November 29, 2018
Top picks for the kitchen! Holiday gift ideas from our chefs.
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.
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.
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.
September 17, 2018
September Recipe of the Month: The Perfect Dipping Caramel
Candy making can seem daunting especially if you’ve tried and failed in the past. Whether this is your first time making caramel apples or if you’re ready to try again, you’ll love Meagan Crafts-Price’s tips and tricks to making the perfect caramel apple this fall season!
2 cups light corn syrup 1/2 cup water 2 cups sugar pinch of baking soda 1/2 cup butter- cut into 1" cubes 1 12oz. can evaporated milk
Directions, Tips & TechniquesHaving your thermometer correctly calibrated is more important than the particular candy thermometer you use because having your caramel at the perfect temperature for dipping is the key to success.
Calibrating your candy thermometerStart by boiling a cup of water in a 1 quart sauce pan. Clip your candy thermometer to the side. If your thermometer reads 212ºF when the water starts to boil, congratulations that was pretty easy! If it doesn’t, don’t despair. The reading could be off because you aren’t at sea level or your thermometer isn’t calibrated - or probably a bit of both. Here are two ways you can compensate for any discrepancy in the calibration. My favorite way is to slide the glass tube up or down accordingly until it reads 212ºF in boiling water. If you can’t figure out how to move the glass tube, you can make the adjustment mathematically. To account for the discrepancy in your temperature reading when the water started boiling, simply calculate a new goal temperature in your recipe. For example, if you need to cook your candy to 242ºF, and your thermometer read 210ºF when the water boiled, you know your calibration is off by 2 degrees. So lower the goal temperature in the instructions by 2 degrees, from 242º to 240ºF.
Now that you have a calibrated thermometer, keep your pot of boiling water on the stove; you will use it later on.In a heavy 4 quart sauce pan combine corn syrup, water and sugar over medium heat. Stirring occasionally with a spatula until mixture comes to a boil. Add in the pinch of soda. The mixture will start to bubble rapidly. This will leave bits of crystalized sugar on the side of the pan. Take a pastry brush and dip it into your pan of boiling water and wash down the sides of the pan so you don’t get gritty caramel. Clip your calibrated thermometer to your pan of caramel, add butter and stir until incorporated. Then stir constantly while adding the evaporated milk. You will want to keep the mixture moving so the caramel doesn’t scorch. Continue stirring until your mixture reaches 242ºF (or the adjusted temp for your thermometer).
Remove from heat and cool until the mixture is 220ºF. This is a key step for dipping! If your caramel is too hot it will just slide off your apples. If it is too cold you won’t be able to get your apples completely coated because the caramel is too thick. While the caramel is cooling, wash 8 apples and insert wooden skewer or popsicle stick about 2” into the apple. Tilt the pan to give you a nice pool of caramel to start dipping. Dip apples into your caramel and turn to coat thoroughly. Drag across the lip of your pan to get off excess caramel, then turn upside down and hold it upside down for about 30 seconds. This helps minimize the foot of caramel that appears at the bottom of the apple when cooling. Place on a piece of parchment paper to cool. You can then dip your apples in chocolate and roll in nuts or candy pieces as desired!
Once you have gotten your 8 apples dipped you might notice there is still caramel in your pan sticking to the sides and such. Don't scrap down your pan with a spatula and continue dipping. The caramel that is sticking to the sides of your pan have still been cooking quite a bit as you have dipped and will be a different consistency than the caramel in the mass. This extra caramel is great to scrap right onto your counter and eat as a snack while you are waiting for your delicious apples to be done!!
April 10, 2017
How Much Alcohol Should You Plan For Your Event?
March 23, 2017
Setting the Perfect Table
The LinenThe right tablecloth or linen is the first thing down on the table. A clean, crisp, white, linen that hangs just to the floor can be a great fit for any event, but get creative. Bring some colors in, use some unique patterns or fabrics. Don't hesitate to get out the sewing machine and quickly hem or surge an edge on your favorite fabric. Add a pop of color with a runner or additional cloth overlay. Be mindful of textures and how they go together.
The CenterpieceGet creative with your arrangements. Fresh florals can be used in almost any situation and tailored to fit the feel of the party. However, don't be tied down to florals alone, add in votive candles, tiles, mirrors, beads, etc. For themed parties, use anything from sports caps to wood boxes to tiki torches. One thing to keep in mind is that while a tall and wide centerpiece will certainly be breathtaking at first glance, it can detract from table conversation once guests are seated. If it blocks the view of guests who are opposite one another, it can be bothersome.
The ServicewarePick a china pattern that fits the event. If you have space and budget, add a charger or service plate to the place setting. The flatware should look cohesive with the china and be set according to common etiquette. An entire book could be written about place setting etiquette, so I won't go into too much detail. But keep the flatware half an inch from the edge of the table and work outside in, meaning that the flatware should be placed in the order it will be used throughout dinner service working from the outside towards the plate. I love this picture from rootedinfoods.com that shows a traditional formal setting. In most circumstances, you won't have all of these pieces set and you won't set more than 3 pieces of flatware to left and right of the plate at a time, but this shows where the appropriate location for pretty much anything you could think of would go.
The AccoutermentsIt 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.
February 7, 2017
Delectable Food Photography Tips for Mouth-Watering Images
It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to gain more followers on Instagram or another social platform, upgrade your cooking website by refreshing it with new images, or perhaps publish a cookbook – whatever your reasons are, photos sell your product!You need to learn how to take photos visitors on your website or your followers and friends online will cry over. It’s not as difficult as it sounds and you’ll need to stick to a couple of rules.
Use Natural LightingIf you want to get the right color and make it clear to everyone looking at the photo that you were in the presence of a culinary master-piece, my suggestion is to use natural lighting and take your photos in daylight. The flash of your camera, along with other forms of artificial lights will change the natural shade of the meal in front of you, and you want everything to look natural and tasty.
Choose Your Pieces with CareBefore you take a photo, it’s important that you select only the most representable pieces of food you want to capture on camera. So, you need to spend some time making that selection in order to end up with a photo that’s absolutely perfect.
Find Just the Right AngleThis one will take time and you must endure in your persistence – probably the most difficult thing about catching the yumminess of a certain meal and transferring it into a photo is finding the right angle. You'll need to move around and experiment.
Have a Tripod with YouPhoto shoots require precision and you don’t want something like your hands shaking due to tiredness to stand in the way of you making the perfect photo. You can easily solve this problem if you carry your tripod with you, so make it an essential piece of your equipment.
Experiment with Your CompositionPhotographing food is a time-sensitive process – either it will get cold or it will melt before your eyes. So, if you don’t see things working out in the very beginning, change the table right away and move that composition in front of you around until you make it look as delicious as it tastes. Naturally, you’ll need a good photo editing job done afterwards so you can accent those crumbling layers and emphasize colors.
If you plan on doing this in the future, my suggestion is to learn about setting the table and decorating it with the use of various ornaments. This can come in handy when you’re on the set and trying to get the perfect photo, because you will be able to spot if anything is wrong with the composition in front of you, so you can fix it right away and prevent the food from getting ruined right before your eyes. There’s a lot to be learned here and you can only become better with practice, so make sure to get lots of it.
Guest post: written by Isabella Foreman
June 15, 2016
How To Make A Simple Chantilly Cream (Only 3 Ingredients!)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Ground pistachios
- Black berries
- Petite key lime pies
- Piping bag
- Stand mixer with whip attachment
June 1, 2016
How to make a potato rose wrapped in bacon
- Apple smoked bacon
- Vegetable peeler
- Chefs knife
- Mandaline slicer
- Cutting board
November 16, 2011
Wednesday Wisdom: Top 5 Tips on Planning A Stellar Birthday Party!
We at Culinary Crafts love all types of events, from weddings to corporate events and everything in between. But we will always have a special place in our hearts for Birthday Parties!!! Today, I'd like to give our top 5 tips to take any birthday party you are planning over the top! Check it out!
1. Know Your Crowd. For any birthday party, it is always a good idea to know your crowd. If you are just going to be having a party for a 16 year old and all the guests are about that age as well, you can easily gear the party and entertainment for the teenager set. If you are having a birthday party for a 50 year old, however, and families and friends are invited, it becomes a bit more tricky. You'll want some of the food and entertainment to gear towards the adults, but also, to make sure the kids aren't bored by the 'grown-up' fun, provide kid friendly activities and food selections too! Everyone will leave totally happy and talking about the party of the year!
2. Details make the party. If you've read this blog for any period of time, you know I'm a sucker for details. I love, love, love the way details can make a party go from regular to EXTRAORDINARY! Birthday parties are an excellent time to have fun with details and themes. A whimsical cake, an over the top theme, a candy table to die for - all excellent details to consider. And since its a birthday party, you can really go all out and have fun with it.
3. Use the venue to your advantage. As with any event, make sure you take the venue into consideration. Good use of space can make sure that your guests have plenty to see, plenty to do, and tons of yummy food to eat!
4. Provide entertainment. Whether you want to make your party a carnival theme or a laid-back, elegant, "hoe-down", you should make sure to entertain your guests. I'm not saying everyone needs to hire the Oakridge Boys (like the birthday party above) but having something to entertain your guests will make it the party they won't soon forget!
5. Make it all about the Birthday Girl or Boy. At the end of the day, it's YOUR birthday and your birthday party. Make sure you choose to do things you like and serve food that you love. You can still make sure that all your guests have a blast and also make sure that you have the party you want!
Happy planning everyone!
Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!
Photo credits: ZumaPhoto and Keith Westerberg
October 24, 2011
Monday Musings: Top 5 Halloween DIY Decor
Hello all! This week, we are super excited for the upcoming Halloween weekend! To celebrate, every day on the blog, we'll have a Halloween spin on our daily themes - starting with today's Top 5 Halloween DIY Decor! Check it out - and if you'd like to try your hand at any of these projects - just click the link below the image!
I hope this adds a little 'spooky' to your home! Enjoy!
Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!
All images from Martha Stewart
May 5, 2011
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!
Today I'd like to give some Mother's Day gift ideas from some of the outstanding local companies we have right here in Utah! We are so lucky to have so many excellent local resources at our disposal and wouldn't your Mother (or you) love something made here in our community?
For the Gourmet Foodie Mom:
Here in Utah, we have so many yummy local food stops that you could find any mom with a passion for food something that will really knock her socks off! Above, Beehive Cheese Company's Barely Buzzed Cheddar, Chocolat's 24 piece truffle sampler and RubySnap's Vivianna cookies. Other places to check out are Liberty Heights Fresh, The Sweet Tooth Fairy, High West Distillery, Amano Chocolates, and Nutty Kernal.
For the Spa Lovin' Mom:
Let's face it. Being a mom is a lot of work sometimes. To relieve that stress, how about giving your mom a salon or spa service? Pictured above the Enizio Salon, The Kura Door, and a spa gift set from Bubble & Bee. Also check out Richelle's Salon & Spa.
For the Green Thumb Mom:
Is your mom a plant guru? Does her garden beautify the entire block? Or does she just love cultivating the nature around her? Well then you should definitely check out getting her a gift of growing things! Above, flowers and plants from Millcreek Gardens and Cactus & Tropicals and arrangements from Tri|Fec|Ta Floral Design. Also check out Grow Wild Nursery.
For the Arty Crafty Mom:
Does your mom love music? Or art? Or doesn't she just love to create? Well, maybe you should get her something that shows you love her creative side! Shown above, limited edition prints and frames from Signed & Numbered, card from The Write Image, handkerchief from Stitched, and music from Slowtrain Music. Also check out SproutPhoto, Frosty Darling, Sereph, Print in Cursive and Sycamore Street Press.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!!!
Check out our website for more eye candy at www.culinarycrafts.com!