I love to create big cheese platters for everyone to enjoy throughout the day. Here is how to create a cheese platter, with recipes.
Every year on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I set out a big cheese platter, along with another appetizer or two, to munch on and enjoy throughout the day. In jest, we call it grazing, because really, that’s what we’re doing. We nibble on a little of this and a little of that. A tasty smorgasbord of good eats that, by my rule of thumb, are one to two bites each.
It’s casual, you know? I set out plates, yet those are rarely taken. Rather themed paper cocktail napkins hold the appetizers that are chosen piece-meal. A few at a time, then hold off until the mind starts thinking about all of the offerings on the table, then you’re back again, filling the napkin. Certainly, there’s a main dinner course planned and carefully executed, but both Christmas Eve and Day, are all about the food.
It’s the two days where snacking is not only allowed, but encouraged. Oddly enough, no one is ever left feeling stuffed; on the contrary. It’s just pure satisfaction all day long. The word “diet” doesn’t exist on these two days, nor does any omittance.
Everyone Gets a Mulligan on Grazing For Christmas
I’ve written about it before, letting the grocery store help you out; not everything needs to be homemade. Around this time of year, I bank on semi-homemade, and then designing a pretty presentation that’ll have everyone fooled to think you sweated away in the kitchen preparing everything.
I have a couple ideas here, that are made with five ingredients or less, and take less than 30 minutes to make. Plus, I’m sharing how to create an appetizer platter that looks almost too pretty to eat. Almost. All worthy of an afternoon graze.
To start, let’s talk puff pastry. I always have a package of this stuff on hand in our freezer because it’s the basis for a variety of recipes. In this case, I’m making ham and gruyere puff pastry squares.
You’ll need a box of puff pastry, 6 slices of deli-sliced ham, 1 cup of gruyere cheese, a couple squirts of dijon mustard and an egg for the egg wash. Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly flour the surface and roll out one package of the puff pastry to roughly 10″x12″. Spread mustard leaving a one inch boarder all the way around. Layer the ham covering the mustard, then sprinkle on the cheese. In a separate bowl, beat egg with one tablespoon of water, a fork, and brush around the entire boarder on pastry. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and set aside. Roll out second package of puff pastry, place on top and crimp edges with a fork. Brush entire surface with egg wash. Score surface with a knife, into bite size squares, making sure to score just the top layer of pastry. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Follow score lines and cut into squares and place on a platter. Serve. Simple!
How To Create A Cheese Platter
It’s really your preference of what you want to include. Here, I’ve included a few types of cheeses, along with salami, and crackers. Some cheeses are sliced, one is crumbled and the Camembert is started with a triangle cut out and placed on top. I’ve found if I don’t do this, then no one will start the wheel and eat the cheese. Fig preserves spread on a cracker and topped with cheese is a delicious match made in heaven.
I love to include something briny and that’s where olives come into play. Though I might be the only one that eats them, they’re not to be left out. Along side those are pickled carrots and cauliflower. You can find that recipe here.
A variety of crackers and kettle cooked chips are placed sporadically around the cheeses. Dill and chipotle flavored pistachios are poured into a wooden bowl, and my favorite garlic chili cashews are tossed around the platter. For something sweet, strawberries surround the camembert which pair beautifully, and a jar of sweety drop peppers provide a pop and burst of flavor. Some rosemary sprigs provide Christmasy garnish.
No need for a huge platter, when a cutting board, or a stone slab work wonderfully. A flat surface is your canvas, and then just start painting, or filling in.
I hope this provides some tasty inspiration for you to make. A variety of things to graze on is the perfect all day good eats.
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