Welcome to the first entry of a new food series. Design in Food.
Basically, there is much fun to be had with adventurous and inventive food. For inspiration my good friend, Dan Sandland suggested that I try to make a few meals based on design and gestalt principles.
Sounded like a fun challenge and maybe we can slip a little art education in there…Let’s go for it.
- Its like a painting of a canyon of deliciousness.
Design Principle : Figure/Ground
What is the principle?
Figure–ground organization is used to help artists and designers in composition of a 2D piece. In its basic sense, it refers to a cognitive ability to separate elements based upon contrast, that is, dark and light, black and white. Many times this definition is expanded from a simple perception based on contrast to include abstract (i.e. non-visual) concepts such as melody/harmony, subject/background and positive/negative space. The concept of figure and ground fully depends on the observer and not on the item itself. (1)
How are we going to do it with food?
I am going to focus on the relationship of subject vs. background. In this case, the food will highlight as the subject the smokey, salty and cured tastes around pork and bacon. To push the contrast of the subject, I am going to use barbecue sauce, siracha chili sauce and a shot of whiskey to knock it up a notch. The background will be served as a bed of thinly sliced potatoes, light Asian style veggies cooked in white wine and garlic to subtly contrast with the siracha and whiskey. Since all compositions need a unifying element, I decided to use Muenster cheese ( known to be creamy and mild) mixed into the veggies/potatoes and a thin strip melted on the pork to bring it all together. The effect is a subtle contrast that highlights the deep flavors of savory pork and cured meat and paints it against a light absorbent background of veggies.
Whiskey Siracha/BBQ Pork and Muenster Veggies
Ingredients...to make art! (Savory delicious art)
What it takes
- Pork loin ( 2 ish)
- Bacon ( 2 strips ish)
- Pastrami (2 thin pieces ish)
- Muenster Cheese
- Barbecue Sauce ( Smokey is good)
- Siracha Chili Sauce
- Shot of Whiskey ( I used Southern Comfort)
- Frozen Asian style veggies
- 1 Potato ( I used Russett)
- 1 Onion ( I used yellow)
- White wine
- Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
- Olive Oil
- Grab your potatoes and onions. Slice up the potatoes to a somewhat thin shape. Don’t obsess , you just want them to cook fast. Then chop the onions into cubes or slices…whatever is easier for you.
- Grab a kinda deep pan/skillet and a umm.. regular skillet ( pans big enough to hold meat and/or veggies). Put a smidge of olive oil into the pan, heat to medium heat and throw the onions and potatoes in.
- Dump the frozen veggies into the pan with them. Throw salt and garlic powder on them and mix it all up. Pour about half a mug or small cup of water in and lower to medium-low heat.
- Cut the Muenster into slim slices and set aside.
- Get your pork loin and chop it into bite size chunks. ( its helpful to have bowl to throw them in, if you don’t have a bowl, combine in the pan.) Chop the bacon and throw it together with the pork. Take the pastrami and tear it into pieces and add to the mixture.
- Add some olive oil to the pan, heat to medium-low. Cover with 1 or 2 squirts of Siracha. Mix em’ all up. Let it cook for about 1 or 2 minutes.
- While that Siracha is cooking up in the pork. Add about 1/2 cupish of white whine to the veggies and begin occasionally mixing them around.
- Now, throw the shot of whiskey in the pork and mix it up. Give it another minute or two.
- Cover the pork mixture generously with Barbecue sauce. Mix all of it around until covered in the sauce. Cover the pan and occasionally mix for about 10 minutes. It should be all shiny looking and well-coated.
- Aww…Yeah. Nuff’ said.
- Once the potatoes are tender/soft enough to eat. Take half the Muenster slices and a half spoon of butter and combine with the veggie/potato mixture. Mix it all up until it creates a semi thick sauce and is a bit cheesy.
- Serve the veggie mixture onto a plate. Then cover with some of the pork mixture and place a Muenster slice ontop of the hot pork so that it melts.
Protip : Whiskey makes everything artistic.
I recommend pairing with a whiskey on the rocks or a malty beer! Enjoy and ruminate on the artistic statement of the food ( or just think about how great cured meats are.)
Until next time. Wing it and create art!