Great Bar Food at Home

by Kate Heyhoe


 

Outtakes from Kate Heyhoe's new book

Glamorous Garnishes
for Great Bar Food at Home

Even if you're not a chef, you can make your bar bites look like they came from one—almost effortlessly. Whether you're serving a few guests or just yourself, eye appeal is the magic ingredient that makes all food taste better. When making the recipes from Kate Heyhoe's Great Bar Food at Home, or your own classy little bar bites, consider these tips.

Orange Peel Garnish

Start with the Vessels

Use your barware for food as well as drink. Stick a handful of grissini in a highball glass, or long pretzels in a beer mug. Serve olives in a tall martini glass, with cocktail picks in skinny shot glasses. Rim an old-fashioned with a ring of shrimp. Pour nuts, wine buttons, or bite-size cheese biscuits into a wide mouth tumbler.

Dusting

Take the famous Emeril Lagasse approach: Pitch a hefty pinch of spice right over the food. (Hollering "Bam!" is optional). Simple but effective. Use your fingers or sprinkle the garnish on through a shaker or a sieve. This works well with pepper, paprika, grated parmesan, and for sweets, confectioner's sugar and cinnamon. Don't just dust the food, dust the whole plate (lightly).

Chives

I keep a small pot of chives growing just for instant garnishes. Snip two long chives and balance them decoratively on the food or edge of the plate, crossing them near the stems if you like. (Fancy restaurants get to charge more just because of the crossing-chive garnish, or so it seems.) Cutting chives into thin rings, like teensy confetti, works well too.

Toasted Nuts

You can keep this garnish on hand (in fridge or freezer), and unlike the chives, it doesn't require watering. If the nuts are small, like pine nuts, leave them whole. Chop toasted pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts into pieces, before sprinkling them on. (Or go lavish, and garnish with the Ghee-Toasted Almonds in Great Bar Food at Home.)

Black Sesame Seeds

Another darling of hip restaurants, black sesame seeds add an elegant, exotic touch. You can also mix black and white sesame seeds together, or go for all white sesame.

Green Onions

Take a tip from Asian cooks and slice green onions on the diagonal, in 1/2- to 1-inch lengths, then toss over the dish as a colorful contrast and flavor punch.

Herb Sprigs

Dress the plate with a couple of tender, fresh herb sprigs like thyme, dill, rosemary, parsley, and such. Or chop them and sprinkle over the food and plate.

Baby Greens and Sprouts

Arrange a handful of mesclun or other baby greens on the plate, and voila! Sprouts and micro-sprouts also work well as garnishes on top, or accents on the side. Microgreens are pricy but all the rage (grow your own, if you like).

Capers and Caperberries

A few capers on the plate add visual interest, and the large caperberry, with stem attached, makes a bold statement, as in the Martini-Butter Steak with Cocktail Onions and Caperberries recipe in Great Bar Food at Home.

Citrus zest

You can peel the zest (just the colored part, not the bitter white pith) using a vegetable peeler, then slice into thin strips with a knife. Or, use a zesting tool to instantly peel the zest into superfine strips. Finely grating the zest with a grater is another good option.

Furikake

Head to a Japanese market if your local gourmet store doesn't carry furikake. It's a blend of sesame seeds, nori, and seasonings with great flavor and texture, and comes in a shaker jar. (Kyoto Chips in Great Bar Food at Home tosses hot potato chips with furikake.)

Drizzles and splashes

You can get fancy with squeeze bottles, but a regular teaspoon works fine for drizzling a sauce as a garnish. What to drizzle? Colorful flavored oils (like basil or red pepper oil), dark balsamic vinegar or soy sauce, a broken salad dressing, a thinned down mayonnaise, or pureed raspberries or mango. Like a Jackson Pollock, it's the randomness that makes the effect interesting.

Eye appeal is important, but you shouldn't need to spend more than a few seconds for a stylish presentation. You could carve a radish or twist a tomato peel into a rose. But these quicker, simpler tricks can put their own "come hither" look into the little dishes you set out. Just remember that garnishes must be edible, and they should taste good with the other flavors on the plate.

Cheers!
Kate Heyhoe, author
Great Bar Food at Home

 

[This outtake was originally written for Great Bar Food at Home, but was cut out due to limited page count. To read more, buy Great Bar Food at Home, by Kate Heyhoe]

 
 
  • Great Bar Food at Home
  • by Kate Heyhoe
  • John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • $17.95, 128 pages
  • ISBN-10: # 0471781835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471781837
  • Information provided by the publisher.

Buy the Book

 
 

 
 

This page created September 2007


 

Great Bar Food

Buy the Book

Book Reviews

Kate Heyhoe

 

Gougere
Gougère, page 22

 

GBF Gift
and Party Ideas

Ideal travel
and gift size:

  • Carry it on-board, or mail—about 8-inches square

Craft a gift basket:

  • Add martini glasses and olives, or wine and cheese

Give to your hosts:

  • With or without wine, for dinners, parties & holidays

For a first date
at home:

  • Mix the drinks and dine in

Cheers to Newlyweds:

  • Ease into married life, enjoy bar food in your new home

Dress for cocktails:

  • Throw a bash with easy bites

Oscar Parties:

  • Eat like movie stars with caviar, crab cakes, and more

Deviled Eggs
Cocktail Onion'd
Deviled Eggs, page 30


 

The Book

Why I Wrote This Book
About the Book
Table of Contents
Index

 

Sample Recipes

Santa Fe-Caesar Crema

Santa Fe-Caesar Crema

Eggplant Pizzettes

'21' Crab Cakes

Cucumber Ginger Salad

 

Features

  • Nearly 50 recipes
  • 28 luscious photos
  • Hardcover, full color
  • Pairing guide: bar food & drink
  • Legendary tales & great bar lore
 

Outtakes
(Web Only)

Glamorous Garnishes
for Bar Food at Home

"Spiritual" Cooking
From Friars to Fruitcakes

Mignonette? Mais Oui!

 

Tasty Bytes

  • "A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika."
    —Dorothy Parker
  • Bemelmen's Bar has been called "a rumpus room for sophisticated adults."
  • Few bites appeal as much as melted cheese spooned into small tortillas...
  • Gastropubs Invade U.S.!
  • A bacaro swells at midday and early evening...
  • Food was never the attraction at Studio 54, for the cocaine-sniffing clientele...
  • Café Society didn't end with Repeal. It simply staggered into the daylight...
  • Lusty Spanish smoked paprika will change your life...

Salmon Sliders
Salmon Sliders, page 40