Love Is In The Air

Love is in the air

Summer is the perfect time for a wedding. That’s why the saying, “A June Bride” is so appropriate. As you plan your very special event, there are so many things to consider.Cantu’s Culinary Creations has been catering weddings for quite a while and we know how to make your special day even more amazing. Weddings are full of tradition but where did those traditions come from? Let’s look at a few to find out.

The Bachelor Party

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Well it turns out that this tradition actually dates back to the 5th century B.C. The Spartans were the first know civilization to celebrate the Groom’s last night of freedom. They would throw a raucous party complete with wine, food and questionable entertainment. Interestingly enough, they took precautions to water down the wine so that the groom would not have a hang over the following morning.

The Diamond Ring

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Historians believe it was during the time of Pope Innocent III in about 1214 A.D. that the ring became a sign of betrothal. The pope instated a mandatory waiting period between the time of betrothal and marriage. Couples began wearing a metal band around their finger to signify their intent to be wed. Interestingly, Archduke Maximilian of Austria was the first person to put a diamond set in a ring. During the Renaissance period he gave a diamond ring to his betrothed Mary of Burgundy.

The wedding ring, worn on the third finger, came about because the ancient Egyptians believed the vein in that finger went directly to the heart.

The White Wedding Dress

Queen Vic

It was Queen Victoria who started the tradition of the white wedding dress. She commissioned her gown for her upcoming union with Prince Albert in 1840.

The Best Man Tradition

Best Man

This one stems out of a barbaric tradition that dates back to 1200 A.D. where a famous roman named Romulus threw a lavish party for the people of Sabine and then kidnapped all their women. The tradition of kidnapping the bride continued up until The Marriage Act 1753, (full title "An Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage", popularly known as Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act) Wikipedia

Prior to the Marriage Act, however, the groomsman who was the most adept at kidnapping the bride to be was often named the Best Man, and as such, entitled to stand next to the groom during the wedding ceremony.

Tradition of Throwing the Garter

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Strange but true. In the early 14th century, it was common for the wedding guests to fall upon the bride in a throng and literally tear the clothes from her body. Not sure what purpose that served, but in an effort to detract the guests from such lewd activities, the bride would remove the garter from her leg and hurl it into the mass of salivating young men as a way of placating their lusty intents. That tradition continues today, not the tearing off clothes part, thankfully.

Origins of the Honeymoon

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In ancient Norse traditions, the bridal couple would retreat to a secluded private location for 30 days. The family would bring them Honey Wine every day during that period, the location kept secret to prevent unwanted intrusions. That tradition has been carried forward to this day.

There are many more traditions that are remnants of a romantic era long past. Whatever the traditions you enjoy, your catering needs can be satisfied by our expert chefs at Cantu’s Culinary Cuisine. We can prepare any cultural experience you would like. Just give us a call and schedule a free consultation to find out what is possible for your big day.

Blog design by: RLJ Online Marketing, LLC

Mr. GreenJeans

GreenJeans

Hello, Mr. GreenJeans here and today I’d like to talk a bit about my favorite subject, greens. What exactly are we talking about here? Well, certainly not the kind you find on the golf course… heh, heh, just a bit of garden humor there. But seriously, I am always providing Chef Cantu the freshest and most exotic types of edible greens imaginable. Perhaps you’ve noticed in the meals you’ve ordered. Greens add a bit of zest to an otherwise dull meal.

First, let’s discuss why greens are so important. One of the main benefits of eating a healthy diet, supplemented with plenty of greens, is that it maintains and supports:

Vision -That’s right, the old Eyeballs. Greens, in particular, Kale, Dandelion (What? The weed?), Mustard Greens and Swiss Chard are all good sources of Carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Healthy Bone Growth - If greens have a slightly bitter taste, that is actually a good thing. It means they are packed with Calcium, essential for healthy bone growth. Did you know a ½-cup serving of Dandelion greens contains 78 mg calcium? Or that mustard greens have 55 mg? Finally, Swiss Chard has 54 mg and Kale has 49 mg. Now that’s a lot of Calcium.

Reduced Cancer Risk – Studies have shown that dietary consumption of vitamin rich greens like Kale, Swiss Chard, Brocolli, and Cabbage, as well as many others, have been shown to decrease risk of Colon Cancer as well as other types of cancer.

Well, if they are so darn healthy, why do we have such a problem eating them? Perhaps it is because we haven’t tried them. To familiarize ourselves, let’s look at some of the green varieties briefly.

Kale

Kale - Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. Curly-leaved varieties existed along with flat-leaved varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian Kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales today. Russian kale was introduced into Canada and then into the U.S. by Russian traders during the 19th century.

dandelion root 1

Dandelion – So many of us are accustomed to seeing this valuable plant as just a weed. Oh the humanity, Dandelions have lived with this awful stigma their whole lives. When will it end! Did you know that every part of this annoying lawn intruder is edible? That’s right. From the root to the flowery yellow bulb at the top and it’s full of nutrition as well. Cantu’s Culinary Creations has not opted to serve this particular green in their menus, but its value as a nutritional supplement is worth noting.

swiss-chard

Swiss Chard - Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World's Healthiest vegetables. It is also one of only three vegetables that we recommend boiling to help reduce its concentration of oxalic acid. Slice leaves 1-inch wide and the stems 1/2-inch wide and boil for just 3 minutes. We only recommend eating the stems of varieties with white stems; colored stems are very tough. (source: The Worlds Healthiest Foods)

Spinach

Spinach – If it’s good enough for Popeye, it’s good enough for your table. Many people cringe at the mere mention of spinach but did you know that it has a myriad of uses? Many include spinach in their favorite smoothie recipes. It is virtually tasteless and adds a plethora of nutrients that are essential for good health.

In summation, if you are concerned about your health, as we here at Cantu’s Culinary Creations are then it’s time to take a hard look at luscious greens. Greens, there not just for dinner any more. Here’s to healthy living and loving the foods we eat. Bon Appetite.

Graphics and Content by RLJ Online Marketing, LLC

Farmer's Market

Farmers market

Few things are as refreshing and nostalgic as a good old farmer’s market. Long ago, and continuing through the years, farmers growing our nation’s food resources have been frustrated by third party distribution and government regulation over their efforts. Often the prices given for their crops barely covered the enormous costs associated with growing them in the first place.

Farming is an enormously expensive undertaking. So much so that just one bad year or lack of rain can literally put the independent farmer in jeopardy. Farmer’s markets were born out of a need to control the channels of distribution. So, in an act of true American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, brave farmers bucked the commercial system and took their wares directly to the buying public and a tradition was born in the process.

chickenWhat is the draw to a farmers market? There are many benefits. Freshness of product, getting in touch with the grass roots production process, and just feeling a comradery of spirit with those who still dare to take on mother earth, demanding her bounty. Unfortunately, our society has changed dramatically over the years.

We have made extraordinary leaps in technology. People have crowded to the urban jungles of Wall street and Silicon valley seeking employment in many diverse fields, all far removed from agricultural peachespursuits. Interestingly enough, a large percentage of the population today have no idea where their food supply comes from. This disassociation comes with dangerous consequences. It creates a vast gap that nefarious concerns exploit to our detriment.

Tainting our food supply with Genetically enhanced products and pesticides that can destroy our very lives all done as humanity blissfully travels to the supermarket to buy nutrition and health. Thankfully, over the past few years there has been a resurgence of activity and interest in getting back to our basic roots.

The Farmer’s market is a time machine to the past, a time when people cared about quality. A swift rap of the knuckle on a ripe melon, peeling back the husk to reveal luscious yellow corn; that is the allure of the market today. Salt Lake is again hosting the annual farmer’s market in pioneer park. What a great adventure it is to take the family and hear the sights and sounds of the bustling marketplace.

The time is rapidly approaching. The Salt Lake Farmer’s Market is now in it’s 25th year and opens for business again on June 11th of this year. Mark it on your calendars.

Chef Daniel Cantu will be there along with all the local farmers and vendors who continue the farmer’s market tradition. For more information go to the Farmer’s Market Website.

Written and designed by - RLJ Online Marketing, LLC

Something's Fishy Here

Somethings fishy

Cantu’s Culinary Creations uses exotic seafood selections from around the world in their home delivery cuisine. Sometimes, however, it might be difficult to pick a dish if you know nothing of the origins or types of seafood being offered. Not to worry, This blog article will help you wade through the seemingly endless choices that await your discerning palate.

Since the dawn of time, it seems, man has been looking to our oceans, streams and rivers to supply an endless supply of culinary delights. Different cultures display an array of varied and exotic aquatic offerings to tempt the appetites, not to mention the curiosities of their patrons.

But how, amidst this plethora of delectable offerings is one to know just what is right for them? Who knows? Certainly, this blog article won’t solve the dilemma; we’re just trying to talk about seafood dishes. Let’s dive (pardon the pun) right in shall we.

Aquatic cuisine can be categorized into several classifications. There’s Seafood of course; the definition being all edible cuisine derived from Earth’s oceans. Then there is Fresh water cuisine being defined as all edible sources from Earth’s myriad of streams, lakes and rivers.

We can define the classes further by separating the seafood into various categories, such as, Mollusk family, consisting of Snails, Mussels, Clams etc. then there are the Crustaceans like Crab, clams, lobster, and the like. There are also the various categories of fish, some exotic some not so much. We won’t attempt in this article to address them all, only those species that you might find on our culinary menus. So, let’s begin shall we?

Starting off our list of who’s who in the fish world is the tasty yet oft times misunderstood Grouper fish.

Grouper-FishGrouper Fish - Young Atlantic goliath grouper may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers. They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths of up to(8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb).

Grouper is typically caught off the coast of Florida and has a white and lean meat with a mild sweet flavor. The meat is firm with a heavy flake and remains moist after cooking. We never use any food sources that are not harvested in accordance with acceptable conservation efforts, fully supporting the efficient and ethical harvesting or our oceans bounty, and so Grouper, being an ever decreasingly available resource, is a true treat when it is available.

shrimpShrimp – There are many health benefits to the shrimp delicacy. They are extremely high in protein, low in calories and provide a wealth of nutrients including Selenium, which aids in many of the metabolic pathways and may help treat prostate cancer; ongoing research is exploring the relationship between low selenium levels and coronary heart disease. (Top 5 Health Benefits of Selenium ~ Newsmax)

Over 75% for vitamin B12, over 50% for phosphorous, and over 30% for choline, copper, and iodine. And while we don’t typically think of animal proteins as sources of antioxidants, shrimp contain two types. In addition to being a mineral that plays a role in immunity and thyroid function, selenium is an important antioxidant that helps fight damaging particles called free radicals, which damage cell membranes and DNA, leading to premature aging and disease. Another antioxidant, called astaxanthin, which provides the primary color pigment in shrimp, has been shown to help reduce inflammation, a known trigger of aging and disease. (Seven things you should know about shrimp – Health.com)

TilapiaTilapia - Tilapia is probably the oldest farm raised fish in the world. Stories from biblical scholars suggest it was the fish used by Jesus to feed the crowds at the Sea of Galilee. Today, over 80 nations produce farm-raised tilapia including the United States. China is the largest producer accounting for over 50 percent of the world’s production.

There are many different species of tilapia. Aquaculture producers have developed various breeds or hybrids that grow efficiently to market size and have desirable appearance and flavor characteristics. The approved market name for all varieties is ‘Tilapia’, and the three primary species in the marketplace are Nile or Black tilapia, Blue tilapia, and Mozambique or red tilapia. Although the species names imply different colors, the edible fillets or portions are very similar and more influenced by growing conditions and feeds than external colors.

Tilapia is a hardy herbivorous fish that feeds on algae or small aquatic plant cells, and is primarily raised in freshwater systems using cages, ponds, raceways or open waters. The water conditions in the farming operations have an important impact on product quality and taste. Tilapia has been called the “aqua-chicken” because of the breeding improvements and mass production methods that evoke comparisons to the land based chicken industry in the United States. Organic production methods for tilapia have been developed and some producers are seeking official recognition for their products. (Seafood Health Facts)

rockfishRockfish - has a sweet, mild flavor, with a flaky, medium-firm texture. It is best baked, sautéed, broiled or poached. Since the flesh tends to flake easily, it is not the best fish for grilling.

Rockfish are carnivorous fish inhabiting all seas and especially abundant in the temperate waters of the Pacific. Rockfish are found among rocks and reefs. Of commercial importance are the black and orange rockfish and the Boccaccio of the Pacific coast and the Rose fish also known as red fish. (RockfishEncyclopedia.com)

Well there you have it. Those are some of the aquatic entrée’s you may find on your Culinary Cuisine menu. Take advantage of the opportunity to sample all the fine seafood offerings to be had a Cantu’s Culinary Creations and Catering. Happy Dining.

Blog post researched and graphics designed by RLJ Online Marketing, LLC

Asparagus Anyone?

asparagus-2

Asparagus Anyone?

How much do you really know about this Green stalk of goodness? Well Let’s take a little Quiz Shall we?

Asparagus 101

(Write Your Answers Down)

1. When did Asparagus come into being?

2. What civilization is credited with its initial cultivation?

3. What does Asparagus mean?

4. Name a few different types of Asparagus?

5. What are the nutritional qualities of Asparagus?

6. Why is Asparagus considered an Aphrodisiac?

For the answers, I’m afraid you’ll just have to read the rest of the blog (I know, it’s a cheeky way to coerce you into reading our blogs, but we’re shameless.)

Asparagus Historical Roots (pun intended)

Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, as well as a tasty side dish because of its wonderful sweet earthy flavor and diuretic properties. In ancient times, over 2000 years ago, the Egyptians cultivated the plant for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans enjoyed the delicate young shoots as well; in fact, Emperor Augustus created a special fleet of barges for the sole purpose of transporting the asparagus from the fields to the marketplace. He named it the “Asparagus Fleet”.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, used asparagus to treat diarrhea and pains of the urethra. This plant, in fact, contains asparagine, known for its diuretic properties. The Romans enjoyed the many health qualities of Asparagus as well. They ate it as a standalone entrée and as a vegetable side dish to compliment the myriad of aquatic dishes in their cuisine. Asparagus was virtually unheard of in Europe and Britain during the middle Ages but continued to be cultivated in the Middle East. Caesar’s legions brought it north as they returned from voyages to the Asiatic region, where it began to gain acceptance.

The origins of the name Asparagus hail from the Persians. The Romans and Greeks continued to use the Persian word, which was "Asparag" which being interpreted meant shoot. This eventually gave way to the term Sperage, which was in use for many years. As early as the 16th century, peoples in Europe and Britain used the term Sperage for the green vegetable. The working class peasants referred to it as “Sparrow Grass". During the 19th century, Asparagus took over about the same time that the cultivation of asparagus started in the United States.

Varieties of Asparagus

There are many different varieties of asparagus. Some are:

product 2444Backlim - Holland. A late variety useful for extending the season. Recommended for glasshouse production of both white and green asparagus with thick spears of good size and excellent flavor. Compact foliage.

purple AEros - Italy. Mid-season variety, which will grow in heavier soils, medium, yield of large spears. Suitable for both green and white asparagus production.

Gijnlim - Holland. Early and very high yielding with spears of medium size and excellent quality. A standard variety for European commercial asparagus growers.

White AGrolim - Holland. An early variety producing a good yield of very heavy spears. Recommended for white asparagus production, and for warm areas, but sensitive to high water table.(Source material from Asparagus Varieties by Mark Rowland)

Asparagus The Love Fruit

How did asparagus come to be known as an aphrodisiac? Well, the shape is certainly a factor! In addition, many of the intrinsic nutritional qualities are linked with aphrodisiacal properties. It is rumored that an Arabian love manual written in the 16th century provided an asparagus recipe, which purportedly was given to stimulate erotic desires. As part of the lily family, asparagus contains plenty of vitamin A and C, which may be contributing factors to this Spanish fly type reputation.

All we know is that it tastes good and we like it. Cantu’s Culinary Creations uses Asparagus in many creative and appealing ways to augment their cuisine. Now, knowing the history, perhaps you will think twice as you down one of those succulent green stalks. Happy dining.

Blog post researched and organized by RLJ Online Marketing, Inc.

Salt of the Earth

Salt image

We take it for granted all the time but how often have you really thought about where our Salt comes from? Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known about this tasty additive.

  • The United States consumes over 53,300 metric tons of salt each year. Now that’s a lot of salt.
  • Back in the Roman Empire, soldiers often were paid in Salt. That’s how the term “Salary” came about as a derivative of the word Saline.
  • The human body requires salt to live. Each of us has about 250 grams of salt in our bodies, that’s equivalent to a box of salt. 
  • Anciently, salt was used to ward off evil spirits.The Japanese would sprinkle salt on the stage before a theatrical performance to ward off the evil spirits..
  • At one time, salt bars were the currency of the Ethiopian empire. 

The salt refining process: Salt begins life as Brine. Brine is a highly concentrated solution of water and Sodium Chloride (NaCl). Prior to evaporation, the brine is treated with chemicals to remove the trace minerals, labeled as impurities. The chemicals used to refine salt include sulfuric acid or chlorine, yummy! After the chemical bath removes all the “impurities”, the water is evaporated under high compression and heat. This process radically changes the molecular structure of the salt. As a final step, virtually all of the moisture is removed from the salt to yield the granular product we know today as table salt. At this point the salt has a varied color and so manufactures bleach the salt to turn it to a pure white color. The thought was that it would sell much better that way. The resulting salt product is then laced with iodine and sold to the world.

In contrast to refined salt, unrefined salt contains much more than just sodium and chloride. Unrefined salt contains all of the elements necessary for life. Celtic Sea Salt (Light Grey) contains 33% sodium, 50.9% chloride, 1.8% minerals and trace elements and 14.3 % moisture. Table 2 shows the major contents of unrefined Celtic Sea Salt. Unrefined salt does not contain appreciable amounts of iodide. See a breakdown of the minerals and elements Here.

There are a few different methods for salt production. Dehydration and Mining.The problem with dehydration is that the salt brine comes from our current oceans. With the problems of pollution in the air and water, this process is less than desirable. Oh the salt is safe, however it has been highly processed by chemicals in order to get rid of the contaminants.Evaporation

Mining salt, on the other hand, utilizes residual saline resources left behind by ancient seas. These ancient seas were free from modern day pollutants and contaminants. The resulting salt bring requires none of the invasive refining chemicals and delivers all the minerals that we need to live healthy lives. There really is a difference! Natural Earth Salt comes in various colors due to the elements and minerals from where it is mined.

For example, Salt Mines of Pakistan

the salt mines of Pakistan yield a beautiful pink rock salt that comes from the minerals found there.

At Cantu's Culinary Creations, we would never use anything that wasn't nature's pure product. Taste the difference for yourself. After trying natural sea salt you'll never be satisfied with regular refined salt again. So when it comes to salt, white is not the preferred color. Namaste.

Graphics and post content created by: RLJ Online Marketing, LLC

Dishes of Ireland

Dishes of Ireland 
America, land of opportunity and diversity. We, as a nation, are by our very nature a land of eclectic variations. As early as the 18th century, people have been compelled to seek refuge on the shores of this great nation. Some of the earliest of these were those from the small northern island of Great Britain. Why did they come? What drove them to risk everything and hazard the fierce and unyielding great expanse of the Atlantic ocean?
For many, it was the call of freedom. Freedom from religious oppression, or political domination. For others it was the promise of wealth and prosperity. The stories of the new world brought visions of gold and ample land to yield to the plow. Such was the case for many of the Celtic region of Ireland. 
As we recognize the festive time associated with St. Patrick’s day, let’s look at the people and especially the unique cuisine they brought that would shape and mold America into the diverse nation it has become.Let’s look at some of the dishes served in the great nation of Ireland.
 
Black Pudding also reffered to as Blood pudding. blood puddingThis culinary delight, though named Pudding, is really more like sausage made from cooked pig's blood, pork fat, pork rind, pork shoulder, pork liver, oats, onion, rusk (wheat starch, salt), water, salt, pimento, and seasoning (rusk, spices). I’ve tried this and I must say, not one of my favorites, however many find it a tasty treat indeed.
Cottage Pie - Cottage PieCottage pie is a beef and vegetable mixture with a delicate beef sauce topped with creamy mash potato, which has been prepared Au Gratin Style. This dish is very similar to Shepherd’s Pie with subtle differences, mainly the use of lamb instead of beef.
Corned Beef & Cabbagecorned beefA traditional Favorite, especially around St. Patricks Day. Corned beef is basically a beef brisket that has been marinated in pepper corns and various other spices to give it a sassy pepper taste that is wonderful. For more tasty dishes, please visit this list of Irish Dishes
We here at Cantu’s Cullinary Creations celebrate all the great cuisine contributions from the myriad of nations that make up our great nation of America. There is great strength in this diversity and it is our hope that we may come together as a nation and celebrate our differences together. Namaste.

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Prepared with Love

Chef Daniel Cantu

"Food is my passion. Whether I am enjoying a simple but exquisite meal with a couple of friends, savoring some bread and cheese after a hike or just eating a fresh picked cherry tomato and basil leaf. Food never fails to put a smile on my face. It is my goal to provide people with a shared happiness through food. "

Owner and Chef Daniel Cantu

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