A Taste of Summer Catering
I’m a huge fan of Jack Allen’s Kitchen and when I found out they now do catering, I instantly wanted to pick their brains and get ideas on what a wedding menu might look like if they catered your event during these hot summer days in Austin. I love that they have locally sourced ingredients, and the cocktails aren’t bad either *wink If you’re not familiar, I recommend checking it out for yourself.
In the meantime, enjoy what their catering manager, Alissa has pulled together for you to provide an example of a menu you could serve in this severe Texas heat!
Summer is a favorite time to get married for brides all over the country but Austin summer brides get the added fun of planning around and trying to beat the extreme Texas heat. Planning your menu can be especially tricky. Too hot and heavy of a meal can leave your guests done-in before the real party even starts. Too many light chilled dishes and your guests will be hungry again halfway through (not to mention probably a little more tipsy than they planned on being at that point). Jack Allen’s Kitchen has put together a memorable summer wedding menu that takes advantage of the plentiful local ingredients available from Texas farmers and artisans that reminds your guests of why they love Austin summers and embrace its heat.
Cocktail hour is the perfect opportunity to go a little wild with your menu and distract your guests from the rising temperatures. Embrace the heat and add a little spice to your cocktail hour with Bacon-Wrapped Texas Quail Legs. Each quail leg from Broken Arrow Ranch has a pickled jalapeno underneath the apple wood smoked bacon and is glazed with Texas peach and jalapeno jam. Next incorporate a name almost synonymous with Austin, Tito’s Vodka Salmon Crostinis. The vodka is used to actually cure the smoked salmon by the local artisans at Celtic Seafare. It’s served on a garlic crostini with herbed cream cheese and topped with pickled radishes and onions. Lastly add in a summer favorite with a twist. Compressed watermelon topped with goat cheese feta from Dos Lunas and spiced candied pecans.
The dinner reception is the perfect opportunity to let the local bounty of summer shine. Rather than do a mixed greens salad that can quickly wilt in the sweltering summer heat opt for an Heirloom Tomato Salad. Beautiful red and gold tomatoes with Deep Ellum Blue cheese, large garden basil leaves and creamy red wine ranch vinaigrette. Next add some beautiful color with grilled rainbow carrots. These sweet multi-hued carrots are plentiful in the summer and the unusual colors will surprise your guests. Both of these colorful vegetables are available from the east Austin farmers at Johnson’s Backyard Garden. You can’t get more local than that
It of course wouldn’t be summer without fresh gulf seafood. Grilled mint chipotle jumbo shrimp has the refreshing flavor of a mojito but with a little smoked kick from the chipotle.
Pig roasts are a great way to add a bit of nostalgic summer fun to your wedding and remind guests of why the tastes of summer are worth the heat. Most of the time pig roasts are thought of as Hawaiian or backyard BBQ. However it’s easy to make them more sophisticated by serving it with a lighter sweet citrus sauce and not putting as much emphasis on displaying the entire pig (fyi groomsmen are always going to find a way to get some good candid shots with the head).
Author’s bio: Alissa Minshull is the Catering & Events Coordinator for Jack Allen’s Kitchen and has been a part of their team since the first day they opened more than 3½ years ago. Alissa has more than 13 years in the restaurant industry including culinary school in New York. Having a family farm in Pennsylvania where she grew up has given her a great respect for locally sourced food and she loves being able to feature Texas farmers and artisans in weddings.
All photo credits courtesy of Jack Allen’s Kitchen