Saturday, November 25, 2006

orenji culture: all you need is love

Here at orenji catering, we love Cirque du Soleil. It's amazing that we haven't posted about the organization, or one of it's productions, previously. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, we had the pleasure of attending the newest permanent resident Cirque show-- "The Beatles: Love." Housed at the Mirage Casino and Resort, the show is a psychedelic romp through The Beatles repertoire from early Liverpool, to the post-war years, to the height of their popularity and beyond. Using original recordings that have been remastered to create eerie and evocative songs that stick in your head, and pairing them with some of the finest and most talented young acrobats, actors, dancers, and performers, Cirque du Soleil has again "reinvented the circus!" Obviously, we would highly recommended seeing this show during your next trip to Las Vegas!

For more information on "The Beatles: Love" or any other Cirque du Soleil production, visit their website at Enjoy the show!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

orenji on the road: staying local

We're always looking for a reason to try new dining establishments... and a recent visit from a dear friend and fellow food enthusiast provided the perfect reason for a leisurely lunch at monsieur Marcel pain vin et fromage. Nestled in the busy farmer's market at The Grove in Los Angeles, Monsieur Marcel's offers a quaint wine bar and bistro, delicious and classic French cuisine using the freshest ingredients, and a gourmet French market selling wine, cheese, bread, chocolates, and other continental treats.

Over a leisurely lunch, we shared a delicious assortment of small plates, including:

"ronde de crostini:" a taster's plate of three varieties of crostini, including serano ham, tomato caprese, and a semi-soft, mold-ripened goat cheese (bucheron) unlike any other we have tasted.

"salade d'endives au roquefort:" bitter belgian endive with apples, walnuts, crumbled roquefort cheese, and homemade toasted walnut vinaigrette. it was simultaneously sweet and tangy, with the bitterness of the endive complimented nicely by the sharp cheese and sweet apple.

we also enjoyed the quiche du jour, which was prepared with smoked bacon, potatoes, and green onions.

To compliment our meal, we indulged in a bottle of delicious red wine from the Saumur region of France (Saumur La Croix Verte, 2004). Wine Spectator awarded this vintage from the Cave du Saumur vineyard 87 points... We would have awarded them more!

All in all, it was a delightful afternoon meal, and we would highly recommend Monsieur Marcel's to anyone who enjoys fine French fare! We look forward to more culinary adventures "on the road," and will keep you updated on our travels!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

autumn treats: caramel apples and pears

Autumn is our favorite season of the year. The weather is beautiful, with a slight chill in the air-- perfect for sweaters and sweatshirts! In some areas, the leaves change to beautiful colors in a palette of reds, yellows, and oranges (our favorite!)... and of course, there's fall foods: apples, pears, pumpkin...

We love mulling cider. We love apple and pear desserts. And most of all, we love caramel apples and pears. They are somewhat of an annual tradition, that began a decade ago when we were based in New York. Over the years we have embraced this tradition in different ways, sometimes picking the apples ourselves, sometimes scouring roadside fruit stands for just the perfect pears. And then we lovingly enrobe them in butter caramel, dip them in toasted nuts, and drizzle them with the finest bittersweet and white chocolates. Decorative variations are also available with various colors, sprinkles, and candy or nut toppings.

This year, our apples were paired with toasted slivered and roasted almonds, and the pears received an added crunch from toasted and salted cashews. Finished with a rustic autumn-colored ribbon and a twig "handle," these treats were the perfect autumn gifts for our friends, clients, and colleagues. Some pictures of the unwrapped treats are presented below. Enjoy... and don't forget: orenji catering is always available to provide homemade gifts and treats for those special individuals in your life!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

in search of the perfect sandwich...

Recently, orenji catering was hired to furnish light salads and gourmet sandwiches for a baby shower. In preparation of the menu, we embarked on a search for the perfect sandwich-- hearth-baked breads, fresh vegetables, gourmet meats and cheeses, and flavorful spreads. In this post we will highlight four of the sandwiches created for this special occasion.

The first sandwich we developed was inspired by a Tuscan picnic sandwich we created over the summer. Rosemary and Parmesan scented foccacia was filled with oven-roasted turkey, creamy Camembert cheese, leaf lettuce, and a rosemary-infused fig spread prepared with Italian Chianti wine. The creaminess of the Camembert complimented the acidity of the wine nicely, resulting in a hearty, balanced sandwich.

But was it the perfect sandwich? Perhaps that is a matter of personal opinion...

The second sandwich created was a moist and tangy apricot-curry chicken salad, served on a freshly baked butter croissant. The chicken salad was full of apricots, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, chicken breast, yogurt, and hinted with curry. Crispy red leaf lettuce was the perfect textural compliment to the flaky croissant and moist and chewy salad.

The third sandwich was a delicious vegetarian option. Freshly grilled vegetables-- zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and carrots, were rolled in toasted flatbread with oven-roasted tomatoes and an herbed white bean spread. Crispy leaf lettuce and thinly sliced provolone cheese completed this deliciously smoky sandwich.

The last sandwich we created for the baby shower featured pepper-crusted roast beef for those guests with a heartier appetite. The beef was piled on a dried-cranberry hearth roll, and topped with caramelized red onions, heirloom tomatoes, and crunchy sprouts. A tangy horseradish creme finished the sandwiches, complementing the earthier flavors of black pepper and sweet onions.

Did we find the perfect sandwich? We think we found four... but we're also sure that the quest will continue in preparation for future events. We'll be sure to document the search as it continues...

Friday, November 03, 2006

"a celebration of orange" (part 2)

We continue our "celebration of orange" party coverage with an exploration of the orange savory snacks and hors d'eouvres prepared for the event.

Again, as with many of our events, the focal point of the savory buffet was split between a fresh flower arrangement-- in this case, pumpkin tree, fresh artichokes, Victorian ribbon, and curly willow shoots-- and our signature fruit and cheese "forest." For the purposes of this event, the fruit and cheese "trees" were created using foods in muted orange, including cantaloupe, papaya, mango, cheddar, English cheddar with caramelized shallots, and gouda cheeses.

The menu for the party was quite diverse, drawing upon seasonal ingredients and Asian influences. And of course, all the food was orange in color, taste, or theme!

Grilled shrimp marinated with apricots and yellow curry (pictured above) were served with a curry-infused apricot marmalade. Skewered "orange chicken" with an orange-vinegar oil and sesame crusted salmon were served with a tangy tangerine yogurt aoili.

Wild mushroom and sugar pumpkin risotto cakes were paired with a dried cherry, pine nut, and sage compote (pictured below). Also served was a honey wheat pizza topped with sweet potato roasted with fresh sage, green apple, fresh asiago cheese, and roasted garlic. The earthy flavors of mushrooms, pumpkin, sweet potato and roasted garlic were complimented nicely by the tartness of the dried cherries and green apples.

Additional menu items included a trio of Japanese vegetables (pictured below), including Japanese marinated carrots, orange bell peppers served with an edamame-wasabi dip, and miso-marinated grilled kabocha squash.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for most party guests was the item pictured below. We infused dried apricots with white wine and fresh rosemary, and stuffed them with mild gorgonzola cheese and hickory-smoked bacon. The combination of the sweet apricots, smoky bacon, and pungent cheese were a crowd pleaser, described by one guest as "unforgettable."

Scattered about the room, on various "cafe tables" and seating areas were festive orange pumpkin bowls filled with freshly toasted and caramelized sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds, as well as sweet potato chips dusted with sea salt and cracked black pepper (pictured below).

Complimenting the food, pumpkin spice martinis were served. This martinis were prepared with a pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla infused vodka cooked up in the orenji catering test kitchens. They added a festive and sophisticated feel to a thoroughly enjoyable evening for the party guests!

The complete menu served at the "celebration of orange" party can be viewed here:

Thank you to our friends, clients, and fans for your continued support. We look forward to contributing to your next party or event!

"a celebration of orange" (part 1)

People celebrate Halloween in different ways. One friend and client celebrates his favorite color at Halloween-time-- the color orange. As it happens, orange is also a color near and dear to our hearts, here at orenji catering. We were both excited and enthused to be involved in this annual celebration of our favorite color!

The menu proved challenging, as each item needed to be orange in color, flavor, or theme. Being autumn, we were able to rely on plenty of seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, apples, kabocha squash, and orange sweet potatoes. The results were wonderfully orange and delicious!

We'll start with a description of the desserts and sweets, as nothing says Halloween like a good "treat!" Caramel lady apples and seckel pears, covered in chocolate and toasted nuts were the showpiece dessert of the party. More pictures and description of the creation process of these sweet treats will appear in later posts.

Individual desserts that were easy to eat and didn't require forks were the goal of the evening. Two such desserts (as pictured above) included caramelized orange and pistachio creme tartlettes, and pumpkin cheesecakes with bittersweet chocolate. Also prepared (as pictured below) were carrot cupcakes with brandy-soaked golden raisins, toasted coconut, and cream cheese frosting, as well as white chocolate and pumpkin spice truffles.

Rounding out the dessert table was a homemade popcorn flavored with orange and milk chocolate, as well as candied orange peel dipped in bittersweet and white chocolate.

While there were no "tricks," the treats were festive and enjoyable. Savory and snack foods prepared for the "celebration of orange" party will be discussed in our next post. Be sure to check back!