Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hoisin Ginger Drummettes

So I mentioned yesterday that I'm working on a couple recipes. The first was the cheesecake one, which I tried out today. I think the peach could be a bit stronger, perhaps add in 2 peaches next time, and the balsamic syrup definitely highlights the fruitiness of the dessert. The syrup is more subtle than I thought it would be.

Second recipe- hoisin ginger marinated chicken drummettes. Drummettes are a modification of chicken wings, where you cut off the wing up to the first joint, and then fold the remaining skin and meat down over the bottom to form a miniature drumstick. To snip the chicken wings, you need a sharp pair of kitchen shears, and/or a paring knife/flexible boning knife. I prefer the Wusthof Classic or Henckels Pro S line, but these are wickedly sharp, so be careful.

So I prepared about a dozen drummettes (save the remaining wingtips for chicken stock), and marinated them overnight in a Chinese flavored marinade. Quite similar to a dipping sauce for my dumplings.

Hoisin Ginger Marinade

- Hoisin Sauce
- Dash of soy sauce
- Finely chopped ginger, garlic
- salt, pepper
- sesame oil
- packet of sugar

I admit I don't have any real quantities of ingredients for the sauce- just throw them together and mix to taste. Hoisin is very strong and thick, so don't use too much. It's kind of a cheap, but effective way of making a marinade. To go with the drummettes, I'll saute some Chinese eggplant, and use a cucumber as a garnish for the ensemble.

I also made a Honey Dijon Mustard marinade for some other chicken drumsticks (it's an all chicken menu!) because the drummettes are small and few, and will only be appetizers. I'll use the drumsticks and coat them in Panko breadcrumbs before baking, for a healthier 'fried chicken'.

Honey Dijon Mustard Marinade

- Minced garlic cloves
- Dijon Mustard
- Honey
- Lime or lemon juice
- Olive oil
- salt, pepper

I was browing the web, and I found this helpful diagram about making drummette's. I think it was from Foster's (a meat manufacturer) webpage.

And here is my self-made drummette for comparison.

Marinated overnight in the sauce, about to bake shortly this afternoon.Here's the final result. Taste is excellent, sweet and tangy. However, I need to improve the presentation. The ginger confetti is ok, but chunky at times, and the cucumber cup looks awkwardly cut (must get that channel knife!).

The above presentation is too ugly and too symmetrical. I also need a smaller plate if it's going to be an appetizer. Changed it somewhat below.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Miniature Peach Cheesecake with Balsamic Syrup

This is my first blog, a bit late to the game I know, but I've taken an interest in cooking recently, and rather than store everything on note cards, I figured that it would be easier to just upload everything to a blog. Why is it called Hemarchus? Well, all the good blog names were taken, and Hemarchus was one of the principal followers of the Greek philosopher, Epicurus, from which we get gastronomically related words like epicurean... I am no chef, but an aspiring part time hemarchus and grad student.

Trying out some new recipes this weekend. They are hors d'oeuvres sized which are more practical in my opinion, because a) they will be easier to entertain with, and b) reduce the amount of food that I have to end up eating should things go terribly wrong.

First one is a dessert, miniature peach cheesecake with balsamic syrup. Why this combination? Well, I have a ton of peaches sitting around at home, as well as an unopened bottle of balsamic vinegar that I haven't gotten around to using (until now).

Miniature Peach Cheesecake with Balsamic Syrup

Crust: Used some graham cracker crumbs, a packet of sugar, melted butter, and pressed them into the bottom of my Norpro Pan. Baked ~ 10 min. at 350 degrees F, which as it turns out, was very tasty, although slightly too long in my opinion. maybe 8 min. next time would be better.


- 1 x 8 oz. package of cream cheese (mascarpone or neufchatel would also work well I think)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 peach
- a dash of flour (or cornstarch)
- 1 jumbo egg
- some vanilla

Bake ~13 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove and let cool, then place in refrigerator overnight to let it solidify. Consistency when removing from the oven should be like a wobbly flan.

Makes about 12 miniature cheesecakes.

The reason for adding the flour (or cornstarch) as I understand it is to help prevent 'cracking' in the top surface of the cheesecake. An alternative would be to use miniature leak-proof spring form pans and bake them in a water bath, but those are rather expensive.

For the topping, peel and slice some fresh peaches, and boil balsamic vinegar until reduced. Arrange peach slices as you see fit, and drizzle the balsamic syrup on top.

Here's a variation topped with white nectarines, blueberries, lemon zest, and apricot glaze. (thanks Erik!):

The original version with balsamic syrup: