How Can I 'kick up' the boring veggie tray?

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bDecember 16, 2008

I was asked by the hostess to bring "yawn" veggies and a dip. Any ideas other than the usual? Any cool presentations? Thanks!!

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Add jicama, raw asparagus, strips of red, and orange bell well as the usual celery broccoli and cauliflower.
Oh and skip those awful "baby" carrots....that alone ought to make it noteworthy!
And make intensly colored dips...guacamole....with a little green food coloring added, roasted red pepper dip, which is pretty red on it's own and curry dip...with maybe a bit of yellow food color...and some horesradish and garlic sour cream for the white.
Linda c

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 11:28AM
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I've used a cleaned-out pepper as a bowl for dip. Just pick a big one with thick enough skin to hold the dip and one that can stand up by itself (or else take a smidge off the bottom to steady it). I also briefly steamed and then chilled tiny brussels sprouts to dip, along with asparagus, done the same way. I agree with jicama and selections of pepper strips, and maybe some zucchini rounds and cherry tomatoes. I usually try to present a variety of colors for a more interesting tray.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 12:43PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Thanks for the ideas! You have already inspired me! I may hollow out a red and a green pepper for dips, and I love both of your suggestions for veggies. I'll go over to Epicurious to see what recipes they have for roasted red pepper dip and something white for my green pepper. I could do that curry suggestion in a yellow pepper!

Although I love guacamole, and being a native Californian, it's in our blood, it's too spicy for the wino's at this gathering. Wine won't stand up to guacamole, and unfortunately, they won't' be serving tequila!

The hostess suggested those little snap peas. Now those and the jicama might go well with the curry, and everything else would be great with a roasted red pepper dip and maybe that horseradish sour cream idea.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The more I think about this, the more excited I get!! I may group my pepper dip servers in the center of the tray (held together with toothpicks?), and build a wreath of veggies around it... Maybe nest them in parsley or that curly type lettuce. Hmmmmmmmmmm

I LOVE you guys!!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Pipe some flavored cream cheese into sugar snap peas, add some tiny red potatoes (cooked) with a dip piped in, do some waffle cut vegetables, more piping : cherry tomatoes with pesto, celery, cuke slices topped with something.
Serve dip in a hollowed out kale cabbage.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Red pepper dip....
Roasted red peppers in the blender with sour cream anda few drops of lemon....
Just put sour cream in the blender and add canned roasted red peppers until it's bright red...taste it and add salt of garlic of needed.
And guacamole doesn't have to be spicy....just mashed avocado and a few drops of lime juice. If you don't like spicy, skip the tobasco. But you could use pesto....however I think a mild guacamole would stand up to wine tasting a lot better than a garlic-ey pesto.
Also there is a sundried tomato pesto available in the grocery store that's pretty darned good....and very red!
As for the white dip....
1 cup of sour cream add 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp horseradish. For this I would use the cream style horseradish.
It would be cute to arrange it wreath style...and make groupings of cherry tomatoes as holly berries.
Also don't forget belgan endive, makes a great dipper!
You also could do a filled veggie tray...filled cherry tomatoes, filled mushrooms, filled sugar snap peas, filled cekery sticks and fat pepper slices filled with a cheese cream cheese mix.
Lots of possiblities.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Linda, Linda, Linda! I love the idea of the endive!! And thanks for the recipes for the red and white dips. I'd love the curry dip!!

As for non spicy guacamole, well, I'd be banned from Southern California for serving such a thing. It would not be guacamole. It would be mashed avacado. Sort of like trying to serve California brots in Wisconsin. NOPE!!

Here is my authentic guacamole recipe (that I can't serve), but its the real deal. Take the volcanic mortar off the fridge, and smear limes all around it. Then mash garlic, cilantro, red onion and jalepenos (seeds included), tomatoes, and avocados with the pestle. Add salt and pepper and more lime to taste, and kick it up with a nice shake of Mexican oregano. Enjoy with tortilla chips, margaritas or shots of 100% Agave Tequila.

Please share the curry dip, please?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I will put a shot glass of Vodka. For this recipe: James Beard's Crudités, circa 1974

This "Tomato Tomatini" from Diane Clement's Zest for Life is a perfect starter and ice breaker for any gathering, anywhere. The recipe calls for vodka, but hey... the Dutch produce most of Europe's tomatoes, the Dutch love their juniper-flavoured spirit, Jenever, sometimes called Dutch Gin, and we bet that this recipe can be made with either. Going to test it once we're there!

Provide for your guests:

* A bowl of very small cherry or grape tomatoes, red or yellow
* Small wooden skewers
* A vodka glass ¾ full of vodka
* A vodka glass ¾ full of French coarse crystal sea salt

Dip the cherry tomatoes in the vodka for a "martini punch", then into the sea salt for salty crunch. If you pierce the tomatoes with the skewers before dipping them into the vodka, you'll get a bigger punch!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Grouped around 3 shot glasses (one with vodka, one with sea salt, and one with toothpicks) are 3 hollowed out peppers holding 3 kinds of dips. Circled around that is a wreath of lovely raw and partially cooked veggies for dipping!!

You guys made my day! Thanks for the great ideas and recipes!!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 4:59PM
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You can also wrap your asparagus with cream cheese and a thin meat slice (like Buddig) rolled around it.

I vote to include cherry or grape tomatoes and ax the baby (tasteless) carrots, unless you make your own carrot slices from bigger carrots.

A lemon/dill dip may be good. And zuchinni/squash could be offerings.

Below is a link for edible arrangements... There are a lot of different videos... you may find a couple ideas there. The basket is a really cute idea for spring-- if you have nothing else to do!

Here is a link that might be useful: Edible Arrangements

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 5:31PM
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