Hosting my professor - need heavy apps suggestions!
I'm hosting my professor and his wife this Friday and am having a hard time deciding what to make. The point of the event is to drink wine. A classmate is sharing some Chilean Carmeneres. I'll be showcasing Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs and the professor is bringing a bottle from the Central Coast.
My classmate is making a crostini with beef and roasted peppers, plus some sort of baked camembert.
I am drawing a blank. I'll probably do a charcuterie platter. I need 2 more heavy apps. Ideas welcome!!! No dietary restrictions!
Oven baked prosciutto chips - probably the easiest thing you'll ever make. Preheat oven to 375F. degrees; line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or baking paper. Lay out slices of prosciutto in a single layer. Put into oven and cook until the ham slices dehydrate or draw up and crisp like potato chips, or about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and dry on paper towels. Stack on a serving platter. You can serve them by themselves or with a dip.
Pinot Noir stands up to mushrooms, duck, chicken, trout and believe it or not, a white pizza would be delicious. If you can find smoked trout, this recipe would go well with your wine: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...
Shrimp always seems to be happily greeted by guests, although I'm not at all sure how it would "play" with the wines you've mentioned.
Mushroom cups - I've posted the recipe here on CH recently - Recipe is on this discussion, which may have other inspiring ideas for you http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9215...
Quiche bites - made in a mini-muffin pan
Gougeres are easy and friendly to make ahead of time and people always think them complicated. Make them as cheesy as you want, mix and match cheeses, depending on the wines. Make and bake than freeze and pull them out of the freezer and re-bake as needed. You can even stuff them ala Judy Rodgers (RIP) with whatever strikes your fancy.
If you have a pan for making mini-muffins (mine are silicone) I like to make crustless quiches in a variety of flavors. You can go French (bacon, onion and gruyere aka Lorraine), Mexican (quesadilla cheese with chorizo and rajas), Spanish, Italian or whatever appeals. Great finger food always works with wine
make an easy flatbread. use a puff pastry sheet, roll out to 12 x 12 just so that its thinner, size isn;t the important thing, thickness is. Slice a ripe pear very thin, place in a nice pattern on the pastry, I usually do it on the diagonal, filling the whole thing. then liberally sprinkle blue cheese or stilton and sprinkle withfresh cracked pepper. Finally drizzle on honey (I usualy do diagonal ribbons oposite the angle of the pears.) pop it into 400 oven for about 10-15 mins till golden brown, honey browns it up nicely. I have also added proscuitto to this or fresh herbs, chives what have you for color and taste. Cut into squares, equally delish hot out of oven or at room temp.
if your friend is bringing a giant slab of cheese, i would let that be the dairy star and forgo anything else cheesy.
also avoid anything too spicy or acidic as it will fight the wines.
endive leaves filled with a bit of smoked fish, acidulated diced pear and chopped candied walnuts. garnish with pomegranate seeds
chicken liver mousse, finished with fig jam on black bread rounds
salmon mousse with dill snips on cucumber rounds
dates wrapped with bacon and stuffed with almond
mushrooms stuffed with crab
deviled quail eggs with bacon mayo
chicken satay with peanut sauce
snacky, salty foods are good too, like home-made potato chips or these nuts:
these are kind of weird and something not a lot people have had so they are fun. I do them for my moms cheese boards a lot.
1/4 pound chorizo sausage, skinned and finely chopped
Oil, for frying
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Saute the chorizo in a skillet for a couple of minutes until it starts to give off its oil. (Drain off some oil if there is a lot.) To make the dough, place in a saucepan over medium heat the water, butter and salt. When the water
comes to a boil and the butter has melted, add the flour all at once. Lower the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 to 2
minutes.Take off the heat and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. The dough will separate, then hold together again. Combine the dough with the chorizo. In a skillet heat the oil at least 1/2-inch deep to about 380
degrees F. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the oil and fry over medium heat, turning occasionally, until puffed and gold. Drain on paper bags
If the wine tasting is center stage, then you are looking for ways of cleansing the palate between tastes. I bus wines at a wine competition for panels of judges doing blind taste tests. For this we use very simple palate cleansers - you will want to do something more interesting, but the basic food profiles should be the same. Simple, plain baguette is essential. Rare roast beef is good in combination with red wines for reviving the tongue. The more well done it is cooked, the less useful it is for cleansing. Some judges like olives I'm guessing for the combination of oils and salt. Cheese is good too, though classically that's more for whites than reds, but it counters the acidity of any wine. Melon is another side usually used with whites, but I think melon is a good fruit since its not too astringent. Oh, and plenty of water or seltzer is helpful.
If you are really serious about comparative tasting, be sure to supply spit buckets. Most people balk at the idea of spitting out good wine, but trust me, if you want to be able to discern anything at all about the 4th or 5th different wine, you need to pour small flights and avoid swallowing. Even if you're not that serious, it can be fun to spend the first half hour or so "formally" tasting, then settle down to enjoying your bounty.
The party was last night. I made gougeres for the first time. What a pice of cake! Definitely a crowd pleaser but are fancy and impressive. I also made smitten kitchen's stuffed mushrooms w sundried tomatoes. Finally, endive spears topped w radicchio, apple and almonds. While tasty, my endive leaves were small so they didn't turn out as well bc they were a bit messy to eat. The wine was a great success. And my professor brought a really lovely tannat from paso Robles, a varietal I've never tried. So, a wonderful evening. Thanks again for your help!