Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hardware Harmony

Stuart and Welch had the recent opportunity to team up with Domestic ConstructionPoppies & PosiesClean Wash Letterpress and Lovely Bride to create a theme wedding inspired by objects procured from a hardware store or metal shop.  This ensemble of experts in their various fields brought their unique visions for the theme to the table in a way that fully complemented one another and ended up with a truly inspired, whimsical, fantasy wedding. 

The eye candy of the event would have to have been the creative décor by Poppies & Posies.  The pairing of seemingly contrasting heavy metal objects such as lead pipes and anvils with pretty and feminine florals, created a lively centerpiece certain to amuse and delight guests as well as get them smiling and chatting with each other. 

The understated stationery by Clean Wash Letterpress used simple designs to tie together the literal and metaphorical hardware connection.  Place cards with simple nail outlines and menus inscribed with a handsaw illustrated the couples desire for a down-to-earth shindig that was both thoughtful and complete. 

For our part, figuring out a menu that fit into a hardware theme wedding wound up being quite enjoyable.  I used one element you’d find in a hardware store in each dish, such as a fresh herb salad with “blowtorched” manchego toast, slow roasted salmon with “hacksawed” carrots, roasted cippolinis, and pumpkin vinaigrette, and seared lamb loin with stuffed squash blossoms and “painted” currant compote. 

Though a hardware theme wedding may not for everyone, this event showed even those of us who have done hundreds of weddings that nothing is out of the question.  What one client considers elegant another might find cliché, and what one might find strange another sees as enchanting.  The beauty of planning a wedding is that it is entirely up to the couple to determine how they want to remember their day.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sunday brunch

this past weekend we did a bridal shower brunch for about 30 ladies in an upper east side apartment.   for passed hors d'oeuvres we served duck confit tostaditas, mini crabcakes with apple fennel relish & gribiche, grilled zucchini rolls with marinated goat cheese & prosciutto, spiced lamb loin with fava puree, mint yogurt on homemade pita chips, & grilled cheese with truffle, robiola, and tomato compote.  everything was a big hit including the following buffet. 

panzanella salad
toasted ciabatta, asparagus, shaved red onion, feta cheese, heirloom tomatoes, white balsamic

spice rubbed salmon
fshaved baby fennel, fuji apple vinaigrette

tortilla espanola (spanish omelette)
organic brown eggs, caramelized onion, yukon gold potato

beef tenderloin bruschetta
garlic crostinis, marinated tomato, crumbled gorgonzola, basil

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beautiful Beets

Until about 2 years ago I would have told anyone who asked that the only vegetable I didn’t like was beets.  My mom still tells the story about how she tried to feed me beets (from a jar- yuck!) as a one year old, only to have me raspberry them at her and cover her and the wallpaper behind her in deep red spittle.  

Now that I have my own kids, I’m constantly trying to get them to try new things and we are frequently looking for new foods & recipes to try.  Fortunately, I have pretty adventurous eaters so one day when we went to the Court Street farmers market one fine Fall day looking for a new veggie & I boldly suggested we challenge ME to find a way to make beets that I would eat.  They thought this suggestion was an excellent idea!

 I figured my safest bet was to roast them, since I love pretty much anything roasted, which was a good call.  Roasting  (or grilling!) beets takes the bite out of them and mildly sweetens & mellows them.  If you still aren’t sure and are a vinegar freak like myself, you can also drizzle some red wine vinegar on them to effectively “pickle” them.  My family and I now eat beets on a regular basis, especially when we pick them from our own garden or can find baby beets at the farmers market. 

Over the last two years I’ve learned a few things about both growing and cooking beets, which I’d love to share. 
1.     Growing beets is incredibly easy.  You can plant them very early in the season, from seed, and they require very little care- just remember to thin them early once they sprout so there is room for the bulbs to grow.   
2.     The beet greens are delicious and have a very unique flavor.  Even my kids like them sautéed in just a little grape seed oil, salt & pepper.   Garlic if you’re feeling fancy.
3.     There’s no reason you can’t eat the skins of most beets.  Scrub them like you would a potato & roast. 
4.     If you don’t want the skins on your beets, wrap them in tin foil while roasting them, which simultaneously steams them.  Don’t open the foil until they’ve cooled & by then the skins will slip right off. 

Even if you think you don’t like them, give them a try this way and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Photo credit: Darwin Bell