Okay, I know it took me forever, but here it is: Part I of the “Food From My Sister’s Wedding” series. Will it be a two-part series, or a three-part series, or more than that? I don’t know. There was a lot of food, I may have gone overboard. And the time I want to spend on these appetizers and charcuterie boards depends on how badly I want to share my current sourdough experiments. Sometimes, sacrifices must be made. Especially for sourdough.
So, this bruschetta? Super easy. The stuffed mushrooms? Also easy. Mostly because they both have aspects than can be made ahead of time (which, to me, is a major bonus). Any time I can break up the workload, I do. Because I’m a little lazy and also because I only have about 15.4 minutes of focus before my attention wanders. In fact, both of these recipes benefit from some time in the fridge because both the fillings and toppings are about 30x more delicious when they’ve marinated together. But, I mean, you don’t have to wait.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’ll let you know that I’m not a planner. The nice way of describing this trait would be, “Kristen likes to go with the flow, she trusts her intuition to guide her as each moment arises.” The more accurate way to describe this trait is “Kristen is the kind of person who can forget her own birthday, or, ya know, how to spell her name. She doesn’t make plans because she will forget them. Always.” Well, when I was given the task of “catering” my sister’s wedding I kinda had to plan. At least a little bit, and knowing that I was going to have very little time for food prep at the actual venue made it pretty much imperative to make things that can be done (at least mostly) ahead of time, and assembled quickly.
So, this series, whether short or long, will be dedicated to quick-prep, ahead-of-time entertaining. Because who actually has time and energy to make a ton of food right before the party?
Maybe Martha Stewart, but we can’t all be her.
Pro tip: to really bring out that basil aroma, rub the leaves. Or punch them, pinch them, whatever. You get it.
So, without further ado, I’ll give you the recipes. I’d write more, but my dog keeps shoving her nose under my elbow, making it very difficult to type. I guess someone needs attention.
tomato bruschetta with balsamic glaze
1 baguette, cut into 1/2 in. thick slices
5-6 Roma tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic (to taste) (very finely chopped)
1 t salt
2-3 t balsamic vinegar (to taste)
1 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
Fresh basil leaves
Wash and finely dice tomatoes, discarding seeds. In a bowl, mix tomatoes, salt, 2-3 teaspoons vinegar, garlic, and sugar. Stir until well incorporated (you may want to test some on a cracker just to make extra sure it’s mixed). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer on medium heat. Stirring frequently, cook for 10-15 minutes and remove from heat. Once cool, the reduction should be a syrup just thin enough to drizzle from a spoon. If it’s too thin, bring it to a simmer and cook a few more minutes. If it’s too thick, add a few teaspoons of water and heat the mixture just enough to stir it in, then cool.
Heat oven to a high broil (or, if you’re very dedicated you can heat your grill). Brush each baguette slice with olive oil, and lightly toast them, either on the grill or broiling in your oven. This should only take a few seconds, so watch them constantly.
Assemble bruschetta by placing a basil leave directly onto the baguette slice, and topping with a generous spoonful of the tomato mixture. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the tops and serve! Feel free to garnish with some extra finely chopped basil if you’re having a fancy day.
feta, parm, & bacon stuffed mushrooms
15-20 (one small box) white mushrooms
6 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. feta cheese
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan
1/2 lb. bacon (usually about half a package)
3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 t black pepper
Wash and de-stem mushrooms, reserving half of the stems (use the other half for another recipe or vegetable stock). Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Dice (very finely) mushroom stems and garlic, and add to the heated skillet when the olive oil begins to shimmer. Constantly stir garlic and stems until most of the water has evaporated and they become very fragrant.
Remove from heat and transfer stem and garlic mixture to a small bowl.
Returning the pan to heat, add the bacon to the skillet and fry until crispy, then drain on a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 375 (If you’re making this same-day). Add cream cheese, feta, and parmesan to the stem and garlic mixture. The heat of the stems should soften the cream cheese a bit, but if you’re still finding it difficult to mix, microwave it for a few seconds.
Crumble or finely chop bacon, and add it to the cheese and stem mixture. Add black pepper and mix well until all ingredients are distributed evenly. The filling should be quite thick.(This is the point at which you can cover and refrigerate the filling for a few hours, or overnight). Arrange mushroom caps on a parchment-covered baking sheet (be careful, when they’re filled they have a tendency to roll). Spoon or pipe filling into mushroom caps and sprinkle extra grated parmesan on top, if desired. Bake 17-20 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and lightly browned.