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tips and tricks

Delicious Fruit Salads

As the weather warms up and more fruits come into season, refreshing fruit salads are a coveted dish. But there’s more to fruit salads than just chopping fruits and tossing them into a bowl. The best fruit salads are not only visually stunning, but create a beautiful balance of flavors and textures. To create your own fruit salad masterpiece, check out these tips and tricks.

  • Seasonal Fruit
    Overall, seasonal fruit simply tastes better. When in season, their flavors and textures are far superior than that of off-season fruits. When choosing your ingredients, opt for seasonal produce that is local to you.
  • Ripeness
    In terms of texture, you want to choose fruits that are at same (or similar) level of ripeness. When you don’t, your salad may contain bites that are mushy or too tart or tough. Mixing similarly ripe fruits together will keep your salad looking fresh and vibrant longer.
  • Colors & Textures
    Speaking of vibrancy, fruit salads are easily one of the most visually appealing salads. The different colors and hues of the fruits you choose will highlight and contrast each other. A variation of textures can also keep your taste buds pleased. Choose a combination of seedy fruits along with crispy or juicy fruits or some with fibrous skins.
  • Remove Stems, Pits & Skins
    With cherries and strawberries and the like, you should remove the stems, pits, and, when necessary, the skins. If you cannot remove the pits or seeds, make sure your guests are aware to prevent any unpleasant surprises.
  • Consistency
    You want to cut your fruits into uniform pieces. This not only helps your salad visually, but it keeps each bite relatively even and easier to consume.
  • Equal Parts
    In addition, you want to use equal parts of each fruit so that one does not overpower the other.
  • Season With Citrus
    Nothing compliments a delicious fruit salad like fresh citrus zest and juice from lemons or limes. The citrus juice also helps to prevent the fruit from browning.
  • Herbs: More Than A Garnish
    You can continue to enhance the flavors of your fruit salad by adding fresh herbs. For example, mint is often used as a garnish, but it can be a refreshing and delicious addition when to the mixed in.
  • Granulated Sugar
    If you happen to pick up some fruits that are not quite ripe yet, you can soften and sweeten them with a bit of granulated sugar (to taste). After a few minutes, the granules will dissolve into the fruit, so no need to worry about the grainy texture.
  • Add Whipped Cream Or Yogurt
    Want to add some creamy richness to your fruit salad? Whipped cream or yogurt can be a great addition, especially for berries and stone fruits.

Have any fruit salad tips of your own? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Join The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch six days a week! Order our sandwiches in store, online or have them delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS. We also provide catering for business lunches, special events and parties. Call 909-596-5225 to learn more.

Build The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

Thanksgiving is next week, but we have been thinking about Thanksgiving Leftover sandwiches all month. While we all have our own personal preferences, here are some sandwich tips to help you create a delicious Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich.

Bread Choice
It seems wrong to go out and buy bread specifically for a sandwich made from leftovers. As the name states, you should be using what you have on hand, which is what most of us can and will do. However, if you do go out of your way to get bread for this sandwich, the key is to get something that isn’t too bready. Since you will likely be creating a hefty sandwich, choose bread that’s strong enough to hold up without overpowering the ingredients.

A fresh Kaiser roll might be the best choice as it adds some flaky crispiness on the outside but is airy enough within to complement your leftovers. And this may cause a stir, but a wrap can also be a fine option as it allows for more of the stuff on the inside without adding too much starch. Also it helps to ensure your whole sandwich won’t fall apart while you eat it.

Easy Dressing/Gravy
First and foremost, avoid mustard. While it is a perfectly fine condiment, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to this sandwich. If your sandwich consists of mainly turkey, then mustard is great. But because it’s such a strong flavor, it may be too intense for the rest of your ingredients. Instead, a neutral condiment like mayonnaise can help to add some greasy moisture to your sandwich.

You want to add gravy to your sandwich because we’re talking Thanksgiving here. But you have to be careful – too much gravy will soak your bread and create a soggy mess. To err on the side of caution for sliced bread, make sure there’s a dry ingredient between the bread and the gravy. If you want to avoid it all together, you can always have a little extra gravy on the side to dip your sandwich in.

You may be tempted to pile on the starches, like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and candied yams, but disrupting the starch-to-meat ratio will result in a dense, carb-heavy sandwich. If that’s what you like, we are definitely not here to judge. This is merely a suggestion to help balance out your sandwich.

Stuffing may be your best bet for a starch, but you have likely have many options, such as sweet potatoes or mac n’ cheese. Much like everything in this sandwich, go easy. If you are using a wrap, you can probably go with two starches, but keep portions and ratios in mind.

Dark Meat
While many may prefer white meat, whether for taste or health reasons, they may not realize how moist and tasty dark meat is. You don’t want to risk your sandwich being too dry, so when you can, go with dark meat.

Cranberry Sauce
A thin, well-distributed layer is such a good addition to your leftover sandwich. The tart, sweet and fruity flavors add moisture without overpowering the other flavors, nor creating a soggy sandwich.

Egg = Breakfast
Add an egg and you’ve got breakfast – enough said. This tactic allows you to wake up Friday morning and dig right back into your Thanksgiving food.

Follow Your Heart
Ultimately, it comes down to what you like in your sandwich (and what’s on hand – this is a leftovers sandwich). Trust your instincts with flavor and texture combinations, and if it doesn’t work out sometimes, lesson learned.

Share your Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich recipes, tips, and tricks with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

For Thanksgiving week, we will be open for normal store hours (7:00am-4:00pm) on Monday-Wednesday, but will be closed Thursday-Saturday for the holiday. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Hope to see you soon!

Improve Your Grilled Cheese Skills

There’s nothing quite like the classic Grilled Cheese sandwich. Warm toasty bread, melted cheese goodness – what’s not to love? While the grilled cheese purists may protest, here are a few tips and tricks to upgrade your grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • Mayo

Instead of (or in addition to) buttering the outside of the sandwich, add a little mayo. Not only will it enhance the flavor of your sandwich, but it can help prevent the sandwich from burning.

  • Oven

Before you grill your sandwich, start it open-faced in the oven. This allows the cheese to get gooey all the way through and creates a nice, crispy toast.

  • Shredded Cheese

Not only does shredded cheese melt more evenly and faster, it also allows you to combine multiple cheeses for epic flavor combinations.

  • Get Creative

Speaking of, aside from trying different cheese combinations, you can also add unique ingredients. For example, try apple slices, pesto sauce, or bacon to create your own special version.

  • Rest

While it may be tempting to eat your grilled cheese fresh off the grill, for your own safety, please let it rest first. You want to give it enough time to rest so that you don’t burn your tongue and to ensure that the melted cheese stays in your sandwich rather than pouring out. But, don’t wait too long – you still want to enjoy that gooey goodness, just at a cooler temperature.

Share your own Grilled Cheese sandwich tips with us! Find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Let us make our delicious Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese sandwich for you. Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli on the corner of East Arrow Highway and Garey Ave. We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).

Build A Better Sandwich: Vegetarian Edition

We’ve shared tips on how to build a better sandwich, but this time we’re looking at vegetarian sandwiches. As with any other sandwich, vegetarian sandwiches require a certain craft to take them above and beyond. With that said, here are some of the best tips on crafting the perfect vegetarian sandwich.

Why limit yourself to lettuce? Soft herbs with tender stems offer a crunchy texture along with fresh flavor. Try subbing your standard Iceberg or Bibb lettuce for fresh herbs, or use both for an interesting mix.

Rather than simply stuffing a salad between bread, choose a vegetable that mimics meat to add some bulk. Some good options include roasted eggplant, sweet potato, Portobello mushroom, broccolini, or lentils.

Add mayo, avocado and/or cheese to give your sandwich body and to blend flavors together. Just be mindful not to overdo it.

Whether you like to show off your culinary creations or not, there is a universal understanding that presentation is key. Vegetarian sandwiches allow you to get incredibly creative and colorful (ex. orange sweet potatoes, hot pink beets, green herbs). Remember that a colorful sandwich is a flavorful sandwich.

Luckily, you can play with the textures of various ingredients. Have fun with crunchy and tender veggies, herbs, soft or crusty bread, and even cheese textures.

While pickles and coleslaw are classic condiments, try thinking outside of the box. For that vinegary, acidic flavor, try pickled red onions or mustard greens (both of which can be overwhelming when served raw).

Do you get imaginative with your vegetarian sandwiches or do you have a go-to recipe? Share your favorite recipes, veggie combos, and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Come in and try our Lentilicious Sandwich or build your own Veggie sandwich today! Dine in weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm or get our yummy sandwiches and salads delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Sneaky Ways To Boost Your Nutrition

As most people (namely parents) know, kids can be quite picky when it comes to eating. Aside from causing some frustration, their selective tendencies can negatively affect their nutrition as well. Encouraging an increase in fruit and vegetable intake is always advised, but here are some smart tricks to add more nutrition to their diet (and maybe even your own).

Chia Seeds
These seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber, and are so small you may not even notice they’re there. But remember to provide extra water when you increase dietary fiber intake. Here are some ideas on how to sneak chia seeds into your food:

  • Mix it into homemade meatballs.
  • Add it to homemade granola.
  • Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Use it to thicken jam or pudding.

Fortified Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast (or “nooch”) is fortified with vitamin B-12 and is ideal for those who limit meat, fermented food, or dairy intake. It has a mild “cheesy” flavor and can easily be added to snacks and meas. Try sprinkling it on salads, popcorn, pasta, rice, vegetables, or even homemade kale chips.

Pumpkin Seeds
Loaded with micronutrients such as magnesium and zinc, pumpkin seeds are an excellent addition to your diet. Aside from micronutrients, they also provide a good amount of iron. To include pumpkin seeds in your diet, try these:

  • Add them to homemade trail mix or granola.
  • Use them as a topping for oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or salads.
  • Roast them with cinnamon, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup.

Turmeric increases antioxidant activity and has great anti-inflammatory benefits. This relatively mild spice can be added to many foods, and will often add a yellow hue to your dishes. The active component in turmeric is curcumin, which is better released with black pepper and some dietary fat in your meals. Here’s how you can add turmeric to your foods:

Add it to oatmeal with pure maple syrup and natural nut butter
Sprinkle it in your scrambled eggs
Stir it into the batter of homemade muffins
Mix it with golden raisins and add it to rice

Grass-fed Dairy
Increase your vitamin K2 intake by switching to grass-fed sources for your dairy foods. Vitamin K2 is a micronutrient which boasts anti-inflammatory properties and promotes bone and heart health.

Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are important for our potassium, vitamin K1, magnesium and iron intake. Aside from a salad, here are ways you can eat more leafy greens:

  • Purée leafy greens into a soup.
  • Add a handful of leafy greens into a fruit smoothie.

While it’s great for tummy troubles and fighting inflammation, ginger can be quite spicy for young palates. Start with a little at a time to see how your little one reacts. You can add ground ginger or freshly grated ginger to fruit salad, applesauce, homemade baked goods and quick breads, or add it to your cooked veggies or oatmeal.

Gut health has an impact on nearly every aspect of your overall health. To promote improved gut health, fermented foods provide a great variety of health-promoting probiotics. You can try to prepare your own kid-friendly fermented foods, or offer classics like yogurt with “live active cultures” or kefir milk.

Fatty Fish
These are great for vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Because kids are not always fond of fish, here are some ideas to get the kiddos to eat up:

  • Try making homemade salmon or tuna meatballs using canned wild salmon, bread crumbs, an egg, herbs/spices, and oil. Roll these into balls and then bake them until thoroughly cooked. Pair with their favorite dipping sauce and you’re good to go.
  • Try a tuna apple melt. Top a slice of bread with thinly cut or diced apples and tuna and then melt a piece of cheese over the top in the oven.

Cilantro is a great source of fat soluble vitamins A and K, and is also known for its natural detoxification properties. Diced cilantro goes well with tacos and quesadillas, or it can be puréed or blended into guacamole or pesto. You can even add a handful to a fruit smoothie or soups.

How do you keep your picky eaters from missing out on great nutrition? Any nutrition tricks you use for yourself? Share your tips and tricks with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.

Come enjoy your favorite sandwiches at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! Visit us in store Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. You can view our menu online or give us call at 909-596-5225.