As most of you know, I attended an awesome and beautiful wedding last weekend in Portland. One of the things that made the wedding was so special, as I explained, was the amaaazing food, all made by one of the bride’s best friends, Stephanie. Well, Stephanie was kind enough to send me the recipes for some of my favorite wedding dishes for me to share with all of your wonderful readers. Stephanie is incredibly talented; one thing I was particularly impressed by was her ability to take ordinary, inexpensive ingredients, like grapes, tomatoes, and plain olives, and make them into extraordinary, fancy looking and tasting, and unique dishes. These recipes are also fresh and healthy- requiring only natural ingredients.
Here are 4 of my absolute favorites from the weekend, with photos to go along with them. Most of the photos were taken by a friend, Shona, who is a graphic and website (and blog!) designer and also an incredible photographer (check out her website at http://www.eyedesignstudio.com/).
I’ve copied Stephanie’s recipes word-for-word. She does a great job explaining each step.
1/2lb to 1lb olives- drained
(I’d suggest good plain unpitted green, kalamata or a mix from an olive bar at a deli. But jars from a ethnic market work very well, as long as they are packed in brine.)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika (sweet or spicy, depending on your preference)
a few cloves of garlic- add more if you want more garlicky
a lemon or an orange
-Crush the garlic cloves and add to the warm oil.
-Add the sprigs of rosemary.
-Stir in paprika
-Leave on heat for 5 mn
-Dump olives into bowl, add oil and very thinly sliced 1/4 to 1/2 (to taste) lemon or orange
-Combine, let marinate for at least a couple of hours to overnight.
Tomato Jam (adapted from multiple recipes seen online)
This was served with four very different cheeses at the wedding, along with some crusty bread. It was the perfect compliment to all- sweet and savory!
What you’ll need:
2lb Very ripe, sweet tomatoes (I used sungolds and cherry tomatoes. But remember you’ve got to skin them all!!)
2lb Sugar – I’d started with half and added to taste, I think I used less. Depends on how good the tomatoes are.
1 Vanilla bean
10 oz Water
1/4 tsp ground chai spice- taste and add more if you’d like, can sub ground ginger, etc.
a small amount of orange extract- like a capful
-Boil the sugar and water to a syrup.
-Add the tomatoes (blanched, skinned, and sliced- if using larger tomatoes).
-Boil steadily, stirring fairly often, for about 35 minutes.
-If the tomatoes are too seedy, pour mixture through a sieve to remove majority. If you’re using larger tomatoes, simply seed them before hand.
-Add the vanilla bean- spilt and scraped, chai spice, extract
-Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes longer, or until you like the thickness, will be runnier than typical jam.
-Remove the vanilla pod, skim the jam, and let it cool for a few minutes before turning it into small jars.
Pickled Grapes (adapted from smittenkitchen.com which was adapted from others…)
Makes about 3 cups
Here is the only photo I could find of these incredible grapes- they are in the upper left-hand corner. These were so unique- sweet, pickle-like, but still with a nice crunch! They popped in my mouth!
What you’ll need:
1lb seedless grapes (I’ve used black and red)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 (2 1/2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon salt
-Rinse and dry the grapes
-Pluck from from their stems.
-Cut off the tip that was pulled from the stem to expose more flesh.
-Put grapes in large clean dry canning jar
-combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium .
-let brine cool before adding to grapes if you want a “crisper” grape, or dump in right away if you want a softer pickle. I’d say the former if you’re doing it days ahead, the latter if you’re rushing and doing night before/morning of.
Rhubarb Chutney (adapted from a recipe given to me)
I couldn’t find a great picture of the chutney, either, but here is a photo I took of my scrumptious plate of goodies at the wedding. The chutney is sitting on the bottom left-hand corner of my plate, right next to the beautiful pesto and veggies. I dipped my meat, my veggies- everything- into the chutney!
This chutney was so good that, after seeing some extra in the basement, we asked the groom if we could have a jar of it to take home. Being family (of Loren), he obliged… but I’m sure he didn’t want to let it go! I’m so excited to be able to use this in the months to come!
What you’ll need:
4lbs rhubarb washed and chopped (original recipe called for peaches, I’m sure you could sub mangoes or any not quite ripe fruit, as you want it to hold it’s shape- just pit and chop)
1lb onions- chopped
1lb brown sugar- start with 1/2 and add to taste (varies with fruit)
1lb raisins (I used golden, but have made it with regular, both are tasty)
4oz candied ginger cut in strips and diced
1/2 tsp cayenne (more to taste)
2T Indian style curry powder (I always add more after tasting)
1 pint white vinegar
-Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook for one hour over med/low heat.
-Taste and add extra of any spices, make sure chutney has thickened
-Remove from heat, bottle.
A BIG thanks to Stephanie for all of these recipes. I keep trying to convince her to start her own catering business in Portland- she is an incredible talent in the kitchen and would be a huge success. I hope you all will try some of these at home, just for a family dinner, or for your next dinner party with friends. I promise they are out-of-this world and will amaze your guests!