Food Art: Layering Food for Visual and Epicurean Effect.

Art of Making Food Attractive

Mango-Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait
Mango-Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait


Are you tired of making food the same old way? Stir-fry, bake, broil, microwave—don’t they all amount to a piece of meat, a side of vegetables and for the health conscious, a helping of whole-grain carbohydrates? Cooking by the books (or by rote or out of compulsion) can get old and boring and you may find yourself in a food rut. What if you can play with food, make it come out like a piece of art work? What if you can throw caution to the wind—ditch the measuring aids, go easy on specific instructions and just go with the flow? My kind of food art allows you to do just that. A la Nage, Al dente, batter, beat, blanch, blend, carmalize, clarify, dredge, dust (and that’s just the skimming off the first few alphabetical food terms)--my layering food art has none of the technicalities. It is simple stacking of foods, a juxtaposition of choice ingredients to please both the eyes and the appetite. It requires no cooking talents (if there’s such a thing). However, a sense of adventure is highly recommended for a totally satisfying experience.

And just like what your elementary art teacher told you, “There is no such thing as an ugly piece of art,” this form of food art has the same approach. It may not look like the delectable platter served in Mesa Grill, but the experience may be so enriching that it outweighs any monetary tag.

In this hub, I’ll show you how to use layering to make a casserole, a salad and a dessert to complete the meal. Maybe eclectic but it has all the food groups—carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins and minerals. Think international—Asian, Greek (or whatever) and French. And because you get to construct the food, they may taste more delicious than ever. Try them.

Food Fact About Tryptophan

Tryptophan, the amino acid found in turkey, is often blamed for inducing sleepiness after the Thanksgiivng turkey meal. According to health experts, not guilty! Although tryptophan does elevate mood, due to the fact that the body uses tryptophan to make niacin and serotonin (known for inducing healthy sleep and mood), it is the rather huge meal that works collectively to induce the lull.

Besides its ability to enhance mood, Tryptophan is also necessary for normal growth in infants and nitrogen balance in adults, according to Medline Plus. Other foods rich in tryptophan includes cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, seeds (particularly sesame and pumpkin), soy and tofu.

Turkey-tofu casserole

Lay down the first layer: ground turkey.
Lay down the first layer: ground turkey.
Add cubes of tofu and sprinkle chopped green onion and cilantro on top.
Add cubes of tofu and sprinkle chopped green onion and cilantro on top.
Pour in egg mixture.
Pour in egg mixture.

Turkey-Tofu Casserole

My mom used to make this low-fat meat dish with all the ingredients mixed together and then steamed to perfection. I use her basic recipe but made a few modifications. First of all, I ditched the ground pork for ground turkey (less fat and high in tryptophan).Instead of steaming, I bake it. It takes less effort to bake since I don’t have to wash the steamer. I then stratified the dish into layers to give it a visual effect.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pack (10 oz) of ground turkey
  • 1/2  a slab of soft tofu, cubed
  • A small fistful of oats
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  •   3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • A quarter of a large onion, finely chopped

  • 5 eggs, mixed with 1 cup of water, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of sugar and half a teaspoon of soy sauce. Mix well.

Seasonings:

  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Directions :

  • Put ground turkey, oats, chopped onion and half of the chopped green onion in a big bowl. Add seasonings and cornstarch and mix well.
  • Spray the bottom and sides of a 11” by 8” casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  • Spread seasoned ground turkey on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle cubed tofu, followed by chopped green onion and cilantro.
  • Pour in egg mixture. The garnishing will float to the top.
  • Bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Cut into slabs and enjoy your main entrée. Warning: The entrée may look like dessert, so go easy on serving portion.

All done!
All done!
Look like dessert? Look again--slabs of scrumptious protein power.
Look like dessert? Look again--slabs of scrumptious protein power.

Food Fact About Olive Oil

Ever wonder why olive oil is considered healthy? According to Mayo clinic, the kind of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, for short. MUFAs may lower your risk for cardiovascular diseases by lowering total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol. Some research also shows that MUFAs may also regulate blood sugar level. That's great news for people with type 2 diabetes.

But that's not all. Combining fresh vegetables with olive oil can help your body absorb nutrients more easily, according to dietitian, Wendy Bazilian, also the author of "The Superfoods Rx Diet." Maybe, that's why ancient wisdom has given us the tradition of eating greens with a dash of olive oil or other healthy oils such as grapeseed, canola and sesame.

When you're done with layering, drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
When you're done with layering, drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Cucumber-Tomato Stack Salad

This easy-to-assemble salad (you may feel like a construction worker) takes less than 15 minutes to put together. If you love to play Jenga, you may be happy to know that’s the main skill needed in this salad making. Although this salad has Greek trappings, it defies any categorization—after all—it’s the result of playing with what I have in the refrigerator. So, don’t be alarmed by the choice of cheese. I use Gouda instead of the traditional Feta cheese typically used in a Greek salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, cut into circles
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into rings
  • Half an onion, cut into rings

Seasonings:

  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Half a cup of sliced Gouda cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Spread circles of cucumber on a large plate. This is the foundation.

Add one layer of tomatoes on top of the layer of cucumber.

To that, add a layer of onion.

Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper over the layers and repeat this every three layers.

Repeat order of layering until all the building materials are gone. 

Top with Gouda cheese, dried oregano , some garlic salt and pepper.

Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar over.

Your pyramid of vegetables is ready to serve.

Closeup and still looking good. Check out the layers.
Closeup and still looking good. Check out the layers.

Food Fact About Anthocyanins

The pigments found in brightly colored fruits (and vegetables) are due to a group of powerful antioxidants, identified as anthoyanins. The brighter the better--think hues and health--orange, blue, red, green, purple and all the stunning colors in between--they play a crucial part in helping you stay in good health. According to the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, anthocyanins have historically been used to treat liver disfunction, hypertension and bilberry anthoyanins (blueberries as well) were also used traditionally to help vision disorders, microbial infections, diarrhea and other heatlh disorders.

According to Natural News, anthocyanins helps to fight cancer by stalling the growth of pre-malignant cells (and conversely, accelerate cancer cell death), and reduce inflammation. Blueberries are believed to be the richest source of anthocyanins.

Mango-Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait

The French word “Parfait” means perfect. And there is no more perfect way to end a meal than a light dessert. You can use any fruits (fresh or frozen) and add some healthy scoops of toasted oats or your favorite granola to maximize health benefits. Oats are good cholesterol fighters and heart friendly. You can make it fancy or build it matter-of-factly—one layer on top the other, no need for inspiration, other than the one to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Cubes of mango
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • Slices of strawberries
  • Toasted oats/granola

Directions:

Use a clear glass or parfait or wine glass.

Spread one layer of yogurt, smooth surface.

Add a layer of fruits (mango,blueberries, strawberries) and smooth it out.

Add toasted oats or granola and even it out.

Repeat process until you fill up the cup.

Enjoy!

Mango-Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait

Glass of antioxidants in all its colorful display?
Glass of antioxidants in all its colorful display?

More Creative Ways to Present Food.

Latte Art, Anyone?

Vegetable Art

More by this Author


Comments 36 comments

gis_r07 profile image

gis_r07 5 years ago from Boston, MA

Food art accomplishment! The desserts on this page look really delicious.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Yum, Yumm, and Yummy. Definitely bookmarked. Beautiful hub and great recipes. Thanks for sharing your wonderful info. Rated up, beautiful, awesome, and useful. The pictures were absolutely great!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

I love to get artsy with my food, appearance is everything Thanks for the great tips on food art. :) Katie


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, gis r07, for commenting.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

toknowinfo, thanks for your kind comments. Appreciate the rating up and have a great day.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Katie, I agree, nicely presented food looks more appealing. Thanks for taking time off to comment.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

YES! I totally agree artistic layering can make food look much more appetizing. I like making fruit and yogurt parfaits when I host a party. They look really fancy and yet they're so easy to make. Rated this awesome! :)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Om, for dropping by. So, when can I come over to enjoy your yogurt parfaits?


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

Anytime! =D


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thanks so much. It's hard for me to be inspired for cooking unless I can do something artsy with it!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Om. I'm going to remember that.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Rtalloni, you must be very good at this then. Good to see u here and have a great Easter.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

It is a true art to make food look good on the plate. Thanks for the great tips. Everything looks so delicious. Rated up and beautiful and awesome and useful. Bookmarked too.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, toknowinfo, you're the best always!


Shelly McRae profile image

Shelly McRae 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great article- unusual approach to the topic of cooking. The recipes sound delicious.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Shelly McRae.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Amazing photographs and the recipes look wonderful. I think that food presentation has so much to do with our enjoyment of a meal. If we like the entire experience, we tend to eat less and enjoy it more. Thumbs up - beautiful!

p.s will have to try the cucumber-tomato stack salad. WOW!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, stephhicks, you'll like the cucumber-tomato stack salad. Have a great day.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting. Even if a person is not hungry, they would be hungry after seeing it. :)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Lady E, thanks for dropping by. Tme to break for food:)


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

Very interesting hub. Recipes look wonderful and as usual pictures are awesome.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Katrinasui.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love art and I love beautiful visualization in food. They all awesome. You have done a great job here. Thanks for writing and share with us. RATED UP. Cheers...

Prasetio:)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Prasetio, yes, I know you're very creative person and appreciate this form of food creation. Thanks for dropping by with your comments.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

These are artistic creation of food !! Not only they will satify the tummy, but also pleasing to the eyes. Your family is blessed indeed to have you. :)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Ingenira, your comments make my day. I think my family should hear this:)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

Wow! I was just thinking of writing something like this for my next hub - about edible art. I was in the process of gathering my photos but decided to visit HP first.

I'm so happy that you have written about it. That will make it easier for me to link later!

Voted up and beautiful!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Jill, welcome back. Glad your daughter's wedding was a success. I can't wait for you to write the hub--I know it's going to be fabulous. Looking forward to the link too. Always a pleasure to see and have a great day.


Ebower profile image

Ebower 5 years ago from Georgia

Wow! That looks delcious, especially the cucumber tomato stack salad. I might have to try that on my family soon.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Ebower, that cucumber tomato salad is one of my favorites. Thanks for commenting.


megni profile image

megni 4 years ago

A great work of art. I too dabble in food art! Thanks for sharing.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, megni, for commenting. Enjoy dabbling--food art is fun.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Excellent ideas -- never thought to layer food like this, which definitely adds interest. Voting this Up and Useful.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, alocsin for your comments. Layering foods make it more interesting and appealing.


joyfulmommy profile image

joyfulmommy 4 years ago

Interesting hub! Voted up. Thanks for sharing.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, joyfulmommy.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu981 Followers
    168 Articles

    How-tos come easily when you're an expert at doing it. I'm quite an expert at cooking, floral art, personal beauty and health.



    Click to Rate This Article
    working