hors d’oeuvres

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a test kitchen dossier

I have learned
To spell hors d’oeuvres,
Which still grates on
Some people’s n’oeuvres.
– Warren Knox

The French phrase hors d’oeuvre (often pluralized as hors d’oeuvres in English) literally means “outside of the work,” and originally referred to an outbuilding not incorporated into the architect’s main design of a house or building. The phrase eventually found its way into the culinary lexicon, meaning appetizers served apart from the main course of a dinner.

Hors d’oeuvres can encompass a wide variety of foods, and range from casual finger foods to elegant nibbles. Their versatility makes them ideal for any kind of event, either as snacks taken at the cocktail hour prior to a seated meal, or as the main menu for a party where the guests won’t be seated. Tapas, dim sum, antipasti, antojitos and appetizers all can fit into the theme of hors d’oeuvres, leaving the menu open to your imagination.

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Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche is more of a method than a recipe, in which the acid of lemons and limes is used to “cook” seafood.

Mini Savory Bites

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Using a popover recipe for a base, we created these delicious bites quite by accident.

Hoi Polloi Salmon

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This gorgeous dish comes to us courtesy of Bun Lai, owner of Miya Sushi in New Haven, CT.

Caramelized Fig Spread

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Fresh figs are sweet and delicious on their own, but sometimes we do love to give them a good roast.

Avocado Crème Shrimp

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The creamy texture of a ripe avocado creates the perfect “glaze” for these coconut rum marinated shrimp. This slightly sweet twist on grilled shrimp will add a delicious start to any special meal.

Shrimp & Avocado Canapés

These hors d’oeuvres are simple to make, but offer a lovely presentation for your entertaining. Seafood and avocado complement each other perfectly, and here they are accented with a touch of dill.

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon Bites

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These little hors d’oeuvre bites are exquisite hot or cold, and are an easy dish to make when people come over.

Morilles à la Crème (Morels in Cream Sauce)

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This dish is a classic French morel preparation found in Périgord and Lyon. Here we’ve turned the dish into an appetizer by placing the morels and cream sauce in puff pastry shells, which though easy to prepare will offer an impressive introduction to your feast.

Minted Pea Purée Canapés in Puff Pastry Vol-au-Vents

When spring arrives, we are compelled to enjoy the pleasures of the first green peas, for there is nothing as naturally sweet as these tender harbingers of the new season.

Avocado & Crab Timbales with Tobiko Roe Vinaigrette

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This is a really easy dish that *looks* complicated when served, and will definitely win you points with your guests without much effort.