03.04.2011

How spoiled are we at A Thyme to Cook? VERY! Each week or two, our chefs come up with an idea for a new menu to add to our sample menus, or just an idea for a new way to do a single food item. Today Bill and Joe made a few scrumptious yummies for us to try. The scallops are (always) from our friends at Stonington Seafood Harvesters – aka “Bomsters”.

They are so amazingly sweet and succulent! Today they were marinated with whiskey and vanilla and topped with spicy chocolate panko crumbs

Then we enjoyed honey marinated beef short ribs braised with sherry and soy. And how soft and tender and delicious! The sides were a cool smoked paprika slaw (napa, cabbage, zucchini and carrots) along with three cauliflower “couscous” recipes…it’s so amazing and we know you all will see this idea popping up but if you whir up cauliflower florets in a food processor (not the stems) to a consistancy of couscous it really looks like couscous but – no starch! And flavor it like you would a couscous dish and its a really simple veggie side. We tasted curry cashew cauliflower couscous; currant, cashew and caper & the fresh and always wonderful mixed herbs.

And then dessert – A S’more cake…good graceous it looks like a marshmallow right off of the cammpfire! Bill came up with a recipe that encompased all of the elements into the 3 layer cake…sorry didn’t get a shot of the inside of the cake – we devoured it too fast!

02.23.2011

The International Catering Association (ICA) is making a huge presence at Catersource Conference this year! Annually held in Las Vegas, we have a huge presence at Catersource Conference, the largest gathering of caterers in the world–8,000 just last year! In our inspiration Zone at the Attendee Lounge, members can browse marketing materials from ICA caterers throughout the world.

Information can be downloaded at “The Zone” or ICA members will find it for free on the ICA website after the conference. Visit http://www.internationalcaterers.org/. This value is priceless!!!

Our mission is to raise the level of the bar in the catering world through education at seminars, webinars, networking, etc. Being on the Board and Chair of Membership Committee is challenging and time consuming (just ask Lori!) but enlightening, educational and the rewards are immeasurable. Being able to brainstorm, problem-solve, interact and share ideas with caterers who are experiencing the same issues is such a bonus in our industry, where people are usually too rushed to ever hang out and “CaterTalk.” The ICA is famous for sharing of information with caterers of all kinds everywhere.
This year, ATTC is honored to be nominated for a CATIE Award in its Speciality Cake Category, for an outstanding, “Mad Hatter” cake by our phenomenal cake baker decorator, Lynn. There are several categories of CATIE Awards, all submissions are anonymous and the criteria is quite rigid. It is an honor just to be nominated — so I’m crossing my fingers for next week. WISH US LUCK!!!
02.18.2011

A Thyme to Cook is Crazy about chocolate – in sweet & savory dishes alike. And we have been using this mystery component in mole sauce, as well as chili, beef stew, braised venison and even white fish! Try combining dark chocolate with bacon, pink peppercorns, chili peppers, wasabi, Indian curry, ginger, cinnamon, coarse sea salt, coco nibs or chocolate pearls.

Pictured to the right are two fantastic desserts he tried out last week – yes major diet hazard is working one flight of stairs away from the cookery kitchen! On the left, Grilled Pineapple, White Chocolate Poundcake & next to it Kahlua, Coco Nib Chocolate Tort with Molten Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Pop Rocks. YUM!

And then here is Bill’s FAMOUS S’more ENTIRELY dipped in Ecuardorian Chocolate and then Graham Cracker Crumbs along side Chambord Wasabi Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Just perfect on a cold February afternoon.
We just can’t forget about all of the other fantastic creations Bill has experimented with lately – Chili Spiked Hot White & Dark Chocolate swirled together in mugs; White Chocolate Pineapple Coconut Triangles with “Absolut” Peppar Simple Syrup; Single Origin Chocolate Truffles with Basil and Espresso Salt; Dark Chocolate & Green Curry “Pearls” on White Chocolate Pot de Creme. And not to forget our tofu fans, here is one to win over your “I don’t do tofu” peeps – Bourbon infused Tofu layered with Homemade Caramel & Pecan Dipped ENTIRELY (by now you know there isn’t any other way) in Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate and then Lightly Sprinkled with Sea Salt. Way better then a Milky Way! Has your sweet/savory tooth surfaced yet? Give us a call – or better yet, call our CRAZY Pastry Chef, Bill!

02.14.2011

Think outside the candy box for Valentines Day!

Chocolates significance as a special gift dates back to the Aztecs; who presented cacao solids to the gods and consumed it only on very special occasions – hence it began to be seen as decadant and forbidden.
Chocolates association with Valentines Day conjurs up the vision of the infamous Russell Stover red paper heart box (which originated in 1888).
But Now!
We know dark chocolate is good for us. It’s loaded with antioxidents which helps to get rid of free radicals that do all kinds of nasty things to our bodies. Single origin chocolate is chocolate made with beans from one region (or sometimes one farm) which is why I’m savoring a chunk of Venezuelan Gran Saman with a glass of Jonathan Edwards Winery Napa Valley Dark – a port style wine. http://www.jedwardswinery.com
Here at A Thyme to Cook we are always cooking up crazy things with chocolate in our kitchen…tofu & chocolate??? It works! Come back for more great ideas in a couple of days
Linda
02.07.2011

Most of you know that we are neighbors with Allyn Brown, owner of Maple Lane Farms, famous for their perfectly fresh cut Christmas trees, berry and apple picking, and MOST importantly, growing the largest crop of blackcurrants in the country. We try to incorporate as much of his local produce in our menus–but what you may NOT know is that he recently built a huge greenhouse to grow the sweetest, most delicate hydroponic baby butter lettuce! He is currently (no pun intended) supplying Stop and Shop with his tender greens and we are so greatful to have such freshness literally a stone’s throw away!

Thanks Allyn!!!

02.03.2011

January is supposed to be the ‘slow’ month for New England caterers!? This time of year we develop new menus, establish new guidelines, policies, and training manuals, repair and rejuvenate equipment, brainstorm new ideas, conduct tastings, and attend to details that can NOT wait til the last minute—especially since we are all Type –A freaks and don’t like surprises. The New Year is also crunch time for the International Caterers Assoc. Being on the Board and Membership Chair, I am constantly reviewing data, speaking with new (or potential) members throughout the world and trying to collaborate global interests among these catering companies. Included on my ‘list of things to do,’ is to create power point presentations to present at Catersource Conference, the annual meeting of 8,000 caterers (from Nigeria to Nebraska,) which takes place at the end of February. To add, Chef Shawn and I are looking forward to doing a joint seminar on new wedding menu ideas and trends in the catering industry; if we don’t kill each other, we’ll keep you posted on our presentation…

In the meantime, we have parties to get out and lots of snow to shovel!

Stay Warm!
Linda

01.31.2011

It’s a New Year and time for a new blog! 2011 promises to be an outstanding year for A Thyme to Cook and we want to keep you up to date with all that’s going on.

AND–what better way to kick of 2011 than with a spectacular meal at PolytechnicON20 in Hartford. The ATTC team gave me the BEST birthday gift–a tasting menu at “ON20“–what a memorable night! The 10 courses were exquisite and each one offered a whole new explosion of mouth flavor!

But you need to hear about my favorite–“Scallop Ceviche”–presented on an individual champagne-colored salt plate (pure salt–ask us about those later–very cool but you do NOT want to wash these!) My first thought was that it was not an actual ceviche, as it was not icy-cold–but then the flavors and sensations wafted! The transparent slices of scallop were accompanied by my new favorite, “flavor adjunct”–espelette–in gelee form. It’s not suprising that I loved this French chili pepper as it’s renowned for being a staple in French Basque cuisine and the cornerstone for French Piperade, which made the combination of shaved scallop, citrus, shallot and ice-wine vinegar meding with the musky saltiness of the plate–devine!! And that was only 1 course!

Thanks to executive Chef Noel Jones and staff of “ON 20” for knowing how to stimulate a New Year with a BANG of flavor and taste!!

12.29.2010

Today Emily & Brian had their menu tasting. They both brought their mom’s to have a sample of what might be on their menu. Em & Brian have plenty of time between now and July to make their decision but knowing Em, salmon is a definite. Yum!
12.28.2010

I believe the perfect color combination sets the tone for every wedding. Inspiring wedding combinations are endless — ranging from “fall harvest” (chocolate brown and burnt orange) to “bright spring” (crisp white with lemon yellow accents) to “understated sophistication” (shades of ivory and beige). The color possibilities are only limited by our imaginations! We want the atmosphere at our wedding to have a fun, summer, chic feel. So the colors I envision are….

raspberry pink with bright orange accents.
These colors also reflect my personality seeing as my favorite color happens to be pink! Some guys would likely veto this idea, but lucky for me, Brian is supportive and lets me be “creative director”. I was so excited when I found invitiations that will help convey my vision even before the big day!

In the ballroom, solid ivory linen with a circle of gold chivari chairs will feature a pink folded napkin and colorful flowers as a centerpiece. The cocktail and bistro tables on the patio will be a little more bold and daring featuring this funky linen!This was an easy and exciting part of the planning process as my vision was pretty clear, although I can’t say that it has been this easy with many of the other decisions….more to come on that!

12.14.2010

“Wow – what an exciting and busy wedding season it has been! I’m so grateful to have worked with so any wonderful brides (and grooms) in planning and overseeing their celebrations. As I reflect on the sites, various styles and tastes of each, some highlights stand out” – Dave Thomas – Event Coordinator. dave@athymetocook.com

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION the staff of A Thyme to Cook – headed to Fishers Island

“One very special wedding location was on Fishers Island – a more picturesque site you could not ask for. It was so much fun getting to know the family. Bringing the staff, the food and everything we needed on a Ferry was definitely an adventure! Forgetting anything is not an option when you’re catering an event on an island became our mantra.”

“Another unique location was center stage at the Katharine Hepburn Theatre in Old Saybrook. What a beautiful venue! A pre-opera brunch was served.” http://www.katharinehepburntheatre.org/

“We thoroughly enjoyed planning and working with everyone involved for this Carnival themed charity event. The staff even got in on the act wtih their outfits – red suspenders and bow ties.”

Check out the next installment reflecting on The 2010 Bridal Season – Fabulous Food!

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