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Malawry

Appetizers/Hors D'Oeuvres Ideas

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So we're giving an informal game-playing party tomorrow night. I'm in charge of snacks, as is usual in our household. I wondered if people had thoughts for simple snacks that are not too messy that I can throw together. I will put out some kind of crudite platter with a herb seasoned salt, roasted buttered nuts, and one or two types of homemade cookies. I was thinking of doing something with endive leaves...but everything I am thinking of drizzling on them is way too messy. Any thoughts?

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Oh dear. Just as long as we keep this thread separate from the kitchen-revenge discussion. :o

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I take pitted black olives (less messy) and bung 'em in a baking pan with red wine, sliced garlic, pepper, fennel seeds and red wine. Stick it in a 350 oven for 20 minutes and bake until the aroma drives you wild and you have to taste them.

For endive leaves, I've been getting into a jicama, blood orange and avocado salad, that could be spooned into the leaves pretty easily. It's got nice color and crunch, and if you dress the salad with some lime juice and maybe chili oil, the avocado won't discolor and you can keep it chilled in the fridge.

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You can make a gratin out of endives by slicing them down the middle, sprinkling the cut side with diced bacon, crumbled cheese and a few spot of oil, and slipping them under the broiler.  Too messy to eat?

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I make what are basically croquettes from chard, beet greens, or any other fairly mild green. I adapted a recipe from Faith Willinger's Red, White, and Greens cookbook (she calls these 'subrich,' a Piemontese dialect word...I tend to call thenm fried green things).

You process blanched greens, garlic (or shallot or even scallion), fresh herbs (rosemary most often for me since it's growing right outside the kitchen all yeat long), and hard grating cheese like Parmigiano or pecorino...use egg and either soaked, squeezed dry bread or bread crumbs to bind, then fry in olive oil.

These are one of my most-requested dishes...more details atfried green things.

I also like to make a variation of arancini, the fried rice balls (aka suppli di telefono)...if you have leftover risotto or plain rice, it's even easier, but you can make a fresh batch, flavor it with whatever, press into a shallow pan, and let harden. Cut into small sqaures, press into bread crumbs, and fry in olive oil. The same technique works well for polenta, which doesn't brown all that well on its own. I call the risotto cakes quadratige.

For one party I made some of each (the polenta and rice squares) and arranged them like a checkerboard...looked very nice.

Jim

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Thanks for the cool ideas.

Jim, are those rice and polenta squares good when they cool, or are they best eaten fresh out of the pan? I'd prefer not to spend time in the kitchen once things get going.

Wilfrid, the gratin sounds good, but like it would make a better plated first course than a dish you could pick up with your fingers between rounds of poker. I was thinking of something more along the lines of Liza's suggestion. Do you guys think grapefruit would taste good with endive? I have some good, sweet, juicy grapefruit at home.

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A couple more ideas for stuffed endive leaves:  Hummus salad, made with home-made or store bought hummus (I use store bought) mixed with some finely diced (seeds removed) cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, chopped fresh mint leaves, and garnished with a few cilantro leaves.  An even easier prep along the same line I recently had is hummus dip served with sliced red cabbage wedges cut into scoopable sized pieces in lieu of pita wedges (this tastes great together).  Also a soft goat cheese mixed with chopped herbs goes nice in endive, as well as a spicy crab salad.  Although I haven't tried this one, I would also think curry chicken salad or other chicken salad might work.

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meat on a stick is always popular, and can be eaten cold.

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Ah meat on a stick, the original fast food.

I've always wanted to make gougeres, maybe someone can advise..

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I make what are basically croquettes from chard, beet greens, or any other fairly mild green. I adapted a recipe from Faith Willinger's Red, White, and Greens cookbook (she calls these 'subrich,' a Piemontese dialect word...I tend to call thenm fried green things).

I've made those subrich -- in fact, I made them in Florence, having taken that cookbook along on a visit. Then I found out that Willinger lived only a few blocks away from the apartment I was staying in -- the farmer's market she talks about throughout the book was where I had gotten the nettles for the subrich! I actually called her and said hi and told her how much I was enjoying the book and she was quite friendly, considering I had just called her out of the blue. Shared lots of insider stuff about the Florence food scene...

Just had to share the story -- it ranks high in my pantheon of transcendent foodie moments. But the getting back to the main topic -- subrich were terrific, and are good dipped in a hot or sweet/sour sauce.

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Malawry....The rice and polenta squares are fine at room temp...I think I like them better that way. The subrich should be eaten hot, though, like right out of the pan.

I also just noticed that I mispelled 'quadrati' but can't figure out how I got those extra letters...quadrati means squares, altho' they should probably be called quadratini for little squares

B Edulis....I met Faith when the IACP conference was in Portland a few years back...I'm not a member, but got in on a press pass. She emailed me recently with info about her new web site, but it's on my other computer at home. I'll post it later.

Jim

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I've always wanted to make gougeres, maybe someone can advise..

They are just cream puff pastry with cheese added.  Very easy to do if you press them out with a pastry bag rather than fumbling with two spoons.

Malawry - taramasalata is very good with endive as you've described.

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I was thinking of doing something with endive leaves...but everything I am thinking of drizzling on them is way too messy. Any thoughts?

at our holiday dessert and appetizer blowout at work someone brought endive leaves that had a  dollop of a stuff on it.  the stuff was chutney with chopped nuts, raisins and some softened cream cheese.  amazingly good.

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B Edulis

I posted Faith's web site info on the Media board

Jim

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how about duck confit shredded and set atop pappadams, with some thinly sliced scallion and maybe a drop of hoisin?  super easy to prepare if you can get a hold of d'artagnan's duck legs confit.  yummy!

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I ended up wussing out on Jim's polenta and risotto squares, because I wanted to use the idea when I'm doing something more involved. Here's what I ended up serving:

Endive leaves with hummus and a red-green-yellow-pepper confetti

Mixed nuts roasted in butter with sea salt

A cheese platter: sheep's milk feta, goat's milk gruyere, New York cheddar, a standard brie, butter, and a German apricot jam

Assorted crudite with a fresh lemon-oregano sea salt

Chocolate chip cookies, both regular and with mint

Brownies made with the Scharffen Berger unsweetened chocolate I picked up in NYC

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Fresh lemon-oregano sea salt? I don't understand? Do you mean zest and minced leaves mixed with salt? How do they hold to the crudite?

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Yeah, I zested some lemon and finely chopped fresh oregano leaves and mixed them with sea salt. The lemon didn't pick up so well but the oregano and salt did. Next time I'll make the lemon zest smaller so it picks up better.

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I don't like fingers in my food.

Au contraire: I think fingers are the perfect finger food: crunchy but chewy. Have you tried them deep-fried in batter with a honey-mustard dipping sauce? Mm-mm good - or shall I say "finger-lickin'" good?

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I have agreed to cater an extremely upmarket cocktail party where they want to wow the punters with taste sensations that are new and exciting.

All sounds great except I don't feel that new and exciting!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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i saw something in a recent mainstream food mag (food and wine or some such). i forget the specifics, but i'll look it up soon as i'm going to try it. as i recall, it was a basil leaf, stuffed with a cheese of somesort, a mixture in fact, and topped with pinenuts. or something like that. regardless, it was elegant and fingerable.

:wacko:

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i saw something in a recent mainstream food mag (food and wine or some such).  i forget the specifics, but i'll look it up soon as i'm going to try it.  as i recall, it was a basil leaf, stuffed with a cheese of somesort, a mixture in fact, and topped with pinenuts.  or something like that. regardless, it was elegant and fingerable.

:wacko:

Yeah, I saw that too. Must be Food & Wine I think. Elegant and fingerable - what could be bad? :wink:

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