Kitchen Chat and more…
Kitchen Chat and more…
On Tuesday, February 21st the NW Washington Chefs Collective teamed up with Sustainable Connections and the culinary students at Bellingham Technical College to produce a meal for the people attending the 2017 Farm-To-Table Trade Meeting. Chefs and culinary teams were each assigned a course to prepare banquet style and I (Crave Catering Chef Justin Hawkinson) was in charge of providing a grain/starch for the buffet.
The point of the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting is for people who produce food to meet and connect with people who purchase food for consumption. Several companies showed their products at booths around the perimeter and there were speeches and classes throughout the day to educate and inspire the local players in the food industry. With this group, we had to make sure the food was something special.
This was the menu:
Riccardo’s Winter Slaw- Richard Balogh of Il Caffe Rifugio
Bluebird Emmer Farro Risotto with Bellewood Apples & Greens- Justin Hawkinson of Crave Catering
Jack Mountain Pork Cheeks Braised in Cloud Mountain Apple Cider with Pickled Apple & Mustard Choucroute- Josh Silverman
Silky Potato Leek Soup- Gabriel Claycamp of Cauldron Broths
Winter Vegetables with Warm Parmesan Vinaigrette & Herbed Breadfarm Crumbs- Andrew Clarke of Acme Farms
Nerka Sea Alder Plank Smoked Salmon- M Mataio Gillis of Ciao Thyme
Grandma’s Carrot Cake: compressed pineapple, candied carrot, brown butter mousse & walnut streusel- Andy Nguyen of Drizzle
Family Meal of Indian Delights- Patrick Durgan of Bellingham Public Schools
The educational aspect of this meal is also important. BTC has a wonderful teaching kitchen with plenty of stations for the teams to work. I took four students (two first year and two second years) and guided them as they made the dish. The students themselves handled all the prep/cutting and each student made their own pot of risotto. The farro for our dish was from Bluebird Farms in Winthrop, WA. Each chef was instructed to design a dish featuring local produce (remember- it was February and there isn’t very many items available locally) and show the students how to prepare that dish using methods they may not be familiar with. The team at Bluebird Farms were very helpful and even donated the grain! Other vegetables came from Da’Vine Aquaponics, Ralph’s Greenhouse and Boldly Grown Farms.
All things considered, it was a very special lunch that I was proud to be a part of. Sustainable Connections throws this party every year so if you missed it… remember us for 2018!
If you aren’t planning on a trip to New Orleans this month, maybe you should consider the Crave Catering home version- Mardi Gras Home Party Pack! This package will be available for pre-order by calling (360)223-4900. Orders will be available for pick-up from Fat Tuesday- February 28th until March 4th. Delivery can be arranged for an additional fee. For $25 per person (minimum 2 per order) you get:
The celebration of Mardi Gras goes back hundreds of years in Louisiana and several French & Catholic traditions have combined with American know-how to create a unique celebration. The forty days before Easter are called Lent and this time is often used to deny certain pleasures (such as certain foods, alcohol & parties). The week before Lent has been designated as a time of celebration called Carnival, or “Farewell to the Flesh” where people are encouraged to lose their inhibitions before the fast. Festive jazz music, parades, parties and food have become part of the experience. Many American Catholics still follow that timeline, but the Mardi Gras tradition has also become part of the secular calendar. Even people who don’t plan to deny themselves for lent will still join the party. Mardi Gras in America has become a time to eat New Orleans style food and party with bright colors and high spirits.
Gumbo is perhaps the most iconic of NOLA foods. It brings a lot of flavors together and really fills you up. Something special happens when the holy trinity of onion, celery and bell peppers cook down to become liquid. Roux needs to be carefully simmered for a long, long time to get the dark color and nutty flavor. Spicy andouille, savory chicken and all the wonders of mixed seafood combine to create a flavor combination all their own.
Reserve your party pack today and Crave Catering will make you a Mardi Gras feast to remember. No crowds, reasonable prices and a box full of flavor. Call today and we’ll make one just for you!
What better way to say “I Love You” than to prepare a meal that delights and surprises your significant other. With Valentines Day approaching, we at Crave Catering have been busy trying some new recipes and this particular meal is perfect for two people who want to avoid the crowds and share in a little culinary exploration. A good meal doesn’t have to cost a lot or take hours of work. You can get this meal done at home with basic equipment in less than an hour and spend the rest of your evening however you see fit.
Crave Catering was invited back for “Date Night” at the BIAWC 2017 Home & Garden Show on March 3rd. Last year we showed the crowds a fun Bellewood Gin Vinaigrette and Seared Duck Breast with Brandy Glaze. We hope that this year will also bring the crowds with a new pair of courses for couples to enjoy together. Anyone planning to attend the home show on Friday, March 3rd should make sure to catch our cooking demo. Hope to see you there!
The Dirty Martini Salad:
6 pimento stuffed green olives
1 medium lemon
10oz salad greens
½ cup olive oil
2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (1 shot) vodka (We prefer Bellewood apple vodka around here!)
4 grape tomatoes- red
2 frilled toothpicks
Salt & pepper to taste
Cut 2 wheels from lemon, squeeze juice from the rest
Place half the shallot, two olives, lemon juice, vodka and vinegar into a food processor
Blend until well incorporated, then add oil in steady stream. Taste & add s&p or any other ingredient to your liking
Mix some of the dressing with lettuce, grape tomatoes, sliced shallot in a bowl, then use tongs to fill a large martini glass
Garnish each glass with two olives on a toothpick and a lemon wheel
Pair with… a dirty martini of course!
4-5 cups raw cauliflower florets
¼ cup potato starch (if gluten is not a concern you can use flour or bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup chopped green onion
Oil, Salt & Pepper
Roast cauliflower florets in 400’ oven for about 7min. with a little oil, salt & pepper
When florets are softened with a little color take out of oven and let cool
When cool, add cauliflower to food processor with all other ingredients
Scoop balls of mixture onto a hot griddle or pan with some oil
Press down on top of balls to make desired patty shape, let sear before flipping, remove from griddle when firm on both sides
1 (or 2) slices bacon, cut small
½ cup diced white onion
1 TBS garlic
½ cup peas
10 raw shrimp sized 21/25
Splash of Coach House Cellars Chardonnay
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup asiago cheese (more if desired
1 TBS fresh chopped parsley & sliced grape tomatoes for garnish
Stir bacon & onion in hot frypan until rendered
Add garlic, peas & shrimp to pan, stir frequently
When shrimp are nearly done add wine to deglaze pan
After wine reduces, add cream
When cream is bubbling add cheese & stir until thickened
When sauce is thickened, spoon mixture over cauliflower pancakes & top with parsley & tomato
Pair with a glass of chardonnay and don’t forget to smile at your loved one over this romantic meal!
Bellingham, WA 98226