Welcome back!
Some of you attended the event, so you know all this next stuff. but… for those of you that are just following along out of curiosity,

Here…

was the venue. Sa – weet!!, huh?

and… that was the imagined response when we started planning the whole thing at the beach.
30 to 40 guests, me cooking everything on grills…
… a beautiful evening complete with gentle breezes, lapping waves, and those slightly cooler temperatures that the Panhandle in Fall is known for.

We didn’t get that. By late August, the numbers had confirmed at 82 guests (slightly larger than I anticipated) and beginning on the Wednesday before the wedding on Saturday, the wind picked up. By noon on Friday, we were at 20 mph winds (with gusts to 35) which made setting up the tent, essentially a large rectangle windsock, rather tricky. As the big bald head of the sun set across the torrent waves, the temperatures dipped to a balmy 38 degrees. I was getting kind of concerned.

You see, I was the one that pushed to have the wedding moved to the beach.

“It’s a beautiful location”
“This is where you began your relationship, it’s only right to have the wedding here”
“Can’t you see the magic of a reception on the beach”

All I could see was having to find some really unpleasant last minute church basement kind of location to move the wedding and dinner. I kept worrying about the bride and all our preparations, and how much additional stress this was putting on an already stressful day.
I could only imagine the scenarios of how  everyone was going to hate me if this all went to crap in a canoe.
 I was panicked, I couldn’t sleep. I spent the night on the balcony, listening to the waves roar, and the winds pop and tear at the event tent in the dark, cold night.

Mercifully, by mid morning the winds had calmed a little and the sun warmed the beach to nearly comfortable temps. With the aid of some of the guests, we were able to get things finished up and readied for the big event.

These next set of recipes are another protein, starch and salad. Although we already had the pilaf, I like to give choices whenever possible… especially for a buffet. In this set is the Chicken with Balsamic Figs, Quinoa with Apricots and Currants, and the Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Chicken 
Roulades
with Balsamic Figs
Serves 2 to 4
Ingredients
2 – 8 Ounce Chicken Breasts – Boneless / Skinless
6 to 8 Dried Figs
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
1 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
8 Strips Bacon
1 Cup Hot Water
Toothpicks
Re-hydrate the figs in hot water until pliable
Split each breast horizontally through the middle – blot dry and sprinkle with a little salt
Split each fig in half and place in a small sauce pan with the remaining ingredients
Simmer on low for 10 minutes – Set aside
Place 2 split figs on each of the breasts and roll into a tube
Wrap 2 strips of bacon around each breast and secure with toothpicks
Place the breasts in a non reactive dish and pour the remaing fig liquid over the top
Cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight is better)
Heat the grill to 500 degrees and place the breasts on the top rack
Cook for 20 minutes, turning over 1/2 way through
Remove the picks and slice into medallions

Quinoa with Apricots and Currants
Serves 4
Ingredients
1 Cup Quinoa Grain
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Cups Water
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
8 Dried Apricots – Diced
2 Tablespoons Currants
1 Scallion – Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Large Sauce Pan with Lid

  • Heat the oil on high heat
  • Add the quinoa and fry until the grains turn opaque
  • Add the water and stock, pepper and garlic, and bring to a boil
  • Boil until the liquid disappears below the surface of the grain
  • Remove from the heat, Add the apricots, currants and scallions; stir to combine. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Serves 6 to 8
Ingredients
1 Medium Eggplant
2 Medium Zucchini
1 Sweet Onion
12 Asparagus Spears
1 Cup Baby Carrots
3 Large Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil – Minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint – Minced
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Wasabi Powder
Grill
1 Large Mixing Bowl

  • Slice the eggplant, zucchini and onions into 1/2 inch slices
  • Brush with a little of the oil and grill on a hot grill for 4 minutes each side
  • Remove and set aside
  • Grill the asparagus and carrots for 4 minutes until they are brightly colored and lightly limp
  • Cube the grilled vegetables into 1″ cubes
  • Cut the asparagus and carrots on the diagonal into 1″ pieces
  • Dice the tomatoes into 1″ cubes
  • Place all the vegetables into a large mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients
  • Toss thoroughly to mix
  • serve Warm
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