Tis the Season, for Hot Chocolate!

Looking for an easy treat for your friends or colleges?   Try Creative Concepts NYC Hot Chocolate Bar!

It’s a delicious and festive display of all the fall season has to offer.  Below are some photos of our most recent Hot Chocolate Bar that included spiked hot chocolate, mini doughnuts and a plethora of topping options!

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Make sure to add this to your next gathering!

Heirloom Vegetables

VarietyTomatoes

 

It’s harvest season!
Perfect time to grab the freshest of fruits and vegetables and make some truly delicious and unique dishes. When trying to decide what kinds of ingredients to use in your kitchen, it can be confusing to know what the right choice is. With words like Organic, Hybrid, GMO, Natural, and Heirloom on every sign, how do you decide what works best for you?

This past week, the CCNYC team went to the Union Square Farmers Market to learn a little more about what makes the best produce during harvest season. There was no contest, Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables are the most recommended and delicious selection around. But what makes a vegetable or fruit heirloom?

Generally speaking, it means the seeds are old, at least 50 years. They are in the purest state of the natural plant that we can find today. Because of this, there are some guidelines that all farmers must follow to keep their produce in the heirloom family. Such as, the planets can only be pollinated by natural process (insects, the wind, etc.) and must be planted a certain amount a part to make sure their is no GreenTomatoespossibility of creating hybrids.

The results of all these guidelines are beautiful, diverse, and delicious produce. Lorrie from Rise & Root Farm even said, “All store bought tomatoes taste like cardboard ever since I started eating heirloom tomatoes.”
Because it is a natural process, there is no way to predict what the produce will look like come harvest time. Which is why heirloom’s (especially tomatoes) are a variety of colors, sizes, and textures.

These beauties are definitely worth a try, use some Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables in your next home recipe!

 

Fun Fact:
Seeds are saved from each plant to be used again for the next season, some farms have been using the same seeds since WWII!

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Never Fear Fall is Near

Ready or not, here comes fall!  Whether you’re looking for a cool autumn wedding or the last patio parties of the year, CCNYC has you covered on food, coordinating, decor and more.

Our Creative Director Benjamin Lester has been playing around with some gorgeous fall colors.  Check out this beautiful visual he whipped up for the fall wedding season!  Don’t forget to stay tuned with our Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Linked In, Twitter, and Pinterest, to see what else he comes up with this season.  

Fall-2015-colors

 

The sun is shining and the weather is sweet…

Join Allison Bottomley as she explores summer trends and reveals some of CCNYC’s favorite dishes, décor, and tricks of the trade.

Join Allison Bottomley as she explores summer trends and reveals some of CCNYC’s favorite dishes, décor, and tricks of the trade.

Summer is a great time to spend time with friends and family celebrating the lighter things in life. At Creative Concepts NYC, we plan events all year long, but we can’t help being inspired by the elements of summer.

To get the ideas flowing, here are some of our favorite takes on summer get togethers.

The Americana Barbecue Summer is the season of barbecue and purposefully playing up the inherent kitsch this American tradition is quite fun. Bite-size burgers, pigs in a blanket, and a faux-lemonade stand are some of the ways we love to play with this theme.

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Slider

lemonaid Stand (AOL Event)

lemonaid Stand (AOL Event)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Picnic Get out the gingham! Picnics are a relaxed way to get your family and friends together and outside. We like the idea of a French-themed picnic with quiche, galettes, and clafoutis—all items that that can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature. So, check out these recipes, throw on the gypsy jazz, and head in the park. check out  How to plan a picnic !

Mini Quiche

Mini Quiche

Galettes

Galettes

 

 

 

 

 

Movies Under the Stars-There is nothing more cozy than cuddling up with a loved one in front of a movie, but when the weather is so nice who wants to spend two hours inside?  We suggest moving the view outdoors mixing the feel of a rooftop party with the excitement and comfort of watching a movie. At CCNYC, we love the movie theater theme. Popcorn and candy displays  keep your party simple and fun. We also recommend making these cute popcorn floral containers for a festive décor.

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Candy Station

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Popcorn Floral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiesta Brunch- Piñatas and mojitos anyone?  Ole’! A Latin twist to a traditional barbecue is a great way to add flavor to your summer. We love to change up traditional barbecue for tacos, mini quesadillas, and arepas. Check out this recipe for a great take on Chile-Braised Pork Shoulder Tacos.

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Piñata Scape

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Mini Fish Taco

Food Trend: On A Stick

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Join Allison Bottomley as she explores summer trends and reveals some of CCNYC’s favorite dishes, décor, and tricks of the trade.

Join Allison Bottomley as she explores summer trends and reveals some of CCNYC’s favorite dishes, décor, and tricks of the trade.

Putting bite-size foods on a stick is a terrific way to dress up appetizers and make main courses more cocktail party-friendly. CCNYC has done many skewered hors d’oeuvres for our clients some of our classic favorites include: Watermelon, Mint, and Feta skewers with Aged-Balsamic drizzle, Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Cake Pops, and Ancho-Chili Pineapple Glazed Meatballs (pictured above).

We’re constantly experimenting with new ways to keep our menu exciting and the ‘food on a stick’ craze is one we LOVE!  The food trend is an incredibly easy DIY item for your next soirée. All you need are skewers (bamboo are our favorite and eco-friendly) and a little ingenuity. Spearing small bites adds elegance to a menu item, while also saving on plates and utensils as these nibbles can often be served on a napkin and nothing else.

Photo courtesy of Mattbits.com

Photo courtesy of Mattbits.com

Photo courtesy of Return to Sunday Supper

Photo courtesy of Return to Sunday Supper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve combed the lot for inspiration and have seen everything from a Korean “French Fry-Wrapped Hot Dog” on a stick (courtesy of mattbites) to “Baby BLTs” on a stick (courtesy of Return to Sunday Supper), but the gallery below contains some ideas and recipes we’re most jazzed about.  So, flip through these sweet and savory recipes and get ready toincorporate ‘food on a stick’ into your next party!

For more information and other recipes check out these fun resources:                          Sweets on a Stick                                                                                                               On A Stick                                                                                                                      100 on a Stick

Sweet & Savory Recipes and Ideas                                                                                Savory:                                                                                                                          Ham and Melon Pops                                                                                                Scallion Meatballs                                                                                                      tomato-bocconcini-basil-skewers                                                                                 Sushi Pops                                                                                                                    Pork Belly w. 63 degree egg

Sweet Recipes:                                                                                                      Strawberry Orange Popsicles                                                                                     Peanut Butter Oreo Pops                                                                                               Bite-Sized Baked Brie                                                                                                 Breakfast Pops                                                                                                          Macaron Pops

Obsessed with Chevron!

We have been channeling Spring early this year in thanks to our newest obsession chevron! This fabric has offered the perfect pick me up for some of our corporate events around New York City. The beauty of this new pattern trend is that it really can carry through out all seasons. Benjamin Lester, Creative Concepts NYC’s Creative Director, says “The fabric is a great way to whoop up something that otherwise would be just ‘nice,’ in a cost effective way. I’m loving the color block and chevron splash concepts that have transpired! Really looking forward to seeing where the pattern takes us coming into the Spring and Summer season.” 

Here’s to you Chevron, we heart you!!!

 

 

 

 

Late Night Snack Attack with CCNYC!

Our clients are always loving their selections of late night snacks at events: BBQ, Sliders, Grilled Cheese, Mac & Cheese stations, and so on. People often mention that we are so lucky to be able to snack all the time at events. HA, that is so far from reality of an event for us worker bees! The snack attack happens on the regular when in the event business, but not till after some long days!  The result of our team arriving home late brings some fun ‘go to’ snacks.

Nikki Lazar

Nikki Lazar, CCNYC New Business Development Coordinator, goes to a snack that’s whack, but delish in it’s own way. She loves frozen cinnamon graham cracker and cool whip sandwiches. Nikki says “it all about them being made in bulk and ready to enjoy right out of the freezer, they are especially good in the summer!”

Miguel Urrego

CCNYC Executive Chef, Miguel Urrego, has a snack that is pure delight. Arequipe con obleas, which is Colombian dulce de leche on thin wafers. Miguel does not claim to be a ‘sweets freak,’ but says “it just hits the spot, total comfort!”

Benjamin Lester

The Creative Director, Benjamin Lester is a ‘sweets freak,’ but surprisingly his choice is savory. Toasted english muffin with smashed avocado and bragg liquid aminos (soy sauce). He says, “I like something substantial before sleep otherwise I wake up on the cranky side and no one wants to see cranky Ben!”

Julie Sommers, CCNYC Director of Catering, gets the award for most healthy selection. Her go to snack is yogurt with fresh banana, berries, nuts, and a touch of honey. She says, “…it’s just the perfect light snack and is not too heavy before going to bed.”

Julie Sommers

Creative Concepts NYC’s Local Summer Inspirations

Earlier this year there was an exploration of the favorite tropical inspired dishes of the principal’s at CCNYC. It was such a hit, so here is another common thread, summer inspired dishes and adventures too!
Julie Sommers, Director of Catering
Julie’s most resent summer ‘staycation’ adventure was a short ride away to Island Park near Long Beach. There she found an amazing off the road seafood joint called Peters Clam House. No fuss no muss, but amazing all on it’s own! She enjoyed old standbys: Blue Point Oysters, Cherrystone Clams, and a Lobster Roll. “They certainly were not glamorously served over a bed of ice, but rather a paper plate, but it didn’t matter because they were so fresh and amazing! The Cherrystone Clams had a nice cold sea flavor and the Blue Point Oysters had an amazing sparkle with salinity. Of course, we didn’t stop there, we had to have a Lobster Roll too. We ate so much we had to roll out of the place!” A true summer adventure with some amazing fresh seafood right here in NYC’s back yard!
Miguel Urrego, Executive Chef
Over Memorial Day weekend, Miguel enjoyed some quality family time while camping at Wildwood State Park in Wading River, New York. The annual family adventure involved several other families as well, “…we took over the place which meant the need to feed a ton of people. One of my favorite meals I made was a simple menu with things that were readily available and literally at arms reach, like BEER! We had Beer Braised BBQ Chicken with Garlicky Chinese Broccoli. Very kid friendly and tasty with an ice cold Modelo Especial. I will be making this again and again, it was out of this world!”
Benjamin Lester, Creative Director
Benjamin took the ‘staycation’ to heart and did exactly that. After a lovely afternoon at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens he was inspired to stay in and cook up some of his favorite summer dishes. “It was so hot out that weekend, I instantly needed Watermelon and beer!” He enjoyed a simple meal of Watermelon Salad with fresh mint, Kale Salad with Chickpeas, Pecorino Romano Cheese, with a Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette, and grilled Flank Steak with a dry rub of Pepper and Salt. “It was an evening of breaking out my favorite easy summer dishes and BBQ corn chips and Negro Modelo, of course! It’s official, summer is on!”

Cherimoya, the Best Kept Secret!

By Creative Concepts NYC‘s Executive Chef, Miguel Ureggo

My first experience with Cherimoya was when I was in Ecuador visiting a good friend for his wedding, congratulations Diego and Jaclyn!  As we toured throughout the countryside we stopped by a stand on a dirt road where local farmers and villagers were selling the delicious fruit. Our friends insisted that we try the Cherimoya and bring some for the road.

Cherimoya is a tropical fruit also known by the native people as, “chirimoya”.  The delicious fruit is known to originate from the Andes of South America and is grown naturally in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. It is now harvested through Central America, California, and the Eastern Hemisphere. 

At first, I was a bit hesitant to try the fruit due to the odd rough green appearance. It has a greenish hard cover skin which is not edible, it resembles a fresh artichoke. It seemed like the fruit was unripe and not ready to eat.  The treasure of the fruit is in the inside (when ripened properly) which has a sorbet like texture. Once we split it in half and I took the first bite, I was blown out of this world!! The tasty fruit is known to be a ‘custard fruit’ to locals because of the creamy, fresh and sweet flavors. The flavor is a combination of banana, pear, white peach and strawberry. The fruit is absolutely out of this world, It’s one of the best tasting I’ve ever had in my lifetime!!! Once you have one bite, you won’t want to stop eating the delicious fruit!

 

Creative Concepts NYC’s Tropical Inspirations:

Within the principals at CCNYC are many threads of common inspiration. In hopes of lifting spirits during the cold season it only seems appropriate to share some of our favorite tropical dishes.

Julie Sommers, Director of Catering:

Julie’s favorite tropical dish are fish tacos because it brings her back to one of her first visits to Mexico. Playa del Carmen is where she recalls an amazing taco stand on 5th Avenue, “I’ll never forget that flavor of the first bite years ago! Fish tacos are now a staple and tradition in my kitchen and it’s all about the crispy batter.”

 Fish Taco

w/ Crispy Battered Tilapia, Citrus and Cilantro Cabbage Slaw, Spicy Chipotle Aioli, Small Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Fresh Avocado

 

Miguel Urrego, Executive Chef:

Miguel chose ceviche because it reflects the essence of Latin cuisine. Miguel states that, “Ceviche is a dish that is fresh, light and appealing to my palette. It’s a staple dish served throughout central, south, and the Caribbean region. There are many variations in making ceviche depending on the country, island and/or culture, but the primary ingredient is citrus.”

 Tropical Seafood Ceviche

w/ Gulf Shrimp, Baby Octopus, Manila Clams, Red Snapper, Fresh Papaya, Pineapple, Mango, Coconut Milk, Lemon Grass, Ginger, Fresh Lime Juice and Cilantro

 

Benjamin Lester, Creative Director:

Benjamin discovered this dish while vacationing in Puerto Rico. He recalls, “I was sitting at the bar in the restaurant Santaella, located in the LaPlacita neighborhood in San Juan PR. I was taking in the amazing atmosphere and to my surprise out came White tartare! Buttery and delicious, the asian style sauce complemented the tropical twist on the classic dish. The presentation was stacked and flawless. The dish was so amazing that I ordered it twice!”” The dish was made by Chef José Santaella.

 White Tartare

 w/ White Tuna & Fresh Avocado in Homemade Sesame Ponzu Sauce