An Amuse Bouche Bridal Shower at the Lake
I was so excited to be asked to cook for Kaitlyn’s bridal shower. Admittedly, I love cooking for and teaching cooking classes for brides. I absolutely loved working with Tina, a friend of the family who gave the shower, Kaitlyn and her mom, Jan.
A Bridal Shower is such a wonderful event to plan: Themes, colors, florals, menus, parting gifts, invitations. It can also be overwhelming. For this shower my inspiration was the pale pink Kaitlyn chose for her accent color. It reminded me of the flesh of the grapefruit…fresh, pale, sweet, tangy! I knew I wanted to have some pink in every recipe so I created a menu that was light enough for a hot summer night, packed with flavors that worked together.
We had so much fun planning this “Amuse Bouche Soiree”. Amuse Bouche in French means to amuse the mouth or make the mouth happy. The culinary meaning is “bite size”. So that’s what we planned; bite size tastes of wonderful foods that made mouths happy.
You can do a similar menu with fewer courses:
Sit down dinner
Sparkling Pink Grapefruit with Vodka (Greyhound)
Fresh Baby greens with grapefruit vinaigrette
Chicken Wellington with Brie, Red Currant Jam and Basil
Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit syrup
Parting gift: Rosemary Topiaries provided by Spring Sweet
To make these delightful Sparkling Pink Greyhounds we used Bundaberg sparkling pink grapefruit. The flavor is deliciously sweet and tart. You can find sparkling grapefruit juice at www.worldmarket.com Kaitlyn’s colors are pink and silver. I designed a cocktail named Sparkling Grapefruit Greyhound and served it in the glass bottle with silver and white striped straws. It paired wonderfully with the olive tapenade.
Tina and I enjoyed celebrating Kaitlyn and her bridesmaids! It was an absolutely perfect evening.
The tablescape was both classic and whimsy. Spring Sweet, a French boutique named for her namesake, worked with me on the tablescaping. I adore her work. She has an incredible eye for color, composition, and texture. Her work is impeccable and makes me smile. J’adore! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spring-Sweet/159475530783127
I spotted the basil topiaries at the Holland Farmer’s Market. Joyce Glascow, Glascow Greenhouse, has a spot every Saturday and her artistic plants are well worth checking out. http://www.hollandfarmersmarket.com/ You can also get the topiaries at Spring Sweet.
It isn’t often that we take the opportunity to sit down and dine…for hours. It was a wonderful evening and the girls enjoyed sweet conversation and laughter. One course was beet soup with creme fraiche and dill. The color was delicious and the flavor divine!
The last course, before dessert that is, was Chicken Wellington: puff pastry, chicken breast, french brie, fresh basil, red currant jam. It ended up a bit larger than a bite so I deemed it an amuse bouche grande…savory pastry and brie contrasted by the sweet red currant jam. It was delicious and definately something I would make as a main for my family especially because they can be made ahead of time! This has to be one of the prettiest recipes I have ever made! Beautiful, easy to make, and delicious
The creme de la creme was the grapefruit cake with vanilla bean whipped cream…and of course, a dark chocolate truffle…’to die for’. I absolutely loved cooking for Kaitlyn. I am convinced that it is the beautiful souls we meet along the way that make cooking so wonderful. Pure joie de vivre! A celebration for sure!
Beautiful, celebratory invitation in gray with pink linen paper envelope that has a slight shimmer. Love it! http://www.etsy.com/shop/delightboutique
1 lb chicken breasts, halved
1 box puff pastry
8 oz brie
Generous bunch of fresh basil
1 jar red currant jam, swiss brand Hero, if possible
½ stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees for chicken and then 400 degrees for pastry. Clean and trim chicken. Cut chicken into desired size for pastry and place in a baking dish. Fill baking dish with 1″ of water to poach. Top each chicken breast with ¼” slice of butter, salt and pepper. Bake until it reaches 160 degrees internally. Set aside to cool.
When the chicken breast is cool, roll pastry out and cut each sheet in quarters. It is necessary to keep the pastry cool until they are ready to be assembled so that it rises properly. Place a chicken breast, 3-4 basil leaves, 1 oz of brie, and 2 T red currant jam. Fold each pastry into a parcel and place in a muffin tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry golden.
Serve immediately and garnish with fresh basil and red currants. Makes 8 servings.
Sparkling Pink Greyhound
8 bottles Australian Bundaberg Sparkling Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 bottle Absolut Vodka
Pour 1/3 grapefruit juice out of each bottle. Replace with vodka. Chill and serve in bottle with a straw.
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata or nicoise olives
3 tsp. anchovy paste
3 T fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
Sea Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
24 thin baguette slices
To make the tapenade, in a food processor, combine the olives, anchovy paste, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt, and pepper. Pulse once or twice to combine roughly, then add the olive oil and pulse briefly, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The texture should be chunky, rather than a smooth puree. Set aside.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil and sea salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 24 crostini.
Beet Soup with Crème Fraiche and Dill
6 medium beets, trimmed
1-2 scallions, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 cups beet juice (water reserved from boiling beets) strained
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup crème fraiche
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup crème fraiche and Handful fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
Cook beets in large pot of boiling water until very tender and knife pierces through to the center easily, about 50 minutes. Drain beets; cool slightly. Peel. Coarsely chop 3 of the beets.
Transfer the other 3 beets to the a food processorand mix until it becomes a puree. This will be added to the soup to thicken the base. Add the greek yogurt, sugar, and wine vinegar. Add some of the beet water and broth to blend. Thin to desired consistency with beet juice and broth. Fold in the chopped beets, scallions, and cucumber. Transfer to bowl, season, and chill several hours. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with crème fraiche and dill. Serve chilled. Makes 8 servings.