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February 1, 2019

February Recipe of the Month: 14 day infused Valentine Cocktails

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It's an amazing time for mixologists! The renaissance of the cocktail is in full force. The movement is replete with exciting flavors and experiences. There's a demand to return to the classics of a simpler time, while simultaneously blazing new and creative trails. There's a push to experiment and invent entirely new concoctions. There's a drive to simply repair the time-honored recipes that were bastardized during the cocktail apostasy of past decades. Non-imbibers who are tired of the mainstream soft drinks clamor for a more nuanced alcohol-free glass. Much like a good cocktail itself, the movement is layered and complex with elements playing both complementary and contrasting roles.

To be clear, this cocktail resurgence does not refer to $5 cocktails during the happy hour of the nearest college bar. I'm talking about the $12-20 / glass cocktail mixed with hand-selected ingredients by tenured artisans who are dedicated to their craft. These quality craft cocktails are meant to be sipped slow, with pleasure and reverence.

For special occasions, I love to plan and prepare a special cocktail in advance. This twist on a classic can be made with or without alcohol and is perfect for a romantic celebration on Valentine's Day. The 14 day infusion is not only a nod to the date of the holiday. It's also nod to the extra effort that the best relationships require. The time commitment truly does elevate the final cocktail in way that mixing a la minute cannot achieve. To love!

-Ryan Crafts

Valentine 75 Cocktail

Ingredients:

750 ml Gin (Alpine, Beehive, Hammer Spring, Madam Pattirini, and Ooma are some of our local favorites)
-18 Bing cherries
-petals from organic 6-8 roses (depending on size of blossom)
-2-3 whole lemons (depending on size), sliced
-sparkling rosé wine, well chilled (Schramsberg Brut Rosé is one of our favorites or, for a real indulgence, try the Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé)
-additional fresh rose petals to garnish
-raw / turbinado sugar cubes (optional - *see below)
14 Day Infusion

Add the cherries, rose petals, and lemon slices to the gin in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred). Set aside in dark room, at room temperature, for 14 days.
After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the gin with a fine mesh sieve.

Mix and Serve

Add 1 part infused gin (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) to a champagne flute and top with 2 parts of the chilled sparkling wine (typically 3-4 ounces). Garnish with fresh rose petals and/or lemon peel.

Enjoy!

*Note, we find the infusion of the cherries makes the gin sweet enough that no additional sugar is necessary in the final cocktail. However, this is easily adjust to your unique preferences and tastes. Simply drop a small sugar cube in the glass before the the gin for extra sweetness.

Non-alcoholic Valentine 75

Ingredients:
-2 cups cherry syrup**
-juice of 4 limes (save the rinds of the juiced limes)
~-½ cup of fresh mint leaves
-1 Tbsp rose water
-1 Tbsp orange blossom water
-soda water
-additional fresh rose petals
-half & half (optional)

14 Day Infusion

Mix the syrup, lime juice, rose water, and orange water in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred). Crush / muddle the mint leaves with the lime rinds and add to the syrup mixture. Set aside in your refrigerator to marry and infuse for 14 days.

After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the mixture with a fine mesh sieve.

 
Mix and Serve

  Fill soda glasses with ice. Add 1 part infused syrup (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) and top with 3 parts of the soda water (typically 4 to 6 ounces). Stir gently. For a cream soda, if desired, top with ~1 ounce of half & half.

  Garnish with fresh rose petals, cherries (Bing or Luxardo are much preferred to maraschino), and/or lime wheels.

Enjoy!


**There are a variety of options for the syrup that will all work well with this recipe. Various Italian style flavored syrups are available commercially and work great. You can even make your own syrup by simmering crushed fruit, fruit juice, and simple syrup, and reducing until desired strength consistency is reached.

January 22, 2019

January Recipe of the Month: Focaccia Bread and Roasted Bone Marrow

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Focaccia Bread

  1 1/2 cups warm water

  1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast

  1 Tbsp molasses

  1/2 cup olive oil

  3 Tbsp dried rosemary(ground fine)

  1 1/2 pounds bread flour

  1/2 Tbsp salt

  1/4 cup Kalamata olives- diced

  1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

Directions

Add warm (98-103 degree) water to your mixing bowl. Add yeast and molasses. Let rest until yeast has begun to bubble. Add olive oil and mix. Add rosemary, bread flour, salt. Mix with dough hook on low speed for about 4 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides. If after 4 minutes its still not pulling away, add a bit more water to make it come together.

  Place a piece of plastic wrap over your bowl and let dough rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

  Spray a 18x 13" half sheet pan and set aside. Lightly flour your surface and using a rolling pin, begin to roll out dough. Try to keep it as rectangular as you can.

    Dough will be very springy and may shrink a little after each pass of your rolling pin. Try to get dough to be about 18 x 13". To transfer dough from the counter to the pan, pick up dough in the center and let the weight of the dough continue to stretch the dough out.

  Lay in pan and using your hand stretch the corners until it fits in the pan. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

  Once doubled in size, pour about 2 Tbsp of olive oil over the top of the dough and use your fingers to create small divots for the oil to rest in across the whole top of the dough.Sprinkle with sun-dried and olives.

  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is one of those hot trends that most people think they could never try as it sounds too weird or too hard to make. It is actually so easy to make you will be astounded. The rich flavor of bone marrow is sure to wow your guests at your next party.

 

Ingredients

  Marrow bones (whole or crosscut as desired) and Kosher Salt

Directions

  Preheat your oven to 450 F. A overhead direct heat option (a roast or broil setting on your oven) is preferred.

Add a nice sprinkle of kosher salt to the marrow bones. Roast for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned and the marrow is rendering but only barely spilling from the bones.

If desired, add the optional glaze about halfway through roasting.

Ingredients for Glaze

  3 Tbsp butter

  1 1/2 Tbsp shallots

  1 Tbsp garlic

  1 Tbsp capers

  1/2 c red wine

  Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions for Glaze

  Prepare the glaze in advance of roasting the bones (this can be done while the oven preheats).

  Melt the butter in a sauté pan. As the butter just starts to brown, add the shallots, garlic and capers. Cook until nicely caramelized. Remove from the heat. Move the butter to a separate bowl. Return pan to the heat, deglaze the pan with the wine. Once the browned bits are incorporated and the wine starts to reduce, remove from heat, and add the liquid to the butter.

Spoon the glaze over the marrow bones about halfway through the roast. Add the black pepper over the top of the glaze.

Notes:

The marrow is very rich. It doesn’t need much other than salt. The glaze is entirely optional. In fact, when time allows, it can be fun to taste both preparations in tandem. Don’t discard the leftovers just yet! The leftover marrow (from both the bones and the roasting pan), can be collected and whipped into a wonderful butter for future use. The spent bones can be simmered with your next beef stock, bordelaise, or other sauce for added richness and depth. And one of my personal favorites - after you’ve enjoyed the marrow, while the bones are still warm, use an emptied bone as a luge for a dram of fine whiskey or scotch.

December 26, 2018

A Very Special Baby Shower!

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Hope you all had a lovely holiday with your friends and family!  Today we have a VERY SPECIAL Culinary Crafts event to share with you all!  It’s our very own Meagan Crafts Price and Clayton Price’s baby shower - and, spoiler alert, it was GORGEOUS!  Held at The Tasting Room, our friends at Soiree Productions created a picture perfect brunch party.  Check it out! How pretty is this signage?  A perfect welcome to the party and those florals from Artisan Bloom are stunning! The Tasting Room was the perfect venue, don’t you think?  We love the mix of feminine florals with just a touch of blue for Meagan and Clayton’s baby boy, Tristan! Another peek at those beautiful tables!  SO PRETTY! We loved how many fun details were party of this shower as well!  Guests were invited to take a Polaroid of themselves to put in the guestbook with a note for the soon-to-be parents! We knew we had to have a fresh juice bar!  Fresh squeezed OJ, Pomegranate Lemonade, Cucumber Mint Water, and Mango Lemonade were all served.  Yum! Of course, since we hosted a brunch party, we made sure to have a signature Coffee Bar! This action bar with artisan cheeses, salad, crackers, and honeycomb was definitely a crowd favorite! Seriously, how pretty was this event???  I couldn’t help but share one more of this beautiful setup! We love our Ebelskiver action station!  How could you not love these delicious pancakes?  Plus the guests love having theirs made to order! The hand calligraphied menus were such a great addition to the event!  Also we served Eggs Benedict because you can’t have brunch with out Benes.  Our delicious version were also made to order and topped with whichever toppings the guests wanted.  So good! Of course we also had a whole selection of desserts!  Plus, we love displaying some of them in our honeycomb display.  Such a whimsical touch! Thank you to all of the wonderful people who came to celebrate Meagan, Clayton, and baby Tristan!  And thank you to Soiree Productions, Artisan Bloom, The Tasting Room, Logan Walker Photography, and Pepper Nix Photography for coming together to host such a beautiful event for them too!  It was the best day to celebrate the best soon to be parents! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!  

December 5, 2018

Badass Boards: Kaleb’s works of art.

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An end grain cutting board is the Cadillac of cutting boards. Both functionally and aesthetically, they are tough to beat. Let's talk a little bit about why an end grain board is so special. Think of your cutting board like a paint brush with the wood grain being the bristles of the brush. Lay that paint brush horizontally, and you have a long grain cutting board. Your knife is going to rest on top of the bristles. Functional, but quite hard on your knife. Additionally, these are not quite as durable as an end grain board as scratches will add up over time and pieces of wood fiber can even eventually be dislodged.Image result for end grain vs edge grain Now take the paint brush and hold it vertically and you have an end grain cutting board. Your knife can slide easily into the bristles. In fact the bristles actually make a cushion for your knife. And after each cut the bristles or wood fibers can spring back into position. Scratches are less likely and less visible and the board itself much more durable.Image result for end grain vs edge grain So, if an end grain board is so much better, why don't we see them everywhere? The biggest reason is simply due to the additional work that is involved in making an end grain cutting board, which then makes them quite a bit more expensive. For a long grain board, you can simply glue strips of wood together and voila! Image result for edge grain However, to expose the end grain, you have to then take the completed board and cut it into strips, flip them on end and glue the whole thing back together before sanding for hours and hours to achieve a flat smooth board. So, if an end grain board is definitely the way to go...are all end grain boards created equal? Certainly not. The biggest thing to look for in selecting your new board is the type of wood. We don't want a soft wood or a wood that has an open or loose grain structure. We also don't want an overly oily wood. We are after a nice hardwood with a dense, closed grain pattern. But some woods have a VERY dense grain structure. So much so that even the end grain is still quite hard on your knives. Imagine our paint brush standing on end but being squeezed so tightly the knife still can't be cushioned because the bristles are so tight. Pine and cedar are cheap and easy to work with, but just too soft and open grained. Teak, ebony, bubinga, acacia, hickory and others will make a stunningly beautiful board, however they are just too densely grained. Cocobolo, goncalo alves, purpleheart and other tropical hardwoods are some of favorite woods for certain projects, but just too oily for a cutting board. My top choice for an end grain board is hard maple, often referred to as rock maple. This is the perfect balance of dense grain, that is hard and durable and actually still quite affordable. Now, some of the most beautiful boards out there combine different lumbers to create spectacular contrasting patterns, so a great choice for secondary woods could be walnut, oak, cherry, or others. I decided to make these for my holiday gifts. They were a lot of work but totally worth it! Check out what I have been up to all year!  
Tips for care of your end grain board
  • Utah air is awfully dry and cause wood boards to split and crack. Conditioning the wood will prevent cracking and keep it looking beautiful. A good rule of thumb for treating a new board is to oil once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once a year for life. You should also treat wood after washing with heavy soap or anytime the wood looks dry.
  • There are various conditioning oils, creams, waxes and blends available specifically for wood boards. However, the simplest solution is as good as any: mineral oil. Avoid vegetable oils and any others that aren't perpetually stables since they will eventually go rancid and make your board stink.
  • Keep your cutting board on the counter top where it can breath. Avoid storage in places where airflow is stifled and where moisture can get trapped.
  • Always wash your board by hand with soft materials. Only use soap when necessary. Never wash in the dishwasher, and never leave the board to to soak submerged.

November 29, 2018

Top picks for the kitchen! Holiday gift ideas from our chefs.

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  With the holidays just around the corner, we put together a list of items our chefs just could not live without in their own kitchens. Here are their recommendations:
Ryan Crafts- Burr Coffee Grinder
The single most important step to take to improve your home coffee experience is using freshly roasted and freshly ground beans. I find the best beans are almost always from a local roaster (Publik, D'Bolla, and Pink Elephant are some of my Utah favorites). I weigh out the beans for my cup each morning and grind immediately prior to brewing with burr grinder.
 
Kaleb Crafts- End Grain Cutting Board
End grain boards last longer than edge grain boards. End grain boards are easier on your knives, leaving them sharper longer. They're also one of the most beautiful additions you can make to any kitchen.

Meagan Crafts- Bench Knife and Squeeze Bottle
The 2 items I use most in my home are a bench knife and squeeze bottle. I use my bench knife to cut and divide breads, desserts, and candies. It is the way it fits in your hand as opposed to a chef knife that makes it faster to use. I use squeeze bottles for everything—dressings, chocolate, sauces, etc. It makes plating and designing fun and creative!

Chef Brandon Roddy- Immersion Blender
From soups to vinaigrettes, a stick blender in your home will change a daunting task to the easiest thing to do in the kitchen.

Chef Robert Mendoza- Can Opener
I recommend a good can opener! I can make do with a lot of other things, but there is really only one way to get into a can!
 
Chef David Dexter- Vegetable Peeler
This is simply for ease. Every home has 3 or 4 vegetable peelers, but only 1 good one. Invest in a quality one and throw the other ones out!

Chef James Arnold- Cutting Board
My cutting boards are my most used items in my kitchen. I love having set cutting boards for each type of food I am cooking—poultry, red meat, vegetables, etc.

Chef Utahna Warren- Quality Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Drop the money to buy some quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It will change the way you cook.

Chef Jaden White- Mixing Bowls
Mixing bowls are a great addition to your collection. At Culinary Crafts, we have dozens and dozens of bowls and the varying sizes makes the kitchen experience a breeze.

Chef Libby Rice- Electric Stand Mixer
My KitchenAid is my most precious possession in my kitchen. I don't know how people managed to whip cream and egg whites or hand knead dough endlessly back in the day. A good mixer can change the speed and efficiency with which you cook in the kitchen.

Chef Kayde Dexter- Cast Iron Pan
A 9-11" cast iron skillet is the most versatile pan I own. It adds a cool level to home cooking.

Chef Raquel (Rocky) Ortega- Heat Resistant Spatula
Make sure you find one that can withstand the heat, it will ease your cooking experience.

Chef Lacy Johnson- Instant Read Thermometer
The best way to revolutionize the way you cook is with and instant read thermometer. Getting your proteins to the perfect temperature instead of guessing will change the way you eat.

Chef Danielle Mahoney- Chef Knife
You cannot even begin cooking without a quality chef knife. If I was going to upgrade any item in my kitchen it would be a good knife first!

Chef Madison Oliveira- Rice Cooker
As silly as this may seem, my mother-in-law gave us a rice cooker for our wedding, and I am never going back. It is wonderful.

Chef Megan Gagne- Off-Set Spatula and Piping Bag
As a pastry chef, I love to decorate—especially for the holidays. An off-set spatula and piping bag with tips are key to decorating all those fun desserts and plates for your holiday season.

Chef Cambridge Dockendorf- Kitchen Shears
If you follow our blog, last week we showed you all the glories of spatchcocking a turkey. The magic of kitchen shears doesn't stop there. I use mine every day and I love not having a pair that has to cross over—they are just for cooking.

Chef Jocelyn Gillies- Scale
Cooking is a science, the weight of your ingredients is so important, a volume measurement is never as precise as it should be. A scale will change the quality of all your recipes.

Chef Hunter Ashton- Microplane
A microplane in your home will add a new level to your cooking. Fresh orange zest over your pork loin or fresh nutmeg shaved right into your egg nog is a beautiful addition.

Chef Kyle Castillo- Non-Stick Skillet
A good non-stick skillet is a great addition to any kitchen. You cannot have too many of these!

Chef Dardree McClellan- Serrated Knife
I bake bread in my home all the time and having a great serrated knife makes my life easier.

Chef Calli Kassel- Hallow Ground Santoku Knife
A quality chef knife is important but an Asian chef knife is super cool. Because the blade is ground at a 20 degree angle it is crazy sharp and makes cutting anything like cutting though butter.

Chef Allison Parker- Knife Sharpener
I recommend a knife sharpener, not a honing steel (although that is a great piece as well), so you can keep your blades crazy sharp. Being able to do this at your home instead of taking it to a shop makes keeping your knifes sharp easy and convenient. Having this addition to your kitchen will surprise you by how dull your knives can get.

Chef Megann Brimhall- Bacon Grease
I couldn't think of a tool, but I certainly use bacon grease often! Don't be grossed out—I use it to grease pans, fry pancakes and eggs, and sauté vegetables—yummm. A great Christmas gift for me would be a pound of bacon and a wide mouth mason jar specifically for keeping my grease. Make sure to buy a little strainer specifically to get out the little bits of bacon, though, so it doesn't go rancid.

Chef Adam Park- Large Flake Salt and a Salt Cellar
Most home cooks under season. One of the best ways to finish a dish is with some beautiful seasoning salt. A salt cellar will help you keep your finishing salt separate. Also, salting by hand is more balanced than using a shaker. The salt cellar lets you measure your salt in your palm.
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20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

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