RSS Feed

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All Hail the Pumpkin King!

Okay okay i know.... it's the middle of summer and I'm worrying about Autumn food, but i mean, c'mon... you have to give me a break. I'm hungry, in a cooking mood, and wanting to do something productive. so why not try and come up with a few dishes for the reception? right? right? see, i knew you'd agree. (And if you don't, then go away, or i shall taunt you a SECOND time!)

First off, i'd like to mention that we're having a rather unconventional reception dinner. Due to budget, we're not offering fancy menus and catering. We're not having men in black and white tuxes serving you amazing food steamed in luxury and basted in moolah. It's not happening...

But then again, neither did we want to have everybody show up and have to pick meats off of cold platters and eat soggy pre-made sandwiches that not everybody's going to like! So what's our solution? Potluck.

The sound you just heard was a million couture brides passing out from shock simultaneously. It's fun isn't it? haha. but no, seriously. We're going to put (gently worded of course o.O) that though not required, it is suggested that the invited please bring a covered dish (but no desserts!). Mostly because i want Grandma Juanita's corn souffle and Mac and Cheese... but that's besides the point...

And i figured since we have such peculiar food allergies (Coconut, peanuts, strawberries, chocolate, nuts in general, wheat, etc.) everybody could bring something they know they're not allergic to so at least they get fed, right?? Well of course we don't want to show up empty handed, offering nothing but scrumptious homemade wedding cake, so Jim and i have been thinking... what kind of awesome dishes (since we both rock at cooking and love doing it...) could we bring to this? Well... this is what i've come up with so far:

1) Pumpkin Pie from Scratch.
Yes that's right, scratch. My baby can make the most uh-maze-ing pumpkin pie you'll ever taste -- straight from the pumpkin itself! none of that canned stuff for us! (and a small sweet pumpkin -- aka "pie" pumpkin -- can make two decent pies on it's own!) So although i can't seem to locate his specific pie recipe, i have found one quite similar to share with you all!

[Click me for super awesome pumpkin-y goodness!]

(Honestly the recipe is tooooooo long to post here without it deserving it's own redundant post, so just follow the links and scroll towards the bottom. you'll find it :-D)

2) Hot Apple Cider
Ah... sweet apple-y cinnamon-y goodness! what could possibly be more satisfying than something sweet, spicy, and warm on a cool autumn eve, gathered round loved ones!? Nothing, that's what! Although depending on how "warm" you want your cider is debatable. Me? i like mine virgin personally...

and because i couldn't settle on just one recipe, you're getting two. Because i love you guys that much. ;-)

Allspiced Cider
Hot Buttered Cider

If you raised an eyebrow and thought "Butter? in my beer!?" you've completely lost the point. If your eyes lit up, and you thought "HARRY POTTER!" you get brownie points. Yes my lovelies i've gone geeky teenage girl on you all... but i have an excuse!

Okay no i don't. i just really love this stuff and the fact that it's related to Harry Potter just gives it that extra oomph of cool.

My mother made an alcoholic version of this for Halloween a few years ago, and (even though i wasn't there personally...) i heard it was the favorite on the snack table. Since it was served warm in a big punch bowl, and it was like -10 outside the punch itself began to steam creating sort of a fog-effect over the bowl. Spooky!

This version though is non-alcoholic for the kiddies since (chances are...) the Cider will end up being spiked.


  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch topping
  • 2 tablespoons whipped butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla cream soda


Combine condensed milk, butterscotch topping, and butter in a glass heatproof measuring cup. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until butter has melted and incorporated into mixture. Meanwhile heat cream soda in another heatproof measuring cup for 1 minute 30 seconds.

Divide butterscotch mixture between 2 (10 to 12-ounce) mugs. Fill mugs with heated cream soda and stir thoroughly. Serve garnished with an old-fashioned butterscotch candy stick. (for the candy stick site, click on the 2nd row, first picture for the right stick, or else you're looking at banana o.O)

4) German Potato Salad / Deutsch Kartoffle Salat

Since Jim and I met in German class, and it was German that brought us closer together, we figured we have to incorporate something German into the mix. I love potatoes... (fry em', mash em', stick em' in a stew...) and what family gathering is complete without potato salad? So why not throw some Deutsch into the mix and make German potato salad, right?? It's hot, it contains Bacon, and it's a completely different world than that cold mustardy stuff your Aunt Gladys makes!


  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish


Place the potatoes in a medium-size pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/4 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with the chives. Serve warm.

5) Chicken and Harvest Vegetable Soup

(no picture available)

Well we need a main dish. or rather, a few main dishes... Something that says "October!" without slamming a golden brown Turkey on the table for everyone to massacre. A few things come to mind of course, but i think this Chicken and veggie soup might just be one of my top three for the list! It's got meat, local vegetables of the season, and best of all, super easy to make...


6 cups chicken stock

3 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup sliced carrots
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 diced onions
3 minced garlic cloves
2 large diced bell peppers
6 diced plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups quartered green beans
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil


Combine the chicken stock and white wine in a heay soup kettle over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tomato paste and potatoes, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash and carrots, cover, and simmer for ten minutes. While the potatoes and squash are cooking, place a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and oil and cook until the butter melts. Add the onions and saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add a ladelful of broth to the skillet and stir well to scrape all of the vegetables from the pan. Scrape the onion mixture into the soup and stir well. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Add the green beans, chicken, and sliced basil. Cover the pot and simmer until the green beans and butternut squash are fork tender, but not over cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

6) Cran-apple Turkey Medallions

(no picture available)

A second main-dish plays with the fruits of the season, Cranberries and Apples! (both in HUGE abundance here!) The only thing that concerns me is the Turkey medallions, and the cost of making enough for everyone to have enough to fill them! Considering it's the season of the turkey, maybe prices will be low? Or maybe because Thanksgiving is just around the corner everyone will jack their prices up. (I'll probably just end up buying it in bulk that summer while it's on sale, and freeze it until the wedding...). More expensive? probably. Impressive, tasty, and totally worth it? Definitely.

2 pounds turkey tenderloin, cut into 3/4 inch medallions
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 minced garlic cloves
4 diced shallots
1 cup peeled and diced cooking apples
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice


Salt and pepper the turkey medallions. Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet. Brown the turkey medallions quickly on each side. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and shallots. Cook until the turkey is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in the center. Place the medallions on a warm serving plate. Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are soft. Pour the sauce over the medallions and serve.


Out of many of my amazing, wonderful, couldn't-live-without-them friends i have some vegetarians/vegans. Now here's where things come to a standstill for me :-(

I've personally, never eaten vegetarian for longer than one night, and usually that was with Emma spending the night in Highschool and we experimented with Omelettes for dinner and Ice-cream for dessert...

Omelettes a fancy meal, does not make!

I'm attempting to contact a few of my awesome cooking veggie-tary-an friends to maybe give me a few ideas but i'm going to voice one concern right now...

Tofu scares the bejeezus out of me.

not the sight of it, not the texture, not even the taste! (I've eaten it twice before in completely different forms and it was pretty good -- no Chicken alfredo mind you, but still edible!) I'm just scared of cooking and preparing something i've never made before! with most foods i cook, i know just what spices to use, just what sauces and toppings, garnish and etc! but tofu?

I'm also aware that not all vegetarians like tofu, and that there are zillions of other dishes out there i could fix! I'm just slightly terrified they're all going to ask for something from the wiggly bean-curd and they're going to end up remembering my wedding as "the worst main course we've ever tasted!"

So please if you have any recipes for vegans/vegetarians that AREN'T nothing but side-dishes (i can make side-dishes. side-dishes are easy peasy) then PLEASE send them my way!!


As for dessert(s), We've been thinking...
I know i mentioned pumpkin pie up above in my recipes, but the recipe Jimmy uses contains eggs... i know at least one person coming to the wedding allergic to eggs. like, deathly allergic to eggs! I don't want them missing out on my super-awesome-cake or our homemade pumpkin pie just because it has eggs in it! (but i don't want to make 50-billion desserts either, when the main-focus is going to be the cake!) so i'm pulling a page out of, and going with a variation of the wedding pie.

However, instead of using the pie as the main focus of the desserts, i'm going to offer three different pies along with the cake. (or two, or seven, heck i haven't decided yet!) But i figured a couple homemade apples, a cherry, and a pumpkin alongside the cake, would suffice. (and i know for a fact that i can make a flaky tender pie-crust without using eggs! i just have to dig it out of my recipe binder currently lost in the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-warp-of-space that i dare to call my closet...)


As for our wedding cake, i believe we've settled on the interior!

Chocolate? nope. Carrot? closer. Red-velvet? Even warmer.... wanna keep guessing?


We're thinking about doing a rainbow cake! (remember the rainbow wedding inspro-board i did just for fun?) different colors of cake separated by thin layers of buttercream frosting...

Actually? the people over at "Wedinator" seemed to have worded it perfectly:

"I like knowing the cake sat there throughout the ceremony looking traditional and boring, and then BAM! you cut into it and it’s packed with awesome."
And that's how i feel about it! We can have the gorgeous white cake, all decorated intricately and prettily... sitting there throughout the whole ceremony looking pristine and quiet, and then we cut through it with his medieval sword and WHAM-- Rainbow-Freaking-Tastic!

Now whether or not we're going to flavor each color differently and have a fruit-loop cake is debatable. (i do like the idea of using the fun flavors from Loranne oils though!)

But that's about as far as we've gotten food-wise.

If you have any suggestions, stories, or recipes you'd love to share, feel free to message me! You might even get yourself your own entire post! ;-)


(Recipe and picture credits to the following awesome people:,,,,,,


Post a Comment