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February 5, 2024

How to Buy, Serve, and Enjoy Caviar

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Admit it. If you haven’t tasted quality caviar served on a buckwheat blini with a dallop of crème fraiche, aren’t you curious to know what the fuss is about?

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to indulge in a little decadence with your special someone, and nothing says romance like candlelight, soft music, long-stemmed roses, champagne…and caviar.

Today, caviar symbolizes the epitome of luxury and class, but it wasn’t always so. In fact, 150 years ago caviar was so cheap in the United States that it was served for free in bars—like pretzels or popcorn—just to encourage patrons to drink more! Overfishing, pollution, and loss of habitat caused supply to crash and prices to skyrocket, but you can still enjoy this delicious delicacy for a reasonable price. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

Read on to learn how to choose, buy, serve, and enjoy quality caviar. Once we’ve mother-of-pearl-spoon-fed you the basics, you’ll be ready to wow your guests or treat your sweety to an exquisite culinary treat.

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Why try caviar?

Caviar still has a bit of an elitist image, but it's no longer just for the uber-wealthy. In fact, it can be as affordable as a bottle of good wine or a great dessert...not to mention that it's far healthier.

Among its many nutritional virtues, caviar is rich in calcium, iron, selenium, and antioxidants. It’s also a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which means that it’s good for your heart, bones, and immune system. It's even used as a natural anti-depressant.

But the real reason to treat yourself and your loved ones to this exquisite delicacy is, of course, flavor.

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What caviar is (and isn’t).

If you’re new to buying caviar, you may find the terminology a little confusing.

Technically, caviar is the salted, unfertilized eggs of sturgeon fish. The eggs of other kinds of fish like salmon or trout can also be tasty, but they aren’t true caviar; we refer to the eggs of those fish as “roe.”

In a moment, we’ll discuss the different kinds of caviar and roe, compare their tastes, and show you what you can expect to pay for each. But for now, just keep in mind that all true caviar comes from sturgeon. In the U.S., we tend to be pretty lax about the way we use the terminology, so you might see products that advertise “salmon caviar” or “lumpfish caviar.” Just understand that those products are actually roe.

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What kind of caviar should I buy, and how much should I expect to pay for it?

It’s true that the price of caviar can be astronomically high. (Gastronomically? Gasp-tronomically?) But, as with sparkling wine, the more expensive caviars don’t always offer the highest quality or value.

The following list should give you an idea of the range of caviar available and their prices. Let’s start with the most expensive.

Beluga:

Beluga is widely considered the most prized type of caviar in the world, but due to terribly overfishing, beluga sturgeon are critically endangered. The U.S. banned the importation of beluga caviar in 2005. While you can buy beluga today, not many vendors offer it, and you may have to pay $800 per ounce or more for high-quality product.

Beluga hybrids:

This type of caviar comes from fish that are a cross between beluga and another kind of sturgeon. It’s easier to find than beluga, has a similar buttery, nutty taste, and costs a lot less, ranging from about $120-145 per ounce.

Ossetra:

Perhaps the most popular caviar in the world, ossetra (a/k/a osetra or asetra) has medium-sized gold or brown eggs with a unique taste of butter, caramel, and brine. The price for ossetra varies widely from $50-250 per ounce.

Sevruga:

The European sevruga has small gray eggs with a full-bodied taste that is described as briny, nutty, and slightly tangy. It is not everyone’s favorite, but it is very popular with caviar connoisseurs. Price ranges from $50-150 per ounce. American white sturgeon:Arguably the best value, American white surgeon caviar starts with a typical briny taste but then has a buttery aftertaste almost like parmesan cheese. $85-110.

Siberian:

Also known as baika, Siberian caviar is saltier and has larger eggs than most other kinds. It typically costs $80-105.

Kaluga:

Closely related to beluga, the kaluga sturgeon is found in Asia and is the largest freshwater fish on earth. It is sometimes called “river beluga” because its caviar resembles beluga’s in taste, but it has been much better managed and protected, so they are not as endangered. Kaluga has large, firm eggs that are light brown, grey, gold, or green and have a creamy, nutty taste that is more subtle than some types. Expect to pay $55-85 for a 1-ounce tin.

Sterlet:

Similar to sevruga in taste, sterlet has even smaller eggs that are grey or silver. Expect to pay $50-100 per ounce.

Hackleback:

Also known as shovelback sturgeon, hackleback is a wild sturgeon harvested from the rivers of the American South. Hackleback caviar is dark black and tastes nutty and sweet. At such a low price of $35-50 per ounce, it can be a great value as long as you choose a high-quality product. fish roe, orange fish eggs, salmon roe, salmon eggs, dish of salmon roe, salmon

What alternatives should I consider?

Golden Whitefish:

Think of golden whitefish as the marijuana of the caviar world. Inexpensive and pleasant tasting, it is a gateway drug! At $8-15 per ounce, it’s the perfect “caviar” to experiment with.

Salmon:

Salmon roe, sometimes known as “red caviar,” is one of the most popular and delicious substitutes. For as low as $10 per ounce, it’s no wonder that salmon roe is used in so many cuisines and dishes.

Rainbow trout:

We love serving rainbow trout roe at home. It’s subtly sweet and a little briny, and it has that delightful pop in your mouth that you want. If you’re not a big seafood lover, try smoked salmon roe! As with most seafoods, smoke mellows out the fishy flavors and gives it a broader appeal. At just $10-30 per ounce, you can afford to add trout roe as a special treat to charcuterie boards, canapés, sushi, and other seafood dishes, or just enjoy it by the spoonful.

Paddlefish:

American paddlefish is another excellent “introductory” caviar substitute. Similar in flavor to sevruga, paddlefish roe is far less expensive at $16-28 per ounce.

Herruga:

The roe of Spanish herring, herruga has a mild smokey and nutty flavor. Prices vary widely, from $6 per ounce all the way up to $200, so make sure you buy from a reputable dealer.

Tobiko:

Made from flying fish roe, tobiko is often dyed green with wasabi, black with squid ink, or red with beet juice. Personally, we don’t think it tastes great on its own, but its pleasant texture makes a great garnish for sushi. Expect to pay around $15 an ounce for good quality tobiko.

Masago:

Masago “caviar” is made from the roe of tiny capelin fish. It’s mildly sweet and smokey, and it will only run you about $7-15 per ounce. Like tobiko, we wouldn’t recommend eating it on its own, but it is often used in Japan as a sushi topping. caviar taco, creme fraiche, avocado, caviar, sesame seeds, onion, Culinary Crafts, hors d'oeuvres, toasted, seafood, Utah wedding

How can I choose good caviar?

There’s a saying that a good caviar should have at least 15 different flavors to it. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the point is that a bite of quality caviar should give you a multi-level experience. It should be enjoyable in every aspect, from its appearance and smell to the feel on your tongue, the pop against the roof of your mouth, the initial burst of flavors, and the lingering aftertaste.

  • Appearance: Caviar should have a shine and sparkle, but not an oily sheen. Each egg should be full and distinct, not a mushy mess.
  • Texture: Caviar should be firm, but not tough. When pressed, it should make a pleasant pop.
  • Smell: Caviar should have a mild briny smell, but if they smell fishy, you’ve got a problem!
  • Flavor: Different types of caviar have different forward flavors and lingering aftertaste, from nutty to buttery to fruity to sweet. However, caviar should never taste metallic or overly fishy.

A key to choosing good caviar is to look for quality but not for bargains. Don’t get fooled by blow-out sales or surprisingly low prices. Your best bet is to look for a caviar (or caviar substitute) in your price range and work through a reputable dealer.

Where should I buy caviar?

Shopping for caviar online is a dubious business unless you stick with companies that are established and dependable. We have never been disappointed with Marky’s or Om. Russ & Daughters and Petrossian also have fine reputations.

If you’re looking for caviar you can buy in bulk, Costco is a good option. They offer several varieties of ossetra, Siberian, and white sturgeon.

Here in Utah, we have a few local vendors to choose from. Caputo’s in Salt Lake City is one of our favorite purveyors, not only of caviar but of cheese, chocolate, and all sorts of loveliness! If you’ve shopped there before, you know that Caputo’s employees are amazingly helpful and more than willing to share their knowledge. Maybe if enough of us make a specific request, they’ll offer a hands-on class on caviar.

Finally, Pirate O’s carries reasonably priced caviar substitutes: salmon roe for $24.99/2 ounces and lumpfish roe for $12.99/2 ounces.

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How much caviar do I need to buy?

A good rule of thumb for buying and serving caviar is “Don’t overdo it. A little goes a long way.” The among of caviar you should buy depends on how you’re serving it, how many guests you have, how hungry they are, and how many true caviar-lovers you’ve invited. But here are the basic guidelines to follow:

  • As a garnish just to give a touch of class, a few grains per serving will do, so a 1-ounce tin of caviar can serve your whole party of 20+ people.
  • On most hors d’oeuvres or appetizers, use ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon per serving. This will yield roughly 20-40 servings per ounce of caviar.
  • If caviar is the main flavor you want guests to taste on an appetizer, use about ½ teaspoon per serving. This will give you about 10 servings per 1-ounce tin.
  • If eating caviar straight out of the tin, a 1-ounce serving will feed 1 to 2 people.

How should I store caviar?

Since caviar is partially cured with salt and vacuum sealed, it should last 4-6 weeks if unopened. Store caviar in the coldest part of your fridge, usually in the back. Once you open it, you should eat it as soon as you can, within no more than 2-4 days.

You can freeze caviar, but we don’t recommend it. The flavor will be mostly unaffected by freezing, but the texture will change. Once frozen, caviar tends to become more sticky, clumpy, and mushy. It will also lose that slight pop in the mouth.

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How should I serve caviar?

Fish eggs are fragile, so always handle caviar and other kinds of roe gently. Metal spoons, particularly silver, can give caviar a nasty metallic taste and alter its color. That’s why they make special mother-of-pearls spoons for caviar. Plastic, wood, ceramic, or tortoise shell works too.)

If you’re working with salmon, whitefish, or lumpfish roe, it’s a good idea to rinse it gently with cold water and let it dry on a paper towel before serving. Otherwise, the color might run.

To keep your caviar at its freshest, take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you serve it. If you don’t use it all, immediately seal the remainder and place it back in the fridge.

To take a sample taste, place a dollop on the back of your thumb, on the flat part between your thumb and first finger. Then slurp it off. There’s no real reason to eat it like that except tradition.

If you can, keep the tins on ice.

There are lots of delicious ways to serve caviar as an hors d’oeuvres or appetizer. Blinis (small Russian pancakes) are a traditional favorite vehicle, and we particularly love to make them with buckwheat.

Different kinds of crackers or toast points (crustless triangles of toast) also work well, but you’ll be surprised how great caviar tastes on a simple, unsalted potato chip. (Caviar is salty enough on its own, so salted potato chips can be too much.) Honestly, potatoes in practically any form are a great match for caviar, so try it on baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, French fries, or even tater tots. Trust us on this! Eggs, sushi, and all kinds of sea food also complement caviar beautifully.

Red onions, chives, and crème fraiche or sour cream are all great additions. Just don’t overdo them and overpower the amazing flavors of the caviar.

What drink should I serve with caviar?

Ice cold vodka or champagne are the traditional beverages to complement caviar. Plain water or sparkling water can also work to cleanse your palate between tastes. You don’t want anything overpowering like a heavy red or white wine. That said, a milder white wine can work. Finding the perfect pairing is a matter of personal taste and experimentation, but what experimenting could be more fun to do?

From all of us at Culinary Crafts, may your Valentine’s Day be the most romantic and delicious ever!

Eat well.

May 2, 2023

Kids in the Kitchen: Tips for Helping Youngsters Learn to Cook

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This summer when you start hearing the whines of “We’re bored,” what are you going to do? Put your kids to work in the kitchen, of course!

Wait, wait! Hear me out.

Cooking is a life skill that everyone needs sooner or later, so when you give your kids opportunities to learn in the kitchen, you’re preparing them for the day when they’ll move out on their own. (And they will eventually move out on their own, right? Right?)

But teaching kids to cook is about more than their independence. It also gives them confidence, teaches focus, fosters creativity, and reinforces fine motor skills and basic math skills. Children who learn to cook become more aware of what goes into their food, which generally means that they’ll be more open to trying new foods and more likely to make healthy food choices throughout their lives. Not only that, but the time you spend with your kids in the kitchen will be some of their most delicious memories.

So without further ado, here are our Top 10 Tips for Helping Youngsters Learn to Cook.

1. SAFETY FIRST

Kids + knives + raw ingredients + hot surfaces = why you need a plan to keep your kids (and everyone else) safe in the kitchen.

  • Show your kids how to hold and use a knife. If they’re younger, do it with them. (Danielle, one of our amazing Event Managers, had her very young daughters stand next to her and put their hand on hers as she cut, so they could get a feel for how it’s done correctly, They learned to respect—but not fear—knives.)
  • Don’t just warn your kids that stoves and ovens and pots and pans are hot; show them how to handle hot things safely.
  • Model the habits of food safety. Make sure they know which foods need to be refrigerated, how often we wash hands and surfaces, how we prevent cross-contaminating raw and cooked food, etc.
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2. MAKE IT FUN

Whether your kids learn to love or hate cooking starts with their earliest experiences in the kitchen. Think about how to make it special and fun for your youngsters. Turn on some music. Light a fragrant candle. Keep a few snacks on hand so that they don’t get hangry as they work. Make it a special privilege to wear Mom’s apron or use Dad’s chef knife. Work side by side. Tell stories. Let them talk about themselves. Give them small challenges or make it a game.

If you have the time and want to bond in the kitchen, challenge your child to a competition of Iron Chef: Family Edition. (Chocolate makes a great “secret ingredient” that must be included in every dish.) Invite their friends to be judges, but be prepared for a totally biased decision!

3. SHOW, DON’T TELL

Most kids (and adults) learn better when they’re shown what to do rather than just being told. Watching you peel the first carrot or measure the first cup of flour can help them complete the rest of the job with confidence. YouTube videos can be a great visual teaching tool.

4. GIVE PRAISE

When kids do something highly creative like cooking or writing poetry, they can be very vulnerable. They can easily feel criticized for their efforts, or they can feel proud and encouraged by the feedback they get. Be sure to give them sincere compliments for their successes and don’t make a big deal of their mistakes. Learning to fix errors and roll with setbacks is how kids learn resilience and gain the confidence to keep trying.

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5. GIVE AGE-APPROPRIATE TASKS

For kids to have fun and succeed in the kitchen, they have to be tasked with things they can actually do.

Very Young Kids

Children under 5 will struggle with fine motor skills. Still, there are plenty of things they can do like gathering ingredients from the fridge, wiping down a counter, or mixing things in a bowl. Meagan’s and Clayton's son, Tristan, (age 4) loves pouring ingredients and, of course, licking beaters.

Elementary Age Kids

Elementary age kids may enjoy the challenge of fine motor tasks like cracking eggs, juicing citrus, or peeling and cutting vegetables. They might be excited to use their developing skills to read recipes or perform tasks all on their own. Others, like Caleb’s daughter Hazel (age 8), will enjoy cooking most when they can do it with someone else.

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Preteens

Preteens still need some degree of supervision, but when they’ve shown that they understand and follow the safety rules, they’re ready to start using ovens, microwaves, and knives without someone standing over them. Don’t underestimate what kids this age can do in the kitchen! Caleb’s daughter Brina (age 13) decided she wanted to “cook around the world,” so she made a list of recipes from about twenty different countries and prepared them one at a time for the family, entirely on her own. She made everything from British Yorkshire pudding to Tongan lupulu to Danish pandekager. It’s amazing what kids with confidence and basic cooking skills can do!

Teens

Cooking skills become even more important as older kids get ready to leave home. Before they’re on their own, make sure your teens have had chances to learn the essentials like planning and shopping for healthy, affordable meals; keeping a clean kitchen; and using appliances like crockpots, toaster ovens, or air fryers. Independent life will be so much easier for kids if they’ve mastered a few go-to recipes and are comfortable in the kitchen.

6. INCLUDE KIDS IN THE WHOLE PROCESS

As you know, making a meal entails more than just cooking. As they gain experience, involve your kids in each stage of the process: meal planning, shopping, prepping ingredients, setting a table, managing their time in the kitchen, cooking, plating, serving, and cleaning up.

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7. GIVE KIDS OWNERSHIP

As kids grow comfortable in the kitchen, they can take on more and more autonomy. From an early age, children can be presented with choices. (“Should we have this vegetable or that one?” “Do you want to slice them this way or that way?”) Involving them in meal planning and shopping can further build their sense of ownership. So can giving them opportunities to present the food and talk about how they helped make it.

Older children can be given responsibility for making a specific dish or even for planning and executing an entire meal. Ryan’s daughter, Cayelle, (age 15) likes using her skills to plan and host parties for her friends without Mom’s or Dad’s help. The more initiative and ownership kids are allowed in the kitchen, the more likely they will become confident cooks (and hosts) for life.

8. ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY

As they gain confidence, kids tend to become more creative and curious in the kitchen. If they want to experiment with recipes and try to make improvements, let them! Not every experiment is going to make the recipe better, but it will always be a success if your kids learn something in the process. And sooner or later they’re going to have a win! Matt’s daughter, Ginny, (age 18) refuses to share the secret of the World’s Best Fry Sauce that she perfected as a kid, but she’s always happy to make it for the family. It’s a chance for her to shine.

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9. TAKE TIME FOR REWARDS

Even for professional chefs who have been in the kitchen our whole lives, cooking is still work, and it deserves to be rewarded. Maybe keep a supply of Reese’s Pieces or some other favorite treat on hand to reward yourselves for a job well done!

10. TEACHING IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN

A fantastic way to reinforce lessons and skills your kids learn in the kitchen is by letting them teach their younger siblings. Or, if they don’t have willing younger subjects, let them flex their skills by teaching you a new recipe or technique they’ve learned.

Happy summer, Eat well!

June 1, 2022

10 Tips for How to Make Any Space a Wedding Venue

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forest kiss, outdoor wedding, bride in the forest, Utah outdoor wedding, unique wedding venues, Culinary Crafts wedding, trees, gorgeous wedding photo, picturesque wedding, ivy covered trees As traditional wedding venues book up, many couples are converting ordinary spaces into exciting, unique places to get married. We’re seeing beautiful weddings staged beside a forest stream, in a rustic horse stable, or on top of a mountain! If you like the idea of doing something original, here are 10 tips for how to make practically any space into a magical, one-of-a-kind wedding venue.

1. Think Big

A museum or art gallery. The beach. An aquarium, aviary, or greenhouse. Any place that has special meaning to you as a couple may be a fantastic stage for a celebration that’s both personal and poignant. A favorite camp site or national park. A nightclub, ski resort, or skating rink. Even the gym where you met. Or maybe what represents you best is a Beatles-like concert on a rooftop or skeet shooting at your favorite hunting club. What we’re saying is, free your imagination. mountain wedding rocky mountain bride, lake, secluded, luxury, picturesque wedding, high end unique, waterfall, photos, pristine, outdoor wedding, unique Utah wedding destinations

2. Be Practical

As you dream big, bear in mind that when you create your own wedding venue, you’ll need to supply everything that a traditional venue would generally provide. That includes water, electricity, restrooms, transportation, parking, accessibility, permits…the list is longer than you think. But if you’re willing to work with your planner and address each aspect of the event thoughtfully, creating your own wedding venue can be pure magic! Salt Flat light, wedding on Utah Salt Flats, microwedding, micro-wedding, Utah outdoor wedding, wedding party on Salt Flats, white lights, night, draped lights, curtain of lights, special catering, catering events in Utah, outstanding events in Utah, picturesque wedding, Utah catered events

3. Prioritize

Assuming that you and your chosen one have agreed on your wedding priorities and budget (you have had that talk, right?), think about how well those priorities line up with the venue you have in mind. Are stunning photos at the top of your list of must-haves? Is your priority to make sure the whole clan can be there? To treat your guests to an amazing sit-down dinner and then party and dance the night away? Whatever your top priorities are, make sure the space you’ve chosen lends itself to those things. You may not be able to afford everything you dream, but you’ll get what’s most important to you if you prioritize. flower swing, the Hallows, wedding venue at Sundance Utah, couple in swing, swing of flowers, wedding in forest, bride on groom's lap, Culinary Crafts wedding, specialty wedding, unique wedding venue, married in the forest, trees, Utah outdoor weddings

4. Size Matters

If the space you’re considering is huge (like, say, a horse pasture, or the Bonneville Salt Flats), there are tricks to make a venue feel smaller and more intimate. However, if a space is too small to handle your guest count, there’s no way to fix that except to trim your list.

As a rough rule of thumb, for a seated dinner you’ll need about 12-14 square feet per guest, or 8-9 feet if you’re serving cocktail style with some people sitting and some standing. Add another 4-5 feet per guest if you want dancing. You’ll also need room for your caterer, a head table, cake table, bar, gift table, etc., but the measurements really depend on the particular venue. That’s why the eye of an experienced planner is crucial. Do a walkthrough together and make sure your space can handle everything you have in mind. forest table, wedding in the woods, forest wedding in Utah, table setting in forest, outdoors wedding venue in Utah, Utah County catered wedding, beautiful outdoor wedding, intimate outdoor event, candles, plates, glasses, trees, chairs, canopy, forest canopy

5. Amenities

At a minimum, you’ll need to provide the basics: food, water, electricity, and restrooms. (Nothing can turn a dream wedding into a nightmare faster than a problem with restrooms.) If the space you’ve chosen doesn’t already have restroom access—and enough access to avoid long lines—it’s worth hiring professionals. Electricity can be supplied by a generator, but remember that ordinary generators are way too loud; you’ll need a whisper generator or two. If your site doesn’t have clean water, you’ll have to pack in enough for drinking, washing, and on-site food prep. Consult your caterer about water, food, and beverage issues. grilling outdoors, flames at night, catering event in Utah, Utah outdoor wedding, Culinary Crafts chefs, cooking over open flame, bbq, barbeque cooking, firing a grill, wedding catering in Utah

6. Protect Your Guests from the Elements

If some of the festivities will be outside, you’ll need to protect your guests from too much sun, wind, rain, or other inclement weather—not to mention bugs. A tent, kata, yurt, or marquee are all good options, but make sure you know how they’ll be transported to the site, set up, and taken down.

In hot months, start dinner around 7:30 to avoid the heat of the day. But if you’re going to be in the mountains, move that start time up to around 4:30. Trees will provide enough shade, and the sun sets much sooner in the mountains, so temperatures drop quickly. couches, tent, lounge in the woods, sofas in the forest, comfortable wedding guests, wedding venues, outside wedding, forest wedding, children's tent, play camping, play campfire, relax at wedding, relaxing outdoor weddings, wedding guests relax, Culinary Crafts, catered weddings in Utah

7. View the Space Through Your Guests' Eyes

This is where creating your own wedding venue really starts to get fun!

Think of the celebration as distinct stages that move your guests from one event to the next throughout the night. What do you want them to feel and experience in each stage? Maybe as they arrive and mingle during cocktail hour, you want them to feel welcomed and relaxed. If so, what elements of your venue can contribute to that experience? A lounge vignette with comfortable sofas and a murmuring brook in the background? A fun display of memorabilia that shares your personal connection to the place? Whatever it is that you love about your chosen venue, find ways to weave it into your guests’ experience.

For each stage of the celebration, you want to provide your guests with at least one “WOW!” factor. A breathtaking view of a waterfall. The divine smells of a gorgeous floral setting. Mouthwatering BBQ. The heart-pumping beats of your favorite band. Engage all the senses! fairy lights, event tent, gauze tent, outdoor wedding in Utah, catering event tables, view of Utah mountains, outdoors wedding, unique wedding venue, beautiful outdoor wedding, outdoor catering in Utah

8. Lighting

There’s no better way to add beauty and mood to your venue than with the creative use of lighting. Uplights placed near walls or drapery can create a muted, open feel that makes a space seem larger. On the other hand, a canopy of bistro lights can make a space feel more intimate and enclosed. Candlelight is a sure-fire way to heighten the romantic mood, while fairy lights incorporated into your tablescape add a playful whimsy. Inexpensive and easy to transport, lights are a great way to create the right mood. dancing smile, wedding dancing, antlers chandelier, bride and groom dance, first dance, blue night sky, fairy lights, bistro lights, wedding in Utah, outdoor wedding venue in Utah, Wasatch Front wedding, catered wedding in Utah

9. Permits, Licenses, and Insurance

Before you finalize plans, ask yourself, “Do I need a permit for my wedding venue?” Depending on where you want to create your venue, there may be parking permits, fire permits, fireworks permits, or noise ordinances to deal with. A fire marshal may even need to do a walk-through prior to the event. Some cities require a special use permit for a wedding, and state parks generally do too. (Those park permits take time, so get started early!) If you’re planning to set up a tent or other temporary structure, some municipalities require a temporary building permit. An alcohol license may also be required if you’ll be serving any kind of alcohol.

Contact the city or county where you’re planning to host your event and find out what legal hoops you’ll have to jump through. It may also be worth looking into insurance for your event, especially if you are holding it in a museum or some other setting with a threat of significant property damage. outdoor wedding in Utah, Utah summer wedding, married outdoors, wedding by a river, trees, river, mountains, Utah mountain wedding, white sky, bride and groom walking by a river, hand in hand, love, picturesque, beautiful wedding moment, Utah catered events, bridal gown outdoors, bride in dress in Nature

10. Work with a Planner and Vendors

Creating a wedding venue of your own opens up all kinds of beautiful possibilities, but also lots of challenges. You probably don’t want to deal with every one of those issues on your own, so look at your budget and decide which worries are worth passing off to the pros. Here are a few vendors we recommend in the Wasatch Front area:

Our main advice here is that you work with an experienced wedding planner. A planner’s expertise can save you time, money, and trouble. Plus, your planner may have recommendation of local vendors who can greatly reduce the headaches of converting any space into a wedding venue.

March 29, 2019

The Top 15 places to eat lunch in Utah County

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Culinary Crafts headquarters is located in Pleasant Grove, so we are always looking for great places for lunch in Utah County. We polled Ryan, Kaleb, and our chefs to come up with this list of our 15 favorite lunch spots.
  • Pizzeria 712 - 320 State St #185, Orem, UT - This has been a Crafts family favorite since it opened. 712's approach shares many of our own philosophies and values regarding food - simple yet creative, ingredient driven, and house-made. Always delicious!
  • Asahi - 1470 N State St, Orem, UT - Great sushi at a great price. Conveniently located. We go here a lot!Image result for asahi orem
  • Tsunami Restaurant & Sushi Bar - 1616 W Traverse Parkway, Lehi, UT - Not only is the sushi fabulous, there are lots of delicious options to satisfy even the sushi averse, including an impressive sake list.Image result for tsunami sushi
  • Oteo - 139 S State St, Lindon, UT - Tacos, sopes, and empanadas after our own hearts! Innovative and trendy, yet still simple and without fuss. Don't miss the avocado tacos.
  • Black Sheep Cafe - 19 N University Ave, Provo, UT - Southwestern Native American cooking with full bar selections. Upscale and full service, but still casual. Ryan recommends the hog jowl tacos!Image result for black sheep provo
  • Cravings Bistro - 25 W Center St, Pleasant Grove, UT - A modern take on classic comfort dishes (grilled cheese and soup). It's impossible to pick the wrong sandwich, but if you're undecided opt for the ABC (apples, bacon, and cheddar). And it's just a few blocks away from our own office!Image result for cravings bistro
  • The Foundry Grill - 8841 N Alpine Loop Rd, Sundance, UT - Ryan spends a lot of time skiing the slopes at Sundance, and drops in here often for an elegant dinner of modern American cuisine. The Tree Room, and Owl Bar are excellent too!Image result for foundry grill
  • Peace On Earth - 35 N 300 W #200, Provo, UT - Let's be honest, it's not easy to find a great cup of Joe of Utah County. We're so happy to see more places like this coming to town. Great sandwiches and beautiful digs as well!DSC08314.jpeg
  • Taqueria 27 - 1688 W Traverse Pkwy, Lehi, UT - Great food at great prices. Fun for groups. Also featuring an array of specials updated daily.Image result for taqueria 27
  • 180 Tacos - 3368 N University Ave, Provo, UT - Too many taco places you say? There's no such thing! Great to dine in or take. The daily specials are always fun!Image result for 180 tacos
  • Bam Bams BBQ - 1708 State St, Orem, UT - Delicious Texas-style BBQ. And just like in Texas, the best thing is the brisket! Image result for bam bam's restaurant
  • Yamato - 1074 State St, Orem, UT - As much as we like to see new comers in our local restaurant scene, we're also ecstatic that places like Yamato stand the test of time. Excellent sushi as well as other classic Japanese dishes.Related image
  • CHOM Burger - 45 300 N, Provo, UT - Just because you've ditched fast food for good, doesn't mean you can't find a tasty burger out there. We love CHOM. And the milkshakes are killer too (especially the rotating seasonal selection)!
  • Sidecar Cafe - 1715 W 500 S, Springville, UT - In addition to the great breakfast and lunch menus, you can check out the Legend's Motorcycle Museum while you're there.
  • Straptank - 1750 West 596 South, Springville, UT - Across the parking lot from Sidecar, this brewery (yep, you read that right) features pub grub to satisfy all comers.
 

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. You can buy one of Kaleb's custom made ones here!  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. Culinary Crafts put together a box of our favorites here!  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. Check out our favorite custom cellars here.

June 15, 2016

How To Make A Simple Chantilly Cream (Only 3 Ingredients!)

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Homemade Chantilly cream is the perfect way for you to impress your guests at your next BBQ and can be used on top of any dessert. We used petite key lime pies for this recipe, but you can use whichever dessert your heart desires! Last week we did a post on why making homemade whipped cream is so worth your time. Give it a read, find it here. Ingredients needed for Chantilly Cream on Key Lime Pies. www.culinarycrafts.com Things you'll need for the Chantilly cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For garnishing
  • Strawberries
  • Ground pistachios
  • Black berries
  • Mint
Other items
  • Petite key lime pies
  • Spatula
  • Piping bag
  • Stand mixer with whip attachment
The first thing you'll want to do if you have the time is chill the mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes. It will whip better if you do this. The cream will double in size, so if you want 2 cups of whipped cream then you use 1 cup of whipping cream. Make sure the whipping cream is cold before you use it. Put the whipping cream in the bowl and whisk on medium until it gets foamy (about 1 minute.) Note: Do NOT whip on high! It will over beat, get grainy, and will deflate faster.  Whip cream pic stitch Then gradually add the vanilla and sugar. Then it'll take only about 2 minutes until it gets to soft peak. Some people like to use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, but we think granulated sugar tastes better. Whip cream pic stitch 2 After the soft peak, it can only take a few seconds to get perfect. Watch it carefully! If you do over beat it, you can add in a little bit more whipping cream and fold it into your already whipped cream. Make sure you fold it over, do not mash it and get rid of the air. You can also do this after your whipped cream has been sitting in the fridge for a few days. Whip cream pic stitch 3 When your whipping cream is done, put it in a piping bag and pipe onto your dessert! Whip cream pic stitch 4 Prepare your toppings. Quarter the strawberries since the pies are small, rinse your berries and ground the pistachios. Put onto of your dessert. Whip cream pic stitch 5 Now you're done!! You have perfect little key lime pies with Chantilly cream. Whip Cream Recipe Whip Cream Pinterest

June 1, 2016

How to make a potato rose wrapped in bacon

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We're showing you how to make a potato in the shape of a rose! We call it, a potato rose. 001 Things you'll need:
  • Potato
  • Apple smoked bacon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Chefs knife
  • Mandaline slicer
  • Cutting board
First, cut off the ends of the potato and peel off all the skin. After all the skin is off, take the mandolin slicer and slice the potato into thinslices. Potato 1 Potato 3 Take the slices and line them up in a straight line. Start from the bottom of the line and roll the slices up together. Potato 2 Once it's in a roll, wrap the bacon around the bottom edge. Potato 3 Spray the cupcake tin and place the rose in it. Add a little salt and pepper on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until brown. It's done! Enjoy your delicious potato rose. 019   Potato recipe picture Here's the link to our Pinterest Page! Potato Pin

December 29, 2015

Top 10 Reasons To Join Culinary Crafts On New Year’s Eve!

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November 9, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom: Top 10 Holiday Party Planning Tips

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Hi all!  Today I am thrilled to announce our guest blogger, Mara Marian-Harwood, who you may know as the creative tour de force behind Events by LMG.  I always love the events and styling tips that Mara has and what she has shared with us today is no exception!  Each tip is excellent and will definitely help any hostess or host with their holiday party!  Take a look!

Top 10 Holiday Party Planning Tips | Mara Marian-Harwood, Events by LMG

1. Steer Clear of Your Kitchen I love to cook and bake, preparing food for my friends and family is something I truly enjoy. I almost never give up my kitchen to anyone else, except when I am entertaining a large group in my home. It’s an entirely different challenge to prepare dinner and hors d’oeuvres for a few guests than to prepare food and hors d’oeuvres for a large group. It’s impossible to act the part of a gracious hostess if you’re busy watching platters and refilling confections. Allow a catering team to handle the food for you, so you can enjoy the food- and the party! Don’t forget that hostess is your role at your holiday party, to greet and entertain guests.

2. How to be a Hostess The part of a great hostess begins before the party starts. Balance your guest list with couples and single folks. Don’t make a big deal of the single guests, going out of your way to introduce every single person who crosses your path to another makes for particularly awkward exchanges. Single adults will find one another, without your assistance. Be sure to create a fun and comfortable environment that promotes mingling and the rest will take care of itself.

3. No Wallflower Zone The right music, décor and lighting paired with great food and drinks will make for a fun and festive environment. Don’t make the mistake of putting the food right next to the bar. Be sure to split these areas up to keep guests moving. If your home is large enough, multiple bars and food stations are ideal.

4. Some Like it Hot! Be sure to offer a variety of beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. A hot beverage bar is a great interactive-entertainment option for guests, separate from a traditional cocktail bar.  Hot spiced-cider, warm cocoa and hot toddies can all be dressed by guests. Be sure to work with your caterer to get a great selection of colored sugars, cinnamon sticks, marshmallows and peppermint sticks for your guests to add to their drinks. Specialty glassware and mugs can be rented locally to make each of these beverages feel special.

5. Use Candles Sans-Scent Avoid the urge to stock up on and burn scented holiday candles. Solid in abundance at this time of year, cinnamon, peppermint and pine-scented candles can be a tempting choice. Remember that your guests will all arrive wearing perfume and cologne. In addition to your delicious menu, there is no room for more scents. Allow the aroma of the food and beverages to set the mood rather than an artificial candle. (Don’t skip candles altogether though! Just be sure not to place candles in areas where clothes or hair could catch fire, up and out of the way is best).

6. Channel Your Inner Supermodel Since you won’t be busy slaving away in your hot kitchen, be sure to spend time getting festive with your ensemble. The holidays are the time to add a little sparkle. Whether it’s a sequined frock or a pearly eyeliner, get into the holiday sprit.

7. Get Glass Be sure to have lots of bottled water on hand for your party. For any formal engagement, I suggest glass bottles. A glass water bottle feels upscale and pretty. My favorites are Pellegrino for a fizzy option, and Aqua Pana for water sans bubbles. Having the water readily available around the party will keep it accessible for your drinking guests who will thank you tomorrow.

8. Bathroom and Boudoir Your guests will inevitably use your restrooms and poke around your home. Decorate with fresh florals in every space, bathrooms included. Work with a florist to offer beautiful seasonal-appropriate arrangements  other than the standard grocery-store poinsettia.

9. Coat Check Simply planning to stack coats in a bedroom isn’t a good coat-check plan. Some guests will uncomfortable with this and will carry their belongings around all night, not conducive to a fun party. If you’re not working with a professional planner, ask your caterer for recommendations on staffing for this service. Your caterer may even offer the service.

10. Parking Predicament Consider where your guests will park based on the number of cars you’re expecting to need to accommodate. If your neighborhood has lots of street parking options, it’s a nice gesture to let neighbors know that you’ll be having a party so they can expect the increase in cars on your street that evening. It’s amazing how a simple heads up will make your otherwise easily irritated neighbor feel like they were a part of the decision. Problem solved! A professional valet-service is also a surprisingly cost-effective solution to parking dilemmas.

Thank you so much Mara!  These ideas are FABULOUS!  I hope they make all of your holiday party planning a breeze - and if you'd like the professional planning services of Mara and her team, go to www.eventsbylmg.com!  Happy planning!

Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Photo Credit: Used courtesy of  Events by LMG, photographed by Chudleigh Weddings

27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year