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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year In Review

It was quite a year for Graze Catering. In 2006 I started this little business on a shoestring budget, with no clients, a few contacts, zero advertising, and a very poor understanding of marketing. What I did have was an idea that Walla Walla needed high quality catered food. Good, honest, seasonal, and as much as possible locally sourced food. I think we have hit that mark, and fortunately our clients seem to think so too.

In honor of 2008, I present you with the Graze Catering Index (with apologies to Harper's Index). 2008; the year Graze grew up, from a little-itty-bitty maybe someday business into a real grown up business.

Guests served in 2006 --- 604
Guests served in 2007 --- 3,319
Guests served in 2008 --- 8,053

Number of events 2006 --- 17
Number of events 2007 --- 66
Number of events 2008 --- 83

Number of events 150+ guests 2006 --- 0
Number of events 150+ guests 2007 --- 2
Number of events 150+ guests 2008 --- 11

Number of events 500+ guests 2006 --- 0
Number of events 500+ guests 2007 --- 0
Number of events 500+ guests 2008 --- 3

Number of weddings/rehearsals 2006 --- 0
Number of weddings/rehearsals 2007 --- 6
Number of weddings/rehearsals 2008 --- 18

Farmer's market paninis sold 2007 --- 925
Farmer's market paninis sold 2008 --- 1452

Thanks to all our past and future clients and guests. We look forward to serving you again.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Pops Turns 90

In the last week Walla Walla has found itself bombarded with snow. The patio table at our house is measuring 24 inches of snow since last Saturday. Walla Walla is just not prepared to deal with two feet in a week. (Spokane got two feet in 36 hours! Last January due to the birth of our daughter we were in Spokane for the largest one day snowfall since 1950, 11 inches, and that almost shut the city down. I can't even imagine what things are like in Spokane this week.)

That being said. We provided dinner for 32 guests at a surprise 90th birthday party. When we started cooking it was snowing and when we left for the event it was snowing, and when we left the event it was snowing, and when the last dishes were done and our kitchen was scrubbed... you get the point. Probably a good six inches. Add catering in giant snow to the list, along with huge windstorm, brain melting heat, driving rain, and perfect blue skies.

- Butternut squash, spinach, roasted garlic bechamel lasagna, and fried sage
- Chantrelle and porcini risotto cakes with mushroom ragu
- Green leaf salad, orange segments, hazelnuts, red onion, champagne vinaigrette
- Spinach salad, balsamic roasted onions, almonds, sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese, croutons, balsamic vinaigrette
- Roasted carrots, beets, pearl onions, rutabegas, parsnips, cauliflower, chives, and orange oil
- Roasted baby portabella mushooms, roast red peppers, roast garlic, extra virgin olive oil
- La Brea Bakery baguettes and butter

No pictures of course. Do you think my lovely wife is going to let me take the camera in a snowstorm?

This was our last event of 2008!!! Coming soon the Graze Catering Index. (Basically the Harper's Index)


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Watermill Winery, Seneca Foods, A Neighbor, And A Doctor.

Busy weekdays and a family weekend.

Wednesday we popped over to Milton Freewater for a retirement dinner at Watermill Winery. That is the nicest winery kitchen in town. Scratch that, the best winery kitchen and better than 80% of the restaurant kitchens in town. If you ever need a spot for an appetizer party for like 70 max or a dinner for like 30 max, that is the place.

Thursday we headed to Dayton and did a prime rib lunch for 80 guests. They enjoyed us very much and we are invited back to do it again in 09.
Friday we did a little drop off food for the neighbor's Christmas Party and then headed to College Place to drop off food for a doctor's Christmas Party.

No pictures from any of these events. How lame. So to relax today I made a giant batch of posole, and then took a gussied up picture of a very comfort food dish.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Barrel Weekend

We broke the month of November interlude by serving up a thousand guests for Holiday Barrel Weekend, Dec. 5th, 6th, and 7th. Longshadows was our venue Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during tasting hours. Reininger held their wine club party Friday Night and we dropped off platter appetizers for a house party Sunday.

Hand passed appetizers at Longshadows:
- cheese filled saffron risotto balls and sun dried tomato dip
- crostini with caramelized onions, gruyere, prosciutto bits, and thyme
- crostini with red wine beef ragu, brie, and parmesan
- swedish pancake filled with apple butter and fresh pear (this paired so well with their late harvest reisling)

Platter appetizers at Reininger:
- cheese filled saffron risotto balls and sun dried tomato dip
- puff pastry filled with caramelized onions, goat cheese, and prosciutto bits
- fingerling potato chip, medium rare flat iron steak slice, and blue cheese cream
- italian sausage skewers with roasted garlic marinara
- portabella mushroom skewers with roasted red pepper dip

New Favorite Things:
  • Blue Cheese Cream. Great blue cheese, mixed with heavy whipping cream, then passed through a fine sieve to eliminate any lumps, then whipped with sour cream, a tiny bit of garlic puree, a dash of worstcheshire, salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon. It tastes like the best blue cheese dressing ever, but super intensified, and holds its shape in a nice little dollop on top of a steak slice. It is the perfect accompaniement to nice steak and a crisp fingerling potato slice.

  • Magazine Photos. Lifestyles magazine ran a photo of our riso ball app. Amazing how many guests exclaimed "I am so happy to get to try them!"

  • Apple Butter from Rome Apples. I make apple butter a lot from extra apples. I love the stuff. (Grandma and Grandpa had a saying "He doesn't know sh** from apple butter." It's always cracked me up.) All apples make nice apple butter, but some are a little too tart, or a little too sweet. But there is something about the Romes that make it special. The tart, sweet, and acid all blend perfectly. They aren't so tasty as an eating apple, but perfect for cooking.

Finished the busy weekend off by sharing a lovely bottle of 03 Reininger Cab with my daughter Frances.