You ever have your eye on any of those unique items in the kitchen store, but don’t pull the trigger and buy? Well, I have that problem every time I go into any store that has kitchen “stuff”! I know I don’t “need” it, but I usually “want” it! My favorite color for dishes in the kitchen is white and many food lovers argue that food presented on white plates simply looks better. I agree! Researchers have even gone so far as to say that they have found that specific plate shape and color also interact to influence taste perception. Maybe I’ve got my friends fooled because they flatter me until my self esteem fills up and I gleam with their praise… Maybe I watch too many food shows, but I’ve really been into presentation lately. You don’t have to be a trained chef to learn the basics of plating, heck I’m not! Just work on the art of presenting food in an attractive way.
Well, my mother and father in law often give me gift cards to some of my favorite kitchen “goodies” stores for birthdays or other occasions. Somehow when I can buy items that I’m not sure how often I’ll actually use regardless of the price, I justify adding items to my already packed inventory when it’s a gift! That is exactly how I acquired my White Porcelain Spoons (for about $0.75 each!) at Pier One. And now that they have been sitting for some time, I’m on a mission to use them!
You can find these tasting spoons in a variety of assorted shapes and prices both online or in stores. I’ve found that you can take just about any classic dish and turn it into a fancy or an adorable finger foods fit for any company or gathering! It also makes food go further! This was my traditional roasted beet salad, changed up slightly and enjoyed during a recent girls night!
1 Cup Arugula (three to five leaves each spoon)
1/2 Cup Creamy Goat Cheese (1 teaspoon per spoon)
1 Large Roasted Beet, cubed (1-2 Tablespoons per spoon)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries (3-4 each spoon)
6-8 Dried Apricot slices, chopped (1-2 pieces per spoon)
1/3 Cup Candied Nuts, chopped
1/2 Avocado, cubed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Lemon flavored)
Balsamic Vinegar (reduced flavored)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
A simple way to bring interest to your plating technique is to change the actual plate or vessel that you serve the food in. Look beyond traditional plates and use other serving bowls and platters that you have available. When you use bright white dishes, the food really stands out and its colors seem more vibrant, making the food more appealing. It seems simple, but it’s true!
Assemble the salad with the arugula leafs on the bottom. Next sprinkle goat cheese, beets, nuts and fruit. Gently add the avocado to each spoon and top with fresh thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place spoons in various directions on on a variety of white platter shapes to compliment the food.
Keep in mind that part of serving great food is presentation. It should appeal to your mouth, nose and eyes! Be sure to set your table properly if you are preparing a meal, even if you are preparing simple free for all meals day to day (like I do creating dishes based on ingredients that I have on hand in my refrigerator and pantry) because if have guests coming over, it’s nice to have the knives and forks in the right place.
I learned early on in life that if you hold up your hands, each in a shape similar to this – it will help you determine “which bread and/or drinks” are yours. It is particularly helpful when you are seated at a round table! The left hand symbolizes a “b” for bread (so the bread) is on your left and the right hand looks like a “d” so you know that your drink (or water) glass is on your right!
A foolproof way to arrange food on a plate is to place the carbohydrate (bread, rice, pasta, etc.) at “11 o’clock,” the vegetables at “2 o’clock,” and the protein at “6 o’clock” from the diner’s point of view; if you’re not playing with stacking or making the food into an art dish like I try to do. Regardless of your style, keep in mind that things generally look more interesting when they’re in sets of odd numbers, rather than even numbers. Use three or five shrimp rather than four for example and remember that vegetables should cover about half of the plate, starch one fourth, and protein one fourth.
Enjoy whatever you decide to place in your spoons!