Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Fill a large bowl with ice water and salt it generously as well Drop the beans into the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Scoop them out of the water and immediately plunge the beans into the ice water, to stop their cooking and set the color. Cool, remove them from the ice bath, and pat dry. Repeat with the broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus cooking each until crisp tender. If using sugar snaps or fennel they may be served raw or cooked depending on their flavor or your preference.
Attractively arrange all the vegetables on a large serving platter and serve with the dip of your choice.
Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip:
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (about 4 ounces)
6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1/4 cup drained or Greek style yogurt, method follows
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon minced thyme, optional
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Serve now or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
To make drained yogurt: Place 1/2 cup of plain whole or low-fat milk yogurt in a coffee filter set in a sieve or colander in the sink or over a bowl. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours until thickened. Discard the water whey and use the yogurt as desired.
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Chop the garlic with the salt, and then use the flat side of the knife to mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste.
In a blender combine the garlic paste, with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors come together