Pie for Pi…. Celebrating the Uncommon Holidays Rocks

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Richard Branson said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”  Not only is he rich, he’s right – appreciation sure goes a long way as a motivator.

One thing we know is that good food makes people happy and great food makes people motivated.  Whether it’s your employees, clients, school office, volunteers…. they’re your “people” and when they are happy, they are motivated to take care of your business.

There’s nothing we love more than clever….  The traditional holidays are fabulous times to show your appreciation for the “people” in your life; but what we really LOVE is celebrating the uncommon holidays, like Pi Day, Take your Dog to Work Day (we brought doggie bones one year), Earth Day (composting and using compostables), Taco Tuesday (which is every Tuesday as Lori loves Tacos)!   Commemorating an odd-ball holiday is surprising, creates a buzz and who isn’t impressed with out of the box thinking?

Speaking of Pi Day… it’s coming up on 3.14.16

Here’s a super cute idea:  Pie for Pi…. Baked Spaghetti Pie.  We aren’t exaggerating when we say that people rave about our Baked Spaghetti Pie; seriously, people tell us they crave the ooey-gooey, super flavorful combination of five cheeses, alfredo and noodles.  Served with housemade garlic bread and salad, this is comfort food at its BEST!

Oh! Then we stumbled upon this adorable story of a couple starting a life together with Pi.  To them (well, it started with just him), Pi is a REALLY big deal.  Yes, there’s a catering tie-in as the bride was left to plan a wedding in less than a month, YIKES!

Girls Rule! Lori Speaks about Female Co-Entrepreneurship

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March is all about women…. the month is dedicated to women’s history and March 8th is International Women’s Day.  Lori was recently interviewed by Name.Kitchen for their story highlighting the rise in female entrepreneurship (which has increased 74% since 1997!)  Here’s what she had to say:

What encouraged you to make the leap to go into business for yourself?

The general nature of the hospitality industry is a lot like Las Vegas; it never stops.  The industry itself doesn’t particularly allow for quality of life beyond career – entrepreneurship provides us with the freedom of choice to put family, friends and hobbies back into the mix.

Who are your business role models?

Marley Majcher who is the owner of The Party Goddess (a high end Los Angeles Catering firm) as well as accomplished business coach and published author.  I love her because when life has dished out lemons, she has figured out how to make lemonade; she reinvents herself seamlessly and with cat-like reflexes, always lands on her feet.  Oh…she has unbelievable determination and isn’t afraid to let her personality show through her business!

Kimber Lanning who is the co-founder and executive director of Local First Arizona.  In 2003, Kimber and three other local business owners had an unbelievable dream.  Together, they set out to start an organization that would level the playing field for local entrepreneurs within an Arizona economy that was corporate dominant.  Holy cow!  Through networking and serious tenacity, she has accomplished an amazing feat.  Today, Local First Arizona is 2,500 members strong and the largest organization of its kind in the United States. Best yet, you can see the difference in economic diversity and culture throughout the state.

Angela Hughey who is the co-founder and president of One Community, a coalition of individuals and businesses supporting the LGBT equality, diversity and inclusion within Arizona.  Like Kimber and Marley, she is brilliant, fiercely determined and made a huge impact with a state that has a voting record and reputation that lean towards conservative.

What advice would you offer new female entrepreneurs?

Keep the flame burning.  For us, that translates into being passionate about creativity,  every single event (regardless of the size,) our employees (who feel like family,) and our neighbors (the tattoo artists whom we love.)

Don’t measure your success in dollars and cents.

Always support the community.  We know the Local Movement first hand and make every attempt to support local business, charity and pride.  We include our environmental impact in this category.  Of course, we can’t claim perfection but we recycle out of our kitchen and redirect food waste through our partner Recycled City.

 

 

 

‘CRAFT’ a Smile on your Sweetheart

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Woot!  Woot!  Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year.

We are firm believers that sweet nothings like chocolates, daisies, massages and baubles should be given all year long.  What might really hit the spot with your sweetheart is a LAZY, LOUNGY MEAL together.  Hey, one thing I know is that food and well, alcohol (if you drink) always hit the spot.

Check out this EASY, DIY menu that will surely make your LOVE swoon!  Oh!  while we’re at it… if you your sweets loves all things about ALE, check this out!

For the Super Bowl, we created (see the link in red) an activity and guide that would also be a great Valentine’s Day Gift:  A Craft Beer Tasting.  The guide includes everything you need:  instructions, beer sourcing, tasting printables and even food pairings.

Sunday morning brunch…. rolling into an afternoon tasting?!?  Now that’s a Valentine’s Day Celebration!

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Football Fever!

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Of course we are sad that our home team isn’t going to the Super Bowl; but our FOOTBALL FEVER is still burning!  For the love of pigskin we are happy to share our ideas on all things creative and fabulous.  Check out the featured game day menu…. YUM!  Oh!  Best yet, here’s a link to our Hollywood Style Super Bowl Party Guide – we’ve hacked it and with our help, you can nail it!

Don’t forget, we’d love to create a custom menu for you…. whatcha craving?  We’d love to know.

superbowl menu

 

The Gift of a Giggle : A Pinch of Foodie Holiday Humor

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“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”  ~Charles Dickens

Whether you giggle, howl, chortle or maybe even snort, there is no doubt that nothing feels better than an unbridled laugh. Heck, some even say it’s darn good medicine. Beyond the office Secret Santa and Yankee Swap/ White Elephant party, perhaps you might consider the value of wrapping a bit of foodie humor in the stockings you stuff this year.  Note: the links in gold (we chose the color gold as we honor  every holiday tradition.) Even if you aren’t inclined to make a purchase, who doesn’t appreciate the chance to smile inside?

Practical Humor:

Although it’s been on the shelves for years, the parody, Fifty Shades of Chicken Cookbook by FL Fowler will not only have you rolling in laughter, but  the recipes like “Dripping Thighs” and 49 others will  make it possible for you to “dominate dinner.”  Being part of of Lori’s epicurean library, she affirms that the recipes and pictures are fabulous.  Consider adding  Sur La Table’s Pop Up Turkey/Chicken Timer to ensure perfection – how cute is it that the legs pop up when the poultry is  steamy hot –  aka…done?
What’s red, a condiment obsession to many, and named Bon Appetite’s ingredient of the year in 2010?  Sriracha!  The “Rooster Sauce” addict in your life,will surely appreciate never having a sriracha-less meal again with a sriracha2go keychain.  Be sure to print and include The Oatmeal’s  sriracha comic with your gift!

You won’t want to pass on giving the hot tea drinker you know the gift of an adorable Chinese fisherman teabag holder.  Besides a chuckle, they will appreciate the note of zen added to their day while they patiently wait for their teabag to steep.  

Of course, you can’t ignore the coffee  lover – they’ll get a hoot out of a  magical, image changing mug while pouring their cup of joe. For the caffeine junkie, the person where life begins only after a serious java infusion, a mug that informs others of their state of consciousness is perfect!                              

The same person that can’t function before their  second cup may also enjoy the convenience of this  innovative knife that transfers your own body heat to the blade so that you can  easily carve and spread cold butter on your toast.

White Elephant Humor:  

Ahh, the season of the ugly sweater…  these  ugly sweater iced cookies  highlight a fashion abomination,  but does Harry & David produce a single item that is anything but delicious?

Really, is there a more ridiculous gift than Think Geek’s  canned unicorn meat – “unicorns: an excellent source of sparkles.  When unicorns have reached the end of their lifespan, they naturally are drawn to Ireland where they are nursed in their old age by the Sisters at Radiant Farms and fattened on a diet of candy corns and Guiness.”  

Categorizing this next item was a challenge – does an anti-left lunch bag   fit into spoof or practical humor?  Possibly the answer simply depends on the user.  Along with ensuring your lunch hasn’t been snagged by someone in your office, the “accoutrements made with love” sandwich bags are sure to beget a laugh. 

The piece de resistance of foodie white elephant gifts is a mail service where you can ship your friends bacon or enemies glitter.  Literally, you can anonymously ship a glitter grenade  that is guaranteed to go everywhere or if it’s a friend, send them gourmet bacon and it’s not your grocery store variety; rather this stuff is thick cut, hand rubbed with dry-cure spices  and then slow smoked for serious artisanal flavor.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and coinciding stress, we hope you enjoyed our light hearted gift!  Also, we encourage you to treat  yourself to a bit of homemade and delicious that is effortlessly prepared  like  Amici’s Baked Spaghetti!  Leave the work to us!

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The Chef’s Table

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There is no doubt that our executive chef, Miguel Godinez is the lil’ trick in our pocket. Let’s face it, we are in the business of all things food and this guy and his team make killer grub, every single time.  Amici is known for his style cuisine – fresh, authentic and simple, yet flavor packed.  We thought it would be interesting to know what his Thanksgiving day spread looks like and of course, we weren’t the least bit surprised to learn that it’s all things Miguel – classical with his own twist.

Miguel’s Thanksgiving is festive in the most wholesome sense – centered around the food, socializing over the stovetop, and family kickball.  Yes, family kickball and they take it very seriously; the women (even 90 year old abuela, Katalina) wear tennis shoes with their dresses.  With 40 people to feed, it’s not uncommon to have  5+ turkeys, multiple hams and side dishes galore.

Here’s what Miguel is bringing to the table:

The Bird:  or in Miguel’s case, it’s plural – birds.  If you have had the priviledge of tasting meat prepared by Miguel (which is always moist and tender), you will understand why he chooses two smaller birds versus one mammoth 24 pound gobbler.   When it comes to turkeys, bigger isn’t always better – “they spend extra time in the oven and have a tendency to cook unevenly,” says Miguel.  A chef’s worst nightmare is a platter of dry meat.  Miguel bastes his turkey in a blended sauce of pasilla chile, garlic, cloves, onion, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil.  To ensure the meat is of the utmost moistness – Miguel stuffs the cavities with green apples (in addition,  it adds a wine like flavoring.)

The Ham:  Just as the nursery rhyme goes, sweet and spice makes everything nice and Miguel loves a smoked ham with a dry rub of brown sugar and ancho chile.  It’s incredibly easy to prepare as the piggie simply does it’s magical thing while baking.

The Sides: Rounding out his contribution to the the Thanksgiving menu, Miguel adds traditional sides of cornbread, white corn baked with a hearty bit of butter, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, fresh green beans with crispy, caramelized onion, and Yukon gold mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic.

The Desserts:  Miguel’s wife kicks the winning home run with her addition of champorrado, a classic Mexican hot chocolate along side the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies.  Really, can you imagine savoring a steaming clay mug filled with this creamy, chocolate masa beverage that clearly does a bang up job of rounding out the cozy warm feelings of the day?

From our table to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope your day is filled with glow of traditions both new and old!

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 2.07.49 PMRecipe for Champorrado

Don’t let a few of the ingredients intimidate you!  If you are in Arizona any Latino grocery (we like Los Altos) will carry piloncillo which is simply a brown sugar with a slight molasses flavor made from pure, unrefined sugar pressed into a cone shape, Mexican chocolate (best brand is Ibarra), and Mexican cinnamon which in
Mexico is known as “canela,” isn’t actually Mexican at all.  According to the website Cinnamon Vogue, Mexican cinnamon with its soft, easy to crumble texture and subtle, sophisticated flavor is actually imported from Sri Lanka.

 

Unique Tastes in the Feast of Gratitude

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Amici Shares Thanksgiving with a Twist

It’s turkey time! Besides hamburgers and hotdogs on 4th of July, we can’t think of another holiday with more of a national menu than Thanksgiving. Of course, the bird is the center of attention, but heirloom family dishes are all part of the recipe for all things Happy.  Every clan has their own unique expression; for many of us that might be marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, Grandma’s oyster stuffing, Aunt Sally’s infamous green bean casserole with crispy onions and of course, a big, brined herby turkey. But let’s say your soiree is large – being caterers and all things creative, we’d like to suggest that perhaps you might be able to justify serving the traditional array as well as a few turkey day twists.

Three members of team Amici share their gobble worthy takes on Thanksgiving: all things regional, a booze infusion, and a plant based harvest.

Excited by the idea that perhaps the Native American’s were the first “localists,” with their unique ability to live entirely off of the land, Lori decided on a menu that celebrates regional flavors. Of course, the first Thanksgiving would have included a uniquely different array of ingredients than the tastes of Arizona.

Southwestern Showstopper

                                              Southwestern Caesar with Cilantro Vinaigrette                                                                      with cornbread croutons, pomegranate seeds, cumin dusted pepitas

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

Chipotle Whipped Sweet Potatoes topped with Honey Roasted Grapes

Lime Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

Adobo Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey with Poblano Pan Gravy

Jalapeno Scented Cranberry Relish

Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Toasted Cinnamon Marshmallow Swirls

Our young gem, Whitney is inspired by all things boozy. No, she isn’t dedicated to the art of binge drinking; on the contrary, her millennial awesomeness has led her to study! She’s fascinated by the history, subtle flavor profiles and nuances of all things distilled and recently completed her Certification in Spirits (a sommelier, but for alcohol.) Naturally, creating a menu infused with the flavors of liquor is fitting.

Hoppy Thanksgiving


Beet Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese

Brown Mustard Beer Can Turkey

Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots

Scottish Porter Pan Gravy

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Butter

Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce

Jameson Chocolate Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Cider Spiced Apple Pie

Vegetable loving and the resident Amici hippie, Molly is stirred by what is so often challenging for the Thanksgiving Day chef: vegan and vegetarian options. With these dietary choices being the new normal, today, we are blessed with wildly creative recipes and ingredients that even omnivores will adore. Animal products are deliciously substituted with almond milk, olive and coconut oils, vegetable broths, and tofu (amongst many other substitutions.)

Herbivore Holiday


Roasted Sweet Corn Cakes with Vegan Garlic Cream

Sweet Potato Pillows with Roasted Grapes, Balsamic Drizzle and Cumin Dusted Pecans

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Pecan Salad with Greens and Maple Dressing.

Sweet Potato Napolean: Smoky Black Beans, Millet, Sautéed Greens & Vegetable Gravy

Baked Wild Mushroom Pot Pie topped with Scallion Whipped Potatoes

Aromatic Roasted Root Vegetables

Black Forbidden Rice Pilaf with Grilled Sweet Potato, Pomegranate, Pecan and Scallion

Vegan Maple Pecan Pie with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

     Live Coconut & Cashew Cream Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Coconut Milk Whipped Cream