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An Aspen Meadows EXCLUSIVE!

By | Sharing the Love -Vendor and Client Relationships, Vendor Love!, Vendor Spotlight, Venues We Love

Have you heard the news? Culinary Crafts is honored to now be the EXCLUSIVE caterer at Aspen Meadows, a beautiful venue in the mountains of Utah that is perfect for the destination bride.

To celebrate we thought we would give you a taste of a wedding we had at Aspen Meadows a little over a year ago that also happens to be of one of our favorite couples, Charly and Carley!

Photos by Carla Boecklin Photography.

P.S. Charly recently wrote a book! It’s an entertaining conversation activity book for couples, which is now available on Kickstarter for only the next two weeks! The book, called Very Engaging, makes for a perfect engagement, wedding, or anniversary gift, or just a fabulous date night with your partner! You can pre-order a copy today by simply clicking here. Congrats to this wonderful couple!

Friday Instagram of the Week

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Instagram of the Week, Sharing the Love -Vendor and Client Relationships, Venues We Love, Wedding Trends

Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from Sage and Thistle Rentals who we worked with on this AMAZING inspiration shoot we did with Utah Valley Bride magazine!  This Cheese Wheel cake is still one of our favorite alternative cakes, hands down!  Thanks for sharing, Sage and Thistle Rentals – and remember, for your chance to be next week’s pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your posts, then check back to see who gets chosen next!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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

Step-by-Step with Mary Crafts: Mom’s Perfect Pie Crust

By | Ask Mary, Food, How To, Recipes, Tips

Pie is the truly iconic American dessert, but very few people know how to do it well. The novice baker may spend most of their time perfecting the pie filling and spend little time and attention on the crust. However, a true pie maker and connoisseur knows the greatest pie joys lie within a well-made crust. Remember, there is no such thing as a good frozen pie crust from the grocers freezer. But, practice makes perfect and soon you can become an excellent pie maker!

For a single pie crust (for 8 or 9 inch pie) you will need the following:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp lard* (room temperature)
2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup ice water (approximately)

Click here for a printable version.

*IN PRAISE OF LARD: No other fat can compare to real lard in a pie crust. If you need to substitute Crisco for the lard, don’t add the butter, just use straight Crisco. The crust will still be flaky but without the buttery flavor.

If you plan on making a two crust pie (crust on top and on bottom) simply double the above recipe. Or, if you’d prefer, my mother always made a “French Apple” pie which replaces the top crust with a crumb mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter mixed until crumbly. Increase baking time 10 minutes.

Okay, let’s get started!

Blend the lard and butter together to create the perfect fat. Chill until cold (you’ll want to chill your butter and lard mixture between every step. Your flaky and delicious crust depends on your fats staying cold.)

Cut the lard/butter mixture into small pieces. In mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.

Using your fingers, pastry blender, or two knives, work quickly to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small grains of rice. You can use a food processor but you have to be super careful to not over mix. Chill until cold.

Once your mixture is cold, sprinkle the cold (ice cold) water over the flour mixture, one tablespoon at at time, and lightly toss with a fork after each addition. The dough should come together as dough but it should NOT be wet. Just make sure there isn’t any loose flour at the bottom of your bowl. Do not over mix.

Form the dough into a flat disc (if you’ve doubled the recipe for a two crust pie, split the dough in half and make two flat discs). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling.

Flour your surface. I like to use a pastry cloth for my floured surfaces, this decreases the amount of flour needed to ensure my dough doesn’t stick. Roll dough into a circle approximately 2 inches larger than your pie plate. Crust should be approximately 1/8 inch thick.


Place the upside down pie pan in the center of the dough. Cut out the circle with a knife or pizza wheel to be an inch larger around the pan. (If you’ve made a second crust, repeat this process and set your rolled and sized dough aside.)

Fold circle into fourths and place in pie pan, unfold to cover pan.  Lightly press crust into pan. Fold excess dough under on the rim of the pie plate. Crimp edges with fork or pinch between thumb and forefinger to form an edge that is higher then the plate to catch any juices that begin to bubble. Chill until cold.

Your crust is now ready for filling and either a double crust or crumb topping. Fill your cold crust with you filling and top with your choice topping.

If you chose the crumb topping, skip the next two steps. For the double crust pie, you will want to tuck the top crust between the bottom crust and your pie dish. Place some pressure on the two crusts to secure.

After your crust is tucked and secured, pinch or crimp the edges of your crust to seal completely. With a pastry or pairing knife cut a large “S” in the middle of the pie along with a few other slits around the top for steam to escape. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

 

Place pie on the lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking 35 more minutes or until juice is bubbling out of the center vent which indicates the juice has thickened. Five minutes before it is finished baking, brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Tip for a crisp bottom crust: bake on a pie stone and always cool on a rack and not the counter.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, or cheese! For printable instructions, click here. I’ve included the filling recipe for my mom’s prize-winning apple pie!

Love, Mary.

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Instagram of the Week, Parties, The Tasting Room, Venues We Love

Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from our Mary Crafts-Homer who is in the midst of all of the AWESOME Outdoor Retailers events we have going on right now!  While this is a bittersweet year marking the end of this amazing event happening in our fair city, we are so happy to have been able to be a part of this epic convention and truly grateful for our ability to have done so many fun and over-the-top events in conjunction with the retailers who attend!  Thank you for posting, Mary!  And, remember, for your chance to be next week’s pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and check back to see who’s chosen next!  Happy weekend and Happy Outdoor Retailers too!

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

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Featured: Culinary Crafts in the Press, Food, Holiday Parties, Instagram of the Week, Parties

Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from Carla Boecklin who shot this AMAZING feature for Park City Mag!  We love this post because it is simply perfect inspiration for the holiday weekend!  Thank you for sharing, Carla!  And remember, for your chance to be next week’s pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts in your post and check back to see who gets chosen next!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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

A Wedding With A Patriotic Twist!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Featured: Culinary Crafts in the Press, Food, Holiday Parties, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Parties, Venues We Love

You know, all of us here at Culinary Crafts think we get to host some of the most AMAZING weddings!  We especially love events that have a twist on a theme and this one is a favorite for sure.  Plus, it is perfect inspiration for any of the 4th of July events you might be hosting this upcoming weekend.  So, without further ado, let’s get to showcasing this stunning wedding – with a twist of festive, patriotic flair!

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Aspen Meadows is breathtaking, don’t you think?  It was such a lovely place to host this breathtaking wedding!

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We love the subtle hints of Americana and love the couple’s choice to bring a bit of romance and balance to the red, white, and blue palette with pops of pink instead of bright reds.  Such a pretty decor!

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Next, we created drink to fit with the patriotic theme like the Strawberry and Blueberry Mojitos!  We loved that the fruit added a delicious touch – but was a super fun “patriotic” detail as well!

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Isn’t this a pretty site for a cocktail hour?  We love that the tables weren’t competing with the surrounding natural beauty.  Also, using the taller tables encourages people to mix and mingle – which is great idea for any event!

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While the interior had hints of the patriotic palette – and definitely a gorgeously, romantic vibe – the outside was a place that we took the theme over-the-top!  From this fun red, white, and blue teepee (which the kids LOVED) to the patriotic pillows on the luxe white lounge furniture.  It was the perfect way to amp up the theme!

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Of course, we made sure to serve some truly delicious eats.  The couple wanted to keep with a more casual menu with an elegant, upscale feel!  The hors d’oeuvres were definitely a reflection of that.  Yum!!!

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Such a pretty day for a wedding!  We loved putting the dinner buffet just outside the dining area – another great way to tie in the beautiful surroundings!

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We kept the romantic, yet casual, vibe going through dinner – and it was scrumptious!

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To kick off the buffet, we served some gorgeous sides like the Mixed Baby Greens Salad with Feta, Berries, Toasted Almonds, & Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette; Roasted Potatoes with Herb Salsa; and Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Grape Tomatoes Salad.  Light and fresh – perfect for a summer party!

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Next, we get to the main courses!  House Made Corn Bread with a Sprinkle of Paprika, served with Honey Butter; Grilled Chicken with Herb & Chili Rub; and finally our AMAZING Barbecued Short Ribs.  Seriously delicious!

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Another festive touch for this party?  Fire pits which just beckoned the guests to get outside and hang out.  LOVE!

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Of course, since we have fire pits (and it’s a summer party), we just had to have our S’mores Bar complete with Hershey’s Chocolate, Graham Crackers, and Culinary Crafts Signature House Made Marshmallows!  The guests LOVED this fun station!

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And, lastly, the bride and groom chose to have this AMAZING American flag ‘cake pop’ cake for dessert which had to be my FAVORITE detail of the whole day!  It was so fun and so festive – a perfect touch for this patriotic wedding!

We loved this wedding so much and think it has so much to inspire you in planning your parties and BBQs for this holiday weekend (and all of summer parties, really)!  Happy planning, everyone!

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

How to Smoke Cheese the Cool Way

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Food, How To, Tips

When most people think of smoked foods they think of barbecue — brisket, ribs, etc. However, limiting smoky flavors to barbecue is like limiting the use of lemons to lemonade. Can you imagine a world without lox and bagels? We can’t. Smoked salmon, chicken, tofu, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, even ice can be cold smoked!

Hot Smoke v. Cold Smoke
The secret that unlocks the ability to smoke almost anything is cold smoking. Unlike traditional hot smoke, cold smoke does not always intend to cook the food as it’s smoking it. Cold smoke can be used to cure foods that need to be cooked, but it also can simply add a gentle, smoky flavor to the surface of your ingredient.

Cold smoking must keep the food cold during the smoking process. This can be achieved by distance from the heat source and an insulating barrier between the ingredient and the heat, a cold layer for the smoke to pass through before it gets to the food for example, or, by keeping a very, very low heat.

“You want your smoke to be a very thin, grey (almost bluish), wispy kind of smoke.
If your smoke is thick and heavy, the combustion levels
of your fire may be too cold.”
-Ryan Crafts, Grill Master

Options for Cold Smoking
If you don’t have a traditional smoker, and even if you do, you may not know your options as far as cold smoking. Here are a few easy ones:

Smoking Gun
A smoking gun sounds a little suspicious, but it’s actually the simplest, quickest, and cleanest way to smoke foods at home. All you do is insert the tube into a sealed space with your food, put wood chips in your gun, turn it on, and start smokin’. In a matter of minutes you can add that smoky flavor to almost anything.

Here’s one we recommend:

Here’s how we use a similar smoking gun and a glass chamber to flavor a beverage:

Here we’re using them at a Smoke themed station at our YouTube Channel launch party:

Smoking Maze or Cylinder
This would probably be your most versatile option for cold smoking. Simply fill the chamber with sawdust or pellets and light it from one end. All you need is an enclosed, outdoor container. A gas or kettle grill would work just fine! Our favorite is the A-MAZE-N Smoker, it comes in a maze or cylinder form!

Kettle or Gas Grill
When cold smoking in a kettle or gas grill one must utilize space and temperature to create enough heat to smoke, but not enough to cook. For easily melting foods like cheese, you might want to place your food on top of a container filled with ice. Keep the heat very low and off to one side to ensure for the lowest heat possible. Wood chips can be put directly on top of the charcoal or, in a gas grill, the wood chip drawer or box. Here’s a graphic of what that would look like in a charcoal grill:

Infographic from Fix.com

Traditional Smoker
Much like the kettle grill, in order to cold smoke in a traditional smoker you must create a barrier between the heat source and your food. Ice in a tin could work (above), or filling up your drip tray with ice every 20 minutes or so will also do the trick. Many traditional smokers also have attachments for cold smoking, like this one for a Bradley Smoker:Yes, that’s right, you can smoke pretty much anything, and we do!
Have a Happy Forth of July weekend, and this year enjoy smokin’ as well as grillin’ —

Warm wishes,

Ryan and the Culinary Crafts Team