A wedding reception where simplicity ruled

Hors d’oeuvres at a wedding at Sacandaga Bible Conference on Saturday.

We married off some friends this weekend — one a longtime family friend, the other a former counselor here at camp. But we missed the fun in favor of feeding everyone and watching through the kitchen door and from corners of the dining hall. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy a wedding.

And this one was a breeze, as most of the kitchen staff and my wife came to keep things smooth in the dining room, and one of my most trusted kitchen wingmen returned to give me peace of mind. With so many things out of my worry zone, all I had to do was cook, and that meant we could wait until the last minute, rather than having food bundled up in foil and sitting in a warmer for hours, as you’ll find at many places.

I figure I put the chicken in the oven about the same time as the wedding kiss. We didn’t start slicing beef until about 10 minutes before everyone was eating. Most of the broccoli was just going into the pan when we started serving dinner.

And the most popular appetizer, which we threw together an hour before the wedding, was made from simple, pure ingredients — grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and reduced balsamic vinegar — bound together by a skewer.

It’s hard to get any simpler and fundamental than that.

One of the family members setting up the dining hall on Friday asked me whether everything was ready for the next afternoon. It gave me great pleasure to say no, nothing.

Here’s the menu, as we turn our attention to our next wedding, nine months from now.

COCKTAIL HOUR

Baby meatballs in marinara with Parmesan, asiago, and Romano cheese

Tomato, basil and mozzarella skewers with reduced Balsamic vinegar

Palatine cheese, pepperoni, crackers and grapes

Assorted fresh vegetables and dips

DINNER

Roast beef crusted with black pepper and thyme

Herb-roasted chicken legs

Three-cheese ziti with marinara

Olive oil-roasted mashed potatoes

Broccoli florets in spicy garlic sauce

Buttered corn sauteed with roasted peppers

Mini ciabatta loaves

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