Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home in the Country for a Wedding!

Ok, I just spent about 10 minutes trying to access my account, but now I am ready to BLOG! I am home from New Orleans (a long long drive) and back in the country for a few more days before the big move (countdown: 11 days). Today, we played host to my cousin's wedding. That's the right a wedding, and I mean the whole thing - the prep, the ceremony, the reception, I think the bride and groom even showered here. I played caterer. As soon as I got out of bed this morning, I got to work on the sausage balls, spinach-artichoke dip, veggie tray, iced tea, crab dip, and mini-quiches. Today's recipes will be featured at the end of today's blog (per Aunt Donna's request). It was a long day, but I'm so glad we were able to have the wedding at our house. We live out in the country in what used to be my dad's house when he was growing up. We have a big yard, barn, and a pond with fields on either side (get it - the broad meadow). The ceremony was held down at the pond with a small reception up at the house and in the backyard. It was very nice to see all of my family (on my dad's side), especially before leaving for NYC. I never got to know my father's father (he died before I was born) and most of his brothers and sisters are gone now, as is my dad's sister (the mother of the groom). For the past few years, I have felt as if there's been a tiny hole in our family, a disconnect or loneliness, many times feeling the absent of others instead of the present company. However, following another cousin's wedding this May and the festivities today, it seems our family has new life, renewal, that with wedding bands comes the circular qualities of unity and openness. That what once was, will never be again, but instead we can enjoy a new chapter in our family's history with its own set of characters: the brothers and their wives, the anxious, at times confused Grandma (a few days ago she asked my cousin if it was his birthday this weekend), the cousins (including yours truly), and the new in-laws (the huge one, the silent preacher, and the bride). It was very special to have the wedding down at pond today, in the sort of sanctuary of pine trees and sweet grass that my grandfather built a long time ago, in the house that Dad and his siblings grew up in.

And let me tell you, I am thankful for the family I have. My new cousin's family is, well, less than desirable, a troupe (because it's the only word I can think of) trashy and selfish brutes that contributed near nothing to the wedding. I felt like Blanche meeting Stanley for the first time (more and more I feel like her; I have to take hot baths to cool my nerves - but that's another story). I do believe in the importance of class, not having lots of money or being pretentious, but true class that comes from contributing to society, taking care and loving your family, being friendly and able to talk to anyone you meet, and knowing how to truly celebrate the gift of life. However, I am so thankful that my new cousin somehow made it to us, rising from the muck, and I could not be more confident in their marriage. And I just hope I don't have to see those crazy people again - good thing I'm moving to New York.

Coconut Mojitos
2 slices lime
One packet Sweet 'N' Lo
1 1/2 shots Malibu or other coconut rum
Club Soda or Sprite

Muddle the lime, rum, mint, and sweetener in the bottom of a Collins glass (a pint glass would work also) until the limes and mint are crushed and the liquid becomes a fragrant syrup. Fill the glass with ice then top off with soda (club soda for tart, Sprite for sweet). So refreshing!

Sausage Balls (courtesy of Paula Deen)

3 cups Bisquick
1 lb. ground sausage (raw)
4 cups cheddar cheese
Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with hands. Once ingredients have achieved a congealed mixture, form into small balls, as if you are making cookies (mixture can also be refrigerated until ready to bake). Place balls on greased cookie trays and bake for 18-20 minutes, flipping balls once during cooking, until they are golden brown and a little crunchy on the outside. A sauce can be made from one cup mayonnaise and one tablespoon of your favorite mustard. Serve warm.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip (courtesy Paula Deen)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 jars quartered, marinated artichoke hearts
1 - 16oz. package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Pepper Jack cheese
Hot Sauce
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cajun Seasoning

Sauté onion and garlic in butter and/or olive oil over medium low heat. Add a dash or two of crushed red pepper flakes. In large bowl, combine onions, artichokes, spinach, mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Stir everything together until all the ingredients are incorporated. If necessary, add more mayo and sour cream until mixture is smooth, creamy, and spreadable. Place in cast-iron skillet or small dutch oven. Top with extra parmesan and the pepper jack cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and serve immediately with tortilla chips, bagel chips, pita, or crudité.

Good Night!

1 comment:

  1. Bradley,
    Thanks so much for all your help with the catering, and especially the clean up. I'm so proud to have you as my wonderful son.
    Love, Mom