Introduction: Turkey Kru-dEE-tA With Yam-mus!

About: ...after 30 years of becoming corporately numb, my dreams of not working (for pay) and instead creating with my hands has become a reality. Life is grand!

In anticipation of Thanksgiving Day, diners will often skip breakfast so the tummy can save calories for the big meal. 

However unexpected delays (i.e. late arrivals, waiting for half-time, last minute oops, etc...) will make the wait seem like forever before the feast is finally(!) placed on the table.

To avoid guests from getting cranky, consider making a Vegetable Platter along with Garnet Yam Hummus to keep the famished from fainting.

Let's get started...

Step 1: Harvest Veggies...

...or purchase an attractive assortment.  While the number of vegetables will determine how large of a platter you will need, it is nice to have at least 5 contrasting colors to represent the turkey's back feathers.

Practically any raw vegetable can be used for this crudite platter, I cut the following readily available (and affordable) vegetables into 4-5" lengths:
  • 1/2 lb Green Beans
  • 2 Red Peppers (one of which has 3 rounded ends on the bottom.  Save the bottom 2" of this pepper to make the head)
  • 4-5 Celery stalks
  • 3-4 Carrots
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Yellow Squash
*While the photo shows green pepper, my 18" platter would not accomodate all the veggies, so the green peppers were not included in the final arrangement

For the yummy Hummus I gathered the following:
  • 3  medium Garnet Yams (cooked until soft in oven, boiling water or microwave)
  • 2 cups Chickpeas, drained
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • A pinch or two of Ground Cumin, Cayenne, Salt
  • Garlic to taste

Step 2: Prepare Hummus...

...hmmm, did you know hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea? 

Another truth is that there is no single hummus recipe and the ingrediants are based on your tastebuds. 

Since I didn't want this dip to detract from the main event, I created a mild hummus based on the following:
  • Using a food processor, combine half the chickpeas with half of the softened yams
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil to thin it out
  • Add spices sparingly
  • Taste test
  • Repeat until you have the desired volume, flavor and texture
  • Puree further - optional (I wanted mine smooth)

Step 3: Pull It Together...

In order to build the "cape" of the turkey, start with the the bottom end of the turkey's body and lay a row of vegetables across the platter so that these "tail feathers" fan out toward the side of the platter. 

The next rows are laid out similarly, and overlap the prior row by about 1-2".  By using the prior row to support the current row, the turkey's cape gets taller and wider.  The photos illustrate the following additions:  Green Beans, Red Pepper, Celery, Carrot, Yellow Squash/Cucumber with Red Pepper head.

Since the last row of vegetables are to represent the "nape" of the turkey's neck, be sure to leave some room for the bowl of hummus, which also supports the turkey's "head".  For a more realistic effect, consider using a bowl that is slightly larger than the bottom portion of the red pepper and is also in proportion to the "feathers" on the serving tray.

Step 4: Gobble Bobble Head Final Thoughts...

  • With the widest section of an oval platter located in the center of the plate, plan to fill in that area with an inexpensive vegetable(s) or one that you have cut too much of.
  • The number and variety of vegetables will determine how large of a platter you will need. My platter was 18" and it wasn't until I was close to the last row that I realized there wouldn't be space for the green pepper slices.  (Oh well, with so many veggies, they were never missed)
  • The head of my "turkey" rests on a one-cup bowl of hummus.  By having a bowl that is only slightly larger than the head (bottom portion of the red pepper) means the hummus will need to be refilled more often than if a larger bowl is used.  However, by filling several 1-cup bowls in advance, the icky empty bowl can be easily removed and replaced with a new/fresh bowl as needed. 
  • Play around to create Tom's expression and don't forget to add a dangling waddle. You will find some peppers have 3 rounded curves on the bottom and other with 4.  Olive slices were used for the eyes, but any vegetable can be trimmed for expression.
  • Even if dinner is served on time and the veggie tray isn't consumed, it is a welcomed reprieve after having several days of turkey leftovers.  Vegetable stir-fry is one of the quickest meals to cook and with the hardest part (preparing vegetables) already completed, it will certainly hit the spot when you are back to craving real food!