Locally Curated Welcome Bags

Hello GG friends & Happy Spring! Today we are showing our GG love for some of our favorite local businesses. It’s getting to be that time where couples begin to delve into the smaller details on their to-do list; things like ordering that pretty gown hanger, finalizing the (finicky) escort card display, and maybe, pulling together welcome bags for out-of-town guests. Dare we share our two cents on the topic? Here is our local low-down, comment below with your own shout-outs!

Let’s start with a custom bag, something reusable because we’re into the whole “sustainable thing,” and who doesn’t love a handy tote? Our go-to screen print shop? POORMORGAN located within the heart of the Velvet Mill, of course! They’re environmentally friendly too, and we like that! You’re “Totes Getting Married” so this just makes perfect sense.


Speaking of the Velvet Mill, why not dream up a custom treat and pop it in your welcome bag with a little help from the Zest crew? Co-Owner, Gabriella loves details! She’ll have you talking through all of yours to come up with the perfect confection! Let your guests decide if they could use a sweet little pick-me-up before or after wedding festivities. We promise they’ll be by the bakeshop while they’re still in town to see what else is in Zest’s case. Zest sources local too, score for a double win!


Traveling, hotel water, and, oh yeah, all of those cocktails can really take a toll… on your skin. Dehydration creeps up on you, you know what we’re talking about! Pamper your guests by including one of Firefly Farms new Lotion Bars and support a local farmer. They are certified humane and that’s pretty cool if you ask us. (“Spread the Love” label, anyone?)


Show your guests around, give them their very own private Tour de Mystic Country with a custom map of all your favorite places; thoughtfully crafted by KRUSH Graphics. Our friend Kimberly is the creative soul behind KRUSH and her beautiful work can be found throughout the area. She’s also the brain behind a locavore movement branded as Support Local (for IG users: #ShopSupportLocal and #LocalStateofMind), because she thinks Local Matters and we do too. Be sure to click over to her online shop, a portion of every purchase goes to, you guessed it, local farmers.

***Places to highlight on your map: area vineyards and/or breweries, breakfast spots like Rise or M/Bar, brunch spots like Oyster Club or Red 36, hot spots like Engine Room for drinks and nightlife, and don’t forget our beloved Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream shop! Know what else tote bags are great for? Collecting seashells! Send them to Napa Tree Point for a beach walk and maybe they’ll catch one of those stunning Watch Hill sunsets.

KRUSHgraphics_map menu

Since you’re featuring a vineyard or two, why not add a CT Wine Trail Passport and a bottle to the mix? Top it with a tag that suggests a BYOB. For instance, “Take me to Ford’s Lobster,” since there’s no better spot to stop for some seriously good New England fare on the water, and to soak in those coastal views.  Your guests will thank you, just look at that lobster risotto!


You can never have too many good old fashioned bottle openers or wine keys. We love the selection at MW Coastal Goods.

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You are tying the knot after all… so of course you need to include some Mystic Knotwork! We love these nautical ornaments for the simple fact that they will bring back fond memories of your celebration for years to come.

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Before they bid adieu, help your guests get back on the road with a proper caffeine fix… a small gift certificate to Sift as a final token of thanks for sharing in your special day. They won’t make it out of there without something sweet or savory to go with that cup of java.


Last but not least, stop by the Eastern Chamber of Commerce and pick up some tourist pamphlets to Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, and other area attractions personalized to the recipient’s interests.

Although our list could go on and on, our hope is that YOU will share your own ideas and inspiration right here in the comments. Let’s engage! Xo




PS: RESQWATER might not be local but it certainly does the trick after a night of celebrating, grab a case and tuck one for each guest into your locally curated welcome bag.

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St. Patrick’s Day Hummus

In between plates piled high with corned beef and cabbage and overflowing pints of heady Guinness or green beer, there is a void that needs to be filled – snack time! You could reach for something rich, like a Guinness inspired cupcake with a green Bailey’s buttercream frosting (YUM), but if you want a healthy alternative, we’ve got something you can snack on all week long. Your belly (and your waistline) will thank you.

Follow us to the Gourmet Galley Kitchen for some naturally bright green St. Patty’s Day inspired snacking fare…

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus

Yield: 1 Quart

  • 24 oz frozen edamame (preferably non-gmo verified)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 heaping tbsp of chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or tin foil. Next, set a medium sauce pan up with a steaming rack and an inch or two of water, bring to a boil.

Spread half of the edamame out in a single layer and bake for approximately 7-10 minutes, until golden. meanwhile, steam the remaining edamame until fork tender. Approximately 5-7 minutes. Drain and move all edamame to either a high power blender or food processor.

Add a little water at a time as you process the edamame until it achieves your desired spreadable consistency. Flavor with the remaining ingredients until it reaches just the right high note and enjoy with cumin flavored pita chips or your favorite crudites!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our kitchen to yours!

Xo Kristen



Hitting Reset

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a few personal goals for 2015! Don’t we all? Last year, I began my outdoor running routine with gusto. I hit the pavement every day before work! It felt amazing, I was proud of myself darnit! Looking back I wish I had pushed myself to stick with it through the crazy busy summer months. So here we are, it’s 2015 and I’m looking at it as an opportunity to hit the reset button. I have joined an inspiring new gym and have been working some new {cleaner} recipes into my weeknight meals at home. Won’t you join me?! Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetHere is a recipe that I thought was worth sharing from one of the two new cookbooks I received for Christmas!  It comes from Thug Kitchen’s The Official Cookbook which has quickly become my go-to. Let’s clear the air by saying I am a far cry from a vegetarian, and couldn’t even approach being a vegan. Through their guidance I’m learning how to make delicious substitutions that are lower in fat and calories, but just as delicious. It’s a refreshing approach to my regular cooking methodology.  The book opens with a sassy Julia Child quote, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” She’s right you know…

Almond Ceasar Salad
by Thug Kitchen

  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 head of your favorite lettuce, chopped

Soak the almonds in the hot water in either a blender or food processor, about 15 minutes. Once the almonds feel a bit soft, add everything but the last two items above. Puree or blend until creamy. Last, add the capers and buzz it for another 5-10 seconds. Season to taste with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

Toss with your chopped lettuce and enjoy without the guilt of a traditional Ceasar salad dressing! You can add protein by slicing up a farm fresh {hard or soft} cooked egg or add some grilled chicken for a healthy lunch!

*remember to choose local and/or organic whenever possible.

Cheers to healthy new beginnings!

To check out some of my running adventures {and a healthy recipe}, click here!

xo Kristen

{Venue Spotlight} The Velvet Mill

Envision yourself at The Velvet Mill: a historical space located in Stonington, Connecticut that has stood its ground since 1888. In yesteryears, the Mill was home to a booming velvet manufacturing family {A. Wimpfheimer & Bro., Inc}, yet it’s what thrives there today that makes it so special. Walk through its corridors and discover the friendly faces of our local artists, crafters and small businesses. Shout outs to my friend and artist, Lori Blados; the cool kids of Zest Fresh Pastry, who just launched their line of wedding cakes (squeee!); our peeps at the Beer’d Brewing Co.; the beautiful Ms. Patti Murphy and, of course, the talented duo – Tino and Norma of Verdant Floral Designs! During the colder months of the year, the Mill also houses the Stonington Village Farmer’s Market which brings people together every Saturday to enjoy the area’s bounty. It is very much alive and full of what has become a kinship between the community and those whom make it so special.

Velvet Mill Exterior

When owner, Eric Pivco announced that the Velvet Mill would be opening up its central atrium for outside events, we jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best in the wedding biz on an industrial-chic inspired wedding shoot. Walk through the details with us and be inspired! Don’t forget to like, pin and share the love!

Soft pastels bring a sense of femininity and warmth to the ceremony area. The ribbon backdrop beautifully establishes separation between I do’s and let’s dine!

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

Big bright marquee letters are a fun backdrop to the hors d’oeuvres display. Use of cast iron, wood and metals were the perfect compliment. A seaside inspired menu gives nod to the venue’s location on the edge of the open sea and its rich commercial fishing history that still operates today!

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

~ We divided the style of tables between traditional round and modern block to add visual interest ~

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

~ Steely paper menu cards atop layers of textured fabrics and patterned dishes~

The Velvet Mill



~ Romantic florals were threaded throughout ~

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

~ a vibrant dinner with fresh + simple ingredients ~

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

The Velvet Mill

~ and of course, something refreshing for dessert ~


It isn’t difficult to fall in love with this new special event venue. Thank you to the amazing team of professionals who worked with us, we couldn’t have done it without you!

The Velevet Mill

Call Eric Pivco today at 917.915.6340 to book your next event! We can’t wait to work with you in this unique space!

{venue} The Velvet Mill Stonington, CT

{design/catering} Gourmet Galley Catering

{menu cards} Patti Murphy Design

{rentals} Rentals Unlimited

{lighting and draping} Ryan Designs

{florals} Verdant Floral Studio

{all photos} Maggie Conley Photography

On Talking Turkey

We chat A LOT in the office, bouncing around ideas, inspiring and encouraging one another, sharing memories and laughing until our sides ache! Doesn’t everybody do this at work? With Thanksgiving just over a week away, it only seemed appropriate that the topic of Turkey would arise. I thought I might share some of our stories…

 Anna Says  

My story is that my mom cooks the turkey and she’s a pro so we let her do it. She covers it with all natural mayo and puts it in a large brown paper bag!! it comes out all mahogany brown and crispy, beautiful!

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I had never heard of preparing a turkey in a grocery bag. Just when you think you’ve seen it all… I was definitely intrigued and did a little digging around on the internet.  I found that the USDA does not consider brown paper grocery bags to be food safe (don’t tell Anna’s mother!),  but, Martha Stewart demonstrates an almost identical way here, using parchment!

 Peg-A-Loo Says 


Pete’s favorite is Roast Turkey with Hazelnut Butter.  We always get a fresh turkey (or two) – the Schlinks are a big bunch.  A few of us get together on Thanksgiving Day, but the real party is Friday Leftovers.

We use about a bag to a bag and a half (depending on the size of the turkey) of chopped hazelnuts and spread them out an a baking sheet.  We roast them at 325 for a few minutes – don’t go far, you don’t want to let them burn – until they smell delicious and are slightly browned.  Let cool.  Place a half pound of softened unsalted butter in a food processor, add roasted hazelnuts and salt and pepper to taste.  Pulse and then run on low until mixture forms a paste – you will still have small pieces of nuts.

Now, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get a little dirty.  You’re going to run your hands between the skin and the meat of the turkey all around the breast and legs of the bird to make a space for the nut butter. Then, slowly stuff the hazelnut butter mixture between the skin and the meat.  Depending on the size of the bird, you may want to use more butter (3/4 of a lb if you use a bag and a half of nuts).

I usually stuff the cavity of the bird with oranges and a little sage.  Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan.  Pour chicken or turkey stock in the bottom of the pan along with the turkey neck and a sprinkle of Bell’s seasoning.  Cover with pan lid or foil and roast until nearly done (check the time according to instruction on your bird or from your butcher).  This steams the turkey through and guarantees a moist and tender bird.  During the last half hour, take off the cover and let the skin get crispy and golden.

When you slice the turkey, you’ll see a fine layer of nuts between the skin and meat – decadent and delicious.

As delish as this is, the stuffing is the real star – oven toasted slices of bread that are hand torn and placed in a huge roasting pan and hand mixed with sauteed sausage, onion & celery, seasonings and chicken broth until just wet enough, then baked until warmed through and gloriously browned on top!  I think there would be a full blow family revolt without it.  Kevin and his friends and house mates even make it for the school-wide Thanksgiving at Montserrat College of Art – for 300-400 students – now that’s something to be Thankful for 🙂

Pete is Peggy’s husband and I want to know what time dinner is because man that sounds amazing!!

Pretty Bird Seven months ago when I took this position with Gourmet Galley, I had no idea that I would be gaining a little work family. The more I learn about who I share this space with, the more I love each and every one of them! This year, I am grateful for change and all the positive it has brought to my life. Stay tuned for more thoughts and shared stories from us in the coming days!


Xo Kristen



The Simplest of Appetizers

If you aren’t already in love with radishes like we are, buckle up! I’ll be the first to share that I grew up pulling these babies right out of the ground, barely brushing off the soil before popping them in my mouth with a healthy dose of salt. Not the fancy kind, we didn’t have that in my house back then. Maybe some of you were lucky enough to grow up with a garden like I did?  There were many days where I would march outside, salt shaker in hand and eat my way around it. That was the good stuff and the thought of it still makes me smile.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFast forward to a very recent experience, one I won’t soon forget. I found myself happily situated in front of a Harvest Table at a gathering of sorts with friends. It was beautifully presented, abundant and ripe with color. There were various cured meats and cheeses, tempting pate’s and warm aromatic Cafe Nuts. Amongst the mix, I found myself intrigued by one of the most simple of offerings, radishes with butter and salt. At first glance, I wondered if the butter were there by some mistake. How strange I thought. But friends, it only took one bite to understand the arrangement. I won’t lie, I felt like I was enjoying something incredibly luxurious which made me love it just a little bit more. The pop and crunch of the salt between my teeth, the velvety soft butter, it was stunningly good.

Move over Paula Deen, there’s a “new” vehicle for butter in town! Now in all honesty, this isn’t new at all. The French have been enjoying this little snack for years as I understand it. Lucky them, I’ve got some catching up to do. My suggestion, give it a try and see for yourself! Remember, the fewer the ingredients involved, the more crucial the quality of them is! Splurge on good unsalted grass-fed dairy butter and a box of flake salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel. If you don’t have a garden, visit your local farmer’s market and sample a few variety’s.

If you are one to entertain or looking for something new and exciting to bring to that next holiday party, we’ve got you covered!

All you need is:

  • a bunch of radishes, rinsed, dried and sliced
  • unsalted grass-fed dairy butter, softened
  • good flake salt

*Bring it to the next level by cutting up some warm crusty French bread for your guests to layer up with all of the goodness!








Craft Cocktail Elixir: The Shrub

Arriving in America from the UK during Colonial times, the Shrub, or drinkable-vinegar, has a lengthy history. Don’t tell me you aren’t intrigued about that vinegar part… I’m sure your imagination is bouncing from the woody plant to salad dressing, ours certainly was! That is unless of course you’re from the South or perhaps the Pacific Northwest, then maybe you stopped reading already and are headed to your trendy neighborhood watering hole.

photo 5

While modern “shrubs” aren’t common New England bar mixers (yet), they graced the palates of ancient Romans, Greeks,  & Samurai Warriors before skipping across the pond. A fun, and perhaps useless tid-bit, Colonial-era sailors brought bottles of it with them on their ships to avoid scurvy. How’s that for a throw-back to grade-school history?

On a more serious note, way back when, these drinkable vinegars started out as a way to preserve fruit and were eventually combined with sugar or honey for their own cocktails.

So what is a “shrub” exactly? To break it down, a “shrub” is a syrup of either fruit or vegetable (or both), steeped in vinegar, combined with cane sugar, and sometimes herbs or spices. Simply put, a tangy-sweet infusion that adds depth of flavor to a variety of cocktails and mocktails. The acidity of the vinegar balances any sweetness and sounds the gun for a healthy appetite while still quenching thirst. Interesting, right?!

Shrub & Co Grapefruit Shrub

Shrub & Co Grapefruit Shrub

I’m thinking these would be the perfect addition to any cocktail hour bar. The best part, they’re versatile.  You can mix them into sparkling wine, spirits, beer and even bubbly water appealing to both drinkers and non-drinkers.

Grapefruit Shrub and Voss sparkling water, lavender and grapefruit garnish.

Grapefruit Shrub and Voss sparkling water, lavender and grapefruit garnish.

Move over Italian Soda! The combinations are endless and these “shrubs” can be made right at home using local produce. Think peach & basil, blackberry & thyme, clementine & tarragon, raspberry and rosemary, and on and on.

For our clients who want to offer a unique signature drink at their next event, this might be your new go-to. Go ahead, break the rules!



{Featured Event} Spring is in the air!

This Friday, we have chosen to feature a very special event – spring! All of us Gourmet Galley girls (and guys) have been longing for warmer weather since about the second snow storm of the winter. We can’t wait to eat spring foods, pick herbs from our garden, and do all sorts of outdoors-y things. With spring comes wedding season, and we are gearing up for that, too. It seems like just last week we filed the paperwork on our final wedding of the season and got ready to “relax” in the “off season.” Looking back, those words really should not exist in the world of catering.

One of the most exciting things for us at Gourmet Galley this spring is our exclusive partnership with the Guilford Yacht Club. We will be the only caterer at this picturesque waterfront venue, and we could not be happier. This partnership also brought us the newest member of our team, Marissa, who fits right in here  🙂

We will leave you with some photos of our favorite spring dishes to get your mouth watering and inspire some springtime creativity. Remember, there is always a reason to celebrate!

Providence – My City Crush

This week, the topic of my blog post is “Favorite Thing.” Typically, we all write about our favorite foods, a great event product, or something of that sort. When I started thinking along those lines, nothing really came to mind.  What I could not stop thinking about was that I get to go to Providence, RI next week to visit a new venue. That’s when it hit me – my favorite thing right now is not something you can eat or something you can buy in a store. My favorite thing is the City of Providence.

I have always loved the cities of the Northeast. In fact, I would probably pack up all my stuff and move to New York City right now if I didn’t love my job at Gourmet Galley so much. However, the more we talk about Providence, the more I realize how great of a place it truly is.

I went to Johnson & Wales University for college, so Providence will always have a special place in my heart.  I loved living on the East Side amongst all the old houses and students from the other colleges in the area.  I loved taking the trolley to Federal Hill (or Fed Hill as us “locals” like to call it) to eat at some of the best Italian restaurants in the country.  I loved how easy it was to navigate through the city of Providence.  I just loved everything about it.

I am most thrilled when I get to visit my old “stomping grounds.” As Gourmet Galley books more and more business in Rhode Island, I am excited at the possibility of being able to work in Providence and use my expertise of the area to everyone’s advantage.  A couple of weeks ago I attended an event that took place at a new Providence venue.  This location just so happened to be directly across the street from the Johnson & Wales University library, a place I visited more times than I can  count.

Here are some insider tips about the greatest little city in the world {at least according to me 🙂 }:

  • Avoid the Providence Place Mall (and especially its parking garage) between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. You will save yourself from being stressed and angry at the world from all the craziness that is holiday shopping.
  • Eat local as much as possible. Providence has some of the greatest restaurants in the country owned and operated by some of the best chefs around. My favorites include Geppetto’s Grilled Pizzeria on Fed Hill, Brickway on Wickenden {the best greasy breakfast on the East Side}, and Spice – a whole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant down the street from Brown University.
  • Shop on Thayer St.  There are so many wonderful stores and the people-watching can prove to be extremely interesting if you hit it when the Brown University students are switching classes. I will never forget the $13 pink Mary Janes I got at Berks, my favorite shoe and clothing store on the entire East Side.

I hope you enjoy Providence as much as I do.  We would love to hear your insider tips about this city and others!



The Wild Side of Cakes!

A new trend to think about when picking out your wedding cake is a naked cake. (or birthday cake, or Tuesday night cake for that matter!) A cake without an outside layer of frosting or fondant is considered naked. (For the office… If someone licks the frosting off the outside, it is considered neked.) No worries frosting lovers, there are still layers of frosting and fruit between the layers of cake.
The naked cake lends itself well to a variety of different styles. With an abundance of fruits it would blend into any Old World styled event. For a garden party, a light cake decorated with herbs such as mint or lavender would work well.

For a Valentine’s treat you could have dark chocolate cake layered with caramel frosting and strawberries, of course. The list goes on and on. Pinterest Find!

When it is cold and blustery outside, I get the urge to bake! Not only does the house warm up, but it smells great too! During the snow this past week, I made a chocolate cake with layers of peanut butter frosting…


The style of a naked cake has a look and feel all its own. For the next party you have, consider a naked cake. These cakes can add a natural and organic feel to any event. For a rustic styled wedding this would be paramount. If that’s not rustic elegance, I don’t know what is!