Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

Art of Cuisine: Hors d’Oeuvres

Hey Peeps!

Let’s just say this: I learned A LOT about hors d’oeuvres in this class! First of all, what are they?

Hors d’oeuvres is a French word that literally means “outside the works” and refers to an unattached building. In the culinary world, it means food that is not part of a menu, i.e. “outside the menu”. It’s often served at social gatherings to facilitate mingling, and usually precedes the meal. Hors d’oeuvres can be passed by servers, or be located at a stationary table.

The 7 types of hors d’oeuvres:

1) Bits and Pieces: this is anything that can be picked, like cheese, fruit, charcuterie, and so on. These are usually served on larger platters in a stationary settings.

2) Rolled or wrapped: such things as sushi, spring rolls, wraps, burritos.

3) Crudites (pronounced: CROO-dih-tay): this usually includes raw or lightly blanched vegetables with a dipping sauce. It can also include fruit, and of course everything should be very very fresh.

4) En croute: this is anything wrapped in dough and baked, like baked brie, pate, or mini wellingtons.

5) Stuffed things: tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, jalapenos and other peppers.

6) Skewered/kebobs: anything on a stick, like kebobs, satay, corn dogs.

7) Canapes: anything on a base, such as a piece of baguette. Presentation and refinement is of particular importance for canapes.

Generally, hors d’oeuvres are 1-2 bites of food, and can be picked up as “finger food”. My favorite is always bacon-wrapped scallops or mini crab cakes or smoked salmon. I love seafood!

For another challenge this week, I made some canapes.

It’s a blanched coin of golden beet, with sauteed spinach, honey herbed goat cheese, and red beet sticks. I originally wanted to use phyllo dough for the base of the canapes, but unfortunately, they got too dark when I baked them – and Chef even helped me make them a second time, but they burnt again. So frustrating!!! Anyway, I went to plan B and blanched some beets for the base.

After tasting, both Chef and I decided that it was overall too wet – with the blanched beet and the spinach, there just was too much liquid. Plus, the beet could have been more interesting, like blanched in a flavorful liquid. In any case, something could have been done differently. I think the colors are nice, but Chef thought overall it was kind boring/lacking.

Better luck next time!

~ Carolynn


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