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Serving Food Attractively: Meat
ALMONDS: Sprinkle shredded almonds over tomato sauce on meat loaf.
APPLES: Cinnamon Apples Cook sugar and water together for about 5 minutes, using 3/a cup sugar for every 1/2 cup water. Tint red with cinnamon candies or red fruit coloring. If the fruit coloring is used, add a piece of stick cinnamon for flavor. Add apple rings, and simmer gently in syrup until tender but firm. Do not crowd apples. Remove from syrup, drain, arrange around meat in groups of 3, then fill rings with mint or other flavored jelly, or with pitted prunes.
Glazed Apples: Use 4 apples. Wipe, remove cores and a portion of the skin, then peel upper half of apples and place close together in a saucepan with the peeled side down. Add 1/z cup boiling water, cover tightly, and steam until tender but firm. Transfer to baking dish, peeled side up, sprinkle with 1/2 to 3/a cup sugar, and place in broiling oven until sugar is dissolved, basting with 1/4 cup of liquid in which apples were steamed.
Variations: Add fruit coloring and flavoring to the water before steaming apples.
Chill glazed baked apples, fill centers with raisins, sliced dates, or cooked prunes. Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff; gradually add 1 to 2 tablespoons honey while beating. Add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nut meats and a few grains of salt. Fill centers of glazed apples with this mixture.
Top apples with red jelly just before serving, or cover apples with melted jelly after they have been removed from the oven. Allow jelly to congeal. If necessary, repeat process until apple has a clear, thick glaze.
When baked apples are almost tender, put a marshmallow in the center of each and return to the oven or broiler to toast and brown.
Use juice of one orange; add enough water to make 1/2 cup liquid. Cover apples with grated orange rind. Follow directions for glazed apples. When ready to broil, fill centers with broken pecan nut meats.
Apple Cups: Use red-skinned apples. Trace parallel lines about 1/a to 1 inch wide to form a band around the middle of an apple, then take a sharp knife and cut diagonal lines within this band, cutting through to the center of the apple first in one direction then in the opposite direction, to form triangles. When you have cut completely around the apple, it will separate into two parts, both having scalloped edges. Scoop out pulp; remove core. Cook in cinnamon syrup until tender but firm. Drain; fill with buttered peas, mincemeat, sweet potatoes, or other suitable vegetable.
Applesauce: Serve either hot or cold applesauce, in natural color or tinted, on toast points or in éclair shells.
Apple Fritters: Arrange tiny apple fritters around meat, either as a border or in groups.
Crabapples: Place tiny hot spiced crabapples in a row or other design on top of meat loaf or arrange at side in groups. Cold crabapples may be intermingled with greens. Sauté apple rings or sections and serve with pork.
APRICOTS: Pan-broil apricot halves in their own syrup; serve with a hot spiced prune in center of apricot. Use in groups of 3 at end of meat platter or space evenly around platter.
ASPARAGUS: Insert three or four asparagus tips in pimiento or carrot ring. Serve hot in design on meat platter.
Stand three or four asparagus tips upright in firm red or yellow tomatoes which have been scooped out just enough to admit stalks. Heat before arranging on platter.
Roll partially cooked asparagus tips in a slice of minced ham or other cold cuts; fasten with a toothpick; baste with butter, and broil until meat begins to crisp: Arrange around meat loaf. ASPIC Cut colored aspic jelly into cubes or other shapes. Fill small tomato, carrot, pepper, cooked onion, or beet cups.
BACON: Top meat loaf with crisscross strips of bacon. When baked, place slices of stuffed olives at points where bacon strips cross.
BANANAS: Glaze whole small bananas or sections of large bananas by broiling and basting with brown sugar syrup. To make syrup combine 3/a cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup water. Arrange bananas in fan shape next to meat. Wrap bacon around bananas, sauté or bake, and arrange on meat platter according to shape of roast.
BEETS: Fill beet cups with tiny meat balls, turnip balls, or Brussels sprouts. Scoop balls from cooked beets with a French ball cutter and use separately or in combination with other vegetable balls in bed of greens on meat platter. Heat vegetable balls before placing in greens.
BISCUIT TOPPING: Cut baking-powder biscuit dough or other meat topping in shape of rabbits, chickens, shamrocks, or other suitable objects; or cut in geometric designs. Space far enough apart on meat dish so that objects will remain separated when baking.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Arrange cooked Brussels sprouts in groups at ends of platter. Alternate with young whole cooked carrots.
CABBAGE: Shred cabbage, marinate in sweet-sour dressing, and drain. Arrange as border around meat or form into mounds or nests. Top mounds with strips of pimiento and/or green pepper; fill nests with hot meat balls.
CARROTS: Grill young whole carrots, fasten a small piece of carrot leaf or parsley at stem end, and use as garnish for meat platter. Cut whole carrots into lattice slices. Use a 2-inch end of carrot; make a crosswise cut with a fluting knife, then turn the carrot and make a second cut at right angles to the first. Continue turning the carrot a fourth turn for each slice. Each slice should have an open lattice effect. Cook the lattice slices gently or use raw on meat platter. See Fish Section for other suggestions.
CAULIFLOWER: Separate a head of cauliflower into florets. Use cooked florets with hot meat dishes; top with grated cheese or paprika. Raw florets make an excellent garnish for cold cuts or meat salads. Arrange on meat tray in attractive groups.
CELERY: Use fringed celery or leaves on hot or cold meat dishes. To fringe celery, cut both ends of a 3-inch piece of celery into 1/4-inch strips. Leave a 3/4-inch band of celery uncut in the center of stalk. Place in ice water to curl.
CHUTNEY: Serve chutney or other highly spiced relish in tiny lettuce cups or in cooked carrot, beet, or onion cups.
COCONUT: Sprinkle coconut on top of mashed sweet potatoes in scalloped orange cups. Use 1 cup for each person and arrange around roast duck.
CORN: Fill mashed-potato nests with whole-kernel corn. Form the nests by forcing the mashed potatoes through a pastry tube. Arrange tiny hot corn fritters around roast.
CRANBERRIES: Place cranberry bouquets in greens on meat platter. See directions for making bouquets in appetizer section. Use cranberries on toothpicks. Serve cranberry-orange relish in tiny timbale cases. To make relish use 4 cups raw cranberries and the pulp and thin outer skin of two oranges. Grate or pare this skin with a sharp knife and discard the white membrane. Grind cranberries, orange pulp, and peel in food grinder. Add 2 cups sugar and mix well. Let stand at least 24 hours before using.
CROQUETTES: Use leftovers, such as rice, meat, or vegetables. Form into small cones or other shapes, such as balls, animals, or nests, then deep-fat fry and arrange on meat platter. Fill nests with cubed cooked carrots or beets.
CUCUMBERS: Serve cucumber relish in vegetable cups or tiny patty shells. Place a teaspoon of chutney on top of scored unpeeled cucumber slices. Arrange around meat on platter.
CURRANTS: Garnish meat platter with bunches of fresh currants with or without leaves. Wash and dry well before using. Serve currant jelly in lemon or lime cups. To make the cups, cut the fruit in half lengthwise and remove pulp carefully.
EGGS: Place colored Easter eggs around base of baked ham among sprigs of watercress or parsley. Shell hard-cooked eggs and paint with fruit or vegetable coloring. Or allow eggs to stand in colored pickling solution overnight. Use same as above. Place a shelled colored egg in a canned peach half. Alternate varied colored eggs in groups of three around roast or baked ham.
FIGS: Alternate spiced figs with orange slices that have been topped with pitted prunes. To spice figs, wash 1 pound of pulled figs, soak 1 hour in cold water, and drain, then add 2 cups vinegar, 3 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cloves, and 1/2 ounce stick cinnamon. Cook slowly until figs are tender, adding water if syrup gets too thick. Spiced figs are unusual and delicious.
FLOWERS: Vegetable Flowers Brown eyed Susan From stem end of carrot cut 3 thin 1 1/2 -inch lengthwise slices. Fashion each slice into 3 petals; overlap slices at base and insert a ripe olive in the center. If desired, curl carrot slices before using by placing in ice water for an hour or so.
California Poppy: Cut curved slices from large end of carrot to resemble petals of a California poppy. Overlap petals at base and fasten with a toothpick. Use sprig of parsley for foliage and a piece of truffle or other dark material for the center of the flower.
Calla Lily: Cut a white turnip in very thin crosswise slices and roll to form calla lily. Use 2 slices for each lily if the turnip is small. Insert a carrot strip for the stamen and use parsley, mint, or watercress for foliage. Fasten with a toothpick. To make an Easter lily, cut each overlapping slice of turnip into 3 petal shapes and finish in the same way as the calla lily.
Carrot Jonquil: Use a 2- or 3-inch piece of carrot; cut five petals rather thin near the surface with a rounding blade if available. Round off carrot petals. Fasten petals at base. Place in ice water to open.
Cucumber Rose: Use a 2-inch piece of cucumber. Cut petals to form at least two layers near the surface. Chill in ice water. Use any available greens for foliage.
Daisy: Cut slices from either turnip or rutabaga about 1/lo inch thick. Make a cardboard pattern of a daisy, place on vegetable slice, and trace outline of flower with the point of a knife. Remove pattern and cut around outline with a sharp knife. Use a slice of carrot, candied or fresh orange peel, a piece of truffle, or ripe olive for the center of the flower.
Jonquil: Make a cardboard pattern according to the size of the flower desired. Peel rutabaga and cut in very thin slices. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut slices of rutabaga into circles. Trace jonquil pattern on one circle with a pencil or pointed knife, then cut out flower. In the center of the design cut a small round hole about 1/4 inch in diameter. Through this hole slip a folded piece of rutabaga made from one third of the second 3-inch slice, letting it extend 1 inch through the opening. This forms the center of the flower. Cut the petals toward the center, molding them so that they curl in natural shape. Chill flowers in ice water to keep them crisp. Before serving, tint lightly with yellow vegetable coloring by placing flowers in ice water to which liquid vegetable coloring has been added.
Narcissus: Make a cardboard pattern of a narcissus. Cut 1/4 -inch slices of white turnips. Dip edges of the tiny center cylinder in paprika and fasten in place with a piece of toothpick. For greens, use spinach leaves or mint leaves. For directions in making cylinder see Jonquil. Tomato Rose Hold a firm, medium sized tomato in the left hand. Beginning from blossom end of fruit, remove a thin peeling with a sharp knife, cutting in wavy lines about 1 inch wide. Continue around the tomato to stem end, being careful not to tear the peel. If stem has been left on the tomato, it will be easy to hold. Wind peel, let rose rest on stem, then fasten with a toothpick. In winding, keep the bottom part of the rose a little tighter than the upper part. The petals will open gracefully, just like a rose. Use rose leaves or any other greens available. Roses may be made from red, yellow, and white tomatoes. The edges of the white tomato rose may be dipped into pink or red fruit or vegetable coloring. White tomatoes, of course, are scarce and may not always be available.
Bouquets of Flowers: Cut flowers from slices of carrots, turnips, or rutabagas with fancy cutters. Combine with whole raw cranberries fastened to toothpicks. Place on bed of greens. It is easier to arrange the carrot, turnip, and rutabaga flowers if they are fastened to toothpicks.
Fruit Flowers, Shasta Daisy: Use a 3-inch round of fresh or candied orange peel. Trace a circle about 3/4 inch in diameter in the center of the peel, then cut 1/4 inch wide petals up to this circle. Place a slice of date, a piece of prune, or a large seeded raisin in the center of the daisy.
Grapefruit or Orange Rose: Cut peel from fruit in deep scallops, starting at stem end and continuing around the fruit. Do not break the peel. Rewind, keeping the base firm; fasten with toothpicks. Arrange in bed of watercress or mint leaves. Edges and white membrane may be colored by allowing the peel to stand in water tinted with pure fruit or vegetable coloring.
Tulip: Cut petals from orange rind which has been carefully removed in sections from whole orange. Cut cucumber peel into strips for stem and leaves. Candied orange rind may be used instead of the fresh peel.
Water Lily: A water lily may be made by following directions for tulips except that petals are cut shorter.