We’ve all been there — a last minute, impromptu invitation extended before reality sets in, or your spouse has told their group of friends to come over and casually mentions it to you a few hours prior to their arrival. No worries, I have the perfect spread that takes little effort and just a trip to the grocery store.
First, guacamole. Everyone loves it. You can make your favorite recipe, like Miss Bee prefers, or buy store bought from the deli. To up the level of store bought, just add a hand full of chopped cilantro.
Next, corn relish and cream cheese with Frito’s corn chips. My sister-in-law gave me a jar of corn relish as a hostess gift. I put an 80z block of cream cheese on a platter, poured the corn relish on top, slightly mixed it and arranged a bag of fritos around the platter. Yum.
Chips and salsa is always a winner. Take two bowls and fill one with your favorite salsa and the other bowl with mango/pineapple pico de gallo. They sell these in the deli of my grocery store. Place the two bowls on a large platter, then fill in the base of the dish with tortilla chips.
For a sweet touch, add a bowl of cinnamon pecans. Planters Peanuts sells cinnamon pecans that are delicious. Just pick up a few bags and fill a bowl. If you have time to make something, I have blogged about this recipe for Cheesy Jalapeno Thumbprint Cookies before here. They are delicious!
Done. Five easy appetizers. Just add wine, beer and sodas and you are set for that party and your guests will never know the difference!
On a recent overnight stay at the Inn on Lake Granbury, during their evening happy hour, they served this delicious, savory appetizer. If you are looking for a nice getaway, this Inn is one of my favorite places to stay. Only 40 minutes from Fort Worth, this boutique hotel sits right on Lake Granbury. Even on the hottest day of the summer, the cool breeze from the lake makes it a restful place to relax and regroup.
When I asked for the recipe, they were nice enough to share it with me. I love thumbprint cookies of the sweet variety with icing piled on top. But, this savory option is buttery, cheesy and the hot/sweet of the pepper jelly makes for the perfect yum with wine.
Cheesy Thumbprint Cookies with Hot Pepper Jelly
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (shred your cheese, don’t use the pre-shredded bag cheese)
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 TBL. cold, chilled butter, chopped
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
Blend cheese, flour and butter in food processor until dough is a course-meal texture and forms into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400.
Shape dough into eleven, 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, press thumb into top of each ball, creating an indentation. Spoon about one tsp. pepper jelly into indentation. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Hands down, the modern the twist on a cheese tray these days is the Charcuterie Board. Pronounced shär-ˌkü-tə-ˈrē by definition it’s a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes. I decided to ask Callie Salls owner and Chef of Meyer & Sage to weigh in on the subject for a little Q&A:
What is Meyer & Sage and how did you get started?
Meyer & Sage is a chef-driven weekly meal delivery service. We also provide boutique catering services and custom grazing boards. We are in the process of a dual kitchen build-out and will have a storefront with dine-in options, culinary workshops and grab-and-go options in 2019 located in The Foundry District. Meyer & Sage was my husband Allan’s idea! I’ve owned a personal chef service, Linguine & Dirty Martinis, for the past 8 years and Allan brought up the idea that we could expand our services and work with a team of amazing professionally-trained chefs out of a commercial kitchen.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Charcuterie is French for meat—so as long as some type of meat is included, you have a charcuterie board. Easy peasy!
What are the essential items that make up a Charcuterie board?
Of course, aesthetics are very important, but I also believe texture is crucial for a great board. Crunchy nuts, velvety brie, crumbly bleu, sticky-sugared citrus and chewy dried fruits give the palatte a very intriguing combination. I don’t think any items are essential necessarily, I would just choose items that you enjoy!
These are the items I’ve been adding to my custom charcuterie boards this winter: homemade pesto hummus, marinated fresh mozzarella, marinated castelvetrano olives, 4-5 cheeses, salami or prosciutto, rosemary nuts, fresh fruits, dried fruits, candied lemon slices, crackers and edible wildflowers. I usually always include one bleu cheese, a soft ripened cheese such as a brie, a hard aged cheese like manchego, a classic sharp Tillamook cheddar and then a couple fun finds that I switch out. This week, it was a Red Dragon with mustard seed and a very aromatic Truffled Sottocenere with some fennel and clove.
How would you recommend a hostess styling the Charcuterie board — does it always have to be on a wooden board? Are there other ways to present it.
I love the rustic look of wooden boards, but any platter would do. Make sure to lay down cheese papers or doilies and pre crumble or slice cheeses to avoid cheese knives scratching good silver or porcelain. I also love the idea of presenting straight on a wooden butcher block—perhaps my next purchase for our home!
What would be a good wine, or cocktail, selection that would best accompany a presentation like this?
I would keep it very simple with all the flavors, textures and visual appeal of the board. I would choose a simple grassy & citrus-y white wine such as a sauvignon blanc, an easy drinking red table blend or perhaps a crisp dry rosé in the spring. In terms of cocktails, gin has many herbal and floral notes and would pair nicely with charcuterie board components. I also love the idea of a classic champagne cocktail with a touch of bitters—that would be lovely with a charcuterie spread as well.
People always want just a little something sweet. What’s a good recommendation for the sweet to accompany a Charcuterie board?
I always include local honeycomb topped with dried lavender on my charcuterie boards—it’s incredible with aged manchego. I also usually include dried fruit and nut crackers, seasonal fresh fruit and even a bit of dark chocolate for my Valentine’s Week charcuterie boards.
What’s the best way for someone to contact you for personal meals or party needs?