did someone say Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl?), restaurant-goers will always have a soft spot for deep-fried foods.

Capitalizing on this deep-fried frenzy, McCain Foodservice launched an integrated campaign touting the Twinkie’s nostalgia and convenience to restaurant operators with the goal of bringing the Hostess® Twinkie® brand to the foodservice market. A series of ad placements with publications like Smartbrief Restaurant, Foodservice Director and Restaurant Business were built around a free product sample, hoping to intrigue and motivate operators to try the product with a strong call to action that touted the product’s novelty.

The ad’s creative is simple. Appetite-provoking hero images showcase how the classic Twinkie can be used in a variety of innovative ways. Upon clicking through, the reader is brought to a landing page (below) with an order form to request a free sample, along with recipe inspiration.

McCain was very liberal with samples, as there was no need to be a foodservice operator. However there does appear to have been a cap on this promotion as the rebate is now closed.


Our curiosity (and appetite) got the best of us, and we requested a sample of our own, which arrived in approximately two week’s time. With recipe inspiration taken from the site, we put the product to the test. We were impressed with the freshness and versatility of the product and can see its benefits to foodservice operators for a quick dessert.

Though it is too early to tell if the campaign resonated with operators, Long John Silver’s announced that it will test the Deep-Fried Twinkie on their dessert menu in select markets – an indicator of the campaign’s success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Liberal samples are a compelling, easy way to drive trial and usage when introducing a new product to market
  • A full media surround with a variety of print, digital, native ad and DTO placements helped this campaign break through
  • Pairing sampling with recipe inspiration can be a powerful combination to create operator trial
  • Creating a new twist on an old favorite is a timeless trend

Need help launching your product for foodservice? We can help! Contact us at info@infoodmktg.com

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Beef & Mushroom Burger

The secret to a juicy summertime burger? Fresh mushrooms mixed into the beef. It’s grill perfection!

SERVES 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. finely minced cremini mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground beef

Directions

Finely dice mushrooms or gently pulse in food processor.

Heat oil in a saucepan. When hot, add the minced mushrooms. Sautée for two minutes and add fresh thyme. Continue cooking until moisture evaporates. Lightly season with salt and black pepper and set aside.

Whisk egg in a metal mixing bowl. Add mushroom/thyme mixture, mustard, Worcestershire, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Whisk again.

Mix in ground beef. Try to avoid overworking during this process as this will make the burgers tough. Form 6-8 balls and shape into burger patties. Press a small dimple in the center of each patty so they don’t puff up while cooking. Place on parchment-lined baking tray and chill in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Cook on heated cast iron skillet (coated with a thin layer of canola oil) or cook on the grill to desired doneness.

 

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IN Food donates almost 5000 meals through Click for L.U.N.C.H.

We are thrilled to announce that our 7th annual Click for L.U.N.C.H campaign was a success. We received enough clicks to donate 4,830 meals to Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program — that’s 1,800 more meals than last year! A huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s campaign.

During the school year, more than 40% of K-12 kids in Minnesota are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, when the school year ends for the summer, these children may not have access to the nutritious meals they need. The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 and under to fill this gap.

Here at IN we are all passionate about food, and are glad we were able to help make sure fewer children live at risk of hunger this summer. Our partnership with Second Harvest Heartland has been an incredible experience. You can find information about donating to or volunteering with this great organization at www.2harvest.org.

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Lobster Mac & Cheese

Succulent chunks of lobster give this creamy mac and cheese a sweet taste of Maine.

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb bag of large pasta (we used ziti)
3 Tbsp. butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mascarpone
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. brandy
12 oz. Wood River Alpha’s Morning Sun cheese (white cheddar/gruyere blend), grated
6 oz. fontina cheese, grated
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 cooked lobster tails
2 Tbsp. chives, chopped

Topping

1 cup panko crumbs
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. chives, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander and return to stockpot. Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan. Once melted, add shallots and sauté until soft.
Add flour and stir for 1 minute until combined. Whisk in milk. Bring to a slight boil, whisking constantly. Add cream, mascarpone, Dijon, brandy, both cheeses, salt, and pepper. Remove pan from heat. Stir together until all cheese is melted. Mix in pasta and lobster. Pour into a large baking dish.

Topping

Mix together panko crumbs, butter, chives and salt and pepper. Sprinkle topping over pasta. Bake until golden. This will take about 20–25 minutes.

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Click for L.U.N.C.H. 2017

To help combat child hunger this summer, IN Food Marketing & Design is proud to kick off the 7th annual Click for L.U.N.C.H! Campaign to raise awareness for Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program.

Last year we were able to donate 3,030 meals – this year we hope to donate 10,000. For every person that visits infoodmarketing.com/click-lunch between June 6 and 9, 5 meals will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program.

Nearly 40 percent of children in Minnesota’s public schools depend on the free or reduced-cost meals they receive during the school year. As schools around the state let out for summer vacation, many food insecure kids are faced with unhealthy food options – or worse, no options at all.

We understand that not having access to a balance of healthy, nutritious food has consequences on a child’s overall health and ability to learn, which is why we are donating 5 meals for every person that visits our campaign page*

Share this page with friends and family to provide even more kids with healthy meals this summer.

*Up to 10,000 meals

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From flavored cottage cheese to spiralized veggies, here’s a look at the five new food products we’re INto.

Chowza

Chowza brings a fresh take on the childhood classic — puppy chow! With a crisp bite and indulgent flavor, this Minneapolis-based company offers flavors such as Classic Peanut Butter Chocolate, Mint Chocolate and Butterscotch. At the moment, Chowza is sold exclusively online. Image source: The Dieline

 

Veggie Noodle Co.

Veggie Noodle Co. adds a twist to pasta business, leveraging the spiralized vegetable trend. Available in four varieties: zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potato and beet. Available at Whole Foods and Target Stores nationwide. Image source: Veggie Noodle Co.

Hippeas Chickpea Puffs

Hippeas offers a line of organic puffed snacks made with chickpeas. Organic, gluten free, vegan, high in fiber and protein and with flavors like Maple Haze and Far Out Fajita, it’s hard to not love these. The perfect healthy alternative to the classic cheese puff. Available at a variety of retail locations nationwide. Image source: trndmonitor.com

Secret Squirrel Cold Brew

Ready to drink cold brew coffee is a growing trend — between 2010 and 2015 cold brew sales grew by nearly 350 percent. Secret Squirrel offers a global spin on traditional cold brew with flavors like Vietnamese Latte, Maple & Brown Sugar and New Orleans Style Chicory Latte, all made with organic ingredients. Available in select markets. Image source: Bev Industry Magazine

 

Good Culture Cottage Cheese

A high protein snack, perfect for that 3 PM slump. Good Culture brings an innovative approach to bland cottage cheese with flavors like Kalamata Olive, Pineapple and Strawberry Chia. Certified organic, we love Good Culture’s clean ingredient list. Available at Whole Foods and select retailers nationwide. Image source: Food Business News

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Ice Cream Social: 7 Things Learned From Halo Top’s Social Media Success

Founded in 2011 in Justin Woolverton’s kitchen, Halo Top is a low-calorie, high-protein ice cream made with natural ingredients. Originally available in just four flavors, Halo Top has expanded to a whopping 17 varieties. Between 2015 and 2016, the company’s sales increased 2,500 percent, or just shy of $66 million. The product was available at select Whole Foods, specialty stores and co-ops until recently, and is now sold at stores like Kroger, HyVee, Target and Walmart. Even Costco sells a bulk 4-pint case (because you can eat the entire pint in one sitting, many consumers stock up).

Until recently, Halo Top hasn’t relied on traditional means of advertising to promote its product. So, what triggered this rapid growth? Social media and influencer marketing. Here are 7 lessons learned from the company’s success.

1. Develop a solid strategy

What are your objectives? What is your goal? Once defined, all social touch points must stem from these. Halo Top’s messaging is driven by a common goal of increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty through product promotions and consumer engagement.

2. Post relevant content

Once your audience is defined, post content they care about – but keep it on strategy. Be timely, on-trend and relevant to your audience. Halo Top does a great job of utilizing hashtags and curating content around recognized social trends. They have a clear understanding of their audience’s values, which drives the company’s communication tactics.

3. Develop your brand voice

Developing a voice that is authentic, consistent and unique is crucial to social media success. Who is your audience? What is your company culture and brand personality? College-aged, professional, soccer mom, retired? They all require different brand voices. Halo Top knows its audience is younger and social media savvy, leading the brand to communicate in a fun, on-trend way.

4. Engage with consumers

Be human. Consumers want a brand that is genuine, one that they can connect with and trust. Halo Top makes an effort to respond to every post they’re mentioned in, whether it be a comment, like or retweet. The pay off? Positive product reviews, user-generated content (#halotop on Instagram has over 100,000 posts), customer loyalty and a trustworthy brand voice.

5. Make it pretty

With the help of Crier Communications and Peck & Company, Halo Top’s creative direction is something to envy. Between their package design, website and social media accounts, all elements are “Instagram-worthy,” promoting increased social media sharing.

6. Tailor the message to each channel

People use different social media channels for different purposes. Make sure to tailor your message to the right audience at the right time. Halo Top uses Twitter and Facebook to respond to customer concerns and share company news. Instagram is used for sharing trends, promoting company culture and to announce product promotions.

Need help with your business’ social media? We can help! Contact us at info@infoodmktg.com

 

Image source: theodysseyonline.com

 

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Top Dog! Which Natural-Casing, All-Beef Hot Dog is Best?

Though often shadowed by its disc-shaped rival, the hot dog is popping up on an increasing number of restaurant menus. An upgrade from the classic mustard, ketchup and relish combo, offerings such as Prairie Dog’s Micho’s Sonoran Dog and Butcher and the Boar’s Berkshire Pork & Cheddar are all the rage.

We dusted off the grill and hit the stores with one question in mind: which premium hot dog brand is best?

The criteria

We purchased four brands of natural-casing, all-beef hot dogs. Our taste testers blindly sampled each and were asked to rate the brands in regards to flavor, appearance and juiciness. Packaging was reviewed once each brand was revealed.

The contenders (price: low to high)

 

Schweigert

Price: $4.99/12 oz. = $0.42/oz.

Taste and appearance: Buttery and salty flavor; crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Packaging: We like the heritage from the font and monogram of the Schweigert logo. We also noted that this was the only package to include a product photo. While we agree with their choice to do so, we think that the product in the photo doesn’t look much different from the product in the package. We’d like to see a little more juiciness in the photo for added appetite appeal.

Cher-Make Authentic Wisconsin

Price: $5.49/12 oz. = $0.46/oz.

Taste and appearance: Natural, woodsy flavor; meaty texture; pale appearance.

Packaging: We found that the brand on the Cher-Make label is difficult to determine, as “Authentic Wisconsin” is at the top of the label, and the Cher-Make logo is equal in size and side-by-side with the Wisconsin logo. This was also the only package to use black backing instead of clear, which doesn’t allow for as full of a product view as the others with clear backing.

Ambassador

Price: $5.99/13 oz. = $0.46/oz.

Taste and appearance: Sweet, smoky, complex flavor; robust red interior; less juicy.

Packaging: We like the retro feel of the Ambassador label and the playfulness of the hot dog mascot. We’d like to see the label simplified to just red, white and black to really own that retro feel.

Boar’s Head

Price: $6.99/14 oz. = $0.50/oz.

Taste and appearance: Standard, salty taste; wrinkled appearance; greasy mouthfeel.

Packaging: The font and color choices for the Boar’s Head label give it a sophisticated feel. The package stands out among the rest as appearing most “straight from the butcher” with the bundled-style wrapping. However, we noticed that it was also the most difficult to open.

So, which brand of hot dogs are we grilling up this summer?

Schweigert! We loved the meaty, juicy flavor and the golden brown color. The slightly crisp, yet tender bite was a homerun in our books!

Packaging Wrap-up

Working at a food marketing agency, we all often find packaging to be a main factor in our purchasing decisions. But aside from communicating branding and product information, this hot dog packaging becomes secondary to seeing the color and quality of the hot dogs themselves, though not completely irrelevant. The bundled-style packaging of Boar’s Head, for example, stands out from the others and lends itself to a sophisticated “straight from the butcher” feel. For the flat-style packaging, the clear backing for Schweigert and Ambassador allows the consumer to see much more of the product than the black backing on the Cher-Make hot dogs.

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