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Veggies in the raw

Updated: 1/2/2014 4:37:15 PM
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  • RecipesMore>>

  • Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:35 GMT
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>
  • Blueberry Crisp, 7/17/14

    Blueberry Crisp, 7/17/14

    Thursday, July 17 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-07-17 19:27:02 GMT
    Peter Brave, Brave New RestaurantMore >>
    Peter Brave, Brave New RestaurantMore >>
  • Cornish Game Hen with Peaches, 7/15/14

    Cornish Game Hen with Peaches, 7/15/14

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-07-16 12:00:29 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops2 Cornish Game hens, split lengthwise or you can use your favorite piece of chicken4 strips of maple flavored bacon, diced2 peaches, pitted and sliced4 sprigs of rosemarysalt and pepper2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine1. Cut your Cornish hen lengthwise in half and salt and pepper it, do the same to your chicken pieces if your are using chicken2. In a large skillet, cook your bacon to crispy, remove bacon to paper towel.3. In the bacon grease, brown your hens or chicke...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops2 Cornish Game hens, split lengthwise or you can use your favorite piece of chicken4 strips of maple flavored bacon, diced2 peaches, pitted and sliced4 sprigs of rosemarysalt and pepper2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine1. Cut your Cornish hen lengthwise in half and salt and pepper it, do the same to your chicken pieces if your are using chicken2. In a large skillet, cook your bacon to crispy, remove bacon to paper towel.3. In the bacon grease, brown your hens or chicke...More >>

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For me, the whole thing began with radishes.

When I was seven, thanks to the spiral-bound 1965 edition of the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook — my mother's childhood copy — I was introduced to the extraordinary notion that radishes could become roses. I learned to carve thin petals into them and drop them into ice water, where they would blossom. I'd savor them with a little sprinkle of salt.

There's nothing new about eating raw vegetables, but in the States it wasn't until the first half of the 20th century that an austere serving of celery sticks was recast as an opulent appetizer.

The distinction is partly semantic: Fashionable French restaurants in America offered first-course relish plates of raw vegetables, referring to them in their native tongue (the word crudité itself is French for “rawness,” though the presentation may include cooked or cured ingredients), and the term caught on.

To me, the definition is also an aesthetic one: Crudités live or die by their composition, by their balance of colors, and the allure of the arrangement. Whether it's a single sliced carrot or a polychromatic cornucopia, it's meant to be admired.

Crudités' popularity has waxed and waned over the years. They never really went away at a certain type of gilded brasserie, but only very recently has the dish been showing up at the hipper sorts of restaurants. I'm proud not to have been a fair-weather fan — and I'm in good company. James Beard called crudités “the most appetizing dish imaginable,” and artist Wayne Thiebaud immortalized them in his 1963 painting Plate of Hors d'Oeuvres.

What accounts for their timeless appeal? For me they're the best demonstration of earthly abundance you can lay on a table. Broccoli is just a starting point; I might add wedges of raw fennel, pickled caperberries, or blanched green beans, and always several dips. I never make the same composition twice — but I always use radishes, and sometimes I even carve them into roses.

See the recipe for Creamy Watercress Dip »

See the recipe for Lemon Parmesan Dip »

See the recipe for Roasted Carrot and White Bean Dip »



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