Often we are invited to a potluck lunch or dinner and I occasionally bring vegies and dip. A well laid out platter of colorful fresh vegetables is not only a sight to behold, but a sight to be eaten. You can do all sorts of clever things with hollowed out bell peppers to hold dips, fancy roses carved from tomato peels or radishes. Be creative if you wish, and if you have the time. The best recommendation I can make, however, is to cut everything evenly, and make carrot and celery strips skinnier and shorter than you might initially think, maybe 1/2″ X 3″. People find slim carrot and celery sticks easier to eat. Be sure to de-string the celery even if you would leave it as is for yourself.
As for the other vegies, go for as many colors as possible. Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper strips of all colors, and scallions usually show up on my vegetable trays. Don’t buy the all ready prepared trays from groceries. You have no idea how long they have been sitting around waiting. You also have no idea how well the vegies were cleaned. You can bet they weren’t cleaned as well as you would clean your own. Sure, it takes some time to do it right, but you will be preparing fresher cleaner and prettier food for yourself and your guests and family. I was totally grossed out recently to see celery sticks on a buffet table at a restaurant that were filthy! I mean big black hunks of who-knows-what on many of them. I still am disappointed in myself that I didn’t complain to the management. Do it right. People will notice that you took the extra time to make it special. I don’t bother with fancy garnishes, but I do try to make all the pieces uniform in size and shape where possible.
Some people prefer to blanch broccoli and cauliflower before adding them. I don’t find it necessary.
Now that you have a beautiful platter prepared, do you want to serve a savory dip to accompany it? I have two that I often make. One is the omnipresent dill dip and the other is my favorite, a tangy mustard/horseradish dip that would make a salad dressing as well. Try one, or both, next time you are preparing a vegetable platter.
DILL DIP FOR A VEGIE TRAY
This can easily be doubled or tripled
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 t. dillweed, dried or 1 t. fresh, chopped
1 drop Tabasco, or to taste
1/4 t. Worcestershire
1/2 t. seasoned salt, (I use Lawry’s)
1/2 t. dried onion flakes, or 1 t. finely diced fresh onion
2 t. fresh parsley, finely snipped
black pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients well. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Can be made a day or 2 ahead.
1 c. mayonnaise
1 t. tarragon vinegar
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. horseradish
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. prepared yellow mustard
1 t. grated onion
1 t. curry powder
Mix all together, cover and chill. Can be made a day ahead.