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September 14, 2020

September Recipe of the Month: Our favorite Salad Dressing

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This vinaigrette is a staple in the Culinary Crafts kitchen, as well as the home kitchens of many on our team. This dressing is simple and easy to make, and works wonderfully with so many different salads - especially those highlighting the fruits during Utah's harvest season. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Vanilla Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or substitute Slide Ridge Honey vinegar, or lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (homemade extract is highly preferred and if you have whole vanilla beans, the seeds can be used instead or in addition to extract here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional fresh ground pepper to taste
  • optional 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Directions

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, vanilla, and salt. Mix well with an immersion blender or whisk. With your immersion blender running (or while whisking vigorously), slowly add the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Add pepper to taste if desired. Mayonnaise is an optional ingredient and will help the dressing stay emulsified - especially if you're making a large batch and/or intend to keep the dressing in the fridge for several days. Simply whisk in the mayo prior to blending in the oil. Note the ratios of oil to vinegar to honey are not rigid. If you want a richer, less tangy dressing, bump up the olive oil amount. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, just add more honey. This recipe gives you the basics, but the fun part is playing around and making it fit your liking or application. As a serving suggestion, may we recommend some fabulous fresh greens from Snuck Farm, with fresh or grilled peaches, goat cheese from Drake Family Farms, and toasted walnuts. Eat well!

August 25, 2020

August Recipe of the Month: The perfect summer steak

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It is grilling season! This recipe is for people who love steak, who love to grill, and want to splurge on something truly special. And once you’ve grilled this special treat, make sure the wine and sides are equally indulgent! The perfect summer steak recipe has very few ingredients - it’s really about letting the beef shine. It also has very few steps - just rub, grill, rest, serve. Nonetheless, this recipe requires practice, attention, and finesse. Please read all the extra notes as they serve to clarify the goal and how to reach it.

Ingredients:

Dry-aged (42-63 days is a typical crowd favorite) Prime or Wagyu Ribeye Steaks, min 20 oz* Fresh minced garlic Chocolate, Chili, Cayenne, and Cardamom dry rub** Extra virgin olive oil Large flake sea salt  

Instructions:

Approximately 8-12 hours prior to service, rub all sides of the steak with a healthy amount of minced garlic. Loosely cover and keep in the cooler until ready for firing and service.

When the service time approaches, lightly pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Rub all sides of the steak with a healthy amount of the dry rub.

Cook the steaks to your desired temperature***. Allow to rest. Carve into slices. Lightly top with extra virgin olive oil and flake sea salt. Serve and enjoy!  

*Notes on the steak selection. Dry-aged is best. However, if you cannot acquire dry-aged steaks, this recipe can be done with wet-aged beef. In which case, I recommend dry brining the steaks as an advance step.

Simply pack the steaks well with extra coarse salt on all sides and leave uncovered in the cooler. After 2-3 hours, return, drain, rinse well, pat dry, and continue with the recipe. This will remove some of the excess water from the steak, enriching the beef flavor and preparing it for a better sear and more even cook.

**Notes on the dry rub. This dry rub is equal parts brown sugar and dark cocoa powder, with cardamom, cayenne, and fresh ground black pepper as desired. Note there is deliberately no salt. You can use any steak rub you prefer, but look for one with very little or no salt. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. When ready to use, prep your steak (read here on our tips for preparing steak) apply to steak and grill. You can also see more tips on grilling from our grill master Ryan Crafts here. In general, I avoid introducing salt to the dry-aged steak until a finishing salt is used immediately prior to service. This will maintain an ideal texture, allow the rich dry-aged beef flavors to take center stage, and unique salts can also be selected for a precise pairing. For the perfect summer steak remember, when using salt as a finishing accouterment, you’re not looking for salty meat. Rather, you want seemingly competing peaks and valleys in the waves of the beef and salt flavor.

***Notes on cooking the tomahawks. The steak can be wonderfully cooked using various methods and techniques. Most important for a successful outcome worthy of this deserving cut, is to start with a clear understanding of the goal and the challenges this cut poses to the goal.

When grilling large steaks, I always completely separate the processes of searing and cooking. I treat these individually as very distinct elements. When searing, you want a very very high heat (practically as high as you can achieve), preferably from a nice hardwood fire. The goal is to create a wonderfully browned crust as quickly and directly as possible so as not to overcook the inside of the steak. When cooking, you want a nice low heat to gently cook while you slowly approach the target temperature.

The order of the searing and cooking can be interchanged. Sometimes we will cook the steak sous vide first, then sear them on an extremely high temp grill. Sometimes we will sear the raw steaks over a roaring fire, and then move them to a low temp zone to finish. Sometimes we’ll start with the steaks on the highest grate over our Santa Maria grill, and once their nicely warmed, drop them straight into the hot coals for a reverse sear (guests love to see searing right in the coals, btw!).

Again, the method and the order of the steps can be manipulated. Most important is to sear and cook separately, so you end up with a very rich sear and crust while still being a medium-rare-plus edge to edge.   Savor and enjoy these last days of summer with the perfect summer steak! Eat well

August 19, 2020

Tips on how to stay safe and still host events: Culinary Crafts safety measures

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2020 has been a rollercoaster for all of us. As the community begins to recover, the hospitality industry hopes to begin to start celebrating again. Our primary responsibility as we begin to host events again is to ensure the safety of our team and your guests. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and still host events to help you stay safe and make your guests comfortable so they can join the festivities.

Choose a venue that has an outdoor space:

Many of your guests will feel more comfortable if they are able to be outside with fresh air. If your space doesn't have an outdoor option or weather doesn't permit an outdoor reception, consider investing in some air purifiers. Consult your venue and vendors as many may already have these for you to rent and use.

Have help to enforce social distancing:

One of the best tips on how to stay safe and still host events we recommend hiring a Social Coordinator. Many of our event planners and day of coordinators are perfect to help with this. This professional will be able to assist all guests in reminding them to social distance and throughout the event prevent congregating. They can also oversee all other protocols are being followed by supporting staff and vendors. Here are some of our recommendations for professionals to ask.

Proper signage:

Have signage to designate distancing, social procedures, and directions. This is a piece of events that often gets overlooked but signage can be a great place to create something fun for your event, from floor stickers to lawn signs, there are so many options on how to embrace this new social norm and make it beautiful!


Masks: 

This is another opportunity to embrace this new normal. Custom masks are the new thing! Add your logo or monogram. Make them something special people will keep and reuse. Also, this is a great place for signage reminding people to be kind and mask up.  

Washing and Sanitation Stations: 

Help your guests stay healthy by setting up sanitation stations to clean their hands. These ones are for rent from our friends Utah Live Bands.


Wellness check for your guests:

have a check-in station for your guests. Where they are reminded of the health concerns and have their temperatures taken. This is a great place to hand out masks and have some great signage or sanitation station.


Consider hosting micro-parties!

Forget the 300 person event host small events by department or family! You can create an incredible experience for a smaller group and reuse rentals and florals and decor for each seating.


Use Eventbrite to create tickets for specific times to have guests join the party!

This can also be a great place to have your guests sign a contract to agree to abide by health guidelines and not join if feeling ill. You can also include a Contact Tracing form for your guests to download. Such as this one.


Have an arrival plan.

Guests tend to mingle at any entrance. Speak with your planner or social coordinator about an arrival plan. How to funnel people in safely and get them checked in. This can even go as far as staggering start times for groups of guests. If you are transporting your guests on buses or vans ask your transportation company to stagger the leaving and arrival of vans and buses to allow time for everyone to maintain proper distancing.


Use vendors that will be supportive in keeping everyone healthy.

Salt Lake Chamber started the program Stay Safe, Stay Open , statewide campaign to meet the critical imperatives of helping Utah address the health-related objectives to prevent and recover from the coronavirus while at the same time assisting the business community in an effort to appropriately strengthen our state’s economy. Businesses participating in this campaign are clearly identified their participation by colorful signage displayed in their windows and throughout their establishments, demonstrating that they have taken a pledge to follow the state’s guidelines. You can also find a list of these companies on their website. 


Your vendors: It takes a team to put together a great event. make sure your vendors on their teams are being safe.

    • Ensure they are strictly observing all state guidelines and protocols from the Governor’s Office as well as the local health department.
    • Ask all vendors and their teams to complete a wellness check prior to arriving at your venue. It should include logging their temperatures and filling out a basic health questionnaire.
    • Confirm that teams will strictly adhere to all health department guidelines for frequent hand washing and proper glove use.
    • Request to see their contact tracing protocol for their team.
    • Assign one of your vendors to be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing high-frequency touch surfaces (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.) every 30 minutes during use. Your caterers are usually the largest team onsite and should be equipped to do this. They probably already have this on their radar but confirm with them.
    • Explore a variety of service styles. Many can be implemented to service the unique needs of your event while maintaining health and safety for all in attendance.
Thanks for reading these tips on how to stay safe and still host events. Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!
Eat well!

July 30, 2020

8 tips on how to make your next event more LGBTQ+ inclusive

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When people think of the state of Utah, they often think of our world-famous snow or our iconic arches and red rocks. One of the highlights of Utah that often gets overlooked is our LGBTQ+ inclusivity!  Salt Lake City, is one of the most densely LGBTQ+ populated cities in the country, identified by Gallup as the 7th “gayest city in America.” Per capita, we are “gayer” than both Manhattan and Los Angeles. The Boston Globe calls Salt Lake City “America’s super gay, super cool hipster haven.”

At Culinary Crafts, language precision is something we take great pride in. The acknowledgment that words have poignant power to distract or enhance our guest's experience drives us to constantly be learning how to include and dial in our language use. In this vein, we worked with Equality Utah, who has been working for two decades to shatter stereotypes and foster dynamic change in the Beehive State, to create an inclusive language for events. Check out what we learned!

8 tips for making your events more LGBTQ+ friendly with inclusive language:

  1. Offer LGBTQ+ inclusivity training to your team in advance of any events. Seek guidance from local LGBTQ+ organizations or consult with the LGBTQ+ community to ensure you are centering on those most impacted. This will help ensure you are offering accurate information.
  2. Confer with your vendors in advance of the event to make sure their frontline employees have been trained to use inclusive language. If not, you can offer a quick training onsite the day of your event. However, this is better done in advance, so you don't miss anything.
  3. As the host, be cognizant of common gender-biased words when speaking to groups.  So many of these are unwittingly included in our everyday language. Some great gender-neutral examples of greeting a group of people could be "folks" instead of "guys" or "everyone" instead of "ladies and gentlemen" or as it is Utah, an appropriately timed "ya'll" is always welcome!
  4. Where possible — collect legal & preferred names. Give your guests an opportunity to self-identify and use that name wherever possible.
  5. Where possible, use gender-neutral signs. One of the prime examples of this is bathrooms. Instead of "men's" and "women's" indicate what can be found in each restroom (e.g., a toilet, a urinal, a changing station).
  6. Offer places for your guests to self-identify their gender pronouns.  Name tags are a great way to include this in your event. This will help ensure your guests are not misgendered and signal to transgender people that they are in a safe place.
  7. Update your event pages and other listings to indicate you are LGBTQ+friendly. (Yelp even has a badge for this.)
  8. Seek continued guidance from the LGBTQ+ community through trusted organizational partners. Also, get feedback from your LGBTQ+ members or other allies on how to make everyone feel included and loved.

Another resource to make your events more inclusive is Equality Utah. Recently, they launched a new Business Equality Leader certification program to offer Utah’s growing corporate sector the tools and training needed to create inclusive corporate cultures. They provide interactive diversity and inclusion training, which builds bridges between shared values. They also certify companies so you can make a public statement of support for an inclusive workplace and events.

With inequality and discrimination in the LGBTQ+ community being such a daunting problem, it can be discouraging not knowing how you can help and support. Including these tips above is a great start! You can also take the lead by thoughtfully and courageously engaging in equality efforts such as:

  • Become an ally through Equality Utah and other LGBTQ+ foundations.
  • Educate yourself about LGBTQ+ lives and uplift those who have been pushed to the margins of our culture.
  • You can always join Equality Utah's celebratory events.
Here are a few photos from their most recent gala we were honored to be a part of at the stunning Eccles Theater!

 We are proud to partner in this work with Equality Utah and the LGBTQ+ community. Together, we are working to ensure that every American can be included and celebrated in our state and country. While ignorance and fear still divides communities. we choose to approach each other with open hearts and a listening ear, we can begin to find solutions together.

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

June 30, 2020

June Recipe of the Month: Mixed berry cobbler

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This patriotic colored recipe is always a slam dunk during the Utah summer months. This works wonderfully in your kitchen in a cast-iron skillet, or at your campsite in a Dutch oven. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Fruit Filling

  • approximately 2 - 2 1/4 pounds of mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • splash of lemon juice
  • dash of salt

Biscuit Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat your oven, with your 8-10" oven-safe skillet (we prefer cast iron for this recipe) inside, to 400 F.

While the oven is heating, prepare the fruit filling. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss lightly until the sugar is evenly coating all the berries. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, prepare the biscuit topping. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or a fork, or your fingertips), cut in the butter until the mix is coarse and mealy. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir gently, just until combined. Take care not to over mix.

Remove hot skillet from the oven. Add the berry mixture. Stir gently. Using a spoon or a portion scoop, drop 1-2" round pieces of the biscuit dough onto the fruit, spacing them as evenly as possible.

Transfer the skillet back to the oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown and baked through (a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean) - approximately 30 minutes (perhaps slightly more or less depending on the heat flow in your oven).

When finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm, topped with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.  

Variations

Consider adding baking spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, etc.) to the fruit filling.

Consider playing with different fruits. Peaches of course work wonderfully. Cherries too.

For an even more buttery biscuit, brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter after scooping and just before placing in the oven.

For an extra crunch, sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with turbinado sugar after scooping and just before placing in the oven.

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20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

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