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Are you looking for an intimate catering company with plenty of options?
Fig Catering provides excellent service. They never claim to be the fanciest, hippest caterers in Chicago — they aim for quality and they are very flexible in terms of client needs.
Do you want local, organic, sustainable, or vegetarian? How about ethnic and exotic foods? Fig Catering has you covered.
Fig sources local, organic, and sustainable ingredients as much as they can. They were even a founding member of The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op! The Co-op has a list of guaranteed green restaurants for eco-conscious eaters looking for sustainable foods, and they also have resources for restaurant owners looking to source all local foods for their businesses.
Fig Catering is also very active in their local community in trying to decrease Chicago's carbon footprint through education, eco-friendly business practices, recycling programs, and using their low-refuse food recycling preparation program.
Neat stuffed cucumber appetizers provide a sustainable (and edible) container and make your meals mess-free! Fig Catering provides everything from seafood/raw bars, Spanish-style tapas, food "shots," and Middle East in the Midwest!
Ina Garten's Favorite Fall Lunch Is Actually Super Easy to Make
The Barefoot Contessa shared a picture of her Butternut Squash & Ricotta Toast recipe on Instagram yesterday.
We&aposre all major fans of Ina Garten here at EatingWell, and she becomes an extra-special part of our lives this time of year. Ina&aposs recipes have become Thanksgiving table staples in our homes, and she sure knows how to throw a fantastic holiday soireé.
The Barefoot Contessa recently took to Instagram to share her favorite fall lunch with her two million devoted followers𠅊 gorgeous Butternut Squash & Ricotta Toast recipe from her book, Cooking for Jeffrey. You can find this exact recipe on her site, and it turns out, Ina&aposs favorite fall lunch is super easy to make!
All you have to do is roast and mash some butternut squash, sauteé onions, toast a few hearty slices of bread and serve with a generous portion of ricotta cheese. This just might become our new favorite lunch, too! It&aposs easy to make ahead for eating at the office or serving at a dinner party.
We also suggest trying our festive Fig & Ricotta Toast with honey and toasted almonds, or you could stick to Garten&aposs preference and swap figs for our easy-peasy Roasted Butternut Squash. We think you could serve this delicious, simple meal for a cozy and comforting breakfast.
The Epicurious Blog
This is not an atypical text message from food festival doyenne Caryl Chinn, who recently joined sports and entertainment marketing firm Octagon as vice president of its new culinary division: "Are you free Sunday? Barbara got a pound of caviar and we&aposre chowing down!"
While they say people who work at Ben & Jerry&aposs don&apost eat ice cream, throwing this kind of crazy dinner party is what Chinn enjoys doing on her days off. It&aposs the food-world version of Dre Day every day, with ballers like Chinn&aposs meat-master pal Ed Murphy, who will wake up early on a Saturday and decide that barbecuing pork shoulder for 12 hours is the perfect way to spend his morning, afternoon and evening. Not surprisingly, Murphy, GM of Hollywood&aposs Dolby Theatre, is often in charge of the proteins at these dinner parties.
Caryl Chinn celebrated New Year&aposs Eve with (clockwise from top left) Jet Tila, Betty Fraser, Barbara Brass, Ed Murphy, Mimi Mok, Aarti Sequiera, Manouschka Guerrier, Stef Kelly and Joe Moller.
These days, Chinn, whose recent credits include being executive director of Coastal Luxury Management&aposs LA festival, often criss-crosses the country to develop events for Octagon. But when she&aposs home in LA, she&aposs sending out the most coveted invites in town, for 20-person gatherings much more exclusive and delicious than even the awards season parties where many members of Chinn&aposs culinary club have cooked.
For Chinn&aposs birthday, Giada De Laurentiis, the Food Network superstar who&aposs now getting ready to open her first ever restaurant at the new Cromwell resort in Las Vegas, made three desserts while "The Next Food Network Star" champion Aarti Sequiera took care of the savory side with her gorgeous lamb palau.
Ed Murphy&aposs brisket is Texas-worthy.
But Chinn&aposs core cooking crew is a group that became known as Hoodwinked Catering after the night that Chinn, Murphy, entrepreneur Mimi Mok (now in the process of creating a gourmet market in LA) and private chef/Food Network personality Manouschka Guerrier were invited to an &apos80s supermodel&aposs mansion and quickly found themselves alone in the kitchen cooking dinner for two dozen revelers they did not know. As they did their prep, Chinn concluded that they had been hoodwinked, especially because the model&aposs dinner guests thought the foursome were hired caterers.
Zoe goes in for a New Year&aposs Eve kiss.
Regulars at Hoodwinked Catering gatherings, often held in Chinn&aposs West LA house or Murphy and Mok&aposs Mid-City digs, also include Thai food expert and TV/radio personality Jet Tila, who just announced that he&aposs taking over the kitchen at Pakpao Thai in Dallas "Top Chef" alum Betty Fraser, who runs Hollywood&aposs Grub restaurant and As You Like It Catering Stef Kelly, who does double duty as the creator of chocolate treats including the award-winning Shmookie and as a big-hearted C-CAP cooking instructor for at-risk students Joe Moller, an upper-tier event producer who recently ran the Downtown LA Art Walk Barbara Brass, a Wolfgang Puck Catering executive who&aposll often arrive with the most extravagant wine and directions on how to pair it and Zoe, Chinn&aposs beloved French bulldog who is the sitting-in-your-lap star of many bashes.
Chinn moved to LA about three years ago. When she lived in Manhattan, she worked at Bon Appetit for a decade and collaborated with Lee Schrager to launch his New York festival. And at her home, there were, not surprisingly, dinner parties with Marcus Samuelsson and Tyler Florence cooking and Josh Wesson pouring wine. There was also the night Tom Colicchio, fresh off opening Craft, showed up late and started making himself a sandwich. Then Daniel Boulud asked Colicchio to make him one. A couple years later, Colicchio started slinging sandwiches at &aposWichcraft. We&aposre going to believe that this was more than just a coincidence.
But often, it&aposs chefs who don&apost cook for a living who make the food you will crave for all time.
Ed Murphy&aposs epic baked pasta for NYE.
While Murphy once worked in Boston restaurants, he doesn&apost consider himself a professional chef. But his food is legendary. Tila has said that Murphy&aposs pork and 10-hour brisket is the best barbecue in LA. And the first time we met Murphy, it was at Chinn&aposs New Year&aposs Eve party, where he brought an eggplant incaciata: a pound of baked pasta, a pound of sausage, a pound of mozzarella, all wrapped in eggplant and baked. It was a big night indeed.
Next month, Murphy is planning weekly themed dinner parties during the World Cup: Think lots of beef and maybe even choripan if Argentina is playing. But given that Chinn and friends are involved, don&apost be shocked if it turns out to be yet another night of champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
Here are five of Chinn&aposs most memorable parties:
The birthday bash: Two Food Network chefs, no waiting. After Sequiera&aposs lamb palau, De Laurentiis&apos desserts included iced lemon cookies, a pumpkin cheesecake and an amaretto chocolate tart.
Giada De Laurentiis piped apricot cream on her amaretto chocolate tart.
New Year&aposs Eve: Tila brought over roasted Thai salmon with a green papaya salad, and Brass cooked four racks of lamb with herb butter. Moller made uni/caviar toasts, and we also remember having easy access to four containers of caviar (American hackleback, two Russian osetras, Chinese beluga). For dessert, Mok baked chocolate bouchons from a Thomas Keller recipe, and Fraser served strawberry and balsamic souffle with black pepper creme anglaise to guests including actor Chris Williams.
Betty Fraser served dessert to Chris Williams.
Fireworks and snow cream:Tila, who runs Kuma Snow Cream in Las Vegas, brought over his snow cream machine and all the requisite toppings on July 4. The taro cream was a refreshing ending to a summer soiree that also featured a mixed grill of tri-tip and sausages.
Jet Tila working on his Kuma Snow Cream machine at Chinn&aposs.
Easter paella: Yes, this was Easter, so there was lamb, potatoes and green beans. But what everyone lucky enough to attend remembers most is actor Andoni Gracia&aposs paella, overlowing with head-on shrimp, clams and mussels. Because every Easter should have soccarat. Mixologist Rich Andreoli (Harvard and Stone) added to the festivities with Moscow Mules.
Seafood paella should become a new Easter tradition.
The caviar party: Guerrier&aposs Facebook post says it all: "Barbara asked me make to make cappellini with butter & lemon. So I made angel hair in a lemon butter sauce with chives & then she SLAPPED on alllll this caviar on top. yup."
Rosé Themed Dinner Party
This teacher is out for summer break. Something about this school year had me running out of the building and wanting to celebrate the beginning of vacation -even more than usual. It was a tough one. Thankfully a few friends (that happen to be insanely talented female entrepreneurs) and I had been scheming on collaboration event. Ah the Rosé Themed Dinner Party.
Karen, the mastermind of gourmet catering business Small Kitchen Big Taste thought we should throw a small summer water themed party. Who am I to argue? Twist my arm, okay fine, I guess if I have to. HOW cute is she?!
She called her friend Brigid Hecht to snap all of the beautiful photos you see in this post, and her florist expert and event planner Emma Kate MacHugh of First Blush Weddings to just send me over the edge with these flowers. You guys, stunning isn’t the word for these flowers.
I DMed my Insta friend Amanda of Heritage Homestead, the most adorable organic farm/event venue in CT to join in on this little soiree. Glazze Crystal sent over some incredible 24k stemware, Poshahoolie sent a rose gold and very appropriate “Rosé All Day” banner, VieVite sent me a little summer water for the fiesta and poof! We had a party.
I wish I could ship each and every one of you a tasting package because this woman knows how to cook! From the hand made rosé gummy bears to the honey drizzled ricotta and everything else in between, I was completely undone. Don’t even get me started on the prosciutto wrapped figs or marinated steak with chimichurri. I’ll let the photos do the talking because the food was as good as the presentation.
Great Catering Ideas Your Guests Will Love
For great catering ideas, you want to either do something that is rarely if ever, seen or do something that has been seen but in a completely different way. Here are a few suggestions for catering food ideas and arrangements:
Chef's Outdoor Kitchen
If you've been searching for outside catering ideas, this does it. Everyone loves a good cooking show and watching a gorgeous meal whipped up before your eyes is definitely a great stimulant for whetting the appetite. This is like a cooking show that allows event attendees to interact with the chef while he cooks. It makes for a lively experience every outdoor event should have.
Booze-Free Cocktail Bar
As attendees get increasingly conscientious about their health and more and more people are opting for alcohol-free options, virgin cocktails are making a comeback. Get a professional mixologist to put up a zero-proof cocktail bar and event attendees can enjoy the highs of revelry void of hangovers.
This fun station allows guests to select a pretzel and slather it with their favorite kind of topping.
Okay, it may be a tad overdone at this point, but we had to include it just in case there was someone who was unaware of this hot trend that has been embraced by the younger generation. Like a good song that’s been overplayed, the donut wall may be moving into the realm of passé, but it still gets the toes tapping.
Rainbow Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
These luscious fruits now come in all colors of the rainbow thanks to a little help from their chocolate dresses. This treat makes for a great dessert for an outdoor or tea party or anything else where pretty is a major crowd pleaser.
Nothing says refreshing outdoor beverage quite the way lemonade does. Want to surprise your guests? Serve up some pitch black lemonade. Just make sure to get the big reveal on camera.
Salads on the Go
Salads are a nice addition to any picnic in that they are light and refreshing. Problem is… they’re not that portable. At least not until now.
This is one of the best catering ideas to bring out the love for desserts in your guests. Traditionally a treat from Hawaii, shave ice has gone global and seems to have "shaved" the general admiration of snow cones away with its more exotic and healthier topping options from the tiger's blood to lychee.
Fruit and Veggie Animals
Want to add some interest to a buffet table or create an intriguing centerpiece? Get out the knife and carve these adorable animals into existence using fruits and vegetables. Works of art!
These “roses” make a sweet dessert, place setting, addition to a beverage, or decoration on your table or buffet. The deep jewel color of the strawberry is very appealing and, best of all, these roses are edible.
Vegan Wedding Cakes
Vegan wedding cakes are not only good for the planet, but they’re also more inclusive to guests with allergy and dietary restrictions.
Better yet, as more bakeries begin to offer a wider range of gluten-free and dairy-free products, it’s now much easier to find a cake supplier who can meet your requirements.
From traditional, multi-tiered creations to rainbow cakes and naked cakes, a few of the top spots in London to get a vegan wedding cake are Heart of Cake, Lola’s Cupcakes, and Pearl & Groove.
Wedding cakes at Ruby’s of London are also 100% plant based, so they’re pretty clued up when it comes to creating egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free products.
If you’re a fan of Flavourtown Bakery, good news – the London-based cake shop has its own vegan range using premium plant-based ingredients, including Valrhona cocoa powder and the finest organic flours.
Bee’s Bakery now offers vegan wedding cakes, too, with all its designs now available as gluten-free and dairy-free.
Based in Chiddingstone in Kent, The Organic Cakery is another vegan wedding cake supplier to have on your radar. This specialist bakery prides itself in using organic, ethical ingredients, and even provides homes for bees, birds and butterflies.
Love The Hummingbird Bakery? The iconic creator of all-things-sweet also offers a range of delicious single-tiered vegan cakes and cupcakes (though sadly you won’t be able to get a multi-tiered vegan cake from here). Choose from four flavours – rainbow, vanilla, red velvet, and devil’s food cake.
Elsewhere in the UK, there’s Jesmond Cake Company in Newcastle, Earthcake in Bristol, and Jo’s Vegan Cakes & Bakes in York, all of which supply vegan wedding cakes.
Alternatively, if you’re hoping to make your own vegan wedding cake, there’s a huge range of recipes out there to have a crack at.
Try this delicious vegan vanilla and berry layer cake recipe if you fancy a more summery, naked design. Or, if you’re hoping to offer guests a vegan dessert table, this round-up of vegan recipes from BBC Good Food is loaded with inspiration.
Crispy polenta is a delicious (and naturally gluten-free) alternative to toasts for your appetizer spread.
Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.
Your Guide to Hosting the Ultimate Boho Picnic Party
M y girl Ashley wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday in a special way so she planned the ULTIMATE boho picnic party. From the gorgeous rugs and eucalyptus to the cute glassware and selection of cheese, everything was picture-perfect, colorful, and delicious. I’m excited to share this post because I believe that balancing time with friends and creating beautiful moments can be a form of self-care – there’s something about community and good food that brings warmth to the soul.
Thinking about planning your own boho picnic party? Read on for tips and ideas on how to host your own boho-style inspired outdoor soirée.
1. Choose a scenic location that’s easily accessible. Plan on multiple trips from your car to the location to transport supplies, food, and decor. That said, choose a picnic spot that doesn’t require an arduous trek to and from the car. Whether its a quiet spot on the beach, park, garden, or rooftop, try to find a place with a pretty view!
2. Layer blankets for seating. A colorful rug layered with light blankets and an accent throw will look and feel cozy and warm.
3. Keep food simple. Think finger foods like caprese skewers, cheese and crackers, cold meats, seasonal fruit and veges, and bread and dip. Decorate your spread with artisan bread and colorful fruits like pomegranate, grapefruit, and figs.
4. Pair your food with a refreshing drink: Bring chilled wine, rosé, or sparkling water to enjoy with your food!
5. Bring accent pieces and greenery for decor! Consider getting a Straw Flat Seat Cushion for a makeshift table and straw table mats to display the food. Wood cheese boards, fresh eucalyptus, gold candle holders, vintage inspired glasses, and natural dried wheat bundles can help create a warm and inviting boho-vibe.
6. Add music. Bring a portable speaker and play your favorite tunes!
7. Eat, drink, and be merry! After all the work is done with setting up your special picnic, give a toast, and enjoy the moment together!
Honeyed Breakfast Polenta
Put butter in a large sauce pan, over medium high heat. Swirl and cook until bubbling and brown. Add the water, milk, salt, and honey to the browned butter. Continue to cook over medium high heat until lightly boiling. Add cornmeal slowly, while whisking. Turn the heat down if the boiling gets too hard or the liquid starts to foam up too much. Continue Stirring. When polenta starts to thicken and looks more like porridge than liquid, add goat cheese and stir until incorporated. Serve warm, garnished with pecans.
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place both sugars and water in a saute pan and set over medium heat. Cook for about 1 minute until sugars melt down and dissolve. Add nuts, cinnamon, and salt and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approxmately 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and let cool.
Spiced oat cookie with flaxseed, grated carrot, raisins, and chocolate chips. 10 pieces, individually wrapped.
Contains: Wheat / Gluten, Soy, Milk, Egg
Flourless Brownies and Kitchen Sink Cookies. 10 of each, individually wrapped.
Contains: Wheat / Gluten, Soy, Milk, Egg
Fudgy chocolate sweet potato brownie. 10 pieces, individually wrapped.
Eco-friendly purified drinking water.
Fresh-squeezed lemon juice, mint leaves, fresh-squeezed ginger, agave nectar and filtered water.
Sparkling water with grapefruit.
Little patties will always go down a storm at parties, but save yourself the arduous preparation and buy in some ready-rolled raw meatballs. The trick is in the hidden cheese centre – pop a ball of mozzarella in the middle of your ball before cooking.