Monday, January 2, 2012

One Bite One-Derland - FoodBuzz's December 24x24

It's a bit of an understatement to say I was thrilled when I found out I was chosen to host a 24x24 session for the month of December. I had this idea in my head to do a one bite dinner, a dinner full of amuse bouche's if you will. If you're not familiar with the term amuse bouche literally means to amuse your mouth, what it is, is one bite of food packed with delicious flavor. On Top Chef and other cooking shows whenever the contestants are challenged to make an amuse bouche they must make one bite of food be so memorable that no other bite of food is needed. It sounded like a challenge I was willing to take on.

The menu came together on my shopping trip to Whole Foods and then even more so in my kitchen brainstorming with my husband. He's got a great mind for stuff like this and really helped a ton in pulling it all together. It was a small dinner party with a ton of great food and even better company. The menu ultimately ended up consisting of lamb sliders, scallops with pancetta, lobster and avocado sushi, bacon wrapped chicken, cream cheese and crab rangoons. The entire meal was paired with blood orange soda which was light and sweet and totally delicious. For dessert we used wonton wrappers to make a delicious banana and honey dessert that is a quick and surefire dessert everyone will love.

One Bite One-Derland Dinner Round Up

First up on the menu was chicken stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. This dish was actually made with dark meat. My husband and his amazing knife skills trimmed the meat off of a chicken leg and gave me a bunch of nice little fillets of chicken to work with. The chicken was then stuffed with  a one inch cube of talleggio cheese and wrapped in center cut bacon. It was a huge hit among everyone at the dinner party!

Bacon Wrapped Dark Meat Chicken

  • 8 chicken legs 
  • 4 ounces talleggio cheese (or other soft cheese)
  • 6 ounces center cut bacon
The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the meat off of the bone. If that is too daunting of a task you can always swap the dark meat for white meat. If you feel like taking on a challenge use a knife to slit into the chicken and cut the meat off close to the bone going around in a circular motion. 

Once the meat has been removed use a meat tenderizer to pound out the meat a bit to flatten it and then place a one inch cube of cheese in the center. Roll the chicken closed and wrap a slice of bacon around the chicken securing it in place with a toothpick. 

Cook the chicken in a frying pan until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is firm. I highly recommend trying this recipe with dark meat since it stays very moist and juicy.  

Next up on the list was lamp sliders, which were bascially mini lamb burgers topped with red onions, tomatoes, lettuce and a buttermilk ranch dill sauce. The sauce came from Whole Foods but could easily replicated in your own kitchen by diluting some ranch dressing with a little buttermilk and seasoning it with some fresh dill. 

Lamb Sliders
  • Half pound of ground lamb
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • cumin
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • 1 egg
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Slider Buns
Season the lamp with 1/2 of teaspoon of all the seasonings list above and add in the egg to act as a binder. Once all of the seasonings have been fully incorporated form small patties of meat about inch in diameter and press onto a baking sheet. Press down a little on each of them to flatten them a bit and then bake them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until they are firm. 

Top the sliders with the lettuce, tomato and dressing and enjoy.

The sushi was was the most difficult part of this dinner to put together, mostly because it was new to both me and my husband. For a first sushi attempt I think it turned out pretty good and it was definitely impressive to set out homemade sushi for our guests.

Lobster & Avocado Sushi
  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 package dried seaweed
  • 4 ounces lobster meat (I used tail meat) cooked and diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
Bring the rice and water to a boil and cook until all of the water has evaporated. Once the rice is cooked transfer the rice to a large metal bowl and stir in the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Place the rice in the refrigerator and let cool completely. 

Once the rice is cooled begin to layer the sushi ingredients on a bamboo sushi roller. Start with the dried seaweed, then a thin layer of rice and the avocado and lobster. Once the ingredients are all in place begin to roll the sushi roll tightly until you have formed a full circle. Press down to make sure it is tight and then peel back the sushi roller. Slice the roll into one inch pieces.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures (and my husband's too) are cream cheese crab wontons from Chinese restaurants. I love the sweetness of the crab with the tangy cream cheese and of course it the fact that they're fried doesn't hurt one bit either! These are actually quite easy to make at home and can be done with any type of crab meat your prefer. We used chunk crab meat and it came out delicious.

Crab Rangoons
  • 8 ounces crab meat
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Oil for frying
Start by mixing the crab meat and cream cheese in a bowl until both ingredients are fully incorporated. Lay out your wonton wrappers and place a small bowl with water inside next to them so you can easily seal them. Place a tablespoon of the crab/cream cheese mixture in the middle of the wonton and then use your fingers to dampen all the edges. Fold the wonton over in half and press down to spread the filling out a bit. 

Press down on the edges so that they become sealed and then fold over the two ends of the triangle to full close the wonton. Finally, take the last pointed tip and fold it back towards the filling that way no filling will leak out. Dampen the wonton as needed to secure the wrapper in place.

I pan friend mine a few minutes on each side until they were golden brown. You can also opt to deep fry them if you choose.

Sauteed Scallops with Pancetta

I have a confession before I post this recipe. Prior to making them myself, I have never eaten scallops. So this was a bit of an adventure is more ways than one. The recipe was super easy and took less than 5 minutes to complete from start to finish. I made these scallops using a quarter pound of scallops and sauteed them with 1 tablespoon of butter and an ounce of diced pancetta for approximately 2 minutes. Once they start to brown a little and get firm you know they are finished. 

I had some leftover wonton wrappers and decided to use those to make a yummy dessert. This is actually something I've made before and love and thought since it's one bite size it would be a perfect addition to the meal. 

Fried Bananas with Honey
  • Wonton wrappers
  • 2 bananas
  • Honey
  • Butter
Slice the bananas in four equal pieces and place each piece in the corner of a wonton wrapper. Begin to roll the banana forward folding in the edges as you go as though you were making rolling an egg roll. Seal using a bit of water on your fingers to dampen the edges. 

Once you have rolled all the bananas pan fry them with a little melted butter until the edges become crispy. These bananas taste great with some ice cream or a little honey drizzled on top. 


Crunchy Creamy Sweet said...

What a fun theme! Love the one-bite dishes. Congrats on hosting 24x24!

Kiri W. said...

This is such a cute idea :) I love the fried bananas, I really really would love one bite (or more)!

Sandra said...

Congratulations on being chosen and this was a very creative idea.

Peggy said...

great idea for the 24x24! Everything sounds super tasty =)