The Old Masters were inspired by the human form, religious icons, and particularly fetching bowls of fruit. Our greatest rockstars generally look to women as their muses (hello, hundreds of songs named after cool ladies). And here, we asked food stylist and recipe developer Olivia Mack Anderson to whip up some beauty and deliciousness inspired by our very own serving pieces.
We won’t toot our own horn and take all the credit for these dishes – Olivia is, after all, an accomplished culinary force, with le Cordon Bleu under her belt (not to mention, features in The Kitchn and GFF magazine). But we like to think that these particular recipes came to life with help from the not-so-secret ingredient of a great serving piece. After all, that’s what brings the most important element to each dish: the fact that it can shared and enjoyed. Each of these recipes are portioned for 6 people, so add the ingredients to your grocery list and start thinking about the lucky 5 friends you’ll invite over for a glowy, tasty summer evening of apps and cocktails.
Stunning white serveware is the ideal backdrop for colors to pop.
Beet and Horseradish Hummus
Perfect for: An Instagrammable touch – the candy-colored dip is one of Olivia’s favorite party tricks.
Perks: In addition to be adorable, it’s good for you as well – protein from the chickpeas and vitamin C from the beets make it a slam dunk.
- 2 small to medium beets, trimmed
- 1 (20 ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup tahini
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 large garlic cloves, minced
- Small bunch of dill, chopped
- Juice of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a little olive oil on the two beets and wrap them tightly in foil. Bake them in the oven for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork, then set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, slip the skins off with your hands, rinsing the beets under cool water to remove excess skin. Cut into large chunks.
Using a high powered blender or food processor, blend all of the ingredients together until you have a very smooth paste. If the hummus is too thick, add a little warm water until the mixture is smooth and thinned slightly. Taste for seasoning.
All the flavor of Mexican street corn in bite-sized portions.
Mexican Street Corn Toasts
Inspired by: Our Rectangular Platter
Perfect for: Recreating wanderlust-inspiring Mexican street corn, but in a living room-friendly environment (no need for crema and cojita dripping on your rug!)
Perks: Easy to hold and eat from one hand, so your other is free for a cocktail. Cheers!
- 6 slices of any good bread
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 ears of corn, husked
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema or mayonnaise
- Juice and zest of half a lime
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- A good handful of cilantro, chopped
- Small chunk of cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 jalapeño sliced very thin (optional)
Brush slices of bread and ears of corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place both on a hot grill. Grill bread 1 minute on each side, just until it starts to toast. Remove and lightly rub each slice with the garlic clove. Set aside. Grill the corn, turning often, until it is tender and charred in spots.
Once cool enough to handle, slice off all the kernels, leaving any large sections in tact. In a small bowl stir together crema, lime juice, lime zest, and the chili powder. Top each slice of bread with some crema. Next, add the grilled corn, a few pinches of cotija cheese, a few paper-thin slices of jalapeño if using, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro leaves.
Eating your greens never looked so good.
Summer Beans with Lime and Cashews
Inspired by: Our Low Serving Bowl
Perfect for: Creating an (updated, healthier) comfort food vibe.
Perks: This baby holds well, so take Olivia’s lead and make it ahead of time and serve at room temperature.
- 2 lbs. any assortment of summer beans (haricot vert, runner, wax, romano – have fun at the farmer’s market for this part!)
- ¼ cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 2” piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ cup of cashews, roughly chopped
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- ¼ cup of rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- Good handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt – aim for your water to have the salinity of seawater. Blanch your beans in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they’re tender, but still have a crisp bite. Scoop your beans out of the pot and place in a large bowl of ice water for a moment, then drain and let dry.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until they are just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Slide in the chopped cashews, shaking the pan to evenly distribute everything. Cook for another minute, until the cashews turn color slightly and everything is fragrant but not burnt. Transfer everything into a large mixing bowl.
Pour the vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice and lime zest into the large mixing bowl. Add the cilantro. Swirl the bowl around a little. Tip the beans into the bowl and toss everything together. Garnish with extra cilantro before serving.
And with that, appetizers are served. No need to go all out with a dinner party as long as these delights are on hand for an impressive and memorable spread. Just add drinks and conversation and it’ll be a night that no one is soon to forget. Bright pink hummus tends to have that effect on people.