Saturday, October 28, 2006

happy halloween from orenji catering

As we will be busy preparing for a Halloween party (actually, a "celebration of the color orange" party... but more to come on that in future posts!), we wanted to take this opportunity to wish all our friends, readers, and customers a safe and Happy Halloween!

We hope you get your fair share of treats this year(our favorites are pictured below), and not too many tricks...

If you haven't tried Wonka Bars, we suggest you run (don't walk) to your nearest grocery store and pick up a couple (cases). It's a simple candy bar-- creamy milk chocolate and crumbled bits of graham cracker-- but it's delicious. And of course, Lemonheads are a year round favorite-- the perfect retro mix of sweet and tart!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

an autumn tart with pears and almonds

At the same party we made the vegan pumpkin cheesecake for (see previous post), we also presented a lovely autumn-inspired tart with pears and almonds. A brown sugar crust was filled with a baked almond and Chinese yali pear filling, topped with chunks of caramelized fruit, and covered with thin slices of pear. The pears themselves took on a deep roasted color, which was offset by glistening sugar sprinkled on top. Altogether, a deliciously sweet and earthy seasonal dessert!

first sugar free desserts, now vegan... what's next?

Recently, we were asked to create a special dessert for a colleague who was departing us and moving on to "bigger and better things." Not such a challenging proposition, until we realized that the dessert needed to be vegan. That's right, no butter, no eggs, no cheese, no milk... well, you get the picture. Now that's a challenge!

Drawing on seasonal ingredients-- including the abundance of fresh sugar pumpkin and cranberries-- we created a vegan pumpkin cheesecake, created with tofu, tofu "cream cheese," fresh stewed pumpkin, and spices. The crust was comprised of raw oats which we toasted, sweetened, and flavored with vanilla. To complement the light and creamy texture, we prepared a "jelly" of fresh cranberries and pine nuts, infused with a hint of sweet sage. Altogether, it was a delicious dessert, that both our vegan and non-vegan guests enjoyed!

Moving forward, we feel confident and excited about experimenting with more sugar-free and vegan cooking and baking!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"orenji on the road:" the EPCOT international food & wine festival

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of meeting some family and friends for the EPCOT international food and wine festival in Orlando, Florida. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it is basically a chance to eat and drink your way "around the world"-- around the EPCOT World Showcase, anyway. Each country represented (this year there were 26!) erects small booths which serve a variety of "small plates" representative of that country's cuisine.

Beers, wines, and aperitifs accompany the food selections, which range in price (on average) from 2 to 4 dollars. It can be a wonderful afternoon or evening of trying new foods and drinks!

Some of this year's food highlights (in our opinion) included:

ARGENTINA: marinated strawberries with basil
MEXICO: chilaquiles (chicken, cheese, green chili, & tortilla "casserole")
SCANDINAVIA: grilled salmon salad with mashed cauliflower
CHINA: caramel ginger ice cream (refreshing, with fresh ginger!)
THAILAND: sweet mango & tapioca soup
AUSTRALIA: grilled lamb chop with caramelized onions
ITALY: zeppole fritte al cioccolato (a fried "doughnut" filled with molten chocolate)
SPAIN: albondigas (Spanish meatballs)
FRANCE: chausson au fromage de chevre (goat cheese tartlette)
IRELAND: lamb, bacon, & cabbage stew with a butter scone
CANADA: cheddar cheese soup (an annual favorite!)

Some of this year's drink highlights (in our opinion) included:

FRANCE: sparkling pomegranate kir (champagne & pomegranate juice)
CHINA: plum wine and green tea "cooler"
JAPAN: Geikkeikan "Zipang" sparkling sake

If you live in the Orlando area, or are planning a trip during the next few weeks, be sure to check out the EPCOT international food and wine festival!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Dessert Garden Party (continued)

We continue our "tour" of summer 2006's garden dessert party. The previous post (which may be viewed below the current post) shared pictures of the cookie, cheesecake, and confections "stations" scattered throughout the garden.

As well as those sweet delicacies mentioned above, we also prepared a selection of hand-made tartlettes, including Apricot and Blueberry Streusel Tartlettes; Toasted Coconut Cream, Bittersweet Coconut Rum Ganache, Chocolate Cookie Crust; and French Macadamia Nut Praline & Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Tartlettes.

The last station contained various custards and mousses in individual cups for easy serving and eye-catching presentation. Items at this station included: White Chocolate & Sesame Mouse with Green Mango Coulis and Sesame Nougatine; Milk Chocolate & Garam Masala Mousse; and a delicious Vanilla Bean and Lavender Creme Brulee (not pictured).

Lastly, the fruit and cheese display, with a delicious honey-yogurt dipping sauce, was the edible centerpiece for the event. Fruit skewers and "trees," as well as a vast selection of cubed and sliced cheeses and toasted flatbread were elegantly presented in a colorful and flavorful display.

The complete menu prepared for the event may be viewed at the following address:

If you would like to check out the book released at the garden party, Stop Reading and Start Proclaiming, please feel free to visit the author's website at

A Dessert Garden Party

As the season changes to autumn, we remember one of our favorite events of summer 2006- a garden party announcing the release of our friend and client's new book! Given the heat of the summer, and the early evening scheduling of the party, we opted for a "sweet" theme-- desserts, candies, and fruit and cheese. The next few posts on this site will highlight some of the items served.

The party was held in an outdoor garden courtyard, with the food tables scattered around the space in "stations." One such station contained a selection of seven types of handmade cookies.

Another station contained a selection of individual cheesecakes, including Milk Chocolate and Caramel Cheesecake, Green Tea and White Chocolate Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Caramelized Bananas.

Accompanying the cheesecakes were a selection of hand-crafted confections, including Candied Orange, Lemon, and Lime Peel with White, Milk, and Bittersweet Chocolate; Dried Apricots with White Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline; Bittersweet Chocolate & Chili Pepper Truffles; White Chocolate & Orange Blossom Truffles; and Rosewater Infused Meltaways.

You can find more pictures from the book release garden party, as well as the complete menu prepared, in our next post.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Sweet (but Sugar-Free) Birthday Cake!

In celebration of our good friend's mother's birthday, we were recently commissioned to create an "orange and magenta" birthday cake... The only catch was that it needed to be sugar-free. Never ones to back down from a challenge, we enthusiastically rushed to our "test kitchen" and began experimenting. In the end, we created a delicious sugar-free centerpiece for a wonderful surprise party!

Sugar-free cooking creates its own set of challenges, specifically when it comes to cake. In the past we have prepared many sugar-free cheesecakes in various flavors with great success. The current project resulted in a delicious light lemon pound cake (our friend's mother's favorite flavor!). We served the cake with a three berry medley infused with vanilla and lavender, and completed the dessert with a sugar-free lemon curd lightened with mascarpone cheese and freshly whipped cream. The result resembled a deconstructed trifle... and no one would have ever guessed it was sugar-free!

Along with the centerpiece cake, we prepared a handful of smaller, individual poundcakes, all of which were decorated with beautiful fresh flowers in festive party themed colors!