Many things that taste delicious don’t exactly look as dreamy as they are to eat. Of course, anyone who has eaten in a reasonable number of high-end dining establishments knows that what does look impressive may not live up to its pretensions sometimes, too. But it’s worth trying, at least when serving guests, to make the food look appetizing as well as tasting great, and if guests deserve the respect, why shouldn’t we give it to ourselves?When I’m cooking in my DIY (more accurately translated in food terms as ‘Dish It Yourself’) mode for varied appetites and needs, it limits what I can do in terms of presentation a little more than usual, but in some ways it can simplify it, too: as long as I’m not dealing with allergy, I can serve foods in proximity that I know not every one will want in the same mix or proportions. So ‘composed’ presentation and ‘deconstructed’ dishes can be a fine and fun way to create something that looks more attractive and inviting than if I go ahead and blend all of the meal’s parts before serving. Case in point: this quinoa concoction, which is basically a confetti-like mishmash if stirred all together before serving, whereas if I simply keep the ingredients a little more separate when plating it all up, suddenly it looks ever so much more like an artful arrangement and a come-hither dish–which is more in keeping with its being a pretty tasty collation, by my standards. So yes, I did even make the pretty composed version when I was the only person showing up at the table. I really do like me that much.Strawberry Quinoa Salad
The ingredients for this are quite simple and, as I prefer, completely flexible in terms of trading items in or out of the group and setting the proportions. In this instance, I used the following combination: quinoa cooked in bone broth, sliced ripe strawberries, butter toasted sliced almonds, cubed fresh mozzarella, diced yellow tomato, and minced fresh basil and mint leaves. I kept it all at room temperature and dressed it with my balsamic mint vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, melted mint jelly, a spoonful of pureed fresh cilantro leaves, and macadamia nut oil blended to taste) and a pinch of crunchy Maldon sea salt, and all together, it was Just Right. And pretty, too. Still and all, when I ate the other half of the salad the next day after having stirred it all together, it was just as good to eat. Guess I’m not too hung up on appearances after all.
This is gorgeous! and you KNOW how much I like dishes that can be plated by each eater according to their likes and neuroses!
Yes indeed I do know! Thankfully, this is clearly one of those that’s especially easy to ‘make’ and serve a la carte for our exacting diners!
This looks like a salad I would really enjoy, Kathryn. Of course it would taste every bit as good if tossed but it looks so much more dramatic when the elements are left on their own on the plate — or is that just the OCD in me speaking out?
Ironic that OCD is considered a ‘*dis*order’ at all, when you think about it: for most of us, it’s expressed in excessive love of order, one way or another, no? And I know a ton of people who share the one about liking their food served and plated certain ways, so anything I can do to make that reasonably easy for them just makes sense. 🙂
Nom! I wish I could make food look this good…
The great thing about stuff like this is that it’s kind of like paint-by-numbers–easier to make food look impressive by arranging it in little patterns on the plate than by combining it more skilfully and artfully as a whole dish! Truthfully, though, I’m often much too hungry and piggy to hang around decorating my plate when I can be diving into it and eating! 😀