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Walker’s recipe for crepes infused with edible flowers

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | May 18, 2017

(May 19, 2017) As we gear up for the summer season, time to be with one’s self becomes few and far between.

Extended working hours leaves little time for home cooking and fast food becomes a recurring reality.

I do not know if it is just me or if others have had the same experience, but when I unwrap the fast food I have purchased, it does not have any resemblance to the mouth-watering pictures proudly depicted on the drive-thru’s enticing menu.

No matter how you cut it, perfection of symmetry has not made it in my order “to go.” Somewhere assuredness of particular products has gotten lost and wishful thinking simmers to the state of truth.

Where’s the beef is alive and well. My beef patty does not extend beyond the bun as advertising suggest. What happened to the crisp lettuce, gorgeous juicy tomatoes and perfectly cut onions? This modification does not measure up and the lasting impression disappoints my visionary image of what my burger should be.

The kitchen is wrought with sensory experiences and is essential to how we perceive and interact with food. You eat with your eyes is the golden rule and should never be forgotten. A food stylist is a culinary professional whose job is to prepare food for photography, video, or film.

Making food photogenic can be quite a problematic task. Like the fashion images we see every day, food needs the expertise of a culinary artiste. Following are some of the tricks of the trade that keep consumers drooling and coming back for more.

Learning how to plate is crucial. The best photo in the world cannot make bad-looking food attractive. Plating is not just about how food looks on the plate, it involves the entire stage for the scene. At the same time, one needs to consider negative space.

Do not be afraid to leave empty spaces, indirectly it highlights the dish of the day. Just remember the food is the star and everything else is subordinate.

Lighting is essential and professional lighting produces amazing results with substantial costs. Natural light will always be your friend. Do not use on camera or pop up flash. They flatten the food photo and produce unappealing pictures.

Avoid shooting mid-day or in direct sunlight. This type of light can cause unbecoming and harsh results. If you have any dark ingredients, make sure they are on the side of the dish that will be getting the most light.

Treat your dish like a model and think of the angle at which the food looks best. Putty or wax is used to hold food in place for that special shot. Sometimes a composition is effective when the subject is in the center of the frame, other times it is more advantageous to place the food off-center.

Height, color and texture are extremely important and for this reason undercooked meat is the preferred choice. Well done meat loses moisture and mass when it is cooked completely.

Continuing the theme of height, stacks of pancakes are often supported with cardboard to help the structure of the individual pancakes from collapsing. Motor oil is sometimes used instead of syrup; the consistency of the oil is easier to photograph than syrup.

Has one ever wondered just how many types of cereal there are on the market? That being said, can you imagine the number of campaign ads promoting the different cereals?

White glue is sometimes substituted for milk in a bowl of cereal. The glue has a much thicker consistency than milk, and it prevents the cereal from becoming soggy. The glue can also be used to strategically place the individual pieces of cereal for a better presentation.

I was the original St. Pauli Girl and witnessed first hand the effects of a food stylist. The photo shoot took place in a warehouse in New York City. A huge replica of the beer bottle was built and I had to climb the stairs and hold the mugs of beer just like the girl on the label.

However, the head of the beer was getting lost in the shot. Out of desperation, the food stylist purchased shaving cream. They poured the beer in the mugs and topped it with shaving cream, I could not believe it, but it worked.

Chefs need to think of themselves as a food stylist in the sense of making their dishes a work of art. Crepes infused with edible flowers and filled with lemon custard and fresh raspberries are a stunning presentation and will bring out the food stylist in you.

The creamy, lemony, custard and fresh raspberries are a perfect pairing with the sweet crepes. Explore the boundaries of beautification and make every dish a stunning display of art. Enjoy!

Crepes Infused with Edible Flowers and Filled with Lemon Custard and Fresh Raspberries

Lemon Custard

2 cups sour cream

½ cup milk

1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 (3.4 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix

2 cups fresh raspberries

 

Crepes

¾ cup flour

¾ cup milk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon canola oil

pinch of ground cinnamon

pinch of ground nutmeg

pinch of allspice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

approximately 12 edible flowers (such as pansies) that have not been chemically treated

powdered sugar as a garnish

1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and pudding mix and whisk until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. In another small bowl, combine all crepe ingredients except for unsalted butter, flowers and powdered sugar, and mix well.

3. Trim the flowers removing as much of the stem as possible.

4. Heat a non-stick 6-inch pan to medium heat; then brush with butter. Pour scant 1/3 cup of batter (3 tablespoons) into the pan and tilt it in all directions so the batter covers the bottom. Cook 1 minute.

5. Working quickly, briefly remove the pan from the heat and place 2 flowers (depending on size), face side up, onto one end of the crepe, gently pressing as you arrange according to artistic taste. Carefully slide a spatula underneath the crepe, flip and cook for 30 seconds longer. Place on a plate to cool.

6. To assemble: place a crepe with flowers facing side down. Add lemon custard and raspberries to the other side of the crepe (without the flowers). Roll the crepe and the side with flowers should end up on top. Garnish with powdered sugar. You can also add some raspberries as a garnish (optional).

Yields 6 crepes

* If you do not have edible flowers growing in your garden, look for them at gourmet supermarkets or farmer’s markets. Amazon has an edible flower mix that contains 12 varieties (500 seeds) for $5.39.

Secret Ingredient - Positivity. “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” — Helen Keller

 

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