Topping Top Chef

As all you culinariacs (my new favorite replacement for the word ‘foodie’) know, this wednesday was the premiere of the new season of Top Chef. I love TC because it really is fun to watch. I like the food, I like the drama, I like the format. I like pretty much everything except Padma. She weirds me out. In preperation for the premiere, I invited a few friends over for some snacks…I thought I would share these tasty treats with you all.

Quail Egg on Parmesan

This is a parmesan crisp: bake shredded paremsan on greased baking sheet or silpat at 350 for about 10-20 minutes, until crisp and brown–but still maleable, then drape over spice jars to ge a vague cup shape. On top of this I put a piece of spinach. It was supposed to be arugala, for the addition of a little spice and flavor, but they were out and I wanted this delicious fresh spinach instead. Should have gone with the arugala, the blandness of the leaf really was unfortunate, though the leaf was a necessary buffer between the crisp and the egg. The egg is a sunny side up quail egg sprinkled with pepper–no need to salt, as the saltiness of the parmesan is plenty. I loved these and will definetly make them again.

I didn’t get a picture of the other snack because they disappeared too quickly (and I only got the very last quail egg). These were bacon cups stuffed with egg. I made the bacon cups by cutting strips of bacon in half then wrapping them into a (mini) cone shape. I secured them with a toothpick and baked them on a tinfoil wrapped baking pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. I made the eggs like an empty omelet, mixing the egg with a little water and frying. I cut these into small strips and stuffed them into the bacon. I had planned on adding mushrooms too, but these were so cute, I thought the addition of the mushroom would hamper the appearence.

Then I made two dips. The first was totally off the cuff, no recipe, no holds barred.

Berebere Red Pepper Dip 

I roasted a head of garlic: wrap in tinfoil, add olive oil and salt, bake in oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. I roasted 2 red bell peppers: hold over fire of gas stove for 5-10 minutes, rotating occaisonally, until all skin is black and blistered, then let cool and peel skin. I chopped the red peppers fairly small, mixed with garlic, added berebere (Ethiopian spice, available at your local Ethiopian food store), then melted about 2 tablespoons of Nitter Kibe (Ethiopian spiced butter) over low heat and poured it over while mashing lightly in the mortar and pestle. This blended all the flavors with out giving it spread consistancey, but more a dip one. It is resting on a black pepper La Panzanella cracker.

Edamole 

This is the Edamole, resting on a tortilla chip (Solena, the best kind). I made this just like I do my basic guacamole, subbing in about two cups of edamame in place of the two avocados I use. I mashed the edamame a little bit with the mortar and pestle, but I wanted to keep the bit of snap in the beans, so mostly the just fell in half, so I left them like that. I added lime juice, olive oil, minced onions, minced jalapeno and cilantro. It worked perfectly. Topped it off with some cumin and a few dried red pepper flakes in order to add color. This was fantastic.

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