AWC Tea – a Pre-Valentine’s Treat
Last week we were asked to do a presentation for the Basel American Women’s Club annual tea. This year’s tea was to raise money to build a school kitchen in a small village in Belarus through Future for Ritschow. Perfect I thought – let’s cook together here to raise money so they can have a kitchen to cook for the children there!
Next I called my friend, Joelle Martinelli, who has a catering business called Apéro Idées.
Joelle specializes in beautiful, delectable appetizers as you will see if you look at her website. Together we came up with a menu of bite size treats to serve just for your loved one, or for a small Apéro with friends. The idea – food prepared with loving care to intrigue all your senses.
Our menu, inspired by Wolfgang Puck and Tanja Grandits, consisted of Cucumber Mint Mojitos, Miso Cones with Spicy Tuna, Smoked Duck with Oranges, Bresaola with Parmesan Crisps and Arugula, and Salad on Skewers with Lemon Vinaigrette. The recipes are below, and here are a few pix. Thanks Donna!
Thank you Sarah for hosting the event in your exceptional kitchen! I felt like I was cooking in a TV studio.
With Valentine’s Day in mind we picked a menu made up of beautiful nibbles. The idea is to sample a little bit of lots of different flavors. Wake up your tongue and all your senses. And, for Valentine’s Day it’s perfect because you can feed each other! It can be slow and sensual, or just silly and fun. After all, one of the best aphrodisiacs is laughing together! Have some fun. Experiment with the preparation and the eating. Intimacy is bred by sharing new experiences together. Go for it!
Remember to take your time in the preparation. Put some love into your food, especially when preparing a meal to share with your sweetheart. Enjoy the process. Notice the colors, textures, smells, shapes, beauty of the food. Remember there is no “right” way to do it. Use your imagination and do what makes it beautiful for you. Make your own art out of your food. Taking time and attention when you are preparing the food awakens your senses so you can enjoy the food, and whatever else might follow!
Enjoy your food. Enjoy your loved ones. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Spicy Tuna Mixture
114 grams, (4 ounces) diced sashimi grade tuna
1 tablespoon diced pickled ginger
1 teaspoon chopped scallions
1 tablespoon wasabi/soy sauce dressing
2 tablespoons spicy chili mayonnaise
114 grams, (4 ounces) butter
1 cup (about 240 ml) corn syrup (Read about substitutions here. Thanks Jill!)
2 heaping tablespoons miso paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1/2 cup sesame seeds, black and white mixed
1/3 cup wasabi
1 cup soy sauce
Add a bit of water to wasabi, then mix in with soy sauce.
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sriracha
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Sprouts, masago roe, and diced pickled ginger for garnish
Preheat oven to 175 C, 350 F.
In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter with the syrup. Do not boil. Remove from heat and whisk in miso paste and sesame oil. Next sift in flour, stirring continuously. Finally stir in the ginger and sesame seeds.
Drop mix in tablespoon sized portions onto a Silpat or parchment paper and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from pan and cool slightly. As soon as you can safely lift the “cookie” from the pan do so and shape into small cones. (You may need to drape the cookies around something initially so they will keep their shape until hardened.*) Once firm place in cone holders, or alternatively in a bowl of dried black beans, lentils, or rice. (Like this!)
Mix the tuna, ginger, scallions, soy/wasabi mix and chili mayo together and put into piping bag (or use a plastic bag with the corner cut off). Place a couple of sprouts in the cone, then fill with tuna mixture. Garnish with diced ginger and masago roe, more sprouts if desired.
Note: For the tea we also served the cones filled with a chopped salad which consisted of fennel, red onion, avocado and tomatoes chopped and mixed with wasabi/soy dressing and chili mayonnaise. Whatever you have on hand for veggies will work – but don’t leave out the avocado as its richness is perfect for this.
*Regarding corn syrup, I didn’t find it and substituted with a sugar syrup. Note that the chemistry doesn’t quite work without the corn syrup. My cones, while very tasty, never did get hard. Consequently I had to serve them in little cups. For more information on using corn syrup and substitutes, read here.
Cucumber Mint Mojitos
Alles Klar – Im Glas Gekocht Tanja Grandits
(lime slices, mint leaves and thinly sliced cucumber skin as garnish)
Mix all ingredients and blend, pour over a bit of crushed ice.
Bresaola with Parmesan Crisps and Arrugula
adapted from Alles Klar – Im Glas Gekocht Tanja Grandits
300 grams bresaola, thinly sliced
100 grams parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons white Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
8 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 handfuls arugula
Spoon grated parmesan in large spoonfuls onto Silpat or parchment paper and heat in 200 C oven for 5 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Gently remove and place on paper towels to soak up oil.
For the vinaigrette slightly warm the white Balsamic and maple syrup. Add the mustard and oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Pour over arugula to marinate.
Layer arugula, chopped hazelnuts, parmesan crisps, and bresaola in small glass finishing with parmesan crisp and nuts. Drizzle with more vinaigrette if desired.
Smoked Duck with Oranges
Adapted from Tanja Gandits – Alles Klar
2 packages smoked duck (or goose!*) I get these in France, just across the border from Basel
2 – 3 large oranges, sliced for presentation (click here for video instructions)
Small skewers (bamboo work well)
Nut oil (optional, walnut or hazelnut)
So easy – just skewer slices of duck with orange in between. Drizzle with nut oil if desired.
Ok, must confess! I thought I was buying duck for the AWC tea. I noticed some packages had smaller pieces, some larger, and opted for the larger. At the tea, Lea (fluent in French) mentioned that it was goose! Well, delicious either way! I am curious how many of you actually are reading about my cluelessness- typical part of the expat experience if you ask me. Comment below if you caught me !
Salad Skewers with Lemon Vinaigrette
3 cucumbers sliced into rounds
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, chopped into bite sized pieces
radicchio, slightly chopped
romaine, slightly chopped
fennel, chopped into bite sized pieces
Other salad stuff – whatever your heart desires – chopped into bite sized pieces!
Bamboo skewers (or toothpicks)
Again, so easy! Skewer ingredients in same order or different – make it beautiful to you. Lay in a bowl or on a tray and drizzle vinaigrette overtop. This is great for picnics and also a good way to get kids to eat salad.
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing (Serve at room temp)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Feel free to add herbs – basil is a beautiful addition, cilantro so fresh. Thyme also, rosemary, whatever. Experiment please! I like to add fresh ground coriander seeds. You? Comment with your favorite addition, I’d love to hear about it.