Tag Archives: appetizers

Confit… con? or fit?

2 Jun

Confit: [kohn-FEE, kon-FEE]

This specialty of Gascony, France, is derived from an ancient method of preserving meat (usually goose, duck or pork) whereby it is salted and slowly cooked in its own fat. The cooked meat is then packed into a crock or pot and covered with its cooking fat, which acts as a seal and preservative. Confit  can be refrigerated up to 6 months. Confit d’oie and confit de canard are preserved goose and preserved duck, respectively.

© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/entry?id=2028#ixzz1OA1VZ100

Confit, as defined above is reserved for slowly cooking poultry in their own fats for preservation reasons. But, lately, it seems as though you can “confit” anything. I’ve seen recipes for tomato confit, garlic confit, lemon confit and most recently, chickpea confit. Personally, I feel that confit is turning into one of those culinary terms like carpaccio. You see anything sliced paper thin is a carpaccio of “fill in the blank.” Granted anything salted and slowly cooked in fat sounds delicious to me, but is it really a confit?

It’s an interesting thought really. Why not just poach these items in oil. They certainly done have their own fat to bring to the party. But what’s the different between oil poaching and confit? Mostly, when you poach something in oil, you are removing the item from the cooking liquid whereas with a confit it is being stored in the fat. Still, doesn’t tomato confit sound so much more luxurious than tomato dip or even preserved tomatoes. And an oil poached tomato kinda sounds like a greasy mess.

Confit or not, I made my version of chickpea confit. The bottom line is that this is a dip or spread. It’s similar to hummus but with infinitely more flavor and texture. Plus it sounds so elegant for a dip. Here’s the recipe:Chickpea Confit

Chickpea Confit
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large garlic cloves
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low for 45 mins-1 hour. Let the mixture cool slightly and mash with a fork. Serve chilled with fresh baguette or crackers.

So what is my final verdict on the proper nomenclature? Well, I think that whenever something sounds exotic and exciting it makes me want to eat it more. I’m still not convinced that radish carpaccio should be allowed… but the idea of elevating a simple vegetable to new heights by cooking as if it was as special as duck or goose, can only be a good thing.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Chilled Soup for Dr. Suess

10 Apr

Chilled Tomato and Yellow Pepper SoupAt the end of the month I will be catering a large VIP event for the school that I work for. The PTO holds an annual auction that has an option that allows you early access to the event plus cocktail and appetizers. In the the past this event has been catered by the PTO. Usually a parent steps in and takes on the job. However, this year, they’ve asked for my help.

I’m very excited for the opportunity. You see, I have also donated a dinner party to be auctioned off at the event. Last year, my dinner party sold for $800. And that was without anyone tasting my food. This year, since I’ll be doing the event prior to my dinner party coming to the table for bidding, I’m hoping to raise at least $1000 for the school.

I’ve been given free reign of the menu, with one catch. The theme of the auction is Dr. Suess and so the foods should be colorful and whimsical. On the menu I have things like; green eggs and ham (wasabi deviled eggs with crispy prosciutto), Bratwurst sliders, Black bean and green chili empanadas, a fruit and brie display, cheese ravioli with deconstructed pesto, chilled shrimp with bloody Mary cocktail sauce, and the recipe I tested tonight, chilled tomato and yellow pepper soup.

I always love being at events that pass soup. I’ve had tomato soup served in martini glasses with a pimento cheese garnish, gazpacho, and minted pea soup. There are the fruit soups (a.k.a smoothies) and other chocolaty liquids served in mini bowls or shot glasses. I just think it’s refreshing and unexpected. I knew I wanted to do a colorful soup and I knew I wanted it to be layered. I love chilled tomato soup. It’s light and refreshing and so different than the thick cloying tomato juice that you are probably thinking of. I also love yellow peppers. They are sweet and juicy and taste delicious. Viola! The soup concept was born.

For the Tomato Soup:
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Concasse 2 beefsteak tomatoes
Step 2: In a hot saute pan, heat 1/2 a medium shallot and 1/2 garlic clove
Step 3: When the garlic and shallot start to become arromatic, add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

For the Yellow Pepper Soup:
2 large yellow bell peppers
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Roast the shallot and yellow peppers in the oven for 30 minutes
Step 2: Put the peppers and shallots in a plastic bag and zip shut until the peppers are cool enough to handle
Step 3: Peel the peppers and add everything into the food processor
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

Gently layer the tomato soup on top of the pepper soup. I like to serve soup for a crowd in shot glasses. It’s fun and little so your guests don’t feel like they are eating too much before the main meal. I garnished with basil oil and a few leaves. On the night of the event I think I’m going to garnish with chive oil since the basil oil has a tendency to blacken if not properly pureed.

I think this one is a real winner.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Sweet and Spicy… just like me

8 Feb

Look and the color of these wings! There is no photoshop folks, that is the true color of my feisty chicken wings. As you know it was the super bowl this past weekend. We were planning on getting together with some friends, but it turned out to be a quiet night in. For me, a football game just isn’t the same without wings. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional wing sauce, but since it was just the hubs and me, I wanted to play with flavor…

I started with Martha’s Stewart’s recipe for sweet and spicy chicken wings and made some changes to make it my own.

Feisty Wings
1/4 cup mesquite BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/4 to 1/2 cup Sriracha hot-chile sauce, or other hot sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted-sesame oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
salt to taste
2 pounds chicken wings not separated, patted dry with paper towels

  • Arrange the wings in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet. Turn your broiler to high and place the cookie sheet in the middle of the oven. Let the wings cook for 10 minutes before flipping them. You may need to flip the wings a couple of times to avoid burning. While the chicken is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When the chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes, take them out of the oven and put them directly in the sauce. Toss to coat and serve.

  • You can deep fry the wings instead of broiling, but the cook time will vary.

  • Try these at you next party… they are delicious!
  • Always thinking of the next meal
  • -Katie
  • A delightful dip

    7 Feb

    7 layer taco dip is one of those things that almost everyone loves. Whenever you go to party you cross your fingers and hope that you’ll find that delightful combination of taco accessories will be sitting proudly next to a giant bowl of taco chips. It’s really simple. All you need is a large bowl and 7 ingredients. (I realize that 7 doesn’t really sound simple, but it is, trust me.)

    This dip is all about assembly. You want to make sure that you layer the ingredients in an order that won’t cause any of the other layers to get squished or wilted. It looks the best in a glass bowl with nice high sides, but any serving dish will work.

    Here are the ingredients in assembly order:

    1 can refried beans
    8 oz sour cream
    1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (preferably mexican cheese)
    1 cup chunky salsa
    1 cup shredded lettuce
    1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
    1 tablespoon hot sauce

    So traditionally, the 7th layer is typically slice black olives. Personally, I hate olives of the blackus cannious variety (i.e. canned black olives.) If you want to use them go ahead, and if you want to use good black olives like cerignola olives and slice them yourself that would be perfect.

    This is a great dip to bring to a party, especially a football or tailgate party. There are a million variations to this recipe, but the concept stays the same. Here’s another version that I like. It’s a hot one…

    1 block cream cheese, softened
    1 pound ground beef browned
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    8 oz sour cream
    1/2 cup salsa
    1 cup frozen corn, thawed
    1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

    After layering, heat in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees

    Try this out at your next party!

    Always thinking of the next meal

    -Katie