Hi guys! So this is something I have wanted to share with you for ages, and I actually can’t believe I have not! Back when I was a caterer I did a version of this in people’s homes, and then over the last 12 years I have really honed it for my own parties.
This display is fairly large and of course could be scaled up or down depending on how many guests you were having, but I wanted to explain the basis of how I do it and then of course, be creative!! I have done this set up for as many as 150 guests and it was gorgeous- or as few as 10 and everyone loved it.
One of the things I love so much about this set up is that it really frees the host or hostess up to have fun! You don’t have to worry about serving appetizers or attending to empty platters. You just get this all set up and then go enjoy yourself. You won’t have to deal with it until the very end of the night- and that is when I literally just saddle up to the kitchen island with a compost bin and scrape the remains (that I don’t want to keep) straight in. Then clean up is done!!!! (amazing, no?!)
Also, you can prepare EVERYTHING ahead!! The dips could be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in tupperware in the fridge- you would just spoon it into the cabbages right before people arrive. The crudité I tend to prepare completely the day before and store in ziplocs (according to variety) in the refrigerator. Then I just pull them all out and arrange 30 minutes before guests come.
I have to tell you- in a season of gluttony, most guests are so excited to not only have a healthy option, but a gorgeous, bountiful healthy option that they can really dig into.
I am showing you a basic version of this that everyone can do and you can literally find all of these veggies (except for the whole cabbage and the collard greens) at your local Trader Joes. HOWEVER, you could really fancy this up depending on what you have available to you. Rainbow carrots, easter egg or breakfast radishes, Persian cucumbers, etc) Garnish with edible flowers or fresh herbs- really the sky is the limit!
These are the things I used for this platter:
-Greens (see below for instructions)
-Assorted Dips (Here are some GREAT RECOMMENDATIONS!)
-White, yellow, green and purple cauliflower (my local grocery store sells these unusual varieties year round)
-bell peppers in assorted colors
OK! Lets get started! Everyone has a kitchen island, a coffee table, dining room or kitchen table they can use. Wherever the heart of the party usually is (and where you want to confine the eating to) is where you should do this. We usually set this up on our kitchen island. We have a bowling alley of a kitchen- long and skinny, so it works the best for us.
*If you are going to use a table (wood or some other porous material) lay down a flat garbage bag as a barrier- don’t worry, it will get covered by the leaves.
First start with greens. These are collard greens below, I like how wide and flat there leaves are- but I have used Tuscan kale, rainbow and red chard, lettuces, chinese greens and a combinations of all of these. You can use anything that you can find in large quantities that are reasonably priced! LAYER them so that they really provide a barrier to your surface and definitely you don’t want people seeing the plastic bag!
Take anywhere from 1-5 cabbages depending on how many guests you are having. Use a sharp pairing knife and hollow out the center of each cabbage. Fill them with dips of your choosing. I like an assortment of varieties and colors.
Place the dips towards the top of the display.
Start building around the cabbages. I like to use the cauliflower which looks beautiful piled against something so that only the floret part is showing. I love to use different colors of cauliflower when I can find it. OH! You will notice here that I like to group all of my vegetables by color and variety. Of course you can be creative- I just love the effect this has on the eye. Now start with the carrots and start pulling them down in long lines.
Build off of the carrots, finding contrasting colors and shapes to go next to them. Easy!
No watch as your guests freak out in excitement and devour everything!Print Recipe