January – it’s cold outside, but things are heating up in the Maison Cuisine kitchen! We have had a fun filled month trying out new recipes in our test kitchen, and making our menu even better! Looking to build upon our corporate catering business we have been planning visits to drop off our homemade organic granola that is delicious by itself or on some yogurt.
We have had a lot of tastings with future brides and grooms this month too. We are not only looking forward to the weather warming up, but the beginning of wedding season!
What is better than passed champagne and desserts? Nothing! To kick of the holiday season, the Hinsdale Clothiers, who offers a wide range of men’s apparel, accessories, and attentive service, hosted an event for their customer appreciation day. (www.hinsdaleclothiers.com) We had an assortment of bite sized treats, such as the caramel apple cakes, lemon bars, turtle brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, mascarpone stuffed strawberries, and a cappuccino panna cotta served in a martini glass. Everything was delicious and the guests loved all of the sweet treats as they shopped!
With the Holidays right around the corner we catered a Christmas party at a beautiful home in Lake Forest, for the 5th year in a row. We served delectable platters of maki, cheese and fruit board, a variety of sandwiches, and a delicious organic greens salad, as well as passing appetizers consisting of sesame ginger beef skewers, cheese ravioli, and spinach-stuffed mushrooms.
With the snowflakes falling we set up a gorgeous wedding in the south loop at the Prairie Avenue Gallery. This intimate affair was all vegetarian and with an array of delightful passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a delicious plated dinner, with a spring mix salad and an entrée consisting of butternut squash ravioli in a sage cream sauce, maple glazed carrots and green beans. Dinner was followed by karaoke, dancing, and wedding cake! What a truly special evening!
With Christmas right around the corner, the Ferguson Showroom in Lombard had a holiday luncheon for the employees and customers. They served an array of sandwiches, salad, pigs in a blanket, prosciutto wrapped mozzarella, a fresh Greek salad, fruit skewers, a fruit and cheese board, along with an assortment of delicious desserts and chocolate covered strawberries! What a great lunch to discuss business over!
Here at Maison Cuisine we hope you had a wonderful and safe Holiday Season!
I have truly enjoyed hosting Thanksgiving for my growing family for the last few years, and apply the same principles to preparing for this as I do when I cater an event. I thought I’d share a few tips & photos!
Holiday entertaining tips:
1. Almost anything can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until the event. Make your cranberry sauce the day before, chop the ingredients for your salad and make your vinaigrette.
2. Work backwards from the time you’d like to serve dinner, especially when roasting a turkey! Always leave an extra 30-40 minutes for the turkey to rest, and to open up the oven space to pop in those side dishes that you made earlier in the day.
3. Set your table a day or two in advance. Getting to use your wedding china is so exciting, you should enjoy it as long as possible!
4. Set out your serving pieces and make little post-it notes to know which food is going on which serving platter. You made fun of your mom when she did it, and now you find yourself doing it too! Place the right utensils next to it as well, so you are not scrambling around for serving spoons when your guests are arriving.
5. Ask guests what they plan on bringing, so you have a platter ready to display it on.
6. Get your coffee “ready” earlier in the day. Fill the pot with water and measure the coffee grounds, so all you have to do is flip the switch when grandma needs that cup of coffee with her pie ASAP.
7. Have an empty dishwasher. When guests offer to help clear the table, let them!
8. Enjoy yourself! Don’t stress about anything. If dinner is a few minutes late, or something didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, it’s not the end of the world!
9. Use a rental company so there is minimal clean up after the event. We rented these beautiful linens & napkins from Classic Party Rental.
10. Call Maison Cuisine if you’d rather not deal with anything!
The month kicked off with the Shannon and Joe’s 250 guest wedding! It was at one of the coolest venues in the city, Salvage One http://www.salvageone.com/events.php . Their cocktail hour consisted of passed hors d’oeuvres such as spinach, goat cheese and portabella mushroom quesadillas, pigs in a blanket, and prosciutto wrapped asparagus with a drizzle of gorgonzola sauce. The cocktail hour kicked off with kegs of specialty beer made by one of their friends!
When the guests made their way up stairs to the reception area, the tables were pre-set with a delicious, fresh Caesar salad on antique china from Vintage Plate Rental, which is a company that Shannon started. http://vintageplaterental.com/index.html After the speeches and kind words, we opened up our buffet stations. As the guests made their way to our buffets, their choices were delicious individual homemade chicken pot-pies, with locally grown veggies. A succulent beef tenderloin carving station served alongside marbled sweet and Yukon gold mashed potatoes. Last on the buffet was a choice between butternut squash ravioli, topped with a sage cream sauce and wild mushroom ravioli with a marinara and an assortment of breads from Red Hen Bakery and Danielle’s homemade pumpkin butter!
After cutting their cake and the heart tugging first dances, the dessert buffet station opened up with a variety of cupcakes and pie pops from cheap tart bakery. The pie pops were adorable! http://fresh.cheaptart.com/home/index/index/ Shannon and Joe are a fun and adorable couple who really know how to throw a great wedding!
One of Maison Cuisine’s largest annual events is for The Riverwoods Christian Center/Fox Valley Christian Action http://www.fvchristianaction.org/ in St. Charles. With auction tables full of wonderful gift baskets and treats, the women walked around deciding what they were going to bid on during the auction while enjoying brunch buffet stations set up around the beautifully decorated room.
We offered an omelet station, with platters of smoked salmon with all the accoutrements and crackers. We had another station with a variety of petite sandwiches and cheese & fruit displays. And the third station had a bountiful assortment of local & exotic fresh fruit.
After the ladies ate and decided on their item to bid on, they sat down to enjoy a delicious display with an assortment of pumpkin pie tarts, fruit tarts, chocolate mousse tarts, chocolate dipped strawberries and cherries! It was a really nice afternoon!
11-11-11-the luckiest day!
On November 11th Natalie and Dino had a gorgeous intimate group to celebrate their wedding at the Prairie Avenue Gallery, http://www.prairieavenuegallery.com/ a gorgeous historical mansion in Chicago’s South Loop. We passed hors d’oeuvres that consisted of grapes rolled in goat cheese, brie and brown sugar tarts, and cinnamon-curry chicken skewers.
As cocktail hour came to an end, we opened up the buffet station that had a fun pasta action station. Guests had their choice of gnocchi, cavatappi, or cheese tortellini to mix with locally grown veggies and a choice of three homemade sauces. In addition to the pasta we served a delicious salad with organic greens, a variety of breads from Red Hen Bakery, and tarragon chicken with wild mushrooms. Needless to say, their guests did not go home hungry!
Cupcakes were served as a sweet treat to end a super sweet day!
The following weekend Maison Cuisine catered a delightful engagement party that was thrown for Tina (Danielle’s little sister!) and Bob. It was a personal cocktail party with all of Tina’s favorite childhood foods and, of course, a chocolate fountain! The food was delicious – pigs in a blanket, cap’n crunch chicken tenders, mini cheeseburgers on a petite broiche bun, bacon & aged cheddar stuffed potato skins, and mac and cheese made in individual ramekins. Once full on all of the savory cuisine, the guests could indulge in covering strawberries, cookies, marshmallows, and other sweet treats in chocolate. The night was gorgeous, but not as gorgeous a bride Tina will make in October!
Looking forward to the holiday season!
October signified the end of summer weddings and the beginning of fall weddings and festivities. It was a busy month for Maison Cuisine! On the first of the month we catered the last of the season wedding at the beautiful Millcreek Barn in Michigan. The bride looked gorgeous and it couldn’t have been a more perfect fall day, the air was warm and trees were beautiful! The tables were set with beautiful antique glasses and simply stated vases with a mix of hydrangeas and greens leafy plants. The ceremony took place outside under a canopy of autumn leaves. There were cocktails and a few of our favorite passed hors d’oervres: brie and brown sugar tarts, truffle mac and cheese, cinnamon-curried chicken skewers, and mushroom bruschetta. For dinner, we set up a buffet using all of the local produce we could find! There were all the fixings for s’mores and the bonfire was roaring! For dessert, there were pies from Cranes Pie Pantry, Doughnuts, and Apple Cider! A truly sweet end to a perfect day!
The following week, we had 2 very exciting events at the Merchandise Mart! Ann Sacks, a fabulous tile and bath fixture showroom, had a book signing: www.hauteliving.com/2011/09/haute-event-ann-sacks-to-host-book-signing-with-interior-designer-michael-s-smith/ There was also another event for deAurora, a furniture showroom that is the perfect balance of old world artisanship and modern technology.
October fifteenth was a gorgeous day for an estate wedding in Naperville! The bride was stunning and the groom looked dashing! There was a slight chill to the air, but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. We passed around hot cranberry-ginger cider as well as butternut squash soup in a demi mug that was garnished with crème fraiche and chives. It was a small intimate wedding served family style. We served petit filet with a trio of sauces, local roasted veggies, butternut squash ravioli in a sage cream, salmon filet in a mojo sauce, and a spinach salad with strawberries & feta. All of the guests made their favorite cookies and mom made a fabulous wedding cake! They had a sweet send-off with every guest holding a sparkler as they walked to their car and drove off into the sunset to live happily ever after.
Thanks to Jessie Holloway for the amazing photos! http://www.jessiehollowayphotography.com/
We have had many great tastings and meetings and are getting ready for fall weddings and corporate events! It is a going to be a great end to a busy year!
Maison’s new chef, Lisa Schwarz, is native to the Chicagoland area. From her first job working the concession stand at Centennial beach in Naperville to waiting tables throughout high school, she grew up in the food industry and the food industry grew on her. Her mothers’ love of food and passion to cook pushed her towards culinary school. Around the dinner table is where the best conversations happened growing up and still do with her own young family. She has two wild kids who run her life. She lives her life by the quote “Never eat more than you can lift.” — Miss Piggy, Muppet extraordinaire
Maison Cuisine is Chicagoland’s first and only “green” caterer.