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November 16, 2023

Miracle Turkey

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by Meagan Price

Director of Marketing and Kitchen Sorceress

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Growing up at Culinary Crafts and working events from a young age, I learned the art of putting out fires. I don’t mean literal ones (well, sometimes literal ones), but being a full-service caterer means constantly dealing with problems on the fly, from changing a tire to repairing a bride’s dress to figuring out how to cook the entrée when the venue’s oven breaks. My childhood gave me an unshakable sense of “I can figure that out.” I’m grateful for the confidence I developed, but sometimes it got me into trouble, like it did on the year of the Miracle Turkey.

During my junior year in college, I worked as a resident advisor in the dorms at SUU . I thought of the students in my charge as “my kids” and loved surprising them with pies, cakes, and fresh-made cinnamon rolls. (When did I ever get any studying done?) As Thanksgiving approached, I worried about my residents who would be stuck in their rooms instead of visiting family, so I decided I would take it on myself to make them a full-blown Thanksgiving meal. I hadn’t done anything like that before, but I was sure I could figure it out. How hard could it be?

The Miracle Turkey

Anyone who knows me will not be shocked to hear that I went all out. Twenty pies, three types of stuffing, seven sides, and dozens of homemade rolls. The pièce de résistance was a frozen twenty-two-pound turkey.

I had never baked a turkey, and attempting it in the tiny oven in my tiny apartment was…well…probably a bit crazy, to be honest. After about forty calls to my mom and dad, three batches of burnt Stove Top, and seven hours of cooking a turkey, I finally had my first ever Thanksgiving meal! It was glorious.

None of us knew how to carve a turkey correctly, so we hacked away at it like maniacs. My dorm didn’t have a dining room, so people were lined up and down both sides of the hallway, on beds and couches, or standing in doorways with plates in hand. As more and more guests arrived, I began to worry that we would run out of food. I had planned on about forty guests, but when 150 showed up, I was freaking out! Then something strange happened. As if by magic, the meal seemed to keep multiplying itself. Somehow, we all got fed. It was the miracle of the Thanksgiving turkey.

With a few more years of experience, I realized that it shouldn’t have taken me seven hours to cook a turkey; I could have done it in one or two hours. How? You can find step-by-step directions here for how to save yourself hours in the kitchen and have your turkey come out perfect every time!

November 9, 2023

A Perfect Apple Pie

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by Mistie Tunbridge

Pastry Chef and Girl with the Golden Smile

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A Thanksgiving meal isn't complete until you end it with a slice of perfect apple pie.

When I was growing up, my grandma always took on the job of making what seemed like hundreds of pies for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember pulling a stool up to the counter, helping her stir, and putting together pies all day long—of course sneaking tastes along the way.

When I got older and more into baking, I decided that I wanted to contribute a pie of my own to Thanksgiving. Thus, my journey began to make the perfect apple pie. Through many trials and errors, from soggy crusts and soupy fillings to pie dry as the desert and sprawls of notes filling a notebook, I finally found the sweet spot of what I consider to be a perfect apple pie: a sweet, flakey, buttery tart shell filled with the crisp sweet flavor of golden delicious apples caramelized in cinnamon sugar. I was finally ready to bring my pie to dinner, thus beginning a new Thanksgiving tradition that's been going on for seven or eight years.

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Perfect Apple Pie

Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 lb golden delicious apples
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp caramel sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Peel and chop apples into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, and apples.
  3. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add half the apples. Cook over medium-high heat until golden and caramelized.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat Step 3 with remaining butter and apples. Let cool completely.

Tart Shell Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3½ cups flour

Instructions:

  1. Add butter and sugar to a food processor and blend until just combined.
  2. Add the eggs and blend for 30 seconds. Add flour in small portions and blend until dough just comes together. (Do not over blend.)
  3. Add a tablespoon of cold water if dough is too dry. Divide and shape into two disks and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Roll out one disk of crust to about 1⁄8 inch thick. Place in a 9-inch pie pan, and trim off excess pastry around edges.
  3. Add cooled apples to the pie shell and brush the edge of the crust with water. Roll out remaining crust and place over the top. (I like to do a lattice.) Crimp edges and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

November 2, 2023

Culinary Crafts Joins Rocky Mountain Bride’s Venue Collective

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We are delighted to announce that Rocky Mountain Bride magazine has invited Culinary Crafts to join its 2024 vendor collective.

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The collective is an exclusive guide to the best wedding vendors and venues in the U.S. and Canadian Rockies. We are honored to be featured among this amazing group of wedding professionals. The 2024 vendor collective will also feature our in-house bartending service, Bacchus Event Services. It will include the two wedding venues that Culinary Crafts operates, the Kimball Terrace in Park City and the Tasting Room in downtown Salt Lake City.

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We’re also delighted that Rocky Mountain Bride is highlighting Utah’s extraordinary wedding and hospitality industry. As the only state in the U.S. to be awarded three Michelin stars (designating it an “exceptional destination” and “worth a special journey in itself”), Utah is ideal for destination weddings. We’re glad that people are discovering that Utah is a beautiful place to live, work, and celebrate...and to get married!

Watch for photos of our gorgeous weddings and special catered events.

Rocky Mountain Bride Featured Vendor

October 25, 2023

Halloween Stories from Our Team

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This year, our team wanted to share a few of our most cherished Halloween stories and memories. Enjoy!

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From all of us at Culinary Crafts, eat well, be safe, and have a Happy Halloween!

October 18, 2023

Chris’s Chili

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by Chris Brady

Event Manager and True Raider Fan

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A while back, I was in a fantasy football league with some buddies I met online. It was a friendly group full of banter and smack talk, and, of course, with money on the line we also got super competitive.

One year, one of our founding members wasn’t sure he would be able to come up with the entry fee because he and his wife had a newborn who was suffering with costly complications. He proposed to the league that instead of cash, he could wager some sports memorabilia, gift cards, and his secret chili recipe. We put it to a vote. Even though his “memorabilia” was an autographed John Elway football—which was an insult to a true Raiders fan like me—we decided to let him enter.

Long story short, I won the league that year. Naturally, I sold the John Elway football to get that abomination out of my house, but the chili recipe stayed, and I have made it several times a year ever since. The chili always gets rave reviews, and my wife’s family specifically requests it whenever we get together.

Working at Culinary Crafts, sometimes I’m able to use left-over short ribs or flank steak for my chili, but you can get great results with almost any cut, even a simple pack of Costco USDA Choice.

When people ask for my secret ingredient, I tell them it’s the amber beer, but really, there’s another ingredient that only I can taste: the sweet, sweet taste of victory!

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Chris’s Chili

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup of olive oil
  • 5 pounds of stew meat
  • 2 pounds of pork sausage
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5-6 large dried New Mexico chilies (You can get these pods at Macey’s or Smiths)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 T of dried cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 13 oz of beef broth
  • 36 oz of good amber beer, divided (I use Fat Tire, but Wasatch's Evo, Epic's Cross Fever, or another local amber will work well.)
  • 1 shot of Jack Daniels whiskey (High West Distillery in Park City also makes some excellent whiskeys you can use.)
  • 34 oz of beans (optional - I use dark kidney beans)

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into ½ to ¼ inch pieces.
  2. Rehydrate the chilis in 12 oz of beer. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. Strain, and then puree the chilis. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over med heat for 5 min. Uncover, bring the heat to high, and brown for another 5 min. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 min until fragrant. Add the cumin and the pork. Stir until the meat browns.
  4. Add the beef, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Brown until most of the redness is gone. Add the chili puree, 24 oz beer, Jack, beef broth, tomato paste, tomato soup and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1½ hours until it has a chili-like consistency. Then add beans and cook for another ½ hour.
  5. Garnish with green onion and cheese.

(Note: For max flavor, cook a day ahead and let the flavors come together overnight in the fridge. Reheat and enjoy some great chili.)

27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year