Cheese Board

For a busy holiday party, I find it easier to serve an appetizer or cheese board while everyone is waiting for the dinner hour.  When guests arrive, it is very easy to have many types of cheese, nuts, dried fruit, condiments, crusty and multi-seeded bread ready to go. Guests can serve themselves while they enjoy conversation with others and the family.

I usually set up the table earlier in the day or the day before, depending on the guests’ arrival time.  I have the serving dishes ready to go and mark them with post-it notes so it is an easy task to assemble at the last-minute.

This technique has worked for me over the years and keeps me from not having to hunt for a certain platter or dish just as the party is starting.

This past Easter I served a cheese board with four cheeses, complimented with many choices for both sweet and savory snacking.

Here are some photos which included the following choices:

white cheddar cheese with blue seedless grapes, fig jam, and hard salami

mini mozzarella balls with grape tomatoes and fresh basil

black and green olives with small dill pickles

aged cheddar with blueberry honey and candied tangerine slices

Bremner wafers with candied ginger nuts

Gouda cheese with natural almonds and dried cherries

Dill Havarti cheese with crusty bread and multi-grain seeded bread

Carr’s crackers, raspberries and bar cheddar cheese

Chocolate eggs and jelly belly beans

Martha’s ginger scented pecans

Holiday seasoned nuts are very popular.  I have tried a couple of recipes over the years, and decided to try one from Martha’s Hors d’oeuvres Handbook.  These were very flavorful toasted nuts that were a favorite of my family.

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The toasting brings out a nice texture of the pecan, and the ginger flavor was not strong or overpowering.  I made a smaller amount from her recipe and the ingredients were perfect to taste and texture.

Here is how I adapted Martha’s recipe:

Gather the following ingredients.  3 cups or 2 bags of pecan halves, 1/2 cup sugar, 1  1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 tablespoons agave or honey, and 2 teaspoon canola oil.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bake the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast about 12 minutes.  Combine sugar, salt and ginger in a small bowl.  Next, combine the honey, 2 tablespoons water, and the oil in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.

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Add the pecans when they are done roasting, and cook until all of the liquid is gone.  Then, toss with the sugar ingredients.

Spread on parchment paper to cool.  Store in a covered jar or container for about one week.        SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES