Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Easy and Quick Hor d’Oeuvres

For this month’s installment of the Foodbuzz 24 event I did a spread of easy and quick hor d’oeuvres. I had some good ingredients in my pantry already so I whipped them up for a lunch with a few good friends.

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Piquillo Peppers, Lemon Oil & Zest, Sherry Vinegar

Piquillo peppers are such a delicious ingredient. They are northern Spanish peppers which are hand-picked, roasted, peeled, seeded and jarred. All the work is done for you beforehand. I seasoned them with lemon oil, sherry vinegar, lemon zest and a pinch of orange-thyme salt.

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Pecorino Bean Crostini, Pickled Zucchini

I’ve made bean crostinis countless times. What can I say? I love them. They are really versatile, inexpensive and of course tasty. This time I added pecorino to the bean puree and paired it with Zuni Cafe’s pickled zucchini. The tangy crunchy pickles were a nice contrast to the creamy bean puree.

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Pickled Cherry Peppers, Tuna, Basil, Pinenuts

I had pickled some cherry peppers recently which were sitting in the fridge unused. They make a perfect hor d’oeuvre base once its top is cut and it’s deseeded. I stuffed them with a salad of tuna, basil and toasted pinenuts. I used imported Spanish tuna which is higher quality and more delicious than the domestic stuff. The cherry peppers had a pleasant kick of spiciness.

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Crostni with Dry Rubbed Home-Cured Bacon, Crescenza Cheese

I made a simple mix of smoked paprika, brown sugar and black pepper and rubbed this over thick-cut home-cured bacon and let it marinade overnight. After baking them off in the oven I combined it with creamy Bellwether Farm’s Crescenza cheese on a crostini. Needless to say these were very popular. Even all the leftover bacon was polished off. Easy and quick hor d’oeuvres, always a pleasure to host with.

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Crispy Beluga Lentils, Sungold Tomatoes, Chevre Mousse

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Channeling Cobras & Matadors’ sauteed green lentils I made a crispy black lentil and sungold tomato salad with goat cheese mousse. I fried the black lentils in about a half inch of olive oil and threw in sliced serrano ham and scallion at the end. I drained it on a paper towel, salted it and tossed with sungold tomato halves just with a light drizzle of red wine vinegar. The creamy tangy goat cheese mousse was a perfect match to the salad which had a lot going on but oh so harmonious. I served toasted baguette slices to that the items could be scooped up together and devoured.

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Purple Hull Pink Eye Beans

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Purple hull…

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Pink eye…

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Beans!

I was super excited to buy my first bundle of fresh shell beans and such beauties at that. The hulls are dramatic and the beans themselves are so adorable with its light green hue and a flirty pink eye. I kept the dish simple buy using bits and pieces from my fridge. The beans were cooked with pancetta, onion, thyme, chile de arbol, kosher salt, black pepper, and a good glug of good quality olive oil. I had half of a boiled potato sitting around the fridge so I threw that in too mashing it up into the bean liquid. When the beans were ready I served them with a grating of parmigiano reggiano, chives and a final drizzle of olive oil. I had this as a very quick and delicious weekday dinner with a heavenly slice of Bay Cities’ filone bread.

Crispy Spiced Red Lentils, Burrata, Microgreens

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The red lentils in my pantry have been ignored for too long. I don’t have too much experience with lentils so I turned to the net and searched for a good recipe. But most of the choices were daals and stews which I wasn’t in the mood for. So I decided to try making crispy lentils a la Cobras & Matadors. They serve up a delicious crispy green lentils with serrano ham and scallion. The lentils are crispy around the edges and shriveled up from the oil bath. But I wanted my lentils to be crispy all the way through and since red lentils cook up faster than others I knew I would get the texture I was looking for.

I cooked the lentils in boiling water for 10 minutes then drained it well. I heated up about an inch olive oil and started frying them up. Meanwhile I sliced up a few slices of bacon and scallion. When the lentils were almost done, that would be crispy all the way through, I threw in the bacon and scallion so they could crisp up too. When they came out of the pan I drained it on a paper towel lined paper bag and seasoned with salt, paprika, curry powder, cayenne, and black pepper.

Now to compose the salad… what better than Gioia burrata? The lentils got a squeeze of lemon juice, the burrata a drizzle of delicious wild olive oil, and microgreens dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil. The lentils were like lil mini chips and the crispy bacon and scallion were delicious. The texture and flavor contrast between the crispy spicy lentils and creamy milky burrata was great. Not to mention the pretty colors. The microgreens brought a bit of freshness to the plate. This salad was quite tasty.