How many of you have dinned out this week?
Did you play attention to how your food was presented? I guessing, no.
However I am finding the plating trend in food very problematic for eaters and aspiring chefs a like.
Even though I know the importance looks plays in food, I finding it difficult to justify the obscene amount of work that goes into one of those meals of a “hatted” restaurant.
The oval, the splatter, the smear; these are just a few of the culinary plating techniques I have picked up in my culinary adventures. Also the plating on different surfaces such as a wood logs, slate and industry metal; seriously what happened to just using a different coloured plate?
Each technique becomes more flamboyant and pretentious than the next. As an eater the thing I am most worried about when I face a meal like this is, how the hell do I eat it?
Well you know this question comes from an embarrassing (recent) event in my life. Recently I had a meal that was described as anti-pesto vegetable grill. Let me set the scene; it is small café, casual dining not one of those big restaurants or anything, normal made to order food off a set menu.
Sure so I am thinking, “yes, this will be nice and easy to eat”, it can only be a sandwich right? Two slices of bread with filling, maybe a salad on the side? At most they might try to so a smear of sauce or dressing on the plate to get some points for trying.
What came out was a sandwich plater that defined gravity. This dish came with 3 sandwiches comprising of a grilled mini brioche burger bun with layered filling of grilled vegetables, salad and anti-pesto; here is the kicker each one was it is was almost 15cm tall and max 6 cm wide. I went to a cafe and got the leaning towers of veggie grills.
Next to this sat organised pile of chips; each one having a place and purpose to keep up the pile of golden chips. Finally smears of sauce on the plater and smashed peas around the plate.
There was no denying this sandwich stack was beautiful and testament to the chef’s platting skills, however did they fail to deliver a manual with the order on how to eat burgers than are almost three times taller than they are wide?
Well they did give me knife and fork which describes the nature of this café. No greasy burger fingers allowed at this café. I was trying to up hold the beauty of the dish while destroying it at the same time. When did food become more about the looks than us exactly eating it?
Nothing is worth comprising the taste for a pretty presentation in my books. I know it might be against the trends in food, but there can be a balance between visual appeal and culinary delightfulness.
Maybe I am too unsophisticated to appreciate the architectural beauty of piling your chips, steak and veggies in a 20 cm tall stack.
Speaking of which, how many cookies can you pile on top of each other before it falls? My max is 8 but I think it is because I fail at balancing things. We all know cookies are a must at Christmas. There is nothing more welcoming when unexpected guest drops by. It just screams “you are loved”.
So today is cookie can be whipped in up in under an hour, is highly adaptable and features anything you please. Much like the compost cookie these cookie feature an array of random, delicious treats; mine is geared towards the men or boy in the audience. I am not sure if you have heard of this category of food but we know it was “Dude food”. Essentially it is food that traditionally is considered street or junk which is made into a high class delight.
The thick baked cookie texture holds each ingredient without masking the cookie add-ins with a heavy dough. So using maple covered cashew nuts, crushed chocolate oreos, salted potato chips, and chewy milk duds wrapped with butter and BACON fat cookie dough. Yes bacon fat; indulgent yes but you are worth it.
Anyway the corn flour trick and egg yolks lend itself to instant the chewiness of this cookie and help hold all the stuff in. Also I used corn syrup or glucose here, I am not sure what this does but I am sure it helps it maintain the average 66% moisture content of chewy cookies (geek kitchen stuff here).
Whether you are looking for an instant gift or wanting to save money or even clean out the kitchen; this is the recipe for you!
Dude food cookies
Makes 30 large (like at least 7cm wide) cookies
110g butter, soft
110g bacon fat
120g brown sugar light
100g raw caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
260g plain flour
30g corn flour
6g baking soda
2g baking powder
40g ground oats
9 crushed chocolate Oreo
2 tsp coffee grounds
100g finely crushed maple covered cashews (1-3mm bits)
50g finely crushed potato chips
50g milk duds, try to chop these in quarters.
Pre heat oven to 180C, Line three trays with baking paper. Shift your flours, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream your butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Look for a Fluffy and light batter.
Add your vanilla and egg yolks. Beat the mix again till the same fluffy and light texture.
Using a wooden spoon mix in your flour until combined. Add in the oats, crushed chocolate oreos, coffee grounds, crushed maple covered cashews, crushed potato chips, and milk duds.
Using a cookie scoop or a table spoon, , shape out rounds of cookie dough on your trays at least 5cm apart. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until the base of cookie is a nice golden brown when lifted up with a spatula. Cool on tray then transfer to wire rack once cooled.