This year we kicked off the Valentine’s Day celebrations a little early, and got together to celebrate one of all of our greatest loves – food! That said, I am single, party-of-one over here (well plus my dog, of course), so our For the Love of Food event was skewed towards Galentine’s Day. If you missed it, we missed you! Here are some tips for easy hors d’oeuvres and plating for a crowd. For recipes, head over to @tablesalt__ on Instagram!
Let’s start on the lighter side. Crudités are popping up in more and more restaurants these days, and I love them for their vibrant colors and the way they balance out my cheese consumption (necessary). Some of my go-to’s are heirloom carrots – purple, yellow and orange – Persian cucumbers and baby bell peppers, but the sky is the limit here. Cauliflower comes in all different colors; cherry tomatoes are always a hit. You do you! I paired mine with a dip made of nonfat Greek yogurt, avocado and mint. Light and refreshing.
Ok, now onto the cheese. Crostini, small pieces of toasted bread (preferably with olive oil and salt), is a perfect snacking vessel. The topping choices are endless – brie and honey, prosciutto and tomato. I could go on and on, but goat cheese and pesto is a winning combination of mine (pictured below). This dish also features one of my favorite garnishes – micro greens. Have you ever made an ugly dessert? Perhaps a very unfortunate looking pie? A sad fruit tart? Did powdered sugar save the day?! It’s like concealer for pastries. Well, micro greens are the savory version of powdered sugar. You’re welcome. I digress… I love them for their flavor, but they’re also tiny, so they look neater than torn or chopped full size herbs. They brighten up any dish – both visually and flavorfully!
Now let’s talk plating. Presentation is everything. You eat with your eyes first! Use natural elements to add texture to any platter. Petite succulents are a favorite of mine, though air plants would work similarly. Place them in the center of a circular serving vessel, or off to the side on a rectangular or oval platter, as seen with the Goat Cheese & Pesto Crostini.
Another option - Try adhering a small piece of greenery to a plate. Banana leaves and palm fronds work nicely. Cut them down to size, use a little double-stick tape, and you’ve created a beautiful canvas on an otherwise plain platter. Just be sure to wash them first! Here, I went with a monstera leaf under one of my all-time favorite hors d’oeuvres – Sausage Canapés. Sausage, spinach, tomato, and cheese, nestled and warmed in the cutest little filo dough shell – another great vessel with many filling possibilities (savory and sweet!)
I hope you’re feeling inspired and a little hungry! To me, food is love. It’s how you celebrate, how you nurture, how you show affection. At its simplest level, food is a reason to come together with people you love, and what’s better than that?!
Lindsay Glenn is the founder and creator of Table Salt, a visual blog for all things style, eating & entertaining. Find her on Instagram @tablesalt__.