It is my lifelong dream to grow a culinary garden, one that’s brimming with medicinal herbs, leafy greens and those rare varietals that bring you to your knees. I can picture it so vividly, set just off the kitchen, a mere stones throw away from the very table it serves. I imagine it'd be a constant source of inspiration as well as a reminder that what we choose to nurture, grows.
And while this dream of mine is inspired by my love affair with the colors, textures, fragrances and flavors of raw ingredients, it's also largely inspired by my childhood. We always had a garden growing up and mom spent much of her time tending to it. And while I didn't appreciate the work then - and I made it known, always lazily unwinding the hose and dragging it dramatically out to water - I do know that somewhere along the way, I developed a connection to the earth. And it's a connection that's served me well.
This year, I’ve committed to starting slow. Instead of biting off more than I can (literally) chew, I’ll be growing a few herbs and learning how to combat the wild land and woodland creatures that surround us.
And I’m okay with that. Because there’s nothing that I love more than spring at the farmer’s market and a chance to spend time with the humble and hardworking individuals that bring it to life.
This Spring Crudités platter is really just a chance to show off the best of spring’s fresh vegetables. As the weather continues to warm up, you’re likely to find colorful rainbow radishes, carrots, asparagus and greens, snap peas and fresh herbs.
And the best part is, you can just buy what looks best to you. Choose an array of colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Wash them well and slice them how you wish. Serve them raw with a dip and hummus and use it as a centerpiece for your next spring gathering.
I decided to pair this crudités platter with a light and flavorful hummus made with edamame and cilantro. I kept it simple, just adding a few herbs, oil and lemon and my new favorite ingredient, coriander. I kept this recipe free of tahini, because I feel there’s a need for sesame-less hummus recipes for those with allergies or who don’t want to purchase the extra ingredient.
If you have the time, rinse and peel your cooked or canned chickpeas. In this recipe or another, it will provide a smooth and creamy base and I think you’ll find it rather therapeutic.
As always, enjoy!
Spring Crudités with Edamame + Cilantro Hummus
- Assortment of raw vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, asparagus, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 cup shelled, edamame
- 1 big handful cilantro
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Prepare the hummus. First, begin by blanching the shelled edamame. Bring a small pot of water to boil, add the edamame and boil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Next, add the cooled edamame and all the remaining ingredients to your blender, food processor or blending cup if using an immersion blender (this is my preferred method). Blend until smooth and creamy, then taste. For a thinner, creamier consistency, add a bit more water (or oil). For more flavor, add a pinch or two more salt, pepper or coriander and for a bit more of a "bite" add another clove of garlic or lemon. Then, place the hummus in a bowl and set aside.
- To prepare your crudités platter, begin by washing and drying your vegetables. Then, peel, cut and arrange the vegetables to your liking. If you are serving asparagus, green beans or other tough vegetables, consider blanching them first. To blanch, bring a pot of water to boil, add the asparagus (or green beans) and boil for 1-3 minutes until just tender, remove and place into an ice bath or run under cool water to stop the cooking process.
- Serve the beautiful, raw vegetables alongside your Edamame Hummus or other dips and enjoy!