North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Northwest Harvest Table

 

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Northwest Harvest Table by Chef John Ponticelli.

Now that summer is fast approaching, I wanted to share a fun idea to use for a friendly indoor or outdoor gathering. I call it the Northwest Harvest Table. I like to create many Northwest Harvest Tables at Tulalip Resort Casino, because it's always a guest favorite and very popular. Diner's are always in awe of it's beautiful presentation.

One think to keep in mind when serving a Northwest Harvest Table, is that it's easy to change the ingredients by adding additional items that you have on hand.

For a big WOW, I like to use a large wooden slab, because it acts as the frame for your edible art. This also affords a lot of creative options and makes all the cheese and fruit pop with color. Everyone eats with their eyes first.

Serves up to 20 guests

Ingredients

8 ounces blue cheese wedge

8 ounces sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese

8 ounces brie cheese

2 cucumbers, sliced into circle rings

3 jumbo carrots, cut into sticks

1 each celery, cut into sticks

1 bunch fresh asparagus, blanched

2 each red & yellow bell peppers

16 ounces fresh strawberries

2 pints fresh blackberries

1 pound red grape clusters, keep whole for garnish

8 ounces black olives, pitted

15 ounces hummus in a small glass bowl

8 ounces ranch dressing in a small glass bowl, using favorite bottled version

8 ounces mixed nuts

8 ounces dried fruit, example: apricot, cranberry, bananas, and cherries

2 fresh baguettes, sliced

2 boxes assorted favorite crackers

JP's Hummus Recipe

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinse

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup of tahini

1/8 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

Salt to taste, if needed

Hummus Method

Using a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans, garlic, and red wine vinegar until a smooth consistency. Add tahini and grated Parmesan blending until smooth. Only add salt to taste and refrigerate to keep it cold.

Assembling the Harvest Table

•Take a large wood slab or platter to display the harvest. Gather all of the ingredients and artfully arrange them by starting with the center piece first.

•Begin by placing the blue cheese wedge in the center followed by the grapes and continue outward by adding the remaining cheeses one at time on each side until all displayed.

•Add the small bowls of ranch, hummus, and mixed nuts, making sure to spread them out evenly.

•Add cucumbers, carrots, celery, and strawberries in piles throughout the display. Followed by adding blackberries, dried fruit, and olives dropping them loosely all throughout the display.

•Lastly, place the cut baguettes and assorted crackers together in a nice basket.

The Northwest Harvest Table is now ready to wow your guest.

Chef JP's Hack

When visiting the grocery store to purchase ingredients for the harvest table, I start by selecting the fresh berries, which can be challenging. They are usually packed in clear plastic containers, so it's easy to carefully inspect the berries for moisture (the dryer berry the better). I like to turn the container over and inspect the bottom layer to see if there is any visible moisture. The majority of fresh packaged berries look good on the top, but when you open them at home, you may find the bottom berries aren't in the best shape. This quick step will help in choosing the freshest berries for your next gathering.

 

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