Hey friends! I’m switching things up a bit today, with a guest post from my friend Kara! She blogs over at FoodBaby and she has some awesome tips to share with you today, about how to make your food look a little more… gourmet. Since I’m all about simple, easy recipes, I figured this would be perfect!
Hi I Heart Veggies readers!
I hope you don’t mind that Liz and I are doing this little post switcheroo today. But a little change never hurt anyone, right?
No, actually I can see a lot of situations where change could hurt people. But this isn’t one of them.
So while Liz is over on my blog, FoodBaby, talking about how to make healthy lunches for work, I’m over here giving you 5 tips on how to make your food more gourmet!
Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered a relatively simple meal, and then wondered why it never looks as good when you make something almost exactly the same?
Well, with a few little tweaks it can!
Tip 1: Ditch the cafeteria plate format!
When you were in elementary school the lunch ladies would drop a ladleful of food in each compartment of your try — one compartment for meat, two for vegetables, one for fruit/dessert, and one for milk.
That was all fine and dandy for your 8 year old self, but you’re not 8 years old anymore and drawing those imaginary compartment lines on your plate won’t fly anymore either.
Tip 2: Use your plate appropriately.
I was watching Melissa D’Arabian’s Food Network show once and she was making something unmemorable. It could have been a perfectly lovely meal, but the only thing I remember is that when she was plating her food she placed close to half of a chicken breast on the outer rim of a plate.
Melissa wasn’t using her plate appropriately.
So if your plate has a wide outer rim, a deep dish, a design or anything of the sort, your food must not interfere with it.
Tip 3: Use appropriate plates.
This is similar, but not the same as Tip 2. Because if appropriately using the dish you’ve got doesn’t jive with what you’re serving, use a different plate.
For example, say you’re serving General Tso’s tofu over rice, soy-ginger stir fried string beans, and an egg roll. Now, these three things can’t exactly be combined, so it might be tempting to rely on the lunch tray design. But to give the meal a little gourmet touch, try serving them lined up on a rectangular plate.
There’s a reason there are so many different shapes and sizes of plates and bowls. Embrace the plate-bowl. Embrace all the non-circular geometric shapes. Play with depth and design. It can — and should be — fun! (Hint hint — places like Marshals and TJ Max usually have really cheap, interesting dishes.)
Tip 4: Smear, drizzle, and drop, don’t blob.
Let’s go back to your 8 year old self and that Chinese meal. Your 8 year old self probably would have opened a packet of duck sauce, squeezed it all out into a blob, and then dipped the egg roll in it. That’s utilitarian, but certainly not gourmet.
So how about squeezing out a small bit between the string beans and the egg roll and them running your spoon through it. It looks fancy and is still very utilitarian.
You can do something similar when you pair a slice of cheesecake with a sauce. Instead of just spooning it over the top, drizzle is widely across. Getting some on the slice and on the plate allows the diner to decide if they want more sauce. And it looks dang good.
Tip 5: Garnish!
This is quite possibly the easiest thing ever, but often the most forgotten.
Made pad thai? Sprinkle some bean sprouts and cilantro on top. Spaghetti? Sprinkle some extra parsley on top. Made a gin and tonic or a big pitcher of sangria? Put a piece of fruit on the rim of the glass.
The point of a garnish is to add a punch of color and to highlight an ingredient that might not be easily visible. It is NOT to decorate the plate, so pleasepleasePLEASE don’t go crazy with it, and don’t break Tip 2 in pursuit of this tip.
Alright cool kids, think you can handle that?
It takes a bit of thought, but once you get used to implementing these little gourmet tweaks, you’ll be more than ready to wow the pants of friends and family at even the most casual lunch gatherings.
That is, if you want to wow the pants off your guests. Maybe you want to keep your guests fully clothed, which is fine, too.
Alright, enough rambling. I hope you’ve enjoyed my post. If you have, come on over to FoodBaby and let’s be friends.