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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.

March 15, 2018

March Recipe of the Month: Guinness Braised Short Ribs

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Guinness Braised Short Ribs Serves 4 to 6 people depending on the number of ribs you make.
Ingredients
4 to 6 bone-in short ribs (about an 8 ounce piece, trimming fat if necessary) Salt (kosher) and fresh cracked black pepper to taste 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 large onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, crushed 2 medium carrots, chopped 4 thyme sprigs 1 rosemary sprig 1 bottle Guinness Extra Stout (or your own favorite dark & malty Irish Beer) 1 1/2 cup beef stock (or 1 cup beef stock and ½ cup brewed coffee)
Method 1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. 2. Season all sides of the short rib with salt and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy, oven safe pan over high heat. Add olive oil to pan and let it heat for a moment. Sear all sides of the short rib about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. 4. Add onion and carrot, saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1-2  minutes more. 5. Deglaze with beer, scraping up bits from bottom of pan. Bring to boil. 6. Return short ribs to pan. Add beef stock, thyme and rosemary. 7. Cover pan and bake for 2.5 to 3 hours, until meat is tender. 8. Separate the fat from the drippings, and use the remaining drippings (thickening with a roux or by reduction if desired) as a sauce at service.

March 9, 2018

Friday Instagram of the Week!

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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!

March 2, 2018

Friday Instagram of the Week!

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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!

February 12, 2018

February Recipe of the Month: White Chocolate Panna Cotta

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December 27, 2017

NYE Pop Up Sneak Peek: Dry Aged Beef

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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* 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! 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. 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.

December 7, 2017

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

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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!

November 15, 2017

Culinary Crafts Thanksgiving Game Plan!

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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!

November 10, 2017

Friday Instagram of the Week!

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Today's Instagram of the Week comes from our friends at Studio 5 who we had the pleasure of joining this week to share our tips and tricks to a perfect Thanksgiving holiday!  (Don't worry for all of you who missed it, we are putting it ALLLL together in a post next week or you can see the video here!)  We absolutely LOVE this holiday and were so thankful to be able to share our love for Thanksgiving on the show!  Thank you for sharing, Studio 5!  Also, remember, for your chance to be next week's pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and see who is chosen next!  Happy weekend, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

19x winner Utah’s Best of State

15x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year