Tag Archives: wedding dinner

Testing recipes

Much of our cooking these days is focused on testing recipes for the wedding. On Saturday we made broiled chicken, coleslaw and potatoes — all three are dishes we plan to serve at the wedding.

We cooked the chicken, which my parents raised this summer, loosely based on suggestions in The New Best Recipe cookbook.

A rooster, just over seven weeks old and big enough for the slaughterhouse

On Friday we started brining the bird, which was pre-cut into legs, breasts, wings and back, in a solution of 1/2 cup salt to 2 quarts water to 1 tsp. dried rosemary. Almost 24 hours later we broiled the chicken until a thermometer stuck inside the breast read 160 degrees (around 30 minutes). The end result was a little too salty, but otherwise juicy and delicious.

We simply cubed the potatoes and cooked them in the bottom of the broiler pan under the chicken. The drippings from the cooking bird made them greasy and delicious. We haven’t decided whether we’ll cook the potatoes this way, make mashed potatoes, or both.

We’ve been trying out different cole slaw recipes trying to find one we like, preferably without mayonnaise. Last weekend we tried Asian cabbage slaw from the Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd cookbook, but we found it somewhat dull. This weekend we tried a recipe I got from my mom for a Swedish slaw. We mixed shredded cabbage with onions, green peppers and carrots then marinated the vegetables in a very simple sauce of 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp dry mustard and 1 T salt. We like this recipe quite a bit, and it’s very easy to make.

Lots of tomatoes!

We also made some mozzarella this weekend. We plan to have fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil as one of our appetizers. We’ll make more mozzarella and other cheeses gradually from now until the wedding. Read more in a guest post Andy plans to write about cheese making.

Andy making salsa

In other exciting news, we picked a delicious yellow watermelon this weekend. The soybeans are forming small furry pods. We picked our first green beans, and we have tons of tomatoes, which we’ve been drying and using to make canned salsa. We finally pulled out the first cucumber crop, but we have a second crop that will be ready soon. The carrots, corn and squash are all looking great.

We still have lots of pickles in the fridge. If you want to give them a try, let us know. We’re selling them for $20/gallon, plus a $2 deposit on the jar. For those in the Portland area, you can pick them up at the farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but you have to order them first. Since we don’t have a certified kitchen, we can only sell our pickles under the table.

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Slow down melons! Speed up cabbage!

We’ve switched from trying to figure out what’s eating our crops to trying to determine when we can eat them. This is not as easy as it might seem.

It’s easy to know when to pick and eat tomatoes and cucumbers and kale, but melons and potatoes are a challenge. Andy has been researching how to tell when melons are ripe. He found a whole list of signs to look for, including raised ridges running from end to end, dead tendrils opposite the fruit, yellow coloring underneath and a tough rind. I simply knock on them, but they all sound hollow to me. We picked and ate one watermelon, but it was definitely not ready. This is good news. We’d rather everything waits until the end of September to ripen.

The potatoes are a challenge because our Yukon Gold plants have completely died off and the Russets aren’t far behind. Right now we’re leaving the potatoes in the ground because we don’t have a dark, 40-degree space where we can store them (we so look forward to having a root cellar some day). We’ll keep checking on the potatoes to see if they are doing okay in the ground.

We planted our short season crops recently – lettuce, peas and hakurei salad turnips – which we hope will be ready just in time for the wedding. Since it’s been dry, we’ve been watering these new seedlings every few days.

Our wedding website has a countdown on it. Every time I look at it, I’m surprised by how soon we’re getting married. I am so incredibly thrilled to marry Andy. We’re writing our own vows, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to say. I often sit back and realize that I’m more in love with him than ever before, and each time I don’t think it possible to fall even deeper in love.

With the excitement, though, comes stress. It’s a lot of work to plan a wedding. We’ve spread out the planning over time, and we’ve delegated some tasks, but I still feel overwhelmed sometimes. Andy’s good at convincing me that everything will work out fine in the end. Also, I’m very aware of the fact that the point is to enjoy the wedding, including the planning (as much as possible). I try not to stress out too much.

Planning the wedding has been a process of discarding preconceptions of what a wedding “should” be like. In the beginning I thought we needed to hire a caterer. I thought we needed to rent nice dishes. I thought we should send out paper invitations and give everyone a wedding favor.

As we’ve planned the wedding, though, we’ve discarded traditions that we don’t see a purpose for. We decided that, with our friends and family, we can cook the wedding dinner. We don’t have to follow fancy recipes that take hours to complete. Fresh ingredients speak for themselves.

Each step of the way we’ve assessed what’s really important. Making a budget helped us prioritize and throw away the idea of renting dishes and sending invitations. Instead, we’ll use the plastic summer camp dishes and we emailed an invitation I made in Publisher.

We’ve focused in on what’s really important to us, which is spending time with people we care about and being intimately involved in our wedding dinner, from seed to plate.

P.S. Sorry I haven’t posted photos lately. My camera died after falling in the Saco River during my bachelorette party. But Sarah Moore is being kind enough to take photos of us and the garden a couple of times this summer, so maybe I’ll post some of her photos.