Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Making Leaf Garnishes

garnishes (cutting ti leaves using kitchen sheers)
garnishes (red and green ti leaves)
garnish (green ti leaf)
My friends and I started playing with food as far back as I can remember.  We were probably 4 or 5 years old, creating non-edible food using grass, flowers and leaves.  We had few store bought toys so we had to be a bit creative.  I guess what they say is true, some people just don't grow up.  Even to this day when I have an opportunity I still play with food!  Perhaps I have nothing better to do with my spare time!

I have created a few simple garnishes using leaves.  Let your imagination go wild and soon you will be creating something extraordinary out of nothing.  So, get out your sharpest scissors and knife!! The banana leaf and ti leaf garnishes were inspired by the plastic garnishes that I saw being used in some restaurants.  I often wonder the reason behind using plastic garnishes when there are plenty of interesting and "greener" ways to help present the food. 

Materials:

1-2 ti leaves (red and green)
1 banana leaf
A pair of sharp scissors or knife
Wet paper towels

Directions:

1) Clean the ti and banana leaves with a wet paper towel.
2) Cut the leaf out away from the center stem.
3) Fold the leaf in half and cut to the size you prefer.
4) Use a knife or scissors and cut out the "negative" design on the leaf.
5) Once your design is cut you can use them right away or store them in a book to dry.

an example of using a banana leaf garnish
red ti
green ti
banana leaves shredded by the wind
new banana leaf
fold the leaf in half and cut out the size you prefer
my cut piece is a rectangle (but you can use any shape)
cut out the pieces away from the center fold
keep cutting away to make your design
these are the "negative" cut out shapes
when you unfold your design that is the "positive" shape
your very own banana leaf design,
simple and quick to make!
*When my maternal grandfather was alive he always had a huge banana grove in the back of his house.  As a teenager, my mother used to cut the banana leaves and sold them to her neighbors who needed them to wrap food to sell.  Now she lives in the United States, she is forced to buy the frozen banana leaves that have traveled from thousands of miles away to wrap her food.  I wish I could take a stack of leaves back to her from Maui.
*You can use a knife to cut out the design but I find that you can do the job well with a pair of scissors. You can practice by drawing a design on paper first and then cutting it out.  However, I prefer the free form style.  I made most of my designs based on a square or rectangle.  You can use a circle, oval, star, triangle, diamond or another shape.  The design is up to your imagination.

2 comments:

  1. Hey can I get to know the names of different types of leafs used in to garnish dinner table and other food items ?

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  2. Hi Sumit,
    Thank you for your comment. I normally prefer to use ti, banana or bamboo leaves for making such garnishes. I hope this help answer your questions.

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