February 16, 2011

Veggies and Dips

Tea Party veggies and dips and tiered foods

I'm always wanting veggies in a format that will encourage the eating of them. Tea parties consist moreso of sandwiches and scones and desserts, so I wanted the nutritional addition of veggies. Having dips is the main way I find I'll eat more veggies.

We were crafting all day at my Valentine Tea Party, so I wanted everything to be finger food. Probably every time I passed by, I'd grab some veggies to eat, so that accomplished what I was hoping for.

First off, my dip recipe book, suggests par-boiling some veggies, for ease in digestion, then chilling them. Monte asked me to do this years ago, recognizing his body's needs (Monte is a great "body listener"!) Baby potatoes (or small sized potatoes cut later in wedges) boiled and then chilled are EVERYONE'S favorite veggie to dip! So I put the potatoes in a large pot to boil and put my steamer basket on top. Once the water comes to a boil I'll dump in the baby carrots (I know, I know, baby carrots are not truly baby carrots - did you know that?!). Steam veggies  3 minutes, dump them in a strainer basket and run cold water over them, drain, and bag up and chill. I do this with broccoli and sometimes the cauliflower too. So I had these, and green onions, celery sticks, red pepper slices, and radishes all ready the day before my party to keep refilling my large serving platter.

Since I have a three bowl serving dish, I made three dips the day before.

FRESH HERB RANCH DIP
2 C sour cream (sometimes I'll do this with 1/2 Hellmanns Mayo)
1/2 C buttermilk (sometimes I'll just use buttermilk powder - 3Tb)
3 Tb fresh parsley
2 Tb fresh chopped chives
1 Tb fresh oregano
1 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon
2 minced cloves garlic
2 Tb grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix this all up well. Most of the herbs I have fresh in my greenhouse. If you're using dry, you use a lot less - like 1/2 - 1 tsp. Sometimes when I make this dip I like to slow cook thin sliced/chopped onions till caramelized and add.

ROASTED GARLIC, ARTICHOKE, AND PEPPER RICOTTA DIP
This was SO GOOD I'm going to be making it a lot!

The recipe calls for 4 artichokes to peel and roast their hearts. Since it's not artichoke season yet, I just opened a 15 oz can of plain artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained, and dumped on the foil-lined baking sheet to roast.

2 whole garlic heads - cut off tops, pour on some olive oil, salt and pepper, and put the tops back on to roast.

1 red pepper - cut off both ends, slit down side and open out flat on the foil with the skin side up, along with both ends.

Roast in a 400 degree oven about 40 minutes. Don't let anything burn, but 'yes' to darkening. Remove the hearts and garlic to cool, and close up the foil around the pepper to sit and cool, so you can peel in a bit.

In a food processor squeeze out all the garlic cloves, add the hearts, and skinned pepper and puree along with

2 C ricotta
1/2 C grated parmesan
2 Tb fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

BLUE CHEESE DIP
2 C sour cream
1/2 C Hellmanns Mayo
2 scallions, including greens
1 1/2 C blue cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
4 shakes of Tabasco
1 Tb Worcestershire Sauce

I didn't have any Worcestershire. I need to look for a recipe substitute since I'm no longer keeping it stocked, as it's got high fructose corn syrup in it. I know it's main ingredients are vinegar and fish sauce (which is made from anchovies - an umami [the fifth taste] you want - it's what makes most salad dressings, etc, yummy). So I put a dollop each of vinegar and fish sauce. You want to puree this mixture as well.

At the end of the day I pulled some turkey broth I froze after Thanksgiving from the freezer, put it in a soup pot with the leftover dip veggies, chopped. Added the rest of the sliced chicken not used in the tea sandwiches. And added a chopped chipotle chili in adobo. Serve with some cut up avacado and a dollop of homemade yogurt. An easy end of the day supper.
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