Entertaining is the best. I wish I had a bigger house so I could entertain every weekend. Since I can’t do this, I do my best to be invited to as many “potluck” parties as possible. This allows me to make friends via fun appetizers. You know how you go to potlucks and wind up eating four varieties of potato salad, two macaroni salads, a handful of pigs-in-a-blanket, three meat balls and a scoop or two of 7-layer dip and then leaving feeling unsatisfied, but miserably full? Well, maybe that is just me, but I love to bring something different- something that “wows” the crowd.
This summer Blake and I joined my childhood pool to have a place to spend our summer days, meet some friends and allow Lottie to meet some other kids. We LOVE our pool. Anyway, we had a Memorial Day potluck right when the pool opened. Blake and I decided to bring one of our favorites- a veggie basket! The cool thing about this appetizer is that you can munch on it all night long and still leave feeling very healthy.
This dish was a HIT! In fact, I met one of my Facebook friends based totally on the dipping sauce of this basket (J Tisha). The only problem with this basket is that everyone at the pools knows me as “Veggie Basket Girl” rather than Meredith. Oh well, take what you can get.
The key to this appetizer is to buy vegetables that look like they were just pulled from the garden. Tie a pair of garden gloves to the handle for a nice little touch. Be careful in the basket you choose. It really needs to be wide and FLAT. Otherwise the veggies all roll into the center and frustrate the dickens out of you.
Choose veggies that are on SALE!
For the green beans and asparagus– boil for a few minutes (4ish) and then drain and transfer IMMEDIATELY to a bowl of ice water. Do not over boil!
For the potatoes– Boil until fork tender, but not as tender as a potato for mashing.
For the artichoke– cut stem down. Boil for 1 hour 15 minutes. Add water as necessary.
For the carrots – Try to find the ones with green stems to allow them to hang off edge of basket for the “fresh from the garden” look. They weren’t on sale when I made mine.
For the radish and celery– serve raw but try to find the ones with stems.
***You can make all these veggies the night before and store in ziplock bags in the fridge until a few minutes before the party***
For the sauces- (Serve in hollowed out bell peppers)
– Spicy ranch– ranch mixed with a teaspoon of Sriracha.
– Mock Hollandaise- ½ cup mayo, ¼ cup mustard, tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper and tsp of poppy seed.
– Blue Cheese- Whichever kind is on SALE.
– BE CREATIVE!