While making shrimp étouffée for Fat Tuesday, I thought of a great tip that I learned for plating rice. When serving grains like rice, quinoa, or couscous as an accompaniment for a saucy dish or stew, I like to pack them tightly into a mold, then invert the mold so the rice comes out in a uniform mound. I usually reach for a small ramekin, coated in oil — it's another great function for a piece of servingware that I normally don't get much use out of.

I can't take credit for it; it's a trick that I learned from my friend Chef John of Food Wishes. But it is brilliant. What are your favorite plating tips?