Playing with Food – Carving a Tomato Rose

Tomato rose 7
Have your parents ever told you to stop playing with your food? Well, there are some professional chefs that are called Chefs du Garde Manger, who are famous and much sought after because they play with food. They are masters of sculpting ice, carving fruits and vegetables, or creating elaborate buffets.

Margaret_BangkokThe way we present food greatly enhances the appetites of our diners, and the overall experience of the meal. Even a small garnish makes a huge difference. My fascination with fruit and vegetable carving began when I first visited Thailand. It seemed like every fruit on the platter was carved. It was an insatiable feast for my eyes. I enrolled in a short course in Bangkok that taught me the basics. When I wrote my first cookbook, some of my pictures included what I had learned – an onion lotus, carrot knots, radish tulips, a watermelon basket and an onion chrysanthemum.

Today I will share with you how to make a tomato rose. There are specialized tools for vegetable and fruit carving but all you will need to make the tomato rose is a small sharp knife. I added a short video at the end of this post that might also be helpful.

Tomato Rose

You will need a sharp knife and a tomato that is ripe but firm.

Starting at the stem end of the tomato, peel a half-inch wide, thin strip of the skin all the way around the tomato, finishing at the base end. The strip must be peeled thinly so it will roll evenly.

Next place the tomato strip skin-side down, on a cutting board. It will form an elongated “S.”  Start rolling up the tomato skin to form a coil. When almost all the skin has been rolled, sit the tomato rose on its stem end.

If your rose looks odd, you’ve probably turned it upside down while rolling the peel onto the stem end. I’ve done it many times. Just turn it over.

You can use the tomato rose to garnish your dishes or it can be used for a place setting, with a personal touch, like the picture above.

Video on how to make a tomato rose

Croissant with Poached Egg

Egg 4For the past several years, my friends and I plan a family brunch during the Christmas holidays. Our children have grown up with this tradition, and they look forward to the occasion with anticipation.

Croissants with poached eggs, avocados, tomatoes, sprouts, and hollandaise sauce is Carla’s favorite item on the menu! While we were planning the menu this past year she whispered, “Aunty Maggie, are you making that croissant and egg thingy?” I loved the compliment because Carla is an accomplished baker, cook, and entrepreneur. Here is a link to Carla’s website.

Poaching eggs, to some, may sound daunting, but it’s easy. I’ve created a video to show you how. I am a novice at online videos, so please be patient as I learn.

This recipe looks long because it has three components. Poaching the eggs, making the hollandaise sauce and assembling the croissant sandwich. Trust me, it’s worth every bite. I’m sure at least one person would readily agree!

Croissant with Poached Egg
4 croissants
2 avocados, sliced
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 oz box of Alfalfa sprouts
4 poached eggs (see video)
Hollandaise sauce (see recipe below)

Slice each croissant in half, place them cut side down on a baking tray and toast them in an oven set at 350 degrees for five minutes.

Poach eggs (see video on how to poach eggs), and make the hollandaise sauce (see recipe below).

On the bottom half of each croissant put alfalfa sprouts, avocado slices, tomatoes, a poached egg, a tablespoon of hollandaise sauce and then the top half of the croissant.

To make the Hollandaise sauce
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 stick of butter, cut into half-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon chilli powder (or cayenne)
½ teaspoon salt

In a saucepan add the yolks, water, lemon juice, and butter. Turn heat on low and keep whisking constantly. You will see bubbles forming along the edge of the pan and in about eight minutes the sauce will start to thicken. Remove from the heat. Season the sauce with chilli powder and salt.

Video on How to poach eggs