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October 9, 2019

October Recipe of the Month: Autumn Quinoa Salad

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During the Fall months, the opportunity to host family gatherings and parties seem to come in abundance. It can be daunting to come up with recipes that work as seasonal side dishes that will wow your guests and aren't time-consuming to make. This seasonal salad is one of our favorites! It will add a great deal of color and fresh flavor to any meal.

Flavors of the Autumn Quinoa Salad

One of the reasons why the Autumn Quinoa Salad is a favorite is it is full of beautiful seasonal items with different flavors and textures that make for the perfect salad. There are not many seasonal fruits in the Fall. However, using dried versions allows you to design fantastic well-rounded recipes. The tart, sweetness of the dried cherries are a great addition to different seasonal. You can also consider using dried apricots or figs which are both delicious in this recipe. The butternut squash and pumpkin seeds add the epitome of Fall flavors with a natural sweetness everyone can enjoy. Arugula, in contrast, has that wonderful bite that is always a surprise to the pallet. It is one of those hearty greens that are a fantastic addition to any Fall and Winter recipe.

Autumn Quinoa Salad - Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Quinoa - cooked and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups Arugula
  • 1 Cup Butternut squash - roasted and cut into 1" cubes
  • ⅔ Cup Dried Cherries
  • ⅓ Cup Roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • To taste: Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Combine everything in a bowl
  2. Gently toss to mix evenly
  3. Drizzle with vinaigrette
  4. add some fresh minced parsley to the top for a beautiful garnish

Apple Cider Vinaigrette - Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Slide Ridge Honey (Slide Ridge Honey is our favorite local honey. In the Beehive state though honey comes in abundance. So if you have another favorite you can always substitute.)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ Cup Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • To taste: Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Combine everything but the oil in a blender (or in a bowl if you are using an immersion blender)
  2. With the blender running, slowly add the oil until emulsified
  3. Adjust seasonings as needed
  4. Can be kept in your fridge for up to 3 months
  5. Whisk well before serving
Now that you know how simple this recipe is, prepare it for your fall get together! Remember that the vinaigrette can be kept in your fridge for up to 3 months but the Autumn Quinoa Salad is best served the day of. Enjoy!  

September 25, 2019

Charming summer wedding at the River Bottoms Ranch

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There's nothing like being able to help make a picturesque summer wedding possible for Alex and Kim on their special day at the River Bottoms Ranch in Midway, Utah!

The Venue

The River Bottoms Ranch has a newly-built white gambrel barn giving your wedding day experience modern touch. This venue is a great choice any time of the year and seats 200 guests or 300 guests for flowing reception. You can take advantage of River Bottom Ranch's spacious lawn and fields around it during the warmer times of the year by expanding your wedding activities to the outside of the barn.
Your photo opportunities are endless thanks to River Bottom Ranch's views of the surrounding valley, river, and Mount Timpanogos. This means you'll be able to capture every moment of your special day in natural light complete with the elegance of the barn's modern design.

The Menu

 What wedding would be complete without a spectacular spread? Alex and Kim's beautiful vision for their wedding of a hybrid family-style meal combines the formal with family.  Lots of laughing and sharing plates created such a fun environment.
 
This stunning tablescape was breathtaking. Every item from the wine glasses to the floral arrangements were set with attention to detail. The bride and groom aspired to show their guests true hospitality as they designed this beautiful wedding.
   
We began the evening with a family-style charcuterie board. Featuring our favorite Creminelli salamis. Creminelli is a local artisan that is producing some of the finest salamis. This night we featured their Sopressata, Wild Boar and Tartufo. These pair perfectly with Culinary Crafts signature housemade cheeses- black truffle and sea salt, apricot habanero and chocolate chili. These are served with beautiful fruits, tapenades, honeycomb, and olives.
Our housemade artisan breads and lavosh crackers added an exciting piece to this family-style course.
This beautiful communal dinner continued with a plated salad made with Snuck Farms greens, figs, blackberries, goat cheese, candied local pistachios, and Slide Ridge honey cider vinaigrette.
The courses continued with garlic herb cedar plank salmon and grass-fed Utah beef flank steak with housemade chimichurri. The star of the show though was a cherry tomato gnocchi with freshly shaved parmesan.
To end the meal, a summer favorite made an appearance: peach cobbler with housemade honey lavender gelato.
As the party continued and dancing broke out. A cookie bar complete with lemon meltaways, raspberry squares, and oatmeal fudge bars broke out as well. This sweet ending is a fantastic way to send your guests off full and happy.
Of course, no wedding is complete without a cake which was made by Flour and Flourish! The bride and groom loved it!

The Details

The details make the event and Alex and Kim didn't miss a step with the other details of the day! The beautiful touches added to this special day.
Guests got to capture happy memories at the photo booth! The kids had a great time posing in their cute outfits for the day!
Nathan Spenser and his band provided the perfect audio ambiance on the spacious lawn. Later that night, DJ Rob Bennion got everyone moving on the dance floor.
Kim and Alex shared their first dance as newlyweds on the beautiful, wooden dance floor. Isn't her dress to die for?!
Of course, Kim couldn't let Alex go unadorned! Look at these suits and ties!!
Only these florals from Fox and Fern could show up that lining. These sweet and romantic florals were their own statement piece.
Alex and Kim couldn't let the little ones in attendance this evening be left out of the fun! They had their own special buffet, games, and fun all to themselves! Culinary Crafts was honored to be able to assist the bride and groom and their guests have a stress free evening by creating an entertaining space for these kids!
As the night cooled down, the outdoor lights turned on creating a more intimate feeling on the lawn. Stepping outside into the cool, mountain air was a great way to take a break before dancing the rest of the night away!
Of course, no wedding party is complete with a sparkler send-off and getaway car! Thank you to Kim and Alex for choosing Culinary Crafts to be a part of your special day!
Do you have the perfect event in mind that you need to bring to life? Let's discuss your vision! Give us a call at (801) 225-6575!

The Vendors for this event

Bar: Bacchus
Lighting: Moonlight
Planner: Emily Wilson of Wildflower Weddings and Events

September 10, 2019

September Recipe of the Month: Granny Smith Apple Chutney

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A popular Culinary Crafts recipe, Granny Smith Apple Chutney is a great way to treat your guests! It's perfect whether you're hosting a Sunday dinner or a backyard barbecue to celebrate the end of summer. The unique, refreshing flavors of Granny Smith Apple Chutney are sure to be memorable for your friends and family.

What is chutney?

For those unfamiliar with chutney, chutney is originally from India and is a relish created with spices and fruit. Chutneys can include ingredients such as coconut, mangoes, mint, and sesame. Indian cuisine includes the use of chutney with different dishes and may be used as a sauce for meat dishes. The flavors of chutney can be spicy or mild and may be anywhere on the scale of sweet to sour. Chutney adds another memorable dimension to a variety of hot dishes.

How does Culinary Crafts serve Granny Smith Apple Chutney?

Our Granny Smith Apple Chutney pairs particularly well with grilled trout which are from Riverence Farms. Located in Idaho, Riverence Farms does an excellent job raising trout with a tender, medium texture. Their fish has a deep red flesh color that cooks in a few minutes. The sweetness and depth of flavors unique to Granny Smith Apple Chutney complement the mild flavor and flakiness of grilled trout. Trout soaks up the bold flavors of mesquite wood. These bold flavors come together well with the sweetness and tanginess of the Granny Smith Apple Chutney. Thanks to the mild flavor of grilled trout, trout is a perfect option that can be enjoyed by even non-seafood lovers. Below is the Granny Smith Apple Chutney recipe we use which we know you'll love!      

Granny Smith Apple Chutney - Makes 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1½ cups Red onion, minced
  • 2 lbs Granny Smith apples, ¼-½” diced
  • 2 tsp Allspice
  • ½ tsp Curry powder
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • ½ cup Rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup White wine
  • 6 Tbsp Major Grey's Mango Chutney
  • ⅓ cup Red bell pepper, minced
  • ½ cup Dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup Sliced green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Sautee onions until they become translucent and begin to soften.
  2. Add the diced Granny Smith apples, Allspice, and curry in the saucepan. Mix well.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar begins to melt and coats the apples evenly.
  4. Add rice wine vinegar, Major Grey's Mango Chutney, and minced red bell pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the dried cranberries and continue simmering for an additional 15 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken and the cranberries have plumped up.
  6. Spread the chutney on sheet pans and cool in the refrigerator.
  7. Sprinkle the green onions over the top when putting in an appropriate-sized container for serving.
You can make the Granny Smith Apple Chutney 1-2 days in advance. This chutney recipe can be frozen to be used for later but is best prepared and served fresh.

Enjoy this timeless Culinary Crafts recipe!

August 28, 2019

Our favorite Root beer

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In case you haven’t noticed, we take our food pretty seriously. In general, this passion gives way to like-mindedness that is easy to build relationships upon. Sometimes, however, this passion can spark heated debates.

  “Virgil's is the best root beer on the planet!”

  “Come off it. Virgil's is okay. There are much better options. You ever tried Natural Brew? What about Bandit or Jackson Hole?”

  “Virgil's is just okay?! What about Henry Weinharts? (In a Macho Man Randy Savage voice) Oh Yeah!”

  “Henry Weinhards? Dude, you need to get out more. You know, Danny Meyer only serves Abita at Shake Shack.”

  “Well, we can’t all be root beer snobs like you. And frankly, if you can’t be happy with a can of A&W, you got issues.”

  “Alright, alright. There’s only one way to settle this. We need to get serious about a blind tasting of top root beers.

  “Well . . . that sounds fun.”

  “I know, right?”

  For our root beer tasting, we acquired 19 different non-alcoholic root beers, sourced from local grocers here in the Utah Valley, specialty stores along the Wasatch Front, online special orders, and from Ryan’s own personal private collection.
  These were the rules:
 
    • 6 taste testers.
    • Taste testers receive 2 oz of each root beer in question.
    • Testers much provide a score for nose, taste, finish, and overall impression. They must also provide comments on each selection.
    • Testers must give the first root beer a score of 50 for each category. Each subsequent root beer can be scored higher (up to 100), or lower (down to 0) as they see fit. No root beer can be scored closer to 100 or to 0, in any category than there are remaining root beers yet to be tested. Tester’s can give fractional point scores if they deem necessary.
    • All root beers are tasted blind and in a random sequence. Only the chef who pours for the tasters will know the root beer in question until all the selections have been tasted, scored, and commented upon. At which point, the bottles will be revealed.
    • Testers will be provided with citrus wedges, sparkling water, still water, coffee grounds, and plain bread to serve as palate cleansers between the tastes.
    • 3 ranking systems will be created from the resulting scores: mean fractional rank, total numeric score, and Ryan's picks
    Here’s the list of root beers we tried and their place under each ranking system, as well as the comments from the taste testers. These are listed in order of their average fractional rank since it seemed to be the closest representation of the taster’s shared and aggregate sentiments. Image result for natural brew root beer Image result for jackson hole buckin root beer   Image result for stewart's root beer Image result for virgil's root beer Image result for boylan's birch beer Image result for wasatch brewery brighams brew   Image result for bundaberg root beer Image result for maine root root beer Image result for sioux city sarsaparilla Image result for soda beers root beers Image result for henry weinhard root beer Image result for ibc root beer Image result for jackson hole snake river sarsaparilla Image result for abita root beer Image result for bandit beverage rootbeer Image result for a & w root beer Image result for barqs root beer   Image result for boylan bottling root beer Image result for bandit beverage sarsaparilla After the tasting, Ryan commented, “Even blind, I recognized some of these root beers right away. However, I was also often stumped and/or second-guessing myself. Several times, I thought I had identified Barq’s and/or A&W but then wasn’t so sure, when another selection popped up that I also guessed was one of these popular mainstream sodas.   My favorites were still my favorites, though probably not in the order I would have articulated prior to the exercise. More poignantly, when the selections were revealed I was surprised by certain selections I previously thought I didn’t care for that I scored rather high, and others I previously thought I really enjoyed that I scored rather low.”   So what were some of our most notable insights and takeaways? First, there’s a lot of great root beer out there! Second, root beer is a very complex, layered, and nuanced soda pop - even exceptionally similar ingredient lists can result in vastly different flavor profiles. Third, there are definitely some selections that generally please, some selections that generally don’t, as well as (rather curiously) several selections that are quite polarizing - loved by some and hated by others.   And perhaps most of all, we had a blast! If you’re interested in hosting your own private root beer tasting, we highly recommend it. And if you do, we’d love to see your results - send them to us at crafts@culinarycrafts.com.  

August 21, 2019

August Recipe of the Month: Grilled Watermelon Salad

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Grilled WatermelonImage result for grilled watermelon   Late summer in Utah is one of our favorite times of the year for cooking locally since local produce is at its most abundant, and we get to be cooking outdoors with live fire. This recipe combines both of these elements to create a simple yet innovative summer dish. The natural sweetness of the melon contrasts wonderfully with the smoke flavor from the grill. Delicious!

Ingredients:
Fresh watermelon (in the late summer in Utah, for the best watermelon visit your nearest farmer’s market for melons from Green River)
Extra virgin olive oil- (see our previous blog entry about how to pick olive oil from the grocery store)
Kosher salt (we love and recommend the Redmond Real Salt)
Fresh arugula (can substitute rainbow chard, frisee or other greens as desired - in Utah County, our favorite greens come from Snuck Farm)
Fresh mint (or basil, thyme, etc. as desired)
Shaved cheddar cheese (see our previous blog entry about our favorite local cheeses)
Aged balsamic vinegar
Lime zest

Instructions:
Slice watermelon into thick slices (at least 1.5 inches thick). Lightly drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the salt over the watermelon.
Grill the watermelon slices over a medium to high heat until the melon flesh is lightly charred (approximately 2 -3 minutes per side). A charcoal grill will maximize the grill flavor.
Serve the grilled melon over a bed of greens. Melon can be left in whole thick slices or cut into smaller pieces as desired.
Top with the shaved cheese, fresh mint, aged balsamic and lime zest.
Additional oil and salt can be added to taste.

Enjoy!

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