You Look Marvelous - Serving Ware Makes Raw Food a Feast for the Eyes
Posted on June 01 2010 | (0) Comments
Category:Raw Entertaining and Holidays
Are you a fan of the old Saturday Night Live shows featuring Billy Crystal as the smooth-taking ‘Fernando’? He’s the suave character that reminds us, “When you look mahvelous, you feel mahvelous.’
Well, I’ve got news for Fernando. When you look marvelous, you taste marvelous, too...at least when you’re a raw food recipe! In my cookbooks Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert, I talk a lot about playing with the colors and textures of raw foods to make dishes even more appealing so that you can ‘eat with your eyes’ as the saying goes.
Serving ware helps, too.
Accent on Color
Of course, raw food ingredients themselves are the real star of any meal. Untouched by heat or commercial processing, raw food ingredients are the perfect way to show off Mother Nature’s artistry. It’s hard not to fall in love with her impressive color palette...as diverse as it is delicious.
Take this Shaved Beet Salad. Intensely sweet, deep rich purple beets are accented by delicate green mesclun leaves, and warm beige walnuts. A drizzle of lemon herb dressing, ‘dyed’ pink by beat juice, adds an additional layer of color and texture to this raw food salad:
- 1/2 small beet peeled
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Herb Dressing (see below)
- 2 cups mesclun (arugula may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon chopped raw walnuts, unsoaked (optional)
Slice off the top and bottom and remove the peel with a sharp vegetable peeler (such as the Oxo brand). Slice the beet paper-thin using a sharp knife or mandoline. Place beet slices in a mixing bowl and toss with herb dressing. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (or up to 12 hours in the ‘fridge). Arrange the mesclun on a serving plate. Remove the beets from the dressing and place on top of the greens. Garnish with optional walnuts. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad. Serve immediately.
Lemon Herb Dressing
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, mint, tarragon, or oregano)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
- Dash of black pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients (except the oil) into a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking steadily, until well-blended.
This raw food dish is healthful and flavorful, and I believe that it deserves a serving plate that is equally tasteful. I like red and blue serving pieces for presenting a variety of my raw food recipes, but not this one. The ingredients have colors that are so bold and vibrant that a simple white plate is the best thing to use to make the colors pop.
But even when the color is ‘plain vanilla,’ you can jazz things up any raw food dish and make things more exciting of you serve it on a plate or platter with an unusual shape.
The Shape of Things to Come
In addition to traditional rounds and ovals, serving plates and platters come in squares, rectangles, and even irregular shapes. I particularly like Bormioli Rocco Parma plates for both their shape and size, and I love the way a triangular slice of intensely dark raw food chocolate cake looks sitting on them.
You can use various serving ware shapes to mirror or accent the shapes of the raw food ingredients on display. So play with putting a round tart on a square plate or a round one and see which one you like.
Serving ware can change the look and feel of a raw food recipe entirely. For example, a row of my Garden Wraps – sliced veggies dressed with tamari and wrapped in collard leaves – can be sliced into thirds and placed on a long rectangular plate for a wonderful raw food party appetizer.
But take those same wraps and place them, un-sliced, in an X-formation on a square plate and they’re the perfect lunch, brunch, or after-school snack.
Glassware is a wonderful way to serve raw food. When I say glassware, you may immediately picture raw food smoothies and juice drinks. But that’s just the beginning of the serving chores the right glassware can do. Raw food ice cream, trifle, mousse, and puddings become positively crave-able when they’re presented in attractive glasses and stemware.
One trick I learned from watching TV chefs is to use martini glasses to present desserts such as my Milk Chocolate Pudding
- 1-1/2 cups young coconut meat
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup light agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. Spoon into martini glasses and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
How simple is that?! And believe me; the graceful martini glass shape instantly turns a simple raw food kid’s treat into an upscale raw food dessert that you could serve as the most elegant dinner party. Add a sprig of mint for extra color.
Thanks, in part, to the iconic ‘Cosmo’ featured prominently in the popular series Sex and the City, martini glasses are readily available and surprisingly inexpensive. The Libbey Vina Martini Glass is a real winner in my book since you can get a set of six for under $20. Libbey’s wine goblets are also exquisite, but the narrower mouth makes it difficult to spoon out every last bit. (Sometimes...when no one’s looking...I just use my finger so I don’t miss a single lick).