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Courtesy of Janet McCormick Vegetable bouquets offer a great way to serve up vegetables as an appetizer.

I spread optimism like butter on toast, in the oddest of times, because, for whatever it's worth, I feel as though it obstructs the heavy burden of depression. For me, a week's worth of counting the mishaps that exposes the bad underbelly of all the things that go wrong in a week, seems to feed the nasty hole of depression. I, instead choose to count the blessings that melt and spread so easily - like butter.

Even though there are days I'm all out of butter, and sometimes even a stocked, filled-to-the-brim kitchen like I have can be devoid of such ingredients. It is then, that I turn to my greatest accomplishments and gifts straight from heaven (my kids) and smile as I think - what a wonderful day it is, my children are well and all is at rest.

And, yea, the butter of optimism was thin and sparse today and coming from a spirit of maturity when Joe slung the gathered bundle of mail that slipped into the floor board of the car, I bypassed the "benefit of doubt," hall pass and jumped straight to thinking the foot motion meant, "Your car's a mess, every bad thing is your fault." See what I did there?

Life is messy and edgy and lovely, and beautiful and even delicious. It's every emotion and I'm thankful for even the ugly moments when nothing goes how I planned because the surprise of serenity and peace is well worth the chaos of uncertainty when the butter is indeed all used down to the last smidgen of a teaspoonful.

I enjoyed making these vegetable bouquets. They're as lovely as the spring flowers that are popping up everywhere and even more delicious when I spread a little ranch over them or dip them into a balsamic glaze. They're perfect finger foods and will certainly invite a conversation where everyone will be asking how you had time to make such a beautiful display of food.

VEGETABLE BOUQUETS

1 head of Bibb lettuce

1 red, yellow and orange bell pepper sliced thin

Broccoli flowerets

Sprigs of thyme, rosemary, cilantro and/or dill

1 bunch of scallions

In the spirit of making small bouquets, tear off the tops of the bibb lettuce to wrap around an arrangement of the flowerets, bell peppers for color and sprigs of thyme, rosemary, cilantro, and dill. Tie it all off by wrapping a split green scallion around the bouquet. Offer a bowl of ranch or Italian dressing for dipping.

Janet McCormick is the owner of Let's Eat Cafe in downtown Huntington. More of her recipes can be found at http://www.10-minutemeals.com.

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