Says author and chef Valerie Rice:
“When it comes to veggie platters, I like a loose, more organic vibe. Start by mounding each type of vegetable on a platter (or downsize to a regular ol’ dinner plate to create a full look) in blocks of color like a color wheel. Hold a bunch of carrots (all facing the same direction) and drop them down onto the dish, letting them land naturally. The color blocking gives symmetry, while the free-form mounds feel fresh from the garden. I’ve learned that when platters look too orderly and immaculate, it can be intimidating for guests to make the approach; a little bit of imperfection is much more inviting.
To assemble the crudités platter in the hot summer months, pack cherry tomatoes, dragon tongue or green beans, cucumbers, baby squash slices, and sweet peppers on top of ice. This will keep the veggies super cool and very crisp.
Julie Robles is a wonderful chef and dear friend. She shared this delicious dip when my girls were tots, and it’s so good that I basically want to fall headfirst into the bowl and lick it clean.
Once the dip is mixed, you can store it in a mason jar in the fridge for about a week. This classic ranch is equally great as a dressing on greens or as a dip for crudités. I think we always associate ranch and kids together, but I have to tell you, this is an equal- opportunity dressing loved by all. Try it at your next dinner party—your people will be stoked.
Tip: It’s easy to dry herbs at home by plucking leaves and putting them on a baking sheet in the lowest setting on your oven (180°F to 200°F) until dry, about 1 hour.”
Reprinted with permission from Lush Life: Food & Drinks from the Garden by Valerie Rice, Prospect Park Books 2021
Photo credit: Gemma and Andrew Ingalls