Friday, August 14, 2009

Entertaining: Easy Schmeezy Appetizer

I'm a big believer that the simplest things are often the best. This especially applies to entertaining. I speak from experience when I say that biting off more than you can chew when entertaining will just end up stressing you out and make you never want to entertain again!

I love to offer a little something to nibble on when people are coming over for dinner... something simple and not too heavy since we will be eating pretty soon. One of my favorite things to do is a cheese board. It is simple, easy and just enough to tide guests over until the meat comes off the grill.

Making a cheese board couldn't be simpler. Here's how:
1. Grab a cutting board. Don't worry if yours is a little "rustic" (a.k.a. scratched up/stained). This gives character to your presentation! I made this one on a small cutting board, but if I were going to add fruit (grapes, still in a cluster and sliced apples or pears), salami or mixed olives (in a cute little dish on top of the board) I would have used my big mother of a cutting board, and it has a very, very used feel...

2. Head down to your friendly, neighborhood Trader Joe's for a selection of cheeses. Try to get a good, varied selection. Today's cheese board featured sharp cheddar (note: from here on out cheddar will be referred to as "cheddah"), mild muenster and a nice, soft brie. Other favorites include a big old hunk of parmigiano reggiano, blue cheese or smoked mozzarella. As goes the old adage, "It's hard to go wrong with cheese." Okay, that's not an old adage... but it should be!
4. Arrange your hunks/wedges of cheese on your cutting board, including a small knife, and place your crackers in a basket alongside. I put mine in this cute little sectioned wood server.
5. Now slice about 1/3 of your block cheeses, leaving the rest of the block on the board. This adds to the homey, rustic charm of this appetizer! For the soft cheeses, like brie and blue cheese, just leave 'em whole, and let guests have at it!
And that's it! This is a great example of how unique presentation can make simple foods into something special.

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