January 5, 2012


Spiced Beef Parcels in Banana Leaf

One very long day of making hors d'oeuvres for the Christmas party order -- and I survived! It's so much more work doing appetizers than even doing a multi-course dinner. I always forget that. But, it was fun to do and I hope the report from the client will be positive. 

I really wanted to do the beef parcels because they fit a holiday party so well. It's an Indonesian-inspired flavor of minced beef, with toasted coconut and sweet chili sauce to garnish. I think I'd like to do a variation on the theme and serve larger packets as a dinner course, with rice on the bottom, the minced meat on top and sauce already in the wrap. As for the little parcels, one has to have patience. I should have done them first, not last! 

Another offering was a vegetable terrine with gelatin. A very European sort of dish -- I find that gelatin is used much more often in cold starters over there and I think Americans have a bit of an aversion to it because of Jell-o. If done properly, a savory gelatin or aspic is a pretty way to start or separate courses. The terrine I made yesterday was made with roasted eggplant, zucchini, and grilled red and yellow peppers in a gelatin of rich vegetable stock, tomato paste and white wine infused with thyme. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. After making the party terrine in the form, I had enough left over that I put the rest in a bowl for us. This is - roughly - how it looks when sliced, although, the real terrine mold produces much prettier results. This is just to give you an idea of what it looks like. 

The third dish I made was Greek Koftas (meatballs) with a radish tsatsiki sauce. I like this radish version even better than the usual cucumber tsatsiki. It's slight bite and the pink color with red shreds is just so pretty.

Radish Tsatsiki Sauce

They were pleased and enjoyed the flavors. Now the come-down from the holiday excesses and some lighter, refreshing dishes to come. 

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