11.08.2013

Turkey.Thanksgiving-Food[1]

As a child, do you remember waking up on thanksgiving morning to the scent of pancakes and bacon cooking, and in the background was the turkey slowly cooking, silently making its appearance, filling the house with that delicious aroma? Eating breakfast while watching the parade, enjoying the Rockettes with their signature high kicks, the smiling Snoopy balloon, the marching bands, and the bright colorful floats while eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus at the very end of it all?

Scientists will tell you that the strongest of all our senses is scent, and odor creates scent memories. The olfactory nerve is very close to the part of the brain that is in charge of memory, so even years later a particular scent, or combination of scents, will trigger a scent memory.

A few years ago, we attended a holiday event at a colleague’s home. Everyone was asked to bring a holiday dish that they had the fondest memories for. While we were eating, everyone discussed their story about the dish. Surprisingly, not one person spoke about the food itself. All of the stories regarding the food involved a happy memory regarding their family or friends. And the food was delicious!!!!

The kitchen at A Thyme to Cook is always busy creating wonderful aromas, and now that we are heading into the holidays, it is even more amazing than ever.

Heavenly Pies, country style roasts, Hearty soups, Crusty warm breads, luxurious cakes, whipped sweet potatoes, roasted local veggies, and did we mention those heavenly pies?

Thanksgiving is a time for family, reflection and giving thanks, so as we head into the start of the holiday season take a moment to reflect on some of your favorite food memories and share them with your friends and family. They’ll thank you for it.

09.17.2013

To launch a new 2014 Porsche, Hoffman Porsche in East Hartford hosted an unveiling celebration filled with “thrilling contradictions”. Hot & Cold, Spicy & Sweet, our menu reflected the vision of the event and new vehicle. We even translated the signage into German! Thanks to Hoffman for another wonderful collaboration! 

hoffman

  • Sugar Cane Shrimp with Chorizo on Bamboo with Espelette Pepper
  • Open Face Candied Pulled Pork on Corn Arepa Topped with Pepperoncini Threads
  • Apple Jalapeno and Bacon Beignets with Maple Crema
  • Local Bomster Scallop “Slider” with Lemon Scallion Aioli and Lovage
  • Tiny Lamb Shepherd’s Pie “Cup Cakes”
  • Blue Corn “Turkey” Dog on a Stick with Bourbon Pear Butter

 smallplate

“Small Plate” Station Served on a Book Case…

Mexican Chipotle-Chocolate Short Ribs on Chevre Mash with Popcorn Shoot

Passed Sweets…

Demitasse Cups of Ancho Chili Pot De Crème with Cocoa Nibs

“Fizzy Grapes”

08.07.2013

Farm to shaker

 

Join us as the area’s best bar chefs compete to turn locally-grown ingredients
into killer cocktails!

One of our bartenders will be mixing up ONYX Moonshine, RIPE juice and one more secret ingredient from the market! Check back next week to see what drink we design!

Our menu features the following goodies:

Mini Grilled Cheese with Farm to Hearth Bread and Mystic Cheese Company’s Melville

Atop RIPE Bloody Mary Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

RIPE Agave Margarita Chicken Skewers

With Fresh Vegetable Slaw

RIPE Agave Lemon Bar

Take Away Treat:  ATTC’s Award Winning Liquor Lollipops

coventry farmers market

07.19.2013

Brides and grooms are looking for ways to personalize all aspects of their weddings, and are using Etsy from the beginning (engagement rings) to middle (all wedding accessories) and end (did you know you can register for gifts on etsy?) of planning their big day. Supporting a community of artists, getting everything completely personalized, and ordering from the comfort of you laptop (or phone with the etsy app!), no wonder it’s been a growing trend!

Jewelry makes up a large portion of items on the site, many feature ethically sourced, environmentally friendly or vintage wedding rings. If you’re looking to stay green, some Etsy jewelers avoid using “conflict diamonds” and precious metals that have a large carbon footprint, and instead design with stones that are created in a lab, or recycled.

pinterest sign pic

You can find practically anything, but some of the most popular items for weddings found on etsy include; personalized high heels, cuff links, programs, cake toppers, photo booth props, monogrammed table runners, signage, favors, guest book, invitations and programs, even wedding dresses!

etsy hanger pic

Their blog contains useful information about all aspects of weddings. You can find inspiration for different wedding styles, from classic, romantic, vintage, nautical,  and find items on the site that would compliment each style. The blog even has “eatsy” articles with delicious recipes!

etsy bag

Statistics are posted each month that give you an idea of just how much the site is growing. This past May 2013 $102.9 million worth of goods were sold, that is a 56.3% increase from May 2012 and an increase of 1.2% from just the month before- (April 2013 sales were $101.7 million). Page views in the month of May were recorded at 1.37 billion! Etsy is also the most “pinned” site on Pinterest!

etsy photobooth

 

06.28.2013

southernexperts_budgeting

There are lots of wedding blogs and magazines out there, but only a select few make it onto our must read list. Southern Weddings Magazine is definitely one of them (along with the equally fantastic website and blog). If you’re in need of inspiration you can search real weddings filtered by state and even color scheme! Their “honey list” will help you narrow down your honeymoon destination possibilities with their editor approved sites. In the wedding shop you can purchase the most adorable stationery, beautifully designed with letterpress, foil stamp and printed details.

The “expert advice” series on the Southern Weddings blog contains useful information and helpful hints in all aspects of wedding planning. From tipping vendors, choosing your registry, designing invitations, even advice for a happy marriage, these gals have you covered! One of the editors, Emily Thomas may be a Southern bride at heart, but she was one of our clients for her own wedding last summer in Connecticut! Her most recent post concerns budgeting for your wedding, probably not the most glamorous topic, but definitely one of the most important. As a newlywed herself, and an expert in the industry, Emily’s advice is so good we just had to share! Below are a few of our favorites, but visit the Southern Weddings blog for the full article. Thank you Emily!

Set your budget. Thankfully, even though it’s nearly impossible to know how much the wedding in your head will cost before getting engaged and talking to vendors, it’s still possible to set your budget, because your budget should be based on the amount of money you have, not the amount of money you want to spend. In addition to tallying whatever you and your fiance will contribute, check in with both sets of parents (if they haven’t made the first move). I would recommend going into the conversation with a grateful heart and without expectations, and being thankful for any contribution they might want to make.

Prioritize your budget. Once you’ve determined the pool of money available to spend, it’s time to begin slicing it up. Start to talk with your fiance about what’s most important to you both, and start to reach out to vendors and venues with whom you’re interested in working. As quotes come in, you’ll start to see how your money might need to be allocated.

Wedding quotes can be eye-popping and confusing at first, but there are lots of articles out there that will help you understand them better (two I recommend on flowers: here and here). It also might be helpful to look at how other couples have split their budget — mine is right here, and Ruffled also runs a great series on real budgets. Also: don’t forget to calculate tips into the cost of each vendor. You can find our tips for tipping here.

Take care of your guests. We like details as much as y’all, but at some point (especially when you’re on a limited budget), it’s time to stop worrying about what your wedding will look like in photos, and start thinking about how it will FEEL to you and your guests. Sometimes, $15 worth of bug spray at a cocktail hour can be worth more than all the fancy linens and candles in the world. People will remember when you made them feel comfortable and included and welcomed, and they will also remember when they had to wait in a line or ate cold food or trek a mile to the bathroom because you didn’t want to pay for a port-a-potty. They will almost certainly forgive you for those things, because they are your dearest friends and family and they love you, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid them altogether? For us, gracious hospitality is always a budget “do.”

Remember it’s not the only party you’ll throw in your lifetime. As I was planning our wedding, every so often I’d see an idea that I really, really wanted to include… except that it didn’t fit in our budget, or it didn’t fit with the aesthetic of our day. Whenever this happened, I sat myself down and issued a reminder: this party was not the last one I would throw in my lifetime. It might be the biggest, and it might be the most expensive, but I had years of dinner parties, birthday parties, and anniversary parties ahead of me, and there would more than likely be a place to incorporate my idea of the day into one of those future bashes. This almost always talked me down from the ledge.

It’s possible to have a wedding on any budget, but it’s not possible to have any wedding on any budget. Your wedding will be gorgeous and meaningful and memorable because you two are at the center of it — blissfully happy and in love — no matter how much you spend or don’t spend. Years from now, that love and happiness is what you and your guests will remember above all else. It’s true.

06.13.2013

flavor_curve

We came upon an interesting article about using different flavors in restaurant menus. Turns out large chains actually  hire “menu innovation” teams to keep up with trends and figure out how to incorporate them into their daily offerings. ATTC is lucky in that we don’t have to guess what our customers want- we simply ask them! Our sales team meets with each client to determine their personal preferences, favorite ingredients and style of food. We get to know our clients and determine how “food savvy” their guests might be, and in turn are able to design unique, customized menus for each event that reflect the client.

It can be a fine line between incorporating the hosts’ favorite flavors and still accommodating the palates of 150 other guests. When planning an event, be sure that guests are not going to be intimidated or offended by anything too exotic or extreme, but make sure they still have FUN!

The flavor curve shows ingredients and flavors that range from emerging, to becoming popular, to mainstream. We are always experimenting with flavors, so for us it’s exciting to see ingredients that were once obscure becoming so popular they are considered “everyday”.

So, where are you on the Flavor Curve?

05.31.2013

shot for mystic country

 

ATTC is excited about a new vineyard just down the road from the cookery in Preston. Not only do they have a beautiful tasting room with stunning views for weekend wine tasting and events like bridal showers or rehearsal dinners, they also host large tented events and weddings. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to open your own vineyard, keep reading about Cara and her family’s experience building Preston Ridge Vineyard from the ground up.

 

Established in 1988 with only five wineries, the CT Wine Trail has expanded over the past 25 years to include 25 different wineries across the state.  As interest in wine continues to increase, tasting at wineries has become not just a pastime for a few oenophiles, but a destination for new and experienced wine drinkers alike.  We know this because we used to be these traveling wine drinkers…

colorbottlerack

 

From Napa to the Finger Lakes to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, we made our way around a number of different wineries enjoying the beautiful ambiance and relaxing atmosphere that so many of them offer.  In 2006 our travels took us up to the Southeastern part of CT where we first experienced the beauty of the CT wineries.  Our conversations began to drift from just enjoying the experience to becoming part of the experience and CT seemed like the perfect destination to make this dream a reality.

basement

 

In 2008 we bought the acreage at 100 Miller Road in Preston and we were ready to go…at least that’s what we thought.  We learned quickly, however, that there’s a lot more behind the winery business then just getting to chat with customers and enjoy some wine in the tasting room.  While perhaps different from the traditional definition of a farm, a vineyard truly encompasses all the qualities of farm life, from long days of tending the vines, nearly continuously during the growing season, to timing the harvest just right so the grapes are picked at the peak of their ripeness.  It is a non-stop process that doesn’t even produce a tangible product until the vines are at least three years old.  We were determined though and got to it, planning, digging, planting and picking and four and a half years later in October of 2012 we were finally ready to, literally, show the fruits of our labor to the public and opened up our brand new tasting room/production facility to be enjoyed by all.

reception206

 

We currently taste nine different wines, all hand-crafted on site, ranging from a sweet table white to some very dry reds.  As of now we offer only one Estate vintage, a Cabernet Franc, but our first Estate Chardonnay will be released later this fall.  While it has been a huge learning curve for us, owning and operating our own vineyard has given us the opportunity to truly understand and respect the science and art behind making a bottle of wine.  Beyond that it has also allowed us to meet some amazing people, through conversations in our tasting room, who may have never otherwise crossed our paths.  We can’t say it all happened exactly as we planned or without some hiccups along the way, but we couldn’t have asked for a better end result and look forward to many years of enjoying wine with our patrons in our very own tasting room.  We hope we will see you there soon!

 

Preston Ridge Vineyard is open April-December, Saturdays 12-7 & Sundays 12-4 for tastings.  We also host indoor & outdoor weddings, private parties, corporate events or cocktail parties throughout the year.  For more information visit our website:  www.prestonridgevineyard.com.

05.24.2013

Our events team did some spring cleaning (despite the rainy weather). They got “down and dirty” spending the day refurbishing our design elements and serving pieces- painting and sanding to give them new life before the upcoming summer season!

We love design, and understand that the presentation is equally important to an event as having amazing food. It is part of creating an experience for guests, so we work with all our clients to get a sense of the look and feel they want to achieve. ATTC has an inventory of antique silver, copper, and wood baskets; glass, ceramic and porcelain bowls and serving pieces, and many more accent pieces we use to create displays at events like this…


View More: http://www.michelleben.staceymphotography.com

(photo by Stacey M Photography)

As you can imagine, after repeated use and washing during a busy season of parties, some of the pieces need a bit of a facelift. We took some of our baskets and boxes and added a fresh coat of white paint, or fun black chalkboard paint and sanded down our wood pieces and gave them a fresh coat of mineral oil.

Before…

fluff stuff before

boxandframe

During…

brian and juli

outside d&d

 

After… gorgeous!

fluff stuff after

Sheri, Brian and Gina are excited about the good-as-new design pieces and can’t wait for their upcoming events!

brian, sheri, gina photo frame

05.10.2013

Allyson Angelini is not only one of our local farmers, she is a client! ATTC is catering her wedding this summer using meat and produce grown on her own farm in Ledyard, CT Full Heart Farm. Continue reading to learn about the busy springtime on the farm.

Incorporating local, seasonal foods into event menus is very chic right now – and with good reason.  Local foods are often more fresh and flavorful.  They help to support a more environmentally friendly way of eating, as well as the local economy.  Foods that travel directly from sustainable, family farms to your table can make a meal special.

crowing daffodils

Eating seasonal foods, however, requires an understanding of what’s happening on farms at different times of the year (visit http://buyctgrown.com/inseason for a list of all of the delicious foods grown in CT!).  Right now in southeastern CT, we’ve had a chilly spring.  Just this past week fruit trees started to blossom, asparagus started poking out of the ground, and grass-fed cattle were sent out to graze pastures for the first time.

yllow chick

At our farm, Full Heart Farm, in Ledyard, CT, spring is a busy season and the cold weather has made for cramped living conditions.  For several weeks we had 50 baby chicks (our future egg layers) living in our laundry room until they grew enough feathers to stay warm inside the drafty barn.  Now that the weather has begun to warm up, our 100 laying hens are outside sunbathing, grazing on early season grasses, and laying eggs with bright orange yolks.  Our first batch of meat chickens moved outside this week as well, which means we’ll be enjoying fresh chicken in just a few weeks and throughout the summer and fall.

Breakfast Line-Up

Our eight piglets just turned 5 months old and are as busy as ever, rooting around in the woods, wallowing in mud, and running around just being pigs.  They spent the winter months destroying many invasive plant species that were taking over the farm (such as briars and bittersweet), and now they recycle scraps and weeds from the garden and convert them into pork.

Salad Mix

Our unheated greenhouse (or high tunnel) is full of salad mix, lettuce, kale, spring onions, and carrots: cold-hardy crops that can get a jump-start under the cover of plastic.  In the fields we have planted peas, potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, cabbage, kale, and more.  But the majority of our crops still reside in our dining room, under the protective glow of grow lights and without concern of fluctuating temperature.  Some of the stars of summer – tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers – will stay inside until the end of May, after the danger of a frost has passed.

In another couple of months, the harvest season will be in full swing.  Planting will continue through early August, in order to ensure we have greens and other fall veggies to harvest well into November.  Soon farmers’ markets and farm stands will be starting up again and CT grown food will be bountiful, but until then there are a lot of CT grown products that are available all year round – meats, seafood, dairy, and even produce.  Support local farms today!

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