Friday, December 18, 2009

Two catering whirls.

First off I have to apologize for the lighting in all of these pictures. I switched my camera back to daylight setting and then forgot to change it back when the light was low in these rooms, so nothing looks as exciting and sparkly.

I had two catering jobs this month, one right before Disneyland and one right after. That was a little tricky, but you know I'm always up for a party, even when I'm "the help" :) These pictures are actually from the most recent job, a dinner party for a friend's company. It was a small group, but still a fun job. I got to try some new stuff, and they still decided on a buffet display, so that was fun. The above picture was of the main dish, a chicken stuffed with a mixture of wild mushrooms, fresh thyme, and Parmesan and drizzled with a tomato-cream sauce. First time too for the sauce, and I liked it. Not health food though :). I didn't get a picture of the wild, brown and forbidden rice pilaf. I love that forbidden rice. I love the name of it. It's pretty too --kind of a purpley color when cooked.

Roasted root vegetables. I used three types of beets from my garden (!), and parsnips and carrots (garden again yay!) along with a few other kinds for color. I love all the caramelizing that goes on in the roasting oven.

Here's the centerpiece. There are candles in the middle of all the cranberries, but we hadn't lit them yet.

The cheesecake to end all cheesecakes. I went to cheesecake factory a few months ago, and wanted to order every kind because I didn't think I could ever replicate them at home. Well that's kind of been bugging me ever since, so for this job, four of the six dessert options I gave them were cheesecakes with names directly copied from the Cheesecake factory's menu. Yeah. They picked one:
  • Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake: white sponge cake base soaked with raspberries, lemon cheesecake filling, loaded with raspberry ladyfingers, topped with a white chocolate lemon mousse and garnished with raspberry coulis.

I had to learn how to make a sponge cake, find a lemon filling recipe, figure out the whole ladyfingers thing again (I had made them a while ago for tiramisu), get hold of some marscapone --which I ended up "making", and make the mousse and coulis. Then figure out how long to bake it . Then there was the whole presentation issue: what would it look like at the end. It took me a whole day, not counting the test recipes I made, but I felt like Julia Child when it was done, so way worth it.

The first job was for my friend's husband's work party, and it was all appetizers and mini desserts. Not health food, but that's the point of a party in my book --party food! I had a tragedy on the way in the door though, and the mini pitas with basil pesto rotisserie chicken salad and roasted peppers ALL FELL OUT OF MY CAR when I opened the back. This was extra rotten, because it took me days and a trip to Salt Lake to find the dang mini pitas. Luckily I had some back up mini deli bread things, and we were able to whip up a few in the kitchen before serve time.

This was Artichoke two cheese fondue, with french bread chunks. I was so happy to find an artichoke in the store for the center. The fondue isn't super pretty without it.

Cranberry-Orange meatballs. Those are orange not lemon slices around the edge (told you the lighting for these was screwy).

Shrimp Cocktail with fresh mango chutney. I tried a different recipe for this party than the last wedding with the chutney, and I was really pleased with the flavor. I've been using it for a salad dressing mixed with a little tahini at home --which is also good. You can barely see the corner of the chutney jar in the picture (the shrimp platter was prettier).

Here are the "back-up" sandwiches, and also the Spinach-Italian sausage savory tartlets. We were so lucky to have late frosts this winter. All of my herb garden was still in full swing for this party, and the rosemary smell filled up the kitchen. If they ever make a rosemary perfume that smells like the real thing I'll buy it. As it is, whenever I'm working with it, I rub it all over my hands and arms. It makes me happy. Like catnip I guess.

This was a Praline-cranberry marscapone dip with sugar cookie dippers. A couple of them got a little brown, but they needed to be a little crisp to dip. I loved this dip. I do think it was better with the praline chunks crispier, so if you ever ask me for the recipe, leave those out until the last minute, and stir in just before serving.

Eggnog with fresh grated nutmeg --the fresh grating makes eggnog 2000% better. In fact I realized a couple of years ago I liked eggnog just BECAUSE of the nutmeg, and started putting it in milk, protein shakes, you name it. When it's fresh it's just yum. There are also some streuseled apple pastries in this picture. These were fast and good too. Anyway, the catering and vacations are done, and now it's on to Christmas! (Oh heaven help me :) )


belann said...

Definitely works of art. You make food look like a masterpiece.

Alice and Ada said...

I want to taste the roasted roots...and the cheesecake. It all looks so good.

Deja said...

Wow. Wow wow wow. That looked so good that it hurt. That artichoke in the middle is genius! I would have never thought of it. Have you seen those little mini artichokes? Whole Foods has them. I think they're pretty, too.