In the spirit of my son’s wedding on August 9th, I decided to apply the traditional Old English rhyme “Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue, A sixpence in your shoe” to the rehearsal dinner I was planning at our farmette!
The rhyme was often recited during the Victorian Era but also recorded in print in the late 1800s in a Pennsylvania newspaper as a Puritan Marriage Custom. Each part was intended to bring good luck to the marriage as husband and wife began their new journey together. I loved pondering why each piece would bring a couple good fortune but also had to ground myself in the practical aspects of just getting the feast prepared!
Weeks before the rehearsal dinner, I started dabbling with recipes and inviting assorted taste-testers to the farmette for feedback. In the end, I settled on what looked like an elaborate menu but what was really an uncomplicated feast!
I started with something old: No-Knead-Anybody-Can-Do-It Focaccia. This bread was the perfect choice as the core for the main entrees because the dough is forgiving and flexible (important qualities to add to a new marriage!). It was easy to make in batches the morning of the rehearsal dinner and left me with time between folds of the dough to mix up salads and pick herbs from the garden.
All the meat (locally raised and foraged at the Rochester Public Market) that I intended to stuff into the focaccia had been grilled the night before. That left me with just my something new as we readied the farmette for guests. I chose portobellos: Beautiful giant mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar, grilled, stuffed with feta, assorted mini peppers, and onions then layered inside focaccia that had been slathered with a little basil/thyme mayo. Yum!
Having settled on my something old and something new, I moved on to something borrowed. I sent Patty, mother of the bride-to-be, a text. “Would it be possible to use some of the decorations from the bridal shower? Could she gather together and loan me some pictures of Colleen for a project I had in mind?”
Something blue turned out to be the easiest of all since the back drop for the whole wedding party was blue. I pulled out a giant muffin tin and got to work!
To be honest, until I started planning the rehearsal dinner, I didn’t even know about the sixpence in your shoe piece. Given that this was a summer wedding and the bride would be wearing sandals a sixpence in the shoe became an impossible feat. I decided a little wild spending money for the honeymoon would more aptly fit the bill in the 21st century!
With a crowd of nearly 50 coming for the rehearsal dinner, you might think there’d be a glitch or two. Not so! This menu turned out to be very do-able and had something for everyone! Big thanks to three great women who jumped right in to help serve it all up!
Don’t hesitate to make these even if you’ve never dabbled in portabellas before. You’ll love this marriage of something old and something new!
Enjoy!!!! More on the wedding itself coming…..
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Grilled-balsamic glazed-stuffed Portobellos
4-6 portobellos (4-6″ in diameter)
1/3 cup of olive oil (other oils will work)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
4 ounces crumbled feta
1/2 cup roasted assorted colored mini-peppers
1/2 cup roasted red onion (sweet onions will work, too)
*a little freshly chopped basil, optional
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil and/or thyme (or herbs of choice!)
Prepare the portobellos. (I did this part the night before the rehearsal dinner)
Marinate the portobellos by placing all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag. Swish them around a bit to make sure they’re covered well. You don’t need to drown them.
Heat the grill on high. Take the mushrooms from the Ziploc bag and place the peppers and onions into the marinade while you cook the portobellos.
Put the portobellos on the grill gill side up until the mushrooms release their liquid (4-6 minutes). Flip them over and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. You can brush them with some of the marinade throughout cooking if you like.
Chop the peppers and onions, combine with feta and divide evenly into the portobello caps.
Serve on No-Fail-Anybody-Can-Do-It Focaccia that has been lightly slathered in herbed mayo. It’s a good idea to have the bread ready. The first time I made these I didn’t and ended up scarfing down two of the caps without the bread before I could stop!