Archive of ‘Catering’ category

Stay Home & Host Brunch

Blog Stay Home Host Brunch

In 2016 we are rolling out our all new a la carte brunch menu. That means you can pick and choose your own ideal brunch combo without getting full service catering. All orders are for pick up or delivery only.

Check it the yummy menu and return your order form to events@tom-cookery.com.

TomCookery Brunch Buffet Menu 2016 (LINK FOR FULL MENU)

Brunch Buffet Menu 1 Brunch Buffet Menu 2

TomCookery Brunch A La Carte Price List & Order Form (LINK FOR FULL FORM)

Brunch Order form 1 Brunch Order form 2

Eat Your Veggies: TomCookery’s Top 8 Vegetarian Comfort Food Classics

Corn and Avocado Salad Pic Final

Vegetarian Awareness Month is coming to a close but that doesn’t mean leave our meat-free friends by the wayside. At TomCookery, we make sure to be as inclusive as possible (when our clients let us) and we have a number of great comfort classics for guests who want to hold the meat. Check out our 8 favorites that are so yum, meat will be an afterthought.

8. Cornbread Stuffed Mushrooms

This appetizer is perfect for fall and winter because its like a little bite of Thanksgiving/Christmas in your mouth. The cornbread is actually a traditional sagey, yummy stuffing which we pile in to a cremini mushroom and pop in the oven so it has a great crust.

7. Corn & Avocado Salad with Queso Fresco & Chili Oil (Pictured Above)

We created this dish as a summer salad course but don’t be surprised if it pops up again when you least suspect it. The avocado is tossed with roasted corn, minced white onions and lime, then topped with a sprinkling of queso fresco and cilantro. Finally, we hit it with some schezuan chili oil for an unexpected kick.

6. Macaroni Pie Bites

These are a definite crowd pleaser and make their way on to MOST cocktail party menus without fail. Its basically all of the goodness of our full sized mac and cheese reduced into one little caramelized bite. They hold their own next to any meat hors d’oeuvres.

5. Fried Eggplant Lasagna with Creamy Béchamel

A cross between eggplant parmesan and lasagna, this dish was the brainchild of our chef, Tom Burke, who would literally put béchamel on everything if she could. The thinly sliced fried eggplant is layered with ricotta and marinara and the whole thing is topped with a creamy, nutmegy béchamel. Don’t sleep on this decadent take on an Italian-american comfort dish.

4. Fried Okra with Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

For the country folk among us (Chef Tom has roots in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana), okra is a staple in many dishes. For those of you who shy away from this slippery little vegetable, fried okra may be a solution. Okra fried in our cornmeal batter is the perfect little popper. Healthier than french fries, yet similarly addictive, this appetizer is a go-to at any southern themed party.

3. Corn Pudding (Pictured Below)

The question we get most about corn pudding is, “Is this a dessert or a side?” Well folks, its a savory side. Its sautéed corn cut straight from the cob. We mix it up with cheese and other fun stuff to create an amazing pudding. It’s hard to describe but its easy to fall in love with.

2. Black Eyed Peas Salad (Pictured Below)

This dish is so flexible. We make black eyed peas salad shooters for appetizers, we serve it as a side for barbecues and its a staple on NYE menus since black eyed peas are supposed to give us luck in the new year. There is very little wrong with this salad, as it will satisfy vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike.

1. Sautéed Wild Mushrooms Over Cheesy Grits

What do we serve when we are asked to create a vegetarian version of shrimp and grits for our guests? Sautéed wild mushrooms over cheesy grits of course.  These are no ordinary mushrooms. We sauté them with garlic and herbs and hit them with just a little bit of sherry wine. Then we shave fresh parmesan and fresh herbs over the whole shebang for a entrée that even the most staunch carnivore envies.

Those are our fave comfort food vegetarian picks. Make sure to check back in with TomCookery on Facebook or Instagram for realtime updates on what we’re cooking. And if you live in NYC, keep us in mind for your next event!

Black Eyed Peas Salad Veg Blog Post

Corn PUdding BLog Post Version 3

 

 

Tom, Pimp My Party – Super Bowl Edition

You may or may not have read my post from last week, Super Bowl Party Blunders.  Per usual, I was on my soap box about how to throw a well-appointed party.  This week, I decided to get my hands dirty and actually do something.  I know, I’m soooo generous.  Welcome to our newest segment on The TomCookery Blog…

Tom, Pimp My Party – Super Bowl Edition

Enter, Tyriel.  Urban professional, rice and peas addict and an unapologetic party-thrower.  Enter, Tom.  Caterer, friend of Tyriel and a card holding Restaurant Depot member.

Highlights

Outsourcing.  Tyriel has a lot of friends, all of whom are ready to chip in.  But instead of getting 25 bags of Tostitos, I encouraged Tyriel to be really specific with his asks (i.e. “John, pls bring 30lbs of ice.”)

Hors D’oeuvres.  Tyriel’s guests come hongry.  This year we got some frozen hors d’oeuvres (no judgment here), baked or fried them off with minimal effort and served them to his guests before the real food came out.  These bites, along with a $10 veggie plate from Costco held people over.

Sliders with Chipotle Aioli.  Tyriel didn’t realize flavored mayo was so easy to make.  The chipotle peppers in adobo literally came right off the shelves of his corner bodega.  We threw 3 peppers, 3 cloves of garlic and 2 cups of mayo into the food processor and viola, a fancy sports bar quality slider in no time at all.

The Cobb Salad.  This year, Tyriel wanted to be a little kinder to people who wanted to eat light.  So I suggested a cobb salad.  Sure, its technically a salad but its really like a bacon egg and cheese on lettuce.  Gourmet dressings were non-existent in his Harlem Pathmark so we got some regular old spicy brown mustard, two lemons and some canola and made our own dressing.  And it was delicious.

All in all, I’d say our mission was accomplished.  The food was great, people seemed super excited about the food and Tyriel got to reign supreme as the king of all Super Bowl Party hosts.

If you want me to come pimp your next party (for free) email us at info@tom-cookery.com.

Meet Tyriel.

Meet Tyriel.

Tyriel doesn't eat beef.  Tom doesn't care.

Tyriel doesn’t eat beef. Tom doesn’t care.

 

Check out his serving skills.  I'd use him at my next event.

Check out his serving skills. I’d use him at my next event.

Making Burger Patties

Making Burger Patties

The Sliders with Chipotle Aioli

The Sliders with Chipotle Aioli

The Cobb Salad

The Cobb Salad

Festive fan enjoys cobb salad

Festive fan enjoys cobb salad

Good thing we got that veggie plate.  It went to great use.

Good thing we got that veggie plate. It went to great use.

With friends like Tom, who needs slavedrivers?

With friends like Tom, who needs slavedrivers?

 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Hire a Boutique Caterer for Your Wedding

boutique caterer blog post

At the Lovesick Bridal Expo I attended last weekend, I ran into so many awesome and unique boutique wedding vendors.  This inspired me to do a post on the merits of going with a small business for your wedding or event as opposed to a big one.  I hope you are in the mood for a bit of Shameless Self-Promotion (SSP) for myself and the other boutique event planners, bakers, stationers and florists that we often work with.  Top 5 reasons below to go with a boutique catering company.

1. We Customize Our Menus

My approach to menu planning is similar to my approach to cooking…start from scratch.  Instead of sending over pages and pages of menus, I start every consultation with just getting to know the couple.  This helps me create a menu that fits your style.  Turns out you want your grandmother’s peach cobbler at your wedding?  Lets conference her in too.

2. We Can Bend the Rules

This is mainly because we make the rules.  A lot of catering halls and large catering companies do things the same way, every time.  Be prepared to meet some resistance if that way doesn’t fit your needs.  Lets say you want five buffet stations instead of three.  That could potentially give the chef a conniption.  On the other hand, boutique companies are in a better position to adapt to special requests, mainly because every event is a new experience.

3.  We Can Negotiate

Boutique companies have the flexibility to negotiate.  It’s like the difference between negotiating the price of a sweater at Bloomingdales v. negotiating the price of a sweater at the fun boutique in Soho.  Need I say more?

4. Chain of Authority is Short

Often, you are speaking with the owner herself or the person who is in all likelihood sitting next to the owner in the office.  If you have any realtime requests or changes, you don’t have to wait for information to go through the grapevine.  You are almost always talking to the final decision maker.

5. We Actually Care

Because we don’t do a lot of big advertising, most of our clients come by word of mouth.  This makes client interaction very special.  I tend to go out of my way for my clients just because I like them and value the relationship.  I’ll admit that sometimes when events are over I have to resist the urge to eat pints of ice cream on the couch in my pajamas but that’s my problem, not yours.

Other boutique vendors, let me know if there is anything I’m forgetting in the comments!

Dutifully yours,

Tom

Then there was that time we catered a bar mitzvah…

You drooled over the mandelbrot.  You fantasized about the kugel.  Now its time to see how it all came together.

Last November, while you were probably still recovering from your Thanksgiving or Thanksgivukkah food comas, TomCookery was planning one boy’s coming of age.

Our Mission

-Subtle Elegance.  The bar mitzvah boy wouldn’t be riding in on an elephant.  Rats!

-Kosher Luncheon Menu for a southern and Caribbean comfort food chef?  TomCookery loves a challenge!

-Have it be an enjoyable experience for the kids, tweens, teens and adults.  Piece of cake…right?

So we obviously accepted and the rest was history.  We honored tradition with Mommom Sylvia’s mandebrot and kugel recipies, we kept it kosher with our menu and overall we were really pleased with the transformation of the Riverdale Temple ballroom into a swanky midday lunch venue complete with an ice cream sundae bar, Jenga tournaments, dreidel, gelt and juice boxes on ice.

Special thanks to our event planner House of Flores.  They were the backbone of this event and we couldn’t have done it without them.  I’d also like to mention some of my other go-to vendors that worked with on this event.  Makini Regal Designs  (florals), Noirstyle Invites (printing and signage) and From Cupcake with Love (Cake).

Photo credit: Martina Micko Photo

Riverdale Temple ballroom in the Bronx, NY

Riverdale Temple ballroom in the Bronx, NY

 

Buffet Line Long with Lighting

 

BM Table with Lighting

 

We all scream for the ice cream sundae bar.

We all scream for the ice cream sundae bar.

 

Pickled Herring with Cream and Onions and Gefilte Fish

Pickled Herring with Cream and Onions and Gefilte Fish

 

Driedel and Gelt

Driedel and Gelt

 

Juice boxes.  Shaken.

Juice boxes. Shaken.

 

Our buffet lines are a happy place.

Our buffet lines are a happy place.

 

Main course was Pan Seared Halibut with Brown Butter Sauce

Main course was Pan Seared Halibut with Brown Butter Sauce.

 

A whole lotta kugel.

A whole lotta kugel.

 

 

Winter salad with goat cheese, apples, walnuts and crispy shallots.

Winter salad with goat cheese, apples, walnuts and crispy shallots.

 

The kids table got Mac & Cheese.  The adults got jealous.  Understandable.

The kids table got Mac & Cheese. The adults got jealous. Understandable.

 

The gift that keeps on giving.  Mandelbrot favors with the recipe attached.

The gift that keeps on giving. Mandelbrot favors with the recipe attached.

 

Menu Cards by Noirstyle Invites

Menu Cards by Noirstyle Invites

 

Don't worry, its sparking maneschewitz.  Kids like bubbly too!

Don’t worry, its sparking maneschewitz. Kids like bubbly too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When to hire a caterer v. When to do it yourself

2014 party planning is in full swing and you are probably wondering if its worth it to hire a caterer for your upcoming bridal shower, birthday party, anniversary, bbq, etc.  My blatant disregard for hiring a caterer in the BTC (Before TomCookery) time period and the back ache that followed, was the inspiration for this post that should help you with your decision.

I will never forget NYE 2009.  My friend asked me if I would cook for his NYE house party of about 50 guests. Remember, this was BTC.  So I started cooking that evening at 5pm and finished at 11pm.  I literally had to run home, shower, throw on a dress and haul ass back to the party for the ball drop.  I had great help, but I was TIRED.  Then there was the time I catered my friends baby shower in 2011 when I was working as a corporate lawyer (stupid).  I think I got three hours of sleep.  In the pictures I looked like the walking dead.  See the theme arising here?  Sometimes you gotta call in the professionals.

So here is my short list on when to hire a caterer vs. when to do it yourself.

1. Cooking Ability.

Cook tasty meals on a weekly basis?  You may be okay.

Don’t even own measuring cups/spoons.  Outsource.

2. Basic Math Skills

If you can keep track of quadrupling recipes and don’t loose count when you are measuring 48 cups of flour.  Give it a go.

If multiplying and fractions stress you out, you won’t be happy.

3. Organizational Skills

If friends describe you as an anal, obsessive kitchen dictator, you are literally halfway to owning your own catering company.  You go!

If you are a free spirit who has it all written down “up here” (points to head), prepare yourself for many many trips to the supermarket.

4. Whose Event is it Anyway?

If you are a friend, distant relative, or someone who can slink into a corner, I think you just may be a good candidate.

If you are the center of attention for the event, or even the close friend or relative of the center of attention, you just can’t do it. Trust me.

5.  Time

You have all the time in the world and you get off on challenges of the culinary variety.  Right up your alley.

Checked your schedule and you noticed that you can’t exclusively devote about 30-40 hours to food shopping, prepping, cooking, packing and transporting large amounts of food.  I recommend you pass.

6. The Help

Finally, if you have a dedicated (reliable) entourage of family members, friends or robots, you will have the support you need to get anything done.

If you have made the calls and everyone who you would consider using is “swamped,” take a pass on this event.  You will be all kinds of overwhelmed.

Hope that was helpful ;)

The Ever Bossy,
Tom