cover image Surreal Gourmet Bites: Showstoppers and Conversation Starters

Surreal Gourmet Bites: Showstoppers and Conversation Starters

Bob Blumer / Author, Suzi Varin / Photographer Chronicle Books

Bringing his successful Food Network show, The Surreal Gourmet, to the page, the author of this slim cookbook offers a collection of 50 innovative appetizers with names like Haiku Halibut, Pearls of Wisdom and Byzantine Bruschetta. Perfect for an avant-garde cocktail party or even a Dadaist dinner, these recipes are quirky in presentation but consistently delicious. What could be wrong with a Caesar Teaser, a biteful of classic Caesar salad wedged into a miniature parmesan cup? Or a Samurai Scallop, a sesame-crusted scallop bathing in a soy-based marinade, to be served on a large Chinese spoon? Some of the recipe names try a bit too hard to be cute at the expense of sounding appetizing--Chicken Popsicles, for example, don't sound the least bit tempting even though they're simply fried chicken on a stick. But several of the recipes are poetic simplicity, such as Bee Stings, chunks of parmesan drizzled with truffle oil and honey. The author serves each recipe with a sidecar of cloying commentary, listing ""Uncommon Goods"" instead of hard-to-find ingredients and suggesting ""Liquid Assets"" instead of appropriate wines and beers. He even goes so far as to suggest appropriate music by which to make each recipe. Is Moby really the right thing to listen to while cooking Bang Bang Drumettes? Perhaps, but even if prepared in Zen-like silence, the recipes in this book would still result in delicious, unconventional treats.