Tag Archives: intimate weddings

Our 7 Favorite Recipes for a Thanksgiving Hanukkah Wedding

fig_brnturkey-usgov
This year, a Thanksgiving weekend wedding means a Hanukkah wedding. Both mean good food. To celebrate the occasion, we gathered our favorite Autumn/Hanukkah wedding reception recipes:

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Planning a Restaurant Wedding? A Hand-held Huppah Is a Flexible Space Saver

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY

This season at Huppahs.com we’re shipping an unprecedented number of wedding huppah rentals directly to restaurants. For couples planning small weddings, restaurants make great wedding venues. Decorating needs are minimal, and the caterer is already on site.

But space can be limited. If you’re using a huppah, you don’t want one that takes up valuable dance floor space and you don’t want to hold up the party while a crew dismantles it.

As I wrote recently on Twitter, for a small venue like a restaurant a hand-held huppah makes the perfect solution. It can be moved in and out of the ceremony space quickly and easily. Having people hold the huppah poles enhances the sense of intimacy of a small wedding. And for especially intimate spaces, Huppahs.com offers the option of short, 7-foot poles, which are a great alternative to generally taller, stand-alone huppahs.

Visit Huppahs.com’s website to check huppah availability for your wedding date.

Hat tip to Joe and Alanna for sharing the photo of their wedding reception at the East River Bar in Brooklyn, New York.

(Photo: Jacob Arthur)

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Shabby Chic/Bohemian Wedding Dress Pattern

Source: Colette Patterns (colettepatterns.com)

Source: Colette Patterns (colettepatterns.com)

Picture this dress in eyelet lace for a casual but chic backyard wedding. Shabby chic or bohemian feel, especially. The design is called Laurel, and the sewing pattern is the newest release from Sarai Mitnick at Colette Patterns.

And great news: The sewing level is “Beginner.” You can order a paper version of the pattern or download it.

(Photo: Colette Patterns. Thanks for sharing Sarai and Kenn!)

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Awesome Wedding Dessert Pairings, Continued

Small weddings don’t need big dessert buffets, we pointed out in an earlier post of 10 great wedding cake dessert pairings. One carefully chosen food to accompany the wedding cake makes the dessert course special. Here are four more awesome wedding dessert duos:

  1. Milk Chocolate Cake & Mint Julep Ice Cream
  2. Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust & Poached Pear Half
  3. Honey-Soaked Semolina Cake & Stuffed Dates (Parve)
  4. Lemon Pound Cake & Lemon Almond Tuiles
  5. Mocha Cake & Gourmet Chocolates

flourless chocolate cake
If they’re special enough to make your small wedding guest list, they deserve an awesome dessert

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The Lace We Had to Have for Our Battenburg Wedding Huppah

Battenburg Lace Huppah at Huppahs.com
Rent Battenburg Lace Huppah at Huppahs.com

When we saw this beautiful lace, we knew we it was the perfect finish for our Battenburg Lace Huppah. It’s substantial and sophisticated, with beading and just a light touch of iridescent sequins – so light that it’s hard to see in the photo. To preserve the quality of the lace, we sewed it to the canopy’s valances by hand.

Get more details here. Check rental availability for your wedding date here.

Photo Huppahs.com | Photography Jason Weil, Maryland | Location Woodend Nature Sanctuary, Audubon Naturalist Society, Maryland

Jewish wedding New York park ivory silk chuppahAnd see more huppahs:

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Wedding Reception in a Biker Bar?

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY
Did you see the recent episode of Worst Cooks in America where the contestants had to feed a pack of hungry bikers? Show hosts Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell brought their cooking-challenged challengers to Brooklyn to duke it out at the East River Bar.

The contestants served up some grilled figs and chicken wings, and the production crew served up some biker-worthy wall flair in the form of hubcaps and skulls. But last year, my littlest brother and his bride held their wedding reception at that bar, and I can tell you the place cleans up real nice.

See for yourself, with wedding and reception photos by Jacob Arthur.

(BTW, is it really fair to make people who didn’t know anything about cooking a few weeks earlier come up with their own original chicken wing recipe in 90 minutes?)

And here are pics from another real-life wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park

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Recipe: Chili Chocolate Cupcakes to Spice up Your Dessert Buffet

Chocolate chili cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes with chili chocolate frosting.

Guest blogger: Agnes Goldrich, Age 14.

As the resident baker in the Bywater family, I recommend these chili chocolate cupcakes for a wedding cupcake buffet (or a great dessert for your Mom’s birthday). Also, I’m told they go well with champagne.

(What was the best cupcake flavor you ever had? Share it in the comment section!)

For the chili chocolate cupcakes, start with Devil’s food chocolate cupcakes from a mix, then add this chili chocolate icing:

Chili Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Baking tip: When baking the cupcakes, fill the cupcake pan liners a little more than 2/3 full. You’ll only get 20 cupcakes instead of 24, but the cupcakes will be a nicer size.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, chili powder, vanilla, and cayenne pepper. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Add bittersweet chocolate and beat until blended.

parve dessert hors d'ouevresALSO VISIT:

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Wedding Huppah Rentals “as Easy as Zappos.com”

Lace wedding huppah

Lace Wedding Huppah

We love all the positive reviews we get for Huppahs.com, and one of my favorites said we “make it as easy as Zappos.com to receive and return your chuppah.” Zappos is a company that we thought of as we designed our services. We try to make it as easy to rent and return a wedding huppah as it is to buy and return shoes for Zappos.

Here’s how we do it:

  • We ship the huppah by FedEx to arrive by the Wednesday before the wedding so you can be confident you’ll have it when you need it.
  • We provide simple instructions for attaching the huppah canopy to the poles. It takes about three minutes.
  • When it’s time to return the huppah, use the box the huppah arrives in and the pre-paid FedEx return shipping label we send. You can drop it off at a FedEx location or call for FedEx to pick it up, which ever is easier for you.

For more info: Huppahs.com | Check huppah availability for your wedding date

Is there a way we could make huppah rentals even more convenient for you? Send us an email.

RELATED:
Real Jewish Wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park
Real Life Jewish Wedding: Under an Organza Huppah at Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Boat House
Free printable templates: Do a favor for your guests and a good cause: Give a charitable donation instead of wedding favors

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HE’BREW: Great Kosher Beer for Your Jewish Wedding

wedding bar kosher beerOne big plus of moving Huppahs.com to New York has been finding out about HE’BREW beer, a line of great-tasting kosher craft beers. If you want to offer your wedding guests something different at the bar and give the beer lovers in the crowd something they’ll appreciate, serve up some Origin Pomegranate Ale, Hop Manna, Messiah Brown Nut Ale, or one of the line’s other amusingly-named but seriously good brews.

I don’t have the beer vocabulary to even bluff at describing the tastes, but one reviewer who presumably does have that vocabulary was reduced to the word “WOW.” In the 2011/2012 World Beer Championships, where HE’BREW’s maker, Shmaltz Brewing, entered fourteen beers, nine of their beers won gold medals and five won silver. It’s good beer.

HE’BREW beers are brewed in upstate New York, but you can find them in more than thirty states (as well as extremely selected locations in Canada, Australia, and Japan). A newer line of Coney Island Craft Lagers is available through a more limited number of outlets. Shmaltz Brewing’s website provides helpful lists of wholesalers, shops and bars that carry its products.

roundstone-rye-whisky catoctin creekRelated: Special Wedding Details: Catoctin Cocktail with Kosher, Organic, Rye Whisky

Generally, an unflavored beer made with only water, barley, yeast, and hops, without any additives, will be kosher even without certification (for this information, I go to Orthodox-Jews.com). But when you want to get at all adventurous with taste and still keep kosher, you have to look for certification. HE’BREW beers are certified by the Orthodox-grade Kosher Supervision of America.

I raise my glass to the folks at Shmaltz Brewing Company for advancing the art of beer for the rest of us to enjoy and impress our guests.

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NYRELATED: Real Life Wedding: Alanna + Joe’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Wedding

Persian Pomegranate Sangria (Kosher Drink Recipe)

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Recipe: Blueberry Sauce (Parve, Vegetarian, Non-Dairy)

This gorgeous, sweet sauce can be made with fresh blueberries in the summer and frozen berries year round.

wedding dessert recipeWe post this sauce to accompany our baked pears for an autumn or winter celebration, but can’t you imagine it with something lemony? Let us know how you use it.

The recipe comes from one of my go-to cookbooks, Marlene Sorosky’s Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays. Not all of the recipes in the book are kosher, but sticking to the kosher recipes, I’ve found them to be not only delicious, but fast and foolproof.

Ingredients for Blueberry Sauce

Maked 5 cups of sauce

  • 1 quart (4 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup water

Instructions for Blueberry Sauce

In a medium saucepan, stir all ingredients together. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly and sugar is dissolved. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Make-Ahead Option

Sauce can be refrigerated, covered, up to 2 weeks.

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Recipe: Baked Pears for an Autumn or Early Winter Wedding (Parve or Dairy, Vegetarian)

wedding dessert recipeThese pears work for both elegant and rustic menus. Add homemade berry sauce and serve them as an accompaniment to a slice of light wedding cake or as a side dish for a wedding brunch.

Today my daughters and I packed a brunch and brought it to my parents’ house to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The planned menu included poached pears, but last night, when I should have started the poaching, I hung out with a bunch of brothers and sisters and in-laws instead, talking about, among other things, Bill’s latest ice sculptures. So this morning, my daughters and I prepared the pears by baking them. The prep for baked pears is less fussy and less time-consuming than than for poaching, which makes them an appealing dish not just for easy-going family weekends, but for small self-catered weddings, too.

Serve these baked pear halves with a slice of light wedding cake and homemade berry sauce for a complete wedding dessert, or include them as a side dish for an autumn or early winter wedding brunch. We’ll make the berry sauce recipe our next post.

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

BTW, here’s a pic of the Hanukkiah ice sculpture Bill carved today during a demonstration at Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Manhattan.

Ingredients for Baked Pears

Serves 24

  • 12 Bosc or Anjou pears
  • Cooking oil spray
  • ½ cup butter, melted (or for a pareve version to serve with a meat meal, use non-dairy margarine)
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions for Baked Pears

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  2. Lightly spray the bottom of two 9″x13″ baking pans with cooking oil.
  3. Cut pears in half, cut out the core, and peel the pears.
  4. How to bake pears

    Make 4 slices in each pear half, stopping about a quarter inch from the narrow end of the pear.

    Optional: Make four slices in each pear half, stopping about ¼” from the small end. This will enable you to fan out the slices on the plate when you serve it. Or leave the halves unsliced for a more rustic presentation.
  5. Place the pears flat side down in the baking pans.
  6. Mix the melted butter, honey and spices. Drizzle the mixture over the pears.
  7. Cover the pans and bake for 40 minutes or until the pears are tender.

The pears can be stored overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Croquembouche and Dragees, Traditional French Wedding Details – And Endangered Species?

Yesterday the BBC reported that French couples increasingly are abandoning traditional French wedding customs and adopting American and British-style wedding details. I find this alarming.

As a champion of small weddings, I like to know there are pockets of the world holding out against the big, bridezilla-inducing wedding machine. Traditional French weddings are intimate and elegant. Until recently, French couples typically have forgone bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the budget-straining trimmings that have become customary for American and British celebrations. That the French in particular, who generally are known for taking pride in their national culture, would now abandon their long-standing allegiance to elegant simplicity seems a fair reason for concern.

The BBC credits last year’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton for making the first significant cracks in the cultural defenses of France’s brides. When those blushing mariées saw Kate’s wedding dress of English lace, they deserted their silk dresses. Since then, French couples have been waving wildly in welcome as save-the-date cards, personalized wedding favors, and tiered cakes veritably march in victory along the Champs-Élysées.

Surely, this development is a net positive for France’s wedding vendors and the British vendors who are marching on Paris to take advantage of the trend. But couples around the world who want a small, elegant wedding are losing a style ally.

This was going to be the paragraph where I compared the traditional French wedding to an endangered species and made the case for the importance of preserving biodiversity in our wedding planning ecosystem. But at this point, I think we all want to move on to the pretty pictures.

So, like scientists who gather and protect species in danger of extinction, let us preserve here the details of a traditional French wedding, so they can be enjoyed by future generations — even if not in their native habitat.

Traditional French Wedding Details:

Silk Wedding Dress, Alexandra King Bristol, England, United KingdomWedding Dress: Silk.
(Source: Alexandra King on Etsy, Bristol, England, United Kingdom.)
Le Vin d’Honneur: A mini reception directly following the ceremony. Many of the ceremony guests, such as work colleagues and friends of the couples’ parents, attend this vin d’honneur but not the main reception. The expected beverage: Kir Royale.
Drinks: Champagne, coffee. Croquembouche French Wedding CakeDessert: Croquembouche
(Source: Fancy That Wedding Cake. Oxfordshire, England, UK)
Flowers: Roses Sugared Almonds Wedding FavorsFavors: Dragées (sugared almonds).
(Source: Milena Bertarelli, MilenaSupplies on Etsy)

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen/Save-the-Date-Cards: No/No/No.

Related: Our 100 Favorite Backyard Wedding Themes

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Wedding Music Budget Advice: A Little Live Music Makes a Big Impact

Are you weighing the pros and cons of live music versus a DJ for your wedding? Are you considering a custom iPod music mix for the cocktail hour or dance party, like I wrote about in my previous post? Recorded music can really stretch your music budget, but few details elevate the atmosphere of an event more than live music, so if you don’t have live music for the dinner reception and dancing, try to find room in the budget to add an element of live music during the ceremony, and the cocktail hour, too, if you can swing it.

If you’re planning a Jewish wedding with a bride’s reception or you’re planning to sign the ketubah in front of all your guests, consider having live music during those events also. For my own wedding, we hired musicians to play klezmer music while escorting the groom from the ketubah signing to the bride’s reception for the veiling. It was a lot of fun and really ramped up the party’s energy as we prepared for the ceremony under the huppah.

You could go with a small trio or quartet, but even a single instrument playing during your procession can heighten the emotional intensity of the moment, taking your breath away and tugging at your guests’ tears.

Find musicians on wedding planning websites, the music departments of a local college, or through friends’ recommendations.

The musical world offers so many instruments, you are sure to find one that matches and enhances the feel of your wedding. Here are some options:

  • Cello
  • Harp
  • Flute
  • Guitar
  • Piano

Am I missing your favorite?

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Super Small Wedding Music Budget? Consider the iPod Option

Washington DC wedding DJDo you have a nano-size wedding music budget? Consider using your iPod to crank out the tunes. I recently talked to Patrick, owner of the Washington, DC-area Ipod Mix, which creates custom music mixes for weddings and other events. Patrick has been an event DJ for twenty years, and he now also offers iPod mixes through his internet-based service. The cost savings over live music or a DJ are amazing: as little as $100 gets you music for your cocktail reception and dinner/dance reception.

“For music and songs, we leave it completely up to the client to tell us what their style and tastes are, then we customize their mix to fit this,” Patrick says. “We try to make each mix as different as possible so it has a unique feel for their wedding day.”

But he brings his DJ experience to the custom mixes, adding what Patrick calls “dance floor packers”. “You want people to enjoy themselves and have fun, and these types of songs help people loosen up.” Still, it’s all based on the clients’ tastes. Ipod Mix has done mixes with all country music, rock oriented mixes, and mixes with a more vintage feel.

For amplification, you can connect your iPod or other MP3 player to your venue’s in-house amplification system, which sometimes requires a rental fee, or equipment rented from an entertainment company. Fees vary, but you can expect sound equipment rental to run in the neighborhood of $200. If you are renting your tables, chairs, or a tent, Patrick recommends asking the same vendor about including sound equipment in a package deal.

For couples considering the iPod option, Patrick recommends two points to consider. First, there’s no getting around the fact that the atmosphere will not be the same as at as when you have a live DJ. I would recommend thinking about the crowd you’re inviting and the space you’ll be in and considering whether they’ll help make up the energy that a DJ would otherwise bring to the cocktail hour or dance floor.

Second, and what Patrick says is “the absolute biggest thing to keep in mind”, is that not everyone at your wedding will share your musical tastes. Speaking from his twenty years of DJ experience, Patrick says, “If you limit too much the type of mix we create for you, most likely you will find people are not going to have a good time. The best, most successful and entertaining weddings are ones where all the musical styles are included, so everyone will be dancing and enjoying themselves all night long.”

Ipod Mix’s website and Facebook page.

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20% Off Huppah Rentals at Huppahs.com When You Reserve in November

Jewish wedding chuppah

Photo location: Woodend Nature Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, Maryland

During November only, receive a 20% discount on all huppah rentals at Huppahs.com. Just reserve your huppah by November 30. Take advantage of the lull before the engagement season storm to lock in your huppah and enjoy this limited time discount.

With 20% off, you can rent a huppah for as low as $195 plus shipping or delivery.

Rentals are available nationwide. Choose from a variety of styles.

Check availability today at http://www.huppahs.com/rent-huppah-availability/.

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Photos From My Parents’ Now Vintage Wedding

When my parents got married, they didn’t know that 55 years later their wedding style could be referred to as “vintage”. But check out the details in these photos; they make great inspiration for today’s 1950’s vintage-inclined bride. That’s my mom in the wedding dress, and Dad is the handsome fellow standing over her left shoulder. I put a framed copy of this photograph on a table at the entrance to my own wedding.

1950s vintage wedding

My mom wears a dress influenced by Grace Kelly’s gown, with a nipped in waistline and bodice with a lace overlay, details that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge adopted more recently when she married Prince William. I’ve always loved the tea length skirt. Mom carries a bouquet of daisies. Forty years later, these daisies inspired the theme of a surprise anniversary party my brothers and sisters and I threw for my parents.

The maid of honor, my mom’s sister and my Aunt Mary, wears the same silhouette as the bride, but fashioned from silk satin in the perfect shade of blue. The skirt has an overlay of what looks like fine tulle. Check out Aunt Mary’s pillbox hat with tulle veil–caught here by a light breeze–and the dyed-to-match satin pumps.

The moms of the bride and groom are perfectly coordinated to the rest of the party but show their personal style. I’m loving their hats, gloves, and corsages. That’s Grandma Gethard on the far right and Grammy Bywater on the left. (By the way, that’s not Grandpa Bywater standing next to her. When everyone got to the park to take pictures, they realized that Grandpa Wally had been left behind at the ceremony. No one remembers whose fault that was; at least it doesn’t seem to bother anyone any more. It’s not even clear that anyone got particularly worked up about it at the time. Standing in for Grandpa Wally on the far right is Cousin Raymond.)

1950s vintage wedding style photo

I don’t know most of the women in this photo, but I wish I did. They look strong, even formidable, and they seem to get along well. They know how to wear hats. And gloves. And pearls. I’ve often studied this photo trying to work out the shapes of the hats on the gaggle of women in the background. You can’t see them totally, but we’re clearly talking textured tulles and pastels. Two of the women are my Grandpa Wally’s sisters: Nelli Forcino on the right, and Aunt Minnie, in the purple print dress on the right, who I knew from many childhood trips to Groton, Massachusetts. I don’t know the young woman in the foreground, but I’m sure that in the movie version of my parents’ wedding she would be played by Winona Ryder. Well, a young Winona Ryder. Time does fly.

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5 Tips for Creating an Inviting Wedding Pie Dessert Buffet

rustic mountain wedding pie buffet

Photographer: Jessica Watson | Source: Ruffled®

Are you considering a pie dessert buffet for your wedding? Follow these tips to create a mouthwatering display:

  1. Choose rustic/country or pretty/elegant: Does the feel of your wedding lend itself more to a rustic/country feel or a pretty/elegant feel? If it’s the former, choose traditional fruit pies. If it’s the latter, think custards, meringues and fruit tarts.
  2. Vary the pie toppings: For visual interest and to whet your guests’ appetites, choose pies with a variety of tops: crumble, lattice crust, full crust top cut with slits.
  3. Display the pies at various heights: Instead of putting all the pies directly on the table, raise some up on raised cake/pie plates or props such as upturned baskets or stacks of old books.
  4. Add tall decorative elements: Especially if your buffet doesn’t include a tall wedding cake, add tall decorative elements such as flowers in vases, flowering branches, or sheaves of wheat.
  5. Add generous displays of fresh produce: Display fresh produce of the kind used in the pies. The fruits can be stacked on plate tiers or heaped in pretty bowls or baskets. The produce will add color and freshness.


Looking for pie recipes?
Take a look at our recipes (they’re all parve, so they can fit into a kosher meat or dairy meal):

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Persian Pomegranate Sangria (Kosher Drink Recipe)

pomegranate sangria recipe kosherIf your guests aren’t in the mood to celebrate before they have a sip of this fruity pomegranate sangria, they will be after. As presented, the recipe makes up to 15 servings, but you can easily prepare a few batches to satisfy the guests at an intimate backyard or apartment balcony wedding.

Huppahs.com thanks Marlene, the founder and creative force behind The Jewish Hostess (thejewishhostess.com) for allowing us to share this recipe with you here. The recipe was originally submitted to The Jewish Hostess by Joy Betesh, so a big thanks to Joy, too!

Have you ever seeded a pomegranate? If you have, you know it can be a tricky, messy business. The Jewish Hostess provides tips and a video at How to Seed a Pomegranate for Rosh Hashanah: Two Techniques.

Ingredients for Persian Pomegranate Sangria

Yield: 13 to 15 eight-ounce cups of sangria

pomegranateFor Syrup:

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half

For Sangria:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 bottles red wine, chilled in refrigerator
  • 8 cups pomegranate juice, chilled in refrigerator
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeded (How to Seed a Pomegranate for Rosh Hashanah: Two Techniques)
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds, then cut in half into semi-circles
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds, then cut in half into semi-circles

For serving:

  • Ice
  • Fresh mint leaves

Instructions for Persian Pomegranate Sangria

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise and split vanilla pod.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a low heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes to dissolve sugar and create a thin syrup.
  3. Turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes to cool to room temperature and to allow the ingredients to marinate.
  4. Strain over fine mesh strainer into a large punch bowl or pitcher.
  5. Pour in chilled wine, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. Mix well.
  6. Add pomegranate seeds, orange, and lemon slices and mix again.
  7. Serve in glasses with a sprig of fresh mint and 1 or 2 cubes of ice in each.

Make-Ahead Options

You can prepare the sangria through step 4 the day before serving, even letting the mix marinate more than 20 minutes before straining it. Keep the strained punch in the refrigerator overnight. Add the remaining ingredients as the time for serving approaches.

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Recipe: Parve Pie Crust (Non-Dairy)

With all the fruit pie recipes we’ve posted during the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a few requests for a parve pie crust recipe. Here it is. The dough uses vegetable oil instead of butter, and soy milk instead of milk. As a result of using oil, the dough mixes up more wet than a butter or lard based dough. The finished product also won’t be quite as flaky as a butter-based dough, but it holds up well, and the crust won’t preclude you from eating your pie at the end of a meal that includes meat. (And if you haven’t seen the pie recipes, here they are: Peach Lattice Pie, Ginger Pear Pie, Perfect Plum Pie, Fresh Raspberry Pie.)

Ingredients for Parve Pie Crust

Makes one 9-inch double pie crust

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (Optional. Recommended for sweet fillings, not recommended for savory fillings.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions for Parve Pie Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the oil and soy milk. Add sugar, and mix to dissolve.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the oil mixture without stirring. Mix with a spatula.
  4. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
  5. Place half of the dough between two pieces of waxed paper. (Put a small amount of water between the work surface and the wax paper to help keep the dough from sliding as you roll.)
  6. Roll the dough into a round about 1/8-inch thick. Gently remove the top waxed paper, and carefully flip the dough into the pan. Peel off the remaining wax paper.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees until brown.
  8. Use the remaining dough for the top of the pie, or use it to line a second pie tin.

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Recipe: Fresh Raspberry Pie

Meg Bywater Agnes Goldrich Clara Goldrich picking raspberries
Another late summer fruit pie inspired by our fruit picking trip and the popularity of pie dessert buffets for weddings: Raspberry Pie. This recipe comes from canida at Instructables.com.

Ingredients for Fresh Raspberry Pie

  • 5-6 cups fresh berries
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought) [parve pie crust recipe]
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (for tart berries, use the larger amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash allspice (optional)

Instructions for Raspberry Pie

Visit Instructables.com for canida’s photos of the steps.

  1. Sort and gently wash berries. Set them aside to dry on a towel or in a colander.
  2. Meanwhile, make or buy your pie crust, then bake it. Use the package directions for baking a store-bought pie crust, or just bake at 350 until lightly golden-brown, 10-15 minutes depending on the recipe you’ve chosen. Homemade pie crusts may require weights to toast evenly without slipping down the sides (line with foil and add dry beans for weight if you don’t have pie-specific tools), but this isn’t absolutely necessary if aesthetics aren’t your thing.
  3. When pie crust is cool, fill with raspberries (reserve 1/4 cup berries for the glaze). Spread evenly, and mound them a bit in the center as shown below.
  4. Place in a small pot the reserved 1/4 cup raspberries, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  5. Cook and stir with a wire whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have turned to mush. When sauce begins to thicken, add lemon juice and allspice (if using). Stir until glaze becomes thick, and remove from heat.
  6. Pour the glaze over your berries, spreading gently to cover the entire top surface. Allow the pie to set up for at least 30 minutes in a cool room or in the refrigerator.
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Make-Ahead Options

Raspberry pie can be stored covered in the refrigerator for two days.

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Hors d’Oeurve Recipe: Clinton Kelly’s Tapenade Three Ways

The last errand my daughters and I ran on Friday while preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in DC was the library, where we stocked up on books in anticipation of the possible loss of electricity and a three-day reading holiday. As things worked out, we didn’t get much more than the equivalent of a strong summer rain storm, although folks to the east and west of us dealt with some nasty stuff.

Our reading holiday was cut short, but we did make it through a lot of books. Aside from all the curl-up-in-a-chair-and-read-alone books, there was one book, which one of my daughters had picked up, that we read together: Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else, by Clinton Kelly. For those of you who don’t fritter away a lot of hours watching The Learning Channel, Clinton Kelly is the male counterpart to Stacy London on TLC’s What Not to Wear.

My favorite section of the book was “Entertain”. I haven’t found so many simple, tasty, impressive looking hors d’oeuvre recipes together in one book in a long time. I’m going to share with you Clinton’s three recipes for tapenade: black olive, green olive, and sun-dried tomato. Because tapenade is parve, it makes a great opening bite in a meat-inclusive meal. Clinton recommends serving all three alongside each other on a slice of crostini, but you can use just one.

Clinton calls this collection “Tapenade Threeway”, but I’m calling it Tapenade Three Ways. Still fabulous. You can make them a couple of days ahead, which, for a home catered event, makes them freakin’ fabulous.

Ingredients for Black Olive Tapenade

½ pound good-quality black olives, pitted and drained
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic, peeled
4 Tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Green Olive Tapenade

½ pound good-quality green olives, pitted and drained
2 Tablespoons papers, drained
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 Tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ teaspoon salt
6 leaves basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions for Making the Tapenades

Follow these instructions for all three tapenades:

Put all of the ingredients, except olive oil, into a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine, then add the oil tablespoon by tablespoon until a slightly chunk consistency is achieved.

Make Ahead Options

The tapenades can be made a couple of days in advance. Store covered in the fridge.

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