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January 25, 2018

Knife Cutting Skills: A Step-by-Step Adventure

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Knife skills are something that every home chef could benefit from. Sometimes the thing that takes a dish from good to great is simply the presentation! I'm going to show you some tricks of the trade and help you to easily take your dishes to the next level. We'll be working with an onion, an apple, a squash, and an orange!  Before we begin, make sure you are using a sharp knife. Dull knives are actually more dangerous than a sharp knife because of the amount of pressure that is needed in order to use a dull knife! This can cause more frequent and more severe accidents. So be safe, use a sharp knife! Alright, now from this point forward I want you to trust yourself and trust your knife! I used a standard issue chef's knife for everything. Nothing fancy, this is just a good quality knife! When it comes to knives, one of the most important things is to hold it at the hilt (where the blade meets the handle). You're going to want to get a good grip without getting white knuckles. Firm but not the grip of death! Another important part of correct knife holding involves your other hand. When chopping, you want to curve your fingers inward and rest the middle of your fingers on the blade. Make sure that your fingers are curving inward, or else you risk cutting the tips of your fingers off!

Right:

Wrong:

When you're not doing a close dice, chop or slice, your hand should be resting on your cutting board like so: Let's start with the onion. First, we dice! Slice the onion in half through the end bulb, like so. Remove any unwanted layers, but keep the bulb in tact. Next, you'll slice the onion perpendicular to the bulb without slicing all the way through the onion near the top portion. You should be left with an onion fan of sorts. You'll also want to slice the onion once in half parallel to the cutting board. Again, do not cut all the way through! Now rotate the onion and chop perpendicular to your first slices. You will be left with the perfect diced onion! Next is the julienne cut–also known as the french or straw cut. This is good for salads, soups, caramelizing, etc. This time, the first thing you'll want to do is cut off the bulb at the end. Cut far enough in so that your onion slices will be a uniform length.  Start chopping! And you're done! *IMPORTANT* In between every use you should wipe down your knife with a clean rag. You always want to work with a nice, clean knife. Additionally, when you're done using your knife it should be hand washed and put away. Never put a knife in the dishwasher as it will cause the blade to rust and deteriorate, the handle to break down, and will eventually ruin your knife.  Next I'm going to show you how to cut a butternut squash! These can be a pain to cut if you don't do it the right way. But, once you know how to do it they are a quick and delicious addition to soups, salads, or any dish! For easier handling, we're going to start off by cutting the squash in half. The best way to do this is to make sure you've got a sharp knife and simply break the flesh of the squash with the tip of it. Then, work your knife back and forth with a good amount of pressure until you make it all the way through. Next, we're going to get rid of all the skin. Start from the top and make a downward cut along the squash. Rotate the squash and repeat until all the skin is removed. After you have your squash completely removed of the skin, trim off the curved edge of one side of the squash. You will be left with a flat surface. Now cut a few slices off at your desired thickness, mine were about 1/2 inch thick. Place a couple slices on top of each other, flat on the cutting board. We're now going to do what chef's call "squaring off." You don't have to do this, but it makes a more uniform dice and a prettier presentation! To square off, simply trim off any edges that aren't straight. You will be left with a "square," although with a squash it's more like a rectangle.  Now we slice! *TIP ALERT* To keep your squash stable while you're slicing and dicing, place your pointer finger over the knife so that it rests on the squash and holds it in place while you slide your knife through the squash.

Begin the slice

Place finger over the knife to hold the squash down

Slide your knife through while your fingers are in place. Repeat!

Now for the dice we're going to turn our sticks the other way and do the same thing. For a good, square dice you'll want to chop at the same thickness of your sticks!  Okay, now for the apple. I'm going to show you how a professional would slice an apple. First, cut your apple in half through the core. When slicing an apple, I like to hold my knife a little more on the blade than I would usually. I also hold it at a higher angle than normal (maybe a 60° angle). I begin the slice and then drag the knife through the apple, never leaving the board with my knife. The reason it is so important to slice and drag instead of chop, is because when chopping an apple the slice gets stuck to the blade. Like this: When I use the slice and drag technique, the slice simply falls to its side. Like so: It the end I am left with some BEAUTIFUL slices. Perfect for salads, desserts, garnish, or whatever else you might use them for! Next up I'm going to grab an orange. First, I cut off the ends and peel the orange using my chef's knife.  Once I have the orange peel completely off (including all of the white pith). I switch to my pairing knife to do a cut called a supreme! If you're not familiar with this, basically what we're going to make this orange look like is like those little bare slices of fruit in a can of Mandarin oranges! For this cut, I'm going to cut between the little membrane segments and only get the flesh of the orange. This can be done with any citrus fruit and can be used in a variety of ways, or just for a fancy snack. Thanks for reading! Feel free to reach out with any questions. Sincerely, Chef Warren Check our more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

January 16, 2018

We’re 1 of Expedia’s Top 10 in-demand locations for NYE!

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We were pleasantly surprised to be mentioned by Expedia.com as being #2 on their list for "Top 10 in-demand locations for NYE 2017!" Salt Lake has lots of great events and things for people of all ages to do, and our NYE Pop-up was considered the best place to be for "fancy festivities!" Here's what they said:
It’s no secret that Salt Lake City is an active, exciting city when Mr. Frost comes to stay. It’s the perfect place to embrace the outdoor adventures only winter can provide, and it’s also a fabulous hub of NYE festivities. Enjoy all the wonders of the gorgeous Wasatch Range, get outside with some awesome SLC activities, and add a little sparkle to the holiday with these local traditions:
Fancy festivities: Embrace the new year with a feast. This year, Culinary Crafts brings its magic to The Tasting Room in SLC with a popup dining experience. A New Year’s Eve for Foodies includes several spectacular courses with optional wine pairings and a cocktail bar.
Thanks for the shout-out Expedia! They also mentioned some other great locations and activities in Salt Lake City to do during the holidays:
Kid-friendly: Early Countdown at Hogle Zoo’s Zoo Lights. Carolers make their rounds during the evening and the countdown leads up to 9 p.m.
An essential Salt Lake City experience: This year Downtown SLC launches a new countdown festival at the Gateway, called the Last Hurrah. This celebration includes live music headlined by Joshua James, as well as seasonal hot drinks and a 21-and-over speakeasy.
Free fun: Start your year with bright lights at Snowbird at the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks.
Check out the full post here. If you'd like to join us for one of our spectacular pop-up dining events, check out our event page here and follow us on Instagram to know when new ones are announced (@culinarycrafts)!

January 12, 2018

March Recipe of the month: Chicken Marbella

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Chicken Marinade

  • 5 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • pinch of red chili pepper flakes

Marbella Sauce

  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • pinch of red chilli pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced dried prunes
  • 1/4 cup micro red vein sorrel or other favorite micro green
Combine chicken marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken and marinate for at least 20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and cook chicken- our favorite way is to grill them over mesquite charcoal - also great roasted in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes until reaches 165 degrees in the center. While cooking mix together sauce by tossing together all ingredients except sorrel into a medium bowl. Remove chicken from oven and cut chicken into cubes. Toss in sauce and place back in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat. Garnish with sorrel. Enjoy.  

December 27, 2017

NYE Pop Up Sneak Peek: Dry Aged Beef

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Well, as you know, everyone here at Culinary Crafts LOVES the holiday season (I mean, who doesn't?)!  We especially love that this time of year really inspires friends and family to gather together over great food!  Another reason why we are especially excited for the upcoming holidays?  You might have heard that our New Year's Eve pop up is coming up and, oh man, the menu is going to be OUT OF THIS WORLD!  Chef Ryan Crafts has spent months putting together a decadent over-the-top menu that is a foodie's dream.  And one of the AMAZING elements he's bringing to your plate is fantastic Dry Aged Beef.  *queue the drooling* So, what's so special about Dry Aged Beef? you might ask.  As Ryan Crafts puts it, "This is the epitome of beef."  Well, I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty darn good! Basically, the beef is kept in a temperature, wind, and light controlled room for anywhere from 28 to 200 days. Over time, the water in the beef evaporates which concentrates the flavor just like reducing a sauce would. With prime cuts of beef this flavor is even more amazing the longer the beef ages (like a good cheese or a great wine).  It also allows for enzymes to start working on breaking down the muscle so the meat gets more and more tender with each passing day. After the desired amount of time (60 days for Ryan Crafts) the beef is butchered and trimmed away of all the jerky-like outer edges and you are left with, perhaps, some of the best tasting steak that money can buy. This process takes a lot of know-how and time to make sure you end up with something truly special - which is why it's such a special menu item!  Plus another fun fact?  We started aging the beef for our Pop Up in October in a facility in Vegas who also ages beef for the likes of top chefs like Guy Savoy and Jose Andres. We are SO excited to spend New Year's Eve with our foodie friends and can't wait to dazzle your taste buds with ALL of the amazing courses.  If you haven't gotten your tickets yet though, make sure you get them soon!  They are going fast!  Plus, wouldn't this make the perfect gift for someone special in your life?  (Hint: The answer is yes!)  Happy eating, everyone!   For tickets to the pop-up, check out the pop-up page on our website. First two photos from Fine Cooking, last photo from Pat LaFrieda Home Delivery.

December 14, 2017

Ryan’s Roast: The Perfect Prime Rib

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One of the primary challenges with large whole muscle roasts, like a prime rib, is ending up with only a small overall portion of the meat cooked to the ideal doneness. The outside is often overcooked, and/or the center is often undercooked. In order to avoid or minimize this, I cook prime rib very gently at a low cooking temperature. Cooking sous-vide is a great approach. But you can still roast a prime rib in your oven with great results. Low temperature cooking has its own set of tradeoffs though. The largest of these being that the maillard reaction isn’t achieved or is minimized. In order to still have a wonderfully browned crust while still roasting low and gentle, I like to sear the whole rib separately from the cooking process. I typically sear directly on a grill (as hot as possible), use a blowtorch, or a large cast iron griddle will do the trick too. Tip: skip the small butane torches you find at gourmet kitchen stores and get a larger propane torch at the hardware store - it will cost less and work a lot better. You can mix and match your searing methods (grill, cast iron, torch, etc.) with your cooking method (sous vide, low temp oven, smoker, etc.). But as a general rule, if I’m cooking sous vide I like to sear after the cook. And if I’m cooking in an oven, I like to sear before. With an understanding and plan of how you’re going to cook gently and sear separately, the recipe itself largely becomes only a formality. Nonetheless, my basic recipe can be found below. You’ll notice that it doesn’t rely on a long and fancy list of ingredients. And although low temp cooking is a relatively modern approach, it’s also pretty simple. Pick good ingredients, cook simply to let them shine, and it’s actually hard to not have a delicious result.
 INGREDIENTS
prime rib roast (bone-in preferred, and a for real treat go with a dry aged roast), with fat cap intact but trimmed of excessive fat brown sugar fresh minced garlic fresh coarsely ground black pepper Kosher salt
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 240°F (for very large roasts, you may opt to go with a lower tempature) Rub the outside of the roast with the brown sugar. Place roast on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Use a blowtorch to deeply brown all sides of the roast, creating a nice crust. Gently add the garlic, pepper and salt. You can be pretty liberal with the sugar, garlic, and pepper, but be more conservative with the salt. Transfer to the oven and cook for ~1-2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches the mid to high 120°s F. Remove the roast from the oven, place on a wood board, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. The internal temperature should continue to rise during the resting period. Anything in the 131 to 139 F window will be a great medium rare. With practice and experience you’ll be able to narrow that target. I find that 135 to 136 F at service is my favorite. To carve, separate the bones from the rest of the roast. Lay the bones on your serving platter or board. Cut the rest of the roast in half, perpendicular to where the bones were. Place each half cut side down and carve ~½ inch slices. Arrange on the platter and finish with a nice sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Serve with horseradish cream or your favorite accoutrements.

December 13, 2017

December Recipe of the month: Chocolate Walnut Fudge

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Marshmallow Cream

  • 1 1/4 cups corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
When making candy it is important to calibrate your thermometer. Read here on tips on how to do this. In a large stockpot, bring corn syrup, water and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil until it reaches 242 F. When the sugar mixture reaches 235 F begin to whip egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in mixer until you get stiff peaks. Remove sugar from heat and slowly pour into egg whites while the mixer is going. Mix for about 10 minutes until you have a good marshmallow consistency. Set aside. Fudge
  • 1 recipe of marshmallow cream.
  • 2.5 lbs quality milk chocolate chips - Guittard chips are our favorite.
  • 1 lbs walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2.25 lb sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, combine chocolate, walnuts and marshmallow cream. Set aside. In a large saucepan combine butter, sugar, and cream. Bring to a boil and cook to 225 F. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour-over chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased baking sheet. Let cool overnight. Cut and Enjoy!

December 7, 2017

Culinary Crafts’s Annual NYE Pop Up Preview: Our new Cocktails!

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Today, we are going to be showing you a little preview of some of the AMAZING things you can expect from Culinary Crafts's New Years's Eve Pop Up!  Every year, we make sure to showcase unforgettable eats and drinks to ring in a New Year and create a one-of-a-kind celebration for all of our guests - and this year is no exception.  Ryan Crafts has been creating this stellar menu for months (yes, months) and it incorporates quite a few specially aged elements.  One such offering?  The cocktails!  Check it out! The cocktail menu consists of a Barrel-Aged Blood Orange High West Old Fashioned, a Barrel-Aged Key Lime Beehive Gimlet, and a non-alcoholic Barrel-Aged Meyer Lemon and Cherry Soda.  Who else is intrigued?  I know I am! We LOVE our local distilleries and High West's American Prairie Bourbon was a perfect addition to Barrel-Aged Blood Orange High West Old Fashioned.  The proprietary blend of bourbons are aged from 2 to 13 years, creating a complex taste - which really added something special. Another interesting element?  Ryan Crafts decided to incorporate oak chips to every drink! Another fantastic local distillery is Beehive Distilling and we were so THRILLED to use it in the Barrel-Aged Key Lime Beehive Gimlet.  They use a blend of 7 botanicals that create a really unique profile.  Couple that with Key Lime?  A whole lotta awesome going on. Bing Cherries will serve as one of the garnishes and adds a touch of sweetness that is just perfect - especially for winter cocktails! As you can see, something really amazing is being put together for our NYE menu!  We hope you will join us for this extraordinary event - but hurry quick!  Tickets are going fast!  (Get them here.)  Happy dreaming, everyone! Check our more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 6, 2017

December Recipe of the month: Pistachio Caramel Shortbread Recipe

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Crust

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

 Filling

  • 5 cups walnuts
  • 5 cups pecans
  • 1 cup pistachios- We love the local Red Rock Pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Directions

1. For the crust: combine all ingredients until fully incorporated. Press into a greased 10” x 15” sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes until slightly golden and barely set. Allow to cool to room temperature. (You do not want the crust to be baked all the way. It should be soft and slightly doughy.) 2. Combine butter, honey, cream and brown sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. 3. While mixture is coming to a boil sprinkle the walnuts and pecans over the cooled crust. Sprinkle evenly over the whole pan. 4. Pour caramel evenly over nuts and crust. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until the center starts to bubble. 6. Sprinkle Pistachios over the cookies when you take the sheet pan out of the oven. 7. Cool to room temperature. Cut into desired shape and size. Enjoy!

December 4, 2017

Instagram of the Week!

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Today's Instagram of the Week comes from M + B Events, who posted this BEAUTIFUL detail shot of an inspiration shoot we were a part of this year!  We LOVE this photo and think its perfect for the season, plus, pomegranates and gold leafed pears as table decor?  Yes, please!  Thank you so much, M + B Events for sharing!  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 gets picked next!  Happy Monday, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

November 27, 2017

November Recipe of the Month: Mary’s Heirloom Sugar Cookies

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We're going to be bringing you lots of fun recipes this holiday season! Here's the first, a cookie that's as delicious as it is gorgeous!

Ingredients

1/2 lbs butter (2 sticks) 3/4 lbs sugar 3 eggs 1/3 cup cream 1 tsp vanilla 1 1/4 lbs flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt   Frosting 1/2 lbs butter 2 lbs powder sugar 1/4 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla food coloring (optional)  

Directions

In a medium bowl mix together flour, powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture. While mixing on low speed, slowly pour in the cream. Add remaining flour and mix until combined. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight. On a floured surface roll out dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4" thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Just until edges are golden brown. Let cookies cool completely before decorating. For the frosting, cream butter, add sugar, milk, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Enjoy!  

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