Jul 18, 2012

"Gone Bamboo" Bites

"Black Snow Shrimp"
Cooked shrimp on bamboo skewers, with ocean salad
(marinated seaweed), and black sesame seeds (black snow), 

served with a tamari sauce mixed with wasabi
To view larger, click on photo
"Gone Bamboo" is the slang term to describe travelers who have decided not to return to their lives and homes, but to go native in the tropical locale they are in, Hawaii for example. "Bamboo bites" are what I call pupus (Hawaiian for appetizers) on a stick, like popsicle sticks, but bamboo sticks. I'm talking about those disposable, eco-friendly, bamboo skewers you see in the grocery store that are used for everything from martini olives to chicken sates. They come in several lengths and are made from dried bamboo. I started thinking about them last night in the wee hours, and thought that they needed a little creative thought as a delivery device for pupus.

The idea is to create one bite appetizers on bamboo skewers, but make them out of foods we love to eat. For example, the famous "S'more", why not put a marshmallow on a bamboo skewer, toast it over a burner on your stove, dip it into a chocolate ganache (thick chocolate sauce made of chocolate and cream), and sprinkle it with crushed graham crackers. Yum! Let's continue, this is getting interesting, well for me anyway. You could divide these bamboo bites into categories, bites for kids, bites for adults, sweet bites, sour bites, spicy bites, fruit bites, cheese bites, bbq bites, famous food bites, Mexican bites, Italian bites, etc. You could even get your kids involved in making them. Let's think about it for a minute, what if you took one of those toaster waffles, toasted it, then cut it into a bite sized squares, skewer them, dip them in maple syrup then sprinkled them with crumbled bacon. Or take a bite sized chunk of banana, skewer it, sprinkle it in lemon juice, to keep it from turning brown, then put a peanut butter mixture of peanut butter and honey on top, then sprinkle it with crushed peanuts. This could go on and on, this is why I couldn't sleep last night. Ok, here's another one... fruit. What if you took a chunk of melon, like cantaloupe, wrap it in a small slice of ham or prosciutto and put a bamboo skewer through it. Woops, that's already a classic, but not creative enough. Ok, take a can of apple pie filling, skewer an apple, then sprinkle toasted panko (Japanese bread crumbs) on top with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar.

let's take a classic salad that most people order when they eat out, the Caesar Salad. Take a small crouton, wrap it in romaine lettuce, skewer it, drizzle Caesar salad dressing over it, and sprinkle it with parmesan cheese. You could even take a classic sandwich like a Reuben, deconstruct the sandwich into its parts, but use the same ingredients, a small slice of corned beef on top of a cube of toasted rye bread, sauerkraut on top, drizzled with Russian dressing, with Swiss cheese sprinkled on top. If you live in Hawaii, and love poke the way I do, take a chunk of marinated ahi tuna, or cooked shrimp, (see photo above), and stick it on the end of a bamboo stick, then wrap it with a little ocean salad, which is marinated seaweed, and sprinkle it with roasted black sesame seeds. You could do something similar with other forms of poke, like tako (octopus). If you like beets, and I do love beets, buy some beets, roast them in the oven, or boil them, cut them into bit size pieces, put them on a skewers. Dip the top of the beets in ranch dressing and sprinkle them with chopped hard cooked egg. Or take a grilled steak, cut it into bite sized pieces, place half a cherry tomato on a skewer, then a bite of steak, then the other half of tomato on top. Dip the whole thing in bbq sauce, and sprinkle with crumbled potato chips. Or buy a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, skewer one, then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. You get the idea behind "Bamboo Bites", so now you ask "how do you serve them"? You could just lay them on a small plate, or stand them up in a decorative glass, or if you want to get fancy, cut a cantaloupe, watermelon or pineapple, and use it for a heavy base, then stick the bamboo skewers in them. These are just a few ideas to get you going, have fun, and be creative.


Black Snow Shrimp
This makes a delicious do-ahead appetizer. The black snow refers to the black sesame seeds that are sprinkled on the shrimp just before serving. 

Ingredients:
White Shrimp, large, cleaned with tail left on
bamboo skewers, 6 inches long
Ocean salad (green marinated seaweed found in Asian markets)
black sesame seeds (black snow)
served with a tamari sauce mixed with wasabi

Procedure:
Select large “white” shrimp, and boil them in salted water, to cover, for 3 minutes. Remove and rinse in cold water. Refrigerate until ready to assemble. When ready to assemble, take a bamboo skewer and run it up the tail through the body of the shrimp. Drape a few strands of ocean salad over the top of each shrimp. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve 3 per person for an appetizer, either laying on a plate with the sauce in a small dipping bowl, or serve them standing up in a small glass with the dipping sauce on the side. For the dipping sauce, mix tamari sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store) with wasabi, to taste. Make as many servings as you want.
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