The Latest Creations

Feb 13
Valentines Day Essential: Chocolate Bread Pudding

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say. Well, I have been quite absent from my blog as we have been busy with parties but its time to show you some love — just in time for valentines day! (I have not forgotten my promise to post pictures and details of my new years soirée, and all of the fabulous parties we've had the privilege to be a part of. But more on that in another posting, very soon!)

Imagine the aroma of rich, buttery chocolate filling your kitchen. Now imagine tasting the sweet, smooth taste of a soft and warm chocolate bread pudding with a touch of crunch from the crispy top, leading to a lusciously rich fudgy center that melts in your mouth, tantalizes your tastebuds and soothes your soul...

Well, dream no more — get in the kitchen and turn your chocolate bread pudding fantasy into reality. I promise, it will not disappoint. Happy Valentines Day and enjoy this gift of love from my kitchen to yours. Leslie

Chocolate Bread Pudding

4 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. vanilla extract
10 egg yolks
1 ½ Cups of sugar
1 loaf brioche or 7 individual round brioche cubed

Preheat oven to 350°
Butter a 9x12 Pyrex baking dish
Cut bread into cubes & set aside
In a heavy saucepan, heat cream until film forms on top. Turn off heat and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth.
Whisk sugar, egg yolks and vanilla together.
Slowly whisk cream-chocolate mixture into egg mixture.
Stir in bread cubes.
Let mixture rest for 1 hour.
Pour into baking dish.
Cover with foil and punch small holes in top to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 50 minutes. (Can be made ahead to this point. Refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature and bake at 350° until hot 20-30 minutes.)

posted by Leslie
Nov 22
Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday. For me, it is a time for reliving childhood memories. I grew up in a small row house in Philadelphia, but as a young girl, it seemed so large and beautiful. The days leading up to Thanksgiving were filled with bustling activity and excitement. I remember standing next to my Mom as she set the dining room table with our "good" china and scattered fall leaves and candles down the center of the table. It was so magical! I remember the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen as my Mom and Grandmom cooked our traditional Turkey Dinner. It was exactly the same each year — roasted turkey with giblet gravy, mashed sweet potatoes with gooey toasted marshmallows, "sliced" cranberry sauce, string beans, baked apples, crispy potato stuffing, and for dessert, chocolate devil's food cake, apple and pumpkin pies, and fruit salad. I remember Thanksgiving afternoon and how excited my brother and I were when the door bell rang and all our cousins began arriving. The house was packed, but it didn't matter. We all had the best time! And I remember the year my Mother said, "Now, it's your turn."

So, fast forward to Thanksgiving 2011. I still feel the same thrill inside as I plan our Family's dinner. Our numbers have grown, but many of the traditions remain the same. I still set the tables with fall leaves and candles (maybe a little bit more elaborately now). I still make my Mom's baked apples and my Grandmother's wonderful potato stuffing and I still prepare the turkey with my husband exactly the same way. Side dishes and desserts have expanded and they have become our own tradition.

The best part of this holiday is that my children and grandchildren are part of the planning process. Thanksgiving begins months ahead in our home and has evolved into quite an event. We have even renamed the day "Thanksgiving Camp". There are outdoor sports games — football and soccer in the backyard and basketball in the driveway. We set up a craft table in our library with a variety of fun art projects and "kids" of all ages play Wii and pool in our game room. Of course, there is always a food decorating activity. At the end of the evening, everyone leaves with a custom-designed favor and lots of wonderful memories.

Take a look at last year's pictures. Maybe you will get some ideas for your Thanksgiving Feast!

In my next blog, I will share tips of how I went about planning Thanksgiving 2011. Have a wonderful Holiday. Leslie

posted by Leslie
Nov 4

There is nothing quite like a wedding where you can feel the couple’s personality infused in all of the special details. When your bride is an artist and your groom an architect — like the intimate garden wedding we catered this September — all guests are in for a treat.

In this case, the bride’s artistic talents and hands-on creativity were revealed to partygoers upon receipt of the couple’s letterpressed invitations featuring two lovebirds; designed and created by the bride. The bird imagery was carried through to the place cards and even the linen hemstitched napkins that the bride hand-dyed and silkscreened herself for each place setting. We extended and elaborated on the theme by adorning our butlered hors d’oeuvres trays with custom bird, nest and flower vignettes and by serving the first course (autumn butternut squash soup) in colorful Majolica vegetable bowls inspired by nature.

This lovely garden wedding and celebration was at the home of our talented couple, and the groom’s architectural expertise definitely came in handy during the planning stages of the event to transform their back yard into outdoor rooms and party spaces. Together with the experts at Eventquip who carefully measured, planned and then built a dance floor and tent over the in-ground pool, an inviting atmosphere was created that accommodated all of their guests comfortably. The bride embellished the tent’s interior with vibrant paper lanterns.

The evening’s festivities were topped off with a beautiful architectural cake from Whipped Bakeshop that featured sweet birdhouses around each tier and two lovebirds perched on top of the cake.

posted by Leslie
Oct 26
S'more Celebrating

We had the pleasure of being part of a high-school graduation party that so beautifully captured the spirit of youth and new beginnings on a lovely summer evening. Together with the geniuses at Evantine Design, a magical backyard soirée came to fruition and it was all captured by Tyler Boye Photography. Under a flag-topped sailcloth tent from Event Quip, a dining room that felt like a sophisticated, yet playful picnic party was created. The typical red and white gingham picnic linens were not present here, but the crisp red and white palette of colors paid a nod to it. Three different kinds of salads were part of the tablescapes along with bottles of still water and baskets of luscious bread.
The focus for this party was really kept on the high-school graduates from start to finish: the evening was alcohol-free with flavored lemonades, mini frozen virgin Margaritas and Mojitos. Festive food included passed hors d'oeuvres, a sushi station and a mini taco bar, all followed by a fresh summer buffet. After dinner, guests made their way down a winding path to a smoldering campfire where dessert was waiting.
Comfy stuffed bean bags surrounded the fire pit for toasting marshmallows and making s'mores, while nearby was a tempting make-your-own sundae station, a fabulous cupcake and cookie display, and a fully-stocked coffee and cappuccino bar.
At the end of the night, guests left with a College Survival Kit filled with all kinds of edible treats. We hope this memorable party is only the beginning of great things for all our graduate party-goers. Congratulations!

posted by Leslie

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