Crudité. French for "raw as a mofo." Typically, this means veggies and lots of 'em.
Instead of being boring, and throwing a bunch of carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes on a plate with some ranch dressing, I decided to spice things up a bit. Brown butter powder, blanched carrots, some basil oil and roasted sesame seeds accompanied greens from the garden is what made it to our plate.
Speaking of the plate, I went with a rustic clay plate, that provided a nice clean palette to work on. Another thing I did in advance was to make some basil oil. Never having made this before, it was a bit fun. I depleted my entire garden's supply of Genovese basil, rinsed it, then tossed it in some boiling water for 30 seconds. From there, I tossed it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Then, I squeezed out the water and threw it in the blender and added a pinch of salt plus 2 cups of canola oil.
After you blend the heck out of that, you want to pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. I then passed it through a cheesecloth to make sure I wasn't getting a lot of particulates in my oil, and it was as clear as possible.
Once the basil oil was done, I whipped up some brown butter powder, and wow, what an experience that was!
While making brown butter is easy - you just throw butter in a pan and cook it over medium-high until it browns - turning that into a powder is not easy, no matter how simple ChefSteps makes it seem. Originally, I tried measuring everything out exactly, only to learn that is ridiculous - none of the measurements worked exactly as prescribed elsewhere across the internet.
Once the butter is browned, chill it by putting it in a bowl that's in an ice bath, making sure you stir to chill as evenly as possible. From there, throw the butter in a food processor and spoon in some tapioca maltodextrin (~100g for every 225sh grams of butter), also called N-Zorbit. Add in a spot of finely ground salt as well as 20sh grams of confectioners sugar. Flip the switch on the food processor.
Keep going. And gooooing. And gooooooooing. What, you thought this would be easy? If you need more N-Zorbit, put it in - what you want is a fine, powdery substance, that looks like a very light, fluffy brown sugar, and tastes both sweet and a bit savory at the same time.
Once you've got the powder squared away, it's worth blanching some carrots. As much as I'd like to say I grew those beautiful carrots, they were purchased from Whole Foods. All you need to do is wash and peel the skin off of them, being careful not to go too far / deep, so they keep the naturally beautiful color. Then, add a half cup of sugar plus a pinch of salt to some boiling water, and throw the carrots in for 2 minutes max. Once that's up, throw them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After they've chilled for a few minutes, go ahead and pull 'em out, and cut at varying lengths.
From there, start placing them on the plate, being sure to contrast the colors (e.g. yellow and purple, white and orange). Then grab the brown butter powder, and using a spoon, gently put it around the carrots, giving the appearance of the carrots being in a garden. Then, grab the greens. I found covering the border of 25% of the plate provides an interesting visual, and adding Nasturtium petals amongst the carrots.
Once you've got it ready to go, it's up to you how you serve it. I wanted this to be interactive, so it was served without flatware, which required the use of hands - it was fun, and meant I removed the distance between the diner and their food. More senses were engaged. They got to feel the crunch of the carrot and the gentle nature of the Nasturtium. They smelled the brown butter powder and the tastes that were contrasted against it seemed to make more of an impact than had it been eaten with a traditional fork and knife.
End of the day, it's your call, and it's fun, easy, and engaging to eat, so go ahead and dive in!