Monday, August 31, 2009

Quiche, it's not just for breakfast anymore

Quiche traces its origins back to the 16th century. It's an open tart filled with a mixture of beaten eggs, dairy and any other ingredients that suite your fancy. My favorite is to add sauteed leeks or onions and crisp bacon. For a super indulgence I add gruyere or good cheddar.

I made quiche for brunch last Sunday and tested 2 different short crust recipes. One from good old James Beard who suggests the addition of an egg mixed with lemon juice and another which completely omits the use of an egg. I found that the crust made without the egg was very dry and crumbly. It wasn't as rich as the dough with the egg. So in the future I will always add an egg to my dough. It does make a difference.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

McCain Foods Teambuilding Event

This is an example of a typical team building event that Sprig Catering can facilitate. We hosted this event for McCain Foods. Our events are held in a professional commercial kitchen and in this case we utilized the conference room and transformed it into the dining room. Thanks to Chris Kolenda and her crafty touches. The event can also fully take place in the kitchen where we will set up dining tables (so the guests are literally eating in the kitchen, very fun!)

The theme that this client selected was "Spanish Tapas". Each event is client specific and the menu is selected by the organizer. The client is welcomed into the kitchen and has about 20-30 minutes of social time where they can enjoy an appetizer and refreshments while they wait for their entire party to arrive. Afterwards we go over kitchen safety rules and the Chef will usually demonstrate a few culinary skills as well as talk about any unfamiliar or key ingredients that the menu features. The guests are broken up into teams and assigned a Chef assistant to help them strategize and the cooking begins. The group has about 1 hour to complete their item and plate up one presentation plate. Then the group sits down to enjoy their creations.

More "Dia de Los Muertos" - Dessert Station

We also featured a dessert station with various miniature pastries.

Because this event took place in the fall I also created these miniature trifles consisting of pumpkin mousse and ginger cake base with cinnamon whipped cream.

Of course no "Dia de Los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" celebration would be complete without the typical Pan De Muertos and Mexican conchas.

"Dia De Los Muertos" at the Chicago Cultural Center

This was an event I catered for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. It was their annual fundraising event and it was held at the Chicago Cultural Center in Preston Bradley Hall. It was an awesome venue. Since the ballroom was huge we set up the event with various food stations spread throughout. This was our salad station consisting of a cucumber, jicama, and mango salad with chile-lime vinaigrette, served in martini glasses.

The entree was a small plates station which featured grilled flank steak (sliced to order) with a tequila avocado compound butter, cotija polenta cakes, skewered Yucatan chicken with spicy peanut sauce and tricolor cabbage slaw.

A few of the passed appetizers were Mojito Shrimp, Chimichurri Beef Tenderloin Crostini, Spicy Meatballs, and Manchego Stuffed Mushrooms (not pictured).

The client spent a great deal of the budget on food, bar and linens so they opted to not have any centerpieces. I personally handpicked all of the linens and they were gorgeous! Vibrant oranges and pinks with copper overlays. I just couldn't leave those tables bare so I came up with an inexpensive solution which I actually handcrafted myself. They are those prayer candles that you find at church (or in my case my mother always has one burning) wrapped with string and accented with fresh flowers and skulls.

Thanks to all of the diligent and professional staff that helped make this event such a success for Sprig Catering. I'd also like to thank my wonderful friends who came out to show their support!