Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to plate your food so you get laid (video)

A way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Do you know a way to a woman's heart? Through her eyes, of course. I noticed an interesting trend in my cooking classes. Most men don't comment on food before they taste it. Most women comment on food way before they taste it, particularly if spoon dragging, squeeze bottles, cylinder molds, and micro greens are involved in the plating process. I used to get frustrated that people judge food before tasting it. How it tastes has nothing to do with how it looks.  But women do eat with their eyes first.  Men, get your pencils ready, and pay attention because if you are cooking dinner for your special someone this Valentine's Day, you'll need a plating plan.*

Since plating is much easier to show than to explain, I made you a little video that covers restaurant beauty tips.

YouTube link: Sexy food plating

In case you want to make this dish, here are the recipes for the components.

Butternut Squash Sauce -- it's the same as a butternut squash soup. If you want it thicker, simmer a small amount in a skillet to reduce or use less liquid up front when pureeing.

Apple Celery Salad

Serves 4

1 large celery stalk
1 apple, cut into brunoise (honeycrisp, pink lady, or some other sweet-tart variety)
2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions or minced shallots
2 Tbsp minced parsley (or dill, tarragon, chives, mint, cinantro)
1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut celery into 3 inch lengths, shave thinly (1 mm) on a mandoline or using a peeler.  Put into a bowl of cold water for 1 hour if you want it to curl up.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Toss all ingredients together, taste and correct seasoning. You might want to add more vinegar or salt.

Seared Scallops

6 oz "dry" (untreated) diver or sea scallops per person
salt and pepper
oil for searing

Dry the scallops very thoroughly with paper towels. Yes, there is a lot of drying going on. Moisture is
the enemy of browning.

Crank up the heat under your pan to as high as possible and wait for it to get hot.

You don't need much fat and you can use whatever you want (canola, olive oil, butter, or some
combination). Just add enough to a pan to make a thin coat (about 1/16").

Season scallops just before placing them in the pan to avoid drawing moisture out of them.

Place scallops in the pan leaving some space between them. Since we don't have a stack of sauté
pans sitting by our stove the way restaurant cooks do, it's tempting to squeeze every last piece into
your one pan. Please don't.

When placing scallops in the pan, realize that that's their final destination. You can't move them
once they are in the pan, or you'll prevent the crust from forming.

Don't check them every 2 seconds. In 1.5-2 minutes, you'll see the browning starting to creep up their
sides. That's when you turn them and cook on the other side.

Don't try to cook the scallops all the way through. They should be rare in the center, so as soon as
they are browned on both sides, they are done.

*Guys, you know I am kidding, right? Beauty is only skin deep. Most women feel very pampered and special if you cook them anything at all. I do, and my husband doesn't top his fish with micro greens.


bkida said...

Well that title will CERTAINLY catch people's attention and likely increase search results. ;-) Loved the video! While I'm creative, there are times when I don't know what to do when it comes to plating food. this was a great primer and wonderful springboard! Now I'm psyched for one of my least favorite commemorative days (but we won't go there). If all is a success I may have to take up catch my drift.

Peter M said...

Helen, I am still following your blog and I love this informative video and post.

Tanya said...

Helen, that video was great! Love your sense of humor!!

ken said...

lol...great tips in the video.
I ended up making a 12-layer cake and that was easy to make look pretty :-)

Nadira said...

EXCELLENT! One of the biggest gaps in ameteur cooking educaiton is how to plate and arrange food.

Nadira said...

EXCELLENT! It's really hard to find plating tops in non-professional cooking training, but it makes such a difference!