Tag Archives: Hors d'oeuvres

On the Table: The Farm Stands of Long Island’s South Fork

This is the companion post to On the Road: Farm Stands of Long Island’s South Fork. It is best viewed at the blog site. If you are not viewing it there, click on the title above.

Nearly every year for more than a decade, I cook for my brother’s birthday. This usually occurs over Labor Day weekend as his birthday is September 3rd.

My brother Fred is four years my senior. Fred lives in Tribeca with Nancy, his wife and my sister-in-law. They have a summer home in Remsenberg. Remsenberg is near Westhampton, the closest of the Hamptons to New York. One year, as the house was undergoing renovation, guest accommodations were trailers on the lawn with little in the way of kitchen. Noah and his friend slept in the cabin of the boat docked adjacent to the house. I grilled a lot that year. We enjoyed dinner on a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood over saw horses. Usually at Fred and Nancy’s I have a great kitchen to work in and lots of slicing and dicing help provided. I always arrive to a generous bowl filled with chopped garlic. Generally, Nancy “procures” from food lists provided — often with the help of my nephew Jake.

Given this summer’s farm stand journeys, it made sense to incorporate a visit to the neighboring South Fork of Long Island for my shopping. Earlier in the summer I visited Fred and Nancy’s Long Island home with my friend Pascal and his daughter Maelle. On that occasion I visited the North Fork. There are On the Road and On the Table posts on that visit.

The North Fork had a very different character than the South Fork. Clearly, there are fewer affluent shoppers on the North Fork — it is not the chic summer paradise of the South Fork. The land is less valuable and the farms bigger — relying less on just selling at the farm stand and more on hitting the road to metropolitan farmers’ markets. With land less expensive, there are many more wineries on the North Fork than South.

While the focus of Fred’s birthday is a birthday dinner, inevitably there are other meals to be prepared for the gathered family and occasional friends. Typically the “arrival” dinner is cooked lobsters — supplemented with grilled shrimp, corn-on-the-cob and sliced tomatoes. Dessert is a low-fat yogurt “ice cream” cake — always plenty of fresh sliced fruit and berries and a selection of cookies from Olish’s. My role in this meal is modest with responsibilities pretty much limited to enjoying my lobster.

Friday’s Lunch

Ginger & mint lemonade
Mafaldine (pasta) with lobster, shrimp and fresh tomato sauce
Garlic-grilled ciabatta

I made a simple pasta sauce from a load of farm stand plum tomatoes and thin-sliced garlic — into which I folded left-over lobster — yes, there was left-over lobster! — and shrimp. This was tossed with my favorite pasta shape – Mafaldine — a wide crenellated noodle.

To make the Ginger-Mint Lemonade, I made a simple syrup flavored with lots of fresh mint. I combined this with fresh lemon juice, a fresh concentrated ginger tea sold at several South Fork farm stands, water and ice. There are recipes in At Home for Four Seasons of Lemonade including Minted Lemonade and another recipe for Ginger Syrup. You can combine these to make your own Ginger-Mint Lemonade. As my mother would always say, the key to making lemonade is to balance the sweet and sour – plenty of both without either overwhelming.

Saturday’s Lunch

Chicken tacos with sweet peppers
Heirloom tomato salsa
Arugula
Roasted “peanut” potatoes
Pickled cucumbers

The chicken was left-over from our previous dinner with salsa from the larder of ingredients I purchase from farm stands. I love tacos — the soft variety. They are easy to make, fun to eat and very under-used by the home entertainer. Arugula was incorporated into the taco.

The potatoes were the hit of lunch. I found these peppers toward the end of my South Fork tour at Balsam Farm. When I say I found them, it’s not like I was looking for them. Such are the pleasures of shopping at farm stands — sans shopping list. I had never before seen such tiny potatoes — Yukon golds. They are not officially named “peanut” potatoes, but guests mistook them for peanuts. They were simply cooked with lots of chopped garlic, a light coating of olive and a finish of sea salt – lots of sea salt. Crisp of the outside and creamy on the inside.

Saturday’s Birthday Dinner
As guests gathered we served Bellinis with local peach nectar

Hors d’ouvres on the Kitchen Counter


Montauk tuna tartare – spoons make for an elegant platform for an hors d’oeuvres. Here the tuna is diced with a little red onion with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. On top is unsweetened whipped cream accented with a little wasabi and topped with chives.


Pickled okra — I used the basic “Quick Pickles” recipe that is featured in the At Home blog athomebysteveposes.wordpress.com/recipes/.


Roasted tomatoes with fresh mozzarella & basil on crostini


Radishes and cherry tomatoes with sea salt.  Fresh, cold, crisp radishes are the perfect light summer hors d’oeuvres. It helps if the radishes are slightly moist so the salt can adhere. Recently at a wonderful dinner in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Christina and I were served a pair of elegant radish wedges with a little “line” of pink sea salt at the peak of the wedge as a little amuse bouche meal starter. I have incorporated plattered wedges into my hors d’oeuvres repertoire.

Hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen were followed by a seated dinner in the dining room served on incredible “China.”

The first course was my translation of the soup prepared the previous weekend at Blooming Hill Farm by David Gould of Roman’s Restaurant in Brooklyn. Look for a coming post about Blooming Hill Farm.

Squash Soup
Red rice, corn & zucchini
Squash blossoms & Padron peppers

Our entree
Grilled Montauk swordfish with roasted garlic aioli and tomato relish
Grilled peppers & eggplant
Corn cakes with jalapeno

I loved the plates though, in general, I like food against a simple, patternless background. In retrospect I should have gathered the food closer together.

And dessert.

Blackberry sorbet
Honey-grilled doughnut peaches & raspberries
Farm stand zucchini bread & chocolate chip cookies

Behind the Scenes

Making Corn Cakes See Corn Cake Recipe on At Home blog Recipe Library

Sweet red peppers and scallions add color to the blanched and shaved corn and diced jalapeno add a little kick.

The vegetables were combined with a basic pancake batter of all-purpose flour, eggs, milk and baking powder.

I used a 1/4 cup measure and cooked pancakes in olive oil.

You need to regulate the heat so the pancakes brown evenly. Too much heat causes the edges to darken too much before the interior surface browns. Once the batter is set on top, you can flip the pancakes.

Brown the second side.

As the pancakes will be re-heated in the oven, they may darken a bit more. The pancakes went from the pan to a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb residue grease.  I re-heated the pancakes uncovered — after removing the paper towels — for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven just before serving. Pancakes can also be held in a 200 degree oven once they are hot for another 20-30 minutes — lightly covered — but not sealed in — with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent from drying out. If you seal the pancakes in foil they will steam and lose their outer layer of slight crispness.

Grilling Peppers
By Labor Day Weekend, farm stands and bursting with a rainbow of peppers of various shapes, sizes and degrees of sweetness and heat. As with the rest of the Labor Day menu, the choice of grilled peppers grew out of what looked most appealing at the stands.

These were some of the peppers at Green Thumb.

Grilling peppers is very simple. Start by slitting peppers lengthwise and removing stem, seeds and membrane. Lightly coat with olive oil. Here I also added some chopped garlic. Your goal is to lightly char the peppers while getting them soft and pliable. If you cook them at too high a heat they char too much on the exterior without softening on the inside. Conversely, if you cook them too slowly — at too low a heat — they will soften without charring. I start the peppers with the skin side up. This allows the peppers to begin softening without risking over-charring the showy side of the pepper.

Once peppers start softening and the edges in contact with the grill char, turn the peppers. Continue cooking as the skin blisters and chars and peppers continue to soften. Not all varieties of peppers cook at the same rate so you need to pay attention.

One of the joys of grilling peppers — and the adjacent eggplant — is simply being outdoors in the cool Labor Day breeze and lengthening shadows of late afternoon with nothing to do but nurture your grilling peppers along.

The soup was one of those “complicated-but-worth-the-effort” affairs. Here are the components ready to go. The squash soup in the large pot — made from a long “stewing” of three kinds of yellow squash, onion and a corn stock. Added to each soup bowl just before serving is a saute of corn, zucchini and a cooked red rice. The recipe for this soup will follow the upcoming post about Blooming Hill Farm and the farm dinner.

Here the bowls are laid out on the kitchen island. Turning out the soup quickly takes a second pair of hands.  The mix of corn, zucchini and red rice goes into the bowl first. The soup is next. On top goes the squash blossoms and satueed Padron pepper. The soup is “finished” with a drizzle of very good olive oil. In the background are the dinner plates with the roasted garlic aioli, lemon wedges and grilled peppers and eggplant ready.

Making Blackberry Sorbet

There were luscious and plumb blackberries at the farm stands and sorbet seemed like the right light note to finish Saturday night’s dinner. Sorbet is simple to make. A lightly cooked the blackberries in a syrup. The hardest part is getting rid of the seeds by passing the cooked berries through a fine strainer.

At my home in Philadelphia I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker that has a built-in compressor. Here, Fred and Nancy happened to have two never-used Cuisinart ice cream makers that require overnight freezing of the chamber that provides the chilling of the sorbet as it turns. I was surprised how effectively these worked — actually making sorbet much more quickly than the one that I use at home. They are quite reasonably priced — less than $50 — and would make a very good holiday gift  — along with At Home with its large section on ice creams and sorbets including a Mastering Ice Creams recipe.

So that was this Labor Day Weekend. Cooking is an act of love. Giving the gift of cooking is unlike any other gift that you can give.

The Farm Stand Series — Coming to the end of the Road
This series about farm stands and farmers’ markets is coming to the end of the road with just a few more posts in the pipeline.

Two Nova Scotia Farmers’ Markets — Lunenburg and Halifax
Christina and spent a wonderful late September week in Nova Scotia that included visits to two very different farmers’ markets. The first was Lunenburg, a small town near where we stayed for the week. The second was the very large urban market of Halifax — the oldest continuous functioning farmers’ market, dating from 1750. Lunenburg, in particular, provided not just a warm and welcoming experience, but food for thought about farmers’ markets that I will share in the final post of the series.

Blooming Hill Farm
Blooming Hill Farm was the best farm stand visit of the entire summer. This post will focus on that visit the the farm stand dinner that I attended.

Reflections on a Summer’s Journey
This post will be a combination “Best of” as well as thoughts on how farm stands and farmers’ markets might be even better.

The Thanksgiving Series
Beginning in the next few days will be a series of posts sharing with you my process of planning for and hosting this year’s family Thanksgiving.

Happy Halloween!


Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Grilled Bread for Hors d’oeuvres or Accompaniments

For access to the complete list of At Home Blog recipes, visit Recipe Index.

Grilled bread is a versatile, multi-purpose accompaniment that once you master it’s relatively simple technique, will become a crowd-pleasing stable at your table. In grilling bread, your goal is to maintain a slightly spongy interior to the bread and “wrap it” in a crunchy exterior. The charring provides a more complex flavor than simply toasting. The spongy interior enables bread to absorb liquids. Taken together, it is an altogether more compelling experience and than fully crisp cracker or oven-baked crostini.

Grilling bread is more a matter of staring with good bread and technique than it is a recipe. Good bread is critical. You want bread that has a firm crust with a spongy interior rather than a cottony interior. Sourdough is best. Ciabatta is a bread that has the sort of texture you want and is often available in supermarkets. In my experience, if you live in the Philadelphia area, the best bread comes from Metropolitan Bakery.

Here’s what you need to grill bread: Good bread, spring tongs, a bread knife — though you could use pre-sliced bread, olive oil, and, of course, a grill or grill pan. Pictured above is a Metropolitan ficelle in the foreground and a Metropolitan Country White. A ficelle is a smaller-sized baguette-style bread. Due to its smaller size, it makes for a somewhat more “mouth-friendly” sized hors d’oeuvres.

There are several ways to cut your “baguette-style” ficelle. Cutting it straight across makes more round slices.

A bias or angle cut produces longer more oval slices. The rounder sizes are on the right.

In foreground are bias cut — longer and thinner than the rounder straight cut in background.

This is a loaf of Metropolitan Bakery Country White. Larger pieces of grilled bread are better for accompaniments with dishes that have liquids that beg to be sopped up on bread.

By cutting the bread yourself rather than buying it sliced enables you to control the thickness of your bread. Cut slices about 1/2 to 1-inch thick. Cut large slices in half.

A variety of cuts. The cuts from ficelle are ideal for hors d’oeuvres or cheese. The half slices and “fingers” work best served with something that has liquid that needs something more spongy such as an amply dressed tomato salad or steamed mussels.

Pre-heat grill, or in this case, the grill pan over moderate-high heat. You may need to slightly adjust heat source if you find bread grilling too quickly or too slowly.

Place bread on grill.

Once bread is well-grilled on one side, turn it and grill on other side. Don’t hesitate to sample an occasional piece as you go to check bread’s progress — slightly crunchy exterior and lightly spongy interior. Another “tell” is bread should still be slightly pliable when you bend it rather than fully crisp. Once you do this, the “skills” and “tells” of grilling bread will become second nature for you.

Thinner bread has less room for error if you want to maintain a slightly spongy interior.

Ideally you want bread to visually “express” it’s place of cooking, ie. grill marks. The variable amounts of charring, from dark to light, produces a pleasingly complex flavor “profile.”

Once all your bread is grilled, lightly brush on both sides with olive oil. Serve immediately or within a few hours. If bread sits longer than that, it will be helpful to re-fresh in oven.

Bread can be stored for up to five days in an airtight container and refreshed before serving.

If you have stored bread, simply refresh by placing on tray and…

…place in pre-heated 350 degree oven. The smaller pieces need 3-5 minutes and larger, thicker pieces take 7-10 minutes. You goal is to restore the crunchy exterior crust while maintaining a slightly spongy interior.

Grilled bread is the ideal accompaniment to Marinated Roast Sweet & Hot Peppers. Serve a bowl of peppers along with a basket of grilled bread — including a small fork for guests to make their own.

Or make individual hors d’oeuvres and serve on a platter.

Enjoy…At Home!

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Marinated Roast Sweet & Hot Peppers

Note: For the complete library of At Home blog recipes, see Recipe Index.

Marinated Sweet & Hot Roast Peppers
By mid-summer, sustained heat produces a rainbow of peppers at farm stands and farmers’ markets.  These peppers are transformed by roasting such that when paired with slightly soft grilled bread, they are one of the great pleasures of sitting around with friends and family in summer. When buying peppers, select an assortment of colors — mostly sweet peppers with an occasional hot pepper — enough to keep things interesting and preventing a bland bowl of just sweet peppers.  If using supermarket peppers, select a mix of red, yellow and orange. They are expensive, but worth it. Do not use green bell peppers as their taste is too aggressive and not sweet. For hot peppers, use mildly hot Poblano or Anaheim and Cubanelle. You want substantially more sweet peppers than hot – maybe five to one.

You will definitely need a spring loaded tongs to turn peppers while charring so don’t even try this without them.

Do ahead Marinated peppers will sit happily in your refrigerator for a month.

2 – 2 1/2 pounds assorted sweet and hot peppers, in a volume ratio of 4-5 sweet to 1 hot
1 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 ounces olive oil
3/4 teaspoons Salt, Kosher preferred

1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Place peppers on foil-lined heavy duty rimmed baking sheet. Depending on how many pounds of peppers, a double layer of foil may be useful to protect your pan and make clean-up easier.  Place peppers on sheet and place on shelf closest to flame. Broil until lightly charred, turning peppers as you go to char all over.
3. Remove peppers from oven and immediately transfer to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to steam peppers. This facilitates peeling peppers.
4. When peppers have cooled enough so they can be handled, place on cutting board. Pull away stem. Peel away skin. Split peppers in half. Remove seeds.
5. When all peppers have been peeled, lay peppers flat. Cut into thin strips. Cut long strips in half.
6. Transfer strips of peppers to bowl. Add garlic, good olive oil and salt.

Yield About 1 1/2 cups

This is a wonderful assortment of peppers purchased at several Philadelphia farmers’ markets. Roasting, peeling and removing seeds is a project made easier if you avoid smaller and long, thin peppers.

Peppers are variable in the time it takes to char and blister so be patient. This is a result of pepper size and how different peppers skin reacts to heat.

Most broilers have two rows of burners down the middle so some peppers will be closer to heat than others. You will need to rotate peppers.

Rotate peppers as you go. As they are round, they may prove slightly stubborn about maintaining the position you want them. As they soften, don’t hesitate to apply a little pressure — squishing them to position them as you need to. Instead of a broiler, you could do lots of peppers at a time over a hot grill. Char peppers over high heat.

Turn as you go. Remove fully charred peppers to bowl and cover. Add more peppers as space allows. Peppers do not have to be fully charred, but can be substantially blistered and you will be able to peel away skin. As peppers heat, the air inside will expand and some peppers will “explode” — simply meaning they will split open. This is fine.

Transfer charred peppers to a bowl and cover so they steam. Steaming helps to remove charred skin. Rather than wrapping and unwrapping with plastic wrap, you can just place a plate on top to “seal” bowl. As peppers char on outside they steam and soften on the inside. Keep both your covered bowl for charred peppers and your un-charred peppers near broiler to make it more convenient to deposit your charred peppers and add un-charred peppers to the tray as you go.

Once all peppers have been charred and steamed in their bowl, it’s time for the somewhat tedious task of peeling and removing seeds. Here’s a set-up to make this task easier. From left to right:
1. Container to discard peel and seeds.
2. Damp cloth to keep area clean. A pastry scraper also helps.
3. Empty bowl for peeled peppers
4. Bowl of charred and steamed peppers.
You will also need a sharp paring knife to scrape away peel and cut strips.

Larger, thicker peppers are easier to peel. You have to be pretty careful with thinner skinned peppers to remove peel and seeds without destroying peppers meaty flesh.

First remove stem and peel from all peppers waiting to remove seeds until all peppers are peeled. You can just pull out the stem or cut away the pepper’s top including stem. Next, split peppers and carefully remove all seeds. As you go, it is useful to continuously wipe your peeling and seeding area clean to prevent pesky peel and seeds from sticking to the peppers you have cleaned. Stack cleaned peppers in bowl.  Take care in handling hot peppers. The volatile oils will sit on your fingers — and counter and cutting surface — and if you touch your eye or other soft membrane it will be painful. If this happens, wash well with soapy water and rinse well.

Once you have peeled all peppers and removed seeds, take one or two peppers at a time, check to be sure that there are not errant seeds sticking to pepper and lay flat on cutting board.

With a sharp knife, cut peppers into strips. If peppers are long, cut strips in half. Long strips of peppers are messier when placing on hors d’oeuvres-sized crostini or grilled grilled bread.

When you are done you have wonderfully naked strips of sweet and hot peppers waiting for their marinade…and a mess of peel and seeds to discard. This is a double batch.

Garlic is the natural compliment to peppers. Patiently chop until garlic is very finely chopped as you don’t want your guests biting into a chunk of garlic. The garlic is not essential, but strongly recommended.

Mix peppers well with garlic, good olive oil and salt. They get better the longer they marinate and will keep in refrigerator for a month. Serve on crostini or grilled bread. See At Home Page 82 for a crostini recipe.

Look tomorrow for instructions on grilling bread

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Chopped Chicken Livers & Mock “Chicken Livers” Recipes

This post includes recipes for both Chopped Chicken Livers and Mock “Chicken Livers.” Mock “Chicken Livers” is a vegetarian concoction with taste and texture remarkably similar to the real McCoy.

Sadly, old fashioned chopped chicken livers have fallen out of fashion and lost their place at our tables. Passover is the ideal time to rekindle your guests’ relationship with this traditional flavor. Easy to make ahead, chicken livers are the answer to what can I serve as a Passover hors d’oeuvres. As with most foods, do not serve cold from the refrigerator. Rather remove from refrigerator at least an hour before serving. You can dress up chicken livers with a little chopped fresh parsley on top.

Chopped Chicken Livers
Delicious any time, Passover provides an excellent reason to make and serve chopped chicken livers. They are simple to make and a treat that has fallen out of favor so people rarely get to enjoy them. For Passover, serve with Matzo. Otherwise, any sturdy cracker or crostini.  For a wonderful sandwich, chopped chicken liver on fresh rye bread with a lots of sliced onion.

Do ahead Livers may be made up to five days ahead and refrigerated. As with most foods, it is best not to serve chicken livers too cold. Remove from refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

1 pound chicken livers
2 cups medium chopped onion
6 tablespoons vegetable oil or rendered chicken fat,* divided
2 chopped hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground preferred

1 Trim away from livers and and discard any membrane and bits of green bile duct from livers. Place paper towels on cookie sheet or rimmed baking sheet. Place chicken livers on towels and place additional paper on top to absorb moisture.
2 Heat 3 tablespoons oil in medium sauté pan over moderate heat until hot. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until deeply browned but take care not to burn. Lower heat as needed if onions are cooking too quickly and burning. Remove onions and set aside to cool.
3 Wipe out pan with paper towel. Add 3 tabblespoons oil and heat until hot. You will cook the chicken livers in two batches so that they can cook without being crowded. If too crowded they will steam rather than sauté. Cook on one side about 2 minutes and turn and cook on other side. You want livers that are nicely browned on the outside but still pink in the inside. Remove livers to cool. Repeat with second batch of livers adding additional oil, as needed.
4 Once livers are cool, chop coarsely with a knife. You want to maintain some texture so do not place in food processor. Transfer chopped livers to mixing bowl. Add onions, chopped egg, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill.

Yield 3 cups

*Rendered chicken fat, aka schamltz may be made by cooking chicken fat and skin over low heat until fat melts and skin renders its fat. Remove skin and use in place of oil.

I liked the recipe we developed for Mock “Chicken Livers” so much that it made it all the way to the final cut of hors d’oeuvres recipes in At Home. But At Home is alive. By that, I mean it is unlike just publishing a book and distributing it impersonally through bookstores and it ends there.  With this At Home blog and At Home Online, At Home’s recipe library can grow over time.  I can have an ongoing relationship with you and  the At Home community.

Mock “Chicken Livers”
Mock “chicken livers” look and taste remarkably like genuine chicken livers though, of course, they are vegetarian. If using for Passover, serve with matzo. Otherwise, any cracker or crostini will do.

Do Ahead May be made up to five days ahead and refrigerated.

2 cups onions, medium dice – about 3/4 pound
1/2 cup medium diced celery
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 cups sliced domestic mushrooms – about 4 ounces
1/4 cup water
1/2 cups string beans, blanched and diced – about 4 ounces
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
2 hard boiled eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh  thyme, optional
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 Toast walnuts on rimmed baking sheet in 350 degree oven until they begin to darken. Remove and cool. Pulse in food processor until finely ground. Set aside.
2 In medium sauté pan over moderate heat, combine onions, celery and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until mixture is golden and lightly caramelized. Frequently stir or toss mixture to ensure uniform coloring. This could take 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
3 In same pan, sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons oil over moderate until dark. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add water and deglaze pan by scraping any remnants from sauté of onion mix and mushrooms. Reserve water.
4 Combine in food processor onion-garlic-celery mix, mushrooms, deglazing water, string beans, chopped walnuts, hard-boiled eggs, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

Yield 1 pint

Note: This can be made richer by substituting butter for oil.

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Chopped Chicken Livers & Mock “Chicken Livers”

This post includes recipes for both Chopped Chicken Livers and Mock “Chicken Livers.” Mock “Chicken Livers” is a vegetarian concoction with taste and texture remarkably similar to the real McCoy.

Sadly, old fashioned chopped chicken livers have fallen out of fashion and lost their place at our tables. Passover is the ideal time to rekindle your guests’ relationship with this traditional flavor. Easy to make ahead, chicken livers are the answer to what can I serve as a Passover hors d’oeuvres. As with most foods, do not serve cold from the refrigerator. Rather remove from refrigerator at least an hour before serving. You can dress up chicken livers with a little chopped fresh parsley on top.

Chopped Chicken Livers
Delicious any time, Passover provides an excellent reason to make and serve chopped chicken livers. They are simple to make and a treat that has fallen out of favor so people rarely get to enjoy them. For Passover, serve with Matzo. Otherwise, any sturdy cracker or crostini.  For a wonderful sandwich, chopped chicken liver on fresh rye bread with a lots of sliced onion.

Do ahead Livers may be made up to five days ahead and refrigerated. As with most foods, it is best not to serve chicken livers too cold. Remove from refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

1 pound chicken livers
2 cups medium chopped onion
6 tablespoons vegetable oil or rendered chicken fat,* divided
2 chopped hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground preferred

1 Trim away from livers and and discard any membrane and bits of green bile duct from livers. Place paper towels on cookie sheet or rimmed baking sheet. Place chicken livers on towels and place additional paper on top to absorb moisture.
2 Heat 3 tablespoons oil in medium sauté pan over moderate heat until hot. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until deeply browned but take care not to burn. Lower heat as needed if onions are cooking too quickly and burning. Remove onions and set aside to cool.
3 Wipe out pan with paper towel. Add 3 tabblespoons oil and heat until hot. You will cook the chicken livers in two batches so that they can cook without being crowded. If too crowded they will steam rather than sauté. Cook on one side about 2 minutes and turn and cook on other side. You want livers that are nicely browned on the outside but still pink in the inside. Remove livers to cool. Repeat with second batch of livers adding additional oil, as needed.
4 Once livers are cool, chop coarsely with a knife. You want to maintain some texture so do not place in food processor. Transfer chopped livers to mixing bowl. Add onions, chopped egg, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill.

Yield 3 cups

*Rendered chicken fat, aka schamltz may be made by cooking chicken fat and skin over low heat until fat melts and skin renders its fat. Remove skin and use in place of oil.

I liked the recipe we developed for Mock “Chicken Livers” so much that it made it all the way to the final cut of hors d’oeuvres recipes in At Home. But At Home is alive. By that, I mean it is unlike just publishing a book and distributing it impersonally through bookstores and it ends there.  With this At Home blog and At Home Online, At Home’s recipe library can grow over time.  I can have an ongoing relationship with you and  the At Home community.

Mock “Chicken Livers”
Mock “chicken livers” look and taste remarkably like genuine chicken livers though, of course, they are vegetarian. If using for Passover, serve with matzo. Otherwise, any cracker or crostini will do.

Do Ahead May be made up to five days ahead and refrigerated.

2 cups onions, medium dice – about 3/4 pound
1/2 cup medium diced celery
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 cups sliced domestic mushrooms – about 4 ounces
1/4 cup water
1/2 cups string beans, blanched and diced – about 4 ounces
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
2 hard boiled eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh  thyme, optional
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 Toast walnuts on rimmed baking sheet in 350 degree oven until they begin to darken. Remove and cool. Pulse in food processor until finely ground. Set aside.
2 In medium sauté pan over moderate heat, combine onions, celery and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until mixture is golden and lightly caramelized. Frequently stir or toss mixture to ensure uniform coloring. This could take 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
3 In same pan, sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons oil over moderate until dark. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add water and deglaze pan by scraping any remnants from sauté of onion mix and mushrooms. Reserve water.
4 Combine in food processor onion-garlic-celery mix, mushrooms, deglazing water, string beans, chopped walnuts, hard-boiled eggs, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

Yield 1 pint

Note: This can be made richer by substituting butter for oil.

Matzo Ball Soup Note
Some readers have suggested adding more chicken parts to At Home’s Matzo Ball Soup recipe. By all means if you would like a richer soup, you can double the amount of chicken parts called for in the recipe. If you already made your chicken soup, you can enrich it by adding additional chicken parts to your chicken soup, simmering for 30 minutes and straining out the additional parts. Allow to chill in refrigerator and skim off any chicken fat that rises to surface and congeals.

Design Within Reach Event Postponed
My event planned for this Thursday, March 25th at Design Within Reach has been postponed. It will be re-scheduled.

Upcoming Recipes
Next up:  Shepardic Charoset.

A Chef’s Table
I was featured on Jim Coleman’s A Chef’s Table this past Saturday with a segment on Passover entertaining. Here’s the link to A Chef’s Table’s website and the podcast.

Ordering At Home for Your Passover or Easter House Gift

You can still order At Home to give as a welcome house gift for your Passover or Easter host. To order.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Filed under Entertaining at Home, Holidays, Recipes

Slow Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Garlic

Note about vinegars: Balsamic vinegar has become ubiquitous — nearly the default vinegar. While I love the taste of balsamic, it is pronounced. Vinegar’s role is often to provide a simple acid counterpoint to richness and sweetness as in the case with this recipe rather than add pronouced flavor. In particular, I feel as though we have lost “respect” for the clear voice of red wine vinegar. Perhaps this is because inexpensive red wine vinegars tend to be harsh. I strongly suggest adding a quality red wine vinegar to your pantry and using it frequently. There is a world of wonderful vinegars to explore. To that end, see the ingredient note in At HomeA Glossary of Vinegars — on Page 137. If you do not yet own At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining, click here.

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Garlic

Slow roasted tomatoes are one of those ever-ready condiments, similar to roasted peppers. At Home provides a similar recipe on Page 82 using plum tomatoes as part of Crostinis and Toppings. This is good winter’s version using grape tomatoes whose flavor is dependable year ‘round. The role of the vinegar here is to just slightly cut the richness of the oil and sweetness of tomatoes. The vinegar should just provide a slight undercurrent – hardly perceptible. Serve with crostini or just good rustic bread. The addition of olive oil at the end provides some extra oil to “dress” the crostini.

Do ahead Tomatoes may be made up to two weeks in advance and stored, covered, in your refrigerator. As with most foods, they are better served at room temperature than cold so remove at least one hour before serving. Making in advance also has the advantage of the flavors mellowing.

2 pints Grape Tomatoes
4 to 6 medium garlic cloves, thin sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise. Combine in medium bowl with garlic and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Spread tomatoes on non-stick or parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet. Place on middle shelf of oven. Roast for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
4. Allow to cool. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and salt. Mix well. Transfer to serving bowl.

Yield About 1 1/2 cups

Thin slice garlic cloves.

Cut grape tomatoes in half lenghtwise.

Spread tomatoes and garlic on rimmed cookie sheet. Don’t worry about whether the tomatoes face up or down. Depending on how they are facing they will cook differently, but that adds texture and interest to the finished product. I find the price of grape tomatoes varies from as much as $4.99 for organic grape tomatoes at Whole Foods to $2.99 or less at Sue’s — my little local produce store. To me, the flavor is the same.

Be patient. Two and a half to three hours is a long time — a little more or a little less is no big deal. It helps to turn sheet mid-way through as ovens tend to not cook evenly. The roasted tomatoes should range from shriveled and nearly dried to still a little plump. They will continue to shrivel and shrink as they cool. Longer cooking intensifies the flavor more, but you do not want these to reach the texture of “sun dried tomatoes.” You want a residue juiciness.

Here’s the finished product. Two pints of tomatoes cook down to about 1 1/2 intensely flavored cups. You could add some diced fresh basil. Serve with crostini or just sliced high-quality rustic bread like I get at my neighborhood Metropolitan Bakery. If you are making these into topped crostini on a platter for your guests, dress it up with a little crumbled feta or good shaved parmesan.

Goodnight Izzy
The response to my Goodnight Izzy post was been very warm and comforting. Comments have been posted on the blog. If you missed the post or want to see the comments, click here.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Filed under Entertaining at Home, Recipes, Tips

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Garlic Recipe

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Garlic

Slow roasted tomatoes are one of those ever-ready condiments, similar to roasted peppers. At Home provides a similar recipe on Page 82 using plum tomatoes as part of Crostinis and Toppings. This is good winter’s version using grape tomatoes whose flavor is dependable year ‘round. The role of the vinegar here is to just slightly cut the richness of the oil and sweetness of tomatoes. The vinegar should just provide a slight undercurrent – hardly perceptible. Serve with crostini or just good rustic bread. The addition of olive oil at the end provides some extra oil to “dress” the crostini.

Do ahead Tomatoes may be made up to two weeks in advance and stored, covered, in your refrigerator. As with most foods, they are better served at room temperature than cold so remove at least one hour before serving. Making in advance also has the advantage of the flavors mellowing.

2 pints Grape Tomatoes
4 to 6 medium garlic cloves, thin sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise. Combine in medium bowl with garlic and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Spread tomatoes on non-stick or parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet. Place on middle shelf of oven. Roast for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
4. Allow to cool. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and salt. Mix well. Transfer to serving bowl.

Yield About 1 1/2 cups

Thin slice garlic cloves.

Cut grape tomatoes in half lenghtwise.

Spread tomatoes and garlic on rimmed cookie sheet. Don’t worry about whether the tomatoes face up or down. Depending on how they are facing they will cook differently, but that adds texture and interest to the finished product. I find the price of grape tomatoes varies from as much as $4.99 for organic grape tomatoes at Whole Foods to $2.99 or less at Sue’s — my little local produce store. To me, the flavor is the same.

Be patient. Two and a half to three hours is a long time — a little more or a little less is no big deal. It helps to turn sheet mid-way through as ovens tend to not cook evenly. The roasted tomatoes should range from shriveled and nearly dried to still a little plump. They will continue to shrivel and shrink as they cool. Longer cooking intensifies the flavor more, but you do not want these to reach the texture of “sun dried tomatoes.” You want a residue juiciness.

Here’s the finished product. Two pints of tomatoes cook down to about 1 1/2 intensely flavored cups. You could add some diced fresh basil. Serve with crostini or just sliced high-quality rustic bread like I get at my neighborhood Metropolitan Bakery. If you are making these into topped crostini on a platter for your guests, dress it up with a little crumbled feta or good shaved parmesan.

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Filed under Recipes