Craft Service Snack Idea: 4 Steps To Creating An Awesome Vegetable Platter
We’ve all been guilty at one time or another of buying a prepared vegetable platter from our local grocer. You know the one I’m talking about. The one with the cherry tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, celery and ranch dip on a sectioned plastic tray.
Let’s face it, they’re boring and not very appetizing. With a little time and effort you can make a better vegetable platter. Here’s how:
Step #1 – Vegetable Choice
You don’t have to eliminate the aforementioned vegetables, supplement them. Walk around the produce department and see what vegetables are in season. Summer squash, zucchini, baby white turnips, asparagus spears, jicama, endive leaves, leafy lettuce, purple, yellow, and white cauliflower florets are all interesting choice to add to your vegetable platter. Not to mention the wonderful colors.
Step # – Clean The Vegetables
Washing fresh vegetables is your best defense against food borne illness. Yes, even organic vegetables should be washed even though harmful pesticides aren’t used. Why? Because you don’t know what’s on the hands of shopper searching for just the right tomato or if the vegetable has fallen on the floor and placed back in the bin.
There are basically three ways to clean the vegetables for your platter. The first method is the water rinse. Remove stickers the place the vegetables in a colander and run cold water over them. The second method is to fill a large bowl with cold water and let the vegetables soak. This is a great method for cleaning leafy vegetables. Lastly, clean vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini with a vegetable brush. Careful not to scrub too hard that you damage the vegetables.
Step #3 – Cut The Vegetables
Obviously some vegetables like cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and baby peppers require no cutting. You can also buy pre-cut vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower florets but going that route may not be the most cost-effective. You’ll probably save money if you buy in bunches and cut the vegetables yourself.
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Here are a few quick cutting tips:
To cut broccoli: Rinse, remove leaves from stalk, cut the florets from the stalk near where the stalk starts to branch, then cut the florets about an inch below the broccoli flower.
To cut cauliflower: Rinse, remove leaves from stalk, cut the head into four quarters, lay each quarter on its side and cut away the remaining stalk. Pull the florets apart with your hands.
To cut jicama: Rinse and scrub with a brush, peel with a vegetable peeler, cut into half, slice each half into slices about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick, then cut each slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch sticks.
To cut endive: Cut the butt end, remove leaves and place in a bowl of cold water to clean, then remove from bowl and pat dry with a paper towel.
To cut baby white turnips: Rinse, cut greens down to about 1/2 inch above the turnips, then cut into quarters and they’re ready to serve.
Step #4 – Arrange The Vegetables
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the pre-made vegetable platters are presented in a compartmentalized plastic tray. Make yours more interesting. Think outside the box. Here’s a couple of ideas:
Use A Basket: A wicker basket, roughly 16″L x 12″W x 4″H, is an excellent option. Line the bottom of the basket with leafy greens then arrange some of the vegetables in small bowls. Strategically place the bowls on top of the leafy greens then place the remaining vegetables directly on top of the leafy greens. Be sure to fill the entire basket and don’t forget to add a bowl of your favorite dip to the mix.
Use A Narrow Plastic or Wood Box: If you can get your hands on four to six boxes measuring approximately 16″L x 4″W x 4″H you can fill each box with one or two vegetables then line them up side by side. Use one of the boxes for your dip assortment.
Tip: Hollow red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers and fill them with the dips.
Sure, creating your own vegetable platter takes more time then buying a prepackaged platter but I believe if you go through these steps you will have an awesome platter that will please any cast and crew.
Do you have any vegetable suggestions you can share in the comment section for making a vegetable platter extraordinary?
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