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Alpine Holiday Feast

Menu - Ditch the Dolomites, we are the Catskills

The menu – Ditch the Dolomites, we are in the Catskills

 

I finally found the time to do some entertaining on my own – and for my own – this past winter at my home in upstate New York. I usually throw parties in the spring and summer so that I can utilize all of my outdoor space, but my friend Rebecca Ffrench and I had a hankering to throw an Italian Alpine holiday feast. We selected a date between Christmas and New Year’s to help people keep the festivities going.

We wanted to create a theme of sorts; being that we live in the Catskills – essentially our version of the Alps – we decided to do an Alpine spin on Italian cuisine, which is always a favorite. The Dolomites theme seems to be popping up everywhere lately, so we thought this was just so apropos.

Catskills- The Alps of New York

Catskills- The Alps of New York

 

All of the décor was plucked from the field; we created arrangements from pine boughs, berries, spruce tips, dried milk weed pods, grasses, and green lichen-covered logs. Our friends at Broadway Party Rentals shipped in gorgeous modern burnished black flatware and beautiful crushed taffeta linen that had the look of wood grain, and I got the opportunity to pull out all of my pottery that I never seem to be able to use. We threw some sheepskins over the mismatched chairs – even I don’t have 27 matching chairs – and created a cozy, intimate dining table.

The invitation was extended to all of our favorite local Phoenicia and Woodland Valley chefs, celebrity photographers, publishing executives, hotel owners, home designers, and foodie friends to join us in a celebration of the bountiful local delicacies available in our area year-round.

To begin our feast, we had an incredible presentation of locally pastured and cured meats from Jacüterie in Ancramdale, Alpine cheeses from Chaseholm Creamery, smoked duck and pheasant sausage from Quattro’s Farm in Pleasant Valley, and pickles and krauts grown by my husband, Joshua Sheldon, and made by yours truly. Our lavish meal continued with the most succulently tender roasted pork shoulder with crackling skin, venison ragu with polenta, canederli (Alpine dumplings) made with beets and local rye bread, all kinds of delicious vegetables from Eliza Clark and Tim Trojian of the gorgeous new Foxfire Mountain House, and an incredible winter salad of bitter greens from our neighbors, Hayley and Marlon. But the most fun and delicious part of the evening – I have to admit – was the pizza. We have a wood burning soapstone fireplace with a pizza oven on one side, and our close friend Rudy Accornero – of Savini Tartufi in Tuscany – graciously made fresh mozzarella and pizzas with a selection of truffles that he brought with him from Italy.

Locally pastured and cured meats from Jacüterie in Ancramdale and smoked duck and pheasant sausage from Quattro’s Farm in Pleasant Valley

Locally pastured and cured meats from Jacüterie in Ancramdale and smoked duck and pheasant sausage from Quattro’s Farm in Pleasant Valley

 

Alpine cheeses from Chaseholm Creamery

Alpine cheeses from Chaseholm Creamery

 

Delicious vegetables and winter salad of bitter greens.

Delicious vegetables and winter salad of bitter greens.

 

Pickles and krauts grown by Joshua Sheldon and made by Marcey Brownstein.

Pickles and krauts grown by Joshua Sheldon and made by Marcey Brownstein.

 

Tender roasted pork shoulder with crackling skin

Tender roasted pork shoulder with crackling skin

 

Pizza made in our wood burning soapstone fireplace pizza oven.

Pizza made in our wood burning soapstone fireplace pizza oven.

 

Pizzas topped with homemade fresh mozzarella and a selection of truffles, from by our close friend Rudy Accornero – of Savini Tartufi in Tuscany.

Pizzas topped with homemade fresh mozzarella and a selection of truffles, from by our close friend Rudy Accornero – of Savini Tartufi in Tuscany.

 

The final course of our feast included Italian cookies from private chef Rebecca Shim of Phoenicia Honey Co., several frozen treats from my friend Robin Chess (who is an incredible cook, and leads the cooking program at our local school)…and I could go on! We were so stuffed that we didn’t even have a chance to open all of the dessert cordials I bought from Harvest Spirits in Valatie. In the spirit of the holidays and Italian-inspired camaraderie, it was a wonderful night of community, gastronomy, and overindulgence.

 

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All photography by Joshua Holz.

From Root to Shoot

One of the most integral aspects of running a large-scale kitchen like MBC’s is minimizing waste or – as Marcey would say – using everything “from root to shoot.” As an avid cook and cultivator of an expansive garden at her home in upstate New York, she considers this something of a mantra. During her feature on Jill Blackway’s “Grow. Cook. Heal.” podcast, Marcey shared a recipe for pickled seedpods, and extolled the advantages of optimizing every component of an item, garden grown or otherwise.

“One of the things that anyone that has a large garden knows is that there’s a lot of harvest, and a lot of waste,” said Marcey. “I like to use every part of the vegetable; I like to use every part of the meat.”

In this spirit, Marcey made it a point to utilize every part of the whole lamb she prepared for her husband’s birthday last month, collecting every bit of meat for a ragu, roasting the bones, and then making a stock, reduction, and demi-glace.

“I think it’s that immigrant mentality,” she said. “My grandmother was from Poland, and she foraged. It’s just in my blood.”

This philosophy is one that resonates with the entirety of the MBC staff; at recent events, we have featured a variety of “duos” that emphasize the different flavors and textures of some of our favorite menu components. Our “Butternut Squash Two Ways” is a popular fall starter; guests are presented with a butternut squash “napoleon” with micro greens, crispy spiced pepitas, and oregano vinaigrette, and its butternut squash “cappuccino” pairing. On the entrée side, we created the “Duo of Pork”: cast iron-seared pork tenderloin and pulled pork croquettes with sautéed rainbow chard, cornbread pudding in casserole, and lapsang jus. And this summer, we debuted a Saint Louis pork rib accompanied by and garnished with corn, with a radish, apple, and summer corn succotash underneath and flash-fried corn silk on top.

We’ve braised, sautéed, seared, and puréed our favorite menu components, and we’d love to try our hand at yours. Our ultimate goal is to make your event a true reflection of your tastes – from hors d’oeuvres to dessert and from root to shoot.

Listen to the full podcast:

Episode 42 – How To Avoid Charitable Scams, How To Pickle Veggie Pods And Can Acupuncture Make IVF Success More Likely?

Jill asks charitable consult Laurie Styron how to avoid charity scams and give to organizations that really are making a difference. Then Jill joins caterer Marcey Brownstein in the kitchen, Marcey prides herself on using vegetables from “root to shoot” and she shows Jill how to pickle something many people throw away. Marcey shares a recipe for a simple veggie pod and seed pickle, that can be used to accompany meats, in sandwiches or scattered on a salad. Finally Jill talks to Chinese medicine practitioner Katy Hogan about how acupuncture can enhance fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

squash watermelon pumpkins

squash watermelon pumpkins

corn and sunflowers

corn and sunflowers

lamb dinner

lamb dinner

lamb prep

lamb prep

lamb prep

lamb prep

lamb prep

lamb prep

lamb

lamb

lamb stock

lamb stock

lamb reduction

lamb reduction

lamb ragu

lamb ragu

lamb demi glace

lamb demi glace

A Gluten-Free Gala

As a boutique firm that takes pride in creating customized menus for our clients, there’s nothing Marcey Brownstein Catering loves more than a challenge. After we were hired by three different celiac brides this past year, we focused on creating a variety of delicious gluten-free menu items based on each client’s specific tastes.

One of the brides – who is forced to abstain from eating french fries due to potential cross-contamination from fryers – was delighted to know that we could serve gluten-free truffled parmesan fries on her big day. At that wedding, the celiac-friendly stationary presentation featured lemon herb risotto arancini and grilled marinated flank steak with pesto and red wine jus, and was followed by the pièce de résistance: an entirely gluten-free dessert course. Passed around the lively dance floor were ginger crèmes brûlées, housemade gluten-free cones topped with mint chip ice cream, chocolate espresso pots de crème, and mini raspberry cheesecake bites on gluten-free graham crackers.

With an assortment of gluten-free menu successes under our belts (literally!) as we head into a new season, we look forward to sharing all the new challenges our amazing clients bring us this fall!

A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

gluten-free truffled parmesan fries | A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

gluten-free truffled parmesan fries



celiac-marisa-flora-3

chocolate espresso pots de crème | A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

chocolate espresso pots de crème



ginger crèmes brûlées | A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

ginger crèmes brûlées



housemade gluten-free cones topped with mint chip ice cream | A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

housemade gluten-free cones topped with mint chip ice cream



A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

grilled marinated flank steak with pesto and red wine jus | A Gluten-Free Gala | Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

grilled marinated flank steak with pesto and red wine jus

Cake Pops Yay or Nay?

In a recent interview with AM New York, our very own Marcey Brownstein was asked about wedding dessert trends and when asked about the super popular Cake Pop, Marcey said, “They’re pretty much done.” Find out what Marcey says the next big thing is in dessert decadence. Read the full article here.

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Ladies Who Lunch

I had the pleasure of hosting some great women at my home and farmden in upstate New York recently. The wonderful photographer (and friend of mine) Amber Gress recently covered it on her blog and it was so lovely and I just think it is so gorgeous that I smile every time I look at it.

via Amber Gress Photography Blog:

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I’m working on my online persona, and how I would like to better blend it with my actual living identity, which is part of why I am posting about more aspects than just weddings, or photography for that matter.   Part of why I chose photography as my path, is because it gives me access.  It gives me access to many worlds, many lives, and  many stories.  I love life, I love people, I love telling stories.  I want to share stories about the places I’ve been, the people I meet, and the magic that ensues.  I am very blessed to know people from all walks, and to  be invited into an array of different worlds.  Some of the things I love are gatherings, cooking, and good conversation with amazing women who are doing amazing things.  This lunch really encompassed so much of that, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of such a lovely day with some truly lovely and talented people.  The roster ranged from jewelry designer, chef, acupuncturist, event planner, to amazing self made entrepreneur.  I want to thank our lovely hostess Marcey of Marcey Brownstein Catering for bringing us all together, and opening her lovely home to us in upstate NY!  Please check out the links below to see the roster of lovely ladies who attended, and are doing amazing things for a little inspiration!

xo
amber

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Party Fowl

We were featured in BizBash‘s Summer 2013 issue. When asked to create alternatives to traditional poultry entrees, our chefs crafted a ballotine of chicken and turkey milanese.

bizbash