Sunday, August 22, 2010

The I Do's and Don'ts

For us at Eight, the fall is the beginning of our wedding season. The weddings that we are catering this season absolutely run the spectrum of style and size. From a traditional big Italian fete to a modern art gallery cocktail party. With my own anniversary this past week, it got me thinking about the things that brides and grooms do right and wrong in the planning of their big day. This will be a short list, but here are my top 3 things that you shouldn't and should do to ensure a memorable and fabulous day.

1. Leave the peanut gallery at home: The average wedding cost between 10K to 30K. That's the cost of a car! It's a big and personal financial commitment. Would you bring your whole family and all your friends to help you buy a house? Then why would you bring them to a cake tasting, dress fitting or food tasting and let them make the decisions? The day is about you and your partner, not about what your best friend, mom, little brother wished they could have at their wedding. PLEEEEEASE couples allow yourselves to make a deep personal decision that is just for you. Not your guest or your family. (Even if they are paying. Because a monetary gift is just that a GIFT! You don't tell people what to do with a gift.)

2. Plan ahead: If you are having a shot gun wedding, more power to you. No really. For those that are not having one, please don't act like you are. Plan, plan, plan. So much goes into planning the big day. Get help and get help early. Find a friend that is in the industry and ask them for advice. They will be able to steer you in a proper, money and time saving direction to help plan out the big day. Friends in the industry will turn you on to insider tips on how to get the most bang for your buck.

3. The entire West Coast doesn't need to be invited: This is the one piece of advice I give out to everybody I know who is getting married. Nobody ever listens and after they get married they always say, "Wow you were right." No shit! Having a rave for a wedding will exhaust you. Unless you are a raver. We had 50 people at our wedding and it felt like a night of 50 unfinished conversations. The guest that you invite took the time to buy you an expensive gift, travel across the country to be there and sit through your ceremony. They deserve more than 30 seconds of, "Thank you for coming." Our rule was if we hadn't had dinner with you in a year, then you weren't invited. Harsh rule, but it kept the numbers low and the cost down. It made it intimate. My sister got married a year ago and she had 500 people at her wedding reception. It was a par-tay, but that many people in a dark warehouse with booming music scared the shit out of my son and after being there for 20 minutes I had to leave. Missing everything about my sister's wedding reception. Very disappointing and not very intimate. Something that she regretted later.

So take the time to figure out what you want and how to get it. Let the conversation be between just the two of you and remember you(hopefully)only get married once. Though you may renew your vows, the next time around some loved ones might not be there to enjoy it, so just do it right the first time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ready for a Change of Seasons

So today was a cool 84 degrees in Sacramento, but throughout the day we had a beautifully cool breeze that made it feel like the beginning of Fall. It got me aching for Fall so badly. Fall has always been a time of restart for me. In younger years, I would usually move around this time, start a new job, begin school. Fall has a smell that is so unique and I caught a glimpse of that today. Wood burning pizza ovens, sweet pipe tobacco, pencil shavings and cool air. Going to Apple Hill with Danielle and Clint Hostetler, new leather boots and of course, the Renaissance Fair....YEAH I USED TO GO...I AIN'T EMBARRASSED...AND I USED TO DRESS UP TOO!

As of late food has been a cold, evil mistress for me, so for this post I will be referring to my favorite Fall drink. Chili Pepper Hot Chocolate. Ah Jesus, Mary, Joseph how I love a good cup of spicy hot chocolate. The only way that I drink it is with a dried red chili cooked into the milk. The heat hits you on the back of the throat in such a lovely subtle way. So when the weather gets a little more chilly in a month or so, I highly suggest making a cup and snuggling up on the couch with a good Law and Order marathon. You know I will be.

Spicy Hot Chocolate
2 cups milk
3 0z dark chocolate or 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
1-2 dried red chili pepper

In a small saucepan heat milk, but do not bring milk to a boil. Slowly stir milk. Crack the dried red chili pepper into milk and continue to warm milk. If using cocoa powder, add to milk and slowly whisk to incorporate ingredients. If using chocolate bars, pre-melt chocolate. Short cut, melt chocolate in the microwave starting at 30 seconds. Remove and stir chocolate, if not fully melted, place in microwave and at 10second intervals continue to heat and stir until melted. Pour melted chocolate into your desired mug and then slowly incorporate the milk, stirring until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It Ain't Your Snoopy SnoCones...

This week we are catering the California Fish and Game graduation dinner in Chico. When we were trying to come up with an idea for dessert, we wanted to do something cool and refreshing because cake wasn't going to work. Have you ever been to Chico in the summer? It's hotter than a black cow in a field with no trees. Fish grease is cooler. So we decided on sno-cones! Hells yea! (The sound of me patting myself on the back).
So I decided, after being invited by my friend Nanc to go blackberry picking along Lake Natoma, to do a blackberry vanilla syrup as one of the options. I've got about four more syrup combinations to create and my hope is to try some really crazy flavors that people will be like, "What the...?" But when the eat them they'll be like, "Can you put a nipple on that syrup bottle for me and I'll finish drinking the rest!" So I will update you on how that goes, but for now here is the recipe for the blackberry vanilla sno-cone syrup.

Blackberry Vanilla Sno-Cone Syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups blackberries

Take blackberries and place them in a blender with tablespoon of vanilla. Blend the mixture until berries liquefy. Over a bowl, strain the blackberry mixture so that all you have in the bowl is the juice of the berries. Discard the pulp, then set the juice aside. Add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar to a pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Make sure you stir as it comes to a boil, and then boil for a minute. Remove the pan from the stove and allow the water and sugar mixture to cool. Stir in the fruit juice. Pour the blackberry vanilla syrup over your snow cone. If you have any left over, store in the plastic containers with a lid and put it in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week.