Veggie and fruit trays just in time for the big game!

Its that chilly time of year when we gather around the television and drink beers, cheer, some even cry, THE SUPERBOWL. Sports fans or not, there are two things anyone can appreciate about the superbowl; the commercials, and THE FOOOOOOOOOD.

In my Garde Manger class we covered fruits and vegetables. What defines each, how to store, and the best part, how to serve! What party would be complete without a beautiful spread of fruits and veggie finger foods and Aunt Clara’s “famous dip” that every family has. I’m going to help you impress your guests and save some pocket change with these simple tips for fruit and veggie trays!

As for fruit, for best results, you’re going to want to wash/cut/plate soon before guests arrive. Two reasons, one if they sit, fruits may brown and look unappealing to guests. If need be put sliced fruit such as apples or pears in a lemon juice/water mix and refrigerate to keep color. Two, fruits will lose moisture and nobody wants a dry cantaloupe bite. Choose fruits that contrast in tart, sweet, or sour. Make sure your dip compliments your chosen fruit. Be bold! use starfruit, loganberries, or things that aren’t common. Its a great conversation piece! When plating, you want a full plate. Negative space is a bad thing when it comes to fruit/veggie trays for big parties.

Now, not everyone is a fan of veggies. I too am one of those people. However the radio doesn’t only play the songs YOU like and your party food should be the same. Variety is the spice of life. The key to veggies is QUALITY. If possible even find a local farmers market for fresh veggies, one you will get a more fresh product, you have another conversion piece for table side grazing. Again, use something different. You don’t have to have the same old carrots, celery, and broccoli. We used these as a traditional tray but think outside the box! Zucchini, cucumbers, tomatillos, be different!

Key points to a fruit or veggie tray learned from culinary school; Quality, variety, bright appealing colors, and flavor contrasts.Be sparing with garnish as to not get in the way of eating it, if I have to move a garnish to eat, its in the way so move it.  As you can see you can even use a fruit or veggie as a dip bowl! Check out these two easy dips for your superbowl party!

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Orange Marshmallow Dip             Yields 2 cups

7 oz of marshmallow cream        8 oz of whipped cream cheese

2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate      Orange zest for garnish.  

Spoon Marshmallow cream into a large microwavable bowl, microwave for 20 seconds. Whisk in softened cream cheese and orange juice concentrate. Chill, garnish with orange zest. Serve with fruit. 

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Greek-Style Cucumber Dip              Yields over 2 cups Prepare day ahead. 

2 cups plain or Greek yogurt.     (If preparing with plain yogurt it must be drained of water)      

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, grated.   

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1/2 Cup of sour cream

2 Table spoons fresh lemon juice. 

2 Tablespoon minced fresh Dill

1 Garlic Clove, minced

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Place yogurt in the cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to drain in refrigerator overnight. For same day prep, use Greek yogurt since its a more dry yogurt. Mix Cucumber and 1 Tablespoon of salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Use cheesecloth to squeeze as much water from the cucumber as possible otherwise you will have a watery dip. Transfer drained yogurt to another bowl. Mix in sour cream, lemon juice, dill and garlic. Stir in cucumber season with pepper. Keep refrigerated, serve in seeded bell pepper or other veggie bowl. 

Bon Appetit! Disclaimer these recipes are not of my creation these are from the curriculum of Fayetteville Technical Community College. Copyrights not cited in curriculum.

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