Change has probably been the most used word in the food service arena during the pandemic. Many restaurants have been closed, some were open for takeout only and buffets were not possible. Home cooking was the new norm.

In 2020 many weddings were canceled or the number of guests scaled down considerably. Compliance with local and state guidelines on social distancing were detours that wedding planners and brides were saddled with. Smaller more intimate nuptial affairs became the standard.

Food served at weddings were “individual servings only.”  My own lifestyle took a complete turn around. No longer was I hosting large gatherings at my home. Gone were theme and celebration events. Instead there was cheese and crackers with drinks for two served in my driveway.

2021 has brought me hope that restrictions will lessen. My recipes for this wedding season are all designed for individual servings. They are easy and present extremely well. Make your wedding extra special, and try some of the appetizer offerings in this issue.

Congratulations to those who will be celebrating a 2021 wedding!

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Caramel Corn

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 7-10

5 Qts Yellow Popcorn, Popped. Remove uncooked kernels

1 C Butter

2 C Light Brown Sugar

1/2 C White Corn Syrup

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Baking Soda

Plastic Bags

  1. In a large saucepan or medium to large skillet melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Pour over popcorn and stir till all of the popcorn is covered.
  2. Divide popcorn mixture between two baking sheets and spread out over the entire pan.
  3. Bake at 200 degrees for one hour, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes. Cool.
  4. Store in airtight container on the counter for one week or the freezer for six months. For individual servings place desired amount in bags. Fold over top and staple a four-inch piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper to the bag. Decorate paper with lace, sayings, ribbon, silk flowers, stickers or beads.

Homemade caramel popcorn is more delicious than the boughten varieties. It is an easy option to provide single servings at an event such as a wedding when it is wrapped up individually and presented in a decorated package.

I can’t take credit for the recipe. My late Aunt Fran, who was a nun, shared the recipe to my family about 50 years ago. My dad would pop the corn and my mom would make the caramel. Somehow there were never leftovers to store! My parents would make a one gallon tin container for family members at Christmas.

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Deconstructed Sushi

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

1/2 C Cooked Rice (Instant, Regular, or Jasmine)

2 Ripe Avocados

4 oz Salmon

3 tsp Rice Vinegar

4 Stemless Wine Glasses

White or Black Sesame Seeds

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Peel avocados, remove seed and dice into large pieces.
  2. Bake, grill or fry salmon. Already cooked salmon is also available in stores if you wish to use it. The method you use to prepare your salmon will determine the cook time. Cook till fork tender.
  3. Measure out approximately 1/2 cup cooked rice and place into each glass. Next sprinkle on 1/2 of the diced avocado. Sprinkle on 1 1/2 teaspoons of Rice vinegar. Arrange 1 ounce of salmon on top of the avocados. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve with chopsticks.

Deconstructed Sushi is a single serving showstopper that any wedding or small event will appreciate. Place a sign in front of the sushi noting that the salmon is cooked.  This will make it appealing to more of your guests as many people don’t care for raw fish.

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Individual Charcuterie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

Paper Cones, purchased or homemade. 1 cone per person.

Assortment of cheeses, dried or fresh fruit, nuts, pickles and deli meats.

Purchased or homemade holder for the number of cones needed.

  1. There are many types and sizes of cones that you can purchase on-line. Make sure to check the size of the cone so it isn’t too big for individual portions. I made my cones out of scrapbook paper. I also made a liner for each cone out of parchment baking liner.
  2. My man Jim made the holder for the cones. It is a small and simple one for a dinner party. For larger events you could construct holders with larger amount of openings.
  3. Time to build your cone! Keep in mind this is an individual serving appetizer, not a meal. I suggest using 2 ounces of meat and cheese combined for each cone. Use different heights and shapes of food. Add color, texture and dimension with fruits, pickles etc.
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Pasta Chips

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 12

12 oz Bow Tie Pasta Cooked (al dente)

1 T Italian Seasoning

1 T Garlic Powder

1/4 C Finely Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese

1 C Marinara Sauce, store bought or homemade (approximately)

  1. Cook pasta al dente (firm to the bite). Drain completely and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder and cheese. Place pasta in a single layer on the bottom of the air fryer basket. Cook according to manufacturer instructions. Cook a second cycle of cooking if the pasta is still soft. It should be very crunchy.
  2. Use bottled or homemade marinara sauce to dip the chips in. Arrange sauce in small individual dishes and arrange pasta around the sauce.

Pasta Chips are extremely unique and savory. The chips could be served during happy hour or during a sit down meal whenever Italian food is being served. A fat free chip because of the “Air Fryer” yet full of flavor.

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Bread Stick Wraps

Prep Time: 5 minutes

1/4 lb Pancetta

5-7 Hard Breadsticks (per glass)

Parsley

Wine or Champagne Glasses

  1. Cut breadsticks into varying lengths.
  2. Cut pancetta into strips and wrap around the top of the breadstick allowing 1/4”- 1” of the top of the breadstick to show.
  3. Arrange breadsticks in wine or champagne glass and garnish with parsley.
  4. For additional flavor you can add a dollop of your favorite dip or dressing.

A super easy and fast way to make an elegant appetizer for small or large gatherings. Great for weddings, showers, or dinner parties.