Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crudites - Fruit and veggie garnishes,

I got to help cater for my friend's business' grand opening yesterday.
Because it is a diet center, we had lots (and lots) of fruits and veggies.  
I had a tough time finding a source for these online.
Perfect for that fancy Valentines Day dinner!

For the fruit, we did fruit shish-ka-bobs with strawberries, pineapple, and kiwis threaded onto a stick, and presented on a pineapple.
We hollowed out mini-melons, cut a zig-zagged edge, and served watermelon balls in one watermelon bowl, and cantaloupe pieces (in the shape of hearts) in another.

For the veggies, we loaded curly celery sticks, carrot sticks, curls and jewels/pinwheels, broccoli, cauliflower, red, yellow, & orange pepper slices into see through glasses, and slid a cucumber onto the edge (margarita style).  Next time, I would place a dallop of ranch dressing in the bottom of the glass, but since this was for a diet center, we left the dressing as 'optional'.
Love love loved how they turned out.  So colorful and flavorful!

Curly celery (or green onions/scallions) - this was so fun to make!  And I loved the result.  It was interesting to eat though - since each sliver was curled in a distinct direction.  

Wash and trim celery
Cut into 3 inch increments
Starting approx. .5 inches from the narrowest end, cut down center.
Continue to cut slivers on both sides of the center cut.
(If celery is thick, you may want to cut the slivers in half going the other direction as well to make thinner slivers - carefully.)
Place in ice water, and refrigerate until ends curl...approx. 30-60 minutes.  The longer they stay in the ice water, the curlier they get.  Ours turned into really fun little octopus like creations.  They added great visual texture and we placed them upside down - hanging out of the glasses.

Carrot Jewels or pinwheels
After peeling a carrot, carefully cut lengthwise from tip to bottom on an angle, applying only enough pressure to cut to the heart rather than completely through the carrot.  Repeat, making a V shaped cut, and gently remove the V from the carrot.  Repeat 2-3 times, then slice into .25 or .5 inch bite sized chunks.

Carrot Curls
After peeling carrots, using carrot/potato peeler, cut long thin carrot strips. 
Gently roll into a curl, and secure with a toothpick. 
Place in ice cold water and allow to soak for several hours. 
Curls may also be wound around a skewer and allowed to soak.  
Remove toothpick (or from skewer) before serving. 

Curly carrot sticks (sorry the photo doesn't do justice)

After peeling carrots, slice into thin carrot sticks.
Place in ice cold water and refrigerate for several hours.
Carrot sticks will begin to curl.  The longer they soak - the curlier they will become.

 Radish Rosettes
Unfortunately, these were the only two radishes that came home with me, and I didn't get pictures of the others. 
Slice off the root of the radish, and also the top.  
With a paring knife, gently cut down at an angle, starting about 1/4th inch down from the top of the radish.  Cut until bottom is almost reached, but don't cut all the way through.  
Gently repeat this process, making cross cuts - cutting on the angles above the previous cuts.  Continue as desired. 
Place radish rosettes into ice water and refrigerate over night, or for at least 8 hours to allow them to 'bloom'. 

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