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Serving Food Attractively: Rules For Garnishing
Garnishing is an art that can easily be acquired by following these few simple rules. It can be done with little or no additional time, effort, or money expenditure on the part of the culinary artist, and the results are far-reaching. Not only will the homemaker derive joy from the art, but the members of her family will sense the love and the thoughtfulness which prompted those extra little touches. Try it, and see for yourself.
1. Generally speaking, garnishes should be edible. However, there are a few exceptions, as will be seen in the following chapters.
2. Beauty is obtained through simplicity. Garnishes should appear natural, fresh, and dainty-never overworked or overdone.
3. All garnishes should be suitable in character and size to the food adorned. For example, a pickle fan would be out of place if served next to a piece of cake, just as a large calla lily arrangement would be out of proportion on a small platter.
4. The flavor of edible garnishes should be in keeping with the food. Bland foods require more highly seasoned garnishes.
5. A few small groups of garnish are often more attractive than a continuous decorative scheme. For example, to carry out a Christmas theme around a salad mold, green-tinted mayonnaise may be fashioned into the shape of leaves with specks of candied cherry to simulate holly arranged at intervals instead of forming a continuous border. Elaborate wheels, flowers, chains, diamonds, or circles are lovely if carefully done. Use either whole or clean-cut pieces of fruit or vegetables and arrange in an orderly design around ring or loaf molds.
6. A garnish must be neatly arranged in a fashion that will enhance the food with which it is to be used. A flat-spreading garnish will make a mold appear smaller whereas perky lettuce will give it height.
7. Colors should harmonize-never clash. Small quantities of the more vivid natural colors may be used to accent a food. In using artificial coloring, great care must be exercised in producing tints that will be in keeping with the occasion and at the same time produce a pleasing effect rather than one which is repellent. Contrasting colors usually produce an artistic picture. So much of our food is neutral that a wide range of color treatment is permitted.
8. Garnishes which are too highly seasoned are not in good taste.
9. The serving dish as well as the garnish used must be considered. A beautiful dish serves as an accessory to the food. Do not hide it.
10. Temperature is a factor that will make or mar a garnish. To serve cold sliced frankfurters on a hot soup as a garnish would be most unsatisfactory. Any frozen food that is used as a garnish should be sufficiently cold to hold its shape.
11. The consistencies of garnish and food can be contrasted with excellent results, such as sauce over molded food.
12. Garnishes need not be expensive. Properly used, almost any leftover material can do wonders to make a drab or uninteresting dish take on a regal aspect.
13. Garnishes should not be used to disguise deficiencies or food of poor quality. 14. The setting must be viewed as a whole. Harmonious plate or platter arrangements can be ruined if they clash with the table color scheme or the lighting of the room.
MATERIALS: tools you will need to make your garnishing simple.
Materials commonly used for garnishes are limited, but the ways in which they may be applied are legion. Garnishing tools used may be few or many. However, a culinary artist will extend her art considerably with a greater variety of gadgets. Tools generally used are:
1. Knives With blunt, round, or curved blades With sharp-pointed blades, one With a fluting edge. 2. Shrimp rod and scoop (often called shrimp cutter). 3.French fruit or vegetable cutters, Vegetable friller, A 1/4-inch peeler. 4.French butter curler. 5.Cookie cutters of various shapes. 6. Small wire baskets for deep-fat frying Rosette irons. 7.Timbale irons-tiny and average sizes. 8.Melon or bomb molds. 9. Individual small molds Pastry syringe with tubes. Pastry bag with tubes 10. Egg slicer. 11. fruit and vegetable slicers. 12.Pastry jagger Pastry crimper Pastry designer. 13. Grapefruit scalloper. 14. Paintbrush and pure fruit and vegetable dyes.
HELPFUL HINTS, AND TIME SAVING TIPS.
How to Use a Cardboard Stencil:
Cut a piece of medium stiff cardboard in the shape but slightly larger than the food to be decorated. Trace a design or the outline of some specific object on the cardboard and cut out the design with scissors or a razor blade in a safety holder. The design should be clean-cut, with no ragged edges.
If the food to be decorated is dry or firm, the cardboard stencil can rest on the surface; if it is soft and moist, hold the stencil a fraction of an inch above the surface. Sprinkle the garnish over the design, making sure that all parts of the design are completely filled in. Remove the stencil carefully without disturbing the design.
How to Frost a Glass:
To frost glass stemware, brush the rim of each glass with lemon juice or slightly beaten egg white. Dip the rim in powdered sugar and let dry. If necessary, dip a second or third time.
How to Unmold Gelatin:
Dip the mold in warm water long enough for the gelatin to loosen. If necessary, loosen the edges with a thin knife. Place the serving plate over the mold and invert. If the gelatin does not come out immediately, wrap a hot towel around the form and after a few seconds give the mold a hard shake.
How to Use Fruit or Vegetable Coloring:
Pure fruit or vegetable coloring can be purchased in liquid or powdered form. The coloring should be added a little at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition, until the desired shade is obtained. Add coloring to the ingredients in the liquid state (that is, before whipping or freezing).
To tint solid foods (such as pears or hard-cooked eggs), add the coloring to water or syrup and then place the food in the colored solution until it becomes the right shade. Solid foods can also be painted by using the pure fruit or vegetable dyes. A paintbrush should be kept especially for use in the kitchen.
How to Make a Paper Pastry Tube:
Use a stiff sheet of paper (8"X 11") and roll into a funnel. To prevent the funnel from unrolling, fasten with gummed tape. Cut off as much of the tip as is necessary for the size of opening desired. Fill the funnel about two-thirds full and force through the tip by squeezing the large end of the funnel.