Second Food Tasting - Canapés Catering

We had our second food tasting for our wedding last night with Canapés Catering.  We had been asked to choose the food we wanted to taste prior to arriving.  This was very difficult for us only because there were SO many incredible options.  Case and Point - the hors d'oeuvres list was 19 pages long and that font size was small!

The tasting was held at Thorpewood, which is one of the places we looked at having our wedding.  Unfortunately for us, our wedding size is more than they could accomodate, but I would highly recommend it to anyone having a smaller size wedding.  Absolutely beautiful.  

Hors d'Oeuvres

Seared Sea Scallops with Fresh Bacon and Beurre Blanc - Pan-seared jumbo sea scallops drizzles with beurre blanc and topped with crumbled crisp bacon.
Maryland Crab Cake Canapés on Sweet Corn Muffins with Cajun Rémoulade - Rich Old Bay seasoned lump crab cakes served resting in a miniature sweet cornbread muffin with a leaf of mesclun and a zippy Cajun rémoulade sauce.

Katafi Wrapped Sea Bass  with Tomato Essence - Garlic infused oil marinated sea bass filets wrapped in shredded phyllo, pan-seared until crispy and served with a Tomato Caper Essence Beurre Blanc.

Southwestern Tequila and Lime Jumbo Prawn - Tequila, lime juice, olive oil, brown sugar and cilantro marinated shrimp, pan-seared and served with a barbecue dipping sauce.  


Thai Crab Rolls - Sautéed carrots, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms tossed in a Thai sauce with chives, coriander, cellophane noodles and lump crab rolled in rice paper wrapper. Pan-fried and served with a spicy dipping sauce. 
Fruit Soup Shooters - Peach & Mango….refreshing and beautifully garnished.

Salad & Bread

Salad of Mesclun Greens with a Basil Tarragon Vinaigrette - Fresh seasonal greens displayed with grape tomatoes, dried apricots and cherries finished with goat cheese and tossed with a flavorful herb vinaigrette.
Spring Greens with Blue Cheese, Sweet Pecans and Grilled Pear - Fresh field greens and crisp romaine tossed in Vidalia vinaigrette with candied pecans, sliced grilled pear and crumbled blue cheese.

Fresh Baked, Grilled Olive Loaf

 & Sides

Maryland Crab Cakes - Rich lump crab mixture seasoned with Old Bay and formed into cakes then BAKED to a golden brown.  Served with sides of savory rémoulade sauce and cocktail sauce.
Grilled Tenderloin of Beef - Olive oil, garlic, cracked pepper and rosemary rubbed tenderloin of beef seared and roasted to a medium rare served with shiitake demi-glaze and horseradish cream.

Chicken Scaloppini with an Herb Marsala Sauce - Boneless chicken breast dusted lightly with seasoned flour, pan seared and served sliced resting in an herb Marsala sauce. 

Grilled Salmon Filets with a Béarnaise Sauce - Garlic infused grapeseed oil rubbed salmon filets, grilled and served resting in a pool of a rich tarragon shallot béarnaise sauce.

Soft Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms & Crispy Leeks - Creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano accented polenta served with a sauté of assorted mushrooms.
Our sides in the above entrée pictures were:
Roasted Fresh Asparagus - Fresh asparagus roasted in olive oil seasoned with cracked pepper & salt.
Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts - Sweet butter pan seared seasoned Brussel sprout halves.

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted New Potatoes - Miniature red potatoes quickly seared in olive oil, fresh rosemary and a hint of garlic, finished in the oven with sweet butter, kosher salt and cracked pepper.


Flavorful moist carrot cake torte layered with a rich cream cheese filling.
White butter cake torte layered with a fresh raspberry mousse, raspberry conserve and shredded coconut. (they forgot the raspberry mousse, but we were too full to mind)

Almond butter cake torte layered with a smooth almond scented buttercream.

Pretty impressive stuff, right?  We had some clear favorites, but all of the food was absolutely delicious.  My mom, Kevin & I split everything in the pictures above and even brought leftovers home to my dad, who couldn't make it.  
I like this part of wedding planning!

Even without any wine, we got a little loopy from all the delicious food.  Kevin proclaimed that he got his first ever "food high".   My mom snapped a picture of us in the midst of our post-meal happiness. 

We had planned to have a third and final tasting next week, but are considering cancelling and going with our clear favorite. :)



My Big Break?

I wanted to write and let everyone know why it has been awhile since I last posted.  

I have been busy fielding calls from reporters.  ;) My mom and I are in the May 2010 issue of the Baltimore Magazine!

A couple months ago, I won tickets via twitter for a bridal show, so we decided to check it out.  We were in the food line when a photographer asked us to get together with some strangers for a picture.  At least I didn't have a big plate of food in my hand, although that would probably be more appropriate.
Fruity Food

I finally decided to try out the Banana Soft Serve that I have been reading about for so long.  It promised to "change my life" and taste like ice cream, so I had to try it for myself!  I did change it up slightly and added in frozen strawberries.  
Looks like ice cream, huh?  I was shocked too!

The ingredient list is short:  frozen bananas and frozen strawberries.  Both were fresh before I sliced and froze overnight.  Mixed together in the Food Processor for a few minutes.  

The verdict?  Pretty amazing how much this tastes like real ice cream.  I love it!  We are now going through more bananas than ever before.

The warm weather has me on a fruit kick lately, so the other day I made fruit salsa.
Although slightly labor intensive, this is my favorite way to use up excess fruit.
Mixed together with whatever jam you have on hand.  I used Grandmom's Peach Jam.
Use cinnamon sugar pita chips for dipping.  Or just eat with a spoon.


A few weeks ago I won a free 30 minute extremity massage from Claire Taylor Massage and cashed it in almost immediately after winning.  

I arrived and quickly became relaxed by the soothing atmosphere and cool music.  I thought this 30 minute massage hit all the important places.  Shoulders, arms, feet, hands, neck, and head.  I definitely plan to going back and highly recommend it to anyone in the Baltimore area.  Thanks for a great giveaway Claire.  The ones that I win are the best!



A Few Weeks of Eats

Sorry if anyone got a half-finished post!  I hit publish instead of save.  

Its been awhile and I have so much food to share that a pictorial summary is probably the best route for me to take.  Lets start back on Easter...
Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, sprinkled with parmesan and wrapped in Phyllo.  Tastespotting.com provided me this recipe and they turned out well.  I ate that picture multiplied by 5.
The Pioneer Woman's favorite salad ever!
Zucchini, Ham, Gruyere Quiche.
My plate of blue cheese potatoes, quiche, green beans, salad, & salmon.
Isnt this a great picture of my niece and nephow on Easter?  Didnt realize until later that I caught Max in the mid pee.  oopsie.
I was a spectator during the easter egg hunt.
Saved a little room to try this beautiful dessert made by my Uncle Gene.

Moving on from Easter to one of our standard weeknight dinners.  Grilled Fish Tacos on corn tortillas.
The orange sauce on the bottom was a first.  We sauteed onions and peppers and then threw them in the VItamix.  Best warm onion/pepper soup/smoothie I've ever had!

We recently traveled to Cincinatti, OH to visit some of Kevin's family and enjoyed a bunch of great eats.
Marinated Veggies, Parmesan, Sausage over crisp Romaine.
Minestrone Soup.
Chicken Marsala over linguine.
Roasted Asparagus w/ garlic.
Sorbet from Aglamesis.  Loved this place.
Red Raspberry sorbet to be exact.
I cleaned my dish.

I have been finding time to workout when I am not eating all of this food.  More on that later.  I have a 100k bike ride in less than 3 weeks and I am almost done P90!



First Tasting for the Wedding

So, about a month ago, Kevin and I picked the venue for our wedding.  It was between a rustic, waterfront inn OR a stone, country inn.  

I love stone.
I love water too.
Did I mention that Oscar can be a part of the wedding here?
We went with the Stone Manor Inn and cant wait until next June 2011!

Time to test out some caterers.  The best part, right?  A few weeks ago, I won tickets to a Bridal Show from the Baltimore magazine via twitter.  I ended up meeting Paul, the chef/owner of Dionysus Kitchen, and was impressed.  I loved his passion and approach to food.  I contacted him online when I got home and was talking with him on the phone the next day.  

We decided to set up a tasting and were invited to the his family's home for a 5-course meal.  The goal of this tasting was "not to sell you on a particular menu, but to illustrate our ethic of cooking from scratch using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible."  

We were eating with two other couples and had a great time talking with everyone.  We had numerous things in common and realized how small the world really is.

I will attempt to describe each course with as much detail as we were given, but I would never be able to do it justice.
First course: roasted beets, blue cheese, walnuts, vanilla vinaigrette, fresh chives.
Second course: trumpet shaped pasta (forget the name!), fresh chickpeas, asparagus, parsley, parmigiano-reggiano, truffle oil.
Third course: tilapia croquette, fresh tarragon, savory strawberry sauce, spinach puree.
Fourth course: Pear soaked in wine(?), three types of cheese.
Fifth course: Banana Bread Pudding.

I enjoyed every bite.  A few highlights:
  • I tried fresh chickpeas for the first time.  Never knew they were green!
  • Wine served with each course, one being a homemade red wine.
  • Paul keeps a bag full of all kinds of cheeses in his freezer for making pizzas over the fire. (I want to move in!)
  • I pet a chicken in the coup behind their house. 
The menu flexibility appeals to us in a big way because we could incorporate our favorites!  Also, knowing all the effort this caterer puts into reducing waste and using local & organic ingredients is a big positive.

Looking forward to the next tasting and getting all of these big decisions out of the way!



Birthday Weekend

This past weekend we celebrated Kevin's birthday by heading out to the mountains.  We couldn't have felt farther away from the city, but in actuality, we were only an hour and a half away. 

We chose The Cascade Inn Historic Bed & Breakfast because it was near multiple parks and they allow dogs!  
Yes, even Oscar got to getaway to the mountains for the weekend.  Our first floor room was comfortable & beautiful.  
We were lucky enough to have the entire B&B to ourselves for the weekend.
Breakfast Saturday morning was delicious.  Ham/Green Onion/Monterey Jack quiche, Lemon poppy muffins, fresh fruit, coffee & OJ.  This hearty breakfast fueled us until late in the afternoon.
After breakfast, we had plans to go mountain biking in Gambrill State Park, but unfortunately, it was much colder than we expected.  Instead, we started the morning with a hike on the Appalachian Trail with Oscar.  
It was a bright morning and we decided to head towards Georgia in hopes that it would get warmer as we walked.  ;)
After Oscar was tired out, we dropped him off at the house and headed over to Cunningham Falls State Park.  
We decided to take the Cliff Trail and after we made it up the short climb, we stopped for the standard couple shot.  
We discovered the falls in no time and took some pictures before climbing up the rocks.
Kevin decided to scale the rock wall, which was funny to see.
I made one failed attempt to make it up the same route, before finding an easier way up.  After more exploring/hiking, we headed back to the inn for some relaxation before dinner.
Carriage House Inn is on our list of possible caterers, so it was a perfect opportunity to give them a try before our official tasting.
Cream of Crab Soup
Garden Salad w/ a homemade Tomato Vinaigrette
Warm, Crusty Bread
Scallops in a citrus tomato sauce w/ garlic mashed potatoes and julienned vegetables.

Our food was good, but in all honesty, nothing knocked our socks off.  And I kind of want my socks knocked off for the food at our wedding.  
The next morning, our breakfast included one of the Inn's specialties - Caramelized bacon.  (The recipe is listed on their website).  It had that awesome sweet & salty combo.
Served with a belgian waffle.  We were officially stuffed.

It was a quick drive back into Baltimore where we completed our P90x week with some KenpoX.  Definitely needed to work off the bacon & belgian waffle!


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