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A Kitchen Like No Other

January 11, 2010

French Macaroons

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People often wonder how new trends develop in creative fields like culinary arts.  Culinary artists look to many different places for inspiration, and one sure place to find it is the classics.   A prime example of a classic that has caught on in the United States is the french macaroon. Don't let their unassuming appearance fool you.  These jewel-like cookies are a perfect storm of complex textures, clean flavors, and brilliant colors.  The macaroon has gained favor with food enthusisasts due to the combination of a crisp, smooth - bordering on ceramic - finish on the outside and a chewy, sweet center.   Culinary Crafts is excited to offer this delicate treat in every color and flavor imaginable, adding a subtle delicacy to any event. 

October 1, 2009

Holiday Treats!

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Wow, it can get busy fast.  That's why I am already thinking of all of the fun holiday parties that we are going to have this season.  We are already brainstorming fun ideas for new holiday sweets for the upcoming holiday season. How does pumpkin spice gelato sound....or maybe eggnog?  Actually I think we'll do an eggnog cake with rum icing.  I know we will have to do our traditional pumpkin praline cheesecake and, of course, the yule log. I think one of my all time favorites will always be our pine cone cake.  Take a look at this picture and tell me who else does something like this!  Wow, I better book a spot for our own Holiday Party right now before they are all full....you should be thinking about your own holdiay catering too.  Anything from a family party, to an intimate dinner party, to a company party for 3000 guests.  I know it is going to be a hit! pinecone

July 27, 2009

Culinary Crafts Serves the Community

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     So much of our business is about service. We are constantly working on serving others and making each experience with us a great one. This year Culinary Crafts had the opportunity to go serve and build up the community that has built us up for so many years.  The opportunity we chose was to work in the Food Bank Community Garden. This is an amazing project that really benefits the surrounding cities by letting people who are in need of it, have a small area of land to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and so on.  I live in an apartment and don’t have a patch of dirt or even enough sunlight to grow anything, so I think this is a fantastic idea. 

     Marcie, the young lady in charge of the project, put the three of us straight to work. First thing we were able to do was dig a hole for a hose rack to be placed in so the hoses used to water the garden were not laying on the ground for people to trip over.  Orem and Provo have to be two of the rockiest places in Utah.  The rocks may be difficult to dig up but they came in handy in securing the post in the ground so no concrete was needed.  Next, we moved on to clearing an area in front of the fence so that it could be beautified by planting flowers and creating room for parking when people come to tend their gardens.  The ground was hard and dry, dust was flying everywhere and everyone including a family of 5 that showed up a little later, was having a great time.  The hour we were there went by too quickly and we made sure they would give us a call when they got more hose posts.  Mary and I don’t like to leave any project unfinished.   I personally walked a way happy, hot and sweaty but grateful for the opportunity to serve more than just food.
       

June 21, 2009

Oh, what a tangled web we weave……

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I will be the first to admit that we get to do some pretty cool things in the kitchen.  One of Chef Adams favorite things to do is play with sugar. I am talking about using it in a different form then the normal white stuff.  When you boil sugar with some other key ingredients it will turn in to candy. It is like making home made suckers, hard candy or cotton candy.  Instead of pouring it into a mold like you would a sucker, while it is still warm, use a fork to flip the sugar back and forth over a bowl or as Adam used two elevated sticks to catch the strings.  

What is it good for you ask? It has many uses, but we had a party the other night that called for spun sugar as a garnish on top of cheesecake.  A simple looking web of sugar can really take regular cheesecake on a plate to a whole new level of Fun!   It is fun to eat, fun to make and just ask Chef Adam, fun to play with.

Mindy

June 1, 2009

Salsa anyone?

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Don't know about you but we are crazy about chips and salsa.  It is an addictive little snack that is great at any get-together. here is our favorite recipe that has the same basic ingredients of any other salsa, but it is how this one is prepared that makes it special.

One thing we love about this recipe is that it calls for chipotle in adobo.  The chipotle peppers in adobo add a nice smokey taste to the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions.  It also has roasted jalapeno peppers, so if you like your salsa with a kick this has got it.  Chipotle is optional and you can play with any other types of peppers to add just the right amount of heat for your palate.  Preheat the oven, get the chips and salsa like there is no tomorrow.

Charred Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 Jalapeno or other small Green Chili Peppers
  • 1 lb Ripe Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 small Red Onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups corn (roasted)
  • 1 Chipotle in Adobo, deseeded (optional)
  • Small handfull of Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Juice  of 1 Lime

Directions

Heat the broiler on high. Toss the Onion, Tomatoes and Minced Garlic with olive oil. Place the mixture on a sprayed sheet pan and place in the oven.  Cook until the skin on the Tomato is charred.  Remove from the oven and let cool. Toss the Jalapeno with a little Olive Oil and char under the broiler until the skin bubbles and is black.  Place peppers in a plastic bag and let steam for a few minutes.  When Peppers are cool to the touch remove the skins and the seeds.  When everything is cool place all ingredients in a food processor, this may be done in batches if needed, pulse until the desired texture is achieved.  Adjust seasonings and serve with chips.

   I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  Happy eating!!!

April 27, 2009

Spring Fever

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As spring approches and the beautiful flowers begin to push through the ground we move into a new season of fruits and vegetables. Recently I was able to go to Washington and visit my family and made sure I took the time visit one of my favorite places in Seattle-  Pike Place Market.  If you have never been it is one place that should be on your list of places to visit.  It does not matter what the weather is like the market is always popular. You walk by a certin booth and your nose catches a scent that it is unfamiliar with, you see brightly colored flowers and taste fruit flavored pasta.  It is truly an event to remember.  Vendors will slice you off a sample of the apple they are holidng in their hand or you can dip a tasting stick into local flavored honey or jams.  It is the time where you can find asparagus, fava beans, peas, strawberries, and rubarb in season, just to name a few.  My suggestion find something you have never tried before or are less familiar with and experiment with it.  Ask friends for favorite recipes using that ingredient and try a few. You never know what you may discover.   Happy Cooking!!!!!

 

Mindy Johnson

 

March 7, 2009

What Happens in VEGAS>>>>

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   Recently we were in Las Vegas for the Catersource/ICA convention. We had the opportunity to showcase products from several different sponsors. Adam, the executive chef, Marco our Baker, Kalli one of out prep chefs and I went down and worked to prepare food for the event. The number of expected guests was 1300 but ended up being more like 1600 when it was all over. We stayed at the Hilton and had the opportunity to work in their kitchen and brought our own event staff to help with the food preparation. There is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen.        The menu consisted of items like Vietnamese Pork Lettuce Wraps, Rack of Pasture raised sheep, Polenta with lamb confit or Prosciutto and Brie stuffed Chicken breast, Wild rice Pancakes with Smoked Trout and Lemon Crème Fresh, Ancho Rubbed Prime Rib with Roasted Potato wedges, Chicken Tostadas with Citrus Slaw and Mini Lamb Burgers on an Herbed Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette. These were just a few of the mouth watering foods sampled by out guests.      We had a great time and are grateful for all of the help we received from our friends at the Hilton and the other Chefs from other catering companies around the country.  Thanks goodness there was a little time to get out and have some fun and pick up treats for our families.  A trip to Vegas is not complete with out a visit to M&M's World. Sometimes what happens in Vegas gets posted on the internet!!!               Mindy Johnson

February 21, 2009

A Creative Masterpiece

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 As I was busy in the kitchen this week, scooping over 700 mini roasted corn cakes, I began to wonder how people would react spending a day in the kitchen. What would they think? What questions would they ask? There is no doubt that they would have a hand full of tasting spoons following us along tasting everything we just finished. At least that is what I hope they would do. This is what we do every day. We get paid to taste food. How many people can say that about there job. It is one of the perks of being a chef but there is also a down side. When you try a new recipe or something you have created and it does not taste all to good. We like to learn from these experiences. We view it as a challenge to take what is a good and make it an immense experience for the taste buds. We will work until we have the right taste for the perfect dish.           Our food not only tastes out of this world but looks that way too. We do our best to receive the most beautiful produce, best meat and the freshest herbs and dairy products we can. We receive deliveries every morning and if they do not look up to our standards we send it back and make a phone call to correct it. Sysco has a wonderful sales staff that goes out of their way to make sure we have what we need, when we need it.           It is then our job to take this food and make a masterpiece for your event. Each of the chefs have an area where we stand out that contribute to the creative process. David, our Garde manger, has the patience for the smallest most tedious tasks. It could be carving 300 cucumber cups, or rolling 4 different types of sushi. He takes his time to make sure it looks perfect. Adam, our Executive Chef has the wonder strength of mixing flavors well, he is also the fastest at filleting salmon. My area is sauces. From a simple Marinara to the delicious Marsala sauce I love to get my spoons out and taste the magical mixture of the flavors. Put this all together and you have not only a beautiful masterpiece but a delicious one at that. Have fun creating! Mindy

February 5, 2009

A kitchen like no other

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When you enter the kitchen at Culinary Crafts you will see any where from 5 to 9 people working. We come from different places, varying degrees of culinary training and we all have very different personalities. At times we have referred to ourselves as a strange and unusual group, but that is a key ingredient to make our kitchen successful. In weeks to come we will be introducing our chefs and what makes them unique to help set Culinary Crafts above the competition. We are given the opportunity to share our knowledge and skills with our community, church groups, schools and each other. We welcome your comments or questions as we begin this exciting new project . Mindy Johnson Culinary Crafts Sous Chef

20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year