Est. 2011

June 27, 2018

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Five Reasons You Should Entertain With A Cheeseboard

    If you’re a longtime reader of A Daily Something, you know that I’m a fan of The Cheeseboard. Cheeseboards are the perfect answer to so many hosting and entertaining conundrums. I even love putting out a cheeseboard as the main course. Stuffing it full of seasonal fruits, loads of cheese, toppings, carbs, etc. Learning The Art of The Cheeseboard is an essential hosting skill, IMHO. I’m here to persuade you on why you should consider adding more cheeseboard to your life, in partnership with Safeway.

Here are FIVE REASONS TO INCLUDE A CHEESEBOARD at your next gathering.

1. SIMPLICITY.
Cheeseboards can be very simple and require very little day-of preparation, especially if you have a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator (read more about how to create A Capsule Kitchen and have a prepared, minimalist kitchen). Keep items like Open Nature Water Crackers, Open Nature Maple Pecan Granola, and jam in your pantry, ready to be added to a cheeseboard at all times. Other items like pickles, olives, and raw nuts are also great pantry essentials that work well on a cheeseboard. Sometimes limiting what you put out and keeping things SIMPLE is the challenge, but learning what works well and pairs well is key! Today’s cheeseboard is an exercise in simplicity.

2. ALLOWS YOU TO FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
Because nearly everything on a cheeseboard can be prepared in advance (or you’re just simply opening packages of cheese and crackers, etc.), you don’t have to worry about spending time on your appetizer before guests arrive. You can set up the board 30 minutes (or sometimes even more) before guests arrive, which frees you to focus on more important tasks, like welcoming guests as they arrive. Or mixing cocktails. Or working on final dinner preparations.

3. IT’S BEAUTIFUL.
There’s nothing like entering someone’s home or kitchen and being greeted by a stunning display. That’s basically what a cheeseboard is: a piled-high display of food that functions as both a centerpiece AND an appetizer. Cheeseboards are very easy to make beautiful; it’s really just about thoughtfully including key ingredients, and then letting the ingredients shine. The more you practice arranging cheeseboards, the more comfortable you will become with the art of piling-high.

When your guests arrive, they are greeted by a piece of art that took relatively little effort to prepare. They can begin feasting while you putz around, tying up loose ends or mixing drinks, or what have you. If the meal is ready (or the cheeseboard IS the meal), you are able to welcome guests and begin mingling and “hosting” without any distraction.

4. EASILY ACCOMMODATES DIETARY RESTRICTIONS.
It’s relatively easy to accommodate different dietary needs with a cheeseboard. If you have guests with dietary restrictions, you can easily include a gluten free option, a protein or fat that’s dairy-free (like nuts), or other items that accommodate dietary needs. It’s important when hosting to know about and try to accommodate our guests’ needs; there’s nothing worse than putting out food, just to realize your guest isn’t able to enjoy any of it (I’ve done that before; learn from my faux pas!). I love finding ways to accommodate my guests’ needs, without having to spend too much time preparing substitute recipes.

5. WHO DOESN’T LOVE A CHEESEBOARD?
Have you ever met someone who DOESN’T enjoy a beautifully styled cheeseboard with intentionally selected accouterments? They’re fun, they’re interactive, and they require that guests get their hands dirty. They also require a degree of vulnerability, and I love embracing vulnerability while entertaining. When both host and guests can let down their guard and feel comfortable enough to smear goat cheese on a cracker, drizzle it with honey, and then munch on the cracker – you know you’ve created an atmosphere where people feel at ease!  And really, the elements of a cheeseboard, when paired smartly, make some of the most delicious flavor combinations I’ve ever come across. Everybody loves cheeseboards!

____

For this rendition of The Cheeseboard, I decided to add some hardboiled eggs, maple and black pepper bacon, and yogurt and granola fixings, and call it a “breakfast-inspired” meal. We enjoyed it for breakfast, and then we feasted on the leftovers for dinner that same night. Honestly, a breakfast cheeseboard is just an excuse to serve bacon, and I used Open Nature Applewood Smoked Bacon with just a little added seasoning, and it was sublime.

For this brekkie cheeseboard, only a bit of preparation was necessary (besides shopping at Safeway first, to ensure my kitchen was well-stocked). I hardboiled some eggs, made whipped yogurt, cooked the bacon, and chopped some green onions. Minimal preparation, really! I’ve included instructions for the whipped yogurt and maple & black pepper bacon below.

I found all my cheeseboard must-haves like Open Nature Applewood Smoked Bacon and Open Nature Crackers at my local Safeway. Open Nature products are Non-GMO and minimally processed. High quality products at a great value makes including them on your cheeseboard even better! To make your own breakfast-inspired cheeseboard, collect these ingredients from your local Safeway, or you can find them exclusively at all Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, and Carrs/Safeway, and follow the instructions below…

Breakfast-Inspired Cheeseboard
serves 4-6 (at least)

Items to Include on Cheeseboard
Open Nature Maple Pecan Granola
Open Nature Cage Free Brown Large Grade A Eggs, hardboiled
Open Nature Water Crackers
Cheeses (I included aged gouda, blue cheese, and goat cheese)
Fresh Fruit (I included cherries, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and grapefruit)
Fresh Herbs (I included thyme and marjoram)
Chopped Green Onions
Salt & Pepper

For Maple & Black Pepper Bacon
Open Nature Applewood Smoked Bacon
2 tbsp real maple syrup
Coarsely ground black pepper

For Whipped Yogurt
1/2 cup Open Nature Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
For Maple & Black Pepper Bacon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay bacon strips on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from oven and brush each slice with maple syrup and sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper. Put back in oven for 5-10 minutes.

For Whipped Yogurt
Put yogurt and whipping cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.

For Assembling Cheeseboard
Start by placing the cheeses and other larger items like bowls of whipped yogurt and granola. Then place ingredients that pair well with each particular cheese nearby that cheese. Salt, pepper, and green onions near the gouda and hardboiled eggs. Blackberries near the blue cheese. Raspberry jam near the goat cheese. Fill any gaps with fresh fruit. Garnish the display with fresh herbs. Et voila, you have the breakfast cheeseboard!

Sponsor Note: Although this post was sponsored by Safeway, all content, words and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the partnerships that help keep this blog running.

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