Cool and Crunchy Crudités

Flavorful dips accompany an assortment of fresh vegetables.

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Crudite Platter with Dip

Pick a selection of vegetables or do them all.

Ingredients:

kosher salt, as needed
1/4 pound green or wax beans, trimmed
1 to 2 stalks broccoli, or 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 pound asparagus, stalks peeled, woody ends trimmed
1/2 pound fresh sugar snap peas
1 fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
1 bunch radishes (about 10, with greens attached), washed
4 medium carrots, cut into 4-inch-long sticks
1 to 2 small zucchini or summer squash, cut into spears
1 medium cucumber, peeled if waxed, cut into spears
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
dip, recipes follow

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Fill a large bowl with ice water and salt it generously as well. Drop the beans into the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Scoop them out of the water and immediately plunge the beans into the ice water, to stop their cooking and set the color. Cool, remove them from the ice bath and pat dry. Repeat with the broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus cooking each until crisp tender. If using sugar snaps or fennel they may be served raw or cooked depending on their flavor or your preference.

Attractively arrange all the vegetables on a large serving platter and serve with the dip of your choice.

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

Ingredients:

1/2 cup roasted red peppers (about 4 ounces)
6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1/4 cup drained or Greek-style yogurt, method follows
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. minced thyme, optional
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Directions:

To make drained yogurt: Place 1/2 cup of plain whole or low-fat milk yogurt in a coffee filter set in a sieve or colander in the sink or over a bowl. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours until thickened. Discard the water whey and use the yogurt as desired.

Basil Aioli

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Chop the garlic with the salt, and then use the flat side of the knife to mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste.

In a blender combine the garlic paste, with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors come together

Yield about 1 1/2 cups

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