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Good Neighbors

When neighbors become family, there’s no better venue to host a celebration than the places they call home.

Canterbury Road in Mountain Brook winds through a verdant neighborhood filled with glorious Tudors and Colonial-style homes. A triangle-shaped park runs alongside one area, welcoming kids from the nearby elementary school. Sidewalks line the street, encouraging afternoon chats. Here, neighbors are friends­—especially the Rogers and the Clarks, two families who have lived down the street from each other for years. When their children, Mary Coleman Rogers and Charlie Clark, met as adults and fell in love, the families couldn’t have been happier. Once Charlie proposed, it quickly became obvious that there was no better place to exchange nuptials than the places the couples call home.

Friends and neighbors eagerly offered to help. Decorator Jeanne Rogers (the bride’s mom) enlisted Judy Feagin and Susan Tipler to plan and prepare the Southern menu. Floral designer Buffy Hargett played to the green-and-white color scheme with glorious arrangements of calla lillies, Queen Anne’s Lace, and peonies. The simple family wedding was held in the Rogers’s courtyard garden, where family celebrated life and love in their beloved neighborhood.

  

Friends Judy Feagin and Susan Tipler shared their culinary and entertaining expertise to set a genteel Southern scene at Mary Coleman Rogers and Charlie Clarks’s summer wedding. The groom’s family only had to walk a few doors down to the bride’s home where her parents, Jeanne and Mabry Rogers, greeted their daughter’s new in-laws (Ginger and Charles Clark).
 

Wedding Day Menu
Shrimp in a Pickle
Asparagus with Lemon Feta Dill Sauce
Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Tomato Basil Tarts
Ham Rolls with Honey Mustard
Mushroom Crustades
Brie with Toasted Almonds and Lavender Honey
Fresh Cherries
Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Shrimp in a Pickle

2 1/2 quarts water
3 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
3 small red onions, sliced  (optional)
1 large red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
8 bay leaves
1 lemon, sliced
1 (3-ounce) jar capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1. Bring water to a boil; add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Drain and rinse with cold water. Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact; devein.
2. Layer shrimp and next 5 ingredients in a glass
bowl. Stir together salt and remaining ingredients; pour over shrimp mixture. Cover; chill 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain before serving. Makes 10 servings.

Asparagus with Lemon Feta Dill Sauce

2 pounds fresh asparagus
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1. Snap off and discard ends of asparagus. Cook asparagus in boiling salted water to cover 30 seconds, drain. Plunge into ice water to stop cooking the process. Drain and set aside.
2. Stir together lemon juice and remaining ingredients. Serve with cooked asparagus.

Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped or sliced green olives, drained well
Dash of ground red pepper
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
16 slices thin white bread
Chopped parsley

1. Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise until blended. Stir in olives, red pepper, and pecans. Cover and chill.
2. Cut 2 rounds out of each bread slice using a 1 ½ -inch round cutter. Spread olive mixture evenly on 1 side of half of bread rounds, top with remaining bread rounds. Roll sides in chopped parsley. Makes about 16 party sandwiches.

Tomato Basil Tarts

1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 (14.5-ounce) can petit diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Salt
Pepper
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup  freshly shredded Mozzarella cheese
Garnish: fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll piecrust on a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-inch circle. Cut 24 rounds using a 2-inch scalloped-edge round cutter. Place rounds into bottoms of ungreased miniature muffin cups. (Dough will come slightly up sides forming a cup.) Prick bottom of dough with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans on a wire rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
2. Drain tomatoes in a fine wire mesh strainer. Place tomatoes on a layer of paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible. Stir together tomatoes and basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Stir together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl. Divide tomato mixture among pastry shells, and top with mayonnaise mixture; place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately. Note: To make ahead, bake and cool pastry shells as directed in step 1. Remove from muffin pans, and store in and airtight container. Freeze pastry shells up to one month. When ready to serve, prepare filling, fill and bake as directed.

Ham Rolls with Honey Mustard

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4  cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100°-110°)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups all-purpose flour
Black Forest Ham slices
Prepared honey mustard

1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add butter and shortening, and stir until melted. Stir in sugar and salt. Cool until mixture is lukewarm.
2. Combine yeast and 1 cup warm water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
3. Combine butter-shortening mixture, eggs, and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in 6 cups of flour or enough to make a thick dough. Place dough in a well-greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.
4. Punch dough down; turn dough out on a floured surface. Knead 3 to 4 times. Roll dough ¼- to ⅓-inch thick. Cut dough rounds with a 1½-inch circle cutter. Place in lightly greased pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until browned. Cut rolls in half; spread with honey mustard, and fill with ham slices to fit rolls. Serve immediately or wrap in foil and reheat. Makes about 5 dozen rolls.

Mushroom Crustades

1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2  tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Garnish: minced fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll piecrust on a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-inch circle. Cut 24 squares using a 2-inch square cutter. Place squares into bottoms of ungreased miniature muffin cups. (Dough will come slightly up sides forming a cup.) Prick bottom of dough with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans on a wire rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
2. Sauté shallots in melted butter for 1 minute; stir in mushrooms and cook over medium heat until all liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Stir flour into mushroom mixture and cook 1-minute. Add cream and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat. Stir in chives, parsley, lemon juice, and red pepper. Spoon mixture into pastry shells. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately. Note: To make ahead, bake and cool pastry shells as directed in step 1. Remove from muffin pans, fill, and freeze. When frozen, store in an airtight container up to one month. When ready to serve, place frozen crustades on a baking sheet and bake as directed.

Brie with Toasted Almonds and Lavender Honey

1 (15 -ounce) Brie round
Lavender Honey*
1 cup whole almonds with skin, toasted and chopped
Garnish: fresh lavender sprigs
Small wafers or crackers

Unwrap cheese and place on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave Brie on high for 1 minute. Continue to microwave at 10 second intervals until cheese softens. Do not cook until rind splits.  Place on a serving platter. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Drizzle with additional honey. Garnish with lavender sprigs and serve with wafers or crackers. Note: Lavender honey can be purchased at Sur la Table and other specialty markets. Regular honey can be substituted.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

2 cups butter (1 pound)
1 cup sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Lemon glaze

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add flour, one cup at a time, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in lemon zest.
2. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into 1-inch squares, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving a little space between squares.  Prick top of each cookie 3 times with a fork. 
3. Bake 40 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not overbake. Remove to wire racks, and cool completely. Drizzle cookies with lemon glaze. When glaze hardens, store cookies in an airtight tin.

Lemon Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Stir together all ingredients. Place in a small heavy-duty zip-top bag. Snip corner of bag to make a small hole. Drizzle glaze over cookies. Note: If glaze is too thin, stir in additional powdered sugar. If glaze is too thick, stir in additional lemon juice.

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