Catering Food

Catering Food

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Catering Food

Oh my, back at it again.  I catered a Wedding last Saturday, for a friend, for her brother.  I’m not really catering anymore.  And, once again I am totally tired!  We all are…..Weddings are such hard work.  I’m not sure why people do that.  The expense is enough to just plain kill you and why spend all that money for one day?  I have been married twice, second time happily for 32 years now.  But, I can honestly say….I don’t ever think about THAT day.  The first Wedding was a hippie wedding, in a field, in the early 70’s.  It was a pot luck just like all our pot lucks on week-ends at the time.  Lots of guitar playing, singing, etc. It didn’t cost much, my dress was made from one of those Indian bedspreads all college kids get for Freshman year.  My second Wedding was a bit pricier, 17 guests, married in a home, nice sit down lunch, friends over for drinks and snacks later on.  Not too much expenditure or stress.  This Wedding last week-end had to have cost thousands and the stress level with absolutely everyone was off the charts.  Fun day, but just that, fun day, fini, over, crap all over the yard the next morning to clean up.  Cripes.

Anyway, I made Parkerhouse Rolls for the occasion.  Love those little things.  Personally I could eat a ton of them, just pop in the mouth deals.

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I won’t put down the recipe – it’s a James Beard one from James Beard on Bread – a must have book.

Tomorrow I’m catering, yet again, but this is it!  This one is for an acquaintance whose wife just had big surgery so she can’t hostess the welcome party for her son and his soon to be wife….one of those, yea, tugged at my heart strings.  But, it’s not a real hard one and I’m not stressing.  50 people, easy.  One of my offerings is Mushroom/Walnut pate and of course french bread for something or other.  Normally I make a pate out of Moosewood (talk about 70’s).  It’s a great recipe but kinda time consuming.  I used to have a great one made with lots of walnuts but can’t put my hand on it.  Yesterday I was scrolling along the internet ever hopeful of finding the walnut one and yes, this one could possibly be it.  It is easy, and wicked delicious, perfect texture, etc. 

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I’ll give you the recipe for this much – as I altered everything to suit me.  If you make it you’ll just have to shift down quantities or freeze it.  It’s amazing, great flavor!

Walnut & Mushroom Pate

4 Cups toasted walnuts (toast the walnuts at 350 for about 15 minutes first) – put aside to cool

1 stick of butter & some olive oil melted

6 Shallots chopped

4 Lbs. of mushrooms, chopped, I used half portabellas

8 cloves of garlic smashed

1/2 C. dried parsley

4 Tbs. dried thyme

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. coarse black pepper

1 C. Parmesan/Romano

olive oil for processing walnuts

Melt butter & olive oil in large soup pot, add the shallots, cook till translucent.  Add all the mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook down, stirring frequently till cooked – maybe 15 minutes.  If there is too much liquid (because I kept adding olive oil & butter) put the mushroom mixture in a strainer when done.

Process the walnuts with some olive oil till it’s a thick paste.  Keep adding the mushroom mixture until it’s thoroughly blended and seems the right texture.

Pack into well oiled ramekins, cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours or freeze.

Seriously, cut the recipe in half at least.  I had a hell of a time getting it pureed and then I decided to add more walnuts which was a problem because they don’t pulverize once there is other stuff in there.  You have to get them chopped fine before you add the mushrooms.  So, I ended up re-doing it in small batches to puree again.  I do like the texture and running across an occasional nutty thing but if your going for pate it probably ought to be smooth.

I would eat this sliced on a sandwich.  Ruth tells me I should serve this with a slice of apple or parmesan with a dribble of honey.  I have rye & pumpernickle, skinny bread that I’ll be slicing in triangles with a squeeze of mustard.  But, I may try the apple thing too as that kind of appeals to me.  The color could be weird.

Next week……sewing!  I have a few patterns of clothes I want to make for my California girls..play outfits and nightgowns.  I downloaded a pattern on line from Burda to make myself a dress.  Now that is a “science project”.  I love Burda patterns, simple, German, clean lines.  I used to get the magazine which was FAT, it would come with all the outfits and other stuff and then this pattern sheet inserted inside which had all the patterns layered on top of each other.  To me, it was fun trying to figure out and trace the pattern I wanted.  Very hard.  Now, you can go online, buy the pattern with pay pal, download it and print it out but printers being 8 1/2 x 11 sheets you print out (with my dress pattern) 45 sheets then line them up, tape them together like a big puzzle.  Way more work than normal people want to do but apparently there are people like me out there cause I certainly can’t be the only one!  Goofball.

 

Fall Season of cooking

Geech, the other day as I was hopping up the steps I glanced over at my 40 some odd tomato plants and thought man, I better do something with those.  We do have a lot of green ones but just as many red….that’s a lot of tomatoes.  The reason for so many plants?  Normally I start them in those little square pots, lose most of them to who knows, plant them at about 2-3″ high and nothing goes.  This year I started my pods in the hydroponic deal I have going in the dining room.  I got carried away when I was seed buying – the Christmas Tree store (of all places) had these beautiful packages of seeds, all Italian, gorgeous colors, large format, totally lured me in.  Really, the picture alone on the packet is worth framing.  So, I bought every variety, duh, typical.  Low and behold, they all grew in the pods.  Once I set them in the soil at about 2″ tall I figured that was it they would be gonners.  My friend Janet, the Master Gardener, came over and said feed them – this was well into June (which is probably why I still have green ones), on went the compost, loads of it.  It worked!  All of them grew and man, they are so squished together it’s hard to tell which stem belongs to which.  This time I even pinched off the lower branches so I could see what was going on in there.  Soup material for sure!

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This soup is awesome.  I picked a kind of complicated or rather timely recipe.  It took me most of the afternoon to do all the picking, prep, etc.  I had to go up to the York Corner Farm stand to get some of the ingredients but I wanted to use my cookbook “Love Soup” which is just the best.  It was worth it as it usually is.

I started with a ton of tomatoes.  I did par cook them to get the skins off but then just chopped with a knife in a large bowl so the liquid went with it as I read ahead and saw that water was added at some point so I just used the tomato water instead.  It called for red onion & leeks sauteed ahead of time, garlic, celery, potatoes and a lot of kale.  I’m terrible at measuring so you can see from this picture how much I used randomly.

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With this soup you cook the tomatoes and potatoes for an hour or so and then sautee the other stuff with a few shakes of dried red peppers (hot) and add the kale.  I added some chicken stock in the end.  And, when you serve it I put a dribble of roasted butternut squash oil in my serving.  It didn’t make as much as you would think….1/2 of a soup pot perhaps.  I feel healthy!  It’s like eating a smoothie.  Those biscuits on the edge?  Whole wheat baking powder biscuits with some cheddar cheese grated in….yum, a nice earthiness.

This picture is for my family – we all love these cranberry beans; it’s our childhood thing.  I’ve written this before but here it is again.  My mom loved these so much but couldn’t get them in Florida where she lived as an elderly woman so I would ship boxes of them to her down there when they were in season here.  One day she remarked, in that snarky way, about what a pain it is shelling them.  Duh, sitting in front of the tv shelling beans?  o.k. old lady thing so I shelled them up here and sent just the beans.  A better response.  Moms………

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I have a lot of Lemon Verbena in my garden.  A few weeks ago I was reading about grinding up your herbs with sugar and using them to dust cakes or whatever.  Olive oil Lemon cake is one of my favorite things to make, as is blueberry muffins which I make for other people mostly but, both would be nice with verbena sugar on top I suspect.

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I may have to come up with more recipes this winter.  Anybody want some?

Drat, we’re draining the pool this morning.  I was just swimming in it the other day, loving the fall freshness in the air and actually enjoying the 74 degree water but….it’s cold out now and the pool water is thinking of going south below 70 degrees and that is when I call it quits otherwise I think my heart would stop jumping in that cold water.  Normally I would be wicked bummed about the advent of winter but we left our little boat over in the Abaco’s this year so there is an escape hatch at some point.  Just knowing I can leave Maine is usually all it takes.  Each year I embrace Margi’s theory about how I should “get into winter”; I haven’t mastered that yet but I’m optimistic, perhaps this year.