October 17, 2010

A Family Affair!

A small family wedding....The Maine House hosted a most memorable one Saturday evening. We were delighted to be hosting this small and most intimate wedding for our couple, Mamie and Michael. This happened to be a second marriage for both and what a truly romantic story they have experienced. The lovely couple wanted something very small, memorable and romantic to honor the exchanging of their vows. I believe they felt it was a grand time and the children and grandchildren experienced an elegant autumn wedding. Slowly cascading leaves and a drop in temperatures make for the perfect time to get married. Fall is full of romance and your wedding reception can reflect your union and this special time. Buffet choices are difficult for many couples planning a marriage. Budgets and personal preferences make it hard to plan. You can alleviate the stress by planning a wide variety of simple choices for you and your guests. Make your reception memorable by being creative in planning your buffet!

Fried turkey is popular in the South. You might think of setting up  a small carving station on your sideboard, where people can sample this much-loved food item.  The Maine House chose this as their featured buffet item, along with the ultimate potato gratin', roasted garlic green beans, sour cream yeast rolls and delicate Ginger Cranberry Tarts. The East coast's famous oyster roasts begin in the fall. Serve roasted oysters and seafood. Give your meal a Southwestern flair, as we did while living in Texas,  with turkey empanadas, chili rellenos, enchiladas and tamales. The Pacific coast is known for organic produce. Visit farmers markets to get an idea of the best artisan cheeses and meats in your area. By serving food that comes from local farms, you get the best in produce and showcase your wonderful locality.

Think about what best reflects autumn. Seasonal meat and produce will make your food budget reasonable. Apples, cranberries, pears, sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, pumpkins, and Brussels sprouts have all been freshly picked.

Warm up your guests with a hot beverage. Apple cider, hot chocolate, buttered rum, and coffee with a hint of Baileys can get your guests' engines revved up. To cool down, have cranberry tea, pear limeade and pomegranate juice on hand.

We thought we would share a few snippets of the night with our dear ones.....perhaps if you are thinking of something similar, these ideas will inspire you as you plan your quaint autumn reception........we selected small arrangements of seasonal colored gerber daisies placed in Miss Helen's antique silver pieces. Ivory candles tucked throughout our home provided a soft glow and a added a touch of romance!

Ginger Cranberry Cream Tarts
3 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup pumpkin puree'
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Make the tart shells: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the gingersnap cookie crumbs, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and butter in a large bowl. Cover the bottoms and sides of eight 3 1/2-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms with the crumb mixture. Transfer the tartlet shells to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the cranberry topping: Bring 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the cranberries and cook until they just begin to soften. Remove cranberries with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside. Reserve cranberry syrup for another use.
Make the filling: Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Place the milk in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over it, and set aside. Combine the pumpkin purée, 3/4 cup sugar, brandy, remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and egg yolks in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and a thermometer reads 140 degrees F. Stir in the milk mixture, cook for 1 more minute, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and place over the prepared ice bath. Stir occasionally, until cool — about 10 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled pumpkin mixture, fill the prepared shells, and smooth the tops. Chill for 6 hours or overnight. Top each tartlet with a spoonful of the candied cranberries and serve cold.

"Come, let's be a comfortable couple and
take care of each other!
How glad we shall be, that we have somebody
 we are fond of always,
to talk to and sit with." ~Charles Dickens

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