This past weekend was an extra special one. My younger brother married the love of his life, a wonderful girl who we are so blessed to have join our family. I could not have picked a better woman for my little bro, and I'm just more than grateful that he found her! This weekend was also... My unexpected first-ever catering job!! They trusted me with all the food for their wedding, and cooking for 50 people was a big adventure! It was the largest group I've ever cooked for, and while I knew it would be extra stressful, it was also lots of fun. The kitchen is where I'm happiest. It's the "home" in my house and the place I feel most alive. Saturday morning, I was up extra early, chopping, stirring, and blending various ingredients. I've said it many times before, and I'll say it many more times: I catch myself smiling all the time when I'm in the kitchen. For no reason at all besides the mere fact that I'm doing what I love most. I'll just be bouncing around, trying to get everything done and I'll stop and realize I have the hugest smile on my face. All day Saturday, that was me... One big grin of happiness to be cooking so much food!
The menu looked like this:
Chipotle bacon wrapped shrimp Sweet Espresso chicken Mediterranean Bow-tie Pasta Penne with Pork Crunchies Smoky Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates The wedding was held at my grandmother's "saloon." Yes, my grandmother has a western saloon in her backyard - complete with beautiful antiques, a gigantic stage, a stocked bar, and a full kitchen. It's quite impressive, and it's the most perfect venue for a wedding! I think the biggest challenge was getting all the food I cooked from my house to the saloon -- all in one piece. With help from my mom, aunt, grandmother, and Tres, we got it all there safely. But it wasn't all completely ready. I thought I had given myself plenty of time when I got there to complete the finishing touches, but I only had an hour before the wedding to get the 150 bacon wrapped shrimp cooked and the pasta boiled and tossed with the sauce. Big timing mistake on my part. Big one. I realized when I got in the saloon's kitchen that there was no way possible it all could be done in time. Typical... Just ask my friends. I've never once had food ready in time for guests when they come to my house, but that's usually ok when I can throw a cocktail in their face and keep cooking. I knew that couldn't happen for 50 wedding guests, so I immediately got into a panic and a "short-fused" mood. I really don't handle stress well, but I've certainly learned to adapt. And help never hurts. Thank The Lord above, family members showed up early, threw on make-believe aprons and got to work. I cannot thank Sara, Debbie, and Antha enough for taking on the role of my sous chefs. What a bunch of rockstars!! The wedding went flawlessly and the food was highly praised. I can't tell you all what it means -- to love cooking so much, to work so hard at perfecting recipes every day of the week, and to start a blog with just the mere thought that someone may think my recipes are worth trying -- to have people tell me over and over how good my food is. That happened Saturday, and I'm grateful. That's all a chef wants to hear. I think deep down, pleasing people and making them smile with food is what we long for. It's all worth it. I had several people at the wedding approach me to cook for their events and so many people asked me for my recipes! That was the purpose of this blog and why I'm continuing to do it. The recipes from this weekend are coming. You can find the Pork Crunchies Pasta on the blog now! The hit of the party, Smoky Goat Cheese Dates, are up next! Congrats to RT and Jennifer for a perfect wedding and lifetime together! And thank y'all for letting me be a part of it in the very best way!