Sunday, January 9, 2011

pancakes with an egg over easy

Making pancakes on the weekend is such a treat :)

I love pancakes.  But not with syrup.  I know, I'm strange.  Who doesn't like syrup on their pancakes? Well, that would be me.  Syrup is just too sweet - I prefer my pancakes to be slightly more savoury.  Sometimes, I go with just butter.  But mostly, I like to eat my pancakes with peanut butter.  Never tried it before? You should.  It's delicious.  My latest kick? A stack of extra fluffy pancakes served with a fried egg over easy.

I love that when you cut into the stack, the egg yolk just oozes out over everything.  Use the yolk as a dipping sauce for the pancakes and eat it up - get your carbs, fat, and protein all in one.  Sooooo good.  Now, that's what I call a balanced breakfast ;)

p.s. I finally splurged on a DSLR!  It became somewhat of a necessity after our Canon Powershot broke a few months back, and then my iPhone was stolen last month.  (Well, I'm certain it was stolen - but technically since I did not see the theft occur, the police will only note it as being lost.  *Sigh*)  Anyway, now I have a Nikon D3100 - and as you can see, it takes wonderful pictures :) I can't wait to learn more about photography and take even better photos!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

happy new year!

My oh my - I can't believe it's 2011 already!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are always such a whirlwind for me, but I hope to be back with a more regular posting schedule soon!

Happy new year, everyone :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

long island wedding venue: martha clara vineyards

Since d.'s family is from Long Island, we also considered some wedding venues on the island - but it was somewhat difficult to find wedding venues on Long Island that were not your typical banquet hall.  We wanted a venue that was a bit closer to nature, so we looked towards the many vineyards in Eastern Long Island.  One of the vineyards that caught my eye was Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, NY.

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The outdoor ceremony site has a view of the vast vineyards, which can be quite beautiful - but without any trees, I felt that something was missing.

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But the Pavillion Tasting Room pictured above was what really drew me to Martha Clara.  The high-beamed ceilings and wood finishings with windows everywhere - it had the rustic, elegant vibe that we liked.  So I called them up for more information.

I spoke with Ken from Martha Clara and he gave me the low-down.  In addition to the Pavillion Tasting Room, which holds a maximum of 175 people for dinner and dancing, they also do tent weddings on site.  But because I was only interested in the Pavillion, the following pricing information only applies to the Pavillion.

During peak wedding season which runs from the second week of May through the first week of November, the site fee is $6500 on a Saturday and $3700 on a Friday or a Sunday. In the off-season, the site fee is $4500 on a Saturday and $2100 on a Friday or a Sunday.  These are their advertised site fees - but Ken told me that the management had been approving discounts down to $5200 for a peak-season Saturday and $2700 for an off-season Saturday.  And there is no additional ceremony fee on top of the site fee.

We are free to use whichever caterer we would like.  In terms of alcohol, the provider must have an active liquor license for off-site liquor use.  For wine, we must serve their wine - and if our guests are more beer and liquor drinkers, they typically charge by consumption so that we only pay for what they pour.

Their weddings are your typical 5-hour event with 1 hour for cocktail and 4 hours for the reception.  But because they are open during the day as an operating vineyard, the wedding would have to start at 7pm on a Saturday and 6pm on a Friday or Sunday.  And that, my friend, was the deal breaker for us.  Since we want an outdoor ceremony and hopefully an outdoor cocktail hour as well, we felt that the 7pm start time is just too late for us.  We want more time with the sun in the sky for our wedding.

And so we said goodbye to Martha Clara.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

apple cinnamon scones

I'm overflowing with apples from my CSA pickup, so I decided to make some apple cinnamon scones to take over to my friend's apartment for brunch.  I basically followed this recipe from Good Things Catered, which has mysteriously disappeared since I made these scones - so I've reposted the recipe below with my modifications.

Ingredients (makes ~12 scones):
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups apple, diced

1) In a small bowl, whisk together egg, applesauce, milk and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

3) Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture until you have a coarse meal with lumps no bigger than pea-size.

4) Add diced apples; toss to coat.

5) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix until the dough just comes together.

6) On a well-floured work surface, roll out dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Use biscuit cutter to cut out scones.

7) Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until slightly brown - ~25 minutes.

I used the very last of my baking powder for this recipe, and I've probably had this baking powder for over 2 years now - probably should have gotten fresh baking powder before making these scones, hehe.  I know scones are supposed to be dense, but I would have liked them to be just a *little* bit less dense - and fresh baking powder would have probably helped with them.  But the scones were still quite good - especially delicious with a nice, hot cup of Earl Grey!  When I get new baking powder, I'm going to try this recipe again :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

hudson valley wedding venue: wainwright house

The Wainwright House in Rye, NY was a venue that my mom found online.  She was particularly intrigued by their mission statement: "To offer a sacred space and community for spiritual exploration, health and healing, and planetary responsibility."

The Wainwright House is another historic home that has since found alternative uses for itself in modern times.  The house hosts art exhibitions, featured seminars, yoga classes, as well as corporate and social events.

While my original dream venue was rustic with high-beamed ceilings, it seems that historic mansions might be my other soft spot :)

Many historic mansions also have gorgeous outdoor grounds, such as this beautiful outdoor ceremony site at the Wainwright House.  Overlooking the Long Island Sound, the ceremony site is framed perfectly by two trees.

The indoor facilities at the Wainwright House only has enough room for 120 people for dinner and dancing.  There are two dining rooms across the hall from one another (pictured above), which can seat 60 people each.  And dancing would take place in the library.  (To get a better feel of their indoor space, check out the virtual tour.)

Alternatively, weddings can be hosted in the tent out back.  But due to the neighborhood ordinances, they can only have so many tent weddings per season.  So if you're planning a wedding for more than 120 people, be sure to book early!

Site fee for the house and grounds are $3500 for a Friday, $6000 for a Saturday, and $4750 for a Sunday.  If you are using the tent, there is an additional tent fee of $5500.  So it can get quite expensive.  It seems that the best deal is to host an indoor wedding with 120 people or less, and you're still allowed the use of the tent for a lounge area without having to pay the tent fee.  (The tent fee only applies if you are hosting the dinner and dancing in the tent.)

The Wainwright House deals exclusively with two caterers: Corner Stone Caterers and Watson's Catering.  I only called up Corner Stone Catering for a quote, and they quoted me $152-$165 based on an attendance of 150 people, not including tax and gratuity.  This includes all the rentals and service with a menu of 10 butlered hors d'oeuvre, possibly a station, a plated three-course meal including a duet entrĂ©e plate, the wedding cake, petite cookies and coffee.  One of the upsides is that you can provide your own alcohol at the Wainwright House with the caterer providing only the bartending services, and this can help save on cost.  But with everything, it will still end up costing around $200 per person.

I really wish I had a chance to visit the Wainwright House.  Even though the prices are steep, it just looks like such a beautiful place to get married.  But the timing for me to visit just did not work out, and maybe that's for the best - perhaps it is better not to be tempted by something you probably cannot have, hehe.

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