Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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A Veggie Platter For A Cuban Feast At The Nokes

Leave it to Cathy & Larry Nokes to come up with a fun dinner party–a night in Cuba without a passport. The didn’t miss a beat–music, slow-roasted pork, black beans and rice and for dessert–a caramelized banana pineapple sundae that I ate so fast I forgot to photograph. 
I really have an abundance of peas this year, but for the veggie platter I only used the pea pods, which are basically baby peas. And just hours before dinner I harvested the first of the Blue Lake green beans that I planted in January. 

I just blanched the beans for 2 minutes and then gave them an ice water bath to keep them looking really green.  

To make the platter more interesting I used a short glass to hold the celery and carrots sticks. I rounded it out with jicama, radishes (both whole and sliced, for variety), tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber and green onions. But you can use any of your favorites.

This was the hit of the platter! Tajin seasoning. I had never even heard of it, but Cathy said it was great on the veggies along with a squeeze of lime. If you look closely it says it’s not candy, which I found amusing, but it’s just as good, if you ask me.

I squeezed a little fresh lime over the veggies and a generous dash of the Tajin. Next time you need to bring an appetizer, give this a try.

You can even cheat and buy a veggie platter at the market and then re-plate it on a nice platter. Although I think it’s a lot cheaper to buy and chop the veggies and that way you’ll know they’re very fresh. 

What’s a party without a cocktail? Cathy served the best Moscow Mules! I know you’re thinking…what? I thought it was Cuban, well, remember the two countries are best friends!

Larry slow cooked the pork for hours and it was juicy, tender and loaded with flavor. 

Cathy topped the fluffy rice with the best black beans (seasoned with lime), cilantro and radishes. So good!

The avocado, tomato, onion salad was loaded with flavor and a great dressing.

Put it all on the buffet and dig in! It’s a lot of fun to have a theme party and ask everyone to bring a dish–it makes it a lot easier on the hosts. But the new rule should be that everyone has to come back in the morning and help clean up the kitchen. 

I don’t know why, but I always find that the cooking is the fun and easy part and the clean up is a nightmare!

Remember, read it first at Stu News.

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