Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Turkey Relish Platter -- #Thanksgiving

LESLIE:  It’s impossible not to nibble while you’re prepping Thanksgiving dinner, right? That’s part of the fun! But if you eat too much of the filling foods, you won’t have room in your tummy for the meal itself.

Enter the venerable relish tray.

This festive tray is easy to prep and arrange. It’s also easy to transport, if you’re not hosting but you volunteered to show up two hours early to polish silver and set the table, or if your gathering starts early for watching parades, dog shows, and other sports on TV! Or, assemble it on your MIL’s dining room table while she cooks.

Use your favorite dip—ranch and blue cheese dressings are tasty, and hummus is a great alternative. I made Creamy Parmesan Salad Dressing (recipe below).

How much of each vegetable you need depends on how big a tray you want to create. Happily, leftovers are easily munched for the rest of the weekend! This is what I used for the version pictured, which would easily serve 4-6.

Turkey Relish Tray

2-3 stalks of celery, including the leaves
2 carrots carrots
half a dozen baby gherkins OR 5-6 marinated asparagus spears + one pickle of any type
a cup of grape or cherry tomatoes
6-8 radishes (about one bunch)
½ cup black olives
½ cup green olives (pimento-stuffed add the most color)

Your favorite dip.

Cut carrots and celery in 4 inch lengths, saving a 3" chunk of carrot for the head and feet.

Cut pickles in half or quarters, depending on their size, keeping a chunk of pickle for the gullet. If you use the asparagus spears, cut a 4" section of each spear, including the top. If the rest is around 4", you can add that to the tray as well, or eat it now!

Trim and slice the radishes.

On a round serving platter or cutting board, arrange the carrots, celery, and pickles or asparagus in a fan shape for the feathers. You can keep each veggie separate, or alternate the veggies for a more colorful array. Tuck the celery leaves behind.

Mound the tomatoes, radish slices, and black olives to create the body, and arrange the green olives around the bottom

Cut a 3" chunk of carrot in half for the head and put in place. Using the other half, cut a slice about 1/4" thick and cut a triangle for the beak. Cut two lengthwise slices, then cut the legs from them.

Create the eye: Cut a slice of radish and position it on the carrot head. Add a slice of olive for the eye.

Pluck the pimento out of one green olive for the wattle. Eat the remaining olive.

Cut a pickle in half for the gullet.

Place a bowl of dip nearby. Alternatively, place the bowl in the turkey’s belly and mound the tomatoes, radish slices, and olives around it.

Creamy Parmesan Salad Dressing

I used a mix of parsley and oregano; use what you have or enjoy.

1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced or roughly chopped
1 cup nonfat or lowfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago
2 tablespoons olive oil, scant
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried leaves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Makes about 1-1/4 cups

Mix all ingredients in a small food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. Chill at least one hour, to let flavors meld. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble!

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and was nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure! A reader shared the photo of a fruit version on my Facebook Author page, and I've also seen a meat and cheese version, so you can choose what works for your gathering.

    2. I just looked at it -- very cute!

  2. Laughing! I’m happy if I can slap something on a platter in a timely fashion!

  3. Like a chocolate Easter bunny: Where do you attack it first?

    1. Funny! I went for carrot feathers first. Saved the face and feet for last -- actually, until I was sure the pictures had turned out!