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OCD food with little or no nutritional value

do you ever fantasize about ridiculously time and labor consuming things? like hollowed grape tomatoes filled with the most exquisite crab salad and reassembled with a toothpick, or wonton wrappers stuffed with edible flowers in a clear broth.

mamachef remarked on Cafe Boulud sharpening the ends of their asparagus spears and reminded me of this old idea that's been perking for a long time.

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  1. Raisins, stuffed with goat cheese mouselline, battered and deepfried. JUST KIDDING!

    3 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      well of course you are, one would do that with olives naturally.

        1. re: hill food

          actually, i serve these olives A LOT (and could eat about a million) and quite a bit of the foods mentioned in this thread. like why are cornish game hens more labor intensive? they're just smaller. and just about everything, including the stuffed baby tomatoes, have nutritional value.

          maybe i'm a nerd hostess or have just done enough mass assembling of large quantities of event foods at work that i don't think of this stuff as "hard" or too much trouble because the pay-off of deliciousness and wow-factor is so great..

          but ya lost me on the gamer stuff, lol.

      1. Well, it's not of no nutritional value, but here goes....

        Hubs and I have been playing Fable 2, and now I want to make some of the foods on it. Specifically there is something called a "crunchy chick" (it's a live chick you can eat, and ups your "corruption"). So I want to get some little quail, or whatever the smallest kind of bird available, beer batter them, and deep fry 'em till crispy.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Popkin

          it sort of fits, if they're treated as if they were a full size bird and carved and portioned according (1 bird for 4 people - god you'd need an excellent fish knife) in a similar vein I stuffed quail with boiled chicken eggs (1 each and that barely fit) grilled 'em and stuffed those into a turkey once. made carving and serving the table quite the spectacle.

          too bad Ortolans are just so difficult to find in the supermarket these days. I suppose you could try the pet store if you want to be really sick.


          1. re: Popkin

            Good to know I'm not the only nerdy gamer girl on chowhound but I guess I shouldn't be surprised :)

            1. re: iheartcooking


              I have started doing my pie crusts in a way that was inspired by fable. Crumbly blueberry pie. See, I am neither particularly good at nor enjoy rolling out the upper crust of a pie, so I crumble the dough up, sprinkle it on top, press it down and call it "crumbly blueberry pie" :D

              viperlush, I am so going to do that one of these days, and will post about it :D Could do a gummy worm in an apple; no idea how to do a golden apple; some sort of strong vanilla schnappes or something for the "yellow fairy" (which is strong and "tastes like marshmallows")..... Ok I need to go start another thread.....

              1. re: Popkin

                << Ok I need to go start another thread..... >>

                Please do. As the wife and mother of die hard gamers I've often wondered if there were anything that could suck me in and this just might do it. I'd love to find out what games people play and how food is involved and what real food is inspired by it.

                I definitely want to try your Crumbly blueberry pie :-)

            2. re: Popkin

              That does sound good. You could probably do a full Fable meal. Get some apples, celery, fish, beer, to go with your crunchy chicks.

            3. toad in a hole made with a quail egg and one of those tiny squares of cocktail sized bread drizzled with a balsamic caramelized onion glaze.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Emme

                I dunno, sounds delicious, but kinda heavy...

                do they sell eggs any smaller? plover?

              2. I have made deviled quail eggs, not too much of a departure but they were delightful to look at and eat. I also served a fried quail egg to the husband for breakfast once.

                Oh, and I did serve a roast cornish hen to my father-in-law for T-day, next to the big bird. We love tiny things in my family.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DuchessNukem

                  I like the idea of deviled quail eggs. but it sounds rather simple, after all it HAS to be labor intensive for little effect (other than visual) I guess the mustard could be homemade although a single egg of Tobiko roe placed perfectly on top with a small tip of homegrown chive placed vertically next to it (like the Trylon and Perisphere of the NY World's Fair of 1939, but then I'd also have to throw a fit if nobody noticed the sly MCM pre-war reference, much less the nod to the interests of architectural bad-boy Rem Koolhaas back when he was a theoreticist and ... where was I?).

                  is there a smaller egg available in commercial (specialty) markets?

                  1. re: hill food

                    Beginning to think we all need to go take our meds... : )
                    I like the Crunchy Chicks idea, but will be honest: the first thing that came to mind was, "living bal'oot". Mmmm. Yikes.
                    Are Plover smaller than quail?

                    1. re: mamachef

                      bal'out? ewww. one of the very few things I will smell, but probably never try. (I was at work during my chance so was stone cold sober as well)

                      but you can order brooder eggs by the case close to hatching if that's your thing (and not really the idea when I started this thread) but hey I love an interesting non sequitur and digression.

                  2. re: DuchessNukem

                    "We love tiny things in my family" - Hope your husband doesn't read this line.

                  3. This might be a man after your own heart:
                    who can find the time to flute that many mushrooms?!

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: gembellina

                        Gembellina, thank you for posting that link. I am laughing so hard the tears are pouring. I can't get over his exquisite Swedish flag ham. I must meet that man.

                        1. re: Vetter

                          u will meet him, and he will be your beeyatch

                        2. re: gembellina

                          Oh my. I KNOW I'll use that folded-back-on-itself dough ribbon sooner or later. What a pretty pie it will make.

                        3. I think cake decorating falls into this, especially if you make mini-cakes. I've done small "wedding" cakes for a kids birthday party and it took forever for just half a dozen. One small cake can take a long as a larger one. My friend went to Norm Davis's wedding and said he had made individual cakes for all the guests and there were hundreds. I can't imagine the amount of time and the diligence that takes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chowser

                            I worked forever in a patisserie in Sonoma Co. that specialized in "babycakes", individualized, miniaturized replicas of the big cake. I have never felt so insane in my entire life. I didn't know there were that many pearlescent dragees in the entire known universe. Then came cupcakes.

                          2. I've done something similar.

                            I piped Nutella into rasberries, dipped the whole thing in dark chocolate, then assembled mini mint leaves over the top.

                            Took me forever and a day, but it was a boring Sunday afternoon so it killed time. Of course, by the time I was done, I had a couple hundred layed out staring at me...did I mention I live alone? LOL!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Novelli

                              Novelli, I just really need to understand this. I REALLY need to know. What occasion prompted such madness? : )

                              1. re: mamachef

                                LOL the local Henry's had organic rasberries for 88cents a pint so I bought tons...then I realized I had a newly un-opened jar of nutella. Started dipping...."hmmmm, this would taste good dipped in chocolate too!...and with mint! And it went from there.

                                I get in weird cooking moods when I'm bored (which seems to happen a lot)...

                                "Let's make cheese!" "Let's make enough pizza dough for everyday next week!"

                                I won't even get into the time I made zucchini muffins and tried my damndest to try and get a whole goat cheese stuffed zucchini flower baked into the middle of it! Now that was FUN! HAHAHA

                                1. re: Novelli

                                  I'd need to start smoking pot again for this.

                            2. blue cheese stuffed black olives to eat along side an arid martini are insanely good and maddeningly frustrating to build

                              1. "The most manic-obsessive openfaced sandwich I hope to ever make. Using at least 40 ingredients, many of which need special prep.

                                minced fresh parsley, basil, wr...apped inside very thin proscuitto, grilled marinated eggplant v, canned black minced olives, thinly sliced red pepper, Bocconcini(fresh mozzarella, best from the fresh or sealed pouch, not tub)

                                crispy lettuce wrap leaves-Superstore, dressed with goat feta cheese and a spritz of balsamic of modena-Costco,

                                under lettuce, three slices of cucumber pepper & garlic salt, atop wasa light rye toasts spread with Garden vegetable cream cheese-Kraft, and a thin layer of Peach chutney-Superstore, minced fresh parsley, basil.

                                serve with Perrier, which sounds much like a frothy mountain stream when poured and the crisp lime flavor invokes a calming, cooling vision, . Why? Because it has way less BPA than that other plastic crap and is classy :)"

                                "Then I follow with sliced sweetened strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar & jagermeister with fresh minced mint on a butter spreaded wasa bread with perhaps a thin layer of blueberry preserves-smuckers."

                                1. Oh gosh, this is embarrassing, but I once made deviled quail eggs. They were split, the yolks prepared, re-assembled to look like whole eggs, tied up with a homemade pickle, then coated with breadcrumbs and pan fried.

                                  The heat from the frying pan warmed the mayonnaise and yolks, it was delicious, but so, so forced.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: kjonas

                                    yeah, but they sound really effin good.

                                    1. re: kjonas

                                      Every prep cook's nightmare come true, but man does that ever sound good.
                                      What occasion was this for? Or are you crazy like I am and do things like this for fun?

                                      1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                                        Hahahaha, I guess we're both crazy. It was sort of inspired by my mom, who loves egg salad, and makes the best egg salad sandwiches for lunch. She dices pickles, onions, cucumbers, includes some dill and mustard, who knows what else. Anyhow, it was a little of my mom, a little Wylie Dufresne deconstruction.

                                        If only we had prep cooks!

                                      2. re: kjonas

                                        "tied up with a homemade pickle"

                                        can you elaborate?

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Sure! The cucumbers were seeded and julienned, along with some red onions before being brined. They made nice little strings for garnishes, on top of salads, or in this case, ribbons.

                                      3. My friends and I have tossed around the idea of having a "giants" party. All the food would be miniature versions of regular food - like game hens instead of chickens, mini fully decorated cakes, quail eggs, etc. Would be a few hilarious hours of pretending to be giant, but way too much work. I'm not patient enough for that kind of small stuff.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Japanecdote

                                          but that's sort of the point! ridiculous effort for small return.

                                          1. re: Japanecdote

                                            I've thought of doing the reverse--giant versions of small foods. Pigs in blanket made with large sausage and brioche dough, buffalo turkey wings, deviled ostrich eggs, huge cupcake, etc. I could pretend to be lilliputian and it would be far less work.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              Giant food would be fun. I wonder how long an ostrich egg would take to hard boil? Although it would be a nightmare to serve!

                                              1. re: just_M

                                                soft boil it and serve it like a fondue pot with bacony croutons on forks/skewers for dipping. hell I'd even custom fabricate some sort of tripod stand for it. quite OT, (O as in Opposite, not Off) but I like it.

                                                1. re: hill food

                                                  now that is a heck of an idea. I've got a conical shaped colander that sits in a tripod that might work, at least for a prototype for the stand. I did by the Mr. though and well I guess tastes do vary...

                                                  1. re: just_M

                                                    yeah we have one of those, good for doing strained soups and such like pisto manchego. pretty much what I was thinking. I wonder if a chafing candle would get it too hot or crack it?

                                                2. re: just_M

                                                  I thought a crockpot might work. I've made hard boiled eggs in it and it's perfect. But I'm not sure I'm ready to invest $20 in an egg to try it out. A fondue idea sounds interesting, though.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    a crockpot does sound perfect, with the gentle moist heat. But besides the $20 where are you going to find the 20 people willing to appreciate the genius and give it a go?

                                              2. re: Japanecdote

                                                Oh my gosh, that's ingenious! As a smaller person...this would make my day.

                                                That's it. My next birthday party? Everything tiny.

                                              3. What perfect timing for me with this thread - I have to stay up all night for a sleep-deprived EEG next week. I'll be making myself some cheese stuffed olives and peeled grapes for sure! Probably best to skip the deep frying at 5am though.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: patricium

                                                  best wishes and let us know how many (few?) in how many hours are produced.