That’s one thing my mother, the queen of the flawless presentation, has taught me; food tastes better when it looks better. (She also says food tastes better when someone else fixes it, but I digress....)
I went over to my parents’ house the other day for a casual Sunday dinner … As I walk in the door I am greeted by an impeccable cheese tray (appe-teaser!) and a dining room table that looked like something from a magazine.
Just my parents and I, but the setting made an atmosphere and the atmosphere made dinner an occasion and the food, well it was delicious!
So here’s what you need to throw together a gorgeous cheese tray, no cooking required, and have your Sunday dinner guests talking about your mad hostess skills…
• Variety of cheeses. I like Smoked Gouda, Brie and Goat Cheese (or simply Cream Cheese if you prefer). It is nice to go ahead and slice the harder cheeses (Gouda) but the others you can simply toss on a decorative knife (less work, very chique).
• Fruit. Dried Figs (Sun-maid sells them in a red bag), sliced Apples (great with the Smoked Gouda), and/or Grapes.
• Nuts. Almonds I have found are pretty universally liked and a safe bet. Walnuts, cashews, etc. Really anything except peanuts (unless you’re at a ballpark).
• Meat. Prosciutto is lovely but hard to find and pricey. Hard Salami is a nice flavor but difficult to chew so be sure to make it into thin slices.
• Crackers. A water cracker with minimal flavor is ideal. Stay away from the sweet (Club or Wheat thins) and the salty (Saltines and Triscuits) that could take away from your other flavors. You can also substitute crackers for thinly sliced French bread (more work).
You can add, delete or change these items to suit your taste. I wouldn’t recommend anything that needs to be heated or cooked and nothing that creates juice (olives, etc.) or waste (i.e. strawberries unless you remove the leaves first).
Once you’ve got everything you need, find a nice tray or even a wooden cutting board to display it on. Step back and make sure you can see a little bit of everything. It’s okay to save some in the fridge to refill later because I’ll tell you if it looks good, it will be eaten!!!
More on how to set a gorgeous table later… perhaps I’ll let the queen-bee blog that one herself…