To make this wreath, invest in the large bocconcini balls. It’s worth asking the deli to include the liquid even though it adds weight at the checkout scale. If you are alone and only want to prepare a small wreath, you might want to use the tiny balls, but they dry out almost immediately so you must keep them hydrated. Otherwise you might have little cement-like balls to trash. Test a bite at the deli. There’s no way to know how old they are.

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On a large round plate, position large one- to two-inch bocconcini balls that you have cut in half. Position each equal size half ball cut-side down to make a wreath-shape, then repeat in a second ring inside to form a carpaccio as a second ring.

Poke a small cluster of several sprigs of fresh rosemary as a bow at one spot only on the edge of the cheese ring. Add a red cherry tomato on top of the rosemary bow. Sprinkle other chopped minced herbs and spices, whatever are your favourites.

Using the large hole side of a box grater and a large plate, hold a firm fresh beefsteak tomato by its stem end and push out the tomato flesh, leaving only the tomato skin in your hand. Strain the flesh in a small sieve, gently pushing out all the remaining liquid. Save the liquid in a small container and freeze to add to soup or tomato sauce. Maintain a no-waste kitchen.

Position dabs of the red tomato flesh as ornaments on the bocconcini wreath. Use generous dabs of my watercress hazelnut pesto as in-between ornaments. You might like to strategically add marinated tiny pearl onions often found at the deli, as ornaments.

If you have access to edible gold and silver flakes, or red and green flakes, scatter over the bocconcini wreath.

Refrigerate, covered in plastic wrap until ready to eat. Spritz with oil and vinegar 1:1 when ready to serve.

Drizzle my airlines dressing over all the half bocconcini balls. Grate fresh black peppercorns. You could scatter roasted popped capers. Sprinkle with kosher salt or crunchy Atlantic sea salt flakes when ready to serve.

You can adjust the size of the double row plate wreath for as many or few people as you will be serving. I like to leave the centre of the plate wreath empty but you could fill with micro greens or pulled lettuce such as frisée mounded as greenery.

This plate is a pretty and tasty addition served alongside your charcuterie board.

You might entertain the idea of making a black mission fig wreath using whole fresh figs or my Asbach Uralt Brandy marinated but still firm figs, substituting the figs instead of using tomatoes. Drizzle the jus over the bocconcini balls.

Note: You could also make a lox roses wreath using same process. Expensive but worth every dollar using paper-thin napkins of the special salmon twisted into roses. Provide party picks to get the amuse bouche size roses off the plate. Again spritz just before serving with lemon water.

For the lox wine choice, serve your favourite bubbly or even an unoaked red. Typically you would want to serve a light white Riesling with the lox. But maybe you would want to serve Black Tower since everything old is new again.

You might enjoy fresh basil leaves strategically tucked into either wreath.


A special Napoleon-style treat, build using slices of large bocconcini and fresh firm thick slices of matching size beefsteak tomato. A leaf or two of large fresh basil leaves and a smear of my special homemade mustard mayonnaise or spinach mayonnaise makes it gourmet. You might use coarse store-bought Dijon. We found in reading about Barack Obama that he asked for Dijon at a food stop and discovered that not everyone even knew what it was and labeled him a gourmet snob.

So simple, a no-cook treat.


Prepare my buttercream icing using maple syrup.

Pulse a few teaspoons of my cranberry confit in your small beaucoup to break down the skins.

Prepare my buttercream icing recipe and stir in the confit.

Spritz a bottom layer of genoise or pound cake with Cointreau. Using an offset spatula, spread the buttercream over the base layer.

Position the next layer on top and spread with buttercream to which you have added crushed homemade candied hazelnuts from your pantry jar.

For the top of the cake, spread with just confit.

Tent and refrigerate until ready to serve.


© Lady Ralston’s Canadian Contessa Kitchen gets Saucy ~ Sauces, Aolies, Dressings, Drizzles, Drops, and Puddles 

© From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: It’s Just a Salad ~ but it’s no Ordinary Salad… 

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The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.

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