by KELLY DAIGLE Featured in 406 Woman Magazine March 2010
As the year gets into full swing and the holiday season is over, hosting another dinner party may be the last thing on your agenda. This is not the case for Kristen Ledyard, of John’s Angles Catering. Kristen invited us over to her New England style home where “antique meets leopard print,” for a dazzling evening of .
Hosting a party can seem a bit overwhelming but Kristen handles herself with grace and ease. Rather than running out and buying expensive decorations, she utilizes unique accents from around her home for a sophisticated, elegant dinner party without breaking the bank.
“It is simple to host an elegant, budget friendly evening. I bring out antique heirlooms that tell a story about our home, our life,” Kristen explains as she lightly polishes a fork from her antique silverware collection passed down from her husband’s side of the family. “I accent the table with small details such as printed menus and heart shaped tea candles from the local grocery store.” These details will bring together the evening and invite your guests to relax in your home.
The menu, which is printed on detailed paper, lays elegantly over each place setting and features an array of local and specialty foods to entice the eyes and delight the palette. Hors d’oeuvres are served in the living room and include imported cheese bought locally from a specialty store, wild game and jerk shrimp with lime aioli. Kristen recently returned from Jamaica where she sampled local cuisine and returned with a suitcase of signature spices.
“When you return from your vacation, recreate your favorite meals by adding in some local spices from the places you visited,” adds Kristen.
The evening continues with tomato blue cheese bisque served out of a pitcher rather than a bowl, for an exciting twist. This soup is extremely simple, using fresh, inexpensive ingredients from the store. The only equipment you need is a simple blender.
The night effortlessly flows together with incredible wines purchased at Uncorked Wines in Kalispell, where they will pair wine with your menus for free.
After an heirloom lettuce salad with sherry-truffle vinaigrette, Kristen presents a pork loin with a drizzle of raspberry chipotle sauce and garlic-parmesan mashed potatoes. Pork loin is less expensive then beef or prime rib but can be just as delectable when cooked the proper way. Kristen suggests, “by roasting your garlic in the oven while cooking your pork loin, you will save time and be able to spend more of the evening with your guests.”
Shop for produce that is in season and uncomplicated. Green beans or asparagus balance the meal while crushed pistachios add a light touch of texture. Use nuts left over from the holidays and save some money!
And for the pièces de résistance, Kristen turns the reins over to her husband, John. “I believe that if you and your husband can cook together, your guests will appreciate the effort and have some fun.” John prepares an Angels’ signature dish, crème caramel, and uses simple ingredients to do so including sugar, milk and eggs.
Kristen and John opened John’s Angels Catering five years ago and have seen tremendous success in the Flathead Valley. “Anyone can afford catering. I wanted to bring this experience to the valley and to everyone who is interested.” They have catered events as large as 500 people down to a personal, intimate evening of one or two. Using cooking techniques from across the country and around the world, Kristen offers unique menus that satisfy any taste bud.
Prior to catering, Kristen enjoyed success as a professional horse jumper back east and it was here that she met John. John’s mother passed down old cookbooks to Kristen and she began cooking Sunday lunches for family and friends, and traveling to learn more about cooking and diversify her repertoire. “I never thought I would have two true loves in life. But I do,” exclaims Kristen, “cooking and horses. I enjoy sharing these special experiences.”
Whether Kristen is catering for a large crowd, or entertaining her closest friends, she believes that the “most precious thing you can give to anyone is your time. I give it to my family, friends and clients.”