Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Valentine's Day Packaging...

Valentine's Day, like all holidays, allows us to be playful with our culinary packaging here at orenji...

For Valentine's Day, we opted for simple and classic-- white and gold boxes with red and pink satin ribbon and delicate blown glass heart ornaments. For other items, we chose cellophane bags decorated with deep maroon Victorian scroll work. Wide white satin ribbon was the perfect accompaniment!

Pictures are worth thousands of words... so we thought we would post a few... Enjoy!

Tea Cookies and Madeleines...

Continuing our review of sweets prepared for our loyal customers at Valentine's Day, we turn our focus to a selection of tea cookies and Madeleines. This selection of bite-sized sweets are perfect for snacks, tea parties, lazy afternoons...
The cookies--each hailing from a different culinary region and highlighting different flavors and infusions-- came together to create a lovely assortment. Paired with our Hawaiian macadamia nut tea cookies (reviewed on comparing apples and orenji during the winter holidays), and our duet of Valentine's Day heart-shaped shortbread cookies (see previous posts), this assortment was a true delight for the senses and taste buds!
The first of the three cookies we will highlight in this post are Italian tea cookies infused with Meyer lemon and vanilla. Meyer lemons are small, sweet, and intense in flavor-- the perfect fruit with which to flavor light and sweet baked goods! These Italian cookies start as a light, whipped batter, which is hand-piped onto baking sheets and gently baked until light and airy. Cake-like in texture, these cookies are then glazed (while still warm) with a cooked tart lemon icing. The tart topping complements nicely the sweetness of the cookie and the earthy vanilla undertones.
Reminiscent of snow-capped mountains, these cookies are certain to impress cookie connoisseurs everywhere! They are perfect for all occasions, from formal tea to snacks and picnics!

The second "cookie" we will focus on is technically not a cookie at all! Rather, it is a small cake, baked in a shell-shaped pan. The Madeleine is a French sweet, whose origin is somewhat lost to history. Said to originate in Comercy, in Northeastern France, this cake has been attributed to Madeleine Palmieur, although it is unclear as to what century she created them. Louis XV of France was said to enjoy these cakes immensely, and may have named the sweets in honor of Madame Palmieur, a well-known pastry chef of the time.
The Madeleines we created were infused with Earl Grey Tea. Paired with the tea essence were flavors of lemon and vanilla, which is customary for Madeleines. Light and cake-like, the robust flavor of tea, lemon, and vanilla made these beautiful individual cakes an instant favorite of our customers!

The last cookie we prepared was a delightfully crisp and buttery shortbread infused with the floral scent of culinary lavender from Hawai'i. These cookies meld shortbread tradition with new flavors, creating an instant juxtaposition of flavor and texture. It is no wonder that they are one of our most often requested items!

Decorated with pink and lavender sugar-- in celebration of Valentine's Day-- we couldn't make these fragile cookies fast enough!

Our reviews of Valentine's Day are nearly done... and just in time! Easter is right around the corner! Be sure to check back!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Valentine's Day Treats...

...and the treats just keep on coming!
2008 brought us some fun and new Valentine's Day treats... among them a variety of heart-shaped brownies!
Last week, we blogged about our triple chocolate brownies with Godiva liqueur truffle ganache. This week, we will focus on our second heart-shaped brownie-- this one inspired by tropical flavors.

We start these brownies with a family recipe, handed down from generation to generation, with a deliciously dense brown sugar caramel brownie base. To this creamy base, we add mounds of toasted coconut, freshly roasted, chopped, and salted macadamia nuts, and smooth Belgian milk chocolate chunks. Tahitian vanilla lends the final high note of flavor to these delectable brownies!
Crackly and crunchy on the top, dense and chewy inside, these brownies are the perfect combination of flavor, texture, and appearance. Despite their size, we bet you couldn't eat just one!
More Valentine's Day treats to come, including a selection of delicate tea cookies, and a new line of hand-poured chocolates! Be sure to check back...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Valentine's Day Treats...

One of our favorite things here at orenji catering is chocolate enrobed graham crackers. Growing up, these were a holiday treat that we looked forward to every year... Now, chocolate dipped grahams are much more commonplace than they once were, available at many cafes and coffeehouses, but we still consider them a special treat.
This Valentine's Day, our goal was to recreate those childhood memories we hold so fondly, taking freshly baked graham crackers with just a hint of cinnamon, and drenching them with the finest, smoothest Belgian milk chocolate.

The crispiness of the crackers, the deep richness of graham flour, the hint of cinnamon, and the smoothness of the chocolate come together to create a culinary experience like none other. Drizzle on some white chocolate and festive holiday sugar hearts, and you have a treat guaranteed to bring back childhood memories-- for children and adults alike!
More treats tomorrow. Be sure to check back!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine's Day treats: heart-shaped shortbread cookies...

Here at orenji catering, we love shortbread cookies-- they are so versatile and easily flavored that they are appropriate for almost every occasion! For Valentine's Day, we created two limited-time special offerings, both in the shape of hearts!

The first of the pair was a deliciously light and crisp shortbread infused with the wonderful high notes or Tahitian vanilla. Rolled thin, these flaky cookies were bathed in the finest Belgian milk chocolate, and then half-covered with freshly toasted coconut.
The deep flavors of the caramelized coconut mingled with the smoothness of the chocolate perfectly complementing the subtle shortbread. Delicious and beautiful!

The second of our pair of shortbread was also cut into heart shapes-- but this time, the flaky shortbread dough was infused with peppermint! The sharp taste of peppermint was achieved through natural peppermint oil, but also via the addition of ground peppermint candies to the dough-- an addition which resulted in a pleasant pink color for the cookies, perfect for the Valentine's holiday!
The peppermint shortbreads were covered with both white and bittersweet Belgian chocolate, the smooth and creamy chocolates balancing the buttery and minty flavors of the cookie.
As with all of our products, simplicity of packaging is important. We think our products should speak for themselves-- not the packaging! White boxes with holiday decoration were our choice for Valentine's Day. Simple, but elegant!
Our review of Valentine's Day 2008 will continue tomorrow, with some more confections. Be sure to check back!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day treats: sea salt caramels...

Our list of Valentine's Day treats continues, with a special look at our hand-crafted sea salt caramels enrobed in milk chocolate.
Smooth, buttery, and creamy, these caramels combine all this is good about sweets, with the subtle earthy saltiness of sea salt-- in this case, pink flaked sea salt from the Hawaiian islands. While our pictures do not do the color justice, the sea salt we used with a beautiful shade of pink-- the salt itself colored by the volcanic-rock when enriches it with a unique and complex mineral taste!

Inside, the caramel combines sweet creamery butter, cream, sugar, vanilla, and of course, sea salt. This delicate mixture is cooked... and cooked... and cooked until it reaches the consistency of smooth, delicious caramel. After cooling and setting, we cut each piece by hand, enrobing it in the smoothest and richest Belgian chocolate. A sprinkle of sea salt on top completes these show-stopping confections!
We sold each and every caramel that we hand-crafted... but looking at these pictures, we wish we had saved some for ourselves! We're confident, however, that we will be making these again soon... perhaps for Easter! Until then, keep checking back, as our review of orenji's Valentine's Day treats continues!

Friday, February 15, 2008

more orenji valentine's day treats...

Here at orenji catering, we are getting quite a reputation for gourmet caramel popcorns... We have posted previously about our peanut butter and milk chocolate gourmet popcorn (a customer favorite, to be sure!). The gourmet popcorn we created for Valentine's Day is infused with the flavors of Hawai'i-- the perfect tropical paradise for couples everywhere!

Delicious buttery caramel corn meets it's match in this concoction. It is first combined with salted and toasted Hawaiian macadamia nuts and freshly toasted coconut. The ingredients are then bathed in the finest smooth Belgian milk chocolate.

In this particular case, the popcorn was liberally dusted with festive pink, red, and white sugar hearts, and then drizzled with Belgian white chocolate for smooth flavor and visual contrast.

Packaged beautifully in festive bags with white satin ribbon, the gourmet popcorn is a perfect treat for that special person. Once the bag is open, we guarantee this tasty treat won't last very long... but hopefully the love and appreciation for your generous gift will!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

more Valentine's Week treats...

Our review of orenji catering's 2008 Valentine's Day treats continues with the first of two specialty brownies created in celebration of this romantic holiday!
Now, nothing says romance more than chocolate... so we set out to create a sinfully rich and decadent chocolate brownie-- deep in flavor, fudgey in texture, but with an "adult" sensibility! The result: our delectable triple chocolate brownies with Godiva truffle ganache.
This creation began with the finest Belgian bittersweet chocolate, dark Dutch cocoa, and finely ground cocoa nibs. From there, farm fresh eggs, creamery butter, flour, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (for a deeper taste), Tahitian vanilla paste, and a hint of both cinnamon and espresso were added to create a dark, rich batter.

Baked in beautiful individual heart shapes, these brownies were already promising to be a new orenji favorite!

But back in the orenji test kitchens we felt that the most sensual of holidays deserved something a little more decadent. And so we created a smooth and creamy whipped ganache topping for our already delectable brownies. Belgian bittersweet chocolate, cream, and smooth Godiva white chocolate liqueur brought our ganache to life, the sweetness of the topping perfectly complimenting the deep and bitter brownies.
Bittersweet chocolate curls completed these triple chocolate brownies, taking them to a new level of deliciousness!
While designed to be individually sized, we think that these brownies would be best shared with that special someone in your life!
Tomorrow is the big day... enjoy yourselves! From all of us at orenji catering, we hope your Valentine's Day is sweet!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine's Week Treats from orenji catering...

Here at orenji catering, we had a very busy Valentine's month. Following publication of our 2008 Valentine's Day Pricing Guide, we were flooded with orders ranging from handmade chocolates to specialty brownies, tea cookies to hand-crafted confections, shortbread to festive krispy cereal treats! It's with this latter item that we will start our review of the Valentine's Day treats we created for our friends and clients to give to their loved ones...
In lieu of flowers this year, we had one friend and client order a dozen "long-stemmed" krispy cereal treat hearts. We were all too happy to take the challenge and create a delicious and beautiful bouquet!

Crispy cereal, vanilla, marshmallows, fresh creamery butter and chocolate candy pieces combined to create that magical taste so reminiscent of childhood! To top them off, we dipped half of each crispy "heart" into the finest smooth Belgian white chocolate, and then drizzled milk chocolate over the tops for textural and color contrast. With some whimsical white, red, and pink candy hearts, these treats were as festive as they were delicious!
We wrapped each heart individually, placed on a long handle, and finished the look with gorgeous pink and red satin ribbons.
Now what Valentine wouldn't enjoy receiving a "bouquet" of tasty treats? Do check back, as more of our 2008 Valentine's creations will be the focus of attention for a few days...

Monday, February 11, 2008

a cozy winter housewarming: sweet endings...

After a brief delay spent preparing pounds and pounds of Valentine's Day treats (more on that later), we return to our coverage of the East coast housewarming we recently catered. Our previous post discussed the savory food, and this post will focus on the sweet conclusion!

Desserts received royal treatment, presented on their own separate buffet from the savories. They ran the gamut from truffles to cheesecakes to tarts to warm caramel apple bread pudding-- delicious on a cold winter's day!

Three individual cheesecakes started our dessert buffet off in high style! Highlighting the winter holiday theme was an eggnog cheesecake with caramelized pistachios. A spiced pumpkin and bittersweet chocolate cheesecake was smooth, creamy, and rich-- the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly complimenting the sweet aromatic pumpkin. Lastly, a milk chocolate and caramel cheesecake was smooth and subtle. Decorated with chocolate lattice work and hand painted leaves bittersweet chocolate leaves, the cheesecakes were both pretty and tasty!

Perfect the holidays, an assortment of cookies met our party-goers eyes. Our famous pine nut and pistachio biscotti drizzled with white chocolate are always a crowd pleaser. Viennese shortbread with mocha buttercream and bittersweet chocolate melt in the mouth! Holiday vanilla and cardamom cookies were dazzling with different colored sugars. And shortbread fingers with raspberry and apricot preserves were both sweet and crumbly, rich and buttery.

Double chocolate fudge brownies and festive krispy cereal treats adorned with bittersweet and white chocolates brought out the child in all present!

Hand-rolled truffles provided the perfect bite-sized moment of intense flavor: white chocolate and orange blossom, bittersweet chocolate and chili pepper, white chocolate and pumpkin, and milk chocolate and garam masala-- Each better than the last!

Next up on the dessert buffet were miniature tartlettes-- these with a chocolate cookie crust, bittersweet chocolate ganache, white chocolate-peanut butter mousse and caramelized bananas. One of our most popular desserts (and most frequently recommended), these tartlettes are equally delicious regardless of what size we make them!

Shortbread crust infused with vanilla played host to macadamia nut praline and French chocolate mousse in these tasty tartlettes. Sweet and buttery, the praline easily stands up to the dark flavors of the light bittersweet mousse!

Fresh peach and blueberry tartlettes with a brown sugar streusel crust completed our trifecta of tartlettes!

Nothing says winter like gingerbread, so we created a delightful brown sugar gingerbread with cranberries and pine nuts-- rich with winter spices and dark molasses, the gingerbread was light and flavorful-- equally as good with a cup of freshly brewed coffee as with a glass of red wine. Miniature gingerbreads (pictured above) were devoured by children and adults alike!

To warm up cold party-goers, a delicious warm bread pudding was served. Full of oven-roasted and caramelized apples, soft brioche bread, and a delicious vanilla-infused custard, the warm bread pudding was smooth, creamy, and decadent. Topped with a warm whisky-praline glaze and fresh Chantilly cream, it was enough to encourage guests to ignore the savory food and start with dessert!

We think back fondly on the New York housewarming event, grateful to have been a part of such a special day... and here at orenji catering, we look forward to contributing to your next event!