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Unique and Easy Plating Techniques

 

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WIN WIN WIN!! You could win a copy of both my books! Read through to the end of the post for details on how to enter.

Sometimes we want our meals to have a little pizzazz. Maybe it’s because the in-laws are coming, or because you’ve just spent the day spooning carrot mush into the baby’s mouth and that creative side of you is just screaming to be unleashed. (I’ve never been particularly creative with carrot mush; presentation is one of those things lost on my baby.)

Beef Porridge
One dish that Hubby and I both love (a small miracle in itself) is my Beef Porridge. Now this is a family classic out of Grandma Martha’s recipe box: it’s thick and hearty and really sticks to your bones on a cold winter day. It’s as plain and basic as the homespun curtains in Grandma Martha’s kitchen. But I figured out how to dress up this baby by serving it in a bread bowl. (Watch this how-to video so you can do it too!) Pour that porridge into the bread bowl and – voila! – you’ve just made a split pea beef and barley soup wonderfully elegant.

Kugel Cups
Possibly the best dish ever invented by man (or more likely, a woman) is our classic, traditional Potato Kugel. Make it in mini individual cups instead of a round pie pan or a 9 x 13 rectangular dish, to give it a special look — and it doesn’t take much extra work at all. I call these Potato Kugel Cups. (Ok, so I don’t get creativity points for the title, but at least, give me a few for presentation.) As everyone takes a bite, watch each person enjoy the coveted crunch usually reserved only for the four corners of the rectangular version.

My new book has another new presentation tip in my recipe for Individual Meat Loaves. In my opinion, anything individual is so much more appetizing! When served in individual ramekins, this workaday favorite looks worthy of a five-star restaurant.

When it comes to dessert, the presentation options are endless! You can really get creative and show the world what you are made of. (In my case, that would be chocolate ice cream.)
Pastry Cups
Sometimes dessert is just so good you want to eat the bowl too. Well, now you can with these Edible Dessert Cups. They are filled with chocolate pudding but you can fill them with ice cream too! Use your imagination. I promise you, there will be not one crumb left!
Some other unique and fun single-serving ideas:

Mini Fish Pies
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Mini Greek Pizza Muffins
Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes

I don’t claim to be the MOST creative gal on the block; in fact, most of what I do is inspired by others. So what is your favorite presentation tip — easy? a patchke?

**GIVEAWAY** Leave a comment and let us all know your favorite presentation tip so we can try your ideas on for size! One lucky commenter (picked at random) will win a copy of both of my books. You have one week – till Monday morning Feb 7th 2011 at 9 am EST. I cannot wait to read your tips! [Contest open to US Residents only]

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About Jamie Geller

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Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen – not because she doesn’t love food – but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the "Queen of Kosher" (CBS) and the "Jewish Rachael Ray" (New York Times), she's the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and "Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller" magazine . Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their five busy kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen - quickly. Check out her new book, "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes."

 

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29 Responses to Unique and Easy Plating Techniques

  1. avatar says: abgsay

    Using a black or dark-colored plate really makes certain foods pop, IMO. Also, I try to spice things up with colors – if I’m serving chicken and rice, I try to add a red pepper or something on the plate for a little color. Who wants to eat all beige foods??

  2. avatar says: Naomi

    I always keep two things in mind when presenting food: 1) texture and 2) color. So, for example, I will make sure that I have a combination of soft with crunchy and a palate of colors, like roasted chicken sprinkled with paprika plated with blanched green beans that are mixed with sauteed red, yellow and orange peppers along with skin-on smashed red potatoes with garlic. As for desserts, sometimes dolloping some whipped cream, raspberry sauce or chocolate sauce on the plate in a decorative way sets the tone.

  3. avatar says: elanar520

    i find that cleanliness is key…i once asked my husband if he would prefer the bigger portion but its messy or the smaller portion but it looks flawless- believe it or not, he said the smaller portion that looks neat and nice…even though “it will all get mushed up inside anyway” there is a big appeal of having everything within the rims of the plate and separated a little bit…
    also having the correct serving utensil is also a biggy- when i want some sauce with my chicken and all there is is a fork… :(

  4. avatar says: Peekababy

    Even when my babies were still in the mushy food phase, I always made sure to keep the colors on their plates separate–no smooching peas and carrots together to make icky brown goop. Even a wee babe can tell if something looks appetizing, which goes a long way in preventing picky eating down the line!

  5. avatar says: chanayo

    I try to have multiple colors on the plates to present sunshine & smiles along with good tasting food :)

  6. A colorful plate is very important as is balancing the textures on your plate. I love serving individual portions of dishes ie: individual meat loaves, pot pies, chicken wrapped in phyllo dough, baked spaguetti, almond tuiles filled with sorbet and berries etc. Sometimes when I’m feeling very energetic I make vacherins, individual lemon meringue pies or chocolate tarts. It’s a lot of work before dinner but easier to serve in the end.

  7. avatar says: Malkie

    Love the way the mini potato kugels look. I like to use the rose shaped muffin cups for carrot kugel muffins or little honeycakelets.

  8. avatar says: elie

    color is key to make things look harder than it is. for example, for my corn salad, i take 2 cans of corn, drain out the water, a big scoop of mayo, garlic powder, garlic salt and done. but when i slice a green pickle into it, it looks like more work was put into it (sometime my wife has added red pepper). this may be the easiest side/salad ever made.

  9. avatar says: blintzie

    I like to use a large plate with many different colored foods. I will present plated meals with each item separated by a sprig of dill, parsley or rosemary depending on the flavors of the other items.

  10. avatar says: EB

    when i make shnitzel, to give it an extra pop of flavor and a nice surprise to my guests, i make a filling (sun dried tomato, garlic and onion is our personal fave) fill the shnitzels, wrap and fasten with toothpicks, then bread em as usual and fry it up…just make sure to take all the toothpicks out…people think theyre getting shnitzel but really theres a nice twist and surprise waiting for them…

  11. avatar says: chava

    I love to add spices like zaatar to challah/bread — gives it an elevated appearance IMHO

  12. avatar says: chana

    For dessert: make a design with sauce(s) BEFORE putting the dessert on the plate. Looks great and tastes yum!

  13. avatar says: AlanB

    WAY TOO simple, but elegant beyond words, and a beautiful plating. The next time you prepare a totally white fleshy fish, serve it on a bed of BLACK (Forbidden) rice. It is shockingly different, and will please your guests. A plain white plate works perfectly too. And a white sauce, even with black pepper visible (in spite of some chefs insistence on white pepper) adds to the black and white contrast.

  14. avatar says: Jenny

    I have found that a preplated dessert with 2 different items of 2 different colors (sorbet in muffin tins and a brownie for example) looks very nice. I also sometimes zigzag chocolage syrup across the plate and place a precut piece of pie on top.

  15. avatar says: RachelW

    Not really a tip, but when I serve tea after dinner, I serve it with a colored rock candy on a stick next to it on the saucer. Makes for a really nice presentation.

  16. avatar says: herblady

    Everything on the plate should be edible. Don’t garnish with large sprigs or spears of rosemary or other herbs.

  17. I find a simple garnish makes a world of difference — a colorful sauce (orange or green, often), some whole basil or mint leaves, chocolate shavings, etc. (but to herblady’s point, I do appreciate garnishes being edible and part of the meal :) )

  18. I often make boring blueberry muffins much more appealing by baking them in flower shaped muffin cups. Or using my cookie cutter collection when making scones.

  19. A tip from my husband…he uses an empty ramekin (or other small bowl) to pack each individual serving of rice/cous-cous/etc. He then turns it over on the plate and removes the bowl leaving a clean presentation. Then of course you can choose to use that as the base of the plate and serve with sauce/entree on top. Or alternatively, you can plate the food around the edges (we sometimes make smiley faces and such for the little ones)

  20. avatar says: Zahava

    I find a very simple garnish with color like lemons, oranges or parsley elevate the dish. And simple things like putting croutons and chrain in beautiful glass gravy dishes or tea cups.

  21. avatar says: Goldie

    I like to make a lot of recipes in oven-to table dishes. I then only have 1 dish to wash plus a quick, easy, and gorgeous presentation. Also some foods, such as apple crisp and some kugels, do not look pretty after they are scooped out of the oven dish and placed on a serving platter. Also the color of the food can match the dish and will look very pretty together. I love making squash kugel in a light green oven to table dish-the orange and green contrast each other yet match at the same time for a beautiful and easy presentation. I have some pretty ceramic dishes that can be bought very inexpensively at stores like Marshals or TJMax. Once you try it you will want to use it very often!

  22. avatar says: DaniellaS

    I like to garnish with herbs – a bit of parsley or rosemary/chives or whatever suits the dish.

  23. avatar says: Michal

    I believe that the plate or dish you serve on is as important to presentation as the appearance of the food itself. My problem is, I can’t stand washing all those extra dishes! (I don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher). Oven-to-table wear works great. If I want to make even leftovers presentable, there is so much great disposable tablewear on the market nowadays- they look really elegant and you don’t realize its plastic until you pick it up.

  24. avatar says: Jamie

    awesome ideas – thanks all for sharing – I for one will try a few of these on for size. And now for the news, selected at random – OUR WINNER IS ALAN B! Congrats! I love the black rice idea and this “chef” thinks there’s nothin better then some freshly cracked black pepper! Thanks all for playing. Check out our latest contest here http://blog.kosher.com/2011/02/07/cake-mix-creations-%E2%80%93-you-can-win/
    -and if you haven’t already – please tell all your friends about our blog!

  25. avatar says: AlanB

    taking a bow for the lucky draw…and looking forward to meeting you at KFWE

  26. what a well deserved bow :-) Personally, I never win anything so now with this blog, I am thrilled to be able to share in the winning joy of others. See you at KFWE – can’t wait – it will be my first time there and I am SO looking fwd.

  27. avatar says: AlanB

    :) The books arrived today, and wow, you were gracious enough to sign them. How thoughtful of you. Now you saved me the effort of carrying them to KFWE and bucking the crowds to ask you to sign. I can’t believe how fast they arrived, THANK YOU….Thank You….thank you….

  28. Alan! Thank you! I am so happy you like your prize!

  29. avatar says: hedy18134

    I have always believed that food tastes better if it looks really appealing. My children will testify to that, since I have told it to them almost every day of their lives. They both agree, and make an effort to make their meals colorful and attractive on the plates.

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