Friday, August 26, 2011

Chelsea's Day

Nearly thirty years ago I fell head over heels in love with of all things, event catering. Not because I have a passion for cooking, although I'm pretty fond of creating great food and even more fond of eating it.  
What I enjoy most is the celebration of people by the people who love them. 

An event caterer, is involved in some of the most important moments in peoples lives. There is nothing more beautiful then friends and family coming together to mark a special day and special people like Chelsea Lane.

The moment I began working with Chelsea's her mother, Sandy, I knew Chelsea was special. The depth of care and attention to every party detail exceeded the preparation for most graduation parties.
I learned that Chelsea was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia  (FA) ( see  Friedreich's Ataxia ) at age 5. FA is an inherited progressive disease that debilitates motor skills and often leads to serious health problems. This disease has robbed Chelsea of activities that average young people experience easily but on this occasion, it wouldn't steal her day.

Arriving for set up, I found the house brimming with family and friends chattering cheerfully. Did I mention Chelsea Lane is loved?
The party colors were teal, black and white. The buffet was tucked in the kitchen dining area, music and festive party tables filled the backyard.

More then celebrating a graduation, the Lane family were celebrating Chelsea!

Special Party Menu
for 70 guests 
Crab stuffed Mushrooms

Mandarin Chicken Salad
with ginger sesame dressing 
Hibachi Beef
marinated tri tip with rich pineapple glaze
Vegetable Rice Pilaf
Penne Pasta with Tarragon Chicken
baked with mozzarella in Parmesan cream sauce 

 Paradise Fresh Fruit Salad
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms ready for the oven

Hibachi Beef resting

The Mandarin Chicken Salad recipe will appear in next post

Chelsea Lane is courageous, loved and her family's perseverance inspiring. Sadly soon after the party Chelsea developed a heart virus. Please remember her and her care givers in your prayers.

To learn more about Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) and how to help, please click on the link or go to

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hatch Chili's at a Catered Reunion

Behind the 91 freeway sound wall it was hot enough to melt freckles. Had I known in 5th grade that you could melt away freckles in an Anaheim neighborhood, I might have visited sooner. I'm sure the engineers didn't intend to dam the breeze for the houses behind it. No one would be that cruel.

Still, hot or not, Summer will always call folks outside to gather. Most backyards will usually see at least one event or more in the season before school busses roll again. Most will center around grilled foods and precious family time that you can never have enough of. Backyards are my speciality, and I love when I get a chance to cater with fresh seasonal ingredients.

Just before I catered Sunday's family reunion,
the Fed Ex truck had arrived with a box from Melissa's, (foodie equivalent to a gift from the North Poll). Santa at Melissa's sent famous Hatch Chili's in various whimsical shapes and Scoville values, delightfully fragrant and, kind of well... sexy.

For the party I chopped the spicy ones into the Tex Mex Dip and the milder ones were served along with grilled corn.

Summer Family Reunion
Menu For 30

Tex Mex Dip with Hatch Chili's and Handmade Chips
Vine Ripe Pomodoro and Toasted Garlic Bruschetta

Tri Tip with Spicy Apple Cider Mop
BBQ Chicken Brochette
Grilled Corn with Roasted Hatch Chili's
Baked Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
Ruby Gold Potato Salad
Country Cole Slaw
Garden Salad with Buttermilk and Raspberry Balsamic Dressing
Corn Bread Muffins
Fresh Sliced Watermelon

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Handmade Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

The New Mexico Hatch Chili is a grandparent of the Anaheim Chili seems like a good fit to roast and serve them at a friendly family gathering. Once blistered and allowed to sweat, the Hatch Chili's skin slips easily off leaving a silky pepper in your hands. Enjoy them in an omelette, quesadilla or turn them into a delicious salsa.
They have a limited season but can be stored in the freezer and used in delicious dishes for months. If you can't get away to New Mexico... Melissa's Produce can bring fresh Hatch Chili's to your door!

Learn more from Melissa's Chef Ida at: