Overview


As Abigail Kirsch knows after catering thousands of weddings, being a newlywed is all about beginning new traditions. One of the most pleasurable of those traditions is entertaining at home. But couples just starting to invite friends, family, and business colleagues for casual or more formal meals need some help in the kitchen, and Abigail Kirsch is here to offer her expert guidance.

In The Bride and Groom’s First Cookbook, Abigail Kirsch ...
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Bride and Groom's Menu Cookbook

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Overview


As Abigail Kirsch knows after catering thousands of weddings, being a newlywed is all about beginning new traditions. One of the most pleasurable of those traditions is entertaining at home. But couples just starting to invite friends, family, and business colleagues for casual or more formal meals need some help in the kitchen, and Abigail Kirsch is here to offer her expert guidance.

In The Bride and Groom’s First Cookbook, Abigail Kirsch introduced young couples to the delights of learning to cook side by side. Now, in her new book, she provides neophyte cooking couples with complete game plans for dinner parties, lunches, or brunches throughout the year. The menus, arranged seasonally, feature plenty of "Do-Ahead" suggestions, recipes that are easy and fun to prepare, and basic wine recommendations.

From a summer Pulled-Pork Barbecue to a fall Hearty Short Rib Dinner to an Apres Ski Pasta Supper for winter to a spring Baked Ham brunch, there is something here for every time of year and occasion. Even a first Thanksgiving can be nearly carefree when quick-cooking game hens are the more flavorful stand-in for turkey. For each season, too, there is a vegetarian menu. And separate chapters covering hors d’oeuvres and desserts make it simple to plan a cocktail or dessert party.

Veteran party-giver Abigail Kirsch also shares her know-how when it comes to decorating a table and serving food stylishly. With Abigail Kirsch’s confidence-boosting advice, new couples will find at-home entertaining foolproof and enjoyable.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Knowing that cooking is often a touchy subject for newlyweds, coauthors Kirsch and Greenberg have devised a great menu book to prepare brides and grooms for that first difficult year of culinary bliss. Readers of their Bride & Groom's First Cookbook know that the authors anticipate the nervousness and inexperience of young couples in kitchen matters. The recipes range from light vegetarian fare to full-scale formal meals. An appetizing "I do."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Caterer Abigail Kirsch (The Bride & Groom's First Cookbook) brings slightly more experienced newlyweds another bright, cheerful volume in The Bride & Groom's Menu Cookbook. While Kirsch's first book focused on helping a new couple adapt to cooking together, her second aims to assist couples who know their way around the kitchen (and each other) entertain friends and colleagues and create new family traditions. Recipes employ easy-to-find ingredients and are organized by season and into menu suggestions. Kirsch, with the help of freelance writer Susan M. Greenberg, even includes in some of her menus "Serious Leftovers" recipes, so a couple that wants to prepare the Apricot-Mustard Glazed Smoked Ham for their new neighbors on Saturday can expect to enjoy the Ham and Barley Soup in front of their TV on a quiet Sunday. (2 Jan. 2) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Kirsch is the owner of a well-known catering business based in Westchester County, NY, and the author of the best-selling Bride & Groom's First Cookbook. Here she offers 20 seasonal menus (one each featuring fish, poultry, meat, pasta, or vegetables per season), with separate chapters devoted to hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Each menu includes four dishes in addition to an hors d'oeuvre and a dessert. Like the recipes in her earlier book, these are often complicated and time-consuming and present the upscale and sophisticated food for which Kirsch's firm is famous. However, ambitious cooks eager to entertain (and to use their new wedding china and pots and pans) will no doubt find the book appealing, and there is likely to be some demand. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767911160
  • Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 4/23/2002
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,282,993
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

ABIGAIL KIRSCH’s renowned catering sites are located in Manhattan and Westchester County, and at the New York Botanical Garden. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu, she is the past president of the New York and international chapters of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Susan M. Greenberg, her sister-in-law, is a professional freelance writer. Kirsch lives in Pound Ridge, New York, and Greenberg lives in Stamford, Connecticut. Together they also wrote The Bride and Groom’s First Cookbook


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt


Mix-and-Match Hors d'Oeuvres

Asian-Spiced Scallop Saté

KITCHENWARE: medium bowl, wooden spoons, 18 wooden skewers (3 to 4 inches long), paper toweling, sharp paring knife, baking sheet, pastry brush

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

MARINATING TIME: 2 to 3 hours

COOKING TIME: 8 to 10 minutes

DO-AHEAD: Prepare through Step 4 up to 3 hours ahead.

Yield: 18 Hors d'Oeuvre

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

18 medium sea scallops, about 1 pound

1 recipe Asian Mustard Glaze (recipe follows)

Garnish: 1 bunch watercress, long stems removed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Blend the cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, curry powder, sugar, and salt together in the bowl with a wooden spoon.

3. Soak the skewers in cold water for 10 minutes, and dry them well with paper toweling.

4. Clean the scallops by stripping off the muscle that is attached to one side; use a sharp paring knife. Drop the scallops into the spice rub, tossing them with your fingers or two wooden spoons until they are entirely coated with the rub. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

5. Thread one scallop onto the end of each wooden skewer. Arrange the skewers, I inch apart, on the baking sheet. Roast the scallops 5 to 8 minutes, until they are opaque in the center.

SERVICE: Brush the scallops with the warm Asian Mustard Glaze and arrange the skewers on a serving tray covered with a bed of watercress. Asian-Spiced Scallop Saté looks fantastic on a black enamel tray (omit the bed of watercress).

COOK'S TIP: Substitute a meaty white fish such as halibut, cut into 1-inch-square pieces, for the scallops.

Asian Mustard Glaze

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, small heavy-bottomed saucepan, wooden spoon, pastry brush

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 5 minutes

DO-AHEAD: The glaze may be made ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 Cup

2/3 cup apricot jam

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chili oil

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Place all the ingredients in the saucepan and warm over medium heat until the glaze begins to simmer.

2. Cook the glaze, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until all the ingredients have blended and the jam has completely melted, about 5 minutes.

3. Using a pastry brush, coat the Asian-Spiced Scallop Saté with the warm glaze before serving.

COOK'S TIPS: The glaze also adds a dimension of hot spice when brushed on grilled or broiled shrimp or halibut. If prepared in advance, warm it over medium heat before serving.

Garlicky Doused Shrimp

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, medium saucepan, colander, large glass or stainless-steel bowl, pepper mill, metal spoon

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes

MARINATING TIME: 4 to 6 hours

COOKING TIME: 1 minute

DO-AHEAD: Prepare and marinate the shrimp up to 6 hours ahead.

Yield: 18 Hors d'Oeuvre

The Shrimp

Pinch of salt

1 pound large shrimp (15 to 20 count), peeled and deveined, tails removed

The Marinade

1 tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice

1 medium shallot, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 recipe Ginger Yogurt Dip (recipe follows)

Garnish: 1 medium bunch fresh basil, stems removed

1. Make the shrimp: Bring 3 quarts of water and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat in the saucepan. Add the shrimp, lower the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 1 minute. Drain the shrimp and cool them to room temperature.

2. Make the marinade: Combine the tomato, bell pepper, shallot, garlic, chopped basil, lemon juice, oil, salt, and black pepper in the bowl with a metal spoon. Add the cooled shrimp, toss well, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. (As the shrimp marinate, they get more garlicky.)

SERVICE: Drain the shrimp, reseason with additional salt and black pepper, and arrange them in a flat basket or on a black rectangular or round serving tray. Place the whole basil leaves in the center of the platter and serve with Ginger Yogurt Dip.

COOK'S TIP: Sea scallops can be substituted for the shrimp. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the scallops for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown and opaque in the center when tested with the tip of a knife. Cut them in quarters and follow the instructions for the shrimp recipe.

Ginger Yogurt Dip

KITCHENWARE: small bowl, whisk

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 Cup

1 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger

2 small garlic cloves, minced

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, and garlic in the bowl. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well until the mixture is smooth.

SERVICE: Place in a small bowl and serve with the Garlicky Doused Shrimp.

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Tart

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, large skillet, whisk, medium bowl, rack

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes

COOKING TIME: 1 hour

DO-AHEAD: If you plan to serve the tart at room temperature, bake it early in the day.

Yield: 12 Hors d'Oeuvre

1 partially baked Savory Tart Shell (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons pancetta fat reserved from tart shell

1 large onion, chopped medium

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half-and-half

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, finely crumbled

Garnish: 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed, tough stems removed

1. Make and partially bake the Savory Tart Shell.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Heat the butter and oil (or reserved pancetta fat) in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and evenly distribute in the bottom of the partially baked Savory Tart Shell.

4. Whisk the eggs, cream, and Gorgonzola together in the bowl until the mixture is well blended.

5. Pour the custard over the onion and bake the tart for 30 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

SERVICE: Cut the tart into 12 wedges and arrange them on a large round or rectangular platter. Decorate the platter with the flat-leaf parsley. This hors d'oeuvre requires small plates and forks.

COOK'S TIP: The tart is excellent served at room temperature. Bake it ahead and let it wait for your guests.

Savory Tart Shell

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, grater, medium skillet, slotted spoon, paper toweling, 2 medium bowls, pastry cutter, food processor (optional), wax paper or aluminum foil, rolling pin, 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, sharp knife, rack

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes

COOKING TIME: 35 minutes

DO-AHEAD: The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. The tart shell can be baked early in the day it will be served.

Yield: 1 Tart Shell

1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese (1 ounce)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 ounces cream cheese, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup dried beans

1. Cook the pancetta in the skillet over medium heat until it is golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. Reserve the fat in the pan for the filling, if desired.

2. Choose either mixing method.

By Hand: Combine the flour, pancetta, and Asiago in the other bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter or cool fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse floury granules. Sprinkle 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cold water over the dough and mix lightly with your hands until you can gather it into a ball. If the dough feels moist and sticky, lightly flour your hands.

Food Processor Method: Place the flour in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the butter and cream cheese. Pulse for 45 to 60 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pancetta and Asiago and pulse for 15 to 20 seconds more. Place the dough in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, and mix it gently with a fork. Add more water as necessary until the dough can be pressed into a ball.

3. Wrap the dough in wax paper or aluminum foil and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

5. Lightly flour a wooden board or work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the pastry lightly with the rolling pin, from the center outward in all directions, until it is 1/8 inch thick and 2 inches larger than the rim of the tart pan.

6. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Pick up one edge of the pastry and roll it loosely around the rolling pin. Lift the rolling pin to the edge of the tart pan and unroll the pastry into the pan. Fit the dough snugly into the bottom of the pan. Using your thumbs, push upward along the sides of the pan. Press the dough into the scalloped ridges of the tart pan. Cut any excess pastry off the edge with a sharp knife.

7. To partially bake the crust, prick the bottom and sides with a fork, cover the bottom with aluminum foil, and weight the entire surface with the dried beans. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes; remove the foil with the beans, and bake the shell for 2 minutes more. Transfer the shell to a rack to cool.

Green Gazpacho Shots

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, small bowl, wooden spoon, food processor or blender, large bowl, 20 shot glasses

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes

DO-AHEAD: Prepare the shots in the morning and store them, covered, in the refrigerator.

Yield: 20 Hors d'Oeuvre

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small zucchini, trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 tomatillos, husks removed, quartered

1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 medium-ripe green tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth

Tabasco sauce

Salt

Garnish: 1/3 cup sour cream

1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and trimmed

1. Blend the lime juice, vinegar, oil, cilantro leaves, and cumin in the small bowl with a wooden spoon.

2. Place the zucchini, tomatillos, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and green tomatoes in batches in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process, adding the lime juice mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, to prevent the blade from being clogged with the vegetables. The soup should have a crunchy texture; do not puree the vegetables. Pour the soup into the large bowl as each batch is processed.

3. When all the vegetables have been processed, add just enough vegetable broth to give the gazpacho a smoother consistency. Season the soup with the Tabasco sauce and salt to taste.

4. Refrigerate, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours before serving.

SERVICE: Fill the shot glasses three-quarters full with the gazpacho. Top each glass with a dollop of sour cream. Arrange the glasses on a large tray, with the bunch of cilantro in the center. Guests can help themselves.

COOK'S TIP: Pour the soup into a thermos and enjoy it during an afternoon of tailgating, at a picnic, or for a beach party.

Grilled Meatballs with Indian-Spiced Yogurt Sauce

KITCHENWARE: chef's knife, pepper mill, large bowl, pastry brush, baking sheet

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes

COOKING TIME: 6 minutes

DO-AHEAD: The meatballs can be formed early in the day, covered, and refrigerated.

Yield: 24 Hors d'Oeuvre

2 pounds ground beef round

1 large red onion, minced

2 large cloves garlic

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 recipe Indian-Spiced Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced curly parsley

1. Combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, soy sauce, eggs, ginger, salt, and pepper in the bowl. Mix the ingredients with your hands until they are well blended and hold together well.

2. Preheat the broiler.

3. Brush the baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of the oil. With your hands, form the meat mixture into 24 round balls and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheet. (Each ball should weigh about 1/2 ounce.) Lightly moisten your hands before forming each ball to facilitate rolling. Brush the meatballs with the remaining oil and broil them, 4 inches from the heating element, 6 to 8 minutes, turning them once, until they are cooked through.

SERVICE: Place the meatballs in a shallow bowl with the Indian-Spiced Yogurt Sauce on the side, or cut off the top of a small round loaf of bread, remove the insides, and spoon the meatballs into the bread. Dust with chopped parsley for color.

Indian-Spiced Yogurt Sauce

KITCHENWARE: medium strainer, cheesecloth, 2 medium bowls, chef's knife, pepper mill

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes (does not include draining time for yogurt)

DO-AHEAD: The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

Yield: 1 1/2 Cups

1 pint yogurt

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Line the strainer with the cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl and spoon the yogurt into the strainer. Allow the yogurt to drain in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

2. Transfer the drained yogurt from the cheesecloth to the other bowl and blend in the garlic, lemon juice, oil, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

SERVICE: Spoon the yogurt sauce into a bowl and serve it with the Grilled Meatballs.

COOK'S TIP: This sauce also adds a spicy dimension to grilled fish and lamb.

Honey-Glazed Chicken Wings

KITCHENWARE: grater, chef's knife, large bowl, plastic wrap, 2 large baking sheets, aluminum foil

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

MARINATING TIME: 1 to 2 hours

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

DO-AHEAD: The chicken wings can be marinated in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Make sure to bring them to room temperature before baking.

Yield: 28 Hors d'Oeuvre

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

3 pounds plump chicken wings, tips removed, wings cut in half

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1 large lime, quartered

1. Combine the orange juice, pineapple juice, orange zest, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and ginger in the bowl. Add the chicken wings and toss until well coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the baking sheets with aluminum foil.

3. Remove the wings from the marinade and place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn them over and bake for about 10 minutes more, until they are cooked through and golden brown.

SERVICE: Arrange the chicken wings on a large decorative platter garnished with the lime wedges.

COOK'S TIPS: Have plenty of paper napkins available for your guests. A few moist towelettes will be most welcome, too. For a stronger punch, add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne to the marinade.

From the Hardcover edition.

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