Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mezze Platter of Hummus and Ajvar Sesame Rye Rusk Canapes with Arabic Candied Dried Fruit









     A simple hand passed canape platter presented with no extensive garnishing.  The simpler the better is a food theme that many traditionalists prefer
   
     I am still temporarily staying in a motel, till I start my trip home to Las Vegas later this week.  In order to fight boredom, I have made a few nice simple recipes in the motel room.  In a couple of weeks, I will have a new home with a kitchen in Las Vegas and then I will resume cooking recipes for this food site.
     This canape platter was made with pre-made and pre-packaged ingredients.  I purchased the items for this canape platter at a Grecian delicatessen and at an Arabic Persian market.
     Arabic hummus and Balkan ajvar are two items that many people enjoy.  Ajvar is a vegetable dip that is made with sweet red bell pepper, eggplant, chile pepper and garlic.  Ajvar is similar to north african harissa.  Ajvar is sold in glass jars.
     Hummus is a smooth dip that is made with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon and seasonings.  In many North African countries, hummus is another word for whole beans instead of bean dip.  In the middle east, hummus almost always refers to the smooth bean dip.
     Hummus is packaged many different ways.  I purchased a few individual squeezable snack packets of hummus.  The hummus was packaged with the intent of appealing to children.  When I saw this style of packaging, I thought that it was a great idea.  Making a healthy snack, like hummus, look more appealing than candy to children is a good thing  That is clever positive marketing!
     I really designed this simple hors d' oeuvres platter with the intent of featuring the Arabic honey preserved dried fruits.  I used to like these candied fruits when I was a child.  My step grandfather was Syrian and I liked the neat Arabic food that was in his kitchen.  I have not seen these candied dried fruits since I was a kid.  The Arabic market had a large selection of Arabic candied dried fruits.  The candied dried fruits at the market brought back some good old memories!
     Each candied whole dried fruit is individually packaged.  Arabic candied dried fruits are hand crafted and they are a very high quality product.  The fruits are naturally sweet and there is no heavy sweet sugar flavor added.  An ancient technique of preserving dried fruit with honey was used to make these candied fruits!  The candied dried fruit that I chose for this canape platter were plum, apple, pear and fig.  Arabic candied dried fruits are healthy to eat and they taste great!
     I chose Croatian rye sesame rusk for the canape toast.  Rusk is a fine bread that is sliced and toasted twice.  Rusk is nice and crispy.  Pre-packaged rusk like this can be purchased in Greek delicatessens.
   
     Mezze Platter of Hummus and Ajvar Sesame Rye Rusk Canapes with Arabic Candied Dried Fruit:
     Hand passed hors d' oeuvres platters for social events has its origins in mezze from the middle east.  Offering a few items that are sweet or savory on a platter is a good strategy for pleasing guests at an event.  Canapes tratitionally have a toast, bread or a cracker as a base and they should never be bigger than what can be eaten with two small bites.
     Imported olives from the mediterranean region are the best.  The better the olive, the better the canape.  Pre-made hummus was used in this recipe. 
     Spread a thin layer of hummus on 4 slices of rye sesame rusk.
     Garnish the hummus with pitted olives or a dab of ajvar and pitted olives.
     Spread a thin layer of ajvar on 2 slices of rusk.
     Garnish the ajvar with pitted olives.
     Arrange the rusk canapes on a platter.
     Place a few Arabic candied dried fruits on the platter.
     Garnish the platter with 2 Grecian yellow fefferoni peppers.
   
     A nice combination of savory, sweet, fruity, spicy and mild flavors are offered on this simple canape platter.  A good canape platter will open the senses, add inspiration and help to create conversation.    ...  Shawna