Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year from orenji catering!

Last year on New Year's Eve we posted about the Japanese new year's tradition, "hatsuhinode" (はつひので). The sentiment of that post still resonates with us, so we're going to do it again.

From last year's post:

"In Japan, there is a traditional custom known as "hatsuhinode" in which individuals and families travel to beaches or mountains, from which a good view of the glorious first sunrise of the year is available. As the sun rises, the arrival of the New Year is celebrated, and prayers are offered for good health throughout the coming year."

Here, at orenji catering, we would like to take this opportunity to wish the same to all our faithful friends, family, clients, and readers. May 2008bring you all good things-- health, happiness, love, friendship, peace... and good food!

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 6

On the sixth day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Here at orenji catering, we love working with chocolate-- especially to create simple and fresh flavor combinations. Our fifth treat of Christmas was prepared for a dear friend and client, who was recently lamenting the dearth of good milk chocolate-based fruit and nut confections available in local stores. In response, we ran to the orenji kitchens, and this deliciously over-loaded bark resulted.

The finest Belgian milk chocolate plays host to plump golden raisins and oven-toasted fresh pecans-- with just a hint of vanilla and Indian spice mix, garam masala for depth of flavor. This fruit and nut bark is a sure crowd pleaser!

We promised chocolate for today... but what of tomorrow? You'll have to check back to see what we've been up to, when the 12 treats of Christmas 2007 continue.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Although we have covered this particular "treat" before, it remains one of our favorites for the fall and winter season. This year, we shipped loaves of this particular bread all over the country... and can only imagine the enjoyment of our customers!

A "quick" bread (in name only...), our vanilla, pear, and crystallized ginger loaf is delicious warm, cold, as French toast, toasted as croutons with fresh fruit... the list goes on and on!

The flavors of ripe locally-grown pears, vanilla paste, and hand crystallized ginger make every mouthful of this moist bread an explosion of flavor, with contrasting textures.

Wrapped in decoratively festive bags, these treats are perfect for delivery to the office, or shipping to the loved ones on your list who are unfortunately far away. In either case, this bread is sure to bring smiles to the faces of the recipients!

What is the next treat of Christmas 2007? I'll give you a hint-- it involves chocolate... lots of chocolate! Check back tomorrow...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Every year we take a trip to Hawai'i to visit some dear friends. The fourth treat of Christmas 2007 is inspired by the flavors and ingredients we enjoy while on those trips: namely, coconut and macadamia nuts.
We start our gourmet popcorn with these ingredients... gently toasting the coconut until it reaches a lovely golden brown, caramelizing the natural sugars in the tender white flesh.

We then take fresh macadamia nuts, and after lightly salting them, roast them in the oven.
These ingredients are combined with our own caramel corn, and tossed with the finest Belgian milk chocolate. The end result, a gourmet macadamia nut, toasted coconut, and milk chocolate caramel corn!
It is a delicious snack, that once you start eating, it's nearly impossible to stop! More gourmet popcorn reviews to come during the 12 treats of Christmas 2007... but will it be tomorrow? You'll have to check back to find out!

Friday, December 28, 2007

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 3

On the third day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Here at orenji catering, we have always enjoyed the simple flavors of graham crackers enrobed in chocolate-- whether it be bittersweet or milk chocolate. In this case, for the third treat of Christmas, we prepared delicious organic graham crackers, and enrobed them in the finest Belgian bittersweet chocolate. They were then drizzle decoratively with milk and white chocolates, and finished with attractive holiday decorations.

Delicious and beautiful to look at:

A treat fit for any child... or adult for that matter!

We sold them by the dozen this year, packaged in attractive snowflake cellophane bags, snug inside golden candy boxes with red ribbons!

A perfect holiday gift! We would be happy to receive it. What will the fourth treat of Christmas 2007 be? Find out tomorrow, only at!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 2

On the second day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Here at orenji catering, we love simple treats... of course, we also love multi-step, extremely complicated treats as well... The second day of Christmas brings us the simplest of treats, however. Cereal. Butter. Marshmallows. Belgian chocolate. Vanilla paste. Decorations. All of these ingredients equal delicious...

Of course we are speaking of cereal krispy treats. We love the nostalgia of these delectable candies-- they remind us of cooking up a batch over the stovetop with our late grandmother-- always a creative inspiration (she made the adorable ceramic reindeer figurines featured below, for example).

Now, we have updated the recipe, adding some deep and rich Tahitian vanilla paste, layering the finest Belgian bittersweet, milk, and white chocolates on top, and liberally sprinkling with assorted holiday decorations.

Festive wrap and ribbons make these the perfect gifts or stocking stuffers for all the friends, family, or co-workers on your holiday gift-giving list. And the taste is pure holiday memories...

What will be the treat of the third day of Christmas? You'll have to check back to find out!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the twelve treats of Christmas: day 1

On the first day of Christmas, orenji catering made for me...

Beginning in early autumn, and continuing throughout the winter holidays-- even until Valentine's Day, we hand dip many apples and pears-- both full sized and miniature-- in our homemade butter and cream vanilla caramel. Drizzled with the finest Belgian chocolates, rolled in macadamia nuts, cashews, toasted coconut... (whatever the customer requests, really), these confections are not only beautiful, but delicious-- so delicious, in fact, they are our choice for the first treat of Christmas 2007!

Each day, for the next 11 days, we will highlight another of our favorite treats prepared this holiday season. Be sure to check back daily... and remember, it's never too early to start thinking about your sweetheart for Valentine's Day!
Happy first day of Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas from orenji catering!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a safe, peaceful, blessed, and happy Christmas.
Please enjoy these beautifully peaceful winter pictures taken during a recent trip to New York state to visit family.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Packaging...

This year at orenji catering, we filled many orders that required shipping across the country. We were, of course, happy to oblige. Our packages were wrapped in a variety of festive holiday ribbons and boxes, carefully packed, and shipped. There is nothing like opening a package of fresh baked goods at the holidays to know that someone cares!

We packaged many types of treats this year, from desserts and pounds of assorted holiday cookies:

... to gift towers containing a selections of some of our favorite treats:
... to smaller boxes, containing chocolates, truffles, dipped fruits, and other delightful confections:
Festive boxes, delicious treats... a perfect tradition for the holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Cookies... again!

Last year on comparing apples and orenji we spent 31 days describing each of the cookies we made for the holidays. This year, we created 36 varieties... and we will gladly highlight the "new flavors" in a future post.

As you can tell, we have been busy this holiday season, which explains the delay in some of our posts. To our faithful readers, we apologize for the sporadic posting...

Coming, beginning on December 26th, "The Twelve Treats of Christmas." We will post 12 of our favorite treats prepared this holiday season-- many of which have not yet been reviewed on this site. So, be sure to check back every day to see how we've been spending our December!

Wishing you all peace during your hectic holiday preparations!

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Holiday Desserts: Pumpkin and Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake...

Our coverage of some of our favorite holiday desserts prepared during the fall and winter holidays continues with a focus on a delicious and beautiful cheesecake we created for Thanksgiving. We had a request for a pumpkin cheesecake, but wanted to update it a little-- put an "orenji twist" on it!
We have always thought that bittersweet chocolate compliments the flavor of pumpkin deliciously, so we decided to combine the flavors in a decadent and smooth cheesecake.
We started with a chocolate crust, on which we spread a dense and smooth Belgian bittersweet chocolate cheesecake layer.

On top of the bittersweet chocolate layer, we poured the pumpkin cheesecake filling-- prepared with roasted sugar pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Smooth and creamy, and somewhat lighter in texture than the bittersweet chocolate later, the pumpkin was the perfect compliment to the cheesecake base.
To finish the dessert, we attached hand painted bittersweet chocolate leaves to the sides of the cheesecake. Eye catching and delicious, all reports indicate that this dessert was enjoyed tremendously by our friend and client's guests at dinner.
More holiday desserts to come. Keep reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Caramalized Pear Tart for the Holidays...

Here at orenji catering, we love pears. Pears are perhaps our favorite fruit. We bake with them-- pies, tarts, scones... We cook with them-- preserves, chutneys... We use them in candy-making-- caramel pears, chocolate dipped dried or candied pears. Basically, we can't get enough pears!

This tart, baked for a customer for their holiday table, started with a simple brown sugar crust-- crispy and flaky, the perfect vehicle to showcase the delicious sweetness of the pears.

Prior to baking, we caramelized the pear slices delicately in sugar, butter, and vanilla-- heating them over low heat until their excess moisture evaporated and the natural sugars turned a deep caramel color. This caramelized pear filling with the base for the tart.

We then layered thin slices of pear over the caramelized filling, brushing each piece with sweet creamery butter and sprinkling the tops with demerara sugar for sweetness and luster.

The end result was a deeply flavored, and beautifully glittery caramelized pear tart. We wrapped it up for transport... and are told that it was a delicious ending to a wonderful holiday celebration!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Delicious Spiced Pumpkin Scones...

We have recently been receiving many orders for breakfast and brunch-type pastries (see previous post regarding our delicious vanilla, pear, and crystallized ginger breads and muffins). Our favorite of the breakfast pastries here at orenji catering, however, has to be the scone. Scottish in origin, scones are bread-like breakfast snacks that are generally made with wheat or oats, and leavened with baking powder. Slightly sweet, and quite moist when they come from our kitchen, they are a delicious way to start the day... and the perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee!
The scones pictured in this blog are spiced pumpkin-- our favorite. We started with sugar pumpkins, which we roasted in the oven to gently caramelize the sugars in the flesh. Once roasted and pureed, the pumpkin was spiced with fall and winter spices-- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and fresh ginger. Along with vanilla, these flavors contributed to a deliciously moist scone!

We're told by the friend and customer who ordered these particular scones that the intention was to bring them to family for the holidays... but they never made it that far!
A simple vanilla-infused confectioner's glaze adds contrast and a slightly sweet flavor to the scones.
More holiday desserts and pastries to come. Be sure to keep checking back!