A Summer Wedding

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This summer I had the pleasure to fly home to beautiful Northeast Iowa (I’m not even joking, my hometown is gorgeous) to attend/cater my dad’s wedding to his loving fiance. Now one of the perks of being a chef is that instead of having to come up with a gift or help pick out tuxes or arrange the bachelor party I got to plan, shop for and execute an amazing summer wedding menu for 40 guests to celebrate! I was so stoked to use all of my favorite local farmers and butchers and bakers to put together an incredible meal.

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We started with an local cheese pairing a creamy brie with pickled figs, a Wisconsin parmesan style cheese with honey and lavender and a sharp crumbly cheddar with chewy apple rings. I couldn’t resist a simple crudite platter with farm fresh bok choy, baby peppers, heirloom carrots and a garlicky hummus with pita. I should note that I couldn’t have pulled this meal off without the help of my family, especially Maddie and Colin and my lovely assitsants Niki and Toast. You guys rock!

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My favorite dish was this succulent looking slab of smoked pork loin served with grilled stone fruit and an aged balsamic drizzle. I brined the loin in 2 gallons of water with 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup dark brown sugar as well as a secret blend of herbs and spices, then smoked it at 250 over cherry chips for 3 hours until it reached an internal temperature of 145. I let it rest and served it with grilled stone fruit and an aged balsamic drizzle. Bam.

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What many considered the star dish of the night was the strawberry caprese salad. I started with 1 quart of tiny, ripe, organic June strawberries and tossed those with 1 pint of golden cherry tomatoes. I added about 4 oz of torn buffalo mozzarella, then drizzled the whole with in olive oil and a splash of balsamic, torn basil leaves and liberal amounts of coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper. The strawberries and tomatoes are a perfect match and made this salad to die for.

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To accompany the pork I served crushed red potato salad with a horseradish vinaigrette, a roast heirloom vegetable platter, an apricot and wild rice pilaf and some amazing whole wheat rolls from Waving Grains Bakery. I loved serving a family style wedding dinner because it really engaged all of the guests at the table, not to mention it was a lot less work than a traditional plated dinner and little more classy than a buffet. The day was gorgeous, the ceremony was genuine and sweet and the bride and groom were happy, so I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

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