A Viennese Table Will Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth at the Party – with Style and Flavors!

vienneseTable

The image of a lavishly decorated, multi-tiered wedding cake is synonymous with the after-party that commemorates marriage. The cake is surrounded by tradition. Generations of couples have frozen their cake’s top tier for enjoyment (or not!) on their first anniversary. The cake’s décor has changed with the times and reflects each couple’s generation – even cake toppers have evolved from a simple bride and groom to depictions of blended families, couples with pets, and same-sex couples.

parfaits

More and more couples are foregoing the classic wedding cake and opting for sweet treats that will please the variety of guests in attendance. Novelty cakes – like Krispy Kreme doughnut cakes – have caught the attention of some couples – while others opt for more chilly desserts and offer guests elaborate ice cream sundae bars. Cupcakes have been trendy, but now seem to be falling to the wayside.

I am recommending to couples that we reach further back into tradition and bring forward the Viennese Table – a collection of various candies, pastries, cookies and parfaits – that offer guests more choices and the opportunity to create an eye-popping display.
 

The Viennese are known for their spectacular sweets. While the presentation gets its name from the country’s dessert cuisine, there’s no guidebook for choosing what will be featured on your Viennese Table.

Ideas abound -- there are Pinterest pages devoted to table design and dessert ideas for the Viennese table.
 
  Choosing a Viennese Table plan does not mean you must toss aside the venerable wedding cake – but now the cake does not have to be as decadent or as eye-catching – the cake is now part of an ensemble cast of desserts.

Pinterest

My recent Viennese tables have been as diverse in content as the couples who inspired the choices. Single bite desserts have been classic from macaroons to pecan tassies and Key Lime tartlets to chocolate brownies.

CakenCookies

Want to ramp up flavors? Let’s add “special ingredients,” to make those Chocolate Brownies a Drunken version. Downsize portions of Lowcountry trifle into trifle shots, or treat guests to a childhood memory with a DIY S’mores station.
 
  The unbeatable pairing of cake and ice cream doesn’t have to be so fussy. Fold wedding cake into your favorite ice cream and serve in a waffle cone from a roving ice cream wedding cake cart.
 
  Take a tip from the Viennese and give guests plenty of options and a variety of sweetness when planning your reception!

Embrace ‘Savannah Style’ to bring variety, easy-going mood to your special event

In the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina, we love our relaxed lifestyle. Why not carry that sense of comfort and easy living over to your catered event?

  The set-up is something I call “Savannah Style.” For events of this nature, only 60-70 percent of your guests are seated, and a variety of food stations combine to create a fun evening of food and drink. I enjoy this type of service because it allows your more adventurous guests to try unusual dishes -- while also offering easily recognizable favorites for others. There’s a little something for everyone!

cheese-tble

The stations can take several forms – or introduce a variety of service styles: Butler-passed hors d’oeurves, self-service stations and manned stations.

bruschettaBar

A popular self-serve station is like this bruschetta bar. Here, a variety of breads and crackers are served with many different toppings. Guests choose what they want.

Pulled pork is a staple of Southern cooking, and, as seen in this photo, we have staffed a pulled pork station with two types of pork, sauces and crispy hush puppies.

 station

 

shrimpgrits And, speaking of Southern fare, no Lowcountry feast would be complete without Shrimp and Grits. 

Shown here, guests can self serve shrimp and grits into containers that make socializing and enjoying the food a simultaneous treat. With this self-serve option, guests with shellfish allergies can have another topping from which to choose -- while keeping cheesy, creamy grits on the menu.

chopsticks

 The flexibility of multiple “Savannah Style” stations enables you to design a menu that accommodates special dietary needs – or to incorporate ethnic selections like this chicken stir fry and fried rice – with other styles of cuisines. It’s the perfect solution for a wedding couple with different food traditions as part of their family culture.

Your special event is all about having fun. We think creating a menu based upon "Savannah Style" is a perfect way to entertain guests, have fun with your menu, and explore a variety of different cuisines.

Vegan Recipes Find a Home at Today’s Events

Vegans rejoice!

With more and more people following vegan diets it has sent chefs scurrying back into cookbooks to create flavorful and nutritionally balanced dishes that meet your dietary requirements.

If you are a vegan, I’m sure you have attended events where your plate consisted of the same vegetables being served to other guests – just minus the meat. Or worse yet, you “meal” was a plate of plain pasta tossed with olive oil and herbs.

One of my recent catering jobs was for a mostly vegan audience and I came up with these dishes:

Butler-passed hors d’oeurves
Beet pesto with pita chips
Crabby cakes (vegan cake with remoulade sauce)crabbycakes

Chilled English Pea Soup 

Entrée course of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Dessert
Coca-Cola Cake

Each course was rich with flavor and texture – and are easy enough to prepare yourself. To get the most from each recipe:

 

  • Use fresh, organic vegetables
  • Fresh herbs are best, but if dried herbs are used, make sure they are fresh and aromatic
  • Seeds, like cumin or coriander, develop the best flavors when lightly toasted over medium heat in a pan

Beet Pesto with Pita Chips

photo4

(Adapted from thebloomingplatter.com)
Ingredients
Four 2 to 3 ounce fresh beets (trimmed weight), peeled and quartered
1 cup, firmly packed, fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/3 cup smoked almonds
2 large garlic cloves, halved
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (whole)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (ground)
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 medium-large lime
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or to taste

Method
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until almost smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
And, on a hot summer day, there is nothing more refreshing than chilled pea soup. This may be served in bowls – or in small glasses (shooters) – for more casual service.

Chilled Spring Pea Soup

 peasoup

Ingredients
1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced small shallot, chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed
32 oz. vegetable stock
⅛ tsp. white pepper
¼ cup large fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. lemon zestMethod
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add peas to pan, just cover with vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer until peas are tender. Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
Blend with immersion blender, or in stand blender or food processor until smooth. Add mint leaves and lemon zest, and blend 30 seconds, or until very smooth.

There is no need to for vegans to miss out on dessert! This recipe, another adaptation from thebloomingplatter.com, is a hit with everyone!

Coca-Cola Cake

Ingredients
For the Cake:

1 cup natural sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I like white whole wheat)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or grape-seed oil
1/2 cup Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttermilk (5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk, e.g. So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk Beverage + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar whisked together to curdle)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (plus extra, if needed, to yield the consistency you desire, but more sugar makes it lighter in color and less fudgy)
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans + more for garnish, optional (omit for nut-free)

Method
For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease, and lightly flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the margarine and oil. Bring just to a boil and pour over dry ingredients.
Add the cola to the batter, and whisk well to combine.
Dissolve the baking soda in the vegan buttermilk and add it to the batter along with the vanilla extract. Whisk just until combined. The batter will seem a bit thin.
Pour the batter into your prepared ban and bake 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; avoid over baking.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack and frost immediately.

For the Frosting:
While the cake bakes, place the confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the dairy-free margarine, cocoa powder and Coca-Cola; bring just to a boil.
Pour the liquid over the sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth. Whisk in more confectioner’s sugar if necessary.
Add the vanilla extract and pecans (if using), and stir to distribute.
Spread frosting over warm cake. Garnish with pecans if desired.  When cool, cut into squares and serve. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

12 Questions You Need to Answer for Your Caterer

meetwithcaterer

 

Whether you are hiring a caterer for small birthday party or a corporate event with several hundred guests, there are 12 questions you need to answer before that first meeting.

Answering these questions helps your caterer prepare thorough event pricing – and can begin to help define types of food and service best suited for your event.

You should go into your first meeting with answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your planned budget for the event?

Be realistic. Clients often come to the table with the idea that for $7 a person everyone can be fed, served beverages, have appetizers passed and all the flatware and paper goods be provided. Professional caterers must also factor in labor costs, fuel and transportation charges, wear and tear on equipment – plus the physical needs of your event.

  1. Where will the event be held?

Your location or a third party venue? The event’s location helps determine what power, heating or cooling needs the caterer must have, plus if there will be a need for additional tables or tents for outdoor venues.

  1. What kind of event are you planning?

Needs for a garden wedding reception versus a reception held indoors are vastly different. A sales awards banquet is much more formal than a company picnic.

  1. What is the date of your event?

Having a date pinned down alleviates just being “penciled in” on the caterer’s calendar. Catering companies are busier at some times of the year than others – you may be competing for a date!

  1. How many people will be eating?

One way to control costs is to know EXACTLY how many people will be eating. Caterers typically add a small percentage of over production to accommodate last minute guests – but you want to avoid having high waste or, worse, running out of food!

  1. What time will your visitors be arriving?

This key fact helps the caterer hit the timetable so hungry guests aren’t languishing or spending too much time at your bar! Caterers take this time and work backwards to build their entire production schedule.

  1. When will the meal be served?

Again, this data helps plan better so hot food is hot, cold food is cold –and servers or food station staff are on their marks.

  1. How long do you have for your guests to eat?

Part of your catering expense is cost of labor – driven by time on site. Help reduce your costs by defining the dining time – instead of leaving food service open for the entire event.

  1. What type of meal are you planning?

Served, stations, buffet, box lunch – the type of meal you want determines types of foods that can be served, heating and cooling needs and labor and presentation costs.

  1. What dietary restrictions and food allergies do your guests have?

More and more guests are faced with a variety of food allergies or dietary restrictions. Learning this information when arriving on site leaves no options for the caterer – they bring everything with them. By providing this information in advance, your guests’ special needs can be taken into account and usually accommodated!

  1. What kind of drinks do you want?

Water, soda, juice, spirits, coffee, tea – This is another cost factor that can be determined at an initial meeting. Consider the variety of guests you will be serving and what their preferences may be for beverages. Bar service may require special permitting or use of a specialized bar caterer.

  1. Are you going to want rental china, glassware, silverware or paper and plastic?

Hard goods have a cost beyond the rental fee – it takes more labor to move, set and wash china and flatware. And, disposable goods may be less hassle – but may not fit your event. For environmentally conscious clients, we also offer a line of disposable, single use bio-degradable or single-use goods made from sustainable materials.

Score a Trifecta with an Authentic Derby Day Menu

The season for horse racing’s Triple Crown – Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes – is right around the corner. What better time to plan a themed party!

The scene around the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes is nothing to scoff at – but the pageantry, history and all-around good time of the Kentucky Derby is what makes Churchill Downs so very special on the first Saturday in May.

chafing

 

Burgoo and cornbread — authentic and delicious

Ladies in flowery dresses and oversized hats are showstoppers alone, but the culinary legacy of the Kentucky Derby deseres some credit for making this the most happening weekend of the year in Lousiville. From beaten biscuits with country ham to the simple and crowd-pleasing beer cheese to finger-lickin’ good fried chicken – a Derby party offers plenty of options and plenty of great food.

Top that off with the signature Derby beverage – the Mint Julep – and you’ll feel like you’ve picked a trifecta at the finish line.

hot-brownKentucky Derby party food can be simple an authentic – like burgoo and beer cheese – or simply elegant, like beaten biscuit with country ham or The Hot Brown.

A Kentucky Derby party catered by Cape Creations was a combination of casual foods and fancier dishes – including smoked salmon profiteroles.

We’re happy to help plan and prepare your party – we’ll be ready to serve before post time! However, if you want to have a DIY party, here are a couple of recipes to get you started:

 

The Hot Brown. (Photo and recipe
courtesy The Brown Hotel)

Kentucky Burgoo

Just like Brunswick stew? Hardly! Many regions of the US have their own versions of these marvelous and rich one-pot stews. Burgoo got its start from neighborhood “burgoos” where each family brought canned goods from their grdens and threw meat in the pot – from chickens to pork to wild game like rabbits, squirrel and venison. A long, slow cook is required!

Ingredients

1 four- to five-pound hen

6 onions, finely chopped

1 pound beef stew meat

2 green peppers, finely chopped

1 pound (of another meat — more beef, lamb, pork, chicken, game, etc.)

1 medium turnip, finely diced

4 quarts water

8 to 10 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (2 large cans)

2 cups shelled fresh butter beans (2 cans drained)

2 cups corn (2 cans drained)

One 10-ounce can tomato puree

2 cups thinly sliced celery

2 cups finely chopped cabbage

2 cups finely chopped carrots

1 red pepper pod

2 cups fresh okra, sliced

1/4 cup salt

1 Tablespoon each lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Method

If you make this in 2 parts, on successive days, it is not such a chore.

  1. Put the meat, onions, peppers, turnips, water and tomatoes in a large pot; bring to a boil and simmer slowly, covered, for about 4 hours. Let cool and strain, setting aside meats.
  2. Cut chicken and meat finely, removing all skin, bone, and gristle. Kitchen scissors are good for this job. Return to stock and refrigerate.
  3. The following day, lift off half of the fat, add all the veggies. Cook another hour covered until until thick.
  4. Add the additional seasonings. If you finish the cooking in the oven, it will eliminate stirring and watching.
  5. Cook, uncovered, at 300 degrees for about 2 hours until the consistency of a thick stew. This will make a gallon. If made before hand, reheat in the oven to ensure against scorching.

The Hot Brown

In the 1920’s, Louisville, Ky’s., Brown Hotel drew more than 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. According to the hotel’s history of this dish, diners were growing bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new for his guests. His creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce – The Hot Brown.

Ingredients (Makes 2)

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper

14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick

4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)

4 slices of bacon

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

Paprika

Parsley

Method

  1. In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

 

  1. For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
  2. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.