Hors d'oeuvre

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This coming week i am helping cater a board of directors meeting for a group of chefs. I am hoping to impress them, any tips, ideas, or recipes out there? Any and all of the above are greatly appreciated.
 
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What, exactly, will your responsibilties be as a helper? Will you actually have the chance to showcase your skills, or just act as a gopher? And who is determining the menu?
 
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I will be searving and making some of the hors d'oeuvers. There will be two events that week that we will need them for. We are thinking about doing a scallop,shrimp,and pinapple skewer and searving it with a mango sauce. What do you think?
 
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If you want to impress with those skewers make darned sure the seafood is cooked perfectly! That will be the key to success with what has become a fairly commonplace hors d'oeuvre.

I'm thinking for a group like that I would want to go with something that has the following criteria:

1. Simple to prepare, especially in quantity.

2. Visually pleasing as well as tasty.

3. Seasonal.

4. Local ingredients.

Nothing fits that bill, IMO, better than grilled, rolled zucchini ribbons. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into strips no more than 1/4 inch thick (here's one of those times a mandoline comes into it's own). Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and grill until just tender and grill marks appear.

Spread the cooled ribbons with an herbed goat-cheese mixture (maybe add some chopped piquillo peppers for color and additional flavor), roll up like pinwheels, and tie with a wilted chive. Serve these standing upright, garnished by standing a sprig of herb (whatever you used in the cheese) or chive flower upright in the center of each pinwheel.

Another meeting those requirements would be cucumber shooters. Cut cukes into sections about 2 inches long. Peel them decoratively (i.e., leave thin strips of skin in vertical or diagonal stripes). Hollow them out, leaving at least a quarter inch on the bottom. Fill with a gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes. Maybe stand a sprig of baby celery upright.

Anyway, those are the directions I'd be taking.
 
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I think that these days, if you want to "Wow" a Chef, one bite "Amuse Bouche" is the way to go.

The advice about making them visually pleasing is right on and I might add that the use of various colors adds to the eye appeal.

Making spoons with which to eat the bite is also really cool. They can be made from things like wonton skins, or a simple batter,

or a fried potato chip, better yet a fried sweet potato chip. There are endless ideas out there.

Sushi one biters are also a real treat for Chefs, because some rarely get to work with fresh fish and seafood.You can create some really cool combinations just utilizing what's in your leftover trays.
 
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Be my guest, Skatz. It's a fairly standard approach all over the Med, with only the filling changing.

Although I haven't tried it, as yet, I'd bet a varient, using Japanese eggplant, would be great.
 
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Jolie, a variation of Chef Ross's idea would be to make crepe cups. Basically that means making small crepes, fitting them into mini-muffin tins, filling, and baking. Not something you see every day. But kind of time-consuming.
 
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BTW, Jolie, one thing you never provided was any discussion about budget and number of guests. That can have a serious effect on what you serve.
 
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Shy away from anything that can be overcooked by holding in heat like scallop, shrimp. I like the sushi route as mentioned by someone above. The key to this whole gig to chefs, is presentation and color . Your Hors D can be presented on an artist palate or different type of staging
 
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It went good, we ended up doing the goatcheese pinwheels you suggested also brushetta and cucumber cups. thanks for all the help i really apreciated it!
 
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Glad it worked out for you.

So, let me ask this: As a culinary student, what lessons do you think you learned from working on the project?
 
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well i learned im not a fan of goat cheese:) Also a whole new emphasis was put on how important plating is and how adding a little garnish can take a plate from ok to awesome.
 
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You are in culinary school and you only just found out that you don't like goat cheese?  I give you a bad grade for that.

KY those zucchini pinwheels sound awesome.  Can't wait to try those.

I recently went to a really nice cocktail party and one of the passed hors d'oeuvres was a platter of crispy fried bait fish with a lovely dipping sauce.  Spectacular.

One of my favorite appetizers that stems from my southern background (I guess) is hot smoked sausage bites.  Just use your favorite spicy sausage (boarshead for me) and grill or roast.  Cut into 1/2 inch rounds and place each on a small square piece of sourdough bread.  Top with a cream cole slaw. 
 
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Jolie, sounds like the event was a good learning experience for you. I'd have thought a greater awareness of prep time was something you'd have taken away from it as well. Everything takes longer than you think, especially when it's a whole bunch of small things you have to get done.

KK, you'd be surprised how many people in this country, some of them pretty good cooks, go their entire lives without being exposed to goat cheese. Just means more for you and me.

What are bait fish, in this context? Could that be what the British call whitebait, and we call smelt? Small fish, breaded and fried whole?

I rather enjoy those sausage bites myself. But if I had to choose, I'd guess  the more common Southern canape would be sausage balls. Every hostess serves them at, it seems, every party. Not that I'm complaining; I love the things, and could make a meal out of them.
 
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I became aware of time management last year when i did a competition in high school. It was a great learning experience but we never placed. We had an hour to make an appetizer, entree, and dessert. We had no electricity and only had two butane burners. We had to work everything down to the second to get it all done. I was in charge of making a blackberry sorbet. Sadly i left the seeds in they were not so pleased with it. Needless to say i will always get rid of the seeds:)

Also i think the main reason i hate goat cheese is because of the after taste. My neighbor had goats and they always smelt way bad. So when i ate the cheese i felt like i was licking a goat. Also we used to get goats milk from my neighbors, i hated that and was then very hesitant to try the cheese. No excuse but that is why i hate it.
 
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What are bait fish, in this context? Could that be what the British call whitebait, and we call smelt? Small fish, breaded and fried whole?
I enjoy fried smelt.  My wife doesn't, so I rarely cook them.  But when the occasion arises, I go for it.

I just rinse them, let dry a bit, dust with seasoned flour and fry in generous quantities of oil.  Heads, guts and all,  They basically end up like fish flavored french fries. As for sauces I've had them with various wing sauces, mayo and ketchup mix, teriyaki style sauces, sriracha style hot sauces, I'm easy.

I usually eat more than I should, but they are tasty.  I may be wrong, but I believe that fresh sardines and anchovies are very similar and can be prepared in the same fashion.

mjb.
 
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Glad the event went well :) Jolie.  Love some of the suggestions above, especially the pinwheel.

I hooked into this thread after the event, so can't help you there with suggestions.  Although I like the use of whitlof as a fillable, edible "teaspoon" for an amuse bouche.  They are a little bitter, so an added bit of sweetness to the filling may be preferred.
 
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