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Food Theory Thursday

February 16, 2012

Top 5 Lunch Spots in Salt Lake City | Food Theory Thursday

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Today, its my pleasure to bring to you Mary Crafts-Homer's Top 5 Salt Lake City Restaurant Picks for Lunch!  As you know, there are plenty of FANTASTIC Salt Lake City restaurants to lunch at, but Mary's picks are the creme de la creme!  Check it out! TOP 5 SALT LAKE CITY LUNCH SPOTS: 1. Best Farm to to Table: Pago This restaurant boasts a fantastic location, delicious food and seasonal menus.  As part of the 'slow food' movement, they only serve foods that are in season and locally sourced - and what a delectable meal it makes! 2.  Best Chef: The Copper Onion Another restaurant who uses locally sourced farms (which we love), this restaurant has an 'open kitchen' concept so you can see your food being prepared.  We love the exquisite flavors of this restaurant's menu - definitely a must for any person desiring a fabulous meal! 3. Best Casual Lunch: The Wild Grape Bistro This American Bistro is fantastic for a laid-back, yet scrumptious, lunch.  With casual dining and a gorgeous interior space, this is a great place to grab lunch while enjoying the views of downtown Salt Lake City! 4.  Best Pizza: Settebello Settebello's wood fired pizza is the best in Salt Lake, and they have the credentials to prove it.  Utah's first and only Vera Pizza Napoletana certified pizzeria, they are held to the highest degree of quality - and you can taste it in their superb pizza! 5.  Best Business Lunch: Bambara This chic and stylish restaurant calls the Hotel Monaco home and boasts fine dining and gourmet dishes.  A perfect downtown location for any business meeting, this locale is sure to impress and provide a gorgeously appointed dining room that will help any business meeting feel less like a chore - plus the food is divine! Honorable Mentions: Trio and Faustina These iconic restaurants are staples in the Salt Lake Restaurant scene and consistently deliver delicious and delightful dishes!  Plus their patios are amazing in the warm summer months! Special Note: One restaurant that I'd like to mention, but didn't make the list is Forage.  I couldn't list it as a lunch spot because, sadly, they currently only serve dinner.  The chefs at Forage are easily the most creative anywhere and if they served lunch, I would be there every day! Thank you Mary!  All of these restaurants are to die for and I can't wait to make some lunch plans in the near future so I can remind myself of all their delicious offerings!  Next Thursday, we'll have Mary's Park City Restaurant picks, so make sure to check it out!  Happy lunching everyone! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

February 2, 2012

Mary’s Top 10 Restaurants! | Food Theory Thursday

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We have a new series for Food Theory Thursday that I am THRILLED to announce!  Mary Crafts-Homer has been kind enough to share her Top 10 Restaurant Picks for Utah County, Salt Lake City, and Park City!  Mary, I'm sure you know, loves frequenting the local fare to see whats new, what delicious, and where you can have the best meal EVER.  Luckily, Utah is brimming with restaurants that are simply divine!  (I would also like to note that the ever fabulous Mary writes the restaurant reviews for UV Mag, where you can also find this first Top 10 list!)  So, without further ado, take a look at Mary's first Top 10:  Utah County! Mary's Top Ten Restarants of Utah County! (You might even catch at any one of these fine establishments!) Best Fine Dining - Sundance Tree Room Best Pizza - Pizzeria 712 Best Hamburger and Fries - Spark Best Mid-priced Value - La Jolla Groves Best Healthy Cuisine - Blue Lemon Best Secret Indulgence - J Dawgs Best Asian - Shoga Best New Concept - Communal Best Mexican Burrito - Mountain West Burrito Best Desserts - The Chocolate Dessert Cafe Happy dining!!!  Remember to stay tuned for the Salt Lake City and Park City picks! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!  

January 26, 2012

Ciabatta Bread Station | Food Theory Thursday

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One of the most delicious and awesome stations that Culinary Crafts offers is the Grilled Ciabatta Station!  This station (pictured above from Mary Crafts-Homer's wedding reception) is always a hit and provides guests with a myriad of choices to pair with these delicious breads.  From silky goat cheese, to savory sun dried tomato chutney, to sweet balsamic fig chutney, and a selection of  gourmet Beehive Cheeses, you have a mouth-watering array of delightful choices for your guests to nosh on!  Not to mention, we grill our homemade ciabatta bread on site, over mesquite wood chips for optimum flavor and smell!  Yum!  This is also an option that pairs well with nearly ANY menu (and the pairings can be changed to suit your tastes).  Plus, its a relatively inexpensive way to add something extra to your wedding or event food offerings!  It is seriously one of my favorite stations and I think a great option to please the palette of many people!  Happy planning everyone! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com! Photos courtesy of Pepper Nix Photography and Logan Walker with ZumaPhoto

January 19, 2012

Quinoa Ideas | Food Theory Thursday

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Clockwise from the top left:  Almond Cranberry Quinoa Cookies from Bon Appetit, Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast from MakeandTakes.com,  Quinoa Pilaf from Weis Markets, Quinoa Salad from Food & Style Its January, and while that means we are freezing with the chilly weather (but still hoping for snow), it also means many of us have made a resolution to eat better and lose weight.  Sometimes that can be hard because people slip into a rut of eating the same old thing day after day to ensure they stick to a healthy diet.  It doesn't have to be that way though!  Adding Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is definitely something to consider to mix it up!  It resembles couscous and is packed with nutrition and is high in protein - plus this little grain is so easy to use in EVERY meal.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, even dessert - quinoa recipes are vast and DELICIOUS.  Mary Crafts, who is also a big fan of Quinoa, shared her super simple, and super healthful preparation of Quinoa. "Cook the Quinoa and dress lightly with EVO, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste.  Chill.  Add scallions and sun roasted peppers and voila!  You have a super healthy side dish full of fiber, protein, and nutrients!" We at Culinary Crafts LOVE Quinoa and it is definitely a favorite on our menus.  One of Mary's particular favorites on our menus is a warm Quinoa salad with arugula and sun roasted tomatoes.  YUM!!!  Happy cooking! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 29, 2011

New Year’s Eve Menu Ideas | Food Theory Thursday

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With the upcoming New Year's Eve festivities fast approaching, we here at Culinary Crafts compiled a delicious menu inspiration board of our offerings that would be perfect!  From elegant small bites, bubbly libations, smashing hors d'oeuvres, and divine desserts, each is sure to please any crowd.  All of this plays off of our gold & champagne themed party look and decor from yesterday.  Check it out! Because you want the party to be all about mingling and moving, (starting from the top left image and moving clockwise) some excellent ideas are our Cherries Jubilee, Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Oranges, and Toasted Walnuts, Butler-Passed Gelato Cones, Raspberry Napoleons with Bavarian Cream, Gaucho Beef Sliders with Angry Onions, Flaming Donuts with Dulce de Leche Gelato, and Thai Shrimp with Cotton Candy Pop Rocks!!!  YUM!  Also remember, in any menu you are planning, make sure everything can be made small and easily carried by your guests as they move about the party.  And, above all, make sure its DELICIOUS!  Happy planning everyone! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 22, 2011

Culinary Crafts Feed Bag | Food Theory Thursday

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Every year, Culinary Crafts gives out our greatly anticipated yearly treats to our vendor partners, preferred venues, and closest relationships within the Utah event world.  We love carefully crafting these gifts with beautiful packaging, creative themes, and, of course, DELICIOUS treats.  They are so fun for us to deliver every year and we love seeing everyone light up when they receive them!  This year, we went rustic, home-made, and really harnessed many of Mary's family recipes.  Culinary Crafts's Feed Bag was simply bursting with goodies and Christmas cheer!  Take a look! Yum!  And the cheese!  Every March, we go to the Beehive Cheese factory and produce 800 pounds of our own signature cheeses that age for 9 months and are ready for gift giving during the holidays.  This year's winning flavors included Apricot Almond, Smoked Jalapeno, and Chocolate Chili Rubbed White Cheddar!  So AMAZING!  Happy gifting to everyone you love in the coming days!  Happy Holidays! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 15, 2011

Homemade Christmas Treats | Food Theory Thursday

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Photos from MarthaStewart.com As Mary said earlier in her "Favorite Gifts Post" a homemade gift is truly a gift you can't get anywhere else and, because we are all busy in our own lives, it shows someone how special they are that you created a homemade treat just for them!  In that spirit, I'd like to share two AWESOME (and fairly easy) ideas of homemade treats you could make and give to those extra special people in your life!  One is a homemade popcorn tin and the other are homemade peppermint marshmallows!  YUM! For the popcorn tin, you can purchase the actual tins from a craft store or even get plain paint tins from the home store!  So cute.  To create the divide between the two types of popcorn, you simply cut a piece of cardstock that is the height and diameter of the tin.  To fill the tin, hold the cardstock in the center of the tin and fill the tin one scoop at a time, alternating between each flavor to keep the cardstock in place.  Super easy, right?  After the tin is filled, just add a gorgeous bow around the tin and a tag, and it's a beautiful, DELICIOUS present, ready to be gifted!  There are tons of recipes for popcorn, but I loved this Chocolate Almond Popcorn recipe and this Caramel-Almond Popcorn recipe. For the marshmallows, all you need are cute cellophane bags, a ribbon, and a tag.  Simply place the marshmallows in the bags, tie them with ribbon, and add a tag.  Voila!  Super cute and easy.  You could even add Hot Cocoa Mix and some mugs for a Gourmet Hot Cocoa Kit.  May I suggest Culinary Crafts cocoa?  SO DELICIOUS.  Also, you can get the recipe and how to create these beautiful marshmallows here. Happy gifting everyone! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!  

December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Recipe | Food Theory Thursday

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Today, I'd like to share a Christmas Cookie Recipe that has been in my family for generations upon generations.  When I was a little kid I vividly remember being so excited every year around Christmas (not only because I was a kid and it was, you know, Christmas) but because that also meant we were going to make Pizzelles!  You may not have heard of them before, but let me assure you, they are amazing, and one of the oldest known cookies in the world.  These are one of my FAVORITE cookies and are definitely perfect for the holidays!  These Italian treats are usually adorned with a gorgeous pattern which is made by the pizzelle iron used to create these flat thin cookies.  They have a good shelf life, which make them great for gifts.  They are usually flavored with anise or vanilla and are just slightly sweet, which makes them tasty on their own, fabulous with coffee, or even better with Nutella or honey drizzled on them.  I wish I had some right now! :)  Here's the recipe! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 1, 2011

Silver Bean Coffee Co. Spotlight [Food Theory Thursday]

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Today, I'd like to spotlight one of Culinary Craft's newest vendors - Silver Bean Coffee Co.Silver Bean Coffee Co. is a local shop focused on making the most inventive blends, finding the best beans, and brewing the perfect cup.  Owned by 2-time Olympic Medalist Shannon Bahrke and her partner Matt Happe, they are both inspired to be the best darn coffee (and cocoa!) company in Salt Lake City - and we LOVE them! The other amazing thing Silver Bean Coffee Co. does is donate proceeds from many of their blends to charities.  They have a sustainable coffee line which they in turn give back to the farmers and their families who produce the coffee beans.  They have a Best Friends line which donates $5 of proceeds from every bag to Best Friends Animal Society.  The athlete line donates $1 of every purchase to help Olympic athletes fund and achieve their goals.  How amazing is that?!  You can visit their shop at 6556 South and 3000 East in Salt Lake City or you can purchase their coffee online.  Not only is their coffee AMAZING, but they do amazing things!  Thank you to Silver Bean Coffee Co. for your acts of charity, commitment to excellence, and your simply DELICIOUS coffee (and cocoa)! Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

November 17, 2011

Food Theory Thursday: The Sous Vide Method

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Today, I have our Director of Catering/Operations, Ryan Crafts, explaining a new and exciting method of food prep called 'Sous Vide'.  Take it away, Ryan!

Although sous vide cooking has been used regularly in many restaurants for many years, it has more recently gained increased attention and use by mainstream cuisine and even at home cooks.  From the French for under pressure, sous vide refers to the method of vacuum packing food and cooking it in a sub-boiling water bath.  
On the surface the process seems similar to poaching.  However sous vide is quite distinct and offers a whole new set of culinary possibilities which are unattainable with other techniques.  The primary elements and associated advantages of sous vide cooking are:
  1. Pressure / vacuum.  Packaging food in this way prevents flavors and juices from being absorbed (lost) by the cooking medium.  Because of this, herbs, spices, and marinades are all profoundly more potent.  Further, the act of compressing foods like melons, cucumbers and more creates entirely new foods of deeper flavor and compelling texture.
  2. Low Temperatures.  We generally prefer to serve and eat beef at a perfect medium rare.  However we roast whole sirloins in the oven at 350; we grill tenderloin filets at 550 or higher.  Indeed with most cooking methods we use a temperature much higher than what we are targeting for our food.  However with sous vide, we can cook at lower temperatures without worrying that the food will dry out or become overdone.  If we want our beef to cook to 140 degrees, we use a 140 degree water bath. In its vacuum packaging, the food will stay moist and tender.  Moreover the entire piece of food will be cooked to the same temperature and we can have a steak that is cooked medium rare edge to edge instead of well done on the outside and gradually changing to the medium rare in the center.
  3. Precision.  The immersion circulators used in sous vide cooking are capable on maintaining a water bath at such a precise temperature that we can formulate recipes and cook food to temperatures accurately to a single degree.  The guess work of cooking temperatures is eliminated and we become aware of nuances in the food previously hidden.  Before sous vide cooking medium rare beef was 130-140 degrees.  Now we understand that there are important differences to be found in 1-3 degree increments.  We no longer have to shoot for that 10 degree range.  We can cook our beef to a precise 139.5.
It is important to note that sous vide cooking has its limitations and is not on a path to replace sauteing, roasting, braising, grilling, smoking or any of the other methods humanity has developed.  However it is also important to understand that sous vide cooking is more than passing amusement.  The culinary doors it unlocks mean that it is here to stay and will someday be as commonly understood and employed as all the techniques mentioned above.  Indeed it seems fair to declare that sous vide is one of the most revolutionary and important culinary developments of modern times.
Culinary Crafts is always on the cutting edge of catering, and I have to say this is one of the most interesting (and DELICIOUS) methods to date!  Thank you so much Ryan for sharing your expertise!  It was AWESOME!  Happy cooking, everyone!
Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

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