Strawberry Balsamic Martini
Searching for a unique and out of this world speciality drink? Look no further, this punchy twist on a classic will surly be a hit at your wedding or event.Ingredients Per Cocktail:
1-3/4 ounces vodka
1 ounce simple syrup
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
3 strawberries, hulled
1/4 ounce balsamic vinegar (2 small spoonfuls—the better the vinegar, the better the martini will be)
Strawberry for garnish
- Muddle the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar, simple syrup and lime juice.
2. Add the vodka and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled short martini glass
. Garnish with half strawberry.
If you’d like the cocktail less sweet, cut back on the simple syrup.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Flatbread
Serving size:4 hors d’oeuvres
Prep time:15 minutes
Cook time:6 to 10 minutes
1 ball pizza dough, defrosted
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Truffle Oil or Balsamic Glaze for garnish
4 oz. mozzarella, shredded
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, stripped and torn
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, stripped
8 oz. assorted wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut
3 oz. goat cheese
Cut dough into 2 equal pieces.
Roll out into 1/4” thick, flat, free-form shapes.
Grill flatbreads on both sides in a preheated grill pan.
To a hot sauté pan, add a little olive oil, and shallots.
Sauté until just beginning to color.
Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
Scatter some mozzarella over the flatbreads.
Next, distribute cooked mushrooms over flatbreads.
Dot with goat cheese.
Heat in a 400ºF oven until flatbread is hot.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh herbs. Drizzle with a truffle oil or Balsamic Glace Slice into irregular shapes and serve.
With Valentines Day just 10 days away, out phones are a buzz with people planning romantic wine dinners, elaborate proposals and various other events related to the day. With all those Happy Valentine’s in the air, I thought now might be a good time to give all you guys out there a little advice for gift giving on Valentines day.
There are rules for everything it seems and Valentines day is no different. It helps, if you know what you are getting yourself into, before you have all those roses delivered to your sweetheart’s door.
To all those men out there, listen carefully; here is the best piece of advice, and the explanation for it, that I can possibly give you to ensure a successful St. Valentine’s Day gift.
A ROSE IS NOT ALWAYS, JUST A ROSE…and this is why….
There is no flower that has been revered and celebrated as much as the rose. It is known by everyone as the definitive floral symbol for love and appreciation. It is also one of the only flowers with so many diverse varieties, which means in every variety, though out the years a meaning has been built. And I am here to tell you what they are.
The red rose is the traditional Valentine’s day gift because it’s meaning is love an affection. There is beauty and grandeur in the red rose that you do not find in other varieties. The full bloodedness brings a richness that no other can compare.
Cleopatra used red roses to carpet her bedroom when she received Anthony. While all rose convey warmth, affection and love in some degree, it is only the red rose that is used to convey deep love and desire and passionate affection.
The Pink Rose signifies gentleness, joy, Admiration, Grace and elegance. A receiver of the pink rose can rest assured that he or she is admired for possessing a certain respectability and decorum not commonly found in others.
Pink roses are generally seen as the flower of sweet thoughts and gentle emotions. It indicates an affection that may turn into deeper love or an innocent love that has not yet blossomed into passion.
White Rose A White rose signifies purity and innocence, heavenly and honor, everlasting love, worthiness and new beginnings.
This is the rose to use when you want to convince your love that your affections are straight from the heart, pure as virgin snow.
But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the meaning of a white rose. White has ever been a symbol of innocence, of a world unspoiled and untarnished. So the white rose goes on to symbolize innocence and spiritual love, the love that is unaware of temptations and resides only in the soul.
It is sometimes called "the flower of light and everlasting love”, an eternal love that is undying and all sustaining.
Yellow Rose Yellow Roses mean true Friendship. They offer a promise of a new beginning. They are unassuming and express all the joy and gladness of friendship. Yellow roses are use most as a reminder to a loved one that you care.
Unrestrained and uninhibited as the breeze, free from attachments, the yellow rose definitely says that the sender is keen on friendship alone. The sender of yellow roses delicately indicates that while his affection is straight from the heart, there are no hidden depths.
Yellow roses are often congratulatory in tone and are typically are given to celebrate new beginnings. You can’t do without yellow roses when you send flowers to express joy and pride in another's achievement.
While the color of the rose is one thing you have to consider on Valentine’s Day, you also need to keep in mind how many roses you are sending. This is one time of the year that you shouldn’t pick a number of stems based on how it looks in the vase. Keep in mind, that just like colors, every number has a meaning:
The origin of many of these meanings comes from Greek mythology. It is said the bouquet of 12 roses symbolizes your love 12 months a year. A dozen roses also symbolizes perfection and completeness because of the prominence the number 12 has in natural cycles (12 months in a year) and in religious and mythological traditions (12 apostles, 12 zodiac signs). Two dozen or three-dozen roses express deeper feelings of adoration or appreciation.
108 roses is a marriage proposal, or what is considered to be the etiquette dictated traditional accompaniment to one. It is nine dozen roses, symbolizing, not only the deep feelings of love, indicated by the number of dozens, but also eternity, and the eternal love symbolized in the number 9.
Here is what the rest of the numbers mean.
1 Love at first sight and one true love
2 A Mutual Love between
3 I love you
6 I want to be your love
8 Infinite love
9 An Eternal Love
10 You are Perfection
15 I am truly sorry, please forgive me
20 Believe me I am sincere
21 I am devoted to you
24 I can’t stop thinking about you – 24 hours a day
33 I love you with great affection
40 Genuine Love
50 Regretless and unconditional love
99 I will love you as long as I live
100 Devotion until a ripe old age
101 You are my One and Only true love
365 I think about you everyday
999 Eternal and everlasting love
As you can see, a rose is definitely not just a rose
I promised our friend Rich that I would post another better option side dish, for those people who don't want to eat their daily calories in a side of Mac and Cheese.
This Carrot Flan should do the trick, an oversized portion, is equally as tasty with the half the calories (under 200).
Butter for greasing ramekins
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
3 cups chopped cleaned carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
grated zest of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 orange
2 cups hot milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Grease twelve 1/2 cup oven proof ramekins with butter.
Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
Cook onion until soft and reserve.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil
Add the carrots and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a food processor or blender.
Add the cooked onion to the carrots and purée until smooth.
Add the eggs, yolks, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sugar, zest, and juice and process to combine.
Pour in the hot milk and melted butter and Process to combine.
Pour into the prepared ramekins and transfer to a roasting pan.
Pour hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack then invert directly on dinner plate.
Truffled Mac and Cheese
3 tablespoons white truffle oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 pound Fontina cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, the breadcrumbs, and the Parmesan and set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 3 minutes, or until the flour blends with the butter.
Whisk in the half-and-half, bring to a simmer, and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the Swiss, cheddar, Fontina, and mustard. Remove the sauce from the heat once the cheeses have melted. Stir in the remaining truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat and cook the macaroni for about 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Stir well.
Pour the macaroni and cheese sauce into a 1-quart buttered baking dish. (At this point you could refrigerate the casserole dish for up to 24 hours.) Top the casserole with the breadcrumb mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling.
Tips and Tricks:
Make this dish in muffin tins, for a smaller easier few bite plate!
So now that you are engaged, its time to party… Don’t stress about it, and engagement is a joyous occasion, but just like the wedding they are rich in tradition, however the good part is, they are not very formal. In so many ways, the engagement party is a good excuse for couples to declare their love and tell their friends about it. There are however a few engagement party rules that need to be followed:
Organizing the Engagement Party
The format of an engagement party can range from a sit down dinner to a raging party that continues into the wee hours of the morning. The style of the event should depend on the personality of the couple, as well as the budget. In either case, a close friend or relative should organize and host the event. Keep in mind however, if you are organizing the event, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the couple what type of event they would prefer.
Although, the engagement party affair, though the years has become a much less formal, however, if seated, the bride a groom should either have their own table or be seated with their families, much like they would at their wedding reception.
In recent years, a cocktail party is often more common, in which case since there is not a table for Guests to address the couple at, the bride and groom to be should make sure they address each guest at some point throughout the evening.
Keep in mind, Guests will be itching to congratulate the couple, so what ever the plans are, the environment should be kept quiet enough for people to hold a conversation.
The Guest List
Just like the wedding, deciding who to invite to the engagement party could be a daunting task. To make it easier, just remember this one rule when you are writing the Guest list. Anyone you invite to the engagement party, should also be invited to the future wedding. In other words, if you have a huge engagement party, be prepared to have a huge wedding as well.
The Saving grace to this rule is that it doesn’t work in reverse. You don’t need to invite everyone that you are inviting to the wedding to the engagement party. It is perfectly acceptable that the Guest list for the engagement party will be considerably smaller than that for the wedding. The engagement party, really is for the inner circle of friends and family.
Gifts and Presents
The most commonly asked engagement party question is, are the guest required to bring gifts? Surprisingly, the answer is actually No. It isn’t, however, that simple. Engagement party etiquette generally states, the engagement party is simply a time to announce and celebrate a couples declaration. Gifts are to be given at a later date, during the bridal shower and at the actual wedding.
It is however acceptable to bring a symbolic gift, a small token, that is personal between you and the couple, such as a framed photo, or a bottle of their favorite wine.
A note from the host, on the invitation, stating gifts are not expected, and attendance will be considered a gift in itself, is perfectly acceptable and will put an end to the Guests questions regarding gifts. Ultimately, people may bring presents if they so choose.
Party games are not traditional at the engagement party, however it is very common to play some sort of on going ice-breaker, which Guests can take party in though out the evening, in order to meet other Guests that they may not know.
It is also common for the host to have a raffle, the proceeds of which will go to the couple for spending money on their honeymoon. If you choose to do a raffle, it is the responsibility of the host to collect raffle prizes and find someway to sell the tickets at the event.
Other than these two activities, the engagement party is for socializing – it is best to leave the planned activities for the bridal shower or Jack and Jill.
According to formal engagement party etiquette, the father of the bride should make a speech at the party, however, in more modern years, that has changed quite a bit and it has become acceptable for anyone to make a speech. It has also become very common for both the father of the bride, as well as the father of the groom to say something. Whoever speaks, it is generally expected that there be an even distribution from the bride and grooms sides.
Speeches at an engagement party need to short. A few sentences of introduction, a funny story, and a heartfelt sentiment to the couple, finished with a toast. Humor is acceptable, however the speech should be clean and above the belt.
It is also important that the future bride and groom say something, and thank all of their Guests for coming.
So there you have it, the most important and overlooked Engagement party etiquette. Just remember that this party is a celebration of your love and dedication to each other, and not your regular Saturday night kegger. Keep that in mind and have fun, the rest of your Guests will follow your lead.
With so many games over the next few weeks - there are football parties popping up everywhere!
Every good Host needs food to please their fans. Not to worry, The Perfect Affair is here to help, so pull out your pans and LET US ENTERTAIN YOU, with our Recipe of the week.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
8oz Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 Cup Hot Sauce (we use Redhot)
1/2 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
11/2 tsp Celery Seed
1lb Cooked Chicken Breast, chopped ( you can also use 2 Cans of chicken)
1. Heat Oven to 350
2. Place Cream Cheese in deep baking dish, stirring until smooth
3. Add Blue Cheese Dressing, Redhot Sauce, Cheese and Celery Seed
4. Stir in chicken
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through
6. Serve with pita crisps, crackers and veggies