Producing centerpieces

Oops!  Did I promise no more wedding posts?  My bad.

I realized after I posted the last one that I had forgotten about the centerpieces.

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They were a personal project – and nearly cost me my sanity – the week leading up to the wedding.

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This is the trunk of my mom’s van after 5 trips to 3 different grocery stores…with over 60 pieces of produce.   

Are you thoroughly confused yet?  How about another piece to the puzzle…

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If you’re asking yourself “are those red bell peppers in there?” you’d be right.  

Because I lost a significant amount of sleep over how these centerpieces would turn out, I feel obligated to do a post about them. 

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My goal was to make the centerpieces pretty and personal at the same time.  So how does a hungry hungry hippie do wedding centerpieces?  With produce of course! 

*Side note: our florist was NOT keen on this idea at first and it took a LOT of convincing, but in the end I’m so glad I pushed for it because it was so unique and special. 

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With over 20 tables to decorate, I definitely had my work cut out for me.  On top of that, I had to take into account the season and bouquet-ability of the produce.

We missed the pomegranate shipment by two days, but fortunately figs were a nice Plan B Plan F. 

And then there was the matter of explaining to guests how to find their table…

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Kyle is a PowerPoint whiz, so making this map for the guests took him 3 days (instead of the 3 weeks it would have taken me).  It was still a bit of a nightmare finding all that clip art, though, and I ended up just drawing a few myself.  The headache was worth it…

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Pretty cool, huh!?  I thought so :) 

They even made for some tasty fancy decorations the next day at my parents house. 

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Brunch time!  After Kyle and I checked out of the honeymoon suite at The Lafayette Park Hotel, we joined the rest of my fam for coffee and chit chat. 

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Mix-master-pops whipped up some bloody marys and mimosas.  I personally detest bloody marys, but mimosas are the only way I’ll drink OJ (and the best excuse to sip on champagne before noon). 

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A few other family members came by before heading home, so we all enjoyed a nice brunch together, starting with bagels & lox.  I don’t even know what lox actually are, but I did have a dark rye bagel with hummus.

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I also had some orzo spinach salad (recipe posted here). 

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No, this fruit was not from the centerpieces. 

Melons and berries were vetoed due to their size…like Goldilocks’ requests, the fruit for the centerpieces couldn’t be too big or too small.  It needed to be just right.  They also needed to be hideously unripe (aka hard as a rock) to prevent them from juicing all over the place.  As you can see there were several things to be taken into consideration…

But back to brunch. 

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This is a recipe worth sharing.  It’s vegetarian, not vegan, because it contains egg and dairy. 

Asparagus and Mushroom Strata

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1 lb.) loaf sourdough bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, white portion only, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 12-15 mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups milk (I used Lactaid)
  • herbed goat cheese*

Directions:

Cut asparagus into 1” pieces and cook in pot of boiling water until just cooked.  Immediately immerse in ice water to cool, keeping them bright green.  [Can be done ahead and refrigerated]

Sauté mushrooms and set aside.  [Can be done ahead and refrigerated]

In a 13”x9” baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer half of the bread cubes and half of the asparagus, mushrooms, leeks and goat cheese.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Repeat layers once.

Whisk the eggs and lactose-free milk together in a bowl and gently pour over bread mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove strata from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until center is set and top is slightly browned.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

* If you are lactose intolerant, you may still be able to handle goat’s cheese.  Unlike the dairy products of cows, the lactose in goat’s cheese is greatly reduced during the fermentation process.  Also, the fat molecules in goat’s milk are much smaller than cow’s milk and lend to greater digestibility.  However, lactose intolerance shouldn’t be confused for a milk allergy, which deals with the proteins found in all kinds of milk.

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Yum!  I had seconds and thirds it was SO good! 

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19 thoughts on “Producing centerpieces

  1. Jenn (eating bender)

    Wow! I’m blown away by those centerpieces! Way to go, Elise – I can only imagine how much work it was (DIY is such a blessing and a curse), but how happy you were with the final product. :)

    And that strata looks phenomenal!

    Reply
  2. hippierunner

    Amazing centerpieces and seating chart! Seriously, incredible! :D The strata dish looks way too good- lol, can’t believe it uses 10 eggs! But I am going to have to make it once I buy a casserole dish..

    Reply
  3. Adam

    You are the most innovative person i know (or kind of know)! hah. That centerpiece/seating chart is SO cool. Definitely taking this idea into consideration at my wedding, no matter what my wife thinks. ;)

    Reply
  4. julie

    stop this now. you are amazing. i don’t even know how to say the right words. FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CENTERPIECES! like who are you david tuterra?!

    Reply
  5. Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad

    I love the centerpieces! We made ours too. My mom and one of my bridesmaids went with my at 6am the day before the wedding and we picked about 700 flowers at the local organic farm, and then we spent that day doing our bouquets and the centerpieces. It was really fun :)

    Reply
  6. Pingback: You know you’re a food blogger when… « hungry hungry hippie

  7. Pingback: Seven minute strata

  8. Pingback: Fruitfully Yours | Hangry Pants

  9. Pingback: Super simple strata for the weekend

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