Friday, August 28, 2015

The Wedding: Ceremony & Cocktail Party

On to the ceremony and my favorite part of most weddings, the cocktail party. Like I mentioned, we had perfect weather. Not too hot and lots of beautiful sunshine. Brian and I walked down the aisle and said our "I Do's" while our guests looked out over the beautiful vineyards. We had three piece string band playing for our ceremony, and I walked down the aisle to "I Will" by the Beatles.  It was all a bit of a blur so I'm really thankful Claire captured such wonderful pictures of the ceremony. 

After we walked down the aisle, Brian and I with our wedding parties went around the house to cheers with some Bellini's and Iced Tea Bourbons, and snack on some yummy hors d'oeuvres before making our grand entrance into the cocktail party. 

I'm a huge fan of cocktail parties, and especially love to see what snacks people serve. Everyone is always starving by the time it rolls around, so we made sure to have lots of yummy treats along with our signature beverages. 

I'll post the rest of the venue and wedding a little later this week. I sure hope you guys enjoy these posts. I'm so glad I have a way of capturing and sharing it all!

Wedding Vendors
CEREMONY & WEDDING VENUE: Vine Hill House || DRESS: Amy Kuschel 'Clover' || SHOES: Loeffler Randall || BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Amsale || SUITS: Indochino || PHOTOGRAPHY: Claire Lewis || FLOWERS: Main St. Floragardens || CATERING: Park Avenue Catering || BAND: Rat Pack Trio || DJ: AMS Entertainment || CAKE: Susie Cakes || HAIR & MAKEUP: Katie Donaghy, Whimsy Bridal || OFFICIANT: Rev. Michael LeBlanc
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Smoky Andouille Clams

Food52 recently posted an article on clam recipes and it really made me long for them. It's such a summery ingredient to me, reminding me of days spent at the beach. There was recipe in particular that Food52 featured that made me drool -  Smoky Clams for Two, a recipe from the kitchens of Summer of Eggplant. I've taken inspiration from that recipe and modified it just a bit. 

Brian and I enjoyed this yummy recipe on a Wednesday night, so as you see it is quite easy to make. It's a one pot meal with very little chopping and prep work. You can serve this over pasta to make it heartier, or with a loaf of bread. I made a really delicious broccoli dish to go with it that I suggest you give a shot.

Smoky Andouille Clams
makes 2 servings

2 lbs little neck clams
1/2 lb Andouille pork sausage (sliced into coins)
1 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp smoky paprika
1 lb fresh cherry tomatoes (I prefer yellow)
1 cup chick peas (optional)
1/2 lemon juice
15 oz. can clam stock (Bar Harbor brand)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
olive oil

Get a big old Dutch oven or soup pot out on the stove. Add just a splash of olive oil and crank up the heat to medium - medium high. Add the Andouille which has already been sliced into coins. Cook through, browning both sides which will take about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Leave all the grease behind.

Lower heat to medium and add the onion. Let cook for 4 minutes before adding the garlic and paprika. Let that cook for another 2 minutes and then deglaze the pot with the white wine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Now add a bit of salt and pepper. 

Add in the cherry tomatoes and chick peas and let cook down for 5 minutes. Add the clam stock, lemon juice and bay leaf, with a good amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. 

Add the clams and Andouille back to the pot and nestle the clams into the simmering sauce. The clams will take about 8 minutes to open up, so give it time. Once the clams are opened, turn off the heat and serve in bowls. If serving with pasta, just pour the sauce and clams over a bowl of pasta. 

And here's that tasty broccoli recipe I was talking about before. Don't be scared of fish sauce. It smells fishy for like 5 seconds when you put it in the pan, but then it turns into delicious, salty, umami flavor. I promise. Give it a try. Mixing it with soy sauce it the bomb.

Tangy Broccoli
makes 2 servings

2 crowns broccoli (cut into florets, stem cut into coins)
1 shallot (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a large saute pan, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and let cook for another 1 minute. Only add a small dash of salt as the fish sauce and soy sauce add salt.

Lower heat to low and add broccoli, fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice. Mix to combine everything and cover with a lid. Let cook for about 20 minutes on low heat, stirring every so often.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Wedding: Preparations

They're here!! The official wedding pictures are here and I'm so excited about them. Our photographer, Claire Lewis, did such an amazing job capturing the whole day. Now that I've been a bride, I know how quickly the day goes and how little of it you actually can take in. Claire captured everything I couldn't take enough time to enjoy and appreciate as it happened -- my friends, family, the venue, the food, and most importantly by husband!

We had our wedding in Sebastopol, California, in Sonoma, at a venue called Vine Hill House. We picked this venue for a few reasons, one of the main ones being the absolutely amazing view and property that the House sits on. It's not a tasting room like many other wedding venues in Sonoma and Napa -- but a vineyard and apple orchard only. That meant there were no people coming in and out tasting, we had it to ourselves all day. The property does grow Pinot Noir grapes and they make an absolutely amazing wine that we served at the wedding (O'Connell Vineyards Pinot Noir).

The weather was perfect which was a blessing because both the ceremony and reception were outside. Some thick fog stuck around while we got ready in the morning, but it lifted around noon, right before the boys showed up. But before the boys showed up, we all got ready in the house situated on the vineyards at the venue. I was more nervous and anxious than I ever thought I would be!

The pictures in this post capture all the fun stuff that happened before we walked down the aisle and said "I do." I had eight beautiful bridesmaids and we got pampered, drank mimosas and laughed all morning before I slipped into my beautiful Amy Kuschel dress. It was the first dress I tried on! That was my something new. So for my something old, I used a broche from my grandma who wasn't able to travel across the country to be with us. Something blue, well those were my blue sandals. And for something borrowed, my mom used some lace from her wedding dress to make a pillow for our wedding rings. 

The boys showed up and finished getting ready at the property, and Brian and I decided to do a first look rather than see each other for the first time walking down the aisle. More to come on that later this week when I share some more pictures to capture the rest of the day!

Wedding Vendors

CEREMONY & WEDDING VENUE: Vine Hill House || DRESS: Amy Kuschel 'Clover' || SHOES: Loeffler Randall || BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Amsale || SUITS: Indochino || PHOTOGRAPHY: Claire Lewis || FLOWERS: Main St. Floragardens || CATERING: Park Avenue Catering || BAND: Rat Pack Trio || DJ: AMS Entertainment || CAKE: Susie Cakes || HAIR & MAKEUP: Katie Donaghy, Whimsy Bridal || OFFICIANT: Rev. Michael LeBlanc
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My First Recipe as a Wife

That's right folks. Here marks my first recipe as a wife. It's been about a month and a half since I've posted, but trust me, I've been busy. Between working, traveling for work, planning a wedding, and attending my own wedding, I've had very little time to cook anything interesting. So, more to come on the wedding in a later post. I'll give you all the pictures and details.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to eat super healthy because why not? We've got the honeymoon coming up in a few weeks, and I want to feel awesome before we land in Greece and Italy and all I do is eat and drink wine. 

Brian and I get so mad when we order a chop salad and it turns out you have to do all the chopping yourself. What the hell is that? Chop it up for me please. You said you would. So, here's a yummy recipe for a Mexican Chop Salad. All chopped up.

Mexican Chicken Chop Salad
makes 3-4 servings

 for the chicken
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp green chili powder (optional)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat chicken cubes in spices, salt, pepper and olive oil. Line a baking sheet in foil and spread the bites out evenly, not touching. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

for the beans
1 small can black beans (drained)
1 shallot (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oi

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil and shallots. Saute for 3 minutes and add garlic. Only saute for about 30 seconds, and then add the beans and all the spices. Let cook for 1 minute before adding the chicken broth. Let beans cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. 

for the jalapeno ranch dressing (optional - can use store bought ranch instead)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp green chili powder
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp liquid from pickled jalapenos
3 tbsp pickled jalapenos (minced)
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust how many pickled jalapenos you use if you like less heat. 

for the chopped salad:
1/2 cup red cabbage (chopped)
2 green onions (chopped)
1 avocado (chopped)
1/2 cup tortilla chips (crushed)
1/2 cup cucumbers (chopped)
1 small can green chilies (drained and diced)
1 head Romaine lettuce (chopped)
1 head Butter lettuce (chopped)

First add the lettuce to the bowl, and the pile on the veggies, chicken, beans and ranch dressing. Toss everything really well and serve!

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