Last evening while preparing a plate of appetizers for a small gathering of friends my wife, Kranston, will be hosting at our home today, she commented on how cute the Mascarpone Cheese stuffed apricots looked. She said we should take a picture of them for our files.
The rippled cheese piping atop the apricot half played host to a single blueberry and two miniscule mint leaves, leaving the impression of a purposeful design. The combination lent itself to the appearance of a bumble bee. The assembly didn’t begin with the bee in mind- it simply morphed into the illusion after the blueberry was placed at the end of the piping.
By the time the creation was ready to take flight I had sampled my share and will admit they were quite tasty. A perfect hors d’ oeuvre for a hot summer day in wine country. Paired with a mini golden beet, heirloom tomato and fresh Mozzarella and Basil stack and a cucumber slice with a strip of Pastrami Salmon Lox, Honey Mustard and Fennel, the appetizer trilogy will be a please the afternoon urge to nibble.
The beauty of appetizers and hors d’ oeuvres is the adventure of assemblage and allowing your creative mind to wander. Seldom do I have a list in hand or a plan in mind. My trip down the produce aisle begins and I create as I the journey progresses. If it looks good, appears fresh, colorful and crisp, its future could be designated by silver tray, dollops, drops, snips and slices.
Yet, my photo file of all the creations that have crossed plate and palate over the last two decades is empty. Seldom to have I ever snapped a picture for future culinary recall. Even though Kranston has been urging me to perform the ritual with each plating, I have never taken the time to go to the digital file cabinet and snap away.
I wish I had. Over the years we always attempted to picturize the process of plating for the new line cooks. It never seemed to work. Too corporate or something. While cruising this past winter the galley of the ship had a wall of pictures and they resembled, exactly, the way the plates had appeared the evening before.
Pictures for files were never my thing. I have always relied on recall.
It’s difficult to forget the 2000 people we catered for Harvey McKay’s book signing, or the 300 people at Carrie Rivet’s wedding, or the all sausage appetizers that were passed for Jimmy Dean.
Yet it does seem unfortunate that I don’t have any of the culinary artwork photographed for future reference. A file with little sections categorically stating each apps place in the small – make that large- metal box. Or now, just a little folder on the desktop would suffice. And just think how easy it would be to mail that photo to Mrs. Pillsbury when she needs to compare whether Carole Anne Mackay prefers the same appetizers as she had last year at her July 4th party or if she should decide on the smoked sausage quiche cups Jimmy so enjoys.