Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 Oregon Wine Experience Recap

From L to R: AZ crew members Jesse Hobart, Awna Zegzdryn, Johanna Hobart-Crane, Ana Byers and Kassia Zegzdryn.

The AZ Catering & Event Planning crew had so much fun participating in the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, produced by Asante.  We served meals to approximately 1000 people in two days and had the time of our lives doing it.

The evening of Wednesday, August 19th, we paired twelve different appetizers with tastings of various medal-winning Oregon wines.  Hands down - the Jalapeno-Corn Fritters with Honey Butter were the crowd favorite, with the Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers w/ Cambazola & Fig Jam coming up a close second.

The Miracle Auction and Salmon Bake on Saturday, August 22nd was a winning dinner collaboration with Smithfield's and the Coquille Tribe.  It was the best possible way we could have kicked off our busy fall season, working with other amazing professionals to raise over $500,000  for the Children's Miracle Network.

Fresh salmon donated by the Coquille Tribe,  baking on cedar planks over an open fire.

Organic Corn &  Zucchini Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Lime Juice, Cilantro and Garlic Chive Oil, 
with beautiful flowers from Fry Family Farm!

Refreshing Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Feta Cheese and Fresh Mint- yum!

Farmers Faro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Sausage, and Parmesan Cheese.- AMAZING!

Monday, August 17, 2015

2015 Oregon Wine Experience

Taking place August 17th -the 23rd, the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience will be a huge fundraiser, sponsored by Asante to benefit  the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).  Last year the Oregon Wine Experience (previously know as the World of Wine Experience) raised nearly $300,000 to benefit the CMN.  This year, the goal is to raise $500,000 in funding for the programming, with ticket prices to the individual events coming in at $200 apiece.   AZ Catering & Event Planning is involved as the lead culinary event planner and the head caterer for TWO of the main events out of the week.

Pretty much, we're feeding 1000 people in the next seven days...  

Our first event is on Wednesday, August 19th.  Chef AZ and her crew will be serving a wide array of appetizers at the Medal Celebration and Barrel Auction.  Taking place at the Bingham Knoll Schoolhouse in Jacksonville, the event will announce the Silver, Gold, Double Gold and Best of Show winners out of the participating wineries.  The 425 anticipated attendees can taste the winning wines, participate in a barrel auction and an auction of custom crush wine futures as well as enjoy a delicious menu (below).

Medal Reception & Barrel Auction
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Appetizers Paired with White Wines
Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad tossed w/ Red Wine vinegar, Feta 
Cilantro over Fry Family Greens served in Mason Jars (cold)

Creamy Gazpacho Soup Shooters w/ Chive Oil Garnish (cold)

Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs w/ Fresh Horseradish (cold)

Grilled Pesto Chicken Skewers (hot)

Appetizers Paired with Red Wines
Willow Witt Goat & Pork Meatballs w/ Honey-Garlic Sauce (hot)

JalapeƱo-Corn Fritters w/ Honey Butter (hot)

Chorizo Stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon (hot)

Rosemary Crackers w/ Cambazola & Fig Jam (cold)

Decadent Chocolate Brownie Bites
w/ Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting & Fresh Berries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes

Meyer Lemon Tartlets

On Saturday, August 22nd, we work closely with the amazing Coquille Indian Tribe and Smithfield’s of Ashland for the Miracle Auction and Salmon Bake (also in Jacksonville), the largest fundraising event of the week.  550 guests will enjoy a buffet of delicious, wild, cedar-plank-grilled salmon will be provided by the Coquille Tribe, served alongside a slow-roasted beef brisket and pork loin prepared by Smithfield’s.  AZ Catering will serve five amazing side salads, coordinate the delicious desserts donated by various vendors from around the valley and work with volunteer event staff.  Donated bottles of Gold Medal-winning wine will be available on all tables.  Such a collaborative project involving so many skilled participants can only mean one thing:  an epically fabulous meal (menu below).  This is the first event of its kind in southern Oregon and will be a truly unique experience.

Coquille Salmon-Bake & Miracle Auction
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Prepared by Coquille Tribe
Port Orford King Salmon

Prepared by Smithfields Restaurant
Maple Smoked Cedar River Brisket
w/ Pickled Fennel

Roasted Carleton Farms Pork Loin
w/ Peach Relish

Prepared by AZ Catering & Event Planning
Lemon-Garlic Bean Salad w/ Organic Spinach, 
Shaved Garlic & Fry Family Farm Heirloom Tomatoes

Sweet Corn & Zucchini w/ Roasted Red Peppers
tossed with Lime Juice, Garlic Olive Oil & Cilantro

Roasted Beet & Caramelized Onion Salad w/ Croutons, Rogue
Creamery Blue Cheese, Candied Walnuts & Kale 
tossed in a Balsamic Reduction

Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad over Arugula

Farmer's Farro w/ Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onions, 
Shaved Parmesan & Sausage

Assorted donated desserts from Local Restaurants

Donated Coffee by Good Bean Coffee of Jacksonville

We are so excited to work on such a dynamic and multi-faceted project.  It takes an incredible amount of effort to pull off such a huge event by many dedicated people in our community.  Chef AZ has worked as a volunteer with the Asante Culinary Committee on this project since February with a wonderful assortment of industry professionals, from local restaurant owners, to winery managers and is honored to be one of the brains behind the scenes.  Please stay tuned: pictures of this AWESOME event soon to follow....

2014 Oregon Wine Experiance at Bigham Knoll, Jacksonville OR.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cheese Festival 2015

Burlap.  Watering cans.  The “Old Farmers Almanac.”  Who would have thought that these rustic elements could all be combined into a “look” for fabulous, multi-course meal in a beautiful hotel… 

Event planning presents all sorts of wonderful challenges, one of which is deciding on design elements that express the essence of the occasion in a fun, cohesive, and elegant manner.  This was the 4th year that AZ Catering & Event Planning coordinated both the annual fundraising dinner for the Oregon Cheese Guild and the 11th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival on March 13th & 14th, 2015.  The dinner was held at the Inn at the Commons in Medford, OR and the main Cheese Festival happened next door to the Rogue Creamery in Central Point.  Dinner was catered by Larks at Inn on the Commons.

This year, AZ Catering & Event Planning designed a look that incorporated the feel of the “Old Farmers Almanac” meets elegant 4-course plated meal, in many different elements, including all of the signs, menus, and table numbers.  Playing off the idea of a farm during spring, we added masses of brilliant daffodils and miniature watering cans filled with wheat grass for both color on the tables and party favors. Attached to each watering can was a bag of magic beans etched with the words Oregon and Cheese.  If planted, the words are inscribed on the plant’s central bean as well - a bean with a message, how fun!

Miniature watering can and magic beans at each place for a guest-favor.  So cute!

Working closely with Oregon Cheese Guild members and local wineries, we collaborated in crafting a menu with the chefs at Larks.  They created a delicious feast for us and we had the joy of creating the graphic design look of the printed aspects. 

So.  Much.  Fun!

An amazingly delicious menu with perfect wine-pairings!

Second course: Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with Hannah Cheese from 
Ancient Heritage Dairy.  Yumm!

Table numbers a la "The Old Farmers Almanac."

Signage to help guests check in and find name tags.

We love working with the Oregon Cheese Guild on this dynamic and creative project.  Every year presents a new twist and every 'look' gives us the opportunity to step out of the kitchen for a bit, and use our skill set in a totally different way.  We're definitely looking forward to next year already...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

First Wedding of 2015- What a Fun Menu!

We have our first wedding of the season coming up and we couldn't ask for a better way to start.  The happy couple are planning an incredibly elegant wedding in Williams, Oregon with a delicious menu to match:

Passed Before Ceremony
Hot Chocolate & Hot Cider

Available throughout event
Hot Chocolate, Cider, Coffee & Tea Bar

Appetizers - Passed
Roasted Tomato-Basil Bisque Shooters w/ Greyere Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Endive w/ Sweet Chevre, Honeyed Pecans & Pomegranate Seeds
Crostini w/ Feta Parsley Pate & Shaved Radishes

1st Course- Plated
Organic Baby Spinach tossed w/ Roasted Garlic Olive Oil & a Balsamic Drizzle topped w/ Bosc Pears, Cranberries, Toasted Hazelnuts and Shaved Red Onions

Main Course- Plated
Deconstructed Boeuf Bourguignon
Cabernet Sauvignon Braised Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Crimini Mushrooms, Carrots & Pearl Onions & Crisp Bacon Garnish

Fresh Italian Loaf w/ Roasted Garlic Butter located on each guest table

Palate Cleanser - Plated
Lemon Sorbet served in Lemon Shell with optional float of St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur 

Dessert – Buffet Style
Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate
Chocolate Covered Strawberry
Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

We will be working with a fabulous team of Rogue Valley professionals to help make this party one that the guests will never forget:  Event coordinaton by An Inspired Affair, DJ/lighting from Sights and Sounds Unlimited, bar service from Hidden Jungle, flowers by Penny & LuLu, photography by Lahana Marie Photography, cake by Sugar Rush Bakery, valet & limo by Main Street Tours, live music by Musica Melodia, hair by Troy Brown Hairstayling and videographer from Lotus Motion Pictures.

Congratulations to Savannah & Tyler on your happy day!  

PS..Photos of all our fabulous food to follow shortly!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Planning a Wedding? Time to Snap Up the Caterer.

January and February are our busiest months for booking wedding clients.  While it is important to hire a caterer that fits the couple and the event, the search does not have to be painful.  We at AZ Catering like to sit down with a couple for an initial chat (it usually takes about an hour) with the bride and groom.

Here's what you can expect us to discuss.

  • We ask about the venue.  Is it in a beautiful winery?  A charming childhood home?  Off the grid, in the middle of a majestic forest?  AZ Catering can cater to any of these locations and so many more.   
  • We ask about style of service desired.  Buffet?  Family-style? Plated?  Whatever style suits the event and the couple works for us.  
  • Most importantly, we ask about menu ideas.  Every couple can tailor a menu to exactly what they want to eat on their happy occasion.   Fried chicken AND a fancy-dancy taco bar?  Of course!  A meal that is completely gluten-free or vegan?  Easy!  A couple wants Grandma's famous curry?  AZ Catering loves to take a favorite family recipe and fix it for a hundred people. 
We create a perfect recipe out of your answers and craft a delicious menu for your unique event.

There are still a few available weekends on the AZ Catering calendar and we look forward to discussing your wedding feast.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

JPR Wine Tasting Only 9 Days Away

It is that time of year again- the 34th annual Jefferson Public Radio Wine Tasting & Silent Auction is just around the bend!  This is the eighth year that Chef Awna is involved in both planning the event and providing delicious food.  Platters of all sorts of yummy bites provided by AZ Catering will be circulating through two floors of fabulous wine vendors and live music.  Come on out to enjoy a great party and support public radio.  For more information check out this link:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Apple-Cranberry Upside Down Cake, Our Favorite Recipe of 2014

Apple-Cranberry Upside Down Cake took the, well, the cake!  It is especially great topped with whipped cream and even more decadent with a drizzle of some bourbon sauce.  Happy baking!

Cake for hundreds at the 2014 KS Wild fundraising dinner.

Apple-Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated - now an AZ Catering Original Recipe © 2014

Will make 12 large portions (cut 3 x 4) or 15 smaller portions (cut 3 x 5). 

12 Tbs. Butter
2 c Brown sugar
3 lb Granny Smith apples
2 Tbs. Lemon juice
1 lb Cranberries

3 c Flour
1 Tbs. Baking powder                                                  
1/2 Tbs. Table salt

2 c Sugar
1 c Brown sugar
6 Eggs
18 Tbs. Butter, melted
1 ½ c Sour cream
1 Tbs. Vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray 9 x 13 pan extremely well
  3. Prep fruit: 
    1. Halve apples from pole to pole.  Remove cores and stems etc.  Cut ½ the apples into ¼” thick slices; set aside.  Cut remaining apples into ½” thick slices.
    2. Heat butter in skillet.
    3. Add ½” thick apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, 4-6 minutes.  Do NOT fully cook apples.
    4. Add ¼” slices, brown sugar and lemon juice; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are coated, about 1 minute longer.
    5. Transfer apple mixture into prepared pan.  Press lightly into an even layer along with cranberries.
  4. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt); set aside.
  5. Whisk white and brown sugars together.  Add eggs and whisk well, until thick and homogeneous.  Slowly whisk in melted butter until combined.  Add sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined.
  6. Add flour mixture to wet and whisk until just combined.
  7. Pour batter evenly over fruit in pan.  This insures the fruit will stay in a layer on the bottom of the pan and not mix into the batter.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 30-45 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, or with very few crumbs.
  9. Cool pan on rack for 20 min.  Run paring knife to loosen sides.  Invert cake.  Let cool 20 min.
  10. Cut into pieces and serve.