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Beautiful Food

What is the most beautiful dish you have ever made? I am interested in everything and especially salads.

Miss Clawdy

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  1. Tabbouleh - scattered with black olives and surrounded by leaves of chicory. It was a work of art.

    And very tasty.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      It might have been beautiful, but it wasn't Tabbouleh.

    2. I'm with you, salads are really beautiful. I love colors. Love a panzanella salad with fresh tomatoes, red onion, celery, (as my base) then color like lil carrots, maybe shredded for orange, corn for some yellow, lots of cilantro for some bright green. Even a grilled panzanella!! Yum!

      1. A green salad with parmesan, prosciutto and pomegranate seeds...the seeds look like red jewels and are so pretty, like this one--especially nice for Thanksgiving:

        Okay, I might be disqualified because I haven't made this next one but just had to share:
        AND....Epi's Triple Chocolate Celebration Cake...someone in my office has made this masterpiece twice...the picture here does not do it justice...everyone's jaws dropped each time she made it--what you cannot see very clearly are the gold etchings all around the cake which are made from pastry transfer sheets--this cake is a lot of work but really almost too beautiful to eat:

        8 Replies
        1. re: Val

          I like grape tomatos because they look like jewels and taste amazing

          1. re: kpaxonite

            kp, true! and when you roast those little doggies, they get a bit blackened and taste even more amazing!!!

            1. re: Val

              I have to agree about tomatoes :-). A big pile of colorful heirlooms in the summer is just the most beautiful thing. I like them with purple basil. And oven fries made with purple potatoes and sweet potatoes also-- they're brown and toasty on the outside, but then you bite in and see a burst of color.

              1. re: jvanderh

                I think you are completely right but I just wanted to point out that grape tomatos are not the the same as heirloom ... (At least I dont think there is a heirloom variety of grape but I could be wrong?)

                1. re: kpaxonite

                  There are heirloom tomatoes of all sizes, including grape-- although I was just piggybacking on the idea of tomatoes, and didn't say anything about grape tomatoes.

                  1. re: jvanderh

                    Nothing says freshness like vine picked "fresh" sliced tomatoes, drizzle of olive oil and a bit cracked pepper and salt!

          2. re: Val

            @Val, one of mine was a salad with pomegranate seeds too...of course the edible flowers might have helped a little ;)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Thank you - the link you gave me made me remeber my copy of Working The Plate which has the recipe for that beautiful salad as well as a lot of other ideas.

          3. Stacked salads because you can alternate layers of colors and it's beautiful. I've never used sliced tomatoes, just diced layers but this is about how I do it:


            I love it w/ seafood, shrimp or crab, and a citrus vinaigrette, fresh fruit like mangoes, papaya, pomegranate seeds, oranges.

            11 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              that reminds me, i once did a pressed "salad" that was my riff on the beet & goat cheese stacks at Spago. when i sliced into it, the striping from the layers of beets & cheese was fabulous. drizzled with a grapefruit & champagne vinegar reduction, and topped with micro greens and crushed pistachios...it really was beautiful.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                That sounds great. I got the idea for the salad from Sardine Factory (I think) but over the years played with what I used in it. The variations are endless.

              2. re: chowser

                oh, I'm with you - love tower dishes. I played with a few and always look for new ideas:

                1. re: lexpatti

                  Nice--is that mango, avocado and shrimp? I love that combination.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Yes, (mango salsa, chucky guac) I've also done it with crab and love that maybe better. I've been wanting to do tower of lobster too but haven't yet. or why not the base be a mix of seafood - yum!!!!!

                    I did a tower of shephard's pie (go to my photos and you 'll see - I can't seem to grab photos from there), it was an inside joke with my son who is a mega foodie, chef in Paris!

                    I'm going to play with terrines when my kitchen is done - been wanting to do a layered salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion terrine type spread. And a layered polenta, roasted veggie terrine.

                    so pretty when it's in a tower.

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      what did you cook that shepards pie in? It looked really nice..reminiscent of tartare

                      1. re: kpaxonite

                        All the layers were cooked on their own, then layed with a cylinder for presentation purposes. I made a traditional big one but made this individual tower as a joke - my son really does out of this world phenominal dishes, where presentation is art but one time he just wasn't into eating my sister's shephards pie and called it "peasant food!" We won't let him forget. So I did this in honor of him (hubby ate it and loved it though).

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            my son bought it for me, like this - found one:

                            but you can easily and more cheaply cut the right size pvc pipe too. :-


                            I think he found it at a typically kitchen gadget store

                      2. re: lexpatti

                        Very nice! I like your other shots, too. My simple go-to terrine is Nigella's sundried tomatoes/pesto/provolone. It's pretty with the different colors and great at room temperature. I would never have thought to make it but a friend of mine did and it's so much better than the parts:


                        I think it would be perfect as bite sized layers but not patient enough to make them.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Nice!! I do one similar but without the provolone (I'll have to try it with that layer). I put mine in a little bowl with a half cherry or grape tomato with basil leave on the very bottom (which ends up being the top when you unmold). Kind of like this one but without the pinenuts, although that sounds wonderful too.

                2. If you mean *non* composed salads, I think the colors of a Greek-type salad are lovely. (Black olives, white feta, red tomato, purple rimmed onion, any/all greens.)

                  Alternated overlapping slices of mozzarella and really red tomato is striking.

                  Juxtaposed sliced fresh strawberries and chunked fresh pineapple -- beautiful on an Easter table (near the colored eggs :) !

                  This is a hard question to answer--a knockout loaf of bread or a platter of hot corn-on-the-cob would qualify as beautiful, but I see you're asking for a *dish*. This salad http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1001...
                  is gorgeous-in-pink. Watermelon, strawberries, bright white jicama, dark green mint.

                  1. A serendipitous choice of produce at the farmstand a couple of years ago resulted in a subtly hued salad: red-leaf lettuce with a deep brownish-purplish red heirloom tomato sliced in wedges, dried cranberries, julienned scallion (both green & white parts), and pomegranate vinaigrette.

                    For a dazzling fruit cup: blueberries, slices of green kiwi, and halved green seedless grapes. Mix gently with sugar or honey and allow to macerate. It produces its own syrup, which makes the fruit glisten like jewels. It is far prettier than it sounds, and tastes great too!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      Your dinner sounds absolutely lovely. I have a Bed and Breakfast and am always looking for unique ideas. Do I ever know what I am going to be serving some mornings this year! I can just imagine the egg with the pasta.

                      (I do a dish with a mound of finely chopped zucchini and goat cheese on a Spring Roll wrapper. I make an indentation in the zucchini and break an egg into it, fold the wrapper into a triangle, seal it with water and fry it. It is fun and interesting, but your sounds prettier)


                      1. re: greygarious


                        You must be wondering about my response which was meant for the post immediately below yours. Having said that, our fruit combination will definitely be on my breakfast menu also.


                      2. I had an intimate dinner party to celebrate the engagement of two friends. Every course had something pink in it. Champagne with a raspberry, a salad of baby spring greens and rose petals. The main dish was homemade, large ravioli, made from pasta d some beet juice to rolled thin as I could made it. I cut out 4 in squares, piped cheese and fresh sauted minced spinach in a circle and place a raw yolk in the open center. Sealed it tight in a large fluted edged circle and quick boiled. The pasta was translucent with the golden runny yolk was so pretty!!
                        For dessert I made a cake that had strawbeery mousse in it, I cut it in strips and rolled it so you had one huge ribbon coil of a cake, That was on the cover of an old Bon Appeite.

                        It all turned out so beautiful. Boy was I happy.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Quine

                          Dear Quine-

                          You would have received this yesterday, had I not sent it to the person whose post was directly above yours and probably thinks I am weird, crazed or both! I did write to explain - - -
                          Your dinner sounds absolutely lovely. I have a Bed and Breakfast and am always looking for unique ideas. Do I ever know what I am going to be serving some mornings this year! I can just imagine the egg with the pasta.

                          (I do a dish with a mound of finely chopped zucchini and goat cheese on a Spring Roll wrapper. I make an indentation in the zucchini and break an egg into it, fold the wrapper into a triangle, seal it with water and fry it. It is fun and interesting, but your sounds prettier)


                        2. Probably a tri-color veggie terrine that I made for Thanksgiving because 2 of my nieces had turned vegetarian. I placed large broccoli florettes in the middle and when I sliced it, just by chance, it looked like a landscape of a tree on a hill. One layer was green (broccoli thyme), one was orange (carrot sage) and one was white (cauliflower rosemary). I tried to give it traditional Thanksgiving flavors.

                          1. I make a cornbread panzanilla type salad that has mulit colored tomatoes and cilantro which looks real pretty with the yellow cornbread. Also, I make a stacked tomato thing that has goat cheese and tapenade stakced with all different color tomatoes and drizzled with green basil dressing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sparkareno

                              yum yum yum, love panzanella salads, what kind of cornbread did you use, soooo many I think would crumble up - did you use corn bread or cornbread type croutons???

                            2. Ikura and peas (I guess it's a salad).

                              Runners up include a tuna tataki, a deconstructed quail, and roasted pineapple pav├ęs.

                              1. My favorite (I am asked to repeat it again and again) is a layered salad, especially if you have a clear tall dish. You get a variety of colors and tastes. This is a make the day before dish, so it is fantastic. Layered in order:

                                Lettuce (broken by hand), Diced pimento's, Diced Green Pepper, Sliced green onions, Diced water chestnuts, Diced Red Peppers, Frozen green peas. Spread top with a thin layer of Mayo (not salad dressing), sprinkle with 2 tbs. sugar and cover with Parmesan cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, then toss with salad tongs. Yum.

                                You can vary the ingredients a little, depending on how you want it to look/taste. Sometimes I will add sliced olives as a layer in place of the pimento's.

                                1. I think the prettiest foods are fruit. Ruby red grapefruit is gorgeous as are strawberries and watermelon (love the little "personal" ones). Love the colors, the seeds, the way they looked sliced or whole.

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                      tropical fruit is a good bet if you want something visually striking - passion fruit, pomegranate, carambola, papaya...

                                    2. Personally I am always wowed by a beautiful gratin in a nice dish, or creme brulee with a perfect fresh fruit on top... anything with a perfectly browned top.

                                      1. When we were in Naples last year, one night we ordered a caprese salad. when it came out, it was the most stunning presentation I'd ever seen. The tomato slices were arranged on the plate like flower petals, and the center of the flower was the ball of fresh mozzarella. Basil leaves were artfully arranged around the perimeter. It was *gorgeous.*

                                        I've made it several times since then, usually when we have company over to have pizza made in our wood-fired oven. It's nice to have snacks around while we wait for the oven to come up to temperature. However, nobody--and I mean NOBODY--will eat it until I've taken the first serving.