introsPECtives


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Cooking category.

Gluten Free, and Vegan, and Allergic to Soy, Oh My!

Lately, dietary restrictions have appeared to be on the rise and even more prevalent. We all know at least one person that has more food allergies than they can count on one hand and another who is always trying a new diet. Now thankfully for party goers and event planners alike, many caterers and restaurants are trying out new menus full of alternative options for our friends with allergies and our friends who are choosing to live meat free or paleo. Now many people that live on a “normal” diet are under the impression that maintaining one of these alternative life styles is difficult or that the food is not delicious. Many different food services are proving them wrong. In Bellingham alone many restaurants are changing their menus in order to appeal to more people and have crafted amazing dishes that everyone would love, not just people with special dietary needs.
Surprisingly enough, it’s amazingly easy to alter dishes to make them fit specific needs as most vegetarian food can be turned vegan by leaving out dairy and most restaurant now offer gluten free buns and bread. This means that at large events, the guests in the crowd with special diets aren’t restricted to a bit of lettuce they found that was being used as decoration on an appetizer tray. That minor bit of tweaking may make a world of difference to someone’s stomach.
The new trends in food are also a huge benefit to chefs everywhere, as they try and acclimatize to the new tastes of customers. Trying to provide alternative menus forces chefs to be more creative and innovative and many live for the challenge. A happy chef makes for many happy customers and that is good news for everyone involved! With this in mind, for your next large party or gathering or business meeting, consider having it catered by someone that can give everyone something suited for them. Happy eating!

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You know you’re an event planner when…..(1)

bbq.about.comI recently read an infographic posted on eventmanagersblog.com called “You know You’re an Event Planner when…” and  as they so succinctly put it, there were 1425 answers to the question when posed to event planners. The responses made us laugh but mostly because experience is a hard teacher and often being an event planner has nothing to do with the glamorous image portrayed in movies like “The Wedding Planner” and more to do with shows like “World’s Dirtiest Jobs” but when you love it, you just LOVE it.

Gather together a group of Bridal Coordinators, Event Planners, Event Coordinators, Project Managers, Party Planners (and the list goes on) together and before long you will start to hear stories about the everyday life of a planner.  Now, anyone who knows the Premier Event Connection crew knows we love to laugh so we couldn’t help but come up with our own “been there, done that, no it’s really true” humorous experiences of being an Event Planner. So with that in mind, the Premier Event Connection team is busily compiling  our experiences and we will be posted them here on our blog one at a time. We hope you enjoy a humorous look into our lives.

You Know You’re an Event Planner When…..

…..your caterer shows up to feed 2500 people with only 300 cooked ribs and the rest are frozen rock solid because they thought they would have plenty of time to let them defrost and “cook them on site”. Of course the fact that you have 2200 people standing in the hot sun, waiting for food that will take hours to cook never really calculated into their plans.  To make matters worse some of the brave few have decided to forego the meat and just eat heaping plates of the side dishes so the next thing you know you are literally running out of everything all because your caterer didn’t think their process through.

At Premier Event Connection we lovingly call this day “Black Friday” and all those involved with the company that day can laugh over it now but the reality was a far different story. The resolution of this challenging day was a call to the office to put out an “All Hands on Deck!” Every single person in the office was on the phones frantically calling taxi cab companies and every KFC in the greater Seattle area. We ordered all the fried chicken they had currently made, all their mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw. Then we had the taxi cabs running all over the city picking up the orders and delivering them to the park where our event was taking place.

How did we avoid being trampled beneath the feet of 2200 angry, hungry people? We walked the waiting line of people passing out cups of ice-cold beer. Everyone was much happier waiting in the hot sun with a nice cold beer in their hand. We had a lot of “fires” to put out that day but each one was handled and at the end of the day everyone had a good time and our client walked away satisfied with the event. Needless to say….we double , triple, and quadruple check catering details now because you just never know when some little detail that seems so reasonable to someone else could make or break your entire event.

 


Catering to the Stars…who knew?

When we started our business plan years ago in 2004 we thought we had everything all planned out!  We would target the wedding crowd through the Seattle Wedding Show and the kind of gourmet clientele Scott, co-owner of White Linen Catering had been used to working for.  His experience at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Georges Blanc Restaurant in Vonnas, France and the prestigious Rainier Club in Seattle had us convinced of this direction!  Yet White Linen Catering is based in the small farming town of Enumclaw and in our first year we joined the local Chamber of Commerce landing us their annual auction dinner and then from that event the White River Amphitheater’s backstage catering contract!

Being very community involved has served us well and since then we have added contract’s with several other concert venues including The Gorge Amphitheatre, The Key Arena, Tacoma Dome and more. We have been honored to cater for bands in every genre from Coldplay, Gwen Stefani, Tim McGraw to Def Leppard and most recently a 3 day VIP Tent Serving 1000 each day at the Dave Matthews Band concert at the Gorge.

Working behind the scenes at concerts and being able to cater for the stars is always a fun and dynamic environment to work in!  Another type of event we love to cater and do so frequently is Annual Dinner Auctions for non-profit corporations!  It is an honor to work with these groups and help them to wow their guests while also achieving their important fundraising goals!

Over the years we have also had the chance to cater for Microsoft and other local companies often through Premier Event Connection which is a partnership we so enjoy! Their diversity in event management partners well with our diversity in catering skills and we truly enjoy working together.

We will say, while our business has definitely taken a different course than we initially planned we couldn’t be happier with the wonderful experiences we get to have and the diverse clientele we meet & seek to WOW! with every event we cater.

Scott & Olivia Megargle and the White Linen Catering Staff

To contact us we can be found at www.whitelinencatering.com, or info@whitelinencatering.com. Or via phone at 206-550-5773. Of course you could just contact Premier Event Connection and request our services at your next event too.

P.S. Thank you Trina & Jamie for being so fun to work with and for all the wonderful opportunities you have given us!   It’s such a pleasure working with you both!


Adventures in Cooking

For those of you that do not know I (Jamie) am destined to live a life of Gluten Free, Low Carb, Sugar Free eating.  More importantly I lack the patience that is apparently required for cooking.  I cannot seem to understand why if a cake bakes for one hour at 350, why it will not bake for 45 minutes at 450. Seems like simple math to me!

So, on this new food lifestyle, the one thing that I miss is having something crunchy to put stuff on. I have lots of fabulous dips, cheeses, and spreads that are completely okay to eat yet nothing crunchy to put them on. So what am I supposed to do? Eat seven layer dip with a spoon? Not likely! So I set out to make some crunchy snacks that were delicious and nutritious. Here’s what I ended up with:

Kale Chips:  The recipe sounds pretty simple – toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake. At first try these seemed really good…and addicting! There was a very fine line between crispy and burnt. Who knew if you burnt them they will catch fire? I ate a few and was quite pleased with the end result but slowly I began to realize that my house smelled like burnt feet.  Another little known fact – as it turns out you have to eat these treats right away. I saved them for the next day and they were AWFUL! All in all I think they were great in the moment but will probably not make them again.
Almond Flour Crackers: These seemed promising. It was super easy to make the batter. Could have made them thinner, the thinner they are spread out the crisper they get. Of course, nobody told me (and I don’t consider this common knowledge) that wax paper should be peeled off BEFORE actually cooking them. I had to throw the first batch out because they were stuck to the wax paper. I will say that they were tasty little things…kind of like nutty flavored wheat thins.

Gluten Free, Carb Free, Sugar Free Bread: Here is where things really got tricky in the kitchen. I did not want to use all of the almond flour I had purchased for bread. (considering that it’s $8.00 for two cups!) So since I had coconut flour on hand I decided  flour was flour right? So I went with a half and half mixture. Again, I do not think this is common knowledge but apparently coconut flour is a SUPER flour and is super absorbent. It soaked up all my eggs and milk like a sponge.

As it turns out (according to chef Google) coconut flour has to be used quite sparingly. For example, a loaf of bread made with almond flour takes 2.5 cups of almond flour.  A loaf of bread with coconut flour takes 1/4 cup of coconut flour! So here I am with my 1.25 cups of coconut flour, and 1.25 cups of almond flour trying to make a “batter”.  I just kept adding eggs, cream, and water and figured I would just see what would happen! I had to cook it twice as long. It smelled good, looked like normal bread, sliced like bread but it was so DENSE, I had to drink a glass of water just to get it down. Tried toasting it and ended up watching it crumble to pieces. I saved the loaf and have decided I will try to make French toast with it  but I am going to have to officially call that one a do over. Gluten Free Carb Free Bread 1, Jamie 0.

All in all here is what I learned:

  • That was a lot of experimenting for one night in the kitchen
  • I need to think more science project as opposed to math test
  • Doing that many dishes really dries my hands out
  • Coconut flour has super powers
  • Sometimes thing catch fire and it’s truly not my fault (it’s just science)
  • I need to purchase a taller bowl suitable for hand whipping
  • Cooked Kale smells like dead feet

I am going to try to make crepe lasagna next….maybe….