A cook should be thoughtful and seriously plan a meal. When planning a menu, I start with my main course and work backwards to my starters and then finish with the sweets. It helps me with my organization, table setting and decoration and, of course, my shopping list.
Also, know that you have control of your guest’s health for the time they’re around your table, so think of nutrition. The cook should plan a starter which supplies their guests with the nutrients that the principle dish might not give them.
For example, if you’re serving a roasted fish and potato main course, then the starter should be packed with veggies.
Starters are a bit like snacks before the real supper begins. They’re small samplings designed to stimulate the appetite and conversation as one relaxes into their chair. I like to start with a soup then move on to a chilled dish before serving supper. This gives us time to chat and have a drink or two.
It also preps us to really enjoy the main dish, because some of our hunger has been stymied. Starters don’t have to be carefully plated individual dishes like Chefs do in their restaurants. I love to make platters and pass them around the table. It’s a lovely way to break bread.
There’s a rhythm and a dance to any memorable feast. Give it a shot – it might really help you get started on your next triumphant dinner party.
- 2 blocks firm tofu drained and pressed between paper towels 10 minutes, sliced ¼ inch
- 2 tomatoes cored, halved, sliced ¼ inch
- 1/2 cup basil chiffonade
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 5 bulbs garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- While tofu is draining, combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, adjust with salt and pepper.
- Add basil to olive oil immediately after chiffonade to prevent browning.
- Gently add sliced tofu, careful not to break.
- Marinate overnight.
- Use to fill vegan quesadilla, or arrange artfully on plate for caprese with whole basil and dark balsamic.