BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

The Haphazard Cheese Plate

I had two of my favorite men over for lunch today: Todd Smith, co-founder of Stunner of the Month, a brilliant monthly sunglasses delivery service (For just $9/month, you get a stylish pair of stunners in the mail. They actually use an algorithm to choose a perfect pair just for you—it rocks.) and Stuart Schuffman, AKA Broke-Ass Stuart, budget travel writer extraordinaire and star of the forthcoming IFC show, Young, Broke and Beautiful (it premiers on Friday at 11/10C, yo— tell your friends).

I whipped up one of my favorite light summertime soups, picked up a fresh baguette from Urban Bread and iced down a few cold Sam Summers. Still, it didn’t quite seem like enough food. A cheese plate, I decided, would round out the meal.

I scavenged through my pantry and fridge and decided on some leftover Curried Apricot Cheese Spread, dried apricots, Marcona almonds, mozzarella di bufala, fresh raspberries, aged Parmesan, sliced prosciutto and a little pot of honey. I arranged it all on a raw wood cutting board and let the boys slice their own chunks of bread to scoop up the goodies with. It was lovely…and it got me thinking about cheese plates.

You see, a truly good cheese plate is more involved than setting out a hunk of cheddar and a few Ritz crackers, but not much. The trick is to offer a variety of flavors and textures (salty, creamy, sweet, savory, crunchy), which can be easily accomplished by augmenting the plate beyond cheese and bread/crackers. Add nuts, chopped fruit (fresh or dried), honey and/or meats. Spread it all on a nice serving platter or wooden cutting board, add bread and/or crackers and let guests serve themselves. See below for some of my favorites, but feel free to let your creativity guide you.

aged white cheddar
creamy goat cheese
triple creme (such as brie)
smoked gouda
gorgonzola dolce
mozzarella di buffala
aged Parmesan

green/red grapes
sliced white peaches
sliced green apples
dried apricots
dried currants
dried cranberries
dried mango

sliced salami
sliced prosciutto
sliced Black Forrest ham,
sliced coppa

roasted hazelnuts
smoked almonds
roasted marcona almonds
sweet glazed pecans
raw almonds

chunks of dark chocolate
honey in a little pot
real maple syrup

toasted pita triangles
sliced baguette
melba toast
thick wheat crackers
golden butter crackers
savory shortbread rounds

What do you like to put on your cheese plate?

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