Ben’s birthday was a blast. A simple get together at home with good friends, cheap foods, fancy foods, and a smooth bottle of Makers Mark whisky. It involved pizza from Artichoke, a delicious pizza parlour that is the popular post boozing meal of choice for many an east village hipster. We also splurged on prosciutto, melon, truffle oil, fancy cheese and fancy bread. Combine that with a few other drinks and we had fine spread of food including the two hors d’oeurves I came up with. I wanted to combine a few great flavour combinations and use foods that we didn’t eat every day. They were both well received, and simple to make. So, if you ever need a quick party snack that is easy and almost fancy, do give these guys a shot, especially the beets and goat cheese combo!
Beets*, goat cheese, walnuts are winning ingredients for a simple salad but deconstructed into a tiny bite size snack it’s cheesier and suddenly too cute to resist. Throw in some balsamic glaze and fancy sea salt to bring out the flavours, and a pretty green herb on top. I was lucky to have my basil plant begin sprout new leaves for easy pickings. I’m sure it would have been even better if I had toasted the cheese and the walnuts but I never got around to it.
Quail eggs from an asian grocery were cooked sous vide**. Quail eggs were cooked at 147.2 degrees for 30 minutes to get them soft and perfectly poached. What do quail eggs taste like? I’d say they are pretty similar to chicken eggs but superior in taste. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is but something makes me want to eat ten at a time. Combined with a smidge of truffle oil, some basil, pepper and sea salt and its a miniature poached egg surprise in your mouth! The only difference I would have from the picture is to have cut the bread a little smaller. Poached or boiled the flavour combo of egg and truffle is still going to be amazing so don’t let the lack of a sous vide machine hold you back.
*The trick to roasting the beets with as little effort as possible is to cut off the stalk, wash them, wrap them in foil while wet and throw in an oven at 400 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes. They are done when a thin knife pierces them with little resistance. After that the skin peels right off, and any extras still wrapped keep in the fridge for about a week. Perfect cooking method for lazy bum me.
**Sous vide means ‘under vacuum’ and the device that provides this cooking style was Ben’s birthday present. A small machine you plug into a slow cooker filled with warm water and a thermometer, it controls the temperature of the water bath so foods can be cooked to precision. Unlike eggs, meats and vegetables would be sealed a vacuum pack before they are put in the water bath, hence the name. Sous vide steak was so good!