Here is a perfect example of why I started a blog and called it "Inspired Living." It's this pickle plate.
I've been working on creating a dinner menu at work and really wanted to have a pickle plate. Whenever I'm out I usually order one if it's on the menu. Plus, I love making pickles and wanted an excuse to buy these cute little cedar boards for serving. Inspired moment #1. The presentation.
Then I made the pickles. I didn't think about it toooooo much. The fun of a pickle plate, after all, is to be playful and resourceful. I once made really yummy curried cauliflower, so that was my first pick. (no pun intended.) Last Fall I experimented with Juniper berries and settled on Jicima as a good pairing. The last was a carrot/ginger/scallion slaw. Hey, it's great raw, so why not pickled? Mostly, I just wanted to cut 1,000 match-stick sized carrots and ginger. (NO, really. I did.) I work in odd numbers as a rule in design/presentation, so three pickles it was. Inspired moment #2. A pretty trio of things.
At some point mid-week, I flipped through a cook book and mulled over a gorgeous photo of a hard cooked egg. Rustically sprinkled with salt and spices, it enticed me to add it to my pickle plate. I taste tested my own spice blend with my co-worker and friend Sarah... figuring it out just an hour before service! The blend of paprika, smoked salt, coarse black pepper, coriander and celery seed is not only tasty, but pretty to look at. Inspired moment #3. Inventing your own thing and having it work out.
Here is the thing... dinner service is new to us, so the general energy of night time, plus the excitement of plating new dishes for the first time is probably Inspired moment #4. But then, in the hustle and bustle of the first wave customers, I plated my first two pickle plates and noticed what a beautiful thing had happened. Not only did my spiced egg and pickles match in color perfectly... the pickles, in a way, became this deconstructed color story of the egg. So white jicima is the egg white, juniper like giant peppercorns. The orange carrot reflects the paprika, the scallion the slight green of the celery seed. Finally, the bright curry color of the cauliflower matches the yolk. I stopped to observe this phenomenon, appreciate and document it. I couldn't have planned it, which makes me believe some things are meant to be. Even if it just stands as a reminder of the little things... that become big things... to keep us fueled for the journey...