Just a silly pun, but I have been thinking of things served in various dishes at the same meal, and was again reminded recently of the kind of eating-out that entails lovely Asian specialties that come in different colors of serving vessels which are then shared by everyone at the table, and the bill is calculated after the meal by counting up how many of each colored dishes have been accumulated.
I always thought, as a child, that eating hors d’oevres all day would be much better than sitting down for a meat, veggie and starch typical dinner.
Well I am totally amazed that what I wished for is accessible and acceptable for me! Paleo lends itself to canapé style delivery, and the ingredients lend themselves to making various small savory treasures that can be lifted from the plate and popped into the mouth, often in one bite.
Celery boat with herbed cream cheese and smoked salmon
Several nights ago I raided the fridge. What was in there? Well not a whole lot of anything, but plenty of small left-over parts and pieces. Paleo Dim-sum just waiting to be served!
Half a cup of smoked salmon, half a package of creamed cheese, a few slightly tired celery stalks, three semi-fresh scallions, part of a packet of baby spinach, part of a packet of Chinese pea-pods, bits of green pepper, a few olives, — you know the kind of thing I am talking about.
So I was instantly in Inventor-mode.
What would be the most wonderful substance to mount a morsel of smoked salmon on? Creamed cheese mixed with herbs and scallions and maybe some dill and/or celery seed, that’s what! What to put it on that’s NOT a cracker? How about some celery boats? How about adorning each boat with a dash of paprika and a sprig of that parsley that volunteered in a planter on the porch? Or a slice of brined cucumber. ( Cucumber that is slightly past crisp can be revived in a salt and vinegar brine and be delightful. Add some dill, or celery seed.)
Okay. Put it together and arrange it on a dish—wow, how fun is that? Finger food.
Then there were the lovely peapods (legal because they are mostly pod), and some leftover asparagus, some onion, and some other bits and pieces of this and that… all of which I had successfully stir fried in the past. Put black olives into that dish right at the end and it’s really quite nice. Put a bit of Wasabi or horseradish on the side for a nod toward the taste of Asia without resorting to soy sauce. A fork or chopsticks should be supplied.
My third dish was a stab at Brussels sprouts pan roasted up with tart apple slices—a great combo, even if (like me) you are not rhapsodic about Brussels sprouts. My housemate is, and she raved about this dish. I used simple salt and pepper seasonings on this, but gave it a spritz of fresh lemon juice and a dash of paprika. You want a fork for this bite sized treat.
The point is, we had enormously satisfying canapés for dinner (and beyond), and were not at all feeling deprived of starches and sweets because our tummies were very very content. I put a small dish of those currently seasonal Bing cherries from Eastern Washington on the table, just for color. Of course they were perfect for dessert.
Think what you “snip” while going by, or while making a meal and visiting the fridge, simply because you happen to really love it. I snip pickling cukes very often—can’t resist snagging one while getting out the salad greens. And I adore things like avocado slices and artichoke hearts, and olives, and yes, a piece of “crispy” from yesterday’s roast beef or chicken.
These ARE dim-sum, if you think about it. Smorgasbord, buffet, appetizers, there are a bunch of names for this sort of gastronomical gem.
And if your fridge is getting full of odds and ends, think canapés for dinner! Might work! Sour cream or yoghurt makes for a saucier backdrop for savory bits of meat and vegetables. Dice bacon and fry crisp and incorporate into a spinach leaf rolled around some paté. Roasted bits of carrots and celery and parsnip and pepper are so very luscious when you have added surprise herbs or vinegar, or some spicy mustard or fresh ginger slices to the mix. And they are COLORFUL and appetizing. Think antipasto, and think crudité and think — I love the Other French Word that is seldom used but so perfect for epicurean treats: amuse-bouches .
And people think Paleo/primal foodies are deprived! Sillies.