Dinner Party Ideas: Vegetable Crudites Edible Centerpiece Recipe
Includes video demonstration and recipe for easy summer entertaining
Summer is my favorite season for entertaining because it makes throwing dinner parties so easy. Step into a garden or farmer’s market, and you have all the inspiration (and ingredients) you’ll need to wow guests outdoors in wine country style. One of my favorite recipes for parties is this vegetable crudités edible centerpiece–a healthy, easy appetizer that doubles as decor. It’s perfect for a cocktail party reception or served as a seated first course.
Because my husband grew up in Hawaii and my parents are from Greece, we often blend Asian and Greek influences into our meals–sometimes with ingredients and other times with decor. We chose to use Japanese bento boxes to display this garden-fresh appetizer recipe in the video, but wooden flower boxes can also be used or bright, fun dishes. (Our favorite bento boxes, made by Kiwami, can be purchased for about $40 at Korin.com.) Communal bentos also make dining more interactive and conversational for your guests.
Because you won’t be laboring over the stove when guests arrive, you’ll have plenty of time to chat with your friends and family at the table. Fresh veggies, such as cucumbers, red peppers, endive, cauliflower, zucchini, radishes and baby carrots, can be served with extra virgin olive oil and zesty, simple dips such as Greek Goddess, hummus or baba ganoush. This video shows you how to assemble your own edible centerpiece and tips for advance preparation and keeping vegetables fresh overnight are also included. I’ve also included links to my favorite dip recipes to craft a fantastic and fun experience for your guests.
Edible Centerpiece Vegetable Crudités
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3” batons or a bunch of baby carrots
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 3” batons or sliced
- 1 zucchini, cut into 3” batons
- 1 bunch of radishes, washed and trimmed (larger radishes may be sliced or halved)
- 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved or whole
- A selection of your favorite herb sprigs and lettuce leaves (such as basil, radicchio and endive)
Greek Goddess Dip
This recipe comes from my family so it’s one I know almost by heart. It’s a zesty, Greek-inspired herb dip for your edible centerpiece adventure. Easy to assemble, it complements the bright acidity and fresh fruit flavors of Jordan Chardonnay.
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Our rendition of hummus includes elephant garlic and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. The surprising secret of an ultra-smooth hummus is the addition of a few teaspoons of baking soda. The ingredient list is short but the shorter the list, the more important each component becomes. We use only dried organic chickpeas, fresh and flavorful tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, elephant garlic from the garden, toasted and ground cumin, Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and kosher salt.
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Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush Dip
One of the pleasures of summer is ripe eggplant. We create this creamy baba ganoush recipe by roasting the eggplant over an open flame, to bring out the inherent meatiness and smokiness of the vegetable. It’s really delicious when served with our edible centerpiece.