Believe it or not, I am still celebrating my birthday from earlier this month (lucky me)! My gourmet friends, Holly and Kurt, invited us over for a belated birthday celebration last weekend and she served the coolest appetizers: Vegetable Shots. They were strips of yummy veggies in a glass with ranch dressing at the bottom. Holly got the idea from the magazine “Martha Stewart Living”, where they had different kinds of veggies in glasses on ice. Holly’s set up was much more elegant than mine with silver rimmed glasses passed down from her mother, and beautiful glass-beaded cocktail spears that held the cherry tomatoes. She used a gluten-free ranch dressing but here I made my own variation with a creamy herb peppercorn.
Any vegetables that you like can be used for this fun and unique appetizer. I liked what Holly included: peeled cucumbers, good pickles, carrots, yellow bell peppers and cherry tomatoes on those pretty little skewers. We used to have a gourmet dinner group going and Holly and Kurt were involved; they both are excellent cooks. Holly is one who pays attention to detail and sets a beautiful table that makes you feel like a special guest. It’s always so fun to go over to their house for dinner. The “boys”, Jensen and Cole, filled us in on swim team and teenage life. The Bergman’s prepared a delectable feast for us and we would go back anytime!
The veggie shots have some dressing in the bottom, for sinful dipping. My favorite is ranch but I whipped together my own version with a slight variation – a creamy herb peppercorn. It has mayonnaise, fine herbs (dried tarragon, parsley, chervil and chives), garlic powder, onion powder, fresh cracked pepper, milk, salt and pepper. The consistency for this recipe is thicker for dipping; to use for a salad dressing, add 2 to 3 teaspoons more milk to thin out. For a lighter version, sour cream or Greek yogurt can replace one quarter cup of the mayonnaise. And leftover dressing can be used for tuna salad or as a sandwich spread.
These vegetable shots are a great choice for a simple and elegant appetizer during the upcoming July 4th weekend. They are different, delicious, refreshing and fun. Plus, everyone gets their own glass, so let the double dipping begin!
What’s next? I’ll share recipe ideas (of course, dessert) for the upcoming holiday weekend. Eat well and share the love!
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two – adapted from recipe by
Serves two foodies
Creamy Herb Peppercorn Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons fine herbs (dried tarragon, parsley,
chervil and chives)
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons milk (1 %)
1 large carrot, peeled (ends trimmed) and cut into thin slices
2 celery stalks, each cut in half and cut into three strips
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 to 3 thick pickle slices or cornichons, cut into strips
1 mini cucumber, peeled (ends trimmed) and cut into thin slices and then strips
6 cherry tomatoes (cherubs if available), skewer 3 each on a decorative skewer or cocktail fork
Optional: skewer of olives
Optional: rosemary sprigs for tomato skewers
Creamy Herb Peppercorn Dressing:
Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until well combined.
Peel and slice the vegetables and skewer tomatoes (and olives if using). If you don’t have any fancy skewers or tooth picks, use a sprig of rosemary to skewer the cherry tomatoes.
In the bottom of two small glasses, add a good dollop of dressing. Arrange the vegetables upright in the dressing. Add a small amount of dressing in the middle and add the tomato skewers (and optional olives if using). Keep chilled until served.
- Organic celery hearts are great to use because of their size and flavor
- Use dressing for a salad dressing: Add two to three teaspoons milk to thin, until desired consistency
- Lower-fat option: substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt for ¼ cup of the mayonnaise
- Gluten-free dressings can be found in your local grocery store