A-Muse Bouche Trio – A Food, Music, and Wine Pairing for Outside Lands

by Jessica Mishra on August 11, 2011

I recently entered a contest in hopes of being chosen to participate in the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program for the Outside Lands Festival. This contest involved creating an idea for a food and wine pairing that was inspired by one of the bands playing at the festival held in Golden Gate Park this weekend in San Francisco. There were several topics to choose from, so of course being the health enthusiast that I am, I chose the health conscious pairing category.

Being from Austin, Texas, I am a huge fan not only of live music, but live music festivals. I attended the Austin City Limits festival several times when I lived there. So when I saw this contest provided the opportunity to attend an amazing festival in the park here in town, I jumped at the chance. Further, it gave me an excuse to get in the kitchen and do one thing I really love, which is play with my food! I enjoy creating health inspired dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients, are appealing not only to the taste buds but to all the senses, and add nutritional value to the diet! To my excitement, Foodbuzz liked my idea and selected me to attend the Outside Lands festival and share my post!

So what did I come up with? Some of my favorite music comes from a band called Muse. So I thought, how about I create a trio of a-Muse bouches. What the heck is an amuse bouche? Amuse bouche is a French term that translates to “mouth amuser”. An amuse bouche is traditionally a one bite appetizer that is offered for free at a restaurant. It is supposed to give the restaurant patrons a feel for the culinary flair of the chef. In addition, an amuse bouche is designed to wake up the taste buds and excite the palate. How fun!

My trio of a-Muse bouches consists of a sprouted wheat pita chip with sundried tomato hummus topped with fresh heirloom tomatoes, a seasonal mushroom stuffed with spiced lamb and topped with yogurt and cilantro, and a chocolate dipped fig with goat cheese and mint. Each amuse bouche is paired with a favorite Muse song of mine.

I have also paired these tasty bites with a beautiful wine that I recently tasted (and promptly purchased) from the Cline Cellars in Sonoma, CA. The wine is a 2009 Ancient Vines Zinfandel. Cline Cellars describes this wine as having an “intense and rambunctious flavor exploding with outrageously delicious black raspberry fruit”. What a better wine to enhance the already amazing flavors of the figs, chocolate, and currants found in my trio. Enough about the inspiration for my idea, let’s get to the recipes! Also, to find out more about the Outside Lands Festival this weekend, click on the link below:

http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/

Bites of Cydonia (Inspired by the song Knights of Cydonia): Pita chip with sun-dried tomato hummus topped with heirloom tomatoes

Cydonia is a region of the planet Mars. So of course I wanted to emphasize some nice red colors in this bite. Sun-dried tomatoes are so flavorful that it would be impossible for your mouth not to be amused!

Ingredients:

Pita Chip:

  • Ezekiel sprouted grain pitas
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Sea salt

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (cook your own or use canned)
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • sea salt to taste

To Prepare: Slice pitas into small squares, brush with olive oil, and lightly dust with sea salt. Place them on a cookie sheet, which is covered in foil, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Check to make sure they do not burn.

While the chips are cooking, add all ingredients for the hummus to a food processor. You may want to add some of the soaking water from the sun-dried tomatoes to adjust the consistency of the hummus. Blend until thoroughly combined. Spoon a small amount on to each pita chip once they have cooled. Top with finely diced heirloom tomatoes.

Mushrooms for Invincibility (Inspired by the song Invincible): Mushrooms stuffed with spiced lamb and topped with yogurt and cilantro

Mushrooms for invincibility? No, I am not talking about “special mushrooms”, further mushrooms don’t exactly make you invincible. They do, however, have some amazing nutritional benefits. Mushrooms have been shown to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, and increase immunity! I used shitake mushrooms in this recipe, but I had trouble keeping the lamb in the mushroom cap when I picked it up. So I recommend using a button mushroom. The spiced lamb in this recipe is so flavorful. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Handful of seasonal mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon dill
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ lb grass fed, organic ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • salt to taste
  • Plain yogurt
  • Few sprigs of cilantro

To Prepare: Slice the stems off of the mushrooms and set on a greased cookie sheet with the inside of the cap facing up. Brush with olive oil and lightly dust with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until soft.

While the mushrooms are baking, add olive oil to a large pan on medium heat. Add the cumin, nutmeg, dill, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add lamb to the pan. Once the lamb is almost completely cooked, add the currants and salt.

Spoon the lamb mixture on top of the mushrooms. Once you are ready to serve, top with a dollop of yogurt and a cilantro sprig. Enjoy!

Super Delicious Black Figs (Inspired by the song Supermassive Black Hole): Chocolate dipped black figs with goat cheese and fresh mint

These delectable figs pack a taste punch that is out of this world. The smooth, rich flavors of the raw chocolate combine so nicely with the delicate sweetness of the fig and the creaminess of the goat cheese. The mint comes out of nowhere with a refreshing zing! I used local vendor Laura Chenel’s goat cheese, the chocolate sauce is made from raw cacao powder for added nutrients, and the figs and mint are organic! Be careful, these delights are addictive!

Ingredients:

Chocolate Sauce:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup melted cacao butter (melt on very low heat)
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup

To Prepare: Cacao butter is solid at room temperature. Take a block and melt it slowly over low heat. After cooling slightly, add the raw cacao powder and maple syrup and whisk until combined. If the chocolate starts to harden, place the bowl over a larger bowl of hot water and continue to stir. This will soften up the chocolate.

Slice the stems off of the figs and cut in half vertically. Dip the bottom half of the figs into the chocolate and set onto a plate covered in parchment paper. Place the chocolate dipped figs in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set. Using your hands, place a small amount of goat cheese into the indention in the fig. Top with a small piece of mint. Voila, enjoy!

That is my trio of A-Muse bouches. I hope that you will try these out while listening to the tunes of Muse and enjoying the delicious Zinfandel I recommended. Hope to see some of you at Outside Lands! Enjoy the weekend!

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