Tuesday, March 22, 2011

American Classic with an Asian Twist!

Asian Style Shortribs with Wasabi Green Onion Mashed Potatoes, Sesame Lemon Asparagus

Catered a small, casual party the other night. This client recently moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area from China. It was up to me to make the menu....and to incorporate the steamed Chinese dumplings that his nanny made. So, I did not want to make a complete Chinese menu, since he had just moved here to the States from being in China for so many years and I had to inplement the dumplings. I came up with an American Classic dish of Beef Shortribs and I put an Asian twist to it with flavors of ginger, soy and lemongrass. It was a success and I will be making this dish again in the future! Asian Style Beef Shortribs with Fried Leeks & Kumquats, Wasabi & Green Onion Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Sesame Lemon Asparagus. Believe it or not, this was the first time that I tasted a Kumquat and it was so wonderful, a great blend of sweet and sour and it complimented the flavors of the short ribs quite well.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cocktail Party

Cocktail Party Buffet
Orange Tarragon Salmon in Spoons with Hollandaise Sauce...The hit of the night!

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Swedish Meatballs and Cold Asian Peanut Noodle Salad in "Take Out" Containers with Chopsticks

Pecan and Dried Cranberry Chicken Salad in Crunchy Phyllo Cups

It always brings me great pleasure to be able to help people entertain, but it brings me greater joy when a client calls me that I have not heard in a while. I feel flattered by the fact that I have repeat customers and I feel privileged that they want me to cater their affairs over and over again. I always feel right at home in anyone's kitchen, but I feel very comfortable in familiar surroundings that conjure up memories of joyous events from the past. Making new memories of great food and conversations with my client's and their party guests is something that I can draw upon and get inspired for more amazing parties that I can cater in the future.

The party that I did last night was a Spring Cocktail Party, eventhough it was pouring rain out and so very cold...I guess the Ground Hog did not see his shadow this year. Party guests rushed in from the cold rain to warm up to delicious Swedish Meatballs and Champagne. Other fabulous vittles on the menu included the hit of the night, Orange Tarragon Salmon served in Chinese Soup Spoons with a sinfully amazing Hollandaise drizzled over the top. I have always thought that their is a "guilty pleasure" from Hollandaise, don't feel too guilty about this one, it's a "small bite" and you don't eat it everyday...so enjoy it and savor every bite!

My client did her homework before I arrived that I didn't even ask her to do! She took her menu that she had decided on serving and brought it to her local wine sommeliers so she can get the best wine pairings for the food and it was a great success; we served a pinot gris and champagne with the menu. She had mentioned to me that it would be a great idea to suggest wine parings with my menus, which is something that I don't have. So, off to the wine sommeliers so I can learn more and give more to my clients; I guess my client gave me homework to do!

Below is the full cocktail party menu that I served. Make sure to visit my website so you can view my cocktail party menu samples and start to plan your next soiree...go to http://www.butlerforhire.com/ and hire me to cater your parties...and remember, Good Food is Always in Style!

Mary and Glenn's Spring Cocktail Party Menu
Asian Peanut Noodle Salad in mini individual "Take Out" containers with chopsticks
Butternut Squash Soup served in “Shot” Glasses
Savory Swedish Meatballs with Sherry
Tuna Tartare on Crispy Won Ton with Edammame Wasabi Puree
Assorted Fine Cheese with Grapes, Strawberries & Crackers
Pecan & Chicken Salad in crunchy Phyllo Cups
Orange Tarragon Salmon in Chinese Spoons with Hollandaise Sauce
Sausage & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms with Monterey Jack Cheese

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sit Down Dinner Party in San Carlos

A Beautifully set dinner table, ready for good conversation and fabulous food!
Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Cheese Tartlets

Curry Corn & Crab Hushpuppies with Curried Honey Mustard

Tuna Tartare on Crispy Wonton with Edammame Wasabi Puree,
one of the most popular Hor D'Ouevres that I make!

Catered a dinner party last night for new clients' Doug & Joelle in San Carlos. I always enjoy helping people entertain with good food and service. I always tell my clients that it's not just "their party", it's also mine, that's why I take so much care in the way the table looks and how the food tastes and looks. I cook food that I would eat, delicious and very tasteful. I am in my element while cooking in ones kitchen and making sure that all the food is preparred with care.
I loved all the courses that I did at this party, but I have to say, that I am glad that my client chose the "Dessert Sampler" plate for dessert, with 3 different delicious desserts...much better than just one, right? It's also a tug of war, because the main course was a bleu cheese encrusted bacon wrapped beef fillet with red wine sauce...yum! It's always hard to choose what's my favorite in what I serve on any of my menus, it would be even harder for you to choose, I can help you with all of your difficult culinary decisions, just contact me and I will cater your next event in the San Francisco Bay Area: http://www.butlerforhire.com/

Scroll down for more photos from this event with the next posting.

Dinner Party in San Carlos...More Photos

Cream Of Corn Soup with Crab
Baby Spinach Salad with Red Onion, Pomegranate Seeds, Curried Walnuts, Pears, Bleu Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Bleu Cheese Encrusted Bacon wrapped Beef Fillet with Red Wine Sauce, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Tarragon Butter and Parmesan Buttermilk Mashed Red Skinned Potatoes

Dessert "Sampler Plate" with Petite Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake, Blueberry Creme Brulee and Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Fever

It may seem too early to think about entertaining outdoors, but I’m getting Spring Fever! Here in California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s second nature-so to say, to entertain al fresco. Our weather here at least 8 months out of the year is perfect for a party setting in the sunshine. I have always enjoyed entertaining outdoors and I love to be able to help people do the same. There is something about the sunshine, light breeze and the birds singing in the background that contributes to the perfect celebratory ambiance. Most of the events that I cater are at private homes, so the parties are not too big to host in ones backyard or patio, plus entertaining at home is much more relaxing then having it at a public venue.

I find that whether the soiree is casual or formal, sit down or buffet style; my clients and their guests are at their most relaxed state enjoying the party in someone’s garden. Not to say that they are not enjoying the event if it was indoors, remember that you do need a back up plan during the spring or fall months in the bay area, sometimes we do get rain here. Here are some key points to remember when planning a garden party.

1. Lack of Shade-No fun in the Sweltering Sun: Depending on where you live, you may have a lack of shade at key times of the day, leaving your guests roast in the midday sun. So, please plan ahead and have plenty of umbrellas; you can rent them from your local party rental company, if you don’t have enough of them on hand.
2. Lighting: Depending on what time you are hosting your event, the sun does go down and you need to plan for that. There is nothing worse then tripping on obstacles in the backyard or not being able to see the food that you are eating. Turn on your backlights; make it fun, a simple change of a light bulb with different wattage or colors can add to the ambience. String up some lights everywhere, you can find boxes of large or small string lights at many larger department stores, if you don’t want to do that yourself, many rental companies can supply a lighting package for you that includes installation. One really great thing that I love, are the new L.E.D. battery operated candles, I like the larger pillar style ones, you can get them at very reasonable prices, I have found many at the big box stores and many discount retailers, they really do look like a real flickering candle, they are safe and they don’t blow out.
3. Man’s Best Friend, or Unruly Pets at the Party? No matter how well behaved your pets are, unexpected things can happen when you have a large group of people in your home whom your pets are not familiar with. Please either hire a pet sitter to take them out for a play date for several hours or for the whole day or night or have them comfortably restrained in another room of the house. Nothing is worse then a pet trying to get food off of the buffet table that I had just set up or someone’s pet inspecting everyone’s inseam; it has happened.
4. Insects Are Not Welcome Guests At Your Party: Take a few minutes to inspect your home and backyard the week before the party. Look especially for standing water, a source for mosquitoes, and for bee’s nests. If you do have a bee’s nest, call a beekeeper- most of them will remove the bee’s nest for free. Walk through the lawn and the perimeter of the house for anthills; some gentle insecticides (preferably organic) can make all the difference between a really fun party and ants crawling on your watermelon or worse…you!
5. Entertainment: Good food and fun friends mingling at your party is great entertainment, but for small parties when conversations tend to get low, there always seems to be that uncomfortable silence in the background sometimes. To avoid this, simply have some music on, turn the stereo on and angle the speakers facing outdoors from a back window or re wire the speakers with long wires, or some homes have outdoor speakers wired already. If you have it in your budget, hire a small band or a DJ, which will really get your party going. Please remember, simple is best, music in the background is always nice.
6. Last but not Least: Turn your sprinkle systems off the day before the party, walking on mushy landscapes or getting high heels stuck in the ground from damp lawns are not fun, nor are they fun for your Manolo Blahnik’s. Have plenty of ice on hand, usually when you have mixed drinks and ice to cool sodas, wine and beer you will need at least 2 lbs of ice per guest for any kind of outdoor party, store the ice in coolers or large plastic tubs…rental companies also have coolers that you can rent.

Hope the above tips are helpful for you; the next time you host a party outdoors. Hiring a caterer, like myself, at Butler For Hire: http://www.butlerforhire.com/ really takes the stress out of entertaining. When was the last time you were able to be a GUEST at your OWN party? I will be able to ensure that you will be able to put your feet up when I arrive at your doorstep.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recent Mailer

Above is my recent postcard that I mailed out last month. If you are not on my mailing list, please contact me and I will put you on it. I mail out recipe postcards from time to time and you get to see a few photos of my work on the front with a delicious recipe on the back! Enjoy

Birthday Party in Atherton

Bacon Wrapped Scallops...A classic "Surf & Turf" Hor D'Ouevres
Red & Golden Beet Salad with Baby Greens, Goat Cheese, Pear Vinaigrette & Pistachios

Foi Gras, Hazelnut & Chocolate Truffles...Foi Gras & Chocolate?? My client requested this item and I was suprised by this one.

Birthday Party in Atherton...More Photos

Pulled Pork Sliders...Looks like one tried to get away before being gobbled up!!! LOL
Mashed Potato Gratin with Swiss & Gruyere Cheeses, talk about comfort food!

Duck Confit in Spoons with Carrot Puree and Port Cherry Caraway Seed Sauce

Grilled Beef Skewers with Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms...Delicious

Birthday Dinner Party in Menlo Park

Passed Hor D'Ouevres: "BLT" on Brioche with Gorgonzola Cream, Baby Heirloom Tomato,
Arugula, Bacon & Basil Aioli
Passed Hor D'Ouevres: Cherry Tomato & Mini Fresh Mozzarella "Caprese" Salad Skewer with Balsamic Glaze

Seated Appetizer: Sharp Cheddar Souffle with Crumbled Bacon

Birthday Dinner Party in Menlo Park...More photos

Butternut Squash Soup
Field Greens, Champagne Vinaigrette, Sharp Cheddar, Toasted Walnuts,
Dried Cranberry & Cherry Tomatoes

Roasted Rack of Lamb, Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan & Panko Crumbs, Sauteed Zucchini & Mushrooms with White Wine

Double Chocolate Molten Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream....YUM!