Is That Really a Thing?

This weekend we had the pleasure of serving a meal for a wedding. The decorations were beautiful. The bride and her dress were beautiful. And, since it was an outdoor ceremony and reception at a local county park, most importantly the day was beautiful.

When the bride and I started discussing her meal six months ago, she was in a slight panic. Her caterer that she had originally hired had decided that he couldn’t afford to do catering anymore after a disastrous showing at RAGBRAI last year. Unfortunately, that was the case for a few caterers in our area. Not so much that they went out of business, just that business hadn’t been as expected for such a big event.

In any case, she was frantic to find a new caterer and we had met at the bridal show a couple months previously. She had tried the food, but of course, already had her caterer picked so had passed us by at that point.

Fortunately she remembered us in her time of need.

As we discussed prices and what her budget was, we started throwing out ideas for her menu. We did the usual pork sandwiches, hot buffet, yada yada yada.

Then she asked if we had ever done breakfast before.

A plan started developing for her to serve Brinner at her wedding reception. Yes. It was served at 5:30 in the evening. That is the best part of Brinner…also known as Breakfast for Dinner.

Her menu consisted of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage links, and bacon.

Quite possibly one of the best wedding meals we’ve ever done. It was delicious. It was creative. And most importantly, it was fun.

Remember, this event you are planning? It is your special day. You need to decide what kind of message you want to send your guests.

You want it to be memorable.

Recipe of the Week – Yankee Salad

I spent the weekend in Des Moines with Stacie and while she and her friend were off shopping (my least favorite activity), I spent all day Saturday in the hotel working on paperwork and getting ready for this week’s catering jobs. A far more exciting activity in my opinion.

So I text Mark and asked him to send me his recipe of the week. Yankee Salad. OK? Not one I had heard of before, but that’s part and parcel to this experience for us: to try new things. So we do.

Then Monday rolled around and I took a look at his salad: he had made my favorite salad from our restaurant days!

Without realizing it – by using a different pasta – he had made Frog’s Eye Salad.

OK, technically not. He made Yankee Salad because of the pasta choice in this salad: Orzo. Here’s the recipe:Yankee Salad

The first time our salad lady made her version of this salad (frog eye salad), I was definitely skeptical. But that first taste then was the same as I got yesterday when I put the Yankee Salad in my mouth: Heaven. It was like coming home.

The chilled whipped topping held together by the Orzo pasta puts a completely different texture than you are expecting in your mouth. Then you throw in the mandarin oranges and the pineapple and you have your sweetness factor (I’m a huge sweet-eater) brought to the forefront.

Yankee SaladThis is a thick, heavier salad, mostly because the whipped topping chills and is thickened by the pasta. It doesn’t get that whipped, light taste that you expect a salad with whipped topping to have. I think that’s another thing I like about it, that it doesn’t conform to expectations of a whipped fruit salad.

What can I say? It reminded me of our days in the restaurant and begging Mark to make that salad for me even after we were no longer in the restaurant business.

Choosing A Menu – Hot Buffet Style

Often we are asked to “send me your menu and price list”.  The best part about our catering business is that we have no set menu!  We let you choose what you want and price it from there.  That is what “Creative” is all about, right?

We do have a “fall-back” menu that works well for weddings: our two-meat buffet.  It all starts with a lettuce salad, complete with homemade dressing, plus additional goodies like sunflower seeds and croutons.  Our standard dressings are Ranch, Thousand Island, and French, but we can do other dressings as well if you like.Lettuce-Salad

Then we have vegetables and potatoes.  Glazed carrots are my favorite.  Sometimes people will choose two vegetables to give their guests more options, which is great.  I’m a huge fan of starches, so potatoes and dinner rolls are top on my list too.  Mashed potatoes are real, freshly peeled, cooked and seasoned perfectly for your pleasure.  Depending on the meat chosen with the meal, you will usually get two different homemade gravies as well.  We also do baby reds or cheesy hash browns.

Mashed-Potatoes-Gravy

Meat options for a two-meat buffet include oven baked chicken, roast beef, turkey, ham, or pork loin.  The most popular is pork loin and the oven baked chicken.  Mark cuts the pork loin right on the spot for your guests, which is a nice added touch (and something we don’t charge extra for).  The meats are all seasoned to perfection and melt in your mouth.Chicken-Roast-Beef

Again, this is a fall-back menu.  We love having the opportunity to do fun and different things as well, so make sure to shoot us some ideas as to what you are thinking about as we love to experiment!