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the fine art of finger foods | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 2

Dressing the food
So youíve picked a menu and cooked the morsels? Congratulations, your work is Ö well, half done at any rate. Remember, appearance is every bit as important as taste, and if you donít make the extra little effort to make your creations look all lovely and inviting, you might as well have just bought everything ready-made.

Color and contrast and shape, oh my!
Pair simple ingredients together not only for their flavors, but also for their colors. Top a pale green cucumber slice with a white cheese spread and a slice of roasted red pepper; sprinkle marinated mushrooms with fresh green parsley, serve your hummus with a sprinkle of dark red paprika. Use a cookie cutter to produce bread pieces in pretty shapes; cut cheese into an array of cubes, wedges, and slices; use a cake decorating set to pipe spreads and cheese mixtures onto raw veggies, crackers or toast. The platter is your blank canvas; the food, your palette.

Garnishes galore!
Now Iím not suggesting you carve a rose out of a radish, or anything, since Iím assuming you actually have some semblance of a life, and many ways youíd rather spend your precious time. But simple low-prep garnishes, such as lemon, lime and orange wheels, sprigs and sprinklings of fresh herbs (curly parsley is the popular choice, of course, but dill, mint and basil also work wonderfully), or parmesan shavings/curls, can do wonders for dressing up a platter or serving tray.

Topping your creations with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted pine nuts or walnuts can serve both as a flavor accent and a decorative touch. A sprinkle of dark black fresh ground pepper or thick white granules of coarse rock salt can also serve to improve both the look and taste of your dishes.

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