I am so pleased to be participating again in one of Kitchen PLAY’s Progressive Parties. I have participated once before and enjoyed the challenge, so was happy to receive a second invitation. The progressive parties consist of six different bloggers all creating original recipes centered around one ingredient. This month we’re doing exciting, creative recipes using Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Baby Beets. I was assigned the amuse bouche which offered me an opportunity to really give my imagination free reign in the kitchen. Amuse bouche translates from the French as “amuse the mouth” and I think that’s an apt description for this heavenly little bite I’ve created.
I’ve always loved beets. Just adore them, really. Their rich, earthy smell and taste pairs well with so many other things. And one of the flavors with which they pair best is citrus. The bright, sweet citrus notes contrast with the beets in an unexpectedly pleasant way.
I thought it would be interesting to also add an herbal component to the mix with some of the fresh basil that is overflowing in my herb garden right now. I find that basil has some of the same flavor notes as citrus which further bumped up that profile. But I didn’t want my one little bite to be overwhelmed by sweet citrus. I wanted some contrast and that is nicely provided by the herbed goat cheese. The finished recipe is definitely amusing to the mouth with its sweet little slice of candied kumquat, one perfect earthy pickled baby beet, and a contrasting bite of creamy herbed goat cheese.
I truly hope you’ll try these little bites and enjoy them just like we did.
Start by making the candied kumquats. Rinse and dry the kumquats. Then remove a small slice from each end and discard. Slice the kumquats into thin slices (about 3-4 per fruit) removing all seeds as you work.
In a small, heavy-bottomed pan place the water, sugar, basil leaf and prepared kumquats. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat swirling the pan occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the kumquat slices to cool completely in the liquid. Drain the slices and set aside until needed.
Next, prepare the herbed goat cheese. Simply combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, finely chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Set that aside for now.
Prepare the beets by simply draining away the liquid and placing them on some paper towels to continue draining until you’re ready to assemble.
Prepare one silver spoon for each serving. To each spoon, add approximately 1/2 teaspoon of herbed goat cheese. Top with one whole Aunt Nellie’s Baby Pickled Beet and a slice of candied kumquat. Garnish with a sliver of finely julienned fresh basil. (Note: I chose to serve the amuse bouche in single bites assembled in silver spoons. You may choose a neutral cracker or small piece of melba toast for serving.)
- 8 oz. kumquats
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large basil leaf
- 4 oz. goat cheese (room temperature)
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
- dash of salt
- dash of ground black pepper
- 1 jar Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Baby Beets
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves, julienned
- Rinse and dry the kumquats. Remove a small slice from each end and discard. Slice kumquats into thin slices (about 3-4 per fruit) removing all seeds as you work.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed pan place the water, sugar, basil leaf and prepared kumquats. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat swirling the pan occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and allow the kumquat slices to cool completely in the liquid.
- Drain the slices and set aside until needed.
- Combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Drain the liquid from the beets and place them on absorbent paper towels to drain briefly.
- Prepare one silver spoon for each serving.
- To each spoon, add approximately ½ teaspoon of herbed goat cheese. Top with one whole Aunt Nellie’s Baby Pickled Beet and a slice of candied kumquat. Garnish with a sliver of finely julienned fresh basil.
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To have even more fun with Aunt Nellie’s full line of glass-packed vegetables, sign up here to receive a coupon good toward the purchase price of any Aunt Nellie’s product. Then, create your own fun dish using that product for a chance to win $250 from Aunt Nellie’s and Kitchen PLAY. See specific rules at Kitchen PLAY. Limited quantities available. Sweepstakes ends 8/15/12.
What I was up to: