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.

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Recipe of the Week – Cake Brownies

For our last Recipe of the Week installment, Mark has opted to make his brownies. We carry these in the food truck every day and, not gonna lie, the guys out at Morton love them.

brownie

These brownies are simple to make, but you do need to be careful, if you overcook them even a little they get hard quickly. Do it right and they stay moist and yummy for days (if they make it that long!). And, if you really think they need more, you can always top them off with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting!

While desserts have never been our “main course” with our catering business, we have found the sometimes the simplest of recipes can create quite a following. Make sure you stop by and get your own brownie this week!

Recipe of the Week – Rhubarb Custard Bars

The recipe this week is actually a dessert that will occasionally make it to family reunions on my dad’s side of the family. Truthfully, I’m not sure which one of my dad’s cousins I got this from, but I absolutely love this dessert.

20150901_074006Rhubarb Custard Bars are best completely chilled. Don’t get me wrong. There is not a single time I would turn down this tasty treat. When chilled, however, the bar will hold it’s form much better. It’s easier to serve and (most importantly for grazers like me) it’s more convenient to pick up¬†and eat without a plate or fork. ūüôā

I mean really. Who doesn’t love a crust that is made strictly from flour, sugar, and butter? And chilled? The whipping cream helps to cut the tartness of the rhubarb and then the topping is where the sweet comes in. Who am I kidding? The whole dessert is sweet! It is definitely one of those desserts that keeps the family coming back for more!

rhubarb custard bars


Recipe of the Week – Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

First off, anyone who knows me, knows I love sugar. Dessert is one of my favorite meals. While we do not do a lot of “desserts”, Mark is actually a pretty decent baker if I do say so myself. He does many of our cakes for our personal parties and my favorite, that I doubt he will share is secret on, is his peanut butter frosting.

But I digress…

Today’s recipe is his cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I’m a sucker for a good cream cheese frosting. In fact, I’d take that over a buttercream frosting any day, or worse, that fake frosting that you get in some “big box” stores.Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is smooth, creamy, and above all delicious! I love frosting when it stays smooth and not crunchy, even when the cake isn’t quite fresh. This frosting can also go quite well on cinnamon rolls, brownies, cupcakes…but really, what CAN’T you put frosting on??

20150818_075534I love how it looks too.¬†Cream cheese frosting is light, fluffy, and white. Really white.¬†In fact, it looks pretty plain and boring. But by adding the cinnamon to it, you have added intriguing flecks of¬†color to your frosting.¬†Not enough to change the coloring, but enough to draw you towards trying it just to see what flavor the flecks provide. It’s unfortunate that pictures just can’t do the real thing justice when it comes to showing the subtle flecks of cinnamon. Guess you will just have to try it to see what I mean.

Recipe of the Week – Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Sauce

“Bread pudding? I don’t know…” That was a comment we heard yesterday when we were serving lunch.

And then they tried it.

“This isn’t anything like my Grandma’s bread pudding! And that’s a good thing!”

Bread pudding a sweet dessert that is a favorite in many countries, including the United States. Would you be surprised if I told you that Canadians make it with maple syrup? Puerto Ricans soak their bread pudding overnight in coconut milk and serve it with a guava rum sauce. In Louisiana, they serve it with a whiskey or a rum sauce. No such luck here, but the vanilla sauce is quite delicious!

Bread Pudding and Vanilla Sauce

To make this bread pudding, you can use whatever type of bread you have around the house. bread puddingA thick, tasty bread works well. Mark actually used dinner rolls for his recipe this week, but dried out cinnamon rolls would work really well also (first you have to have leftover cinnamon rolls, right?).

Of course, the kicker is to make sure you use whole milk. I’m a fan of skim milk when I’m having it with a meal, but in order to get your sauces to thicken correctly, you really do need to use whole milk.

My only change would be the raisins. Do they really have to exist in such a tasty dish? Can we cut what it calls for in half? Mark obviously didn’t think so. Oh well. They seem to be pretty easy to pick out.

And really. Who says you have to wait for dessert to have bread pudding? A dish of warm bread pudding actually makes a pretty good breakfast too! Why not? It’s just like having French Toast.

Recipe of the Week – Brie Burger Sliders

We occasionally get calls to do appetizer parties which is great! It gives us a chance to try new things on a small scale that could be made large scale as well. This appetizer is one such recipe.

Sliders are such a fun little burger. You can put most anything on one and, though it is little, it can pack a mighty punch. Today’s recipe is a Brie Burger Slider.

brie burger sliders

The first time I grilled one, I hadn’t seen the recipe so I was slightly unprepared for the blueberries in the meat, but truthfully, I never tasted the blueberries. There is simply a sweet taste to the burger. The brie, while not my favorite cheese, compliments this burger well. And the grilled onions…well, in my opinion a burger is never complete without grilled onions!

Even better though, this slider not only makes a great appetizer, but it can also make a spectacular regular sized burger, which may have to make it’s way into our regular Backyard BBQ options!

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.