Author Archive for steveh

Spring Special – Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup with Hempler’s Smoked Bacon, Lime Crème Fraiche and Garlic Fried Crouton, sounds fancy huh? Well it is. Cream soups meaning a puree of some type of vegetable, starch or protein with a little cream added are generally boring to me. I find you always need to add things that contrast the smooth soup. In this soup we have a few things in play. The croutons add a texture contrast of crunchy and the lime crème fraiche is cool and acidic in contrast to the hot soup. The bacon, well why not?  (Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Bryan Weener)
Makes ½ gallon or 8 cups

Ingredients –
Asparagus or Asparagus Stems – 1 ½ lbs
Yellow onion –  Diced 1 ea
Canola oil or butter – 2 Tablespoons
Water – 1 qt
Peeled Yukon gold potatoes – ¾ lb
Heavy cream – 1 ½ cups
Spinach leaves – big handful
Sesame oil – 2 teaspoons

Garnish –
Hempler’s Bacon – 8 pieces cut into ½ pieces
Crème fraiche or sour cream – 1 cup
Lime zested and juiced – ½ ea
Croutons – your favorite will do, or tortilla chips crumbled will work in a pinch. It’s about the texture. 1 cup

Instructions –
You will need a heavy bottomed pot for this soup. If you do not have a heavy bottomed pot, stop what you are doing and go get one. Having the proper equipment is paramount. That thin bottomed pot you picked up at a garage sale for your first apartment will not work. It will burn anything thicker in viscosity than water. Some good brand names are All Clad and Volrath. Volrath is a commercial line you can find online or at a restaurant supply store. Now that you have your shiny new pot, let’s start cooking.

-Start by sautéing the onions with the oil for 4-5 minutes till translucent.
-Add the asparagus and sauté for another 10 minutes.
-Season at this point with salt and pepper
– Add the water, cream, potato and sesame oil and simmer for 20 minutes
– Add spinach leave and stir.
– In a blender place the solids from the soup meaning the asparagus, potatoes, etc… and puree till smooth using the liquid to adjust the consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you can’t tell if it needs more salt then it needs more salt.

At this point you can serve the soup with just the croutons and it will be delicious. If you want to go over the top and have everyone think you have a “Food Network Star Chef “chained to your stove then continue reading.

Lime Crème Fraiche –
– To 1 cup sour cream add ½ of a lime zested, the juice of the whole lime and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Bacon
– In a small pot with a little oil cook bacon over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally until most of the fat has rendered out of the bacon. Strain the bacon from the fat and save the fat for the bacon popcorn I’m going to tell you how to make.
Now you have all your components for your soup it’s time to make the magic happen. Pour soup into bowls, top each one with 6-8 croutons, some bacon and a table spoon of lime sour cream.

Other ideas –

  • Save some time and check our “Specials” tab and order your soup through us today!  Special is good through the end of June 2015.
  • Looking for other ideas when it comes to asparagus – Check out Chef Bryan’s blog post about different ways to prepare asparagus for the spring and summer season.
    • http://www.haggen.com/recipes/aspire-to-local-asparagus/

Training

“What I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I understand.”  ~ Confucius

At Haggen MSC we are not all talk when it comes to guest service.  How many people have told you, “I am a people’s person?”  How many of you list that as a quality you posses on your resume?  How many businesses preach about their stance on guests service… ,”Satisfaction guaranteed”,  “We’re not happy until you’re happy”, or “”Our satisfaction rating is 95%!”  Well, Haggen MSC is no different.  We  share this with our guests in our Mission Statement, we talk about it amongst each other every day in our office, our kitchen, and on our events.   We are not happy with a mere 95% satisfaction rating, we’re not happy until you are ecstatic let alone simply satisfied, and not only is your satisfaction guaranteed, it is expected to be exceeded.

Ham Photos new 099

We practice what we preach.  Literally.

Just over a couple of weeks ago, the team of Haggen MSC spent some time at the Lairmont Manor reviewing just what it means to provide great service.   It was a beautiful day, it was Cinco de Mayo, and it was the nicest day in May that the NW has ever seen (well I think ever).    The best part…the entire team showed up.  Hows that for proving that you care about what you are doing?

 

Ham Photos new 101

Ham Photos new 102

The team has read training manuals, seen great service in action, and now has gathered together to bring a greater level of understanding to the perfect event.  From guest service on the floor, to great service at the bar, and don’t forget great service and respect to each other, we work hard to ensure that our every interaction is as perfect as we can make it.  We discussed the little things, the big important things, and of course Steve’s pet peeve, keeping everyone’s water glass full!

 

I always ask my future team members when interviewing them, “What is your favorite dining experience that you can remember, and what was your least favorite?”  Each time, the response is typically a result of the service they received and not the food, not the ambiance, or even the limitations of the menu.  Service IS king.  It’s just not a saying.  No matter what industry you are in, service can make or break a company.  You can have the best widget at the cheapest price, but if you can’t interact with your team and your clients with respect and a high level of guest service your business will eventually become obsolete.

“We believe that Market Street Catering’s success depends on our guests, and that we earn their business by striving to always exceed their expectations.
We promise to keep quality, service, integrity and reliability at the forefront of every guest interaction.
We commit to using fresh, regional and seasonal ingredients hand-crafted by trained culinarians for a high-quality, innovative food experience.
We promote a team environment that encourages learning, passion for quality food and service, and mutual respect.”  Market Street Catering Mission Statement

Providing amazing guest service in everything we do is not just something we say we do.  It is not some fluffy marketing statement that we want people to buy into.  It is not a not a just a standard in the industry.  GREAT service is something that we live, breathe, and in addition to great food, is what we feed each and every person that we interact with.  It is us.

 

rsvp’s – are you frustrated yet?

I don’t know about you but every time I try to plan a party, arrange a night out with a group of friends, or even if I’m just trying to find out how many are coming over to watch the big game I feel like I’d have better luck winning the lotto than I will have with people RSVPing. Sure I can call everyone, send out invitations, create a facebook event, or even use that cool service “e-vite”, but it never fails…people just don’t feel the need to RSVP anymore. I doubt this will ever change and I doubt anyone will find a way to make people RSVP. Do it, and you’re a sure win for the Nobel peace prize. Oh and even if you do get everyone to RSVP that doesn’t mean that they will actually show up. Things happen. Life happens. Airports happen. Kids get sick. Then there’s uncle Carl who wasn’t invited but found out from your future brother in law about the party and decided to come anyways.

Our advice? First off tell people, everyone you meet as a matter of fact, of the significance of RSVPing. Second, if things are tight enough that you need to know 100%, call people. Enlist the help of a couple friends. It’s the only sure fire way to know 100%. In general, for most events over 100 people we see around a 80% redemption rate. That may be lower if more of your guests are out-of-towners, or whether the event is in the middle of the week, or if there is a holiday within a couple days of the event. Regardless of the RSVP situation we recommend that you plan on 5% more than your anticipated guest count. Worse case scenario, you get to take some food home or if we cater for you we’ll take it by the Lighthouse Mission.

Next time you receive an invitation, I bet you will respond. 🙂

Happy Planning

p. 360.647.4325 | f. 360.647.4326 | 210 36th St., Bellingham, WA 98225 | catering@haggen.com