Crudites Plate

Crudites Plate
[1] and [2] How many uses can you find for deviled egg plates and similar platters? Photo of “Naked Vegetables” at Vicia Restaurant | St. Louis | Facebook, credited to @ctroesser for @sophisticatedlivingmag. The dips are broccoli hummus, chorizo purée, strained yogurt, homemade butter and nasturtium salt (green).

Shrimp Cocktail Bites

[3] Shrimp cocktail bites in Chinese soup spoons (here’s the recipe from Gooseberry Mooseberry). Some 20 years ago, a creative caterer noted that these spoons stand up on their own, and used them to serve cocktail bites.

 

If you like to entertain, or to entertain your family with fun food concepts, we have an idea for you:

Find ways to re-purpose special-use plates and serving dishes.

We were inspired by these photos from Vicia restaurant in St. Louis, which led us to repurpose our deviled egg plate to serve crudités, petit fours, and other bites TBD.

In our early years of cooking, we bought everything we could possibly need to be a proper hostess. We modeled our entertaining after the formal French presentations of the day.

Fast forward over the decades: How times have changed! Even our fancy dinners aren’t that fancy anymore. Some things we haven’t used in 10 or 20 years!

We knew we had a lot of tableware to repurpose or retire. So we undertook a hunt through our kitchen and storage pantry, and here’s what we found:

  • Artichoke plates
  • Asparagus plates
  • Cake stand
  • Chinese soup bowls and spoons
  • Covered servers (glass dome and silver dome tops)
  • Deviled egg platter
  • Egg cups (for boiled eggs)
  • Fondue sets (3 types of pots, plus sectioned fondue plates)
  • Lazy Susan with sectioned compartments
  • Molcajete for guacamole
  • Oyster plates
  • Platters (8, different shapes and sizes)
  • Pots de Creme
  • Ramekins (regularly repurposed for garnishes, olives, etc.)
  • Relish dishes
  • Sectioned serving dishes (2, 3 and 4 sections)
  • Sushi boards and round lacquered platters
  • Tortilla warmer
  • Two-tiered server (e.g. for raw seafood)
  • Tureens
  • Toast racks
  •  
    No wonder we can’t open a cupboard or closet without a small landslide (we call it the “suicide leap”—packed-in items will do anything to get out of that cabinet).

    Here’s our first resolution for the new year: Repurpose it or give it away.

    So far we’ve repurposed:

  • Artichoke plates: for baked apples and garnishes (crème fraîche, nuts, raisins); for a deconstructed ice cream sundae (scoop in the middle, garnishes in the compartments).
  • Chinese soup spoons: for daily amuses bouche (see below).
  • Deviled egg plate: for crudités, DIY garnishes, petit fours, strawberries (with chocolate dip in the center), and upcoming, for colored Easter eggs.
  • Egg cups: as kiwi cups (and check out these great ideas from House Beautiful).
  • Fondue plates: as burrito plates, with garnish compartments (sour cream, salsa, chopped scallions).
  • Molcajete: as a tortilla chip server.
  • Tortilla warmer: as a pancake and waffle warmer.
  •  

    Asparagus plates, oyster plates and toast racks: your time is up. And sorry, molcajete: you too. You’re a picturesque way to serve tortilla chips, but not as useful as our score of serving bowls.
     
     
    TIP #2: AMUSE BOUCHE

    Amuse-bouche (pronounced ah-MEEZ boosh) is French for “amusing the mouth.” It’s an hors d’oeuvre-size portion plated in a tiny dish, sent as a gift from the chef after the order has been placed but before the food arrives.

    It’s just one bite; here’s more about them.

    For years, caterers have been using Chinese soup spoons to serve cocktail bites. The spoons have a level bottom that stands up on a plate or platter: a creative way to serve.

    We have lots of Chinese soup spoons (don’t ask!). Our “repurposing” task led us to a fusion idea: Use the spoons to serve a nightly amuse bouche at dinner.

    The real creative idea here is turning whatever you find in the fridge into an amuse bouche—a rustic one, nothing fancy.

    We repurpose leftovers or whatever we have in the fridge: a cube of cheese with herbs and spices, a piece of hard-boiled egg with curried mayo, a spoonful of leftover mac and cheese, a bite of chicken with fresh-cracked pepper.

    It’s just a bite…and it’s easy to re-season leftovers with dabs of different condiments, herbs and spices. And may we add: We’re also using a shelf full of condiments that take up space (chile sauce, chutney, honey mustard, pesto….)

    Get out those Chinese soup spoons and try it!

      


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