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Drum Roll Please For Our Horses Doover (hors d’oeuvres) Winners
Seriously, we had no idea that the Winter Edition of our favorite Horses Doover (hors d’oeuvres) would be read so frequently and that the follow-up Summer Edition would have its recipes downloaded by so many viewers. Thus was hatched the idea to have a contest on just little things to eat with an aperitivo or a mocktail. There are already enough contests on your favorite riff on pizza or dessert. All the children in the KD households love their cocktail hour and nibbling new horses doovers almost as much as the ex-children do. So after shopping for, tasting and photographing all the recipes, we had a meal of Horses Doover (hors d’oeuvres) finalists with our favorite cocktail of this summer – the KD version of an Aperol Spritz. And surprisingly, the KD panel was unanimous in the awards for first, second and third place out of the finalist recipes.
First Prize: Ricotta & Acacia Honey On Toasted Baguette Slices
Our first prize winner will get the best bread knife on the planet from Messermeister (when La Cuisine was open, the Cuisinettes tested several contenders and this version of a full tang, slightly curved blade from Messermeister won hands down). Carol Fisch wins first place with her double recipe for home-made ricotta, which she suggests should be topped with acacia honey on a toasted slice of baguette. She advised us to save the whey and make crèpes. One of our panelists thought that it would be too sweet for her, and we were surprised that she loved this startling combination so much that she awarded it first place. For myself, the making of this form of ricotta (normally it is made with whey, occasionally adding some milk along with the acid and salt) was a new nervous adventure for me. It is gorgeous, smooth, rich and subtle in texture. The whey can be used in cakes, but the suggested crèpes we made with it for for a post horses doover dessert were much more lacy and delicate than usual. It took me about 3 crèpes to get it right for an 8 inch pan – using a 1/4 cup measure of batter. You’ll see that we alternated the acacia honey with some of the bottarga I picked up in Marzamemi.
Cathy Barrow’s very thorough book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Pantry has a list of things you can make with whey, so I am saving the rest of mine in the freezer. Enjoy trying all three of our winners and let us know what you think!
- 3 cups (3/4L) whole milk
- 1 cup (1/4L) heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp (3gr) fine sea salt
- 3 tbs (45gr) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pour milk, cream and salt into a 3 quart (2.8L) saucepan
- Heat until liquid reaches 190F (88C), stirring occasionally to keep liquid from scorching.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and allow it to sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
- Line a colander or strainer with a clean dishtowel or a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a container to catch the whey.
- Alllow to sit for an hour or two and the cheese will firm up as it cools.
- Slide the ricotta from the cloth into a bowl and use right away or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
- Toast the number of baguette slices you want, then spread each slice with the ricotta and top with some acacia honey.
- SAVE THE WHEY FOR THE NEXT RECIPE
- Acacia honey has a slightly sandy texture and a very unique flavor. It is worth getting it for this recipe.
- For a completely different taste effect, shave some bottarga onto the ricotta.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (80gr) al-purpose flour
- 2 tbs (28.5gr) melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups (1.3 L) whey
- 1 tbs (12.5gr) sugar
- Beat the eggs in bowl or blender.
- Gradually add the flour, melted butter and sugar until thoroughly blended and smooth.
- You may have to run the batter through a strainer if you do not use a blender or processor.
- Chill the batter covered in the refrigerator at least an hour or up to two days.
- Have a crepe or omelet pan ready, and use a tsp of butter in the bottom of the pan for each crèpe.
- The heat should be at a medium high temperature.
- For an 8 inch to 9 inch (20-23cm) you will need about 1/4 cup (60ml) ladle or measure.
- Tilt the pan as you pour the batter and it should form a circle which will turn dry looking and lacy.
- With an offset spatula flip it over to cook the other side. - this process takes less than 2 minutes
- Stack onto a warm plate for immediate use or separate each crepe with wax paper and freeze in a zip-bag for later use.
- You should have about 2 2/3 cups (2/3L) of whey when you make the ricotta recipe.
- Save and freeze or use the rest for a cake, as the whey will give you a more tender crumb.
- You can fill the crepes with sweetened ricotta and berries, then roll them and serve.
Second Prize: Roquefort Cheese Mold
Second Place winner gets one of Tanya Ernst’s painted canvas bags that I, as the resident family pack mule, clearly cannot live without. This painted canvas bag has slipped in mud, endured pizza stains and ice cream dribbles, held Legos, sunscreen and groceries, and it still comes up fresh as the proverbial daisy with a quick sponge off. Maria Pallas wins this prize with her retro Roquefort and cream mold flavored with parsley and paprika.I don’t usually use powdered gelatin as I had a couple of disasters with it, but it worked like a charm in this recipe. Her molded presentation reminded me when I made it of something that Lee Miller might have served at Farleys’ House. This, like the ricotta, keeps well for a few days in the fridge. Maria serves it with melba rounds, crackers or party rye, but it is lovely as filling for endive leaves too. Our panel thought the presentation was very elegant and also delightfully retro.
- 6 oz (170gr) softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (118ml) Roquefort or other good quality French blue cheese
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika - can be smoked
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/8 cup cold wter
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 cup whipped heavy cream
- Combine the cream cheese and roquefort cheese with a mixer (hand-held is fine) until smooth.
- Add the worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt and paprika of your choice
- When those are mixed in, soften the gelatin in the 1/8 cup water and then add the boiling water to the softened gelatin.
- Stir the gelatin mixture until it is dissolved and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cheese mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Allow it to chill in the refrigerator until it reaches a jelly like consistancy and then add the 1 cup of whipped heavy cream..
- Spoon into an oiled mold and refrigerate, covered until firm.
- Dip the mold into hot water for a few seconds to unmold onto your platter.
- Decorate with fresh herbs or flowers.
- Serve with crackers, melba toasts or partry rye
- We decorated the platter with Curry Plant branches and slices of toasted baguette. Heavenly eye and taste appeal.
Third Prize: Grilled Shrimp In Butter
Third place winner gets our copy of the Roger Blachon poster of a commercial kitchen that is delightfully haywire. Each time you view it, there is something new to laugh at. Kathy Whittenberger will have lots to laugh at with this third place winner. She grills her shrimp (and says it is great way to present frozen shrimp languishing in your freezer) in a pan on the grill. I have found out that in insufferable weather, heating a cast iron pan until it is white hot gives you the same barbecue-y result. We bought fresh large wild shrimp at Pescadeli as there is someone in this house who is weird about frozen or farmed seafood. It really takes less than 10 minutes once the shrimp are cleaned. Kathy leaves the shells on so it will slow the guests down, which gives her a chance to have some, too. A major hit with all panelists and our two half-panelists.
- 2 lbs (.907gr) cleaned shrimp, fresh or thawed - peeling shells is optional.
- 1/4 lb (113gr) butter
- 1 large clove of finely chopped garlic, or squeezed through a press
- Crushed red pepper to tste
- juice from lemon
- lemon slices to add to the platter - they can be grilled too.
- Melt the butter with the crushed pepper and lemon juice.
- If stovetop, use a a cast iron pan over high heat, until it is white hot.
- Add the butter over the shrimp and place them across the pan so that they are not touching.
- Add some additional sauce which will "grill" along with the shrimp
- Once they are cooked on one side, flip and cook on the second side.
- As soon as they are pink and opaque, they are done - put them on a platter.
- You may have to do batches as you want the shrimp to really have room to grill rather than steam.
- On a grill, use an appropriate pan and follow the same procedure.
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes a blog about food in all its aspects – recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food related issues.