Thursday, August 12, 2010

There's an App For That!

Well, I'm down with the sniffles, so I might as well catch up on some blogging. Nothing too in-depth here - I will likely fall asleep before I fini....


Oh! See? This nodding off business is getting old. Another 45 minutes vanished in to the vortex. Let's see if I can stay awake long enough to write about bacon (bacon fixes everything, right?).

A couple of weeks back, I was charged with bringing appetizers to a gathering with friends. My tendency would be to throw together a veggie platter with some hummus and call it good since that's what I like to nibble on, but this particular dinner party called for goodies that I had actually put some thought into. I made two different hors d'oeuvres: mini onion tarts with gorgonzola and cherries, and bacon-wrapped shrimp skewers with a sorrel pesto dip. The tarts turned out to be amazing; the skewers, on the other hand, were good - great flavors - but not as perfectly executed as I had hoped (I'll ask y'all for pointers later).

So the onion tarts. I was the grateful recipient of some gorgeous red torpedo onions from my friend Kristin's garden - they were the inspiration for this dish. As in my typical fashion, there's not so much a recipe for these tasty tarts as some guidelines. Here's what I did:

  • Sliced the onions into thin slivers, then caramelized them on the stove.
  • Added a few shots of balsamic vinegar and some chopped rosemary to the caramelized onions; let the vinegar reduce until the onions were sticky and sweet
  • Added a heaping teaspoon of the onions to pre-made filo pastry tart shells
  • Added a few crumbles of gorgonzola
  • Baked until golden and the cheese was melted
That was the first pass. The tarts were good... but seemed a bit too savory. Like they were missing just a little something something. I decided they needed a kick of sweetness, and the plump, juicy cherries sitting on the counter right in front of me proved to be the answer. I plopped a pitted cherry half in each tart for all the subsequent rounds, and they were perfect. So, if you're looking for a simple little appetizer in the few scant weeks that are left of cherry season, this is the one!

My other app, the shrimp and bacon skewers, left me slightly disappointed. Why? What's not to like about prawns? Wrapped in BACON? Well.... my problem was that the two ingredients have vastly different cooking times. Shrimp cooks in an instant, while bacon takes quite a bit longer. So I was stuck with the dilemma of overcooked shrimp/undercooked bacon, no matter what cooking method I attempted. I wound up going with grilling - it seemed to have the best results - but my question for you, dear readers: how do I make this work?! Help me!

Despite this little mishap, the skewers were still very well received at the dinner party. The flavors were awesome. (I served the skewers with a sorrel pesto dip, but failed to get a picture. You can find the sorrel pesto recipe here.) So if I can just get a little advice, I'm certain I'll make these again.

And that's it for this time. I'm due for a nap.....

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