Friday, August 20, 2010

Come Away With Me

This past Wednesday, Andrew and I celebrated three wonderful years of married life. For all of the ups and downs and crazy turns, I definitely wouldn't change a thing. We are so blessed in so many ways, and we have had so many crazy and wonderful experiences over the past several years. We have only grown closer, and I cannot wait to spend my forever with him.

In celebration of our three year anniversary, we got each other traditional gifts of leather. Andrew got a new seat for his road bike, and I got new sunglasses which came with a leather case. We also had an incredible dinner! Before we were married, I worked as an assistant to the community relations coordinator at my alma mater, Grand Valley State University. With this job, I spent a great deal of time workin closely with the catering staff and event planners at the university. Since we were having our reception at the Alumni House, my friend, Kenn, over in catering and I planned every last detail of the menu together. It was to die for! We had so much fun planning all of the courses, and once the wedding day came around, Kenn had some surprises of his own. It is definitely not a meal we will soon forget.

Being the adventerous novice chef that I am, I decided to attempt to recreate our wedding reception meal while taking a few liberties. Our at home recreation looked something like this:

Greek Salad with my Dad's Homemade Dressing

Filet Mignon with a Cherry Glace
Haricots Verts with Herb Butter
Hasselback Potatoes

Almond Layer Cake with Almond Buttercream Frosting

And now the photos and recipes:

Greek Salad

2 cups mixed greens
1 Tomato, sliced
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced or diced
8 Kalamata olives (optional)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Greek Dressing (see recipe below)

1. Place mixed green on two plates. Distribute tomato, cucumber olives, and feta on top of greens.
2. Drizzle each salad with dressing and serve.

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well. Serve on top of mixed greens.

Haricort Verts with Herb Butter
(recipe courtesy of Gourmet)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon (I used dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 lb haricots verts or other green beans, trimmed

Stir together all ingredients except haricots verts with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until combined well.

Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, then drain. Toss with herb butter.

Hasselback potatoes with Herbs de Provence

4 small potatoes

1 clove fresh garlic, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons sour cream
fresh chives
Kosher salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay each potato on its flattest side. With a potato peeler, peel the skin off the tops of each potato, but leave the bottoms of the skins in tact.
2. Take a sharp knife, and very carefully cut thin slices all along the tops of the potatoes, about two thirds to three quarters of the way down. Be careful not to slice all the way to the bottom. Slide a garlic slice or two into a couple of the slits of each potato.

3. Place potatoes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Rub butter on top of each potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until the tops are golden and crispy. Dollop with sour cream, and garnish with chives.

Filet Mignon with Cherry-Balsamic Reduction

2 local raised, grass fed filet mignon
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Dried Cherry Glace (recipe to follow)

1. Generously season each filet with salt and pepper on both sides.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Using tongs, place each filet in the pan.
3. Sear steaks for 3-4 minutes of each side (longer if you like it more well done). Let steak rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Dried Cherry Glace

2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried cherries

1. Heat olive oil in small saucepan. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
2.  Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by almost half. Add cherries and balsamic and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until cherries are plump and sauce has thickened. Pour of steaks, pork or chicken.

Almond Layer Cake
(adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Traditional White Birthday Cake recipe)

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup finely ground almond meal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Grease and lightly flour two 9 inch round cake pans. Cut parchment paper into circles to place in the bottom of each cake pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
6. Divide batter among the cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Almond Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe)

1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft

8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teasponn vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and the vanilla  and almond extracts.
2. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may very well not need all of the sugar). Use and store icing at room temperature, as icing will set if chilled. Can store in an airtight container for up to three days.

1 comment:

Maranda said...

Oh. My. God! This. Looks. AMAZING!!!! Yum!!!!!! Did it taste like the original?? That cake looks delicious and the steak looks perfectly cooked! Wow...