How does a recipe earn the label gourmet?

How does a recipe earn the label “gourmet”? Is it the ingredients, preparer, presentation, or where the food is being served that earns the gourmet recipes label? I spent a few hours researching the subject.

First, I think the definition of gourmet food ought to be determined. Webster defines gourmet as “a connoisseur of food and drink.” defines the word gourmet from three perspectives, as a food connoisseur, the quality of the ingredients, and a type of restaurant. The definition was relatively broad and somewhat bland.

Mark Vogel at says it this way, “By the book, gourmet food is characterized by high quality, accurate preparation, and artistic presentation.” He goes on to dissect the definition, then sums it up with his definition of gourmet food, “An expensive, seasonal, non-native food, perceived as superior, that under the best of circumstances is also of high quality, accurately prepared and presented with artistic flair.” This is an interesting and rather accurate summation in my opinion, sort of like a foodie. [wink]

By these definitions, in no way am I a gourmet. Presentation is my biggest downfall, among other things. Even after following Foodalogue who always has a fabulous presentation, I still do not take the time to present a beautiful dish. The reasoning behind it really isn’t clear. It seems like I always have hungry people waiting to eat.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am very open to gourmet recipes and enjoy learning to prepare new dishes. I found these delicious grilled halibut recipes and you know how much I enjoy our new grill still halibut is in excess of what the grocery budget allows. What fish can I substitute for Halibut?

Since frequenting so many food blogs, I learned to make hummus. Of course, several recipes were combined to fit my liking. Perhaps this hummus qualifies as a gourmet recipe, what do you think?

Red Pepper Hummus

Makes about 3 cups
1 30-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tahini
3- 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
12 ounces roasted red pepper (either your own or store-bought)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, starting with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and puree until smooth. Add additional oil as needed.

In addition, I made the tahini called for in the hummus recipe. Toasted the sesame seeds and allowed to cool. Added sesame seeds, vegetable oil and processed. Drizzle a bit of water to aid processing. Blended from several recipes on the web, this was a bit too gritty for me. Next time I will try store bought. This certainly couldn’t be a gourmet recipe; I used what I had on hand. [grin]

Romaine Lettuce WrapsWith my second batch of hummus I decided to try my first ever lettuce wraps! (fyi - I prepared  only half of the hummus recipe)

I used Romaine lettuce hearts, diced cucumbers, green olives, plum tomatoes, and green onions for the lettuce wraps. Spreading a generous amount of hummus in each leaf, top with the veggies and a sprinkle of salt, I thought these were fabulous. Red on the other hand was not so fond of them. He would rather I prepare something on that new barbecue grill like rum splashed fruit or better yet a few pork chops.

What is your definition of a gourmet recipe?


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