Gina's Homemade Mozzarella and Fresh Vegetables Make this Finger Food.
Smart Kitchen Vegetable Crudité with Gina's Homemade Mozzarella
Recipes > Vegetable Dishes > Smart Kitchen Vegetable Crudité with Gina's Homemade Mozzarella

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Recipe Checklist:
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (Roasted, Julienned)
  • 1 Zucchini (Grilled, Bâtonned)
  • 1 Heirloom Tomato (Bâtonned)
  • 1 French Baguette (cut on a bias into 1” thick slices)
  • 2 oz of Garlic (Minced)
  • 4 oz of Whole Butter
  • 4 oz of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 8 oz of Gina’s Homemade Buffalo Mozzarella, (Parmentier or Small Dice)
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
Tools & Equipment
  • Cutting Board
  • Bread Knife
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grill
  • 2 Saucepans (small)
  • Small Bowl
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Pastry Brush
Estimated Time
45 Minutes
8-10 Crudité
+ -


These three Smart Kitchen Crudité are served together as part of an appetizer tray for 3-4 diners. You can prepare them and serve them simultaneously. Making this happen will require using all 4 Levers of Cooking™ with an important focus on your organization.

The dish will sink or swim based on the quality of your ingredients. In our case, we used Gina's Homemade Mozzarella to make our Crudité shine.


Gina's Homemade


Squaring Off is Also a Sampling Opportunity


Method for Roasted Bell Pepper Crudité


Roasted Bell Pepper Crudité


Preheat your grill to 400° F (204°C). Often modern grills have a thermometer built into the lid. If your grill has one and its accurate, it is a good way to know the temperature. Once the grill is heated to the proper temperature, place the bell pepper on the grate and close the lid. After 2 minutes, open the lid and turn. Keep the grill lid open and continue to turn and check until the skin has blackened considerably. Take out and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in for 5 minutes. Take out and place under room temperature running water and wash off all the blackened skin. De-rib and De-seed the roasted bell pepper. Cut the remaining flesh into Bâtonnet. Set your Bell Pepper on top of your garlic bread and set your cubed Gina’s Homemade Mozzarella on top.

Finish with a Balsamic Reduction. Garnish with fresh cut Chive. Serve at room temperature.


Method for Garlic Bread

Set your Whole Butter in a small sauce pan and melt at Medium/Low Heat. Once melted, add your Minced Garlic to the Sauce Pan and cook in the butter for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes Hold the Garlic Butter on a Warming Heat (as low as your burner can go). Keep it warm until ready for use.


Slice Your French Bread into 1 inch Pieces


Slice your French Bread into 1"  wide segments. Toast them. Once toasted to your satisfaction butter them with the Garlic Butter by dipping your Pastry Brush into the Garlic Butter and "Painting" each slice of toast with butter. Typically, buttering the toast is one of the last steps prior to assembly.


Method for Heirloom Tomato Crudité


Heirloom Tomato Crudité


Heirloom Tomatoes are culinary antiques from a time before massive corporate farming operations standardized the breeds for yield and uniform appearance. Using Heirlooms offers unique visual appeal, frequently superior flavor, and helps sustain the tomato seed stock.

Set your Heirloom Tomato upright and thinly slice it. Take each slice and square if off. Once Squared Off, cut into Bâtonnet. To assemble, set your heirloom tomatoes on top of your garlic bread and set your cubed Gina's Homemade Mozzarella on top. Finish with reduced balsamic. Garnish with fresh cut Chive. Serve at room temperature.


Method for Zucchini Crudité


Zucchini Crudité


Preheat your grill to 400° F (204°C). De-seed your Zucchini by Squaring Off the Zucchini. Discard the bulk of the center of the Zucchini and save the seedless, 4 cut sides.


Square off the Zucchini but Discard the Center & Retain the Sides


Season each side with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on your grill at a 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock orientation for Marking on the Grill purposes.


Start at Either 10 O'Clock or 2 O'Clock


With the lid open, mark for 2 minutes in the initial position, then turn to the next position with tongs.

If your product began the marking process at 10 o’clock pick it up with tongs and twist it before returning the Zucchini to the grill at the 2 o‘clock position.


When Properly Grilled & Marked Your Zucchini is Ready


When both sides are marked, remove the Zucchini from the heat and Bias Cut them in ½“ thick slices.

Set your Zucchini cuts on top of your garlic bread and set your cubed Gina’s Homemade Mozzarella on top. Finish with Reduced Balsamic. Garnish with fresh cut Chive. Serve at room temperature.

Method for Assembly


Assembling the Crudité


Lay out your garlic toasts as the foundation for each Crudité. Decide how you want to arrange the offering and then begin placing each of the Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, or Bell Pepper cuts on top of individual slices of toast as dictated by your design. Cover each toast with Parmentier Diced Mozzarella cubes.


Parmentier or Medium Diced Gina's Homemade Buffalo Mozarella


Drizzle on the Balsamic Reduction for color, flavor and “Flair” with a steady hand. Finally cap off each Crudité with a sprig of freshly cut Chive if possible. Serve at room temperature on an appropriately decorous tray or dish.


Mis En Place

One of the most important of the Four Levers of Cookingis Organization. Part of what Smart Kitchen teaches, aside from techniques is how to bring all your dishes to the dining table at the appropriate time.

To have all 3 Crudités completed at the same time so that all are ready for service simultaneously requires some forethought and organization. We felt it was a good idea to walk through how we organized and the order in which we completed each step. It may seem like a busy dance, but many of the processes have a natural lag time to them, and many of the processed ingredients have decent hold times at room temperature or can be held warm. We use these logistical facts to our advantage by starting long lead time items (heating the grill) first and working with items that will Hold (butter, diced mozzarella, etc.) during the lulls.

In our preparation, we chose to use an outdoor grill to Roast the Peppers though a Stove with a gas burner would work equally well. We know it takes a while for the grill to come to temperature so it was our first task. While waiting for the grill to heat up, we had free time which we used to start Melting the Whole Butter (it will hold on a Warming Heat, once melted) and to Dice into Parmentier (Medium Dice) the terrific Mozzarella from Gina’s Homemade in Arizona. We also knocked off Mincing the Garlic cloves before checking the heat on the grill. In our case it had temperature at the first check so we could begin to Roast the Peppers.

After the Bell Pepper was on the flame, we had a brief respite. We used it to add the minced garlic to the melted butter.   While the Garlic Butter was cooking for 3 minutes, we shifted focus again and returned to the grill to turn the Bell Pepper and throw on the Zucchini in its first position. We returned to the stove, stirred the garlic butter and lowered the heat to Hold it warm on the flame.

Next we returned to the grill to remove the pepper and reposition the Zucchini. The well-fired pepper came off the flame and into a bowl.


Our Pepper in a Plastic Wrapped Bowl


We covered the bowl with plastic wrap while waiting for the flame to do its job in the zucchini’s second position.

When the Zucchini was done, we removed it from the flame to a holding plate and brought it and the plastic wrapped bell pepper inside to meet our Chef’s Knife.

We de-skinned the bell pepper under cold water which is a bit messy then put the pepper and the zucchini side by side on the cutting board where one was Bâtonneted and the other Bias Cut.

At this point, we Bias Cut and toasted the French Bread and got our second sauce pan onto the Low Heat for a Simmer and added in the Balsamic Vinegar.


Add in Some Good Balsamic


We watched the pot carefully as the balsamic Reduced so as not to burn it and possibly ruin the pot, but we did have a few minutes to utilize.


Keep an Eye on the Balsamic as it Reduces


In our case, we Squared Off the Heirloom Tomato and de-seeded it prior to making a Bâtonnet. We checked the Balsamic Reduction. We had a minute so we Squared Off the fabulous Gina’s Product and started working towards the Parmentier.

A bit of the discarded, squared off product was sacrificed to the Gods of the Kitchen (read sampled) before we turned our complete focus to the Balsamic Reduction.


When the Balsamic has Reduced, It Will Have Legs Like Wine


When it has thickened as in the photo and has “legs” like wine on a wine glass it is ready for our purposes. Once reduced to the described consistency, turn the heat source on your burner down to a Warming Heat as low as it will go before snuffing itself out.

 With the reduction holding, we had to work quickly so that it didn’t solidify. We pulled the French Bread slices from the toaster and “painted” them with the garlic butter to prepare the canvas for each of our Crudités. We finished Dicing the Mozzarella and we were ready for assembly.