Do you know why there is a parsley leaf in the middle of every plate? Chef Matt Kantor of Little Kitchen shared this trick with me. It works best with a bigger leaf like basil, but that night parsley was the only fresh herb still available.
The role of the leaf is to make sure the bowl stays in place on the plate while you bring the dish from the kitchen to the table.
I took these pictures at Alexa Clark’s tasting menu birthday. This is the party with the DIY Etched Glass Water Bottles. More to come of this delightful event.
I love this picture. The superb crafted table, the breakfast scene, and the angle of the shot. I dream of having enough room in my house for an extra-long dining table. You save space by putting benches and stools instead of chairs.
+ Via July 2007 edition of Living etc
If I had to resume in a few words the work of Donna Hay, I would say: Time-saving and Special Touches. Donna Hay’s philosophy fits very well within my way of life. This is probably why I am a long-time fan.
The current issue, which is not yet available in Canada, will be her Entertaining Issue. While I am looking for it, I browsed her site for great simple plating ideas that you could do at home. Individual serving dishes instantly add a special touch. You probably noticed that they are in vogue.
+ Donna took further the individual serving trend with this simple green salad presentation. To reproduce, collect small juice or water bottles. Make sure the small bottles all look the same since it is the fact that you are repeating a simple object that elevates the look. Pour the dressing in the small bottles. I suggest that you make more dressing than you need because you need to fill about 1/3 of the bottle for the optimal look. If you are against throwing away food, you can serve one bottle per couple or 2 guests.
+ Instead of serving a cheese platter, make a single-serve cheese board for each guest. You could split the cheese plate with its wild fig compote on an original way.
+ Donna Hay
It became a tradition. Every year, the weekend before my birthday, my husband invites me to a night of delight at Cirque du Soleil. We had fabulous tickets to OVO, seats 1 and 2 on the first row right in the center of the scene. Being that close enables us to see every details of the making and costumes which are a huge part of Cirque du Soleil’s magic. We are also able to see how hard the artists work to deliver their performance.
The nearest seat to the scene are part of a package that is called Tapis Rouge. The event starts one hour before the show. You are welcome with a glass of sparkling wine (red and white wine is also available). This is an almost one-hour cocktail with food served by a top-notch caterer.
The lamb mini-burgers, mini grilled cheese or mussels with the sauce served in shooter are simple ideas that you can incorporate in your repertoire. Think of designing vignette to add a theatrical vibe to your party. Here a mushroom garden vignette served as a service station.
The food presentation is always original. I always bring back ideas. The beautiful flower-shaped appetizers are hard to do. They were delightful for the eyes and to the mouth. Several food were used to fashion delicate flower; delicate to see and to the taste. The center was a foie gras or another type of mousse; I cannot recall which one.
Food in a Tree
Trees were used to serve food. A green apple becomes the bowl of half-cooked duck confit mixed with vegetables. The carrot has a hint of ginger crossing in the middle with a nori ribbon. It is simple and really delicious.
For dessert, they hung on the tree pineapple pieces dipped on a praline at one side. This awesome dessert is easily to reproduce at home for your next BBQ. Cut the pineapple in a small rectangle (3 inches long and 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide), insert on a wooden stick and dipped with praline.
OVO is a superb show. I recommend it. I had a great night. Thank you my Love for this night of pleasures. On that note, I wish every mom the best for this Happy Mother’s Day!
+ OVO by Cirque du Soleil
I wish that we still had the cute milk glass bottles in Quebec. They are more eco-friendly that the carton containers; pretty that the bags. When you host a party, the possibility to buy your milk in beautifully packaged glass bottles simplifies your life.
For look and keep the milk colder, I transfer my milk into a milk glass jar that my brother gave me when I went to university. Don’t you find that milk stays colder in glass bottle versus carton container?
Another option is to do what School Bakery & Café in Toronto does. Simply transfer your milk in large glass water bottle resting on a vintage metal rack. Retro and sweet.
A well-designed packaging was done for the milk of Ronny Brook Milk dairy brand. This is something I can be proud to put on my table buffet when entertaining. Add glamour and put the milk bottles in a large champagne tub filled with ice. Sadly, their yogurt collection loses the airy, minimalist feels.
Different Types of Milk
The Creamline Milk intrigues me. It is pasteurized milk that is not homogenized so the cream floats to the top. I read about it before. Apparently, the New Times called it the Dom Perignon of dairy. It means something even for a Veuve Cliquot and Crystal Champagne fan.
I always buy my milk at the big grocery stores and in Quebec, they sell only two major brands. As far as I recalled, I never drank a glass of pasteurized but not homogenized milk. Did you try the Creamline Milk? Did the taste was incredible?
For chocolate milk lovers, Ronny Brook Milk’s chocolate milk is the only chocolate milk rated Excellent by The New York Times. I guess I have one more thing to put on my to-do list when I visited New York. In the meantime, I will check if we had small milk producers who sells directly their products at the farmer’s market.
+ Ronny Brook Milk
+ Via Design Muse Blog
It seems that all magazines lately make the eulogy of comfort food and a return to the simple ingredients commonly used in rustic cooking. This winter, all my friends order French onion soups.
Since I have never been a fan of molecular cuisine or any of the creative recipe movements, I would not complain. I feel that it is about time that we are returning to proven recipes. This does not mean that we cannot adapt that to suit today’s taste.
The classic recipes have survived for a reason: they taste great. Instead of the fancy restaurants, bistros, modern taverns and small local restaurants are gaining in popularity. Bistro food books are displayed in hip local gift stores.
This picture from a dish at Leméac café bistrot located in Outremont illustrates this movement. A roasted black cod served with fennel flavored white bean mash feel inviting. This is a food presentation that you could try at home. After the extravagance of the last decade, you steal ideas from restaurant chefs that you can reproduce at home.
Chef Frédéric Morin shares his signature Joe Beef’s Lobster Spaghetti. The recipe is not complicated. A lobster recipe is sure to make a great impression on your guests. Joe Beef has its fans and its detractors. Do not be foul by the shabby cottage décor of the restaurant. The trendy Joe Beef is an expensive restaurant.
Canadian House and Home published the black cod dish recipe and a tasty dessert citrus-passion fruit blancmange by Leméac.
This is one of many trends for 2009. I explore the others over time.
+ Leméac café bistrot – get directions p 514.270.0999
1045 Avenue Laurier Ouest, Outremont, QC, Canada, H2V 2L1
+ Joe Beef – get directions p 514.935.6504
2491 Notre Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3J 1N6
+ Food photography by Virginia Macdonald for Canadian House and Home – February 2009 issue
This is my daily collection of noteworthy stuff that I saw online.
+ To complement my Tips for a Welcoming Entryway, check out the fabulous entry ways featured in several magazines. The most impressive entrances are from Living etc. After all, Living etc. is my favorite home décor magazine. Via design to inspire
+ If money is no objet, I would use these faux moss rings by AdornJewelry to decorate each place setting on an outdoor table. I would display the circle rings for women and the square rings for men. Use adhesive putty to hold them in place. Another option is to affix the ring to a ribbon and tie the napkin. Via Creativadoration
+ They forecast a hot weekend in Montreal. The right time for ice cream, sorbet and granita. An ordinary treat is transformed in a stunning dessert when you serve it in lime halves with an impressive mint decoration. The pistachio cookies finishes it up. The lime granita with candied mint leaves and creme fraiche was photographed by Quentin Bacon for August 2007 issue of Gourmet. Candied Mint Leaves are simple to make. You simply brush on a little egg white, sprinkle with sugar, let dry for 3 hours. Via The Kitchen
+ Just because it is a nice color palette, I wish to share this Flickr find photographed by Maxime Clair. Via Blue Ant Studio
+ If you are living in a small space, you will not want to miss the 5 Tricks To Make a Small Space Seem Bigger published in the September 2008 issue of Domino Magazine. They feature a 450 square feet with major panache. For more small space ideas, check out online the small space floor plans. Via Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
I love well-prepared scrambled eggs but too often they are rush. That is why I am thrilled by three recipes I found on the LA Times.
You get a recipe that mix freshly cut herbs, crème fraiche and Jack cheese amongst other things. Chefs often top the eggs when they plate the dish. David Lentz deposits a salad made with more herbs and a little lemon vinaigrette to finish up his Tweety scrambled eggs. Nothing can be simpler and tastier.
For a brunch, simply spread the scrambled eggs on toasted slices of rustic bread topped with a slice of prosciutto. You can even convert the recipe in finger food, which would add a twist to your brunch.
+ Slow-cooked scrambled eggs with bottarga – recipe by Judy Rodgers
+ Slow-scrambled eggs with prosciutto
+ Tweety scramble recipe by David Lentz of Hungry Cat
+ Image by Eric Boyd for Los Angeles Times [For luxury that’s worth the wait]
This is my daily collection of interesting stuff that I saw on the Web.
+ I am a fan of Pam’s floral arrangements since her beginning on the blogosphere. As promised, Pam published the pictures of her newly opened eclectic home decor and floral store Ink and Peat. Image from the talented Portland photographer John Valls. Via Housemartin
+ Get inspired by the way this pizza was set up by food stylist Paul Lowe the next time you have a pizza night. You can find it online on his agent’s Web site, Vivian Artists. Via Sweet Paul
+ With the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it seems appropriate to present a Chinese recipe. I like the vivid colors of this Sweet and Sour Pork dish. Via Rasa Malaysia
+ An adorable 2009 Eco-Chic Desk Calendar designed by San Francisco artist, Cat Seto is available for $23 at See Jane Works. Via I Heart Luxe
+ Read the story of a couple team of interior designers who get all of their materials from garage sales and flea markets in Maine on the New York Times. Linda Wary and John Meyers found a beautiful simple Swedish wood basket that costs only $12.
+ Your guests feel more comfortable when you place the trash can and the towel paper canister well at sight. So favor models that are as cute as those ones. Unfortunately, I have no clues on the brand or where to find it. Via Small Space Style
I cannot resist this amazing dessert by Vanille of At Down Under. It is not simply beautiful dished, the soufflé mixes chocolate and pistachios,
An origami box gave Vanille the inspiration to reinvent the individual cake pan with parchment or waxed paper.
I am impressed! It is so original and lovely. If your guests are not be blown away by your flood presentation, you should think twice before inviting them again for a home meal.
The soufflé recipe is from Donna Hay; a relevant choice knowing that Vanille, a French woman married to an Hungarian man, has moved with her husband to New Zealand not long ago. They used to live in Paris.
I wish all the best to this new blogger. Vanille started At Down Under last June. Already her blog posts captured my senses more than once. You will find how to create the baking paper star pan and how to bake this recipe on her blog.
+ Origami Star Box Instructions [Origami Fun]
Via A Bout De Souffle. [At Down Under] – rights reserved images
Serving burgers is so common that the stylish hostess is always on the lookout to elevate the basic recipe. Using a better cheese or changing the condiments is one way to go. Now the French Chefs are playing with the burger recipes.
I still see many European who immigrated in Canada eating their hot sandwich or their burger with utensils. It feels strange. I must confess that I eat warm submarines with my knife and fork at home because it is less messy. But burgers and French fries are finger food. For their comfort, I provide two large napkins to every guest when we serve hamburgers.
Burgers are Turning Chic on the New York Times
This is why I enjoyed reading an article from the New York Times. It explains how the French Chefs are reinventing this American dish. My husband is cooking our version of the Café Salle Pleyel Burger tonight. I will talk about it if we like it. But I can tell you that it smells good in the house.
Without regard to the recipes, one thing that the French Chefs can teach us is how to better plate the burgers. I am showing three easy ways. The top pictures rely on restaurant style plates where you can fit the bowls. The second way puts the French fries in a handmade paper cone. Both are pretty straightforward to do but they look great.
The last food presentation looks more elaborate. You can go a step further by dressing up your outdoor table with a fine tablecloth. To stay true to the classics, start with oversized sesame hamburger bread and cut the bread as a rectangle or a square. Prepare a matching format Angus steak patty. Voilà!
Via: In Paris, Burgers Turn Chic [New York Times]
Slide show: Hamburgers Conquer Paris [New York Times]
Photo credits: Ed Alcock for the New York Times – rights reserved