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Vegetable Party Bouquet*


- For the Base:
1 large head of cabbage

- For the Bouquet:
1 bunch radishes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
5 medium carrots
2 bunches green onions
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cucumber, sliced into rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes
5 stalks celery with tops
1 small head endive
1 bunch chicory
1 bunch asparagus spears, blanched
1 box thin Italian breadsticks
bamboo skewers
large basket, 2 inches deep

Preparing the Vegetables:
Cut off ends of each radish. Slice halfway down on four sides to form petals. Place in bowl of ice water.

Core bell peppers; cut into vertical leaf-shaped slices.

Make tulips from carrots by slicing toward pointed end of carrot with top of paring knife to form a petal -- do not cut through. Form two more petals around carrot. Angle knife tip to separate flower from rest of carrot. Continue cutting out more tulips from carrot.

Cut off bottom of the green onion stalks (about 3 inches); reserve upper portions. Make close vertical slits in white part of onion, from cut end down to an inch from base. Place in ice water to frill.

Assembling the Bouquet:
Trim skewers to various lengths. Place leftover green onion stalks over some skewers like a sheath.

Insert tops of sheathed skewers into bottoms of all florets, pepper and cucumber slices, radish and carrot flowers, tomatoes, prepared green onions, celery stalks and endive and chicory leaves. Insert unsheathed skewers into asparagus spears and breadsticks.

Cut cabbage in half; place in bottom of basket. To form a pleasing rounded bouquet, insert ends of skewers into cabbage, balancing shapes and colors of vegetables. Place vegetables on shorter skewers along outer rim of basket.

To make ahead, chop and carve the vegetables up to 1 day in advance. Store in a bowl of ice water in the refrigerator.
Olives, yellow squash and green peppers can be substituted for some of the listed ingredients.
Can be served with cheesy herb dip and crisp sesame crackers for an appetizer. Or for a main meal, serve with favorite soup and bread.

A simple circle: Arrange sliced rounds of cucumbers, various peppers and endive spears in overlapping circles. Fill the center with broccoli florets and diced peppers.
The square root: A brightly-colored square platter, filled with colorful cut-up vegetables arranged in a tic-tac-toe grid, makes a stunning presentation.

Easy Everyday Cooking recipe card