Keren Brown: June 2008 Archives

First impressions count. Would you greet a new friend with greasy hair and old sweatpants? Of course not. Then, why would you serve food that doesn't look neat and appetizing? Whether you put together your meal in 30 minutes or worked on your sauce for hours, the appearance is the final touch on the food. There are so many different ways to plate the food so that it looks as good as it tastes.
I am not a chef but I have learned from chefs in cooking classes and I noticed a few things.

Food Plating Example


1. Who framed the risotto?
The rim of the plate is like the frame of a picture. Many chefs like to keep the frame clean but some don't mind drizzling some sauce around to decorate. If you do , make sure to make it look neat and don't overdo it.

2. Good things come in all colors, shapes and sizes
Make sure to vary the colors on your plate. Don't use too many foods that are the same color. Sweet Potatoes and carrots will look boring. Sometimes a sprig of parsley is enough to liven up an item that is bland color. Don't put only round things on the plate, balance different shapes.

3. White is pure
I have noticed that using plates with busy designs tends to look messy. A nice big white plate is perfect for the pure, clean, appetizing look. If you can use busy plates and still pull it off, then do it.

4. Ring - A- Ding- Ding
Those ring molds that look like oversize cookie cutters are perfect for shaping a mound of rice. Just place the ring on the rice. Use a knife or something flat to level it out on top and remove the ring. Voila!

5. Roll your balls
Melon ballers are not just for fruit. Use them to carve potatoes into balls. Fry the leftovers for hash browns.

6. Let's twist again
For Pasta:
Pick up the pasta with tongs and give a little twist at the end for it to look nice.

7. Read up on Plating: Working the Plate: The Art of Food Presentation , Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites That Delight Before the Meal Begins

Peach Cake

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This cake takes just a few minutes to put together. It's great when the guests are on the way.It tastes great with warm with ice cream ( this I learned from one of my readers).

Peach mixture:

6-8 peaches

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of sugar

Flour mixture:

1 and 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 of a teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

2/3 cup of oil

On top (makes a sugary crust)

1 tablespoon of sugar

a handful of pecans


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop the peaches into squares (size doesn't matter)
2. Put in bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, eggs, oil and 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon
4. Oil a round baking pan and places peaches on bottom.
5. Pour the flour mixture on top.
6. Sprinkle pecans on top. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar evenly on cake.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until ready.

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Bruschetta is one of those really easy things to make that just tastes so good. It is pronounced Brus- ket- Ta in Italian. I especially like the taste of ricotta salata, a mellow tasting cheese made from Sheep's milk. Ricotta Salata is dense and has a salty flavor. It is similar to feta but is a lot more mild. Be sure to use tomatoes that are okay to eat (any tomatoes will work fine). For a list of tainted tomatoes, click here
Bruschetta

Bread( enough for 8 slices)
6- 8 ripe tomatoes(diced)
4 garlic cloves
Olive Oil
Ricotta Salata cheese
Basil

1. Heat broiler. Place toasts on broiler.
2. Rub garlic on bread.
3. Place tomatoes and basil on bread and grate ricotta salata on top.
4. Drizzle olive oil and place under broiler again for a few seconds if desired.

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I came up with this recipe for those days when you really don't have time to cook but the guests are on the way. It is simple and uses only ingredients that you have in your pantry.

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry
Tomato sauce (any kind will work, even spiced up canned tomatoes)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan (grated)
Oregano (fresh works better but you can use the spice)
A kitchen ring or a glass to make circle shapes
A mini muffin tin

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Defrost puff pastry according to directions.
3. Flour the work area.
2. Roll dough out thin and make circles using rings.
3. Place each circle in each hole of the mini muffin tin.
4. Use your fingers to stick the dough to the edges of the muffin tin.
5. Brush circles with olive oil.
6. Spread sauce on them.
7. Place an olive in each tin.
8 Cover with mozzarella
9. Cover with grated parmesan and oregano.
10 Bake for 12-15 minutes

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