Using Odd kitchen Gadgets to Make Food Look Pretty

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Using a simple knife in this case called a birdsbeak you can create beautiful additions to your plates in a few minutes.  Companies like Shun and Henkels make this type of knife and also garnishing kits which contain the more specialized cutters, zesters, channel knives and melon ballers.  The foods we eat are certainly made more appetizing when they are pleasing to look at. Below we have a slice of blackened Ahi Tuna on a gaufrette potato chip with pickled ginger.

The center piece is made with a simple criss-cross channel-knife cut with some fresh thyme and carrot curls. It is very easy to do and elegant when finished.

Centerpiece Made from Zuchini, Carrot Curls and Fresh Thyme

Centerpiece Made from Zuchini, Carrot Curls and Fresh Thyme

The tools that I use on a daily basis are a zester, a birdsbeak knife, a channel knife and my mandoline.  On occasion I will use a melon baller.  The simple paring knife is invaluable for most  vegetable carving projects.  If you want to invest some money in a kit to make things easier Chefknifestogo has several different styles of kits available.  The one pictured below is the one that I would recommend, for $50 it is not a bad investment.  Your local gourmet shop or restaurant supply store will be able to supply you with individual items.  The best quality I have found is a French company called Rowoco, they make a combination zester channel knife that I adore.  For 10-15 bucks you have a great little tool that will do tons of decoration.

Kitchen Gadgets, Messermeister 9 peice Garnish Kit

Tips for Carving Flowers from Vegetables

Have you heard about the wonderful art of carving flowers from vegetables? These flowers look very fascinating and decorative. You can make such flowers at your own by following these useful tips on carving flowers from vegetables.

Lay Your roses on Basil leaves

Vegetables are a crucial part of our daily diet. They are known for providing essential vitamins and minerals that are required for the healthy growth of our body. Apart from eating, vegetables can be used to create beautiful flowers that are meant for a decorative purpose. These attractive flowers are used on different occasions such as weddings, receptions or parties. They offer a touch of elegance and glamor to the ambiance. These flowers can be kept on the dining tables or used to garnish the dishes. An interesting thing about these carved flowers is that they are edible. Most carvings are quite simple and can be easily done at home. Read on to get some useful tips for carving flowers from vegetables.

Selection of Vegetables for Carving For carving, you need to select the fresh, firm vegetables. Some vegetables such as onion, carrot, tomato, cucumber, pumpkin, melon, potato, radish and squash are perfectly suitable for carving. These vegetables can be used to create decorative flowers as well as elaborate birds, boats and dragons. Each vegetable has its own unique characteristics. Shallots and onions should be fresh and without wrinkles. Carrots should be medium or large size and straight. You should select round, fresh and firm radishes. Spur chilies you select should be fresh, having a shining skin.

Preparation of Vegetables for Carving You need to prepare the vegetables with certain processes, so that beautiful flowers can be carved easily. You need to soak the tomatoes in a mixture of water and lime juice in order to prevent its browning. Onions and shallots should be soaked in water before peeling in order to minimize irritation of eyes. You should wash the beets in salted water, which reduces loss of color. It should be kept moist by regularly spraying it with water to prevent it from turning black. Potatoes should be washed after peeling and again after carving to avoid browning.

Tips for Carving Flowers from Vegetables Before carving, the vegetables should be thoroughly washed and cleaned. Use a sharp-pointed knife with a bronze or stainless steel blade. Ordinary steel blade of a knife can cause discoloration of vegetables. Avoid excessive carving in order to prevent waste and loss of nutritional value. The designs you carve should suit the plate of food. The floral patterns go well with any kind of dish. If vegetables are to be dipped into sauces, then they should be cut in appropriate sizes. Vegetables selected for carving should be resistant to drooping, such as Chinese radishes or carrots. Before going for carving the vegetables, you should have enough practice. It should be done with great care and concentration

Storing Carved Vegetables After carving, you should keep the vegetables in ice-cold water, so that the petals of carved flowers spread beautifully and remain firm. Carved flowers should not be left in water for a prolonged time, due to which petals may get discolored and spoiled. Each type of carved vegetable should be placed separately, so that all your work would not be lost if one type of vegetable spoils. Store the carved vegetables in a container and keep it in a refrigerator. If the refrigerator is not available, then cover them with a damp piece of thin cloth. Keep them in a protected place, so that they don’t get dry and wilted.

By Reshma Jirage Published: 8/26/2008

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