Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vegas Bound!!!

The International Catering Association (ICA) is making a huge presence at Catersource Conference this year! Annually held in Las Vegas, we have a huge presence at Catersource Conference, the largest gathering of caterers in the world--8,000 just last year! In our inspiration Zone at the Attendee Lounge, members can browse marketing materials from ICA caterers throughout the world.
Information can be downloaded at "The Zone" or ICA members will find it for free on the ICA website after the conference. Visit This value is priceless!!!

Our mission is to raise the level of the bar in the catering world through education at seminars, webinars, networking, etc. Being on the Board and Chair of Membership Committee is challenging and time consuming (just ask Lori!) but enlightening, educational and the rewards are immeasurable. Being able to brainstorm, problem-solve, interact and share ideas with caterers who are experiencing the same issues is such a bonus in our industry, where people are usually too rushed to ever hang out and "CaterTalk." The ICA is famous for sharing of information with caterers of all kinds everywhere.
This year, ATTC is honored to be nominated for a CATIE Award in its Speciality Cake Category, for an outstanding, "Mad Hatter" cake by our phenomenal cake baker decorator, Lynn. There are several categories of CATIE Awards, all submissions are anonymous and the criteria is quite rigid. It is an honor just to be nominated -- so I'm crossing my fingers for next week. WISH US LUCK!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Delightful Chocolate...

A Thyme to Cook is Crazy about chocolate - in sweet & savory dishes alike. And we have been using this mystery component in mole sauce, as well as chili, beef stew, braised venison and even white fish! Try combining dark chocolate with bacon, pink peppercorns, chili peppers, wasabi, Indian curry, ginger, cinnamon, coarse sea salt, coco nibs or chocolate pearls.

Pictured to the right are two fantastic desserts he tried out last week - yes major diet hazard is working one flight of stairs away from the cookery kitchen! On the left, Grilled Pineapple, White Chocolate Poundcake & next to it Kahlua, Coco Nib Chocolate Tort with Molten Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Pop Rocks. YUM!

And then here is Bill's FAMOUS S'more ENTIRELY dipped in Ecuardorian Chocolate and then Graham Cracker Crumbs along side Chambord Wasabi Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Just perfect on a cold February afternoon.
We just can't forget about all of the other fantastic creations Bill has experimented with lately - Chili Spiked Hot White & Dark Chocolate swirled together in mugs; White Chocolate Pineapple Coconut Triangles with "Absolut" Peppar Simple Syrup; Single Origin Chocolate Truffles with Basil and Espresso Salt; Dark Chocolate & Green Curry "Pearls" on White Chocolate Pot de Creme. And not to forget our tofu fans, here is one to win over your "I don't do tofu" peeps - Bourbon infused Tofu layered with Homemade Caramel & Pecan Dipped ENTIRELY (by now you know there isn't any other way) in Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate and then Lightly Sprinkled with Sea Salt. Way better then a Milky Way! Has your sweet/savory tooth surfaced yet? Give us a call - or better yet, call our CRAZY Pastry Chef, Bill!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Think outside the candy box for Valentines Day!

Chocolates significance as a special gift dates back to the Aztecs; who presented cacao solids to the gods and consumed it only on very special occasions - hence it began to be seen as decadant and forbidden.
Chocolates association with Valentines Day conjurs up the vision of the infamous Russell Stover red paper heart box (which originated in 1888).
But Now!
We know dark chocolate is good for us. It's loaded with antioxidents which helps to get rid of free radicals that do all kinds of nasty things to our bodies. Single origin chocolate is chocolate made with beans from one region (or sometimes one farm) which is why I'm savoring a chunk of Venezuelan Gran Saman with a glass of Jonathan Edwards Winery Napa Valley Dark - a port style wine.
Here at A Thyme to Cook we are always cooking up crazy things with chocolate in our kitchen...tofu & chocolate??? It works! Come back for more great ideas in a couple of days

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nice Neighbors!!

Most of you know that we are neighbors with Allyn Brown, owner of Maple Lane Farms, famous for their perfectly fresh cut Christmas trees, berry and apple picking, and MOST importantly, growing the largest crop of blackcurrants in the country. We try to incorporate as much of his local produce in our menus--but what you may NOT know is that he recently built a huge greenhouse to grow the sweetest, most delicate hydroponic baby butter lettuce! He is currently (no pun intended) supplying Stop and Shop with his tender greens and we are so greatful to have such freshness literally a stone's throw away!

Thanks Allyn!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our Creative Juices are Flowing!

January is supposed to be the ‘slow’ month for New England caterers!? This time of year we develop new menus, establish new guidelines, policies, and training manuals, repair and rejuvenate equipment, brainstorm new ideas, conduct tastings, and attend to details that can NOT wait til the last minute---especially since we are all Type –A freaks and don’t like surprises. The New Year is also crunch time for the International Caterers Assoc. Being on the Board and Membership Chair, I am constantly reviewing data, speaking with new (or potential) members throughout the world and trying to collaborate global interests among these catering companies. Included on my 'list of things to do,' is to create power point presentations to present at Catersource Conference, the annual meeting of 8,000 caterers (from Nigeria to Nebraska,) which takes place at the end of February. To add, Chef Shawn and I are looking forward to doing a joint seminar on new wedding menu ideas and trends in the catering industry; if we don’t kill each other, we’ll keep you posted on our presentation…

In the meantime, we have parties to get out and lots of snow to shovel!

Stay Warm!