Monday, June 26, 2006

We interrupt this Diet for a Wedding

DISCLAIMER:I have been trying to keep my recent posts healthy and on the lighter side. But for me denial does not work. I have to give myself permission to occasionally be "bad". So please heed this disclaimer. There is NOTHING healthy or light in today's recipes. There are no LOWFAT, or LOWCAL or Fat Free ingredients. Today is about creamy, indulgent foods.

I love my job as a paramedic;but after a back injury I have come to the conclusion that I need to start exploring "back up plans" I am not looking to leave EMS in the near future but I can't physically do this job until retirement (Which at the hospital I work at would be about another 20 yrs or so) One of the "Second careers that I am exploring" is Catering. I got my first opportunity to try my hand at this yesterday. A lady in my church recruited myself and my friend Savanna to be in charge of food for her wedding. Estimated number of guests 200. I honestly had no idea how to figure how much food that was going to be. So, I concentrated on the menu and let Savanna take the lead on that stuff. We also had prep help of two other women Susan and Lila(who were also in charge of decorations). We worked great together and could not have pulled it off without the whole group along with the MANY other people who pitched in on the day of the wedding for all of the final setup. We pulled it off without a hitch and had lots more food than we needed which we felt was better than the alternative. Tons of compliments and most importantly the Bride was very happy! I learned a lot and have a starting point for my next endeavor.
The menu was heavy Hor d' Oeuvres. We had alot of the usual suspects like veggie trays meatballs and finger sandwhiches but I really wanted to do some special, elegant things that would hopefully, knock the socks off of the guests. One thing a little different ;I did I credit to a fellow Blogger Indyfoodie, was tortillini with dip. We had to modify the dip because the bride wanted to avoid anything with nuts and guess what, Pesto has nuts. So basically I used all the ingredients of pesto sans the Nuts. It was really nice but I think her original recipe would be better and hope to get to use that next time.
A recipe for Savory Ham Cheese Cake I found in "A Taste of Home" magazine. It was very elegant and was all that I had imagined it would be. I plan to keep it as one of my top signature dishes.
Savory Ham Cheesecake
3cups Oyster crackers, crushed
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup melted butter
4- 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups(8-oz) shredded swiss cheese 2 cups finely chopped cooked ham
1/2 cup snpped chives
1/4 cup fresh minced basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
Combine crackers,parmesan and butter. Reserve 1/4 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a greased springform pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low until just combined. Add remaining ingredients
and beat until just combined. Pour mixture into crust. Sprinkle top with remaining cracker crumbs.
Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 60-70 mins until filling is almost set. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven with door ajar for 30 mins. Cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Serve chilled or at room temp. with assorted crackers. About 40 servings
Visually, I think the most popular item was stuffed cucumbers, inspired by a wedding episode of"Semi- homemade" on Food Network. I did not however use Sandra's actual recipe. It is a Sindy original if I do say so myself was a great success.

Stuffed Cucumbers
12- english cucumbers
4- 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup drained and finely chopped roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 cup snipped chives
Beat all ingredients except cucumbers and place in a pastry bag with a large star tip
Run a grater or zester randomly down side of cucumbers to make a nice pattern. slice cucumbers very about 1 1/2 inches. With a small melon baller or grapfruit spoon make a small hollow inside of cucumbers. As you are cutting place cucumber slices upside down so that liquid does not pool inside. Pipe cream cheese mixture into cucumbers mounding it up well over top of cucumber. These can be made the night before. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Aprox 100 slices


IndyFoodie said...

Congrats sassy! That is a big undertaking, but I am sure you did a great job!

to2sassy said...

Thanks Indy! It was a lot of fun and I will do anything to get compliments. The tortellini idea was one of my faves. I really wanted to do the hummus snow peas but ...some people are not so adventurous. I am going to get SOMEONE to let me make them if it kills me!