House Warming Hors D’Ouevres

The 2 cooks resident francophile pointed out that “hors d’ouevres” translates literally to mean “outside of the masterpieces.” However, for any savvy cook or entertainer, hors d’ouervres can be masterpieces in and of themselves. We recently held a housewarming party and served six very ambitious creations that could be eaten without the encumbrance of plates or utensils. Here’s how the creative cooking process generally goes down in our kitchen: SMH has a brainstorm and ECW grabs the closest notepad and writing utensil on hand and scribbles down the inspiration. Later, this is made into a shopping list and the concept is turned into reality and simplified in a flurry of preparation.  Hors d’ouevres are really just about assembling the standard meal onto a smaller platform.  Usually you start with the starch as the base (which is convenient, architectually-wise), and then work up from there with protein, vegetables, and topped off with some sauce or flavor-riffic substance.  As you will see from what we served, you can take these basic principles and run with them like a track star to the supermarket.  Not that we actually have any supermarkets in New York.

House Warming Hors D'Oeuvres (Labled)

The menu this night was as follows:

Crostini with Eggs Florentine and Beschemel Sauce

Ahi Tuna and Edamame with Wasabi Mayo on Nori on a Rice Cracker

Roasted Red Pepper and Tofu Spread on a Cracker with Watercress (Vegetarian)

Fava Bean Puree and Babaganoush on a Toasted Pita Slice (Vegetarian)

Roasted Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions, Pomegranate Sauce, and Watercress (Crostini base)

Mignon Medallions on Curried Mashed Potatoes with Asparagus Spear (Crostini base)

All of this is much simpler than it actually sounds.  Hence the shopping list:

Protein-

Ahi Tuna

Pork loin

Filet Mignon

Stuff that comes in a can, box, or bag-

Baguettes for crostini

Fava beans

Tahini

Pomegranate juice

Butter

Milk

Rice Crakers

Nori

Eggs

Edemame

Wasabi

Roasted Red Peppers

Tofu

Pita Bread

Cheese

Vegetables:

Eggplant

Onions

Garlic

Waercress

Asparagus

Spinach

So here we go.  First steps first.

Cut the baguettes into 1/2″ slices.  Put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and place in the oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Now you have crostini!

Slice pita bread by 8ths, place on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp

Finely dice three heads of garlic and three onions.  These will go into multiple hors d’ouevres.

Peel and dice eggplant, de-stem watercress, chop the tough parts off the bottoms of the asparagus.

Cooking prep:

Saute fava beans with some garlic and onion.  Add some S&P, cumin, and corriander.

Saute eggplant with same plus a small amount of tahini.  But keep separate.

Saute asparagus in olive oil with S&P

Quick Eggs Florentine:

Clean and de-stem spinach

Whisk eggs with S&P and some milk or cream.  The longer you whisk, the fluffier your eggs.

Saute onions and garlic

Add spinach

Add eggs and cheese

Saute until desired egg consistancy

Pork Loin:

Season meat with S&P and roast in 400 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees

Filet Mignon:

Season meat with S&P and roast in 400 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees

Ahi Tuna:

Season meat with S&P, and sprinkle with a very small amount of sugar (this helps caremelize the outside quicker so the inside stays rare)

Heat a pan on high until smoking.  Add a very small amount of oil (peanut if you have it, since it has the highest smoking point).  Lay the slab of tuna into that pan and let it frazzle fry for 4 minutes on one side, 1 and a half on the other.  Both sides should be brown, but the inside should still be maroon.

Edamame:

Boil water.  Throw edamame beans into the water.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Strain.

Middle Eastern Style Beschemel Sauce:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

4 cups milk

Juice of 1 lemon

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat.  Add flour in Tbsp increments and saute until light brown.  Add milk in 1 cup increments.  Add lemon juice and cinnamon/nutmeg.  You should have a thick creamy paste/sauce at this point.

Wasabi Mayo:

In  a blender, combine 2 egg yolks and 1 egg, 4 tbsp of wasabi powder, 1 tbsp mustard, and 1 tbsp vinegar.  Turn blender on and drizzle in 1 1/2 cups olive oil until saucy.

Pomegranate Sauce:

1 Bottle Pom pomegranate juice

4 Tbsp honey

S&P

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and reduce by 3/4 (you should have 1 quarter the amount of liquid you started with).

Caramelized Onions:

1 Onion thinly sliced

Butter

Sugar (brown works good too)

Heat pan to medium.  Melt 2 tbsp butter in the pan, then add onion.  Saute for 2 min then add spoonful of sugar.  Let cook for another 5 min then add another spoonful of sugar.  Let fry until crisp and brown.

Curried Mashed Potatoes:

Skin and chop potatoes

Boil with onions and garlic until soft

Mash with butter, S&P, curry powder, and as many spices and herbs you want to put in there

Each individual ingredient isn’t that hard to make.  But we will admit that at this point this is a bit time consuming.  The good news is, once you’ve reached this point, it’s all about finishing the individual products and assembly.  Here’s the good word on each dish:

Crostini with Eggs Florentine and Beschemel Sauce

Simply layer the crostini with the Beschemel Sauce first, followed by the Eggs Florentine.

Ahi Tuna and Edamame with Wasabi Mayo on Nori on a Rice Cracker

The trick here is to take one of your rice crackers, and figure out how to cut a square of Nori to match the size.  The cool thing is that once you do this, you can take multiple sheets of Nori at the same time and cut them in strips, and consequently squares with a pair of scissors.

To assemble, simply place a square of Nori on the rice cracker, followed by a strip of the ahi tuna, with an edamame bean on top and then drizzled with the wasabi mayo.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tofu Spread on a Cracker with Watercress (Vegetarian)

Take the roasted red peppers, drain the liquid in the bottle, and put into a food processor.  Add onions, garlic, S&P, and a block of tofu.  And any other spices you want (the more the better).  Blend.  Add olive oil to the processor if the consistency ends up being too thick.

Spread on that cracker and top with a watercress leaf.  Beautiful!

Fava Bean Puree and Babaganoush on a Toasted Pita Slice (Vegetarian)

Take that fava bean saute and put in the food processor.  Blend.  Scoop out into bowl.

Do the same with the eggplant mixture.  Now you have babaganoush.

Layer the fava bean puree on the pita chip first topped off with the babaganoush.

Roasted Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions, Pomegranate Sauce, and Watercress (Crostini base)

Take roasted loin and slice in 1/2″ medallions, then further until they match the size of the crostini base.  Place on costini and top with watercress, then caramelized onions and the pomegranate sauce.

Mignon Medallions on Curried Mashed Potatoes with Asparagus Spear (Crostini base)

Take roasted loin and slice in 1/2″ medallions, then further until they match the size of the crostini base.  Layer crostini with curried mashed potatoes first, followed by mignon slice and topped with asparagus spear.

Well, that wasn’t so simple.

Sorry.  But at least you can get a grasp of how to take basic culinary concepts and assemble them into that most Frenchy of appetizers, the hor d’ouevre.  And who frackin’ cares anyways, these muthers taste gooooooooood, plus warmed our house (i.e. people didn’t get too drunk with these kind of food cushions in the bottom of their stomach).  And really, Freedom Fries or no, isn’t that all that really matters?

-2KINTK

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About 2cooksinthekitchen

Two cooks, one from Bushwick and a passionate meat-eater, one from Sunset Park and a former vegan, and both NYC transplants, set out to share original recipes that can be made dairy free and vegan deserts; showcase culinary resources in the outer boroughs (and sometimes Manhattan) where one can find unique, specific and fairly priced ingredients; and participate wholeheartedly in the many cultures of cooking and eating that make up New York City.
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