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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!

April 13, 2023

Pink Popcorn

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by Kate Morrow

Wedding and Event Specialist

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Growing up, I always loved the treats Grandma LaDawn made. Whenever my extended family got together, my grandma would always bring a tasty treat. It’s hard to choose a favorite of her desserts, but the one that brings back the most memories is her pink popcorn.

This recipe is really simple. It’s basically sugary popcorn dyed pink! Grandma would also change up the color of the popcorn for special occasions and holidays. For St. Patrick’s Day she would dye it green, and if it was your birthday you got to choose whatever color you wanted the popcorn! This recipe is such a simple treat that is perfect for any holiday or celebration.

PINK POPCORN

Ingredients

  • large bowl of popcorn
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • a few drops of food coloring

Directions

  1. Pop the popcorn using an air popper or the stove.
  2. Pour out onto a flour sack towel and allow unpopped kernels to fall to the bottom. Scoop popcorn (minus unpopped kernels) back into large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and mix until all the popcorn is coated.
  5. Spread out the popcorn on wax paper and allow to cool. Enjoy!

March 14, 2023

Culinary Crafts Featured in Utah Valley Bride

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Culinary Crafts has a long history as a contributor and preferred caterer with Utah Valley Bride magazine. The most recent edition of that gorgeous publication features “Smoke Show,” a smoke-themed inspirational shoot we did at the Tasting Room to showcase a few beautiful new wedding trends.

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Wedding catering is trending toward “experiential dining” which means treating your guests to an unforgettable experience. By putting creative thought into your planning, you can do much more than just place delicious food in front of your loved ones. You can entice and enchant all their senses, creating a fun and engaging event that they (and you) will always remember.

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The use of smoke is just one of countless ways to heighten the dining experience. You can let your guests start savoring their food with their eyes and noses before it ever reaches their palates.

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As always, we were delighted to work with Utah Valley Bride and the excellent vendors who helped us put together this unique shoot. A special thank-you goes to Potted Pansy for the florals, Pop Culture by Snap Happy for the balloons, Just Girl Stuff for the dresses and jewelry, Diamond Event and Tent and Wild Event Studio for the rentals, and the inimitable Logan Walker for his amazing photos. We love you all!

Eat well!

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February 22, 2023

Butternut Squash Soup

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The Soup that Changed My Life

by Katie Carter

Wedding and Event Specialist

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Let me tell you about my first encounter with Culinary Craft and butternut squash soup, two thing that changed my world.

In October 2018, I was just starting my new job as the Venue Coordinator for River Bottoms Ranch (RBR) in Midway, Utah. I had planned several big charity fundraising events back in college, but RBR was my first official job in the hospitality industry, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

My anxiety grew worse at the RBR Grand Opening when I walked into the dining room and saw the elaborate display. From the gorgeous centerpieces to the fancy glassware to the proliferation of silverware at every plate, I had never seen such opulence! My Utah/Minnesota upbringing hadn’t prepared me for that experience.

I looked around for a friendly face and sat down next to a beautiful, kind-looking woman who introduced herself as Jocelyn. I confessed that I loved her hair and asked for the name of her hair girl, which she gladly shared. We chatted easily throughout the meal, and my nerves started to calm down. I hoped she wouldn’t notice that I was following her lead on which forks and spoons to use.

It turned out that Jocelyn was an event planner for Culinary Crafts and someone I would end up working with many, many times at RBR. My first impressions of her were right: she has always been the same cheerful, caring person who helped me find my footing and feel at ease when I was brand new to the world of hospitality.

But That Soup!

The other detail that stands out in my memory from that first encounter with Jocelyn and Culinary Crafts was the butternut squash soup that was served at the event. Here is Culinary Crafts’ own recipe. I promise: it’s amazing! It’s even better when served hot on a cold day. And, unless you happen to be sitting at a fancy table and are worried about committing a faux pas, I highly recommend dipping your bread in it.

Butternut Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup butter
  • 12 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • ½ - ¾ tsp thyme
  • 1 cup yellow onion, large diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup apples, peeled and diced
  • ½ - 1 cup cream
  • 4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider powder
  • 1 - 2 cups pepitas, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter. Sautee onions and apples until onions are soft.
  2. Add butternut squash, stock, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat down and simmer until squash is soft.
  4. Remove bay leaf and strain ½ of liquid out.
  5. Puree the soup. Add cream and nutmeg.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Make garnish by mixing sour cream and apple cider powder. Top soup with a swirl of garnish and a sprinkle of pepitas.
  8. Serve with a smile, and don't judge your guests if they lick their bowls clean.

February 2, 2023

Presidential Chocolate Mousse

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Presidential Chocolate Mousse

by Ron Crafts

Founder and Speed Demon

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When the Winter Olympics came to Utah in 2002, Culinary Crafts was asked to cater all the major events for the games, including several large galas for the International Olympic Committee, the Salt Lake Olympics Committee, and Sports Illustrated. We had done huge events before, but catering so many all at once would push our resources to the limit. It quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to accept any more event requests until after the games.

Then, one morning in October, we got a call from the White House.

“We would like to book an event,” said the woman on the other end of the line.

Not realizing who she was speaking with, our receptionist explained the situation and apologized. “We can’t take bookings right now, but I’d be happy to refer you to another caterer.”

There was a pause, and then the caller said, “So you don’t want to work for the President?”

“The President of what?”

“The President of the United States.”

We took the job.

That's the ticket!

As it turned out, one of my favorite memories of the games came as we were preparing a meal for the president’s event. That Sunday, one of our chefs called me in a panic because he needed a bottle of Frangelico for a dessert he was making, and he didn’t know where he could find one on such notice with all the Utah liquor stores closed. I told him I thought we had a bottle on the shelf at our facility, and I’d bring it right away.

Twenty minutes later I was driven down I-80 at 140 miles per hour when I was pulled over by the Utah Highway Patrol.

“Do you know how fast you were going?” the officer asked.

“Yes, sir,” I said.

He peered in my window and saw the bottle of Frangelico lying on the floor. “Is that an open bottle of alcohol?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” I admitted. (It was starting to look like I might be in some real trouble.)

“So, what’s the rush?” he asked.

There was nothing to do but tell the truth. “We’re hosting the President of the United States. They need this for dessert.”

Incredibly, he let me go.

It was lucky for me that President Bush was so popular in Utah.

PRESIDENTIAL CHOCOLATE MOUSSE


Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ Tbsp brandy
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Frangelico
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar (divided)

Directions

  1. In a double boiler, melt butter, chocolate chips, brandy, and Frangelico.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whip heavy cream and 1 oz brown sugar until it forms medium peaks. Set in the refrigerator.
  3. Separate egg whites and yolks. In a large mixing bowl, whip egg whites and 1 oz brown sugar until it forms medium peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, with the reserved egg yolks, slowly pour about 1 Tbsp of chocolate mixture into the yolks while constantly stirring. Continue to slowly add about another 2 Tbsp of chocolate to the yolk mixture. Combine remaining chocolate and yolk mixture. Mix until combined.
  5. Gently fold in egg whites.
  6. Gently fold in whipped cream.
  7. Serve chocolate mousse chilled and garnished with your favorite accoutrements. Berries and tuille cookies are my favorite!

January 25, 2023

Apple Spice Cake

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by Hattie Sandy

Field Kitchen Manager

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I come from a family of bakers and chefs.

My grandma would never sit down and eat with the rest of us because she was always serving at every meal. She had a china cabinet full of homemade caramels, turtles, pralines, and chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, plus plates of buckeye peanut butter balls and other treats scattered all over her house. My mother was an amazing cook too. People don’t believe me when I tell them, but throughout my whole childhood I never saw Mom make the same meal twice, unless it was to improve on a dish she wasn’t satisfied with.

I started baking at age four or five, and my favorite things to make were mostly desserts. Every Sunday from the age of eight I would make a cake or try a new recipe for brownies, cake pops, truffles, or some other sweet. In college I was known for my s’mores brownies, and my former roommates still ask about them.

For Thanksgiving 2021, a group of my friends agreed to meet at a cabin in Heber and bring something homemade to share. I decided to try a recipe for dense apple spice cake that looked and sounded delicious. The kitchen at the cabin was way too small, and we were missing a lot of tools, but the recipe still worked. In fact, it’s one of the few recipes that I will go back and make again and again. It’s not only delicious and satisfying, but it’s one of those desserts that makes people go “Oh, wow!” when you unveil it.

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APPLE SPICE CAKE

(from thefirstyearblog.com)

INGREDIENTS

Apple Spice Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ stick butter, room temperature (¼ cup)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature (1 cup)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste, or extract from vanilla bean pods
  • 5-7 cups powdered sugar

Caramel Drizzle

  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp water

INSTRUCTIONS

Caramel Drizzle

(Be sure to prepare your caramel drizzle sauce in advance because it needs to cool before adding it to the cake.)

  1. Combine cream, butter, and salt in a medium pan, and warm over low heat until salt crystals are dissolved. When crystals are completely gone, remove from heat, add vanilla, and set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium-large pot over medium-high heat. Swirl occasionally until liquid reaches a golden color.
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream mixture until smooth. Then remove from heat. At first, mixture will seem thin, but it will thicken as it cools.

Apple Spice Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Using butter, grease the bottom and sides of a 6-inch round cake pan or springform pan and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. In order to ensure even baking, place a bake even strip around the pan. (If you don't have a bake even strip, then you can make your own by cutting a towel or shirt to fit the size of your pan. Get the fabric really wet, then squeeze out the dripping water. While the fabric is wet but no longer dripping, wrap it around the pan and secure it with a safety pin.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Stir until well mixed.
  4. In a larger bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat using an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute.
  5. Add in the egg and beat again with mixer. Add in the applesauce and mix by hand with a spatula. Gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing by hand until it’s incorporated.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, then use a spatula to spread it evenly.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack, then remove the parchment paper. If you need to level the top of your cake, do so now using either a cake lever or knife. When the cake is completely cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. This cake is good for up to one week like this.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  1. While cake is cooling, combine the butter and vegetable shortening in a large bowl. Beat using an electric mixer for 2 minutes until fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla paste, then beat using electric mixer.
  3. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1-2 cups at a time, mixing by hand first, then with the electric mixer. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting tastes good to you.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE APPLE SPICE CAKE

  1. First, spread a small amount of buttercream on a 6-inch round cardboard cake circle. Then place your first layer of cake on top of the cardboard. Put buttercream on top of the first layer and spread it as even as possible with an offset spatula. (I use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of frosting between each layer, but you can decide how much frosting you want.)
  2. Second, repeat this process for each layer of cake. Once all of the layers are stacked and frosted, spread some frosting on the top of the cake.
  3. Third, go back and fill in any gaps between the cake layers with more frosting. The frosting between the layers does not need to look perfect, so don't overstress. Use a small offset spatula to get the frosting in between the layers and to spread it around the cake. Don’t completely cover the cake layers because they are supposed to still be visible.
  4. Place the entire cake in the freezer or fridge for 20 minutes in order to harden the buttercream.
  5. Once the caramel sauce is cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the caramel around the center and sides of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
  6. Finally, add cinnamon sticks or another garnish to the top of the cake for decoration.
  7. At last, you're ready to serve and enjoy.

January 11, 2023

Guasacaca

By

by Mosiah Guerrero

Production Chef

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Growing up, I loved to watch my mother cook. She came from a generation who believed that cooking was only for women, so she was a little annoyed to have her youngest son following her around the kitchen all the time, getting in the way. She would tell me to go play outside, but all I wanted to do was be in the kitchen with her, watching and learning.

Whenever Mom left the house, I took it as an opportunity to practice cooking. The dish I always tried was arroz con leche, a kind of rice pudding that we make in Venezuela with condensed milk. Unfortunately, I burned the pot EVERY TIME. When my mom came home and found another mess and another burned pot, she would run around the house looking for me. I was forbidden from cooking anymore, but that didn’t stop me. Even when she got frustrated and stopped buying condensed milk, I just figured out how to make condensed milk on my own.

It never occurred to me that cooking could be a career. After high school, I took a job as a dishwasher at Faustina Restaurant in Salt Lake City, but I figured I’d only be there briefly until I figured out what I wanted to do. Soon I became bored of the dishwasher routine and started watching what was going on in the kitchen. The head chef of the restaurant, Billy Sotelo, noticed my interest and asked if I wanted to start working the salad/appetizer station. After a week and a half of that, Chef Sotelo moved me up to the grill station where I finally got to dip my fingers into a whole new side of the kitchen.

Shortly after, the restaurant changed their menu. Chef Sotelo asked for input from all the employees, but he wanted us to make the recipes our own. I quickly thought of guasacaca, a Venezuelan version of guacamole. It’s amazing for empanadas, marinating chicken, fried mozzarella sticks, and hundreds of other uses. I experimented with the recipe until I had it mastered. The chef loved the sauce, but he didn’t love the name: Guasacaca sounds like…something you wouldn’t eat. He called it “Mosiah Sauce” and added it to the menu. It has been a hit with the customers ever since.

That was the first time I was truly able to make a recipe my own, and I’m still very proud of it. I am forever grateful that, at such a young age, I have been able to turn a passion into a career. Now that I’m a chef, I can do what I love and continue to create goals to become an even better chef every day. I know my mother never expected her son to spend his career in the kitchen, but at least now she doesn’t have to worry about me burning her pans.

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Mosiah Sauce Guasacaca

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • ½ jalapeno pepper (or use ½ Anaheim pepper for a milder taste)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Adjust salt and lime juice to taste. Enjoy!

December 20, 2022

Christmas Bagels

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With all the chocolates, sugar cookies, gingerbread, fudge, candy canes, and other sweets that bombard us around Christmas, wouldn’t it be great to have a more satisfying treat on hand? Something both festive and filling? Something like…Christmas bagels?

I like to make these Noel nibbles every December to celebrate the season while taking a break from all the sugary sweets. Not only are these Christmas bagels delicious and visually stunning, but they’re also a great excuse to recruit a loved one to help you in the kitchen. Your kids can form great memories of rolling the colorful dough and shaping the bagels while you talk and laugh together. What better way to celebrate the holidays?

Christmas Bagels

(makes 1 dozen bagels)

Ingredients for Sponge

  • 10 oz bread flour
  • 10 oz warm water
  • 0.03 oz yeast
  • 5 g malt powder

Instructions for Sponge

  1. The night before you plan to make the bagels, make your sponge by mixing all four ingredients together for four minutes. Scrape bowl and mix for two more minutes.
  2. Place sponge in a container, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1.5 hours.

Ingredients for Dough

  • 23.5 oz bread flour
  • 9 oz warm water
  • 0.15 oz instant yeast
  • 0.8 oz salt
  • 0.3 oz malt powder
  • green and red food coloring
  • 1 oz molasses

    Instructions for Dough

    1. Place the proofed sponge into a large mixing bowl and add the water, yeast, salt, and malt powder. Mix.
    2. Divide dough into three equal parts. Add green food coloring to one portion and red to another. Leave the third portion uncolored.
    3. Mix the uncolored dough portion at low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should be slightly firm and a tiny bit sticky. If it’s getting too firm or dry, add a little water. (A softer dough will be much easier to mix and shape into bagels.) Turn speed up to medium and mix dough for 5 more minutes. Repeat this step with the other two portions of dough, one at a time. (If you’re using a mixer, mix the portions in the order of white, green, then red. Otherwise, the colors can get messed up.)
    4. Prepare sheet pans with parchment paper that has been sprayed on both sides.
    5. Working with one portion of dough at a time, scale the dough into 4 oz balls. (If you want to make mini bagels instead of regular size bagels, scale into 2 oz balls.)
    6. On a flat surface, stack the dough balls with one red, one green and one uncolored ball on top of each other. Gently roll the stack on the flat surface until the dough portions combine to form a “snake” approximately 1 inch in diameter. bagel recipe, rolling dough, how to roll bagels, bright colored dough, red, blue, yellow, pride week, dough, bagel making
    7. Shape the rolled dough into bagels by wrapping them around to form a ring. Where the two ends come together, gently roll the seal back and forth until the ends fuse.
    8. Place on prepared baking sheet, spray the bagels with cooking oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Retard dough in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours. (You can also freeze the dough to be used later.)
    9. Remove the bagels from fridge. Dissolve molasses in a pot of boiling water. Boil bagels in the water/molasses mixture. When the dough starts to expand, flip the bagels and boil on the second side. Using chopstick or a slotted spoon, carefully remove the bagels from the boiling water.
    10. Bake bagels at 375°F for 15-20 minutes or until bagels are lightly golden brown. Allow bagels to cool to room temperature and slice clam-shell style.
    Pride week, bagels, bright colors bagel, colored dough, rainbow bagel, rainbow colors, Pride week recipe

    This Christmas bagels recipe can be adapted to other holidays and occasions simply by playing with the color combinations. In the past, I’ve made these bagels for Pride Week every year.

    Happy Holidays, and eat well!

November 17, 2022

The Great Turkey Shortage of 2022

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This year’s massive turkey shortage may leave people scrambling to find their Thanksgiving turkey.

For years, the price of turkeys has been climbing due to inflation and rising costs of labor, fuel, fertilizer, and food for livestock. On top of that, a particularly deadly strain of avian flu hit in 2022, wiping out over 50 million birds across 43 states, including 6 million turkeys. In Utah’s Sanpete County alone, nearly half a million turkeys have died from the disease.

What does that mean for home chefs?

Well, unless you’re willing to pay an arm and a drumstick for your Thanksgiving protein this year, you basically have three alternatives:

1. Buy your turkey now

If you and your family have your hearts set on turkey, then time is of the essence. Already, 2022 turkey prices in the US have nearly doubled over last year, and prices will likely go up even more as Thanksgiving gets closer and supplies dwindle.

2. Look at alternative meats

Maybe this is the year to skip the tom altogether and grace your Thanksgiving table with a totally different kind of meat. Let’s be honest: many of your guests would probably prefer a succulent braised chicken to a traditional turkey. Chicken is still relatively affordable and easier to prepare, especially if you decide to spare yourself the trouble and just buy a rotisserie chicken this year.

Other meats that have been hits at our past Thanksgiving tables include short ribs, ham, and pork roast. If you want to stay true to history, duck, goose, and fish were probably on that first Pilgrim Thanksgiving table. (Passenger pigeon was also on the fare, but orders for passenger pigeon are no longer being filled.) Fish is an especially great choice to replace Thanksgiving turkey. Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh trout because their meat is at its peak flavor as they fatten up for winter.

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3. Go Vegetarian

Finally, there’s always the option of going vegetarian for your Thanksgiving protein…unless you’re afraid of starting a holiday riot.

Quinoa is a good source of protein, and it's versatile enough to be used in appetizers, salads, entrées, or desserts. Alternatively, you can drive all thoughts of turkey out of your guests’ minds as they dig into a Vegetarian Lasagna Bolognese or a hearty Mac and Cheese.

If you’ve ever longed to replace your Thanksgiving turkey with something more tasty (and less stressful to prepare), this year’s turkey shortage may be just the excuse you need!

Happy holidays from us all at Culinary Crafts. Eat well!

November 10, 2022

Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili

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Every year, around this time, our father makes his famous Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili.

Even though Dad is officially retired, he can be seen here in the kitchen practically every day making lunches for the team, helping out in a crunch, or sharing the awesome culinary expertise he gained over decades of catering. His Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili is a favorite with the team here at Culinary Crafts: seriously, it is sooo good! It’s like a spicy, warm, welcoming Thanksgiving hug.

One of the key ingredients in Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili—and in a lot of the other delicious, picante dishes Dad makes—is the combination of seasonings we refer to simply as “Ron’s Spice.” When you mix up a batch of the spice (see recipe below), we recommend making plenty of extra to keep on hand. It’s perfect for kicking up the flavor profile of fish, steak, chicken…basically any protein. The fire of the cayenne is balanced beautifully by the other sweet and savory spices. You’ll be amazed how many recipes will benefit from a little of Ron’s Spice.

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Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili

(Makes two gallons)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Ron’s Spice Blend (see directions below)
  • 4 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 large purple onion, diced
  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 chipotles, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 (15 oz) cans pumpkin
  • 4 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups sour cream
Instructions:
  1. Dry brine the chicken tenders by rubbing them in ½ cup of Ron’s Spice and letting them rest for 1-2 hours.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the chicken tenders over medium-high heat. Once browned, remove chicken from pot and dice into bite-size pieces.
  3. Deglaze the pot with a few Tbsp of water or white wine. Add butter and onion to soak up all the flavor from the browned remains (the “fond”) left over in the pot. Add another ½ cup of Ron’s Spice and the diced chipotles. Let it all bloom together until chipotles are tender.
  4. Add garlic and let it brown for 60 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, pumpkin, black beans, chicken stock, and browned chicken. Bring to simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat. Add 4 cups sour cream.

Ron’s Spice Blend

(Makes 2.5 cups)

Mix together:

  • 8 Tbsp salt (kosher or any other kind without iodine or other chemical additives)
  • 4 Tbsp white pepper
  • 4 Tbsp black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp oregano
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 4 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne

Pro Tips: Any kind of salt will work so long as it has no iodine or other added chemicals. Also, feel free to kick up the heat level with as much cayenne as you and your guests can handle!

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