I love to entertain, it makes me happy to have people over for dinner, have BBQ’s with friends, and Sunday family dinners. I love to spend time planning out the perfect menu, but I know for most people it can be stressful. Here comes a quick entertaining idea that is easy, can be put together quickly, and be done ahead of time.
Start with a nice looking wood cutting board like one of the ones below. Boards like these can be found at stores like Marshalls and Home Goods (make sure you use these boards only for entertaining and not when you are in the kitchen cooking, if you scratch them or they get worn looking they will not be as nice to look at). Look for different shapes and sizes, different colored woods, grab a slab of marble, anything that is a little different works perfectly. These boards will come in handy for plating many different things at parties or dinners you host.
Next, grab some different cheeses. Typically you should offer three to four different cheeses. A soft cheese, such as a Brie, Mozzarella, Blue Cheese Brie (my Sophie’s FAVORITE) or a Camembert. A semi-soft cheese is another great choice for a cheese board; cheeses like Stilton, Gouda, Jarlsberg, or a traditional Blue Cheese (you just cannot go wrong with Blue Cheese). On to a Semi-Hard cheese; Spanish Manchego, Provolone, or a Gruyere are some good ones to try. Lastly, hard cheeses. Aged Cheddar, Parmesan, or one of my favorites, Asiago. Another time saving option, head to Costco and buy the package of Prosciutto and Mozzarella cheese roll ups. They are perfect for a cheese board and you can cut them in to thirds and place on the board. Now you have one of the cheeses covered along with the heartiness of the prosciutto.
Next up, fruit. Red and green grapes are the perfect accompaniment to any cheese board. They look beautiful, easy to pop in your mouth, and fill the board nicely. Figs are another option that simply look beautiful when cut and placed on the board. Really you can use any fruit that you enjoy. How about some sliced cantaloupe alongside some prosciutto. Use whatever fruit is in season and bright and fresh. Nuts are easy to fill in on the board and add a different element. Use almonds, walnuts or pistachios (look for the ones that are shelled, the green color is not only amazing to look at, but let’s be honest, it’s much easier then shelling them). Crackers can be fanned out on the board or hard breadsticks can be put in a tall glass and kept next to the cheese board. Those of us with husbands who have good appetites (yes, my hubby loves food, maybe even more than me, ok probably not, perhaps we are tied) sometimes they need more than just cheese…what? Did I really say something more than cheese? I could live on cheese, but I know some men (ok, ladies too) need some meat too. Add some sliced salami and you have that covered. Lastly, fresh herbs. Fresh rosemary is a great option because it can be tucked in by the grapes or cheese. It adds a beautiful earthy texture to the cheese board. Fresh rosemary can be purchased at your local grocery store or you can grow it your self. Rosemary grows beautifully in a pot or in the ground, is drought tolerant and grows quickly.
Simple, easy, and just plain YUMMY! Add some chilled white wine and prosecco and you have something that will wow your guests.