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The World in a Wedding Menu

Individual "tah-chin" for a Persian tapas style wedding
Individual “tah-chin” for a Persian tapas style wedding

It’s not uncommon for a couple to ask us to include dishes that reflect their culinary heritage. Sometimes the ideas sound painful but more often it’s just the sort of push out of our comfort zone that ends up producing a spectacular dish or even a permanent addition to the menu. Last February was our first Persian wedding and after a bit of research we rolled the dice with our version of 2 traditional dishes, Fesenjen (a braised duck or chicken dish made with a pomegranate walnut sauce) and Tah Chin (a layered casserole with a crispy saffron yogurt rice crust). In our interpretation of fesenjen we took some liberties and made it into a kebab with the duck skewered and seasoned with spices and served with the pomegranate dipping sauce over rice. For the Tah Chin we layered chicken, spinach, prunes and the yogurt rice into single-serving 4” timbales. The results were spectacular and the fesenjen is on our permanent menu as “Persian-style Duck Kebabs with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce”.

 

Bite-size Fattoush salad as amuse bouche
Bite-size Fattoush salad as amuse bouche

Often when the couple come from separate backgrounds, one culture will dominate the guest list. When that’s the case, we like to include a nod to those guests who may feel somewhat out of their element with an amuse bouche or other small touch taken from the “minority” cuisine. For example, when we produced a wedding for an Italian gal from “the old neighborhood” on Arthur Avenue, who married a Lebanese muslim from Detroit, it was the Bronx crowd that dominated. Even so, between the caprese and cannolis, we were able to start off the dinner with a mini fattoush (Lebanese salad of pita, tomato, cucumber and sumac), that went a long way to making the groom’s family feel all the more welcome.

 

But there are limits. Trying to recreate something from Grandma’s kitchen or an experience from childhood is a recipe for disaster. Instead, we prefer to interpret old favorites, using not only our own food sense but also the size of the party and the limitations of whatever venue. One such new favorite came out of a Filipino wedding last December; our Halo Halo Bar.

 

Halo Halo is a traditional Filipino dessert of condensed milk, shaved ice, custard, ice cream and a variety of add-ins like jackfruit and candied chickpeas. Unlike the authentic original we made a ginger simple syrup-infused granité mixed with ice cubes passed through a Sno-Cone machine. It was a smashing success and now a permanent and unique dessert bar option.

 

So if you have an idea, pass it along and let’s see if it works. Couples in NYC have a global palate and we’re always delighted to expand our repertoire especially if it helps make your day, all the more, your own.

Taking a break from fondant…

TOTT_MenuImages_0004s_0000_Cake5My favorite wedding cakes from 2011 are ones that I did not finish with fondant, gum paste flowers, or inedible “edible” decorations.  The big trend for our desserts in 2011 were varieties of passed desserts, in petit four or finger dessert size, along with cake bites cut from 2-tiered cakes.  The options of what you can layer a cake with – mousses, french buttercreams, curds – when not having to finish it with fondant to then sit out at room temperature for the duration of a wedding reception allows for a magnificent-tasting cake.  Because here’s the deal – the cake either looks spectacular or tastes spectacular – never truly both – for a number of reasons. That said, I think these cakes, while not looking spectacular like their fondant-covered friends, do look quite good.

We’ll make your pie…

No time to make Thanksgiving Day dessert? We’ll make it for you. Here’s our Thanksgiving dessert menu for 2011. Order by 11/17 to pick up on 11/22 or 11/23. E-mail pastry chef Eric McIntyre at eric@tipofthetonguenyc.com. $38 for each 8″ dessert. Available for pick up at our kitchen in Long Island City or a $5 delivery.

Pumpkin Pie with housemade cinnamon-ginger crust
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Bourbon Pecan Pie (without bourbon as well)
Poached Pear Almond Tart
Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Cinnamon Streusel

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Meringue me…

I never get sick of meringue. Many uses, appropriate to top many desserts, and most often, the simpler the better. Here it tops a lemon verbena curd tart.

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Poached Pears…

…and apples, from the Union Square Greenmarket…for my 6 month old son, actually…he loves the pears especially

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