Thursday, August 20, 2009

Food Presentation: Transforming the Ordinary into Extraordinary

Presentation of food is just as important as taste. How food is arranged and garnished figures prominently into a person's reaction to it. A tray of crackers can be pretty boring, but when placed on an attractive tray or platter and garnished nicely, it becomes an appetizing hors d'oeuvre.

Three factors to consider when presenting food are color, shape, and texture.

As you know, a box of crackers is boring. It's just one bland color. Presenting food with to or three colors is visually more interesting and enticing. I dressed up the crackers with a splash of red from the strawberries and a touch of green from the parsley sprigs. The tarnished silver tray presents an elegant backdrop.

The crackers I bought came in a variety of shapes. I recommend looking for packages that offer different shapes and different textures as well, such as the ones pictured above, The bulbous strawberries offer a nice contrast to the flat crackers.

Texture appeals to the visual senses as well as the sense of touch. Foods of varying texture give the eye more to take in and the stomach more to look forward to.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

White Sangria

Sangria, which is named for it's blood-red color, is a delicious addition to any party, but in the Summer something a little lighter and more refreshing is in order: white sangria. It's as beautiful as it is tasty.

This festive thirst quencher is easy to make, and will be sure to delight your guests. Here is one of my favorite white sangria recipes:

Prep time: 15 minutes

Prepares: 8 glasses

1 bottle of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup of Peach Schnapps
1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
2 Granny Smith apples, seeded and cut into thin wedges
1/2 Liter of sparking soda
1/4 cup of sugar
1 pint of raspberries (for garnish)

Combine apples, peaches, lemon, lime, sugar, and Peach Schnapps in a large pitcher. Add wine and stir gently. Let this mixture chill for at least an hour before serving.

Add sparkling soda just before serving for a fizzy kick.

To serve, scoop fruit into glasses first, add a few fresh raspberries, then top off with wine mixture.

This is a great recipe to get creative with. Experiment with different fruits such as starfruit, melon, and blueberries. Substitute Peach Schnapps for a fruit brandy. You can also use flavored sparkling water for an added burst of flavor. Have fun with it!