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!
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!
Everyone here at Culinary Crafts is getting excited for fall! I mean, how could you not? Believe me, we love summer, but there’s always a welcome feeling for the change of season and we are loving it! This gorgeous wedding is a perfect fall showstopper at one of our favorite venues, Red Cliff Ranch – and it happens to be the couple’s wedding anniversary this weekend too! Pretty perfect, right? We also love this wedding because this bride was on a pretty tight budget, but it was still a STUNNING wedding with delicious Culinary Crafts food! Now, check out this beautiful fall Red Cliff Ranch wedding!
Oh, Red Cliff Ranch, even your entrance is beautiful. And isn’t that fall color amazing?!
I love all of the horses on the property and they are so friendly! It’s such a great part of getting married at Red Cliff Ranch!
How pretty is this bouquet? Great inspiration for a beautiful bouquet that is perfect for a fall wedding without getting too crazy. Simple and gorgeous!
The beautiful bride and groom. We love the bride’s fun cowboy boots and the groom’s snazzy vest was perfect for this fall fete!
This meadow at Red Cliff Ranch is easily one of our FAVORITE ceremony spots. The couple kept their casual, rustic vibe by having guests sit on hay bales and the addition of a simple wooden ceremony arch decorated with more pretty sunflowers was so beautiful!
Who says simple can’t be stunning? The tablescape was so pretty, but kept the decor minimal. We absolutely LOVED how it turned out!
For cocktail hour we offered these beautiful Artisan Cheese Platters with local cheese and honey and a variety of fruits and crackers. Such an easy way to add a special touch to cocktail hour!
The guests loved this light snack that allowed them to mix and mingle. Plus, how cute are those little Bamboo bowls!
We made sure the guests had something fabulous to drink and we loved offering our infused waters in these rustic water vessels. So fun!
To keep with the rustic, laid back vibe of this wedding, we served a delicious buffet with all the fixin’s to make yummy Pulled Pork Sandwiches! Easily, one of my favorite low-key offerings!
Of course, we made sure to add amazing sides to the buffet like our Roasted Vegetable Salad and our Coleslaw! So good!
The couple gave their guests these cute favors with a sweet treat and we loved how fun these little boxes were.
Another gorgeous pic of this couple! Love!
For the reception party, we loved this lounge area and it was perfect for the style of the day!
How fun are these Polaroids? A perfect way to end this post for this amazing wedding day. And happy anniversary to Ari and Derek! We loved this wedding day and love how it can inspire any couple on any budget to make their wedding day amazingly gorgeous! Happy planning, everyone!
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)
*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!
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:
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 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
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’ —
One of the most common questions we get in the event planning industry is “How much alcohol should I plan for my event?” Running out of alcohol before guests have had a reasonable and fun number of drinks is definitely a joy kill at the party. If you are not using a bar service who specialize in estimating the amount of alcohol needed, then there are a few rules of thumb that will keep the party going.
How long will your party be going on?
Most often guests will imbibe 2 drinks in the first hour and one per hour thereafter. So if you are planning on a 4-hour party you will want to be prepared for guests to drink 4-5 drinks during that time. Of course there will be guests who drink more and those who drink less. This more often than not will even things out.
That being said you will also want to consider who your guests are. This may be a generous amount for a group of light drinkers (always better to have some left over for next time). Or it may be lacking for a group of hard drinkers (consider how drunk you want to see your guests and what the transportation plan is afterward before upping the amount of alcohol.)
How much do you get from a bottle?
There are hundreds of alcohol math calculators online but some standard measurements, (depending on how heavy handed you are with the pour), look like this:
Wine: 5-6 glasses per bottle
Champagne:6-7 glasses per bottle
Beer: You will have to decide if your guests love their beer or prefer something else. This will determine whether you plan on 2 bottles/cans or 5. Keep in mind local & craft breweries also have a higher alcohol content. Here in Utah we don’t have kegs, so for those of you who are having an event were they are legal, ask the purveyor.
Spirits: Vodka, Rum, Whiskey, Gin & Tequila. These are the basics that guests will ask for. 15-20 pours per bottle depending on the cocktail. You will want to look at the amount of each liquor & mixers going into a drink to determine more accurately how many bottles you will need.
What are you serving?
If you are only serving beer and wine generally guests will drink more red wine (unless it’s summer & it’s hot) then consider adding some rose to the mix. Otherwise plan on buying more red than white. This is where you have to gauge whether your guests are bigger wine or beer drinkers.
For a full bar we would suggest 50% wine, 30% beer & 20% spirits, again it’s going to really help if you know your crowd. Another fun suggestion is to serve beer, wine & one or two signature cocktails. It makes the bar memorable if guests are offered a delicious new cocktail as well as minimizing the variety of alcohol you will need to purchase. Often signature cocktails can also be designed to work without alcohol for your non-drinking guests and it’s important not to neglect them. Have fun, be safe & DON’T RUN OUT OF BOOZE.
Today, in honor of the first day of spring yesterday, Culinary Crafts is so thrilled to share this dreamy Lavender, Love and Honey editorial with a gorgeous spring palette that should get all of you excited for the upcoming season! (Side note, you may recognize this shoot from the glossy pages of Utah Valley Bride magazine!!!) The vendor team was truly extraordinary including Kristina Curtis Photography who’s photos were STUNNING! Check it out!
Calie Rose is a floral magician! The flowers totally tied in with the lavender fields without overwhelming the surroundings or fading into the background. Such a beautiful addition!
Our Lavender Lemonade with a Candied Ginger Lemon Wheel is always hit and was the perfect beverage to serve for this shoot!
We chose to serve a light lunch/brunch type foods to keep with the light feel of the shoot. Our House-Made Whole Wheat Bread with Clove Honey Spread was the perfect light, yet delicious, comfort food!
How cute are these Limoncello favors? We loved the calligraphy favor tags from Karli Noel Calligraphy and the little hand stoppered bottles. SO fun!
This bike was SOOOO cool! We loved the whimsical element it added to the shoot – and isn’t a perfect shade of spring yellow? Love it! Plus, our bride was such a natural beauty!
I love this photo and couldn’t help but share it! I think it definitely encapsulated the fun, beautiful and spring-like vibes the team was trying to create!
Another shot of our signature Lavender Lemonade. We love it, plus isn’t the bride’s amethyst ring from designer By Angeline amazing? Love the organic feel of it!
This cake by our friends at Flour and Flourish was beautiful as well as delicious! We loved the use of candied lemon and lavender as the minimal decoration. And, I have to say, it paired with our Lavender Lemonade amazingly!
The simple and elegant menu with more calligraphy by Karli Noel Calligraphy and the eclectic place settings were such a dream. Plus, we love the soft pink of the glassware. All around, this table was stunning!
Wasn’t this a perfect way to welcome spring? We thought so! Thank you again to the entire vendor team for putting together an AMAZING day and thank you to Utah Valley Bride for featuring it in their 2017 issue! Happy spring, everyone!
For all of you who caught our super pretty Instagram of the Week pick last week, you’ll know that Culinary Crafts LOVED our ‘Beauty and Her Feast’ shoot. It was so much fun and turned out better than we could have ever imagined! And this video, created by the ever-so-talented Kale Fitch Films, captured it perfectly! I think you’ll fall in love with this beauty (and her feast), so check it out! We invite you to be our guest! (Sorry, I just had to…) Happy watching, everyone!
So, working at Culinary Crafts is pretty awesome. Not only do you get to work with some of the best people around (our in house staff as well as the local vendors), but we get to be a part of some pretty creative and amazing things. Case in point: The “Alt Cakes” feature in the newly debuted Utah Valley Bride magazine! Check it out!
This feature was SO fun because they showcased 5 different alternative cakes by 5 different culinary artisans, but it didn’t just end there! They used each spectacular cake to inspire a theme for it’s own vignette – all photographed beautifully by Elisha Braithwaite Photography!
Our Cheese Wheel cake was pretty AMAZING (if we do say so ourselves) and the ‘Modern Italian’ theme was certainly right up our alley! With a fantastic vendor team to put the visions together, well, we were just blown away!
As promised, today, we are bringing you the food from this AMAZING wedding we showed you last week! Check it out, and again, thank you for the amazing photos Logan Walker Photography!
I couldn’t resist starting off this post with another photo of this GORGEOUS tablescape! Love the rentals from Diamond Rentals, florals from Decoration Inc, and planning from Soiree Productions! Plus, our delicious house-made breads and artisan butters were a welcome addition to the tables, don’t you think?
To start things off, of course we had passed hors d’oeuvres! We greeted guests with this Balsamic Glazed Elk Carpaccio that was paired with a mini taste of local Wasatch Brewery‘s Polygamy Porter that complimented the bite perfectly. We love it when we can do fun pairings like this!
We didn’t stop there! We also served BLT Stuffed Heirloom Grape Tomatoes, Butternut Squash Lollipops garnished with Pistachios, Lemon Avocado Shrimp Crostini, and Roasted Pheasant with Plum Jam on top of a Granny Smith Apple. YUM! Plus, we served amazing slow drip coffee to the guests, which they loved, because they got to see the process of getting the perfect cup!
Of course, the bar was decked out beautifully too! Not only did we have fun creating the perfect food menu, but we made sure the signature cocktails were up to par too!
Local distillery High West was the choice of spirits to inspire our Signature Cocktail menu! The couple really wanted to focus on the local Utah food and beverage and we are so lucky to have such a great selection of local vendors. High West cocktails are always top notch!
The couple chose to serve a plated 4 course menu to their guests that featured local ingredients and sustainable foods. We were happy to oblige! First, we served a Locally Grown Spinach and Romaine Salad garnished with Local Pears, Gorgonzola, Candied Almonds, and Dried Cranberries with a Caramelized Onion Balsamic. Pretty and delicious!
Next, we served Mesquite-Grilled Rocky Mountain Red Trout with Granny Smith Apple Chutney on a bed of Seared Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Tomato Lentils, with Parsley Oil and Micro Greens. We had to show this dish 2 ways so you could see all of the amazing-ness happening on this plate!
Next, we served an entree of Grass Fed, Locally Raised Beef Tenderloin, Locally Grown Corn Cilantro Risotto, Julienne Vegetables, garnished with Yucca Chips. And, last but not least, guests were treated to a dessert of Poached Local Pears, Toasted Masala Almond Streusel, and Amaretto Zabaglione. Such a wonderful meal!!!
As if that meal wouldn’t leave you happy and satiated, we also created a fun dessert display for the guests as they danced the night away. LOVE!
How cute are these Mini German Chocolate Cakes and Mini Pies Garnished with Edible Flowers?!
French Macarons and Chocolate Pot du Creme rounded out the deliciousness on the dessert display. We LOVED bringing in the natural vibe with edible flowers on the Macarons too!
Another shot of this fun dessert display! And how pretty are these linens mixed with our pretty wooden serving boards? And the mercury glass lanterns were AMAZING!
Last, but not least, the couple hosted an “after party” for the guests who wanted to keep the party going – and you need fuel to keep dancing the night away, right? So the couple gave out favors of our House Made Bacon Bourbon Popcorn, as well as an Late Night Bites Bar with Mini Pepperoni Pizzas, Sliders & Fries, and S’mores Cones! YUM!
We simply LOVED this wedding and had so much fun coming up with this creative and delicious menu! I hope this inspires you all to get creative with you wedding food too! Happy planning, everyone!