February 18, 2011

The March Engagement Soiree!

The announcement came early last Monday morning....Hunter is engaged! The Maine House received a call from our dear and long time friend, Mary Jo, in Pensacola announcing the good news that their oldest son, Hunter Pheiffer, and Caroline became engaged last week and are planning a small family wedding next month. Next month?? Mary Jo was in somewhat of a panic wondering how she would plan their engagement party on such short notice!

 Mary Jo is a small, sprite of a southern lady, pronouncing all of her words with multiple syllables, such as, "Hun-tah", rather than "Hunt-errrr." She is among other things, wife, mother, sister, aunt,  realtor, Master Gardener, and a local talented artist. The Maine House is fortunate enough to have three of her paintings. The Pheiffers have a lovely little 1930's circa bungalow home and there could be nothing more beautiful and a perfect setting for the couple's engagement party. The backyard is brimming with lush Florida foliage and an abundance of Mary Jo's rose bushes, azalea's, peony's, gardenia's and camellia's! The pool is surrounded by trees shading the entire yard with Jasmine Vines tucked into every corner. So for a small, intimate, family gathering, they need look no further than their own back gardens.

A Maine House Mosaic

Estelle's pulled out a few of what we like to refer to as our "go to wedding appetizers!" These recipes are from our friend, Susan Mason, a Savannah caterer. We plan to fly down to Pensacola, do most of our shopping at The Apple Market, our favorite little grocery in Big P, and create a most memorable party for Hunter and Caroline! Susan's philosophy is one I like to remember when hosting a party. "Do what you do well and have plenty of it! The secret to a successful party is to treat it like it is your own!"

Strawberry Lemon Tiramisu Bites
1/2 cup strawberry preserves, at room temperature
1 1/2 (6.3-ounce) packages miniature bite-size sweet tart shells
1 (8-ounce) package mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 cup Limoncello or lemonade
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 quarts fresh strawberries, halved

Place about 1/2-teaspoon strawberry preserves in bottom of each tart shell; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, Limoncello or lemonade and lemon juice. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
In a medium bowl combine cream, sugar and lemon extract. Beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. Fold into mascarpone mixture, stirring until combined.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon mascarpone mixture into each tart shell. Top each with a strawberry half.

Shrimp Crostini's
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
24 medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
24 toasted French bread rounds
Cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish
Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, 2 cloves garlic, green onion and pepper; set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add remaining 3 cloves garlic and parsley. Add shrimp; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pink and firm. Do not overcook.
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over French bread rounds. Top each with 1 shrimp. Garnish with tomato halves and parsley leaves.

Estelle's Cucumber Dill Bites
1 package of cream cheese (8 ounce), softened
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 package dry Italian salad dressing mix 
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
Dill sprigs for garnish
French baguette, thinly sliced

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and Italian mix in a medium bowl. Mix in the dill.
Spread mixture on the baguette slices and top with a cucumber. Place a dill sprig on top of each sandwich. Place on a platter to serve.

The Apple Market in Pensacaola

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