Gorgonzola and Grilled Pear Crostini
5 firm, ripe Bartlett pears cut into ¼ inch thick wedges- 40 pieces
8 oz. softened cream cheese
4 oz. Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
¼ cup softened butter
¼ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
36 baguette slices, toasted
2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh rosemary
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup honey
1. Get grill screaming hot. Spray grill grate with pan release. Place pear wedges on grate and grill for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. The objective here is to get a nice grill mark on each side of the pear and to soften it a little.
2. Mix cream cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, butter, and sherry.
3. Cut baguettes on a bias, brush with melted butter on each side, place on a sheet tray and toast under a broiler.
4. Spread about ½ Tbsp. on each baguette slice. Place a grilled pear on each baguette, sprinkle with pecans, and rosemary.
5. Dip a teaspoon in the honey and drizzle each baguette slice.
Hi everyone! My name is Renee and my fiancé’s name is Lorenzo. I’m really looking forward to providing you with the details about our journey to the altar. Lorenzo and I have been dating for over 2.5 years but let me back you up to how we first met.
I used to see this guy walking his bulldog, Nino, around the apartment complex I lived at. I would also be out walking my dog, a black lab named Bear. Our romance reminds me of the movie “Must Love Dogs.” In my head, I used to think to myself he’s really good looking, but nerves and shyness always got the best of me.
One night, one of my guy friends and I went to our local pub. When we walked in, I noticed “the bulldog guy.” I figured he wasn’t going to talk to me, being I was there with some other guy who Lorenzo probably thought was my boyfriend. So, I got some guts
and went over and asked him if he had a bulldog. He said yes and I told him I am his neighbor that walks the black lab. At this point, Lorenzo must have been nervous because he didn’t say much and he kept playing with his phone. I thought he had no interest in me and that the situation was kind of awkward. We chatted for a few more minutes and I left. A couple days later, I received a friend request on Facebook from Lorenzo. He started messaging me on Facebook and then after a couple weeks FINALLY asked me on our first date! YAY!! I was so excited!!
After a few dates, I knew something was special about Lorenzo and the connection we shared. I had a feeling we were soul mates. As time went on, we started talking about spending the rest of our lives together. My birthday was in October and I got all dressed up for our dinner at Ditka’s in hopes he would propose. He didn’t. Then in November, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a romantic dinner in Pittsburgh. Again, I dressed to the nines but no proposal. In between Christmas and New Years, I went home to spend time with my family that weekend. I left their house on Sunday and as I was nearing my driveway, Lorenzo’s car was there. He told me he was going to have Sunday dinner with his folks which he normally does, so why was he at my place?
I hit the button to open my garage and there were tealight candles in the shape of a heart. My heart started thumping and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m getting engaged!” Meanwhile, I was dressed in sweats and had no makeup on, but this was the best surprise ever. As I stepped out of the car, there was a drawing near the candles that Lorenzo drew for me. It was a picture of me asking him if he had a bulldog. I walked inside and there were more drawings going up my stairs leading me to him in the living room. They all were things that happened in our relationship and on the top he would ask a question and at the bottom it would always say “The answer is YES!” When I started walking up the steps, he played Rihanna’s song “Diamonds.” Lorenzo said he could hear me giggling and crying the whole way up the steps.
When I got to the top of the steps the last drawing was a picture of a diamond and it read, “I have one more thing to ask you” and at the bottom it said, “I hope the answer is YES!” When I walked in the living room he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He also had a bottle of champagne and red velvet cake (my favorite). I cried and said YES!!!!
Our wedding is scheduled for May 2014. We will be getting married at St. Sebastian’s Church and our reception will be at The Willow Room, both in Belle Vernon. I can’t wait to share this journey with you all!!!
Hi everyone!! So we are officially down to the 2 week countdown! Can’t believe how fast time has flown between the last time I wrote. So to get a little update…I ended up having my bridal shower on April 7th, exactly 2 months before the wedding day. I had it a little early because one of my bridesmaids was going to be having her first child at the end of April, so we wanted to play it safe for her! It worked out wonderful because baby CJ decided to wait until May 5th instead!! Both mom and baby are doing great!
I had the best time at my shower which I give all the credit to my three AMAZING girls!! Carly, Chelsea, and Clarissa
They surprised me with everything, and I was blown away by everything they did. The theme was “Cupcakes and Cocktails” which of course was pink and very girly! Even the cupcakes were girly! We held it at the South Park Club house in South Park, PA. They did an amazing job as well and the room was perfect! If anyone is looking for a place to host or plan a shower/party, I highly recommend them!
Since then Bill and I have been just finishing up last minute details for our big day. I submitted our planning sheets and head count to The Willow Room today! So for the most part I am hoping for smooth sailing until the 7th! We shall see
If I don’t get a chance to write again before our wedding…then I’ll sign off now for the last time as Lisa Lucas!!
Mrs. Cole here we come!!!!
Thank you to Angel’s Vision Photography www.angelsvisionphotography.com for sharing these with us! Here are just a few of our favorites. Visit her site for more!
Less than 5 months to go! Joe and I have tackled wedding bands, our dinner choices, honeymoon location, and favors. The current items on my plate were/are bridesmaid dresses and heels, invitations, and flowers! There has been a lot of indecisiveness and double-guessing on the following items, but once all of the pictures are placed side by side, I am really excited about how everything is finally coming together!
Bridesmaids: Besides looking fabulous on your big day, it is important that your best girls look just as good! After many hours spent in Alfred Angelo and Bridal Beginning, one of my bridesmaids, Dana, and I found the perfect bridesmaid dress! We decided on strapless dress from the Dessy Group sold at Bridal Beginning in a flat gray color called Chinchilla to let the yellow flowers pop! My Matron of Honor, Jen, will wear a smoky rhinestone sash that will perfectly accentuate our choice of heels!
Groomsmen: The gentlemen will wear a gray Calvin Klein tuxedo from Men’s Wearhouse with a gray vest and a yellow tie. Joe, my handsome soon-to-be groom will also wear this tuxedo with an ivory colored vest and tie to match my dress.
Invitations: After being referred to many wonderful websites/vendors, my fiance and I have finally decided on a vintage theme invitation and postcard RSVP from www.emDOTzee.com. The prices are very reasonable, and I instantly fell in love with one of the designs! Even better, Melody created invitations for my best friend’s wedding back in 2008, so I have personally seen her amazing work!
Flowers: My favorite type of flower is a peony, so I am working with a florist, Elizabeth, from Botanical Emporium, to find a similar flower that will be in season in October. Elizabeth recommended a bouquet of English tea roses and garden roses which display the same fluffy, soft feel of peonies. For the bridesmaids, Elizabeth will put together an assortment of soft, yellow colored flowers to match the groomsmens’ yellow ties. I am in love with the idea of curly willow branches and soft yellow hydrangeas for centerpieces! They are a bit pricy, so to help cut some of the cost, I will only use those centerpieces on half of the tables. I am on the hunt for an idea for the rest of the tables! Pinterest has proven to be wonderful!
Favors: Joe has two nephews born with Cystic Fibrosis. Because of the impact this has made on their lives, we have decided to make a donation to the CF Foundation on behalf of our guests. We are working to create a beautiful sign to apprise our guests of the donation which we will set on the front table along with the guestbook and place cards.
In the next month, Joe and I will have finalized invitations, flowers, centerpieces, cake/cupcakes, cookies, tuxedos, and our honeymoon to Aruba! I am feeling extremely accomplished, and definitely have a new respect for party planners!
It’s just a little more than a month away and finally starting to feel like crunch time! I wish brides got to do a trial run at what it feels like to plan a wedding before you ACTUALLY plan a wedding! Had I know how time consuming all the littlest details would be, we would have had them done sooner! So, because I didn’t know these things and would love to help any future brides, here is a list of things I wish I would have done sooner if I could do it all over again!
- Do NOT wait until a month or two before your shower to start shopping for a shower dress and accessories – especially if you are having a spring shower. Get these as soon as possible! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a dress for my April shower when I started looking in January/February. No spring dresses were out yet, so I had to wait until the month before the shower. I ended up spending my weekends leading up to it running store to store to complete the outfit. Yikes!
- Registering takes SEVERAL visits to the stores! Make sure to do this enough in advance so that you have time to add/change anything. It’s easy to forget a lot the first couple times, and you’ll want enough time to search around for what you really want, rather than just putting things on there in a hurry.
- Get all your jewelry and wedding day accessories well in advance. Hunting around at the last minute is stressful, especially because you most likely won’t have your dress with you at all times to try it all on, since it will be with your seamstress or kept at the bridal salon. If anything, the shoes are definitely the best thing to have early, so that you are prepared for your first dress fitting! The longer you wait to finish your jewelry, hair piece, etc., the more stressed you’ll be in the weeks leading up to your big day.
- Tedious tasks take time! Invitations took FOREVER to stuff, address, and stamp! Either get an assembly line of your closest friends and relatives, or get this done early! If you plan on starting the week before you want to send them out, chances are you may get behind schedule. Something as minor as not knowing many of my fiance’s long-distance relatives’ first names to put on the inner envelope held up finishing off his side’s invites until we got spellings and whatnot double checked.
- If you buy things to start a DIY project, finish the project as soon as possible! Some of the things you buy may not end up working out the way you had planned or you may have over-bought supplies. Those items may already be past the date they’re able to be returned. This happened with a giant frame I bought at PatCatan’s, a DIY invitation kit from Office Max, and specialty paper that I ended up not using! Such a waste of money that no bride has room to spare!
- Keep a running “Must Play” list for your reception throughout your entire engagement. If you sit down one night to make a giant list, chances are you’re not going to remember all the ones you want!
- Pay things off as soon as you’re able to and SPACE. IT. OUT. It’s a tough pill to swallow writing check after check the month or two before your big day! The Willow Room does a fantastic job spacing out your payments for the reception, however, other vendors usually just make you pay a down payment and don’t require the rest until 2 weeks or so before the wedding. Just because they don’t require it doesn’t mean you have to wait until that time!
Hope that helps! Good luck!!
A new feature to the blog is our staff spotlight. We will talk to those that are behind the scenes at The Willow Room. Our staff really does make the magic of our events come to life. This month we meet: Renee Gillie, our resident Bridal Butler.
1. You were one of the first employees at the Willow Room. How have you seen the wedding scene change over the past 9 years?
Weddings have definitely changed over the past 9 years. It seems couples are choosing more contemporary weddings, rather than traditional ones. I’ve seen very unique and creative weddings. Like the wedding cake to having cupcakes, candy tables, uplighting, photo booths, themed weddings, and having a wedding on a Friday night!
WR Note: We have special pricing and menus for non-traditional Friday/Sunday weddings, or even a wedding brunch!
2. You are the Bridal Butler for many weddings at The Willow Room. Explain a little bit about what that entails.
Before the guests and the bridal party arrives, I go over the details with our Banquet Manger, Linda. Then I will review all of the instructions pertaining to the brides wishes, things like centerpieces, place cards, cookies, favors, etc. Usually I will set up the bridal suite with food and drinks. Then I meet the bridal party on the second floor entrance and will get them ready to be announced. I serve dinner to the bride and groom, along with the bridal party. I also set up and serve for the money dance. I clean and break down the bridal suite after the money dance. Finally, I help pack the cookies, cake, centerpieces, gifts, etc. and take them to the appropriate vehicle.
WR Note: The Bridal Suite is a separate area just for the bridal party, complete with storage for purses and makeup, mirrors, and a private bathroom. By having wonderful people like Renee act as a Bridal Butler, we offer a dedicated staff member to truly take care of the bride/groom and their bridal party. Even if you choose a package that doesn’t include the bridal suite, you can add it on! Pic of the suite below.
3. Do you have a most memorable moment that happened at a wedding or event you were working?
Every wedding or event are all memorable! I have many good memories, I have met lots of very nice people in the 9 years I’ve been working at the Willow Room!
Renee lives in the area and in her free time she enjoys biking, walking on trails, reading books, and cooking!
Thank you to Renee for sharing a bit about herself with us! And stay tuned for many more staff spotlights in the future!
Also, if you are interested in joining our team, we are currently hiring servers, bussers, dishwashers, and a banquet captain. Send your resume to email@example.com
Potato latkes or potato pancakes are a Jewish treat usually enjoyed by the light of the Chanukah menorah but are great anytime and are very easy to make. – Chef Haberle
5 large potatoes
1 large onion
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 cup oil for frying
1. Grate potatoes and onion using a food processor or box grater.
2. Strain the grated potatoes and onion, pressing out excess water, and then add eggs, flour, garlic and seasonings.
3. Heat oil in skillet. Lower the flame and place 1 large tablespoon of latke mix into the oil and fry on each side for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Repeat process until frying pan is full but not overcrowded.
4. Remove latkes from pan and place on paper towels to drain. Continue with remaining mix until it’s all used up.
5. Serve with applesauce or sour cream, and chives on the side.
We will once again be hosting our Mother’s Day Brunch on May 12, 2013 from 11 am – 2 pm.
Please click the menu below to enlarge. We look forward to hosting your family!