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Friday, May 11, 2012

Snacks and Finger Food Cooking Demonstration

Normally people enjoy finger food more than the actual dinner at social events. Most of the conversation takes place over drinks and one is not aware of the quantity one has consumed during conversation and drinks. Therefore making a variety of snacks becomes mandatory and involves lots of creative activity and playing around with ingredients to produce innovative dishes.

Making Samosas, bhajiyas and patties is become quite old fashioned, though they do appear on tables sometimes but a creative dish has a charm of its own. There are more dips and roasted snacks that are now preferred by diet conscious individuals and for people who want to spend more than two hours just snacking and drinking, the continuous supply of variety of snacks becomes important and is popular.

When I received an invitation to attend the snack and finger food cooking demonstration, it was one more opportunity to learn the same things different way. Since making a snack is a creative cooking, therefore one cannot actually learn but new ideas do crop up when we watch others cooking their own way. Chef Thomas Zacharias from Olive Bar & Kitchen was the host of this demonstration. I reached early and got to meet another food blogger who blogs on ingredients and does lots of research before blogging. It was nice interacting with her.

The table was laden with salt, pepper, mayonnaise, paprika and the different bowls that would be required during the cooking. There were four rows of four chairs each placed in front of the cooking station. A big LCD screen, ready with the camera focused on the demo-table occupied one corner of the small room. There were about thirty attendees, most of them house-wives and also some bloggers and food-writers.

The session began with Daredevilled Eggs

Chef gave us the tips on perfect boiling of the egg saying that eggs be immersed into cold water, adding salt and vinegar and then boiled till water bubbles, the fire is then put off and the eggs are kept covered for 14 minutes, then removed and transferred into ice-cold water.

He took 10 eggs and boiled them. The eggs are then sliced into two and the yellow is removed into the separate bowl. It is then combined with 1/2cup mayonnaise, 1tbsp spicy paprika, I lemon juice, 1 tbsp of mustard sauce, salt and pepper. It is mixed properly till it becomes creamy, then transferred into a piping bag and piped into the halved eggs. It is garnished with paprika and coriander leaves and refrigerated till it is ready to serve.

Boiled egg yolk combined with mayonnaise gave it a creamy feel and it melted immediately filling the mouth with its rich taste. I liked this snack because it can be made before hand and served cold; this gives us more time to spend with the guest.

This was followed by vegetarian Mushroom snack called Feta Mushrooms

This required large button mushrooms which can be cleaned in plain flour solution which helps extract dust from mushrooms. The stems are removed carefully so as to cause a dent for filling.

10 medium size mushrooms were marinated in the mixture of 1 cup Olive oil, 2-3 chopped Rosemary twigs, 2-3 chopped thyme twigs, salt and pepper.

A cheese stuffing was prepared by blending 1 cup feta cheese with 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese.

Caramelized onions were prepared by sautéing 3 onions on medium heat till they become translucent. Salt, pepper and 3 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar is then added and cooked till all the water has evaporated and onions are caramelized.

Caramelized onions are used to stuff the dent in the mushrooms and is coated with mixture of blended cheese and baked in the oven till the top layer of cheese is browned.

Finally the Warrior Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

Blue cheese dip is made by mixing 1 cup of mayonnaise with ½ cup blue cheese, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, and 2tbsp of finely chopped celery, 2 tbsp milk, ¼ lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. It can be stored in the fridge till it is ready to serve.

 In another plateful of 2 cups of flour, 2 tbsp of paprika, salt and pepper is added and 2 kg of chicken wings are dusted with this powder and deep fried then dropped into the mixture of BBQ sauce and Buffalo wings sauce.

Most of the people liked this chicken wings preparation the best which was slimy because it was being coated with sauce and then served with dip.

What new did I learn? Actually nothing new, I have prepared these snacks many times, often creating new snacks on the spot, of which I have no clue when people ask me for a recipe, or ask me to prepare again and I cannot repeat the taste even if I use the same ingredients. Nevertheless I do enjoy these demo, because I get to taste and compare my cooking with the professionals and come back with feel-good-factor-clinging-on-my-bonnet.

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