March 22, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

One a penny, two a penny.....

Hello food lovers!
Hot Cross Buns have long been a symbol of Good Friday. There are
also many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns, like giving a piece to someone who is ill helps them recover. These tasty gems are said to protect against shipwreck and if hung in the kitchen, they may protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly! If you are intrigued by Hot Cross Bun history, the internet is a rich resource. If you want to taste one, please give me a call at our kitchen (317) 396-5310 in the next few weeks - I will let you know when they are HOT out of the oven! You can also check our our special Easter holiday treats on our website

My recipe begins with a basic sweet yeast dough to which I add an extra egg and rum-soaked dried currants... but not too many or it makes the bun too sweet. Fresh currants, on the other hand, have a tart flavor which is excellent in fresh fruit dishes, jams and jellies. We use the red currants from our garden to make a garnet hued jelly in mid-summer.

Traditional recipes call for cinnamon powder to be added to the dough, but I find that this retards the yeast. So, I add a bit of aromatic cinnamon oil to my icing. There is nothing quite like these fragrant, soft and spicy homemade buns. The wonderful smell takes me back to my days as an undergrad, working part-time as a baker for the Skonsen Smorgasbord in DeKalb, IL. Master Baker Ross Stone inspired me to learn secrets of good yeast baking. During the Lenten season, I would turn out hundreds of Hot Cross Buns! I have such fond memories of Easter baking.

Sharing a hot cross bun is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if you repeat
"Half for you and half for me,
Between us two shall goodwill be."

Wishing you good digestion!

Chef Alan

March 17, 2010

Easter Treats from our kitchen

Hello food lovers!

Ahhhh...spring is in the air! We have finally put winter behind us and it will be time to plant the garden soon. My annual list of Easter Treats has just been posted on our website. These special items are available at our catering kitchen -- we kept an old bakery case from our early years at 10th & Emerson. We try to work around our catering schedule to bake up a storm just before the special 'food' holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas). It's a labor of love!

We miss the weekly contact with our neighborhood bakery customers, so this is a good way to see everybody from time to time! We do get special orders from all over Indianapolis and the surrounding counties. People tell us that it's a nostalgic treat to make a pre-holiday sojourn to ALAN'S kitchen.

You can get all of the ordering details on our website. If you have any questions, just call us at (317) 396-5310.

We wish you & your families a very Happy Easter celebration!

Chef Alan

Lipstick Butter

Hello food lovers!

Here's a new twist on 'rolls & butter' that we sampled at the Catersource Anthology party.

Brioche Buns with Lipstick Butter

Inside sources tell me that several people pocketed an extra souvenir from the buffet line. Wouldn't you love to see their reaction when they reached for that cute souvenir chapstick a few hours later? Makes me think this culinary idea needs a re-think before it hits the midwest market...

Wishing you good digestion (always better with laughter),
Chef Alan

March 16, 2010

Anthology Overview - Catersource 2010

Hello food lovers!

We have just returned from our annual sojourn to the Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in vibrant Las Vegas for 4+ days of learning and networking, exciting events, real-world applications of the latest trends, techniques and ideas in catering. Lots of 'classroom' time -- great speakers and demonstrations! I was even able to join a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen facilities at The Venetian Hotel.


Tuesday evening we attended ANTHOLOGY, a special Catersource food event designed to ignite our imagination. There were over 125 menu items presented in spectacular fashion at the Grand Ballroom of Bally's Hotel. It was truly a feast for all the senses!

In the center of the ballroom was an enormous round buffet that sprouted a living centerpiece in the middle: a combination of larger-than-life design and live performers. This was a New Traditional Buffet— chafers, carving stations and all—divided into three different looks with the same menu to give you multiple presentation ideas.

en It Rains featured umbrella tables holding a multitude of delicacies served up on plates and vessels made of pressed leaves.
The plates are made only of fallen leaves, steam, heat and pressure, so they naturally biodegrade within two months after use. We found them to be very sturdy and would hold-up well in a variety of uses.

The rainy-day environment was complimented by Cirque du Soleil performers and the Living Champagne Chandelier - suspended showgirls who pour champagne from there's something different! A clear, plastic umbrella held the disposable champagne flutes.

We spotted the Nitro Bar across the room where, through a fog-filled environment, "mad scientists" were conjuring up salad dressing pearls and mixing them with tasty treats. One of Betsy's favorites was an unusual twist on Fruit Cocktail made with Assorted Chilean Fruit and Twix Croutons with White Chocolate Balsamic Dressing, sprinkled with Peanut Butter Powder

There are so many things to report, but I must sign off for now. Betsy has included this rather campy photo of me with the ladies who passed out menus for the Anthology event. What's a Las Vegas Party without Showgirls??

A convention of caterers in Las Vegas makes for an exciting networking, learning experience. With future entries, I will write about some of the other aspects of this fascinating event.

Wishing you good digestion!

Chef Alan

March 5, 2010

Ta da!!
Welcome to our blog for Alan's Catered Events!
We are launching this on the eve of our website makeover, created by Betsy, our CEO/Event Manager (and my wife). There are new menus, b-e-a-utiful images, and lots of info.
Please check out our new layout at

Chef Alan