December 26, 2018
AND, just like that, it is the day after Christmas! I hope Santa treated you well, and gave you EVERYTHING you wanted! Let's face it, you have been awesome this year! ;)
I know, you are ready for me to give you my "I am so sad Christmas is over" story. Ha, well, yes, it is sad - I feel like everything has gone "back to normal" (not really, although, not a bad thing) - but I am ready for 2019. Before I get there, though, today was FUN because, not only is it my cousin's birthday and, well, us December gals have to stick together, but we had a "Ladies Who Lunch" at what has become one of my favorite places in northern Baltimore County, The Milton Inn. Side Note: Wait until you see this video that will be going LIVE soon!
Take a peek at some of our craziness...and by craziness, I mean my sister and I...okay, maybe just me!
Oh, and the #foodporn...Crab Dip with Baguette, Hummus with Veggies and Pita, Fall Harvest Salad (small plate), and the Herb Dusted Veal Tenderloin (small plate) with a Side of Veggies and Smoked Gouda Polenta.
That was FUN! Especially after a couple Grey Goose martinis - because, of course - and a splash or two of wine and I was ready to get my party on. Actually, it looked more like "come home, get on pajamas, and pull out leftovers."
In all seriousness, because according to some people I don't know how to let loose and have fun (do you really know me?), I wanted to share with you the still "work in progress" cheese and charcuterie board that I crafted - and still eating on - for Christmas Day. I shared with my parents that I think I need a much bigger board. I had meats and cheeses runneth over and the honeycomb is still sharing the love. Hey, live and learn, right? Plus, I need to get a better gauge as to how much I need in order to feed the crowd of people who are attending.
I had a LOT. That's okay, though; I would much rather have more than less. Plus, the leftovers have been enjoyable to snack on post the Holiday work.
This was my 2nd attempt at putting together a "massive" (for my group of 15-20) board for a party - the 1st was for my sister's surprise Bridal Shower back in May - and, as someone once told me, "you really go full tilt."
Yes, I really do.
Interesting Fact: It took me (almost) 2 hours to put together the entire board/appetizer spread. My takeaway is to start a lot earlier! Luckily, it was all finished before the guests arrived, and I was, almost, put together before my aunt and her family arrived too. Nothing like hosting a party and not being ready. Such a party DON'T.
Honestly, there was no "formality" to what I put together. I do rely on my go-to place in town, The Wine Source, to guide me with their expertise and working knowledge of what is new, exciting, and, of course, some of their favorites. My family was gifted cheeses from a company called "Maytag Dairy Farms" in Wisconsin, so there was plenty of cheddars and blues to go around; and, as I am sure you know, blue cheese is so not my thing.
Not only do I try to get a variety of cheese and charcuterie boards when I am dining out at restaurants to see how they are "built" but, over the past few months, I have pulled some articles out from magazines that talk about creating "THE BEST BOARD."
The 2 biggest trends I have seen - sans yummy cheese and cured meats - are the incorporation of honeycomb, sliced oranges/clementines, and different, yet intriguing, jams. I know, so crazy, but, generally, grapes, dried fruits, and a drizzle of honey or jam make the cut on most boards.
As I mentioned, sharp cheddars and blue cheese were already in abundance so, here is what I did get (and, of course, I wish I had the correct names):
Cheese (most of these were 1/2-3/4 lb.)
- Soft Goat
- Mild Cheddar
- Serrano Ham (3/4 - 1 lb.)
- 2 Types of Chorizo - Mild & Spicy (a little over 1 1lb. of each)
- Pate Campagne (1/2 lb.)
- Dried Fruit
- Blood Orange Segments
- Table (Water) Crackers
- Rustic Nut and Seed Crackers
- Mini Toasts
- Assortment of olives
- Sweet gherkins
- 4 different kinds of jams (a lot of these were gifted)
- 2 different kinds of mustards (grainy and dijon)
- Homemade roasted nuts compiled of almonds, cashews, and walnuts
While I had a handful of entertaining items already (i.e. Crate & Barrel, Kate Spade, Nordstrom, etc.), I did purchase a fair amount from one of my favorite gift stores in Greenspring Station - Becket Hitch. From super cute red tartan chargers, to fun bowls, festive, smaller cheese bowls, and cheese spreaders, it was the perfect touch to the Burgundy table cloth. Oh, and the holly tree that sits outside of my house got a little lovin' as it was strategically placed around the board and various portions of the table. A great filler to add a little pizazz, punch, and merriment!
Ah, yes, and the blue cheese stands alone, LOL.
Bottom line, be creative, and choose what YOU like. There is no right or wrong to what works or what does not work. There is no judgement or "politically correct" way to put a board together. I think some of the best are the ones that are super creative, and what represent YOU. Hence why I am a big fan of having the chef (or "expert") pick, of course, with a few requests.
Enjoy, and I would love to see pictures of your creations!