About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Rehearsal Dinner in the Rockies, Elk & Trout

My youngest son was married in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado last weekend.  After months of planning, endless lists, hundreds of emails, miles of travel, and fervent prayers over the weather; a triumph of love emerged.  At times, the logistics and budgets cramped me but the one thing I saw clearly from the start was the rehearsal dinner menu.  Weddings and all that goes with them have evolved into more regal affairs than when I married in 1976.  Thankfully the era of receiving lines and Fellowship Hall receptions where over. My wedding was the full enchilada of the day with a cathedral train, white tie and tails at 8 pm, open bar and sumptuous buffet at a private club. The rehearsal dinner, however,  was a prim affair with only champagne punch to toast with.  It was a time when the groomsmen made every effort to embarrass the bride and groom but due to the lack of alcohol, we where saved.  I was in such a state that night, I broke out in hives.  Not so with this bride. She was a poised luscious confection worthy of dessert.  She arranged the seating of 154 guests with  all the diplomacy of a White House or Buckingham Palace state dinner.

As tradition has it, a meal following the wedding rehearsal falls to the groom's side of the aisle.  I had to pick the site fairly blind but on good recommendation. So back in February, we made one pilgrimage to Beaver Creek, Colorado to survey the situation and have a "tasting" at the restaurant of choice - Vista.  It's a ski resort and naturally there was a lot of snow on the ground and everywhere else. I was suppose to imagine what it looked like in late August when the doors to a broad terrace off the main dining room would be open and overlook a valley golf course and a view of a mountain range and lots of flowering plant beds.  Couldn't see it at the time, just snow and a grey sky. We talked table arrangements, seating and other stuff.  It was all pretty fuzzy until we sat down to sample what the chef had to offer. Then I could begin to see it.  I guess I think and see with my stomach.

The passed hor d'oeuves had many options but we settled on 3 items that where very tasty and easy to handle for the guests, fried goat cheese and marscapone served in amuse bouche spoons, little crab cakes and bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. My son and I sipped and selected various wines. Presseco would be offered to toast the young fiancee's following entree.  Each table would be served a selection of petite sweets to nibble as the toasting commenced.

I wanted to make my statement (if that's plausible) with a "surf & turf" style entree of local fare.
Elk & ruby trout where not on the main menu but the chef was agreeable to my suggestion. I always think "when in Rome" as I travel.  The bride is a sushi aficionado (see 1/29/13 post; "Becky Goes to Sushi School") but I wanted selections that represented a more masculine presence. No puff pastry or Bearnaise sauce tonight.  Simple, elegantly prepared food complementing  the setting. Elk tenderloin is tender, no gamey taste, has more protein and less cholesterol than most red meats. The "ruby" of the trout come from the fish being fed on small crustaceans, not the bad stuff. These where relatively healthy choices.  What I enjoyed the most was the captured audience trying something new, different and delicious. The chef did a great job with a pan sear and a little time in the oven for both items. Garlic mashed potatoes and jumbo asparagus rounded out the plate.  Even if I didn't cook the meal myself, I took satisfaction in the compliments of selection.

In my opinion, it was a great success or maybe I had too much wine. No matter, the elk surprised and pleased as did the ruby trout.  The wine flowed and the toasts ranged from hilarious to teary eyed touching, The staff said they were the best toasts  they'd ever heard - and they said they had heard a lot of them. The next morning I woke in a blur failing to remember much detail for a while but still vibrating with  happiness and knew it had gone well.  My husband, greatly relieved he had delivered his speech ,was found in the sauna the next morning with an ice cap on his head and cucumbers over his eyes. He had accomplished his mission without fuel and then made up for it afterwards.

The bride and groom are honeymooning on the Amalfi coast and Paris.  Stay tuned as they report on their dining experiences. BTW, this is my 100th blog.

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