When you have great-looking extra berries, grab a few and create special ice cubes with them. If you have some tiny fresh mint leaves, you will want to use them, too. The berries will stand out more if they have a little green friend with them.
I like the silicone ice cube trays. They sit flat, they don’t get the kind of freezer burn look that metal ones get, and the cubes pop out easily.
Wash your berries. Allow them to drain slightly on a bed of paper towels. Just plunk a clean berry or two (depending upon size) into each cube slot, followed by a little mint leaf.
You will find that some of the berries are floaters. I learned from my experience that with my floaters (which happened to be raspberries this time), it would have worked best for me to put the raspberries in and fill the slot just halway with water. Then, when the raspberry was frozen in place, mid-slot, add the mint leaf and the remaining water.
These were such a hit that I’m off to the grocery store to procure more fruit!
CITRUS SQUARES! Slice the peel off limes, lemons, oranges. Cut a vertical rectangle from the middle portion of the fruit. Slice the rectangle into individual squares. Scatter on summer dishes as garnish.
MELON BALLS! Chicken satay is brown and crinkly and not particularly good-looking by itself, but if you dress the plate correctly it becomes the Miss America of appetizers. For our family reunion, Chef George Stella made it look stunning. He sliced a cantalope in half. Melon balls were scooped out of one half and the other half of the melon was used as a base for anchoring our satay skewers. See how the melon cavity was filled with balls, and the plate was covered with fresh snow peas? There’s an orange pepper on the plate to pick up on the colors in the plate’s tiger lily pattern and to provide a nice contrast to the melon balls. The peanut sauce was spooned into a leaf-shaped bowl, complimenting the nature theme. As a final touch, we threw on just a few small pieces of diced yellow pepper and orange pepper, just as we did on the plate of stuffed mushrooms next to it, visually tying the two together. Spectacular!
FRUIT! The colors of fruit are so vibrant that pieces of fruit of various types can serve as a fantastic garnish. Here, we took a simple cheese and apple slice tray and made it pop by plopping a lime green granny smith apple in the middle and gorgeous red raspberries scattered about. The final touch is the addition of the mint sprigs around the apple, making it look like it’s still in nature.
Large juicy blackberries positioned around the perimeter of this chicken salad, along with paprika sprinkled liberally on top and lettuce leaves on bottom, take the otherwise boring-looking chicken salad to the fashion all-stars. Extra pieces of celery on top and a sprig of basil complete the look.
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