Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wedding in the Woods

The best weddings are casual but classy... fresh and comfortable, outdoors but still intimate. There is never a need to fuss with decorations when nature can provide uncomplicated beauty. This Southern California wedding reception is a perfect example of all the above. Crisp white chairs, warm chocolate table linen, clean simple lines are framed by boughs and bramble. In one word~ beautiful.

Natural posts hold a simple covering for a simple buffet. In this picture only the basic table scape is in place.

Colors for the table mimic nature as well. Wood, ferns, stone and shade compliment rather then compete for attention.

The reception was a luncheon the menu items were arranged on platters and served cool.

cold poached salmon with cucumber coulis
lemon tarragon chicken with green grapes and lemon vinaigrette
beef tenderloin with portobella sweet onion mushroom salad and aoili 
orzo and wild rice salad
sliced tomato with blue cheese and bacon
creamy spinach pasta salad
bread display
wedding cupcakes

Photo RFontes Fresh Ideas
 Table assignments set for guests

Photo RFontes Fresh Ideas
Cupcakes for a sweet send off.

Photo RFontes Fresh Ideas

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Take a Peek at a Roaring 2O's Party

Tortellini Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Dried Tomato, Olives and Fresh Mozzerella. Platter with deli meats. Photo RFontes

 My very creative friend Chris planned a fun party for her fathers birthday. She chose a Roaring 20's theme, booked a casino, and did an amazing job with period decorations. The guests arrived in terrific costumes, ready to roar!
Chris created dramatic decor areas


Look how great these ladies look in their 20's finery!                                                                                
Together with her family, Chris put together a menu and prepared dishes for a casual, easy to nosh on, buffet.

Sausage En Croute served with flavored mustard's. Platter with Puff Pastry Straws and Blistered Grape Tomatoes.  Photo: RFontes-Fresh Ideas

Handmade sausage wrapped in pastry before slicing. Photo RFontes
 My part was easy, I made the Tortellini Salad. Handmade sausage wrapped in pastry, Bruschetta Pomodorro, Chicken Satay and Grilled Sausage Skewers with peppers and onions.

Sausage Skewers ready for the grill. Photo RFontes, Fresh Ideas

Classic Pomodoro, served with fresh ciabatta toasted and rubbed with garlic. Photo RFontes
Adding some space onto your home to keep guests warm and cozy is easy. A party rental company can turn your backyard into another room.

Casino table gets it's own room
Chris turned her parents parlor into a classy casino.

The buffet was set in the kitchen for simple service.
Guests entered from the alley, into a fun "speakeasy" secret knock...and all!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cook like a Caterer Review- on the road with caterBuzz - the grassroots social media hub for catering professionals: Cook Like a Caterer - a resource for the fledgling caterer, the experienced home entertainer and anyone else who loves delicious food + recipes in quantity!

If you ever wanted to really challenge yourself, then write a cookbook! I just finished Cook like a Caterer, Party Sized Recipes for Entertaining...(are you ever finished?) and now working on the E Book version. It's exciting when after years at working on recipes, the first boxes of books arrive...

... and giving some to your patient family.
Suddenly, complete strangers are not only encouraging, they actually want one!

The best part of all of this is finding kindness and support from the professional catering community called Caterbuzz.

New York Caterer Lisa Teiger of CuisinEtc, reviewed the book, and posted kind words on Caterbuzz blog... she helped me laugh through the typos.

Please take some time and read- on the road with caterBuzz - the grassroots social media hub for catering professionals: Cook Like a Caterer - a resource for the fledgling caterer, the experienced home entertainer and anyone else who loves delicious food + recipes in quantity!   Thank you Lisa and CaterBuzzies!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Menu and Entertaining Trends for Spring 2012

Photo Renee Fontes- There still is no known cupcake replacement and I'm okay with that...after all there is always room for a little dessert!

With Spring just around the corner, here's a peek on what's cooking in entertaining for 2012. 

On the menu-
Resourcefulness is in style for entertaining. A sluggish economy and an unsure future, (after all this is the last year on the Mayan calendar!) 2012 will find hosts producing simple thoughtful meals at home for special celebrations. Many hosts will take producing a step further with home or community gardening, cooking from scratch and preserving foods in a traditional manner to share with friends and family. Rustic home made food is wholesome and welcoming.

Photo Fresh Ideas Trip to Orange Home Grown Market

Photo Fresh Ideas-Home made chicken stock
          The excitement of growing even the smallest
patch in the urban squeeze will lead to adventures in the kitchen. Making unprocessed stock, bread, soups and your own party food to the delight of your guests, and families.

 Most guests are beginning to "warm up" to fresh healthy food  and are more willing to try new things. Fruits and vegetables, brought to market by boutique farmers, will continue to star on menus this year and often be the centerpiece of the meal. More fish and egg's beyond breakfast.

              Black lentils, quinoa, home grown sprouts, dishes featuring seeds and Greek yogurt.

Photo Fresh Ideas Renee Fontes, Sangria

For drinks, bourbon and scotch beat vodka right now. Try a Mint Julep for a refreshing spring cocktail. Party punches are economical and fun. Sangria or any spiked punch is good for showers, or brunches.
Photo Fresh Ideas Renee Fontes Ceviche

Peru is posed to be the new favorite ethnic choice, but except for Ceviche, the other dishes may not translate well for entertaining.

The appetizer this spring is 
Asian dumplings. The novelty
sweet is "pie pop's" (kinda like
their cake cousins, except that
they are pie on a stick).
This spring:
Danish open faced sandwiches
Carbonara, Matzo ball soup, Areapas, and Donuts.

Photo Fresh Ideas -Donuts on buffet
 Guests will go hog wild over whole pig. Caterers and chefs are now finding consistent suppliers of pork specialty cuts, making for quite a delicious and stunning presentation.

Photo Dinner At Eight Productions, Luau Pig

For the Table-
Hunt for vintage silver and crystal to use at your party. It adds a bit of nostalgic elegance to the table.
Look for pedestal serving pieces to use for a  dessert display.
Use stem wear for all drinks at the bar, even beer.

Classic colors a bit more reserved have cool undertones. White it's still fresh and crisp, paired with pale pink is gracious, frilly but purposeful. Just like ballet slippers.

Photo Martha Stewart Living

I borrowed this picture from Martha Stewert. Can you blame me?
The Magnolias are stunning in their lofty white cylinder vase. Simple elegant arrangements are
fresh, white with soft color memorable.

For a little  texture, try the pin tuck linen.
Take advantage of specialty linens that can be rented from a  quality party rental company.

Another favorite color this spring is aqua or turquoise and tangerine both cheerful and inviting.
Photo Fresh Ideas Renee Fontes

I hope these will spur some ideas for your entertaining this season. I'd love to here some of your ideas too!- Cheer's Renee