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Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts

Grilling 101: Ryan’s favorite tips and tricks

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Food Theory Thursday, How To, Recipes, Tips

Grillmaster Lessons

My love for the grill runs deep. In our family catering business, there were an array of tasks I was assigned at early ages. Most were forgettable (or unpleasantly memorable). Grilling was the first job that I actually enjoyed and felt I excelled at. I remember being 15 years old, carting around our rusty old barrel drum grills, breathing in dangerous amounts of mesquite smoke, singeing off all the hair on my hands and arms (and sometimes eyebrows), blistering my fingertips, shoveling out bucket after bucket of ashes every night….and loving every minute of it.

For me, lighting a row of 18 chimneys full of lump charcoal is as much a means to an end, as it is an end in itself. Searing 5000 fillets of trout is as much a duty, as it is a pleasure. Grilling dinner requires a long list of sometimes tedious steps. Yet rather than a chore, these feel like an indulgence. I grill to eat – I love the flavors. I grill to feed others – it’s my favorite role as a host. I also grill just to get right – you could say it’s how I ponder and pray.

Mastering the grill is long and arduous process. It’s also a fun and exciting process. I invite everyone to learn to grill. There’s something inexplicably rewarding about cooking dinner for yourself and your guests – especially outdoors over a live fire. Whether you already have an elaborate outdoor kitchen with many cooks under your belt, or whether you have never so much as roasted a hot dog over the campfire, I’d invite you to grill more. And start today.

 

What Is and Isn’t Grilling

 

I’m a stickler for proper and consistent use of language around the grill. Many outdoor cooking terms are confused, conflated, and otherwise misused. My first piece of advice is to learn the basic jargon and use it properly.

Grilling refers to a very specific type of cooking: cooking directly over an open fire, usually with a grill / grate / gridiron, and usually at a relatively high heat. Hence, a grill is a device that allows you to cook directly over a high heat open fire. These three elements are necessary conditions of grilling. Direct heat. Open fire. Potential for high heat.

Smoking ribs in your pellet cooker (like the very popular Traeger models)? Delicious, but NOT grilling. Brisket for 18 hours in your offset barrel cooker? Wonderful, but NOT grilling. Using a torch to sear a filet done sous vide to a perfect and precise medium-rare? Excellent, but NOT grilling. Pan searing a skin-on chicken breast in duck fat and herbs? My mouth is watering, but still NOT grilling.

What about cooking burgers over briquettes in your Weber kettle? That’s grilling! Cooking chicken over your built-in stainless steel natural gas grill? That’s grilling! Tossing vegetables in a wire mesh basket over a log fire? That’s grilling! Tri-tip in two stages on a Santa Maria cooker? That’s grilling! Reverse searing a garlic and chocolate rubbed dry-aged Wagyu ribeye over mesquite charcoal? That’s grilling (and btw one of my personal favorites)!

Choosing Your Grill(s)

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a grill. Size? Lid? Portable, free standing, or built in? Able to BBQ / smoke using indirect heat in addition to grilling with direct heat? Adjustable fire trays? Adjustable cooking grates? Access to the fire? Available accessories? Quality of construction? Cost?

But the first question you need to answer is: gas / propane or charcoal / wood? Yes, there are some electric “grills” out there. But in general these blur the lines on whether they even meet muster for the strict criteria we outlined above. And although there are some hybrid gas and charcoal grills, you still need to be clear about what your primary and preferred fuel source will be, since different hybrids will have more or less appeal depending on your answer.

Pros and Cons of Gas / Propane:

  • Easy startup. Turn on the gas, hit the igniter. Even if your ignition system is broken, a stick lighter gets you going quick and easy. No lighter fluid, no chimneys, no heating coils, very little forethought and waiting required.
  • Easy heat management. Need it hotter? Turn the dial up. Cooler? Turn it back down. Very little practice and finesse is required to adjust and control your heat.
  • Easy cool down / cleanup. Tur
    n the gas off. Done.
  • Clean burning. Less smoke and fumes for you to breath and to float off into your local environment.
  • Limited temperature. Admittedly gas grills can get hot. And certain features (infrared burners) can ramp up the heat. But even the hottest gas grill can’t reach the temps you can achieve with a hardwood charcoal fire.
  • Limited flavor. True, gas grills create a wonderful maillard reaction with your food. And juices that drip below generally burn off into tasty vapors. Wood chips can be easily burned in a smoker box to create flavor. Nonetheless, even the best gas grills employing all these measures can’t match the wood flavor of a charcoal or wood burning grill.

As you might have guessed, the pros and cons of a gas grill are in comparison and relative to the alternative. Hence, the pros and cons of charcoal grills are generally the inverse:

  • Demanding startup. I use a chimney starter(s) for nearly all my fires. These are basically a fool proof method that require only a little newspaper and a match. Lighter fluid can also get a fire going quickly and easily. Nonetheless, these are more work and require more forethought than simply starting up a gas burner.
  • Demanding heat management. Need it hotter? You might need to add fuel. You might need to increase the airflow. You might need to sweep the ashes. Or some combination of these. Need it cooler? You might need to reduce the airflow. Or possibly remove some of the fire, or even spritz your fire with a little water. Eventually, the finesse to manage your fire will become second nature, but it requires significant practice.
  • Demanding cool down / cleanup. In general I prefer to let the fire burn itself out. This takes patience. Sometimes I need to actively extinguish the fire using suffocation or even ice / water. This can make for a big cloud of steam and soot. Either way, after the fire’s died, there will be ashes to deal with.
  • Dirty. More smoke and fumes for you to breath and to float off into your local environment. Although I’m a huge proponent of charcoal and wood fire cooking, I also support measures to protect our environment, especially improving air quality here in Utah. I think grilling on bad air days should be legally prohibited. Until we get there, I strongly encourage local readers to only grill with charcoal on clear days with no inversion.
  • Very high temperature. This is where charcoal grills really shine. Searing is a joy and at its best on a grill that is crazy hot. Gas grills just can’t compare.
  • Very rich flavor. Once you’ve had a burger cooked over mesquite coals, you can’t go back to one cooked over a gas grill or in a cast iron skillet. It just tastes better. A lot better.

As you read these lists, you might get the impression that gas grills win out. After all, they seem to best their charcoal counterparts in 4 of the 6 key factors considered here. However, it’s important to note that those lists simply outline, and do not weigh those factors. When I fire up the grill on the patio (as opposed to sauteing on the kitchen stove), it’s because I’m after the highest heat and deepest wood flavor I can get. So for me, the two areas where charcoal grills win are the ultimate trump cards.

Perhaps the best way to put my recommendation is this: I do not own a gas grill. At my house, I have 3 grills (also 2 smokers and 1 wood oven) and they all use charcoal or wood.

When shopping for a charcoal grill, the key features you want to look for are:

  • Airflow. The ability to control the flow of air to speed up or slow down your fire is crucial. You want vents below the fire and a lid above the fire that allows you to play with different variables.
  • Charcoal grate. Elevating the fire off the floor of the grill container allows the fire to burn efficiently, allows ashes to fall away. Some grills have adjustable charcoal grates which allow you to move the fire closer to or further away from the food.
  • Food grate. Cast iron grates are wonderful to cook on – just like your grandmother’s cast iron skillet, these season in, become naturally nonstick, retain heat wonderfully, and with care can last a lifetime. That said, other grate materials can also cook wonderfully. Most important is a gridiron pattern than prevents small and delicate foods from slipping through. And thick gauge materials that can take the high heat without warping and wearing through.
  • Ash removal. This is important, but doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, often times the simpler the better – a tray or bucket that ashes fall into that is easily removed and dumped is great. You just don’t want to have to shovel or vacuum out ashes after every cook.
  • Quality of materials. You want all the grill components to be thick gauge and heavy duty enough to last for years with reasonable wear and tear. Powder coat is better than paint and enamel coating is even better than powder. It’s awfully frustrating to buy a grill with fancy bells and whistles that looks great in the store, but is dented, rusted, and falling apart a year or two later.

A wonderful charcoal grill does not need to be fancy or elaborate. The kettle grill (a bowl with domed lid sitting on a trio of metal pipe legs) has become an iconic grill image precisely because it has remained basically unchanged for so long, and because the design works so well. Indeed, if I could only have one grill and it needed to be at a moderate cost, my choice would be easy: a Weber Original charcoal grill.

Tools of the Trade

Walk into the outdoor cooking section of your local hardware store and you’ll likely be inundated with an array of grilling tools, gadgets, and assorted accessories. It can be overwhelming to decide which ones are necessary, which ones are a luxury, and which ones are a waste. Listed below are how I like to break out and consider these items.

I set out these must have tools every time I grill:

  • Chimney starter – the best way to start charcoal. Avoid all the fumes, mess, and volatility of lighter fluid.
  • Gloves and apron – You want a 100% cotton, heavy canvas, or leather apron (any poly or poly blend will melt onto your clothes when you get your grill really rolling). And thick lined leather or cotton gloves. Tip – buying welding gear in the tool section is often cheaper than the nearly functionally identical gear in the cooking section.
  • Oil & onion – Don’t use cooking spray on your grill. Don’t use a paper or cloth towel. Dip the onion in the oil, and use this to lubricate and season your grates.
  • Tongs – I like tongs that are springy enough to release quickly, but not so springy that my hand gets tired using them. I like enough teeth on the ends to firmly grasp the food, but not so sharp that they bite into and shred the food. Most important, I like thick metal tongs that won’t go soft and flexy when they get hot.
  • Spatula – Just like the tongs, you want a thick metal spatula. Thin metal will flex, bend, and break if it gets too hot while cooking.
  • Fork – Again, thick and sturdy. Built to take the heat. I use this primarily for the oil and onion listed above.
  • Rake – A tool dedicated to breaking up, moving around, and sweeping the fire. I used to use my spatula, a rake is so much better. I use it all the time.
  • Basting brush – I prefer a silicone brush and/or a cotton mop. Natural hair brushes don’t last, especially when used over heat, and start to fall apart shedding hair into the food.
  • Thermometer – You want something digital with a fast / instant read. You’ll see units ranging from $10 – $100, but you should target the $20 – $50 range for solid quality and good value. My Lavatools thermometer is my favorite I’ve tried.

Although not necessary, these convenient accessories see a lot of use on my patio:

  • Grill basket – simply an alternative to your grate. This allows you cook smaller items that don’t work on a flat open grate, while still exposing them to the open fire and smoke.
  • Wood chip soaker – this keeps your chips under the water while soaking, so you don’t have dry chips floating on top.
  • Meat hook – I use this as an alternative to tongs when I’m grilling large amounts of meat and/or large cuts of meat. This allows me to quickly move food on, off, and around the grill without the constant squeezing of the tongs. Very handy in certain situations.
  • Meat claws – great for shredding pork butt or beef brisket. Also really great for moving very large cuts. Since these don’t have a long handle, you just have to be aware that your hands and arms will be close to the fire if you use these over the grill.
  • Dedicated grilling knives and scissors – you can certainly use the knives from your kitchen. But I love having a simple set (only includes a carver / slicer knife, a flexible boning knife, a small utility knife, and a pair of meat shears) that I keep in my grilling table always at the ready.
  • Spray bottle – using water on your coals is a last resort and short term fix for flare ups and other mishaps. But sometimes a quick fix is all you need and super handy to have ready.
  • Wood grill scraper – after grilling, I use this to scrape large bits of food off the grates, and let the fire burn everything else off. I try to avoid using wire brushes and cleaning chemicals on my grills.
  • Wood planks – a great way to infuse extra flavor and/or keep delicate food (like a whole salmon) intact while moving on and off the grill.
  • Kerchief – soaking this down and tying around your neck or over your face can be a lifesaver when the heat and smoke get too intense.

Additional tools that I only use occasionally / rarely:

  • Grilling stones – fun to use, but easy to crack if you’re not careful. Also, since these create a barrier between the open fire and the food, they limit the flavor impact you get from a great wood fire.
  • Silicon mat – similar to the grilling stones. Handy for certain situations, but I rarely use these.
  • Extra lighting – great if you travel with a grill and/or don’t have enough light in your yard.
  • Grill Brush – like I said earlier, I try to avoid using these (I prefer a wood scraper and the fire itself to clean the grill). That said, there are a few occasions where a little extra grit is required.
  • Skewers – I prefer flat and wide skewers to the round style. This way, the food doesn’t roll around on the wire.
  • Cast iron pan and wok – Can open options for you over your grill, but like the stones, they create a barrier between the open fire and the food, which kind of misses the point.
  • Smoker box – especially handy for gas grills that don’t have the flavors of wood and charcoal. Also useful in a lot of indirect cooking recipes.

 

Finally some of my favorite grilling (and BBQ) cookbook references include:

  • Weber’s Charcoal Grilling, The Art of Cooking with Live Fire by Jamie Purviance (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you only buy one grilling book, feel confident about making it this one).
  • The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Editors (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In depth and exceptionally reliable information that helps you understand why certain techniques succeed, which helps you expand your own skill set and personal innovation.)
  • Charred and Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang
  • Essentials of Grilling by Williams-Sonoma
  • Feeding the Fire by Joe Carroll
  • Franklin Barbecue by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
  • Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

 

Hopefully there’s enough here to get a new griller started. And hopefully even the seasoned griller learned something new. In both cases, stay tuned, I’ll be back very soon with more Grillmaster Lessons!

Ryan

 

 

 

NEW VENUE ALERT: River Bottoms Ranch

By | Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Sharing the Love -Vendor and Client Relationships, Vendor Love!, Venues We Love, Wedding Trends

We are spoiled here in Utah because we are literally surrounded by natural beauty!  With that, we also have some of THE BEST venues nestled right there admist all of that gorgeous natural landscape.  Well, today I have news for you!  There is a BRAND NEW venue that you are DEFINITELY going to want to check out!  River Bottoms Ranch is currently being built in the stunning Heber Valley and is opening in fall of this year – AND they are currently booking starting September 2018 for this year and for all of 2019!  So start thinking about your holiday parties for this year and if you have any Sundance events for 2019, this is the place!!!  Stay tuned, you are going to want to see this. 🙂

Isn’t this setting just a dream?  We LOVE it and River Bottoms Ranch fits in just perfectly.

Not only are the surroundings breathtaking, but the inspiration for the interior design is AMAZING.  I mean, just look at this design board.  I would like to take 2 of each of all of that please.  😉

I couldn’t help but share this cute pic of the owners on the venue, Jared and Janica!  They are two of the nicest people and make it their priority to make sure that your event is unforgettable (in the best way!)

What a greeting!  This is the view as you pull into the venue and we are sure your guests are going to be pleasantly surprised!

Another pic of the beautiful surroundings at the venue!  It was a bit cloudy the day we visited, but you can just make out a perfect vantage of Mt. Timp!

Imagine how lush and green this will be for summer/fall ceremonies!  This meadow is one of the outdoor options for hosting an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour.  SOOOO pretty!

Now to the fun stuff!  Although they still ‘under construction’ I thought it would be fun to put a side by side of the rendering of the finished product with the progress photos!  First up, this is the driveway that pulls up right to the beautiful front door of the venue and right above is the fantastic Juliet balcony in the bride’s room!  You should see the view from there!!!

Next up, the main room which will boast amazing chandeliers, whitewashed wood, gorgeous sconces, and sliding barn doors to open up to the mountain views outside!

And, lastly, this view of River Bottoms Ranch which shows ALLLLL of the windows that are going to let in so much beautiful natural light!  Plus, doesn’t it just look like the perfect venue for any event! We think so!

We are so excited to see the finishing touches being put on to River Bottoms Ranch and can’t wait to check it out when it officially opens this fall.  We are also so excited to be a part of the amazing events we are sure will be hosted there!  (Special note, our very own Ryan Crafts help them design the kitchen in this stunning place, so you know we are SO ready to get to creating some delicious bites there!!!)  But, remember, if you think this is PERFECT for your wedding, holiday party, Sundance fête, or any other event, they are booking now from September 2018 on for this year and for all of 2019 and dates are filling up fast!  Happy planning, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

‘In Progress’ photos of River Bottoms Ranch by Angela Howard Photography

Trend Report: Extend Your Cocktail Hour!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Venues We Love, Wedding Trends

Today on the blog, we have a GORGEOUS wedding we had the pleasure of being a part of recently that was held at one of our favorite venues, the Natural History Museum of Utah!  Generally speaking, this venue doesn’t need much decor to make an impact because it’s designed so beautifully inside, so it’s perfect for couples looking for a modern, clean design – and even more perfect for those who want to treat their guests to gorgeous views while enjoying delicious food!  Speaking of which, one of the trends we are seeing a lot of lately is the idea of hosting an extended cocktail hour for guests to mix and mingle at and offering an elaborate variety of hors d’ouevres to keep them happy too!  Without further ado, let’s see this stunning fȇte!

© Heather Nan Photography

Firstly, one of the more unique parts of this wedding was that the couple chose to host their wedding ceremony at Red Butte Garden’s Rose House, which is actually next door to the Natural History Museum of Utah.  We LOVED this idea to host the celebration at 2 different venues!  Also, we hosted a little pre-ceremony cocktail hour (even on top of the extended cocktail hour during the reception) and of course, we had beautiful signature cocktails for the guests.  LOVE!

What an entrance!  The guests were treated to the gorgeous natural surrounds as they made their way to the wedding reception.  Simply gorgeous!

Simple, clean, modern design was in full force here – and what a gorgeous impact it made!  FUSE Weddings and Events and Orchid Dynasty put together an AMAZING design that really fit in perfectly with the existing space.  And how cool are those branches as centerpieces?  They complimented the green glass accents beautifully!

Another look at this beautiful table, because, why not?!  Simply perfect.

We love putting a simple, beautiful menu on each plate.  Not only is it informative, but it gets the guests excited for what’s to come!  And, boy, were they in for a treat!

As I mentioned before, we are seeing longer, more elaborate cocktail hours more and more often.  This wedding was a perfect example of this trend!  Kendall (the bride) wanted a longer cocktail hour as this was her favorite part of every wedding she has ever attended, so, we planned a lot of wonderful passed hors d’oeuvres to keep everyone happy!  These Petite Quesadillas with Avocado, Brie, Kalamata, & Roasted Red Pepper and Lamb Lollipops with Mint Pesto were only the tip of the menu ‘iceberg’!

We also served Watermelon Cube Skewers with Balsamic Reduction & Mint Chiffonade and Sweet Pea Mash with Roasted Tomato & Focaccia Crisp.  Yum!  And doesn’t our amazing staff look awesome passing these delicious bites to the guests?  We think so!

Last, but certainly not least, we rounded out this fantastic offering of hors d’ouevres with Smoked Salmon, Capers, Olive Oil on Frozen Slice of Lemon; Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Cold-Smoked Goat Cheese; and Lump Crab with Key Lime Juice, Jalapeno, Sea Salt on House Potato Crisps.  Seriously delectable!

What a view!  The guests not only were treated to amazing eats, but these stunning views and a bluebird sky!  This is certainly one of the most unique elements that NHMU boasts.

When the guests were welcomed inside for dinner, they still were treated to those signature views while they dined!  The floor to ceiling windows are STUNNING!

Another view of the guests getting ready to enjoy a fantastic plated dinner!  Plus, doesn’t NHMU just look AMAZING?!

First up, the guests were served Snuck Farms Baby Butter Lettuce Head with Parmesan and Lemon Zest, with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette, and finished with Sea Salt.  We also pre-set a Mini Herb Sourdough Bagette with Compound Herb Butter Paddle at each guests seat, which looked amazing!  A perfect summer menu first course!

Even with the variety of hors d’ouevres, the guests still happily dug into this first course.  The guests LOVED it!

We also served a selection of 3 entrees so guests could choose what they’d like!  (Always such a nice touch to make your guests feel special.)  They had the choice of Mesquite-Grilled Trout Filet with Sweet Tomato Jam, Hand Torched Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Chauseur Sauce, or Vegetable Napoleon with Sweet Tomato Jam.  Each entree was served with Marscapone & Asiago Grilled Polenta Cake with Micro Greens and a Fresh Green Bean Bundle Tied with Chive.  So good!

© Heather Nan Photography

Such a BEAUTIFUL wedding for Kendall! After the guests ate their fill, they danced the night away…  All while enjoying watching the city lights appear which provided the perfect finishing touch to a romantic day.  So amazing!  And, if you are the kind of couple who wants to really offer a lot of mingling with your guests, we’d definitely suggest an extended cocktail hour as an option!  Such a great idea and lets you really get to visit with all of your special people.  Happy planning, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Tips From the Professional: Should you be concerned about special dietary needs at your event?

By | Ask Mary, Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Tips, Top 10 Tips, Top 5 Tips

Today on the blog, we thought it would be fun to ask one of our Culinary Crafts Event Pros some of the top questions our clients always ask!  One of the questions we are seeing more and more of is the question of ‘special diets’ and guests: should you ask about special diets or restrictions?  And, if so, how should I handle that?  Well, we are in luck!  One of our senior corporate event experts, Ashley Veenendaal, is giving us AAAALLL the answers!

So, should you be concerned about special dietary needs at your event  The answer is a resounding yes! When you host an event, making your guests feel welcome is part of
the deal. Ensuring that each person attending has something they can eat will be a central part of achieving that. However, navigating allergies and dietary restrictions doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are a some ways to accommodate your guests to the best of your ability.

~Ask your guests to inform you of any dietary needs as early on as possible. These days people will often let you know right away if they need specialized food. Especially if they have a severe allergy. But not always…:) It is much easier to plan ahead for this than to be scrambling at the time of the event to provide food for them.

~A lot of food preferences can be combined. For example, there are limitless delicious recipes that are gluten free, vegan, paleo, and keto friendly across the board. Adding side dishes to a menu that meet those requirements will help keep labor, cost and stress levels to a minimum!

~If your guest has a religious restriction be sure to ask them more about the extent to which they practice. Guests that follow strict Kosher or Halal guidelines may require you to bring in special food from a certified kitchen. Or they it may be as simple as not serving certain menu items. A quick look online will help you educate yourself as you get ready to design a menu.

~ Be very upfront with ingredients. Labeling foods on the menu will make your guests feel at ease about what they are eating.

~If a guest neglects to tell you about a dietary restriction or allergy until the event is happening, it’s okay! Graciously explain why you are not prepared for that and then find a means of making a special plate for them. It could be as simple as providing them with extra salad and a lemon. The gesture will be appreciated.

~If you are going through a catering company, be sure and let your event planner know about any food needs that need to be met, While they will often have some foods available to cover everyone the amount sent will be more accurate if they know what to plan for.

Thank you, Ashley!  I hope that helps all you feel more at ease (and even excited) to offer special dietary items to your guests!  It’s definitely a great way to be creative with the menu, but also show your guests that you are keeping them in mind, and they will appreciate it so very much!  Happy planning, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Corporate Events, Culinary Crafts Events, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Instagram of the Week, New at Culinary Crafts, The Tasting Room, Venues We Love

Today’s Friday Instagram of the Week comes from, Heather, one of the fantastic guests from our Annual Penny Party!  We had SOOO much fun unveiling our new foods and trends and seeing all of your wonderful faces too!  This pic is of our charcuterie station and it was one of the most popular of the night!  We loved it because it married 3 of our FAVORITE local vendors fine offerings in perfect harmony; High West Whiskies, Beehive Cheeses (including a Culinary Crafts creation), and Creminelli Meats.  Yum!  Thank you to Heather for sharing this pic!  And remember, for your chance to be chosen next, tag your photos with @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and then check back next week to see who is picked next!  Happy weekend, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By | Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Instagram of the Week, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Venues We Love, Wedding Trends

Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from @nannetteyorkfloral who posted a peek of this STUNNING Sleepy Ridge wedding that we had the pleasure of being a part of!  One of my favorite parts of this spectacular day?  The Culinary Crafts signature Flaming Doughnuts station (seen here)!  Always a crowd favorite and SO delicious!

Thank you for sharing, Nannette, and remember, for your chance to be picked next, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and check back to see who’s pic we choose!  Happy weekend, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

NYE Pop Up Sneak Peek: Dry Aged Beef

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Holiday Parties, Pop Up Restaurants, The Tasting Room

Well, as you know, everyone here at Culinary Crafts LOVES the holiday season (I mean, who doesn’t?)!  We especially love that this time of year really inspires friends and family to gather together over great food!  Another reason why we are especially excited for the upcoming holidays?  You might have heard that our New Year’s Eve pop up is coming up and, oh man, the menu is going to be OUT OF THIS WORLD!  Chef Ryan Crafts has spent months putting together a decadent over-the-top menu that is a foodie’s dream.  And one of the AMAZING elements he’s bringing to your plate is fantastic Dry Aged Beef.  *queue the drooling*

Raw beef

So, what’s so special about Dry Aged Beef? you might ask.  As Ryan Crafts puts it, “This is the epitome of beef.”  Well, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty darn good!

7 day aged-beef

Basically, the beef is kept in a temperature, wind, and light controlled room for anywhere from 28 to 200 days. Over time, the water in the beef evaporates which concentrates the flavor just like reducing a sauce would. With prime cuts of beef this flavor is even more amazing the longer the beef ages (like a good cheese or a great wine).  It also allows for enzymes to start working on breaking down the muscle so the meat gets more and more tender with each passing day. After the desired amount of time (60 days for Ryan Crafts) the beef is butchered and trimmed away of all the jerky-like outer edges and you are left with, perhaps, some of the best tasting steak that money can buy.

60 day aged beef

This process takes a lot of know-how and time to make sure you end up with something truly special – which is why it’s such a special menu item!  Plus another fun fact?  We started aging the beef for our Pop Up in October in a facility in Vegas who also ages beef for the likes of top chefs like Guy Savoy and Jose Andres.

We are SO excited to spend New Year’s Eve with our foodie friends and can’t wait to dazzle your taste buds with ALL of the amazing courses.  If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet though, make sure you get them soon!  They are going fast!  Plus, wouldn’t this make the perfect gift for someone special in your life?  (Hint: The answer is yes!)  Happy eating, everyone!

 

For tickets to the pop-up, check out the pop-up page on our website.

First two photos from Fine Cooking, last photo from Pat LaFrieda Home Delivery.

Culinary Crafts’s Annual NYE Pop Up Preview: The Cocktails!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Holiday Parties, Parties, Pop Up Restaurants, Recipes

Today, we are going to be showing you a little preview of some of the AMAZING things you can expect from Culinary Crafts’s New Years’s Eve Pop Up!  Every year, we make sure to showcase unforgettable eats and drinks to ring in a New Year and create a one-of-a-kind celebration for all of our guests – and this year is no exception.  Ryan Crafts has been creating this stellar menu for months (yes, months) and it incorporates quite a few specially aged elements.  One such offering?  The cocktails!  Check it out!

The cocktail menu consists of a Barrel-Aged Blood Orange High West Old Fashioned, a Barrel-Aged Key Lime Beehive Gimlet, and a non-alcoholic Barrel-Aged Meyer Lemon and Cherry Soda.  Who else is intrigued?  I know I am!

We LOVE our local distilleries and High West’s American Prairie Bourbon was a perfect addition to Barrel-Aged Blood Orange High West Old Fashioned.  The proprietary blend of bourbons are aged from 2 to 13 years, creating a complex taste – which really added something special.

Another interesting element?  Ryan Crafts decided to incorporate oak chips to every drink!

Another fantastic local distillery is Beehive Distilling and we were so THRILLED to use it in the Barrel-Aged Key Lime Beehive Gimlet.  They use a blend of 7 botanicals that create a really unique profile.  Couple that with Key Lime?  A whole lotta awesome going on.

Bing Cherries will serve as one of the garnishes and adds a touch of sweetness that is just perfect – especially for winter cocktails!

As you can see, something really amazing is being put together for our NYE menu!  We hope you will join us for this extraordinary event – but hurry quick!  Tickets are going fast!  (Get them here.)  Happy dreaming, everyone!

Check our more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Instagram of the Week!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Holiday Parties, Instagram of the Week, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Parties, Vendor Love!, Wedding Trends

Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from M + B Events, who posted this BEAUTIFUL detail shot of an inspiration shoot we were a part of this year!  We LOVE this photo and think its perfect for the season, plus, pomegranates and gold leafed pears as table decor?  Yes, please!  Thank you so much, M + B Events for sharing!  And remember, for your chance to be next week’s pick tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and check back to see who gets picked next!  Happy Monday, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Culinary Crafts Thanksgiving Game Plan!

By | Cooking Classes, Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Holiday Parties, How To, Parties, Tips

As promised, here is the tried-and-true Culinary Crafts’s Thankgiving Game Plan!  Our very own Mary Crafts-Homer wrote this awesome timeline for those who are looking for a well planned, less stressful, and fabulous Thanksgiving – and don’t we ALLLL want that?!  Yes, yes we do!

We LOVE this plan because it really does make planning SOOO easy – but let’s be honest too…  It’s no fun for just one person to do this all by themselves!  You need your family (or friends) to join together to help make this a perfect holiday.  So, being the super smart woman Mary is, she wrote this plan with different tasks in mind to delegate out.  And believe me, when everyone lends a hand, that’s when the best memories are made.  Happy planning everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!