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March 14, 2019

March Recipe of the Month: World’s Best Mashed Potatoes

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We love potatoes of all varieties, in all styles, all year round. But especially on St. Patricks Day, as part of an Irish themed menu, we love some fish and chips or stout braised beef with mashed potatoes. This is one of our favorite recipes.   And in case you're worried it's a misprint, yes, the amount of butter is correct. Just trust us on this one!   Ingredients   -3 pounds of yellow potatoes (Yukon Golds are perfect) -1 1/4 pounds of butter, cubed -1/4 cup of heavy cream -kosher salt Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and allow to cool. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the peel. Puree the potatoes with a food mill / ricer into a large sauté or sauce pan.   Heat the puree over a medium heat, turning frequently with a rubber spatula. Watch for the potatoes to release moisture as steam and continue stirring until they take on a drier, fluffier consistency (about 3 minutes). Reduce heat to low.   Add butter 1/4 pound at a time, stirring until completely melted, smooth, and creamy before adding more. After all butter is incorporated, whisk in the cream. Salt to taste. Plate and serve immediately.   Enjoy!

March 8, 2019

Host an Olive Oil Tasting!

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Of course we never tire of hosting wine, cheese, charcuterie, whiskey, and chocolate tastings. Less common, but just as fun, we also love to sample a line up up fabulous olive oils.  It's a super fun experience to kick off a dinner party!  Moreover, slowing down to sample different high end oils will also improve your larger cooking experience as you find your favorite oils and use them in all your dishes.   What you'll need:
  • Extra virgin olive oils. Start with 3-6 oils. Pick premium selections. And look to achieve as much variety as possible - oils of varying itensity, of different colors, and from multiple locales.
  • Wine Glasses.
  • Small Plates.
  • Bread. Something with a great crust. Simple breads sans any flavors or accoutrements (the bread is simply to deliver the oil, not compete or contrast with it).
  • Palate Cleanser(s). We suggest fresh fruit (apples, oranges, berries, etc.) and sparkling water.
Photo Credit: Olive Oil Source
  1. First, pour about a tablespoon of the first olive oil into your wineglass.
  2. Swirl the olive oil in the glass.  Cup the glass in one of your hands and cover the top of the glass with the other.  Swirl gently to release aromas.  The warmth from your hands with help the aromas release as well.
  3. Uncover the glass and smell the oil deeply.  Take mental notes of what you smell.  Is it peppery? Fruity?  Buttery?
  4. Next, take a sip of the oil almost in a 'soup-slurping' fashion.  Allow the oil to run across the palate. Breathe in through your nose. Try to smell the oil again before swallowing.
  5. As you exhale, swallow the oil and concentrate on the flavor.  Think about some general categories such as fruitiness, pungency, bitterness, earthiness, pepperyness, etc.  Write down your observations and then compare them with your fellow tasters!  You can also re-taste the oil by pouring it on a small plate and dipping the bread in the oil and seeing how that affects the taste.
  6. When you are ready to move on to the next oil, cleanse your palate with plain bread, a slice of apple, and/or sparkling water.
  7. Repeat the process for the oils.
Taking notes helps. Putting your impressions into words and discussing them with others will help them take form and become more specific. It also helps to recall your thoughts later on when shopping for oils for unique purposes. Below is a great card that's fun to give each guest to help them take notes.Eat well!

February 25, 2019

The artisan chocolate capital of America is . . . Utah? Local Partner Feature: Amano Chocolate

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Believe it. Although the East and West coasts are well known and boast some wonderful chocolate, the most highly awarded and innovative chocolate is most abundant here in the mountains! One of our favorite local chocolate makers is Amano, located in Orem, UtahImage result for amano chocolate Having been at the forefront of the revolution celebrating single-origin chocolates, Amano is perhaps Utah's best and most recognized chocolate. Art Pollard is the founder, owner, and chocolatemaker. Amano’s initial splash of awards and recognition raised a lot of eyebrows. How was a relatively unknown Utah chocolate maker coming from nowhere to rival the top European brands? Over the next decade though, Amano continued to bring home top American and International awards and accolades. Now, they are widely considered one of the world's very best. Art has traveled the world searching for the best cocoa beans with unique and exciting flavor profiles. Amano cuts no corners. They process with vintage equipment, often taking 2 months or more to produce a chocolate bar after receipt of the cocoa. When tasted, the chocolate is replete with surprises and pleasures. Often you’ll swear there are other elements added to the recipe - fruit, nuts, booze, citrus, flowers, spices, and more. However the dark bars usually only have four ingredients (cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla). This array of flavors comes from the bean selection. When tasted, Art’s commitment to producing the best chocolate by starting with the best beans is clear   We love using Amano in countless dishes. From our flourless chocolate black satin fudge cake, to our chocolate pot de creme, to our signature dark chocolate gelato.  It’s even one of the ingredients in Ryan’s chili recipe. Despite the wide application of the chocolate in larger recipes, perhaps the best way to enjoy and appreciate Amano chocolate is straight from the package. Indeed, one of of our favorite ways to conclude an elaborate and indulgent meal is to enjoy a little cheese sampling, followed by an artisan chocolate tasting. Pro tips when tasting dark artisan chocolates like Amano (or some of our other local favorites - Ritual, Milcreek, Solstice, Durci, Chocolate Conspiracy, Taste, Cocoa Bean Project):
  • Cleanse the palate. Many flavors of good dark chocolate are subtle and will be lost or ruined when tasted against lingering flavors from a meal. Apples, citrus, and other light fruits can work well. Sparkling water is an excellent option. Fruit and sparkling water together are ideal. Cleanse before each new chocolate. Yes, this may mean your cleansing the palate multiple times if tasting multiple chocolates.
  • Smell the chocolate. Smell again. Break a piece apart and smell the freshly exposed surface once more. This will prime your palate for the upcoming tasting. And it will zero in on the most subtle flavors that may be overpowered by others when tasted.
  • Don’t taste cold chocolate. The bar should be at room temperature when you start. And it’s recommended to warm the chocolate in your fingers for a few moments before introducing to the mouth. Warming up the chocolate will help the flavors release and be perceived as you taste.
  • Don’t rush. Although chewing 1-3 times can help accelerate things, this is the upper limit. Wait for the chocolate to melt. Massage the chocolate between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Breathe in through your nose. Try to smell the chocolate while your tasting it. Slow down and focus on the flavors - especially how they change from start to middle to finish.
  • Use a proper sample size. Too large, and you’ll be tempted to chew too much. Too small and you’ll miss flavors before it’s melted away. 5 - 15 grams is good window to target.
Enjoy!

February 13, 2019

Ryan’s Valentine’s Day Menu

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Ryan is at it again, making a special night for his stunning wife. Perhaps this will offer some inspiration for your meal.  Apertif & Appetizer
14 Day Rose & Cherry Infused Valentine 75 Rose & Cherry cupcake Amuse
American Ossetra caviar, french toast, creme fraiche, and buttermilk syrup Soup
wild mushroom bisque with black garlic crouton and mascarpone Entree
tuna, gooseberries, and shaved foie gras Entree
chili pepper fried chicken with radish, kumquat and ginger salad Salad
winter squash and citrus salad with shaved fennel, local greens, and sorrel rhubarb dressing Intermezzo
pomegranate, grapefruit, and herb granita Dessert
olive oil cake with poached pear, zabaglione, and warm granola Cheese and Honey
local raw unfiltered honey and artisan cheese selections Chocolate
flourless chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache, and chocolate cookie crumble, finished with edible gold flake Wishing you a romantic and delicious Valentine's Day!

February 1, 2019

February Recipe of the Month: 14 day infused Valentine Cocktails

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It's an amazing time for mixologists! The renaissance of the cocktail is in full force. The movement is replete with exciting flavors and experiences. There's a demand to return to the classics of a simpler time, while simultaneously blazing new and creative trails. There's a push to experiment and invent entirely new concoctions. There's a drive to simply repair the time-honored recipes that were bastardized during the cocktail apostasy of past decades. Non-imbibers who are tired of the mainstream soft drinks clamor for a more nuanced alcohol-free glass. Much like a good cocktail itself, the movement is layered and complex with elements playing both complementary and contrasting roles.

To be clear, this cocktail resurgence does not refer to $5 cocktails during the happy hour of the nearest college bar. I'm talking about the $12-20 / glass cocktail mixed with hand-selected ingredients by tenured artisans who are dedicated to their craft. These quality craft cocktails are meant to be sipped slow, with pleasure and reverence.

For special occasions, I love to plan and prepare a special cocktail in advance. This twist on a classic can be made with or without alcohol and is perfect for a romantic celebration on Valentine's Day. The 14 day infusion is not only a nod to the date of the holiday. It's also nod to the extra effort that the best relationships require. The time commitment truly does elevate the final cocktail in way that mixing a la minute cannot achieve. To love!

-Ryan Crafts

Valentine 75 Cocktail

Ingredients:

750 ml Gin (Alpine, Beehive, Hammer Spring, Madam Pattirini, and Ooma are some of our local favorites)
-18 Bing cherries
-petals from organic 6-8 roses (depending on size of blossom)
-2-3 whole lemons (depending on size), sliced
-sparkling rosé wine, well chilled (Schramsberg Brut Rosé is one of our favorites or, for a real indulgence, try the Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé)
-additional fresh rose petals to garnish
-raw / turbinado sugar cubes (optional - *see below)
14 Day Infusion

Add the cherries, rose petals, and lemon slices to the gin in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred). Set aside in dark room, at room temperature, for 14 days.
After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the gin with a fine mesh sieve.

Mix and Serve

Add 1 part infused gin (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) to a champagne flute and top with 2 parts of the chilled sparkling wine (typically 3-4 ounces). Garnish with fresh rose petals and/or lemon peel.

Enjoy!

*Note, we find the infusion of the cherries makes the gin sweet enough that no additional sugar is necessary in the final cocktail. However, this is easily adjust to your unique preferences and tastes. Simply drop a small sugar cube in the glass before the the gin for extra sweetness.

Non-alcoholic Valentine 75

Ingredients:
-2 cups cherry syrup**
-juice of 4 limes (save the rinds of the juiced limes)
~-½ cup of fresh mint leaves
-1 Tbsp rose water
-1 Tbsp orange blossom water
-soda water
-additional fresh rose petals
-half & half (optional)

14 Day Infusion

Mix the syrup, lime juice, rose water, and orange water in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred). Crush / muddle the mint leaves with the lime rinds and add to the syrup mixture. Set aside in your refrigerator to marry and infuse for 14 days.

After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the mixture with a fine mesh sieve.

 
Mix and Serve

  Fill soda glasses with ice. Add 1 part infused syrup (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) and top with 3 parts of the soda water (typically 4 to 6 ounces). Stir gently. For a cream soda, if desired, top with ~1 ounce of half & half.

  Garnish with fresh rose petals, cherries (Bing or Luxardo are much preferred to maraschino), and/or lime wheels.

Enjoy!


**There are a variety of options for the syrup that will all work well with this recipe. Various Italian style flavored syrups are available commercially and work great. You can even make your own syrup by simmering crushed fruit, fruit juice, and simple syrup, and reducing until desired strength consistency is reached.

19x winner Utah’s Best of State

15x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year