Sunday, November 16, 2008

Italian Modern Fiesta - A Complete HOME RUN!


Question...so have you ever thought to yourself, let me just try this and see how it comes out? Well, that's EXACTLY what I did. Tonight I had a meeting with two really good friends of mine. We're working on some ideas for the food blog - you know, trying to step it up a couple of notches. So, I figured what better way to talk about food than to eat food - great idea, right? But we couldn't just eat any ol' food - it wouldn't work out that way. Really.

So, I needed inspiration...and I needed it quick. What did I come up with.? Well, I want to say that for me this is the pinnacle of creativity. I don't think I've ever been stretched this much and have ever been this successful in menu planning. All I knew was I wanted Italian, modern, chic, and little bites...but I didn't know what that translated into. After some though, you'll like the outcome.

Chicken Parmesan Bites
We all know and love chicken parm, right? Chicken breast that's been seasoned and fried and smothered in tomato sauce, toppeed with cheese, and baked until golden brown! I've done my variation. It has ground chicken that's been seasoned and a small cube of Mozzarella cheese has been put on the inside. I rolled it in a seasoned flour and cornstarch mixture and deep fried the bite until it was crispy on the outside and piping hot on the inside. I made a quick tomato sauce with tons of fresh basil and topped the entire thing with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Carmelized Beef, Onion, and Pepper Triangles
I'm not entirely sure if this is Italian or not. But it's rib eye steak that's been cubed. I added peppers and onions and cooked the whole thing in olive oil and garlic until it was tender and carmelized. I put the cooled mixture in puff pastry and folded them into triangles. I did a reduction of balsamic that was infused with POMEGRANATE and gave that a drizzle over the puff pastry triangles. HEAVEN!

Garlic Crustinis and Sweet Petite Diced Bruschetta
Personally, I hate most bruschettas. I don't like the over powerful tomato taste and bland seasonings. So, I gave this some life! It took less than 3 minutes to make. I took canned tomatoes, minced onion, minced garlic, and basil - tossed that together with olive oil, salt, pepper, a touch of red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of that balsamic vinegar that had been infused with pomegranate juice. For a nice suprise, a bit of sugar takes this over the top. This is grown up bruschetta!

Toastes Wedges with a Roasted Garlic & Lemon Aoili
Nothing to hard here - just good old russet potatoes that got cut into wedges and tossed with kosher salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil. I toasted them in a hot oven and when they came out topped them with a dusting of Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. I also roasted a head of garlic and mixed it with the juice of one lemon, lemon zest, and really good mayo. I seasoned it with a touch of salt and pepper. Why reinvent the wheel?

All in all - this was GREAT. I totally think I hit a home run and my friends were great sports. You can see from the pics below that this was a fantastic time...the food was really, really, really good. You'll see these dishes again really soon!

Be sure to click on any of the pictures too - it's food porn again - I promise.


The carmelized beef, onion, and peppers in puff pastry - see the balsamic drizzle?

The toasted wedges and the roasted garlic and lemon aioli.

The sweet petite diced brushetta - it's grew up!













My friend Calvin. He couldn't decide which one to eat - so he ate them both...at the same time!





















I caught him stuffing his face - a classic picture!





















This food went fast - look at it go.

Calvin stopped for a picture - but Levell, he's still eating!





















I know you wanted to see the inside of the beef triangles...I wasn't going to let you down. Be sure to enlarge the pic by clicking on it.

Another really great pic of the bruschetta!

I also had to show you the inside of the chicken parm bites! See the cheese oozing!

I didn't wrap this one too tight. It lost a bit of cheese - lol.

The potato wedges...before they were toasted!

The making of the chicken parm bites!

The egg washing! That's really important, ya know?!?!

The rib eye steak, onions, and pepper on their way to carmelization heaven!




71 comments:

MzInspiredMind81 said...

*DROOLING ON KEYBOARD* sigh...back to studying for a Final while thoughts of Italian food dance in my head.

Laquita said...

Just by the descriptions and pictures I could almost taste these - they look wonderful :o)

brneyedgal967 said...

OMG - I don't know which ones looks the best! The chicken parm bites is a fantastic idea!!! With the mozzarella on the inside... I might have to try making that myself!

Great job!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Looks like a great party!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Very nice. I'm going to try the Bruschetta tip (sugar) and the potato wedges sound delightful! Thanks for sharing.

Ieisha said...

LOVING the Chicken Parmesan bites. You know that's one of my favorite Italian foods, right???

It's official...you are catering my party when I turn 30 AND when I graduate from law school.

And I want EVERYTHING I've seen here.

You are the BEST!!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Terrific! Everything looks soooo good! A wonderful party!

Cheers,

Rosa

Jaime said...

wow, i wish i had been there to enjoy some of those creations! they look fabulous!

crystal said...

It was quite a change from Tuscany to Veneto region, even though still within a same country. Veneto region is located in the northeast of Italy, and the most prominent city in the region is Venice. There must be something with this region, as many of the places name started with V: Veneto, Venezia, Vicenza, and Verona.
---------------
Alice

Guaranteed ROI

canarygirl said...

Oh wow, these all look terrifically scrumptious, but OMFG those Chicken Parm bites? *faints* I need those. Right now. Freaking AWESOME man. Seriously.

OhioMom said...

My fav are the chicken bites, what a great feast!

Super Dave Van Buren said...

There is noway I'd trust all that food near my laptop.. lol

food looks great though

Mary Coleman said...

i'll take two orders chicken parm bites and an order of bruschetta to go please!!!

doggybloggy said...

lucky friends -wait did I say LUCKY FRIENDS,,,

BorednTalkative said...

I really need to stop coming by here especially when I'm hungry. Those dishes looked delicious. Definitely some things I want to try.

TavoLini said...

YUM!!! Those chicken parmesan bites sound insane! You have some very lucky friends ;)

ttfn300 said...

wow, lucky friends! they all sound superb :) GREAT ideas!

Anette said...

That looks so tasty! And colorful!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

The chicken bites are so clever. I love it when people cook outside the box like that.

Everything looks great here, but what I love the most is the photos of the prep and thepeople enjoying it. You put a lot of love in your cooking and I can tell that your friends know it. Everyone is having a blast.

bren@Flanboyant Eats said...

nice work. i really like the warmth of the food pics. and what's up with the glass ON the laptop!?! LOL!

Adam said...

You've sure got some lucky friends, D. Excellent job of thinking outside the box. I especially dig the chicken bites and the Beef with pomegrante... nice touch.

sony said...

Dear Food Man,

Why oh why must you torture me? My stomach is growling something major & just the thought of those chicken parm bites has me feeling extremely angry that I wasn't invited to that meeting! Ima need you to please sign off & come to NC. Let's spend some TIME together. Bwaahhaaaaaahaaaa ::my evil laugh::

Signed,
Your #1 Drooler

mikky said...

what a feast... :)

Colleen said...

Wow, this all looks amazing! What great flavor combinations!

Allie said...

Those parmesan bites look extraordinary! Yum!

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Will you marry me?

Cynthia said...

You are a true master! Have bookmarked the page!

Foodycat said...

Darius this is amazing! Such a feast! It all looks fantastic.

Maryann said...

A true cook loves food and the creative process, taking risks..good job, cook!

BGF said...

Pass some of that bruschetta my way, Darius. Food + Friends = Fun — yum!

Christina said...

Amazing creations, Darius! If you opened a catering business you'd be set for life. Seriously, I would buy stock in your company. =D

Pat said...

THese would make wonderful hors d'Ĺ“uvres or appetizers for the holidays!

Looks like your friends had a good time taste testing!

Zombie Mom said...

Yum!!! I love a bruschetta when done right and the chicken parm balls - OMG - I have never considered such a fab combo... I have been in Cali way too long... My hubs would love these offerings...

Still planning to cook your balsamic chicken- in fact, got all the stuff together last week to make it but got felled by the flu..

Kin'shar said...

Your just too damn good.....


Delicious looking food
Delicious looking friends
just dee li shush


Oh btw.....I noticed that you have more than once triangle plate..lol

Katherine Aucoin said...

Wow your blog and especially this post knocked my socks off!! You have definitely bumped up your blog more than a few...the chicken parm bites have me over the moon.

Sexxy Luv said...

i promise i'm thinking about relocating just so i can eat good!

great job D!

Maria said...

Look at all of that food! I am impressed!! Everything looks so tasty!

Snooty Primadona said...

I just have to say Thank You! for planning my Christmas Party Menu! I think several of these can be made up ahead of time and cooked the day of the party, which is perfect for me. This is wonderful...

soulcookbook said...

Wow OK, I am totally planning an italian feast for my in-laws when they come out to california and I am stealing the wedges w/aoili idea! I was looking for something simple but with flavors they aren't used to.

Also, I HATE bruschetta with a passion and have never found one I actually like. Too bland and I don't like my bread hard. Yours looks good, though.

This looks like a good time was had by all. I am new to your blog but I can't wait to see your holiday dishes.

*rubs hands together*

Jo said...

Looks incredible... the photos are amazing too :) Delicious! I want to come to your place for dinner ;)

Nicole said...

good times... good food... what more is there to life?

Cheryl said...

Freaking gorgeous! You should really do this stuff professionally! verrry impressive

Heather said...

Oh hunny. You know how to put out a spread! Shoo! Those chicken croquette-looking things are making my mouth water.

Now you just need to put some cheese curds and gravy up on those potato wedges. ;)

joe@italyville said...

nice work Darius! and great presentation. Your friends must have been psyched.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Oh damn! those Chicken Parmesan bites look tasty!

Lisa said...

I LOVE appetizers and wow did you step things up a notch!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

well done, you are an honorary italian now!

Natashya said...

Why, why, why do I not live closer to Chicago? Your nibblies look out of this world.

Jeanne said...

Holy guacamole, look at those chicken bites! Definitely my favourites of the bunch :)

Daziano said...

Wow, you're totally rocking Italian-American cuisine! Bravo!!!
Just a tiny correction (sorry ;) )... in Italian we say crostini ;) and even though it's not Italian, I must say the sauce is aioli... I know, so many vowels!!! ;o)

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks great. I'm especially impressed by the pomegranate-balsamic reduction.

LBJ said...

I must say that this is such a bacehlor's evening! What better way to meet than with finger foods?

I must say that I have played with a pomegranate balsamic glaze as well. You'll actually see it soon! lol It's National Pomegranate Month!

Wonderful job Darius!

www.lbjsbrownbag.com/blog

Carmen Cooks said...

WOW - everything looks so darn good!! Great job. :)

Leigh said...

(drip,drip....droll on the keyboard)



Darius, can I PU-LEEEEZZZ come to your next dinner party?
Have mercy, now!

Nazarina A said...

I would have been right up there with your friend, stuffing my face!I have an award for you.

Deborah said...

I'd have a get together for food like that any day!!

Emeka Amakeze said...

If i step into Ameria...(sorry), Akameri(not again), i know it's the food. Darius, if i step into A M E R I C A, (got it), you got yourself a tenant.

Emeka Amakeze said...

If i step into Ameria...(sorry), Akameri(not again), i know it's the food. Darius, if i step into A M E R I C A, (got it), you got yourself a tenant.

Dawn said...

whoa! a perfect little feast. Calvin is one lucky dude to be able to eat those. I would be eating 2 at a time too.
Really nice work here Darius. Seriously.

Lela said...

Agh! You're killing me. Do you eat like this all the time. And why again do you work in accounting???

FYI - your Facebook feed on the blog is cutting off in such a way that it reads "excited to go to the John". Just thought you might want to know!

Lela said...

Oh - John Legend concert! Yeah we like him.... But seriously - thanks for the laugh. I'm totally using that in my class I'm teaching on online writing in Jan!

fuzzy said...

I'm just waiting for you to try out for one of those cooking shows or become the next Rachel Ray!

Mizrepresent said...

Wow! Once again i am floored by your creations...you are just SO DAYUM GOOD!

Giff said...

These look great. I love the play on chicken parm especially!

Teresa said...

Sounds delicious! I might "borrow" your menu for an early Christmas party I'm hosting. LOL!

Paula said...

Whoa ... you sure know how to treat your friends right! Gosh! Where to begin? I love the chix/parm bites. Very clever and impressive. The steak pocket triangles are very original, especially with the addition of pomegranate. I love the name "sweet petite" for your bruschetta. Those tater wedges are a knock out, especially with the lemon zest. Love your plates, too. Well done! YUM!

Kevin said...

It looks like you had a great time and the food sounds tasty! I really like the sound of those chicken balls.

Lori Lynn said...

How do I get an invite for next time?
Two-fisted Calvin is my hero!

jesse said...

Looks like such a fun evening! Send an invite my way next time!

Sugee Andersyn said...

Awesome. All that stuff looks so dang tasty!! Great pics

Gloria said...

Darius I hope you had nice vacations! I missed you my friend, see you,Gloria