Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Enhancing Food’s Natural Design

Caryn, Delicious! Delicious!

Posted by Caryn, Delicious! Delicious! | View all posts by Caryn, Delicious! Delicious!
Leave a comment! | Published in Delicious Design 2005, General

Caryn is a screenwriter and filmmaker living in Los Angeles, California. Since early childhood, she has loved all things related to food and she loves to make up stories. She designed her blog — Delicious! Delicious! — as an opportunity to practice her chosen craft (screenwriting) and her beloved hobby (cooking).

Caryn’s entry is the sixth of our ‘Pass the Mic: Delicious Design’ event that brings together food bloggers and designers to mark the Thanksgiving holiday and the launch of our new Modern Tabletop category. We’ve also created a Flickr group “Aesthetics of Food” to make your mouth water. Enjoy!

I’ve heard that food stylists shellac, glue, tease and torment their way to the perfect photo of the dish they are commissioned to capture. Because we home cooks have to actually eat what we prepare, our tools for food enhancement are perhaps more limited. Still, I firmly believe that with a little talent, a bit of skill and a lot of luck, you can make just about anything appetizing. To demonstrate the point, I present to you, Deviled Eggs.

Deviled Eggs

Ah, the egg. Crack it open and what appears? An almost clear mass with a bright yellow blob in the middle. Appetizing? I think not. Eggs, like almost any food product of animal origin, need a little help before they take on the appearance of something edible. How, then, to enhance the egg?

First, let’s consider the shape. What could be more interesting than the unique shape of the egg’s natural state? So let’s retain that uniqueness by cooking the eggs in their shell. Boiling eggs is fairly easy, but cracking and peeling them in such a manner that there are no nicks or tears in the now opaque white requires a lot of the aforementioned luck. Let’s assume that today is our lucky day and all turns out perfectly.

Here’s where the talent comes in. Make the eggs even better by slicing them neatly in half lengthwise. Scoop out the hardened yolks into a bowl. Yummy? Not yet. A bit chalky actually. So we will make them creamy by adding sour cream and mayonnaise. We will make them tangy by adding a spoonful of lemon juice. Throw in a dash of mustard and some finely chopped chives for extra kick. The smooth, sunshine mixture is now ready to go back into its white counterpart.

You could just spoon the filling in, but if you want to incorporate some of that skill you’ve picked up along the way, pipe the mixture through a star-shaped point. Suddenly, you have a lovely pattern in the now tasty yolk atop the pristinely shaped whites. Almost done. We could add contrast to our textures if we had remembered to save a couple yolks to mash through a strainer, dusting the tops with yellow snowflakes. Or if we forgot to save a yolk or two, sprinkle some caviar across those babies.

Finally, I was always taught that opposite colors on the color wheel provide maximum impact to the eye. So let’s bring out all that silky yellow by putting them on a sky-blue plate. Plop the plate in front of a window and snap a quick picture for the blog before serving them to your guests.

I don’t know what it is about Deviled Eggs that makes people lose all self control, but I can honestly say that they go faster than any appetizer I’ve ever served. Maybe it’s the beautifully oval shape. Perhaps it’s the contrasting tangy to bland flavors. It could also be the variation of creamy and glassy textures.

Probably, it’s because they are so thoughtfully and carefully designed.

Deviled Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TBS. snipped fresh chives
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out egg yolks from 11 eggs into bowl. Scoop out remaining egg yolk and set aside. Chop four egg-white halves and add to bowl. Mash yolks and whites with fork.
2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir until smooth. Pipe or spoon filling into egg-white halves.
3. Put remaining egg yolk in a fine, mesh strainer. Mash yolk with fork, holding strainer over the eggs to sprinkle as a garnish. Serve cold.

Makes 20 halves.

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