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August 4, 2017

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

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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.

August 1, 2017

Mom’s Prize-Winning Pie!

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June 29, 2017

How to Smoke Cheese the Cool Way

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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: 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

June 19, 2017

The Ice Cream Sandwich of Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Looking for the best homemade ice cream sandwich cookies? Look no further. These gelato panini's with molasses cookies are what you're searching for!

June 1, 2017

Upscale, Country Picnic Wedding at the Utah State Capitol!

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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!

March 23, 2017

Setting the Perfect Table

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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 Setting the Perfect Table for 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. Consider renting your linens. BBJ Linen is one of our favorite places to get cutting edge linens!

The Centerpiece

Get creative with your arrangements. Fresh florals can be used in almost any situation of Setting the Perfect Table 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.  Here are some of our favorite experts to get centerpieces!

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.  If you wish to rent china for Setting the Perfect Table check out one of our favorite places to rent here. 

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

December 28, 2016

Happy New Years! Recipe for Black-Eyed Peas

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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 black-eyed peas 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 (Daily's is our local favorite!)
  • 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.
Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at Www.Culinarycrafts.Com!

October 7, 2016

Friday Instagram of the Week!

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cc_igoftw86 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!

September 28, 2016

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

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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!

August 11, 2016

Repost from All Seated: Top 5 Ways To Simplify Your Event

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Check out this AWESOME post from All Seated with tips from our very own Kaleb Crafts!
Kaleb Craft, Chief Sales Officer at Culinary Crafts is here today as a contributor to the AllSeated blog to share the top 5 ways to simplify planning your event. Thanks Kaleb! Planning a large event can be one of the more stressful experiences of your life! But, it can also be quite enjoyable if you do it the right way. Planning doesn’t depend on your personality as much as it depends on your approach to event planning. Event industry professionals aren’t always passionate about events to begin with. Often times they begin with a passion for organization and organizational systems, which in turns leads them into the event industry where they get a chance to use those skills to pull off incredible things they get to experience and share with others on a daily basis. Culinary Crafts Here are 5 quick tips the sales team here at Culinary Crafts use to make the process a bit smoother. Nail down your vision before you jump in. Contractors won’t start digging a hole, setting footings and pouring foundations the first day a client comes in a says “I want to build a home.” They have blue prints complete, engineered plans finished, building permits in place, and a plan in place to execute from start to finish before they turn the first shovel full of dirt. Stress free event planning starts the same way, you should have a general vision, budget, and concept in place before jumping in. This will prevent doubling back tasks multiple times. Ask yourself questions like, “What is my overall goal?” or “What feelings do I want my guests to have while at the event?” and “What is the single most important thing to me about the event?” Make a chronological checklist and itemizing the tasks to be done and prioritize by what makes the most sense to you. This usually helps paint a road map of what to do. We like to do things in this order, 1) pick a date 2) pick a venue and 3) pick a caterer. Complete your list with as many details as you can think of. Work through your list step-by-step. Research vendors that fit your style and budget. Often, people suppose that all event companies are created equal. That is not so. Each company has a niche type of event and demographic they work best with. Most can do many things, but that still doesn’t mean one company is going to be the perfect fit for every situation. I wouldn’t walk into a Ferrari dealership looking for the most fuel-efficient car on the planet. Similarly, if luxury is the single most important thing to me when it comes to buying a new car, I wouldn’t go to the Hyundai dealership. Consider styles, budgets, and overall healthy working relationships. Do some online research and narrow your vendors choices down to 2 or 3 for each category. Have a short 5-10 minute conversation with each one and see who you feel most comfortable with. Use your contracted vendors to your advantage. By now you have picked your first couple of vendors and you feel really good about them. They know their stuff, they are clear experts in their field, and they have oodles of experience creating exactly what you are looking for. Well, use that knowledge and expertise. Culinary Crafts Ask your caterer for recommendations on good florists, bands, and entertainment companies. Ask your AV company what additional services they offer. Often times, these vendors can help ease the stress of all those additional details. In fact, many times, they may be able to be your one stop shop for all things event. They can coordinate your ice sculpture, transportation, linens and everything else. Bring in additional help. Some events really are just more than one person can handle. If your event has the high level of detail that is just too overwhelming no matter how you organize, checklist and structure, then find a good event planner or coordinator. Let them know up front how much help you need. Determine if you need someone you can trust with everything and hand over the reins, or if you just need help with a few key tasks. Culinary Crafts Our bonus tip is to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day… don’t try to plan the event of the century in a day. Give yourself plenty of time. Enjoy the process and the smaller details. The best events are about creating memorable experiences and using all 5 senses to do that. Happy Planning! Learn more about Culinary Crafts by visiting their website and following along on social media: Instagram: @culinarycrafts Twitter: @culinarycrafts Pinterest: @culinarycrafts Of Possible Interest: Vendor Spotlight: Culinary Crafts Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year