Catering by Linda

Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

King’s Cakes for Mardi Gras

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Our church hosted a Mardi Gras celebration on Tuesday night, and a Fat Tuesday party wouldn’t be complete without King’s Cake.  King’s Cake is a yeast bread, and it is usually braided, and usually has a filling in it.  I made 4 cakes altogether: 2 blueberry, 1 almond paste, and 1 pecan and brown sugar.  They were all popular, but the almond paste was Bill’s and my favorite, since we love anything with almond paste, and since I bought a 7-pound can during the holiday season, I could be extravagant in its use!  I braided the breads and they baked up beautifully.  I was sad when I had to drizzle confectioner’s sugar on top and sprinkle the traditional bright colors on the beautiful bronze braids!  The best part of a King’s Cake is the mystique of the “baby” that is hidden in each cake.  I found plastic babies at the Party Warehouse and my girls helped me hide one in each of the braided cakes.  Tradition holds that whoever gets the piece with the baby in it must make the cake next year.  It was fun to see who found the baby, and to hear their response to having to make the cake next year!  I think I better hang onto the King Cake recipe; my guess is that the baby recipients of this year will organize a mutiny when Fat Tuesday rolls around again next year…

Posted in close to my heart(h), holidays | 2 Comments »

Bringing in the New Year with Poached Pears

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy New Year!  Our family brought in the new year with great friends and a fabulous dessert that won raves!  (Look for it on my catering menu!)  For the little work that they took, these pears produced a huge “wow factor.”  The pears were brilliant red and had white mascarpone filling peeking through below the top/stem.  They were yummy, comforting, and fancy all at the same time, and I loved how I could make them in advance.  Do-ahead recipes allow hosts to spend more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen.  This recipe fits the bill, as the pears are best when they are poached a day ahead and left to absorb the sauce overnight.  The day of the party, you can core the pears, pipe in the filling, and plate for service later.  No fuss, no muss, and lots of guests saying, “Wow!  Mmmm!  Can I have the recipe?”  Well, thanks for asking, and yes, you can: Poached Pears.

Posted in "the biz", desserts, holidays, recipes and meal ideas, tips | No Comments »

Introducing Authentic German Pretzels!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

My friend Uwe has spent years perfecting the recipe and method by which he makes the most awesome pretzels.  Uwe is German, and some of his research has taken place in Germany, where he tasted pretzels all over the country, while talking to bread and pretzel bakers about their ingredients and techniques.  More research took place on the weekends, when he spent his free time making dough, kneading, forming, freezing, thawing, rising, and taste-testing the pretzels until he reached perfection.  (And I was so happy to be part of the taste-testing crew at a most recent Octoberfest party at Uwe’s house).  Uwe’s pretzels are both tasty and beautiful, and I am honored to have them be a part of my catering menu.  These authentic, Bavarian pretzels are delicious on their own, and are served with both a savory butter, in the German tradition, and with mustard, in the American tradition.  They are also amazing when they are stuffed with cheeses and meats!  Consider having Uwe make you a batch for your next shin-dig.  And then invite me over.  :)

Posted in "the biz", appetizers, close to my heart(h), holidays, recipes and meal ideas | 2 Comments »

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

My Mom turned 81 on Monday, October 4th, and my family gathered at the Cape this weekend to celebrate her birthday.  A few months ago, Mom had sent me the recipe for a Baumkuchen.  It was her mother’s favorite cake when they lived in Germany.  They moved here when she was 8 so she couldn’t remember how it tasted, but only that it was a special bakery treat for her mother.  When I researched recipes for the cake, as well as the method for making it, I learned that it is made in a special oven with a special rotisserie bar, where the baker would literally paint on the batter layer after layer.  When one thin layer had baked, another layer would be added.  Only the best of bakers were given the job of adding layers, since it was a hot, tedious job, and if it was not done correctly, the cake would be overdone and dry, or raw in the middle.  When a slice of cake was served, the diner would see rings of cake much like a cross-section of a tree trunk.  Some baumkuchens were drizzled with rum sauce and others were covered in chocolate (as if there was a choice!).  Most of them were made with almond paste, and some were vanilla.  I didn’t have time to purchase a special oven, so I improvised with small springform pans (only a true foodie would have two mini springforms) and a small Jell-O mold.  I painted a small layer of batter on the bottom of the pan, put it on the bottom rack of the oven using the broiler setting, and after each layer baked, I would pull it out and paint on another layer of batter.  Each of the cakes had about 20 layers, and the Jell-O mold had about 10 layers.  The resulting, 50-layer cake, is shown in the picture!

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts, holidays, recipes and meal ideas | 1 Comment »

Cupcakes with Flair

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I was asked to bring treats to the reception following the KP Singers last concert of the year, which took place tonight.  I made mini-cupcakes so guests could have a cupcake AND something else.

A couple tips for your next batch of cupcakes: Use clear vanilla for white frosting!  Regular vanilla is brown, and even a few drops can change the color of your white frosting to a light beige color.  You can buy clear vanilla at places that sell cake-decorating supplies.  Michael’s Craft Stores have it for sale near their Wilton pans and piping supplies.

To make your cupcakes extra special, melt a handful of chocolate chips over low heat in a small saucepan, pour into a piping bag (or if you don’t have one, use a Ziploc baggie and cut a small piece of the corner off of the baggie) and pipe designs onto waxed paper or onto a Silpat sheet, placed on a cookie sheet.  Pop the cookie sheet into the fridge until the designs harden, then peel the designs off the waxed paper and put them on top of your cupcakes!  Make sure to make extra as they can be fragile, and work quickly, especially on warm days!

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts, holidays, tips | 1 Comment »

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