Food Art: How to Make Salad Decorations in a Cup
Salad decoration might sound like unnecessary labor to some people. But, believe it or not, how we see the food can affect how it tastes. For example, some people won't normally eat shrimp, rice and avocado together in one meal. Yet, when they see the three ingredients artistically mingled in the form of tempura sushi and daintily arranged on a rectangular porcelain plate, their appetite suddenly rises to its peak.
It is the same story with salad. There's nothing very enticing about a messy pile of baby spinach, chopped lettuce and cherry tomatoes, except its abundant vitamins. However, if you transform those vegetables into lush ground cover, leaves and flowers, your plate of salad will become more than just a source of nutrients.
Appearance Can Elevate a Dish
The rule of first impressions is not only for humans; it also applies to food. Beauty can turn a mediocre dish into something worth remembering. Unless it is a hopelessly bad dish, the good first impression will likely overrule the simplicity of the food.
Vegetable decoration is a great scheme to use when you want to impress your guests but don't have enough time or cooking skills to prepare something extraordinary. If your children won't eat anything but sugary cereal and greasy burgers, don't just keep nagging them to eat more greens and turnips. Instead, wow them with your nifty salad decorations, and they might find vegetables more appetizing to eat.
Learn How to Do It
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to turn simple vegetables into food art. Advanced artistry is not required. Basic knife skills and creativity are all you need.
Ingredients and Supplies
- a handful of baby spinach or another leafy vegetable
- 2 cherry tomatoes
- 3 mini sweet peppers
- 1/2 of a medium-size cucumber
- container (any clear ice-cream cup or wide-mouthed cocktail glass that is not too deep)
- sharp paring knife
- leaf-shaped cookie cutter
- vegetable peeler
How to Carve Peppers
- Remove the stem from a mini pepper.
- Insert the tip of your paring knife near the base of the pepper and drag it all the way to the tip.
- Turn the pepper slightly and do the same thing. Keep turning and cutting about 6 more times to make 6 thin "petals" for your pepper flower.
- Make two more pepper flowers using the same instructions.
- Put all the carved peppers into a bowl of cool water. Allow them to soak in there for about half an hour. This process will bring your pepper flowers into their "blooming" state.
How to Carve Cucumbers
- Peel a cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. You will need only one half, so keep the other one in a refrigerator for other dishes.
- Press a leaf-shaped cookie cutter on one end of the cucumber.
- Once you get a leaf-shaped cucumber out of the cutter, use a paring knife to make a few little notches around the edges.
- Repeat the instructions to make one more leaf.
How to Carve Tomatoes
- Insert the tip of your knife into the middle of a tomato and make a small diagonal cut of about 1/8 inch long. Be careful not to pierce it all the way through the other side.
- Make another diagonal cut next to the first one but in the opposite angle. Keep doing this zigzag pattern all the way around the tomato. This will divide it into two halves.
- Gently pull the top and bottom of the tomato apart from each other with your hands. You will get two lovely "flower buds."
- Repeat the instructions on the other tomato.
How to Assemble Your Salad
- Cover the bottom of your ice cream cup or cocktail glass with baby spinach.
- Arrange the mini peppers, cucumber slices and tomato halves in a way that resembles a little floral centerpiece. There is no strict rule. Just follow your whim and creativity.
- Top with your choice of salad dressing and enjoy!
- This salad decoration idea is perfect for a cocktail party where the guests tend to enjoy wandering around, drinking, socializing and tasting small portions of food every now and then. Don't you agree it is much more convenient to walk around with a cup in your hands instead of a plate?
- With this beautiful salad decoration, you won't really need to spruce up your buffet table with flowers or anything else. These cute cups of carved vegetables will do double duty.
- Many children will love this. The idea of eating a plate of green leaves usually makes them crinkle their nose. A cup of edible art, however, could strike their curiosity quite a bit.
- For those of you who want to have a valentine's dinner at home, this salad decoration can add a romantic touch to your meal. Make two cups of this colorful salad, then pair them with a simple but elegant main course, such as filet mignon or roast duck. Decorate your dining table with a few candles. And that's it. Enjoy your romantic dinner!
Want More Ideas?
Still want more fun and challenges? Here are some really intriguing salad decoration ideas I have found on YouTube.