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What is the term used for a very small portion of something (prepared especially by the chef for all guests)served before any course? It sounds like a- muse- a..?

Amuse-bouche

The culinary term referring to a small portion of food served before a meal is "amuse-bouche." This term first showed up in August Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire and are believed to be a pre-cursor to what are now known as appetizers. The word comes from "amuse" and the purpose of the food is to appeal to the diner and supply amusement.

   
How do I make dried apricots? Just dry them or do I have to sweeten them first?

Drying Apricots

In preparation for drying apricots, cut the fruit in half and take out the pits. If you want to sweeten the apricots by pre-treating them, you definitely can, though it is not necessary. For pre-treating, you have many options. The most common ways to pre-treat apricots is either with sulfur or with a syrup solution (1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 2 cups water). Be aware that many asthmatics are allergic to sulfur.
After pre-treating, you must decide whether to dry your apricots in the oven, the sun, or in a dehydrator.
If you decide to use the oven, you must be able to set it to 150 degrees or lower. You also have to leave the door open a couple inches and set up a fan blowing into the oven to keep out moisture. Using this method will take 24-36 hours.
Drying apricots in the sun requires a sunny day with temperatures above 98 degrees. Cover the trays of fruit with some sort of cheesecloth or screen to keep away insects and dirt. It will take 2-4 days to dry your apricots this way.
If you have a dehydrator, this is the most efficient way to dry apricots. When you place the fruit in the dehydrator, it will take about 18-24 hours to dry.
To determine if your apricots are dried, first allow fruit to cool, and then feel it to make sure it is pliable and that no moisture is visible.

   
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