(July 29)Chefs or those marketing to foodservice vendors might glean ieas from these suggestions culled from research by Produce Concepts staff.

REWARD TEACHERS

As you develop your August menu and promotional plan, consider a back-to-school promotion in which you give teachers a free apple dessert.

Here’s a simple dessert idea from the Washington Apple Commission, Wenatchee. For apple tartlettes, toss together apple slices, sugar and cinnamon. Next, cut puff pastry sheets into 6-inch squares and portion 2-ounces of the apple mixture on each square. Press all corners together over the apples forming an envelope. Brush the top of each tartlette with egg whites and water whisked together.

For a delicious finishing touch, whip together mascarpone cheese, apple liqueur and sugar and dollop each dessert with the sauce.


TROTTER’S TAKES

To achieve excellence as a chef, you must give more than 100%, says Charlie Trotter. As chef/owner of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, he is recognized as a fine-dining trendsetter.

He conducted a workshop session at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago in May, where he imparted these sage words of advice to chefs who desire to rise above mediocrity:

  • If you’re on time to work, do what’s expected and show respect for others, that’s only giving 100%. You’ll have time to give 100% later in life. Now you must give 150% every day.


  • Consider how you can deliver $120 worth of experience for a $100 meal.

  • Watch your top line — your excellence line. Discern an appropriate gift you could give to each guest, whether it’s a free course, a free bottle of wine, a cookbook or a tour behind the scenes. Completely satisfy that customer.


  • Before you can lead others, be able to lead yourself. Be extraordinarily disciplined, respectful to everyone on every level, humble and sincere. Each day challenge yourself to another level.


  • If something is going too well for too long, you must be doing something wrong. You’re settling for something. Take it the next step forward.




WATERMELON ON THE BRAIN

  • Florida, Texas, California and Georgia lead the United States in watermelon production.


  • Watermelon contains high concentrations of lycopene that may help reduce the risks of prostate cancer.


  • More than 1,200 varieties of watermelon grow in more than 96 countries.


  • Domestic watermelon is available from April through November, with peak production May through August.


  • Imported watermelon is available from October through June, with peak production March through May.


  • Create fire and ice salsa as a chip dip or a garnish for chicken and fish. Combine chopped watermelon, green peppers, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno peppers and lime juice.


  • SOURCE: National Watermelon Promotion Board

    UP WITH GREEN BEANS

    “X - with seasonal vegetable” appears on menus across the country. Perhaps green beans make your menu often. Fresh green beans are available year-round from one place or another — often from Florida.

    The beans, which also are called string beans and snap beans, are stringless these days. To preserve the best quality, stir-fry them using the least amount of water as possible. Add flavor by mixing in dill, garlic, cumin or tarragon.

    If you boil them, you only need to cook them for three to five minutes, drain them and add your flavoring. For a spicy sesame-seed flavor, add roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, olive oil, minced garlic and fresh lemon juice.