Requièm Hors d'Oeuvres
by Susu, MaceVindaloo
Menu: Lemon Curd on Ginger Crisps | Chocolate Mousse | Meatballs Clementine | Boozy Rum Balls | Mustard Cream Dressing | Salmon MousseAs a matter of security policy, women taken into service to be handmaidens to the Queen of Naboo are given new names which rhymed with, or otherwise sounded like, the monarch's. This was outwardly a cute affectation, but in truth, it meant that it was difficult for casual observers to know which woman was being addressed. If someone slipped and called one of them "Padmé" it could be addressed to Sabé, who would respond to the affirmative. This was useful and necessary if the handmaiden was assigned to perform as the decoy for the queen.
Even after she'd stepped down as Queen, Padmé Amidala stayed in public service, and thus retained her publicly bestowed name. At the new Queen Jamilla's insistence, Padmé traveled with handmaidens who served her as when she'd been queen, including serving as decoys.
The newest handmaiden was chosen because she physically resembled both the former Queen and her already-selected handmaiden, Dormé, which meant she could serve as a decoy for both women. She accepted her new public name: Cordé, with much joy and anticipation, and was even more thrilled many months later when she was told she was at last ready to be the Senator's decoy!
Cordé had also been selected because her talents and skills were those which were useful and desired by Senator Amidala's staff. She had a head for financial details, and for all manner of regulatory and official documentation, ranging from insurance to policy to food allergies and preferences of the Senator's guests. She was also a decent cook, but not in the day-to-day sense. She loved making nibbles and tidbits and cakes for any sort of occasion, whether it was a birthday, or even for the visit of a highly placed official or visitor!
Cordé's job as decoy was accomplished and she made the ultimate sacrifice: she fell as the victim of an assassination attempt on Padmés life as they landed on Coruscant. As she lay dying, she begged the Senator's forgiveness for having failed her; by dying, the deception was revealed and Padmé had one fewer aide and confidante.
After Padmé made her presentation to the Senate, she retired to her quarters, and she and her staff mourned Cordé. Her body had been prepared for transport back to Naboo, and the delegation held a small, private funeral. Before the skiff crew departed, Dormé and Captain Typho revealed they'd made hors d'oeuvres for everyone, but they were not just any hors d'oeuvres they were the recipes Cordé had made during her years as Padmé's aide and handmaiden!
The mourners ate far more than they'd expected to, for with every tidbit they tried, new memories and tales of the dead woman surfaced. There was a lot of talking and laughter, and many tears. Every morsel was eaten, and her colleagues and friends all agreed: this was the perfect way to memorialize a very special and dedicated woman.
Menu: Lemon Curd on Ginger Crisps | Chocolate Mousse | Meatballs Clementine | Boozy Rum Balls | Mustard Cream Dressing | Salmon Mousse
Lemon Curd on Ginger Crisps
Lemon curd is a bright, rich, sunny custard, which can be spread on toast, or placed in a tarte shell and topped with plain fresh fruit for a brilliant treat. Either mundane or elegant, it elevates anything it's served with. But Dormé found a note scribbled on the margins of her dead colleague's notebooks: "best if served on ginger crisps." Captain Typho used the Holonet to contact his mother, who forwarded a recipe for the crispy cookies. Dormé had decided to use a bought thin cookie instead; she remembered that Cordé had often rather flatly stated, "Never bake cookies for a party it takes too long and people gobble them up in less than a second! The bought stuff is better than most can make, anyway."
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until it is pale and aerated. Over a pot of boiling water (double boiler), whisk together the butter, sugar, and lemon juice till the butter is melted. Put a spoonful of the hot mixture over the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly; keep adding spoonfuls of the lemon/butter mixture into the yolks, and don't stop stirring. Add all of the butter to the yolks.
Place the bowl over the boiling water and cook with stirring until the mixture is fairly thick, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove into a cold bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic is sitting right on the surface of the lemon curd, and let it cool to room temperature.
When cool, stir in the lemon rind. The curd can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a day or so till you want it. This makes about 2 cups of lemon curd.
Heat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
If you have a marble pastry board, this is a good time to use it. Or work in a cool place. Lightly flour the surface, then roll out the dough to 1/16-inch / 150-mm in depth. The thinner you can roll the dough, the crispier the cookie.
Either cut out shapes from the dough and carefully place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 inches / 5 cm apart, or place the dough on the baking sheet and cut the cookies on there, and lift off the excess dough. Use scalloped-edge, round shaped, like a flower, or a scalloped biscuit cutter. For this dish, they should be about 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter.
Place the trays in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or till very lightly browned and slightly puffed. Remove the whole sheet of parchment onto the cool countertop or onto a wire rack to cool completely before attempting to move them off the paper. Re-line the sheet with a fresh piece of parchment to continue making cookies.
Makes about 50 cookies.
Place a big, open star tip into the bottom of a pastry bag, and fill the bag with chilled lemon curd. Lay out the cookies onto serving platters, and pipe a blob of the lemon curd on the center of each cookie. (If you used a flower-shaped cutter, these will look like very sunny daisies!)
Cordé was not always easy to get along with. For one thing, she could be quite snobby if she thought a person was being dumb. She was a hard worker and considered her position on the Senator's staff to be a real honor. She was protective of her boss, and could be acerbic and short with people who, in her estimation, were stupidly wasting the Senator's time. And Cordé hated suffering fools, and did not hesitate to tell them what to do! Dormé revealed she found this recipe in Cordé's notes, but there was no indication what to do with the cream ... out of nowhere, Cordé's voice rang out, "Any fool knows you fold it in AFTER the egg whites!" Everyone laughed and cried upon hearing the story it was vintage Cordé to haunt Dormé in exactly that manner.
Beat the egg yolks till they are pale and lifting some of the beaten yolks up will cause it to fall back down into the bowl in a pale yellow ribbon. Add the vanilla into the chocolate mixture, then the yolks, and blend well.
Beat the egg whites in a room temperature bowl, till stiff peaks form. Fold gently into the chocolate mixture. Chill a bowl, and beat the heavy cream in it till stiff peaks form, then fold that into the chocolate. Be careful not to deflate the air you whipped into the egg whites and the heavy cream.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 6 to 8 hours. If desired, the mousse can be wrapped very well and frozen till you want it.
For serving, put the mousse into a pastry bag without a tip and put into glasses, ramekins, or cups before chilling or freezing. This makes 12 servings, but these are very nice in smaller cups, and can serve up to 30 2-ounce portions for a cocktail party. Again, you can cover and freeze these small cups, too.
These little balls are kind of shocking looking, skewered on a toothpick with a clementine orange section on top! They smell ultra-beefy, too. But if you try them, you'll find them addictive, and their saltiness goes really well with drinks. Better still, 3 pounds of ground beef will make 100 meatballs, meaning a little meat will go a very long way. This idea was actually the essence of Cordé make a little go a long way, present it prettily, and be more than you appear!
In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients (use your hands), and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. Form the meat into 1-inch / 2.5 cm sized balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, till the balls are browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven when done and remove them to a bowl to cool.
To serve, put a section of mandarin orange or clementine on top of the meatball, and skewer together with a toothpick, and arrange on a platter to serve. Makes about 100 meatballs.
Boozy Rum Balls
Dormé remembered Cordé making these while onboard a common transport with the Senator. Padmé had discovered another senator was on the same flight, and he had been noncommittal about the Military Creation Act which Padmé had been working to defeat. Cordé scrounged for ingredients and created these treats on the spot with what she had available, no heat required. The senator was so charmed by Padmé's hospitality that he not only agreed to listen to her arguments, but begged for the recipe (and even flirted openly with Padmé, too!).
Mustard Cream Dressing
When on the political circuit, it was often hard to eat properly. Food was plentiful, but it tended to be snackable things, rather than well-rounded things everyone should eat daily. Vegetables tended to be in short supply, but Cordé knew that Padmé preferred to eat lightly and sparsely, and so the woman took it upon herself to make sure the Senator had fresh cut vegetables all day. Many of her visitors would think this was too austere, so Cordé developed this sharp but savory dip, and serve it to everyone in little cups alongside a selection of vegetables on individual plates, so that each person could dip their vegetables into the dressing as they wished. Visitors were charmed by this personalized approach, but Dormé remembered that Cordé had done this not because she was being charming, because she could not stand the thought that someone might "double dip" and thereby "contaminate" a big bowl of dressing!
Cordé would disappear into the kitchen to make this impressive looking dish for very honored guests, like Chancellor Palpatine, or Senator Bail Organa. As people gathered to greet these dignitaries, they might attempt to put the knife into the fish-molded mousse to spread on a cracker, to sooth their hunger as they waited for the important guest. Cordé would not have that! She would hover over this presented dish, not allowing anyone to touch it (no matter how ravenous they felt) until the guest of honor or the Senator had had the first taste ... Everyone else on Padmé's staff indulged the proud cook, even though they all also thought it was kind of silly. But the mousses and treats she made were worth the wait, and they enjoyed being able to eat this without her piercing glare on them, for once!
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a bowl, and let stand until softened. Then add ½ cup boiling chicken stock and stir till dissolved. Stir in dried dill and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, paprika and salt, and beat well. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture starts to thicken. Add 2 cups flaked cooked salmon, mix well and taste for seasoning.
In another bowl, beat heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold into salmon mixture.
Pour into the prepared mold or bowl and and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. It should be firm and sliceable. To unmold, run a paring knife around the edges of the mousse to loosen. Turn over unto serving plate and jiggle to release.
Makes about 4 cups / 2 quarts / 2 litres, will serve about 50 hors d'oeuvres when spread on crackers or thinly sliced bread or toast. It can also be served as a sliced terrine-type dish, in which case, it will serve 8 to 12, depending on how thinly you sliced it.
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