Category

How To

Step-by-Step with Mary Crafts: Mom’s Perfect Pie Crust

By | Ask Mary, Food, How To, Recipes, Tips

Pie is the truly iconic American dessert, but very few people know how to do it well. The novice baker may spend most of their time perfecting the pie filling and spend little time and attention on the crust. However, a true pie maker and connoisseur knows the greatest pie joys lie within a well-made crust. Remember, there is no such thing as a good frozen pie crust from the grocers freezer. But, practice makes perfect and soon you can become an excellent pie maker!

For a single pie crust (for 8 or 9 inch pie) you will need the following:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp lard* (room temperature)
2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup ice water (approximately)

Click here for a printable version.

*IN PRAISE OF LARD: No other fat can compare to real lard in a pie crust. If you need to substitute Crisco for the lard, don’t add the butter, just use straight Crisco. The crust will still be flaky but without the buttery flavor.

If you plan on making a two crust pie (crust on top and on bottom) simply double the above recipe. Or, if you’d prefer, my mother always made a “French Apple” pie which replaces the top crust with a crumb mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter mixed until crumbly. Increase baking time 10 minutes.

Okay, let’s get started!

Blend the lard and butter together to create the perfect fat. Chill until cold (you’ll want to chill your butter and lard mixture between every step. Your flaky and delicious crust depends on your fats staying cold.)

Cut the lard/butter mixture into small pieces. In mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.

Using your fingers, pastry blender, or two knives, work quickly to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small grains of rice. You can use a food processor but you have to be super careful to not over mix. Chill until cold.

Once your mixture is cold, sprinkle the cold (ice cold) water over the flour mixture, one tablespoon at at time, and lightly toss with a fork after each addition. The dough should come together as dough but it should NOT be wet. Just make sure there isn’t any loose flour at the bottom of your bowl. Do not over mix.

Form the dough into a flat disc (if you’ve doubled the recipe for a two crust pie, split the dough in half and make two flat discs). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling.

Flour your surface. I like to use a pastry cloth for my floured surfaces, this decreases the amount of flour needed to ensure my dough doesn’t stick. Roll dough into a circle approximately 2 inches larger than your pie plate. Crust should be approximately 1/8 inch thick.


Place the upside down pie pan in the center of the dough. Cut out the circle with a knife or pizza wheel to be an inch larger around the pan. (If you’ve made a second crust, repeat this process and set your rolled and sized dough aside.)

Fold circle into fourths and place in pie pan, unfold to cover pan.  Lightly press crust into pan. Fold excess dough under on the rim of the pie plate. Crimp edges with fork or pinch between thumb and forefinger to form an edge that is higher then the plate to catch any juices that begin to bubble. Chill until cold.

Your crust is now ready for filling and either a double crust or crumb topping. Fill your cold crust with you filling and top with your choice topping.

If you chose the crumb topping, skip the next two steps. For the double crust pie, you will want to tuck the top crust between the bottom crust and your pie dish. Place some pressure on the two crusts to secure.

After your crust is tucked and secured, pinch or crimp the edges of your crust to seal completely. With a pastry or pairing knife cut a large “S” in the middle of the pie along with a few other slits around the top for steam to escape. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

 

Place pie on the lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking 35 more minutes or until juice is bubbling out of the center vent which indicates the juice has thickened. Five minutes before it is finished baking, brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Tip for a crisp bottom crust: bake on a pie stone and always cool on a rack and not the counter.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, or cheese! For printable instructions, click here. I’ve included the filling recipe for my mom’s prize-winning apple pie!

Love, Mary.

How to Smoke Cheese the Cool Way

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Food, How To, Tips

When most people think of smoked foods they think of barbecue — brisket, ribs, etc. However, limiting smoky flavors to barbecue is like limiting the use of lemons to lemonade. Can you imagine a world without lox and bagels? We can’t. Smoked salmon, chicken, tofu, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, even ice can be cold smoked!

Hot Smoke v. Cold Smoke
The secret that unlocks the ability to smoke almost anything is cold smoking. Unlike traditional hot smoke, cold smoke does not always intend to cook the food as it’s smoking it. Cold smoke can be used to cure foods that need to be cooked, but it also can simply add a gentle, smoky flavor to the surface of your ingredient.

Cold smoking must keep the food cold during the smoking process. This can be achieved by distance from the heat source and an insulating barrier between the ingredient and the heat, a cold layer for the smoke to pass through before it gets to the food for example, or, by keeping a very, very low heat.

“You want your smoke to be a very thin, grey (almost bluish), wispy kind of smoke.
If your smoke is thick and heavy, the combustion levels
of your fire may be too cold.”
-Ryan Crafts, Grill Master

Options for Cold Smoking
If you don’t have a traditional smoker, and even if you do, you may not know your options as far as cold smoking. Here are a few easy ones:

Smoking Gun
A smoking gun sounds a little suspicious, but it’s actually the simplest, quickest, and cleanest way to smoke foods at home. All you do is insert the tube into a sealed space with your food, put wood chips in your gun, turn it on, and start smokin’. In a matter of minutes you can add that smoky flavor to almost anything.

Here’s one we recommend:

Here’s how we use a similar smoking gun and a glass chamber to flavor a beverage:

Here we’re using them at a Smoke themed station at our YouTube Channel launch party:

Smoking Maze or Cylinder
This would probably be your most versatile option for cold smoking. Simply fill the chamber with sawdust or pellets and light it from one end. All you need is an enclosed, outdoor container. A gas or kettle grill would work just fine! Our favorite is the A-MAZE-N Smoker, it comes in a maze or cylinder form!

Kettle or Gas Grill
When cold smoking in a kettle or gas grill one must utilize space and temperature to create enough heat to smoke, but not enough to cook. For easily melting foods like cheese, you might want to place your food on top of a container filled with ice. Keep the heat very low and off to one side to ensure for the lowest heat possible. Wood chips can be put directly on top of the charcoal or, in a gas grill, the wood chip drawer or box. Here’s a graphic of what that would look like in a charcoal grill:

Infographic from Fix.com

Traditional Smoker
Much like the kettle grill, in order to cold smoke in a traditional smoker you must create a barrier between the heat source and your food. Ice in a tin could work (above), or filling up your drip tray with ice every 20 minutes or so will also do the trick. Many traditional smokers also have attachments for cold smoking, like this one for a Bradley Smoker:Yes, that’s right, you can smoke pretty much anything, and we do!
Have a Happy Forth of July weekend, and this year enjoy smokin’ as well as grillin’ —

Warm wishes,

Ryan and the Culinary Crafts Team

Upscale, Country Picnic Wedding at the Utah State Capitol!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Food, How To, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Wedding Trends

Today, I have a beautifully sweet wedding Culinary Crafts did at the Utah State Capitol last summer!  We loved how colorful, fun, and full of cute details there were in this wedding!  Plus, the bride wanted to host an ‘upscale country picnic’ – which we loved!  The menu was so perfect and in line with the playful feel of this event.  Thank you to Kelli Bramble for capturing this event so well – check it out!

The mix of color, textrure, and vintage rentals from Refined Vintage Events were so PRETTY!  We loved how it all came together.  Of course, we would expect nothing less from Michelle Leo Events (who did the day-of planning)!

These escort ‘cards’ were so cute!  So whimsical and bright.  Plus, look at how beautiful the menu board turned out (thanks Karli Noel Calligraphy!)

We love welcoming guests to the table with a tasty bite, so we put together these decadent ‘couples cheese boards’ with local cheeses, fruits, and crisps for each couple to share.  So yummy (and fun)!  Plus, check out the fabulous country-striped napkins, bright table numbers, red chargers, vintage glassware, and organic florals – such a perfect tablescape for the upscale county picnic feel!

How gorgeous is this day?!  A perfect day for this picture perfect wedding!

The bride wanted to incorporate some fun elements like a Lemonade stand.  Isn’t is cool?!  And these Rosemary Shortbread Cookies were a light, summer-y treat that the guests loved!

The bride’s breathtaking bouquet was put on display during the reception, because, I mean why not show off this beauty???  Lizy Bowden Floral Design hit it out of the park!

After dinner, guests were encouraged to mix and mingle at these pretty highboys that were placed around the perimeter of the reception space.  We love dressing up the linens with a simple rosette.  Simple, elegant, and impactful.  Love it!

The bride and groom had an extra special place at the head table with these AMAZING turquoise, vintage chairs and this cute ‘Mr & Mrs’ signage.  We love setting the couple’s seats apart with cute details that really add to the visual interest of the reception space.

Our staff is so AWESOME!  Look at them putting together SO many beautiful plates and looking so stylish to boot!

The guests started their meal with our Summer Greens Salad with Citrus and Kiwi, dressed with a Raspberry Vinaigrette.  Such a perfect summer salad!

Next, the guests were served House Made Potato Chips – and let me tell you, these chips were out-of-this-world!

Because the bride wanted an ‘upscale’ feel, we served this country picnic as a formal plated dinner.  Such a fun twist!  So, along with the delicious chips, the guests were served this AMAZIN’ plate – a trio of sliders.  We made a Classic Hamburger Slider on a Sesame Bun, a Pulled Pork Slider on a Poppyseed Bun, and a Turkey Slider on an Onion Bun.  Add our Watermelon garnished with Mint and Feta and you have a classic summer menu!

Another look at this gourmet trio of sliders, beacause, why not?!  They are so DELICIOUS!

We love this pretty, organic wedding cake.  Not quite a ‘naked’ cake, but definitely with that style.  And the floral touches were so perfect for the feel of this event.  Of course, we made sure dessert was over the top too!  Not only did the guests get wedding cake, but we made House Made Red Velvet Donuts with Culinary Crafts’s Signature Gelato  too!  This was a favorite dish, for sure!

Wasn’t this event so fun?  We absolutely loved it!   From the decor to the menu, every detail was perfect and the guests were thrilled with this one-of-a-kind event.  We hope this inspires you to do something a little different for your wedding too.  Happy planning, everyone!

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

Setting the Perfect Table

By | Event Tips and Planning, How To, Parties, Top 5 Tips

By Kaleb Crafts

Whether you are planning a corporate function, your big wedding day or just entertaining your closest friends for an intimate dinner party, the table setting sets the tone for the event more than almost anything else. Here are a few tips to help you think through this important piece to your event.

The Linen

The right tablecloth or linen is the first thing down on the table. A clean, crisp, white, linen that hangs just to the floor can be a great fit for any event, but get creative. Bring some colors in, use some unique patterns or fabrics. Don’t hesitate to get out the sewing machine and quickly hem or surge an edge on your favorite fabric. Add a pop of color with a runner or additional cloth overlay. Be mindful of textures and how they go together.

The Centerpiece

Get creative with your arrangements. Fresh florals can be used in almost any situation and tailored to fit the feel of the party. However, don’t be tied down to florals alone, add in votive candles, tiles, mirrors, beads, etc. For themed parties, use anything from sports caps to wood boxes to tiki torches. One thing to keep in mind is that while a tall and wide centerpiece will certainly be breathtaking at first glance, it can detract from table conversation once guests are seated. If it blocks the view of guests who are opposite one another, it can be bothersome.  

The Serviceware

Pick a china pattern that fits the event. If you have space and budget, add a charger or service plate to the place setting. The flatware should look cohesive with the china and be set according to common etiquette. An entire book could be written about place setting etiquette, so I won’t go into too much detail. But keep the flatware half an inch from the edge of the table and work outside in, meaning that the flatware should be placed in the order it will be used throughout dinner service working from the outside towards the plate. I love this picture from rootedinfoods.com that shows a traditional formal setting. In most circumstances, you won’t have all of these pieces set and you won’t set more than 3 pieces of flatware to left and right of the plate at a time, but this shows where the appropriate location for pretty much anything you could think of would go.  

The Accouterments

It is always helpful to think through the evening and plan the additional needs on the table accordingly. Salt and pepper shakers, water pitchers, place cards, table numbers, etc. Keep in mind that the additional items placed on the table may clutter the clutter and detract from the rest of the table.  

I hope these quick tips help you at your next big event and remember, life is too short to eat bad food.  

Happy New Years! Recipe for Black Eyed Peas

By | Food, How To, Recipe of the Month, Recipes
Black eyed peas are a staple for New Years. Tradition says if you eat this dish on New Years Day (Jan 1st), it will bring you good luck for the rest of the year! If you add collard greens to your dish it is said to make them even luckier because it’s the color of money! The beans are usually simmered with onion and a meaty bone like pork or ham and seasoned with just salt and pepper. 
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds black-eyed peas, soaked overnight if possible
  • 2 pounds smoked ham hock, meaty ham bone or slab bacon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 pounds collard greens, cut in 1-inch ribbons (about 8 cups)
  • 1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Drain peas and put them in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add ham hock or bone (if using slab bacon, cut it into 2-inch chunks), cover with 10 cups water and turn heat to high. Add salt, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, black pepper and allspice.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until peas are tender. Throughout cooking, add water as necessary, always keeping liquid level 1 inch above surface, stirring with wooden spoon occasionally. Turn off heat. Check broth for salt and adjust seasoning. Mixture should be fairly brothy. With a pair of tongs, remove ham hock, ham bone or bacon. Chop meat and skin in rough pieces and set aside.
  3. Put a large wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and heat until wavy. Add garlic and red pepper and let sizzle without browning. Add collard greens and stir to coat. Season with salt and add 1 cup water, stirring to help wilt greens. Add chopped ham and reduce heat to medium, then cover with lid slightly ajar and cook until greens are soft, about 20 minutes. Check seasoning.
  4. To serve, put greens and meat in low soup bowls, then ladle over hot black-eyed peas. Sprinkle with scallions.

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Culinary Crafts Events, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Holiday Parties, How To, Instagram of the Week, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Parties, Vendor Love!, Wedding Trends

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Today’s Instagram of the Week is a fun one and was captured BEAUTIFULLY by Gideon Photo!  Did you know that in addition to our amazing wedding and events eats, Culinary Crafts has also started making amazing cheese cakes?!  It’s true!  For the couple who doesn’t want a traditional cake (or a confection at all) we make gorgeous (and delectable) cakes made out of cheese!  Seriously, so good – and a wonderful idea for all of the cheese lovers out there!  Thank you again to Gideon Photo for this amazing capture!  And remember, for your chance to be next week’s Instagram of the Week, just add the hashtag #culinarycrafts or tag us at @culinarycrafts and check back to see who gets picked!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Food, How To, Recipe of the Month, Recipes, Tips

It’s super easy to homemake BBQ sauce. Just add a bunch of ingredients to a pot and let it simmer! You can customize it to your taste. Add sugar, honey, or molasses to make it sweeter.  Add more apple cider vinegar to make it tangy. Anything you want! It’s perfect for the last grilling you’ll do before the weather gets too cold.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Ingredients

  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large diced yellow onion
  • 1 large diced bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 TBSP Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 cap liquid smoke

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

The first thing you’ll want to do is chop up the onions and bell peppers into a large dice. Put a large pot on the stove and turn it on to a high heat. Drizzle some olive oil into the pot. Add onions and bell peppers to the pot.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Let the onions and bell peppers sauté and caramelize in the pan. It will usually take around 5-7 minutes. It goes a lot faster if you have a gas stove rather than electric. In the picture below, you can see the difference of when the onions and peppers first went into the pot and then when it’s ready.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

After they’re caramelized, you’re going to deglaze the pan with the apple cider vinegar. Add it into the pot and let it steam and pick up the caramelization from the onions and bell peppers. Then add the ketchup and garlic powder to the pot.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Then add the brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and liquid smoke to the pot.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Next, add the honey and mix all the ingredients together.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Let the pot simmer on low for about 30 min to a hour. The onions and peppers will be soft when it’s done. You can see the coloring difference in the picture on the right.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

After it’s done simmering, you can either blend everything together for a thicker sauce or you can strain the bell peppers out for a thinner BBQ sauce. We strained it out in this one.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

Now you can see the BBQ sauce all done. Get some ribs or chicken and get a brush and brush on the sauce on top of the ribs. Now eat and enjoy!

How to make homemade BBQ sauce. www.culinarycrafts.com

 

bbq-pinterest

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

Grilled peaches With Honey Mascarpone

By | Food, How To, Recipe of the Month, Recipes

Grilled peaches are the epitome of August. They’re perfectly ripe and delicious. What is better than a grilled peach with honey mascarpone on top?

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Here is everything you’ll need to make this treat!

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Ingredients

  • 6 peaches
  • 2 cups mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 raspberries
  • 6 heads of mint

First, get out your peaches and cut them in half. Brush the peaches with olive oil on both sides. This will help the browning process when you put it on the grill. Then put in a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt and mix together.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Now take your peaches to the grill. You’ll want the grill to be around 450 degrees. Using tongs, place the peaches on the grill. Let sit about 2 minutes and flip over to the other side. Let cook for 2 more minutes then take off the grill.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Put the peaches on a baking sheet and sprinkle honey over the peaches. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Take 2 cups of mascarpone and put it in the mixer. Then drizzle in 1/2 cup of honey. Mix only until incorporated.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Put the honey mascarpone mixture into a piping bag. Pipe onto a peach half.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Sprinkle almonds on top and add a mint leaf.

How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com

Add a raspberry on top and you’re done! Enjoy your delicious grilled peaches with honey mascarpone.

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How to make grilled peaches with honey mascarpone www.culinarycrafts.com