"providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood"
You painted no Madonnas
On chapel walls in Rome.
But with a touch diviner
You lived one in your home . . .
You built no great cathedrals
That centuries applaud
But with a grace exquisite
Your life cathedraled God . . .
(T. W. Fessenden)
Words of Billy Sunday
A mother . . . fills a place
so great that there isn't an
angel in heaven who wouldn't
be glad to give a bushed of
diamonds to come down here
and take her place.
Wedding Guests Delighted with Hors D'oeuvres and Desserts Reception
Recently my husband and I attended our niece Audrey's wedding and reception in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The wedding invitation stated that following the ceremony there would be an hors d'oeuvres and dessert reception. I'm sure I wasn't the only guest expecting to be served crackers, cheese, cake, and punch. We were so wrong and in for a treat.
Two of Audrey's chef friends from the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Erica Mullett and William Merwin, outdid themselves on this, their first wedding reception for 240 guests. Four double-tiered decorated and heavy-laden food tables greeted guests with foods from around the world. Showcased were individual tables of Italian, Greek, Asian, and Caribbean foods. A dessert table with over 15 spectacular desserts and a wedding cake provided sweets from pastry chef Monique Rossignom and friends of the Stockin family. Guests didn't know what to eat first. I started tasting selections from the Italian table, then quickly grabbed a notebook out of my purse to help me keep track of all the culinary delights to share with you. I next made a bee line to the dessert table so I could see the desserts intact, and to get, yes, a bite of everything. Monique's chocolate and citrus truffles melted in my mouth. The guests were not about ready to save dessert until last. The desserts were just too tempting. Next I made my way around each table, taking notes as I went along. Chef Erica told Chef William that I write a food column and he walked out of the kitchen and gave me a copy of his menu, with ingredients list. I have his permission to share this information with you, but keep in mind that the ingredients list is not step-by-step instructions for making the recipes, only general directions, but I think they will be easy to follow.
At the Italian table were tomato and mozzarella balls, ratatouille, honeydew, cantaloupe, dried and sliced Italian sausage, Quinoa salad, slices of Italian bread, and a punch bowl of iced coffee, plums, kiwi, and mangoes. The Greek table was decked out with stuffed grape leaves, slices of lemon, hummus, calamari salad, feta and olives, Tzacki yogurt sauce, cucumbers, celery, red and green grapes, pita bread, and a lemon or lime punch with cucumber. The Asian table had steamed edamame pods, summer rolls, Shushi, California rolls, soy, Wasabi, and summer roll sauce, fresh fruits: cherries, plums, peaches, and Clementines, sesame sticks, rice crackers, fried wonton wrappers, and a ginger iced tea. The Caribbean table hosted jerk chicken, guacamole, fried plantains, black bean and corn salsa, blue tortilla chips and other flavors, and an orange mango coconut milk punch with club soda. Truly a feast for the eyes and palate. I know this table also had bananas as well. I gave a little girl in a black and white polka-dotted dress her first banana. This child must have eaten at least ate five bananas, if not more. I saw her once eating one banana and opening her next one at the same time.
My favorite dishes of the night were the Quinoa Salad (most excellent), Ratatouille, colorful cooked Shushi, Summer Rolls, Iced Coffee, and Ginger Tea (you could easily add a little club soda to this for a soda pop substitute), truffles, and some of the chocolate desserts, which I will try and get to share with you in later articles.
Tables were decorated for fun at the bride's request and contained squatty fat fluted glass bowls with florist moss and flowers with long glass or plastic cylinders (2-3-foot lengths) filled with fresh individual flowers the entire length protruding from the bowl along with a protrusion of bamboo poles and shoots.
Tomato and Mozzarella Balls10 pounds Mozzarella balls
12 pints cherry tomatoes
2 cups olive oil
juice and zest of 10 lemons
2 bunches chopped basil
bunch chopped mint
bunch parsley, minced
hot pepper flakes to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Serve cold.
Ratatouille1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic
15 tomatoes, unpeeled, large chunks
8 zucchini or 7 eggplant (or some of both), large chunks
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup cilantro or basil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
General directions: Toast coriander seed in dry hot skillet and crush. Add olive oil and onions and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. Cook until crisp tender, about 20 minutes. Add in parsley, cilantro, basil, salt, and pepper to taste.
white Quinoa (cook according to package directions)
Add for color, amount as desired:
sugar snap peas (Bring water to a boil and blanch peas for 30 seconds and then plunge in ice water briefly to stop from cooking - you want little crunch to the peas - pod and all, drain)
green beans (Bring water to a boil and blanch beans for for 1 minute, refreshed in ice water to stop from cooking - you want beans to add a little crunch to the dish)fresh basil, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
roasted whole garlic cloves in infused olive oil (heat about 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat: add as many whole peeled garlic toes as possible, heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, let sit (steep) for 1 hour. Use all of whole garlic and whatever amount of garlic oil you want for taste)
red wine vinegar (to taste)
Combine all of the ingredients, prepared as stated above. Salt to taste. This dish is good served hot or cold.
simple sugar mixture to taste (made by heating 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar until sugar is dissolved)
Ginger Iced Tea
Make unsweetened strong iced tea amount as desired
Add: sugar ginger mix prepared as below:
Make a simple ginger sugar mixture: 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar until sugar with slices of ginger until sugar is dissolved and ginger is tender. Remove ginger before stirring sugar mixture into tea.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Combine all ingredients. Serve cold.
Orange Mango Juice Punch
Combine in amounts desired:
Asian Summer Rolls (General Directions)
package rice paper (thin clear see-through type)Filling Ingredients:
rice noodles (8-oz. or less), uncooked 1/2 pound uncooked sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, julienne strips
1/2 red onion, julienne strips
1/4 pound cooked salad shrimp
1 head butter lettuce, shredded
1/4 pound fresh bean sprouts
1/2 bunch cilantro, diced
roasted unsalted peanuts
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare rice paper according to package directions. Layer filling ingredients in center of rice paper. Roll up like a jelly roll, folding in edges, Seal with little water if necessary. Keep from drying out. These can be made up to one day ahead. When ready to serve, slice in two diagonally and serve cold with soy sauce or other dipping sauce.
Summer Roll Dipping Sauce
Combine ingredients below and serve cold:1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 jalapeno chilies, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Send your favorite family recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, New York 14171 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood. Visit my website at cellascookbook.com for more recipes and archived newsletters.