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Monday, July 21, 2008


Palmares is a cycling term for a list of great accomplishments. Our version of Palmares.

The note from Kim after the party.


Thank you! I am so glad I found you and cannot wait to refer business your way. You've been so easy to work with and the food was a huge success.

Thank you,


[Funny (but not so funny) Story: Kim was referred to me a number of months ago after a local chef agreed to do her party, then did not return her calls, or emails, then many month after agreeing to do the party, cancelled, by having the hostess tell her on the phone. Ouch.]


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two-fer: Liz and Luke's Wedding, Kim's Mom's 50th Birthday

Team Graze Catering was fully engaged Saturday. A sold out Farmer's Market was followed by a wedding at Carnegie Art Center and a dinner at Watermill Winery.

Liz and Luke, New Yorker's born Walla Walla, tied the knot at Pioneer Park and headed to Carnegie (yes, built with funds from the New Yorker Andrew Carnegie Fund) for the reception. Carnegie is absolutely perfect for groups of around fifty guests. The art is always interesting, the cost reasonable, and the building offers great atmosphere.

Kim threw a party for her mom's 50th birthday at Watermill's tasting room. Which happens to be just about the perfect spot for thirty or so guests.
For both we did a cocktail hour and then simple and tasty buffets. Both menus were very similar so I will just write one and call it the Kim and Liz menu:
- Greens, spinach, orange wedges, red onion, cucumber, toasted almonds, orange vinaigrette
- Israeli cous cous moroccan style, dried currants, figs, and peaches, toasted almonds, parsley, extra virgin olive oil
- Blanched green beans, olive tapenade, feta, and garlic chips
- Chicken roulades, stuffed with dried cherries, shallots, herbs, and chicken, poached and served cold with cherry chutney
- Slow roast salmon with aioli, lemon, olive oil, and salt (so simple, so perfect)
- Slow roast beef tenderloin, artisan blue cheese, piquillo peppers
- Potato tortilla and brava sauce
New Favorite Things:
  • Spanish Tortilla (potato egg cake) with Brava Sauce - olive oil poached sliced potatoes are layered with onion repeatedly in a cast iron pan, browned on the stovetop, then mixed with egg and baked to form a firm, layered potato cake. The piquant brava sauce is the perfect compliment. Incredible re-heated as we did for this group or room temperature.

  • Slow Roast Beef Tenderloin - oven baked, no searing, low 300 heat, resting on herbs, creates an almost perfectly uniform medium or medium rare interior (look mom - no more quarter inch gray outer layer!).
  • Crab Cakes and Cilantro Lime Mayo - do I need to say more?
  • Being the candle for a giant creme brulee cake... Kim's mom blew out the blowtorch gracefully. (Kim if you have a picture of this, please send it)


Monday, July 14, 2008

Angela and Ryan's Wedding

Once again the hectic pace of work stole my ability to remember to grab the camera. Please send us a few pictures Angela. Basel Cellars was our tableau for a 195 guest plated dinner. The weather was close to perfect and the Basel grounds immaculate. There could not have been a better setting for a Walla Walla wedding Saturday.

We did a cocktail hour with four superb appetizers:
  • crostini with white bean arrabiata (spicy beans) and shrimp
  • baguette slice with brie and apple butter
  • duxelle and mascarpone stuffed mushrooms
  • spoons of cucumber, crab salad, lemon aioli, and tobbiko caviar

Then a beautiful salad while a fantastic Frank Sinatra impersonator belted out the hits (Derek Evilsizor).

  • Amity and Welcome Table Farm greens, Ideal Organic beets, goat cheese, candied nuts, and an apple cider vinaigrette

Then three main course options

  • Grilled flat iron steak, caramelized onions, potato gratin, and local vegetables
  • Grilled rosemary chicken breast, garlic cream, potato gratin, and local vegetables
  • Stuffed shell pasta, spinach, mozzerella, and ricotta filled, roasted garlic tomato sauce, parm, and local vegetables

How do you get enough local and beautiful produce to feed 195 guests? Call lots of farmers. Special thanks to Amity for the greens, rainbow chard, and carrots; Welcome Table Farm for the beets and greens; Ideal Organics for more beets; Ron (one Ron in R and R Produce, who is the other? I need to ask) for the zuchinni and more carrots.



Palmares is a cycling term for a list of great accomplishments. Thought I would share two letters we recieved last week. Our version of palmares.

"Dear John, (From the gluten-free nacho dinner)

Thank you again for a wonderful catered rehearsal dinner in Pendleton. The groom declared the nachos the best he'd ever eaten! I, too, appreciate the fresh ingredients, complex and complimentary flavors and creative buffet combinations. We are especially grateful for your attention to detail in assuring a gluten-free meal.

It was a pleasure meeting and working with both you and Emma. Thanks again!

Best Wishes - Peggy Sigler"

"Hi John, (from the Hawaiian/Filipino wedding reception)

I want to thank you and your staff for the wonderful job you all did at the reception. We've heard many comments on how great the servers were and how delicious the food was.

Your staff was courteous and helful and very personable!... (and she talks about guest crushes on the staff)

And you John what can I say! From the get go you have gone over and above any expectations I may have had... (and then she gushes about me, really too embarrassing to post)

Please use us for references should you need me. Thank you again for the fabulous job you did and much success to your business.

Sincerely - Rosie Reynaud"


Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

For Darin and Andy's rehearsal dinner we did a simple backyard cookout for 40 guests. Simple, fresh, tasty. Server extraordinare Cheryl, who has been to quite a few of our events stated "This is my favorite one yet John, it isn't the fanciest, but it really looks fresh and tasty." Fortunately it tasted as clean and fresh as it looked. Forgot the camera so no pictures right now. Darin's sister snapped a couple and promises to email them, so hopefully some soon. Everything was cooked on site, is there really anything better than corn on the cobb right out of the simmering water?

- Amity's greens, balsamic vinaigrette
- Grilled red potato salad, bacon, dijon, garlic, thyme dressing
- Corn on the cobb, lime butter
- Lemon garlic grilled chicken breast
- Flat iron steak and chimichurri

- Dessert: peach, apple, cherry cobbler and Tillamook vanilla ice cream


  • I have been grilling potatoes for years, boiling, then tossing in a garlic thyme chili flake oil and searing and serving with aioli. But this time, on a lark, I decided to boil, grill, then toss in a mayo/dijon/garlic/thyme/bacon dressing. How about that, a previous favorite thing just got more favoriter. (If its not a word it should be.)

  • I don't make desserts. I keep telling myself I don't, then I do something stupid and promise Rosemary a cobbler and ice cream. Wouldn't you know it was pretty great. No more desserts, I swear... well maybe a couple more cobblers.


Darin and Andy's Wedding

Thai Wedding - Check.
Spanish Wedding - Check.
Nacho Wedding - Check.
'Merican Wedding - Check.
French Laundry Wedding - Check.
Vegetarian Appetizer Wedding - Check.

Add Darin and Andy's Filipino/Hawaiian Wedding to the checklist. (stay tuned for August's Indian Wedding)

We were paid the highest compliment a Filipino wedding goer can pay "These lumpia are pretty good... for a white guy." (And the highest compliment possible from our server Anna "Wow John, these are hot-dig-a-liscious." Whitman students... inventing language daily.)

Stone Creek Manor was our venue for 150 guests (their first wedding production ever), as fine a site for a Walla Walla wedding in town. The grounds were immaculate and I believe owner Christine orchestrated the coolest July 4th/5th weather ever recorded in Walla Walla. (weather manipulation fees are very affordable at Stone Creek.)

For the cocktail hour we served four tasty appetizers. Darin's mother's lumpia recipe with a garlic chili vinegar, melon and pineapple skewers with a citrus mint dipping sauce, thai omelet rolls with soy lime dip, and shrimp skewers with cilantro cucumber coulis. One guest offered a server $20 if she could bring him more lumpia when they were all devoured. The fruit and citrus mint was so refreshing it was like a vodka cocktail on a stick. And after countless variations the shrimp has found a perfect partner with cucumber cilantro coulis.

Buffet Menu
  • Amity's greens, veggies, chinese black bean vinaigrette
  • Japanese noodle salad, spicy red peppers, carrots, green onions, cilantro, peanuts, mirin soy dressing
  • Sticky rice
  • Aloha coconut sweet potatoes
  • Thundering Hooves kahlua pork
  • Adobo chicken
  • Dessert - Hidden Valley Bakery sweet biscuits, Klicker strawberries, ice cream, whipped cream

Darin swears the coconut sweet potatoes were the star of the show. (seriously Darin, sweet potatoes?)

"Hi John

Thank you so much for a fabulous catering experience!