HORS D'OEUVRE BITES AND/OR PLATE DECORATIONS







Decorate the center of a hors d'oeuvre plater with these roses, baskets and daisies.

Cucumber 'basket':

Cut a 1/2-inch [1.3 cm] length of cucumber; halfway, cut two slits, approximately 1/4-inch [1 cm] apart and halfway down - remove pieces on each side.

- Remove seeds with a spoon, digging a little more than needed.

- With a knife, empty underneath 'basket handle'.

- Fill the basket with radish 'roses', olives, carrot sticks - arrange in the center of sandwiches or cold cuts.



Parsnip, carrot 'daisies':

For each 'daisy', you will need thin center slices of a parsnip, sliced from side to side.

Using round cutters, cut 2 different size circles [1 slightly smaller than the other]; with the tip of a very sharp knife, 'draw' 12 lines [all around from the side up to 1/2 inch [1.3 cm] from the center, at equal distance].

Cut all circles to get a tip between each section.

Arrange smaller circles over larger ones, just like two rows of petals, tips of the smaller circles between the tips of the larger ones.

Arrange a wooden pick in the center of each 'daisy', letting the small end of each wooden pick exceed a little on top of the smaller circles; top each 'daisy' with a tiny slice of carrot.

Radish 'rose':

Cut pointed end of a large radish; cut slits [4 around x 2, one under the other] around the radish, cutting towards the 'already cut' leaves.

Thinly slice two [2] radishes, one small and one medium; insert these slices between the cuts of the large radish, larger ones on the lower part and smaller ones towrds the top part.

Dip in ice cold water for approximately 30 minutes.

Arrange in a bouquet, theses 'roses' are very attractive and edible.



The next eight [8] easy to do 'decorations' are excellent appetizers as well as beautiful 'decorations' on plates [threaded on small wooden skewers or, mostly, on wooden picks].

Apple, cucumber slices and pickled onions: thread crunchy, unpealed red apple slices alternately with pickled onions and half cucumber slices [very attractive with a plain green salad].

Carrrot and grapes: thread a very thin, long slice of carrot sprinkled with lemon juice, alternately with green grapes [excellent with barbecued salmon steak].

Celery, black olives and cheese balls: for each wooden pick, thread 1 black olive, 1 very small piece celery stick, 1 very small ball cream cheese, 1 very small piece celery stick and 1 black olive [excellent appetizer].

Cucumber and grapes: thread cucumber slices, already soaked in a mixture of vinegar and sugar, alternately with green grapes [excellent on a cheese platter].

Green olives, anchovy and watercress: thread anchovy fillets alternately with green olives and watercress [excellent with a drink].

Ham or bacon and mushrooms: spread ham strips or bacon slices with a little mustard; thread ham or bacon strip alternately with canned whole mushrooms [excellent with brochettes].

Pineapple cubes and Maraschino cherries: thread pineapple cubes alternately with Maraschino cherries soaked in Kirsch [excellent with a long drink with ice cubes].

Stuffed olives and pickled tiny shrimps: alternately thread 1 stuffed olive, 2 tiny pickled shrimps, 1 stuffed olive, 2 tiny pickled shrimps and 1 stuffed olive [excellent with a shrimp salad].

Decorate a platter or plates with lotus flowers, celery rings and curled onions.

Celery twists: Cut 3 to 4-inch [7 to 8 cm] long celery stalk pieces and cut slits at each end, leaving 1/4 inch [6 mm] in the center uncut; peel and slice a carrot before removing the centers in order to get rings; delicately slip a piece of celery into the ring, until the 'ring' in well centered. Soak into cold icy water for approximately 30 minutes, long enough for celery to curl.

Curled green onions: To curl green onions, cut the stem and then cut most of the green part, almost to where it separates; using a very sharp knife, cut the green part into many strips, from the top towards the white part, to get long, thin strips. Soak the onion into cold icy water for at least 30 minutes, long enough to curl the strips.

Lotus flowers: cut a tomato, upside down, into four equal parts, down to 1/4 inch [6 mm] from its base; cut once more in order to get 8 'petals'. Repeat steps with a smaller tomato. With a spoon, remove the pulp and the seeds from the centerof the tomatoes; delicately open 'petals. Arrange smaller tomato into the larger one, thus getting a flower [a pickled onion is nice in the center].

Hard-Cooked egg Characters:

Hints for egg crafting:

1 - Place eggs, already at room temperature, in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover; slowly bring to a boil. Once water boils, turn off the heat. Let eggs stand in water for 20 minutes. Remover eggs and plunge them into cold water. Crack the shells on a hard surface and roll gently so the shell is cracked all around. Peel immediately.

2 - First cut off a slice on the side or end where the little creatures will be set down; plae each on a small plate.

3 - Before inserting bits of vegetable into the hard-cooked eggs, always remove a small portion of the egg with a wooden pick to make space for eyes, ears, noses, and so on; this will prevent the egg from cracking and breaking.

4 - Assemble all tools and ingredients needed - carrots, black and green olives, wooden picks, cutters...beforehand.

5 - Leftover vegetable pieces may be saved or salads, soups, stews and the like.

6 - Keep shelled, hard-cooked eggs in a container of cold water until ready to use; this permits them to mainsain their shape.

7 - Where small 1/4-inch [6 mm] round holes and pieces of vegetable are needed - as in lady bug spots, use a metal pastry tube, a small sharp knife or a pencil, eraser removed.

Egg Characters [use whole eggs unless half eggs are asked for]:

Bird:

Radish-root beak; red-pepper wings; feathers and tail.

Duck:

Egg cut in half lengthwise [2 ducks]; black olive head secured with a wooden pick; carrot beak and tail feathers.

Elephant:

Ears from thin piece of carrot; black olive eyes; green pepper trunk and 2 carrot slivers for tusks.

Ladybug:

Egg cut in half lengthwise [2 ladybugs]; black olive halves for head; 1/4 inch [6 mm] radish circles for spots; slender stems of green onion for feelers, inserted into olive half.

Owl:

Pimiento-stuffed sliced olive eyes; carrot beak; green pepper legs.

Penguin:

Black olive head, wings and 'buttons' in the center front; carrot feet and beak.

Pig:

Carrot nose; radish eyes; cucumber ears and green onion tail.

Rabbit:

Carrot ears; radish eyes and tail.

Spider:

1/4-inch [6 mm] round black olive for eyes; half-moon shaped slice black olive for mouth; red pepper strips for legs.

Turtle:

Egg cut in half lengthwise [2 turtles]; green pepper head attached with a wooden pick; green pepper feet, markings on back and tail.

Walrus:

Carrot eyes with black olive centers; green onion whiskers anchored with wooden pick through half a black olive; insert carrot-sliver tusks into black olive.

Whale:

Green onion for waterspouts; carrot tail; redish eyes and egg sliver for smile.

Arrange all or some of these characters on a mirror [water] and add some decorations all around

['sand', mushroom heads as tiny round stones, greens, flowers / see hors d'oeuvre decorations,...]