A Few of My Favorite Things


I just recently had a head shot done with a fabulous photographer who owns Fresh Look Photography.   One thing that is not my favorite is me in a photograph but she told me before I came, to think about some of my favorite things that represented me both personally and professionally.  It really made me think because as humans I think we just get used to what we do every day but really don’t think about what of those things that actually make us happy.  Happily I am here to tell you what they are!

My Wooden Spoon.

It’s not an old spoon, but for some reason it reminds me of one that is.  It’s a Williams Sonoma spoon I sort of got for free because of a gift card.  At first it didn’t do much for me but now it’s the perfect spoon.  I grab it every time I have to stir.  I love the feel of the wood and the smell of the seasoning and time that has gone into it.  

My Chef’s Knife.

Every real cook or chef has one.   It’s not always the same brand, or the same size or weight.  It’s always sharp.  I use it even when it’s not the right knife to use.  It’s big and makes me feel powerful in the kitchen when I’m ready to take on a vegetable or onion or something equally choppable.  (I know that’s not a real word, but I just made it one).   My knife is my shadow and best friends with my wooden spoon.  It’s like we’re all a team.

My Cooking Magazines.

I have several I love to read.  They come every month and I look through them, tear our recipes and if I don’t have time to do that they pile up waiting for me.  It’s like a vacation I look forward to.  My very favorite is Fine Cooking.  It only comes every other month, which at times makes it the longest two months ever.  It’s perfect for the new cook or the more experienced.  Always different ways to use the same ingredients, directions that are easy to follow, favorite products (of which I have ordered from time to time) and great photographs.  My go to.  My obsession.  My “I wish I could be a part of this magazine” magazine.  Love it, and you would too.

Food.

I love food.  I love eating it, cooking it, discovering it.  My waistline doesn’t love it so much but for me it’s pure joy.  It’s how people come together.  It can be creative, beautiful, comfortable and delicious all at the same time.  Most of all, I love finger foods.  Creating beautiful little minis of bigger things we all love.  One or two bites (my waistline is all in favor) and you can be satisfied, but your palate tingles because it knows there are many more options to try.  I mean if you don’t like food, you really can’t be my friend.  

Prosecco.

Yes!  I love wine, water and juices, but Prosecco and I have a relationship.  Almost like a significant other but better because it doesn’t talk back.  I love the refreshing sparkle of the bubbles and the crispness it has, like a beautiful fall day.  Dry is better than sweet and a full bottle is better than an empty one.  Definitely one of my favorite things.

And finally..  bacon.  And Bourbon.  Enough said.

Have you ever thought about it?  What are your favorite things?  I’d love to hear what they are!

What Menu Option Works Best For Your Wedding?

When i first got married in what seems like a hundred years ago, I bucked the system in my small upstate NY town and had finger foods for the menu.  We had a very small wedding and when i think back, I’m sure most of the guests were wondering when dinner would be served.  Without much guidance, I had chosen that menu because it was cheaper and we didn’t have a lot of money.

My second wedding was in my home on New Year’s Eve and we thought it would be more fun to have a catered buffet and a party after, ringing in the midnight hour with friends and drinks.  I mean…who was eating anyway?

Fast forward to years later and I am now catering weddings.  Who would have thought?  What kind of perspective or knowledge to I have to give a potential wedding client?   Well, here are my thoughts on what and why and the reasons of.

Sit down dinners.  Not my choice.  Ever.  Although it really is one of the most budget friendly options, I do not like the idea of sitting at one table for a couple of hours talking to the same people you were fortunate enough to be paired with.  Typically it’s a chicken or beef selection and it’s dry or cold.  And although I’m there for the bride and groom, let’s face it… i’m also hungry, so I’d like it to be eatable.  Even the most efficient kitchens logistically cannot serve over 100 meals at the same time and keep everything hot.  

Family Style dinners.  This is a little better than sit down but not far off.  You not only get the privilege of sitting with the same people but now you can also pass bowls of food around.  This is great for very small groups of people but in the end you’re just getting cold food… just in bigger bowls.

Buffet dinners.  This still is not my favorite but better than a sit down.  You still have your table and fun table-mates but you at least have choices with this meal and can get up and have more food if you wish.  My problem with buffets (and only because I’m a little OCD) is the fact you still have a lot of people digging in the same container for their food and that is just not something that I like.  It’s like bulk food for the masses and it all kind of looks brown.  But variety, warm temperature and abundance is a plus.

Stations and Hors d’oeuvres.  Now we’re talking!  I love these ideas because you have so many options available! (This is probably why I chose to specialize in this category!) You can accommodate so many different tastes, dietary restrictions and budgets in one fell swoop and the possibilities are endless.  I’ve seen donut stations, pasta stations, salad stations and if you combine those with one or two bite size finger foods, you have a menu that will give guests something for everyone.  Plate it well and it will not only please the palate but also the eye. Remember, you always eat with your eyes first!   You really are only limited by your imagination and your wallet but the nice thing is, you can usually find some fun ideas to fit into either of those catagories, no matter what.

I know this is about what I like and what I’ve seen works best, but it’s really about you and your wedding and what you want for your menu.  Think about how you want the vibe to be and your tastes.  Think of the dietary restrictions you have to account for. This is nothing new but hopefully will let you explore options that you might not have thought about.  If you have questions or would like to look at menu options call your favorite caterer and see what will be the best for you!

Love Was In The Air

Sometimes, like this past week, you watch true love in action. The royal couple put on a splendid wedding that didn’t disappoint. Other times, something more subtle might come along, albeit with the same level of love and passion. The only difference is, the entire world doesn’t get to view it.

I’m talking about the marriage of Mike and Annette. Two people I can now call friends. I had the honor of catering their wedding a couple of weeks ago. It was a small wedding, but can we say quality versus quantity because they didn’t want anyone there that didn’t matter to them. It was a ceremony that only included friends and family that have always been a part of their life, and that is why I was so honored to be a part of it.

I don’t know their love story, except that one day Mike had a sparkle in his eyes and he started talking about this girl. I met Annette once or twice before the wedding and thought how nice and how pretty, but I didn’t really know the depth of love they had for each other.

Until I watched them take their vows and dance the first dance.

I can’t say that I saw fireworks or stars, it was much more subtle than that. As I watched, it was more like a warm glow that filled the room, a beating of the heart, a goosebump that crawls along your arm and the tender look they gave each other. It was the love story we all want to feel in our own lives.

I was happy to be a part of this, to share my food that I made for them with the same intensity of love in my heart. I was fortunate to be a part of something so special. It was a wedding I won’t forget.

Chicken BBQ sliders

Mini Crab Cakes with Smokey Remoulade

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