06.25.2014

This past weekend we continued our celebration of our 30th anniversary with a picnic here at the Cookery.

Staff, current and past, came together on a beautiful day to share stories, memories and catch up.

With the grill delivering fantastic goodies and a buffet of pot-luck sides and desserts, no one left hungry!

This kind of celebration really makes our managers jump for joy!

JumpForJoy

03.26.2014

social-key

Hopefully you will all “LIKE” what I have to say here and maybe want to “PIN” it or “RETWEET” me.

To many, the above line makes a ton of sense, to others, I could very well be talking in a foreign language. Whichever category you fall into, there is no escaping social media. Something ceases to be a ‘fad’ once it becomes an everyday part of the lexicon of our lives. Boot up your phone, open a magazine or turn on the TV – social media is everywhere.

While we can’t avoid it these days (notice the hashtags and little links while watching TV shows or commercials?), I like to look at it as positive momentum. Social media is here to help the world spread the word – it keeps us connected to one another. Sure, picking up the phone and hearing a friendly voice is always best, but to be able to watch my best friend’s kids grown up across the country or share a story I’m proud of with my friends all at once has a lot of benefits. Picture that little computer or phone screen as the old town crier – walking up and down the information highway, ringing his bell and shouting the news to the rooftops. It is how we communicate these days, it’s the new word of mouth.

Here at A Thyme To Cook we’re starting to focus a lot of energy on our little corner of cyberspace. We’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and keep adding new avenues of communication all the time. We do this because we want to be able to share with our friends, fans and guests. We like to share fun ideas, celebrate our accomplishments, notify you of upcoming events and see what you have to say in return.

Not sure what all this means? Let me try to help with an even more universal theme, and one we’re very fond of – FOOD!

(more…)

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”

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!

05.03.2013

beer week logo

Celebrate craft beer and local breweries during American Craft Beer Week May 13-19! Craft beer is more popular than ever- according to craftbeer.com, today 97% of breweries in the US are small and independent. In 2012 the total number of barrels sold by craft brewers was 13,235,917 (to put that into perspective: 1 barrel = 31 gallons!).

beerd logo

Our philosophy of supporting local vendors extends beyond food to beverages. We are proud to partner with local vineyards and breweries, including Beer’d Brewing Co. in Stonington, CT. As an “amalgamation of art and science” Aaren Simoncini and his team hand craft ales like the Whisker’d Whit and Midnight Oil in small batches. We love their flexibility to experiment with different brews, and small scale which produces the highest quality beer. The photo below shows our team- (from left) Sheri, Michelle, Lauren and Brian having a blast at the Beer’d brewery this past winter!

staff beerd

Support your local breweries during American Craft Beer Week! For the first time craft beer fans will participate in a nationwide toast on Thursday May 16th, (8pm Eastern Daylight Time, 5pm Pacific Time). To find an official toast location or for ways to celebrate all around the country, check out the event calendar here! Cheers!

Beer compressed photo UrbDef-0632

04.26.2013

Warm weather has finally arrived and our perennial herbs are starting to wake up! Here are some of our early season favorites from the cookery garden…

lovage

Lovage has a similar flavor to celery, we add the leaves to soups and salads or as a garnish for our beef tenderloin crostini. Try it instead of celery as a straw for bloody marys- the stem is hollow!

parsley

Japanese Parsley, or mitsuba (which means “three leaves” in Japanese) has a slightly peppery flavor, stronger than traditional flat leaf parsley.

mint

Mountain Mint has a peppermint flavor and if not used fresh can be dried for medicinal teas or potpourri.

chives

Chives

thyme

Of course we have thyme growing!

angelica

Angelica

04.12.2013

serena pic for blog in studio

Name: Serena Bates

How long have you been working with ATTC? 2 years.

In one sentence, what do you do all day at your job? I am in charge of accounts payable & receivable, generating estimates and payroll.

Most memorable experience since working at ATTC? Painting a model for the Fusion event at the Velvet Mill.

Food you can’t live without? Pizza.

Favorite Restaurant? Margaritas.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working here? Sculpting my fingers to the bone and pursuing my art at Above Elite Studios in Westerly RI.

What do you like best about working at ATTC? Nice eclectic group of people with diverse backgrounds.

03.29.2013

beveage 2

Signature cocktails are all the rage! Custom designed drinks have become an exciting new way to celebrate with creativity and personalization. A specialty drink provides an incredible opportunity to share personal stories, wedding colors, family favorites or a sip of the season.

Customized drinks are also festive and fun! The choices are abundant and you do the choosing.  Adding a colorful concoction or a beverage with a reminiscent aromatic garnish is an unexpected surprise and who doesn’t love a surprise…especially a flavorful one!

beverage 1

With spring and summer almost here, these mouth watering treats not only have the potential to “wow” and refresh your guests, they also create maximum impact as your guests enter the reception.

We love helping our clients personalize events and this year we have expanded our Signature Cocktail menu with some fun and exciting options. Here a few of our favorites:

Seaside Shandy  – This traditional favorite says,” coastal New England” in one sip! Although this drink is on the top 10 trend list of the year, It’s been one of our personal favorite for years.

Blushing Bride – This delicate and feminine beverage is a trendy and refreshing with just a dash of pink.

Classic Mojito  – Made with fresh mint leaves and local RIPE Mojito Mix, this traditional Cuban highball is a tropical  party elixir. One sip of this tangy libation says fiesta in the freshest way possible.

beverage 3

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