Monday, May 20, 2013

Crafted, Crafted, & Crafted.

We are already half way through May, where did the time go!? Since my last post, we had visited Maui for 10 days, Chelan for a weekend getaway, and have officially launched Crafted at the farmers markets. This past month has been a little bit insane. During Maui, which was supposed to be my "relaxing" trip, I was the busiest bee filing applications, talking with health department, finalizing menus, and ordering packaging for Crafted. While my stress was at an all time high, the storm has passed and we are now smooth sailing!

Last summer, I was just day dreaming of what is now Crafted. Kirk and I went out in our front yard, had a bottle of wine, and watched the stars (Woodinville is really amazing for star watching FYI). We started talking and planned some goals that we wanted to hit by the year mark, June 2013. The goals were to have a couple of wholesale things going (which we did with Dirty Bucket Brewery and Liberty) and to be in three farmers markets. 

Getting in farmer's markets during the summer as a dessert co. is actually quite challenging. It's challenging because at each market, they only allow a certain amount of vendors in each category. With the baked goods category, there are usually only 2-6 companies welcomed into the market depending on how big the market is. Being in our first year also welcomed new challenges since I didn't have seniority over other vendors. I had to wait six awful weeks until I heard back from the Department of Agriculture to get one final permit before I could even finish applying to the markets which helped bring my stress to an all time high. I heard from them the day before Maui so you can imagine how crazy that day was meeting with them, heading to my commercial kitchen for inspection and yada yada yada. Crazy. Long story short, we were finally accepted into three markets :) Crossroads, Duvall, and Juanita. I was accepted into Juanita while we were in Maui, and Duvall a couple days after returning home. Proud to have met our first round of goals, now on to the next! What's next you ask? Launching our dessert of the month club, as well as getting more wholesale accounts. I will keep you posted, of course.
First day at the market!
Another shot of our booth. Our booth has one side of  baked items and the other side has all of our packaged items. Also side note, Kirk built my little chalkboard to right. Precious.
Some of our baked good items: Brown Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cocoa Nib Brownies, and our Itty Bittie's. Our Itty Bittie's is my take on classic candy bar flavors. I hand dip each one in Organic Theo Chocolate. The one pictured is "Snicker's".. peanut butter nougat, salted caramel, dipped in 70% topped with roasted peanuts.
Packaged items include our caramel corn line, mallow line, ganache's, s'mores kits (with house graham, mallow, and a jar of chocolate ganache), and our Brown Butter Caramels. 
Close up of our Peanut Butter Ganache (made with 45% Theo Milk Chocolate) and our Classic Ganache (70% Dark). And the lovely Brown Butter Caramels. 

We have now finished two weeks at the markets and it is getting easier every time. My stress level is down, and I have a normal schedule once again. And I am not staying up till 2 AM labeling and packaging product anymore, so that's always a plus ;)

A website is coming soon, but in the meantime make sure you "like" Crafted on Facebook.

I will keep you updated as the weeks go on with all of Crafted's exciting developments. Thank you again for everyone that has helped with Crafted along the way, it means the world. xxo.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring! Yes.

Oh my gosh. I am so happy spring is here! We have been pretty darn busy with social activities, family birthdays, and oh yes.. my gardening ish. 

For Easter we had over Kirk's parents and sis Angela, and my parents and sis Shawna. Always a fun group if I do say so myself. I had made a sweet + savory casserole (thank you very much Pinterest) a couple side dishes, and had my mama bring over her traditional potato dish and fruit salad.. I am obsessed with both. Kirk's mom brought all the goods for a mimosa bar.. because mimosa bars are the best.
 Kirk and I decorated eggs the night before, making one for everyone using their nickname for their table settting.
If it wasn't obvious enough.. Hulk is for Kirk's dad, Bryan and Furby is for Kirk's mom Lynn.
Mimosa bar. Love that Lynn had made labels for each juice. Such a little cutie.
 My savory casserole. Bacon, hash browns, chives, cheese, and eggs. Yes. Amazing.
Asparagus tart: puff pastry, goat cheese, prosciutto, and asparagus.
Carrot cake for dessert. I think in this picture it is hard to tell, but this is literally one of the ugliest cakes I have ever made. The recipe I use is fairly large, and I just wanted to make a 6" cake so I  halved the recipe but somehow was totally spacing out and added the full amount of oil. So it was so so soft (not terribly a bad thing) but there was no way I would have been able to cleanly cut through the cake and properly fill it. So I had to just pipe the cream cheese frosting around it. Kind of funny. Kind of.

After everyone had left, Kirk and I went on a neighborhood walk and discovered my first tulip had bloomed! In October I had planted oodles of bulbs so I was pretty darn excited when the first one decided to bloom for us.
I'm realizing this is a bit blurry (darn Instagram). but still, I love.

NOW today.. 4/16.. this is what looking down our driveway looks likes:
Yes. I am obsessed. And proud. When fall rolls around I will definitely be finishing the second half of the driveway so it is like a mini tulip festival over here!

Speaking of gardening.. In March I had started my first round of seeds for some vegetables for the summer.. since we are headed out for vaca manana and my little seedlings desperately needed to be transplanted I asked Kirk and John if they could build me a garden bed. Luckily they are the best and amazing and built a beautiful cedar one for me!
Today I planted what was necessary. Isn't it pretty!? I am thinking we will be needing a second bed though.. hopefully the boys will help me again because God knows using a power saw just isn't for me.
On Sunday we got together with Kirk's family to celebrate his birthday and his dad's. We hosted dessert, Bryan requested a "lemon meringue with strawberry ice cream". I wanted to jazz it up a bit, and since I had been doing TONS of testing for Crafted and had lots of treats around, a ice cream sundae bar made the most sense. The final dessert was meyer lemon ice cream with topping choices of - brown butter graham crumbles, salted pretzel crumble, pie crust crumbs, meringue, strawberry vanilla preserves, and just added some extra treats like cocoa nib brownies and salted pretzel mallows for good measure. 
See.. Heinrich's love ice cream sundae bars. 
OH and my 6 week old baby nephew Crew was there. Isn't he cute!!?
Oo.. oo.. I can't forget! Earlier this month my darling friend Ruthann and I threw a surprise birthday party for Kirk and her husband, Brandon. I was able to get some pictures of them printed on sugar. Presh.

Lastly, for the typical Crafted update.. things are going well! We finally have ALL.. yes ALL of our permitting done. Anyone else in the industry knows that it is quite the process and takes a very long time, and you are kind of just sitting waiting.. and waiting... So I am quite pleased that it is all done! I am sending out a couple applications tomorrow for farmers markets, so send some good vibes my way please :) The treat above is my take on Snicker's. More info to come soon on that exciting little line.

Okay everyone, that's all I have for you now, but soon I will have more. We leave for MAUI tomorrow!! Aloha!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The rest of NYC.. oops!

Oops... I totally forgot to add the rest of our NYC trip from the end of January. I never said I was good at blogging..

Well, I can't not write about my birthday dinner at wd~50 so I will cover that and throw in a few gems that were left out!

For my birthday dinner, Kirk and I had went out on our own, and went to wd~50. I had been wanting to go there for YEARS. I knew it wasn't going to be the best meal of my life, but I am totally intrigued with chef/owner Wylie Dufresne's style. wd~50 is considered New American, and he also uses some molecular gastronomy in his dishes. We didn't splurge on the huge tasting menu, but went for the option of each picking 2 (dishes) for $25.
Our drinks. Mine on the left, which I totally forgot what it was. I failed to take a photo of the cocktail menu. I'm thinking it was some gin/citrusy something or other. Helpful, right? Kirk decided on his usual Manhattan. If you can see, the brandied cherries were literally just flat jellies which had a little cocoa oil. We thought they were interesting, and liked both.
My first dish was squab, tomato hummus, pickled turnips, and tzatziki. This dish was SO good. If you see that little ball on the left, that is the tomato hummus that they had fried. Why hasn't fried hummus been on more menus? The crackers on top was the tzatziki element, which was packed with flavor. And the squab was cooked perfectly. We had first experienced squab at the Herbfarm during their game, fowl dinner and I can't believe I hadn't tried it sooner!
This dish was crab toast, saffron, kaffir-yogurt, and arare. We both thought this dish was good, but the crab was served cold, and there is just something about cold crab that I can't get on board with.
This dish was Wagyu flat iron, mushroom jerky, grape, and verjus. I was obsessed with this. It was so interesting and had made me think how creative they were with the elements. I mean mushroom jerky?! It was so good. As I am looking at this picture now, the mushroom kind of looks like a little squid haha, but trust me, if you tried it you would probably eat a whole bag of mushroom jerky.
Our final dish was cod, smoked mashed potatoes  pickled mushrooms, and red pepper oil. I am not huge on seafood, but Kirk encourages me to try it whenever we go out somewhere "trustworthy" (somewhere I know, where they know what they are doing.) The cod was cooked perfectly and it made me start to question why I don't order more seafood dishes for dinner. The smoked mash potatoes were exactly how they sound, AMAZING. I need a smoker so we can start smoking our potatoes. If you are lucky enough to have a smoker, you should probably start experimenting with this, you'd be the star at your dinner party.

wd~50 certainly didn't disappoint and if you are curious like we were, go in for just a couple dishes to try them out without having to splurge on the whole tasting menu (which will run you over $150 each)!

After dinner, we stopped by a random Brazilian restaurant for caphrinias. Random I know - but perfect drinks nonetheless!

Some other fave parts of the the trip...

 Spencer had taken us to this Asian spot on the Lower Eastside that when I lived there, would ALWAYS walk by this place and wrote it off. I was SO wrong, and am not mad that I didn't take advantage of this spot.
 John being John. 
 Best part of this place was after your meal, they give you a cup of sugar you get to spin into cotton candy!
See! Look at me go. I need a cotton candy machine. 
 Yes, I was with these rascals for four days straight.
 We walked the High Line. The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side. It is a mile in length, we didn't walk the whole thing, but it was sure pretty. And lucky for us the sun was out! Yes, that is John to the left of the photo.

One of my favorite spots was Eataly in Chelsea! It was AMAZING. This Italian marketplace has EVERYTHING! Want gelato? Check. Espresso? Check. Fresh handmade pasta? Yep. Beer garden on the rooftop? Uh huh. Wine and cheese bar? Check check. I could keep on going.. this place was just incredible. You could spend HOURS there. I was mad, we had gone there after a meal so we weren't hungry but it was  so much fun to look at, if you don't go there when visiting - you are making a huge mistake.
 Fresh bread
 Fresh handmade pasta. I had bought a couple to make at home of the butternut squash ravioli, veal ravioli, and spinanch and ricotta ravioli. They had SO many more than what is shown.
The rooftop "Birreria". We had a drink up here and it was so lovely, I can only imagine during the summer what it would be like.
 This was their seafood counter. SUCH GORGEOUS PRODUCT. They also had a whole little octopus for sale, darn I missed that picture!
 We stopped at Milk in Brooklyn. I love Christina Tosi (owner/FCI alum). I bought a couple cookies, her crack pie, and some corn flake frozen yogurt. Yes it was freezing, but I had to. 
 We met up with my friend from high school, Frank and his girlfriend Stacey. So good to see them!
Walked through Chelsea Market. Also a must. So many places to eat and sample from. Yum. Town.

Well that wasn't as descriptive as I would have liked to have gotten about my NYC trip but that's what happens when you write about a trip two months later. OOPS.

Winter (after the Holiday & NYC festivities) was such a drag. I hate how gloomy and cold it becomes, with bare trees and no blooms. It is depressing! I should be thankful that it finally allowed us to "slow down" for a while and get some much need rest. BUT NOW ITS SPRING! The cherry blossom trees are blooming, my tulips that I lined our driveway with last fall our growing like crazy, and the days are longer. I am so excited for April to come. Kirk and I have so many exciting things happening from April on that I am just SO excited. So many trips planned, and some big developments for Crafted as the farmers markets start up! We  got accepted into Crossroads, and the Celebrate Woodinville concert series. If I get into one more market I will be happy, but if I can get into two more, I will be ecstatic! I am hoping I will be able to give you all some happy updates soon! xox

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New York, New York! Pt. 1

We got back from our NYC trip on Sunday night, but I am finally just getting back in my normal routine. Traveling is exhausting no matter what, travelling to somewhere with a time change even more, and since we were in NYC, to say we didn't get much sleep would be an understatement. I'll write this in a couple parts to break it up a little bit, here we go with day 1 and day 2 morning!

Most people know I used to live in NYC when I was going to school. After I graduated the FCI, I decided as much as I loved NYC, I loved Seattle more and decided to move back...but I still missed the excitement Manhattan brought. So I was pretty darn excited when we decided to head back for a visit to see Spencer with John and Steve, exploring old/new things-because let's face it.. there is ALWAYS something new to discover there. It was perfect because our good friend Spencer (who was our officiant at our wedding) had moved to the East Village shortly after I had moved, so we now had somewhere free of charge with a great location to stay at. Even though Spencer has a very spacious studio in NY standards, it was still pretty funny watching 5 adults figure out sleeping space.

Kirk, Steve, and I had gotten in Wednesday night and went to go drop off our stuff at Spencer's. John was patiently waiting since he got there the night prior. We had planned a pretty low key Wednesday night since Spencer still had to go into work the next morning so we settled on dinner and a comedy show.

Spencer had talked about a "unique" burger place in the East Village which sounded pretty yummy. He brought us to Korzo, a delicious place that serves Mittle European comfort food. We walked in and it was a super tiny place, but SO nice. It was full of brick, wood tables, and dimmed lighting. Our server quickly greeted us, and we ordered a pitcher of their house beer. It was technically an ale but was much milder in flavor to me than what I am used to. We all thought it was delicious and went great with our meal. 

 Don't mind Spencer's awkward stare, I was trying to get somewhat of a decent picture of the decor
The boys not paying attention, and also enjoying their Korzo beer. So typical.

The whole table started off with their Klassik Halušky that is petite hand-cut potato spätzle, bryndza (Slovak-style feta cheese), crispy bacon bits, and fresh chives.
I have this problem of going to dark restaurants which than result in poor pictures that don't give justice to the dish. I promise, it was delish.
Kirk and I decided to split their original burger, and I am SO glad we did. It was gigantic. The original has their korzo-blend beef patty, applewood-smoked bacon, allgauer emmentaller cheese, 
korzo organic ale mustard, dill pickle. And as you might be able to tell it is not your typical bun. It is deep fried. But... it's the best deep fried thing ever. Unlike most deep fried foods that make you feel sick after and are super greasy.. this is anything but. It's actually really light. They also have a house beet ketchup that they     serve it with, which was pretty darn good too.
Kirk and I at Korzo...very very full. But happy.

After dinner we took a much needed walk to the Comedy Cellar in the West Village. If you have never heard of Comedy Cellar you MUST go. When I was living in the city I would go weekly for several reasons. One being admission is completely free during the week nights, and two they have AMAZING well known comedians. On two different nights when I was living in NYC and went, they randomly had Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle perform. And with not a bad seat in the house, I don't know what else one could want in a comedy club.
John outside of the Comedy Cellar in my glasses. So. Trendy.

We ended up getting a nice big table right in front of the stage and had some great acts perform. Dave Attell and Judah Friedlander from NBC's 30 Rock was there, along with several other great comedians. Oh Comedy Cellar, you never disappoint.

On Thursday morning, Kirk and I headed off by ourselves to check out some sweet places I wanted to visit.
Our first stop was Payard. We ended up getting our usual order from a bakery: chocolate croissant, eclair, and a macaron. This time we added a ham and cheese croissant too... it just sounded so good.
Ham and cheese flaky wonderful.
Chocolate eclair, and passion fruit macaron.

While everything was delicious it was no where near as good as everything had at Tartine in San Francisco. I am a little snobbish about my pastries, I admit it.

Next we walked down into Soho to find Kee's Chocolates. It was my first time visiting Kee's so I had no idea what to expect. We walked in to a tiny little space with a glass display full of chocolates and macarons. It was very pretty, however they wouldn't let me take pictures. So sad.

We each picked out a chocolate, I had picked passion fruit, and Kirk picked out honey saffron. We also bought a coconut guava macaroon because it was just too pretty to pass up.
Of course, we found the nearest bench and decided it was the perfect time to eat our macaron. It was definitely delicious.

We had meant to find another chocolate shop, but instead got distracted by signs guiding us towards the Brooklyn Bridge. In my entire duration of living in NYC I had never walked on the Brooklyn Bridge (crazy, I know) and Kirk hadn't so we decided it was the perfect time. We were lucky it was so sunny outside, it was gorgeous.
My view from the middle of the bridge looking up.
My pretty Instagram photo of Brooklyn Bridge. SO PRETTY!

After our Brooklyn Bridge adventure, we stopped for a quick bite at The Malt House off of Bleeker Street. They had a great craft beer selection and yummy food. We shared some fish tacos and marched on to a cupcake shop in Greenwich Village called Molly's Cupcakes. We had a decent cupcake and coffee, but what I really loved about their shop was the swings at their bar top!
Cutie husband putting up with my photo craziness.

Pt. 2 to come!