Monday, March 16, 2009

Lavish Weddings Still in Fashion

An article in Portland's Maine Sunday Telegram bears out what many wedding vendors have been seeing in their businesses in the last couple years.
Brides and Grooms aren't letting the recession get in the way of their once in a lifetime special day.
Being posh and and excessive may be out of vogue in every other area of life right now, but lavish, over the top weddings are still very much the norm.
Many brides, and many parents see the Wedding Day as an opportunity to share with family and friends and focus on all that life has brought them...not what the economy may have cost them. I think this is a wonderful reflection on the human spirit. A Wedding is a symbol of all that is new and full of hope. If there is any day in your life when you feel it is wrong to skimp, it is your wedding day. That being said there are still many practical steps you can take to remove the unnecessary expenses from your budget. That is where an accomplished wedding planner comes in. A good wedding planner is well versed in cutting out the unneeded items, and focusing on the important items that will truly capture all that the bride and groom want to share with their guests about who they are.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Open That Bottle Night 2009 (At the Carriage House)

Our form of celebration of "Open that Bottle Night 2009"
was a subdued one.

My dining partner is well over a week into
a cold that just won't let go.

The challenge was not only to find a delightful bottle of wine to mark the evening, but a light wine to accompany a healthy, recovery producing meal. I decided on a butternut, white bean and kale soup with a fried goat cheese garnish. There is a surprising little twist in this recipe of an unexpected bite of tart and salt with the addition of kalamata olives. I love the contrast....I believe the jury is still out with Marc.

I love this pic....I hope the steam shows up when I post...hmmm, makes me want another bowl.

Oh yes...the wine....We enjoyed a bottle of Chateau St. Michele 2005 Reisling. The sweetness was a nice back note with the saltiness of the olives in the stew. Normally I think I would prefer a bold red with this particular stew.

Butternut, White Bean and Kale Stew
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 gloves minced garlic
3-4 cups 1" chopped butternut squash
1 red bell pepper in 1" dice
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups kale, thick stems removed, and sliced into thin slices
1 TBL dried rubbed sage
1 -15 oz can cannellini beans
3/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
freshly grated Romano cheese

Fried Goat Cheese:
one small log goat cheese
1 egg, beaten with small amount of water
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs seasoned anyway you like
1/2 cup safflower oil

Saute onions for about 5 minutes in olive oil, then add garlic and peppers, sauteeing for 5-8 more minutes. Add in squash, stirring for 5 minutes. Add small amount of salt and pepper at this stage and half of sage. Pour in broth, to almost cover vegetables, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, remove cover and simmer for 10-15 more minutes until vegetables are tender. If you like a thicker stew, use a potato masher to rough mash some of the vegetables at this point. Add in kale and cook for 10 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans, olives and sage, cooking for 5 more minutes. Check seasonings at this stage.

Goat Cheese:
Slice log of cheese into 1/4 " slices, using a wet knife. Re wet knife for each slice to get a nice clean piece of cheese. Let come to room temperature. Whisk egg and add a small amount of water. Dip cheese in flour, tap off excess, dip in egg and bread crumbs, and repeat the egg and bread crumb stage so you do a double dip. This is one time it is OK to double dip. Heat oil just until a drop of water skips around the pan and carefully add half the slices of cheese. Cooking time completely depends on how thick the slices are. Cook till golden, use two small offset spatulas to turn and then remove cheese to paper towel lined plate.

NOTE: Do not add fried cheese to stew until just time to serve. The breading immediately starts to soak up all the lucious broth in the stew.