Tag Archives: antipasti

Smashing Summer Wedding

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Wedding catering can be one of the most rewarding experiences for folks in the hospitality business: few life experiences bring more people together to celebrate love and joy! The pressures can also be intense! As seasoned as a kitchen and front house staff may be, and completely confident in the ability to deliver fabulous food and service under the most rustic and challenging circumstances – there’s one thing that none of us can control – and that’s THE WEATHER!!

This summer was truly magnificent here in the Hudson Valley (as opposed to last year’s rainy rainy summer). Almost every Saturday provided glorious sun and weather that would bring tears of joy to the eyes of those who have been planning their wedding for many moons. So happily, most of my pictures of our food are bathed in sunlight.

Today’s offerings are from a July wedding which featured a large antipasti station with passed appetizers and shots of our team plating one of our favorite salads: the Medi Salad – our version of Greek salad that’s topped with our crispy feta cheese.

July Wedding at The Sloan’s Country Home

Antipasti Table
White beans, Roasted red peppers, Assorted Mediterranean olives,
Cherry tomatoes and boccacini, Seafood salad, Artichoke hearts, Stuffed grape leaves, Garden radishes, Celery hearts, Fennel,  Sopressata, Salami, Semolina breads, Flatbreads and Foccacias

Passed Appetizers
Black Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese Bruschettas
Crispy Mushroom Parmesan Risotto Cakes
Eggplant Caponata in Phyllo Cups
Moroccan Spiced Lamb Skewers with Minted Yogurt
Skewered Chicken Satay with spicy coconut peanut sauce

Served Mediterranean Salad, Champagne toast

Wedding Buffet
Grilled Beef Tenderloin, au Poivre Sauce
Soy-Ginger Grilled Tuna Steaks on Asian Slaw
Roasted Potatoes
Mediterranean Vegetable Ravioli with Sicilian Almond Pesto
Chef’s Seasonal Vegetable Medley
Bread and Butter

Vanilla Wedding Cake with chocolate ganache filling
White buttercream frosting
Catskill Mountain organic coffee service

Pepperonata Pleases!

This weekend we’re creating an antipasti table for a large wedding and wanted to utilize some of the fresh, local vegetables that are available and delicious right now. After taking a look at these colorful and freshly picked peppers, there was no doubt that we had to include pepperonata in the mix! If you don’t have all these amazing colors to choose from, it works just as nicely with solid red or yellow bell peppers – always best if you can purchase them from your local farm stand this time of year.

Start by cutting the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stems, lay them skin side up on a baking sheet with a little bit of water and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until you see the skins have become crinkly (approximately 20-30 minutes). We prefer to roast them in the oven instead of over a grill because the flavor stays clean and fresh – no charred taste – more of the pure taste of the peppers.

Next put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a sheet pan and let them steam. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins off. Cut the peppers into strips and set aside. Thinly slice red onion, garlic and cook slowly in olive oil. When the onions are transluscent add the peppers, a few capers, green olives, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a splash of red wine vinegar and a few basil leaves, check the seasoning, let cool and serve.

Pepperonata makes a delicious antipasti: serve with a sliced baguette or toasty bruschettas. It also makes a wonderful topping for grilled chicken or fish. Mangia!

Shrimp with Gigande Beans

One of our best-selling dishes here at Bistro-to-Go is Shrimp with Gigande Beans. It’s the simple combination of the two main elements tossed together with some olive oil, garlic, dried chili pepper and chopped parsley that makes this dish a winner! And what actually makes it SO simple is that we use Divina gigande beans because they’re cooked to perfection and canned. In the old days at Blue Mountain Bistro, Richard used to soak dried beans overnight and cook them himself, but found that they didn’t cook evenly. No matter how many beans seemed the perfect “done-ness” there were always a number in the batch that were too crunchy, thus dissatisfying. These Divina beans are perfect every time! It’s no wonder they garnered the Sofi award from the National Association of Specialty Food Trade competition which honors truly outstanding food products.

Gigandes are plump, meaty white beans grown along the mountain slopes in Northern Greece.  They’re packed with protein and have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for centuries.  Divina’s gigandes are marinated in a delightful vinaigrette with red and green pepper strips. They can be served as a savory, stand alone antipasto dish or as a special ingredient in salads. We sell a giant can (70 oz) of gigandes for $16.99! If you aren’t planning a large dinner party to use the whole can, you can freeze whatever’s left in sandwich baggies and pull them out as needed for a quick healthy snack, make your own “hummus”, toss into a salad OR make this quick easy dish.

Shrimp with Gigande Beans
Chef Richard Erickson, Bistro-to-Go

1 pound shrimp, shelled
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup good olive oil
4T chopped garlic
2-3 bay leaves
Dried red chili pepper
Chopped parsley

1.  Season the shelled shrimp with sea salt and bring to room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.  This is usually done with small shrimp.
2.  Choose a pan where the shrimp will fit comfortably (too small or too large a pan will affect the result.)
3.  Heat the oil, add garlic, bay leaves and chili pepper stirring carefully over medium heat.  At just the moment when the garlic begins to turn color add the shrimp, increase the heat and stir constantly until the shrimp are done, about 2-3 minutes.  If cooked too long the flavor of the garlic will go from nutty and aromatic to bitter and acrid.
4. Toss in the gigande beans, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4 – 6 people as an appetizer with a baguette or 4 people served over angel hair pasta as an entree