A lot of is made about the size of current NBA contracts, and with good reason, as players today are making astronomical sums in terms of total contract size. As such, when looking at the highest-paid players in NBA history, it stands to reason that …
It’s been over five years since I wrote about my first Breville oven, calling it the perfectly even oven. My test was to pipe a spiral of cream puff pastry to see how it browned and it was perfectly even.
I have been so enamored of this oven, I have since purchased one as a wedding gift and another to have in my weekend home.
A few weeks ago, I discovered the latest model, the Smart Oven Air. When I learned about the extra features this newer slightly larger model offers I had to have it. And I’m totally smitten! I’ve even put it to use for a newly developed terrific technique, which I will share at the end of this posting. First: here are the new features that I most value:
An oven light that can be turned off or on at will (oh joy!)
Two oven racks
A dehydrating setting and mesh basket (I’ll be using this for my citrus powder)
A proofing setting for bread dough between 80°F/27°C and 100°F°/38°C
(I tested it and it holds true to temperature with no more than 3°F fluctuation.)
Now here is my great new discovery: Anyone who has ever tried to melt white or milk chocolate without stirring it constantly, has learned the hard way that it will seed. This is caused by the milk solids in the chocolate. And there is no way of restoring the little specks of hardened milk solids. But, if you heat the chocolate at 100°F/38°C it will melt gradually to be as smooth as silk. In short, you can place it in a container in the Breville, turn it to the proofing setting, set the temperature to 100°F/38°C, and leave it to melt on its own.
How to Build A Holiday Pantry Cheeseboard – create a show-stopping holiday cheese board with delicious Roth cheeses by shopping your pantry. I’ll show you what to buy to have a beautiful and balanced board in no time.
This post is kindly sponsored by Roth Cheese. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
I can make different appetizers with fillings in puff pastry and dips and spend ages making unique things to nibble on, but everyone gravitates to the cheeseboard. (I’m not hating on things in puff pastry or a dip – there is a time and place for sure.) Maybe it is because a cheese board just looks so welcoming and inviting?
These days, I often skip making traditional appetizers and only serve a cheese board or grazing table. Especially during the busy holiday season. Who has time for anything else?
A secret about a holiday cheese board is that it takes very little effort on your part. Having a well-stocked holiday pantry makes it easy to create a gorgeous board like this one in no time. It does not take a lot to make a board seem abundant, overflowing, interesting, and seasonal. Just some strategic shopping and you are good to go.
What Kind of Cheese Do I Put on a Holiday Cheese Board?
If you have been to a cheese shop or grocery store lately, then you know there are some incredible cheeses to choose from. I think that it can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to cooking and entertaining. There are often HUNDREDS of varieties in the cheese case. There are no hard and fast rules for choosing cheese for a board. Anything goes really, but what I think works best is a variety of flavors and textures. I tend to make sure that I have something for everyone on each board I create.
My biggest piece of advice is to put cheeses that you like to eat on the board. If you don’t know what you like, try a new cheese each time you go to the grocery store. Bring home a small portion and see what you like about it. Is it creamy? Is it hard or soft? Do you love chèvre? Do you love Aged Gouda?
When in doubt, ask the person at the cheese counter what they like or what they recommend. I do this almost every time I buy cheese from a specialty shop or specialty cheese section. Cheese people are passionate about their product. Often, they will let you sample before purchasing. I often say, “I have alpine-style Grand Cru® and Gouda, what else should I include?” and they will have great suggestions and advice for you.
Hard cheeses – this can be Parmesan, Aged Gouda, aged cheddar, Canela. These cheeses are typically very savory and bold. They often crumble and have a unique texture. They usually have a rind you cannot eat, but save it and add the rind to soups or stews to add another layer of flavor.
Semi-hard cheeses – these cheeses are often aged, but softer than the hard cheeses. Grand Cru®, Gouda. Grand Cru® is my go-to (and my husband’s favorite cheese) and on every cheese board I make. It is alpine-style, mellow, and just looks beautiful sliced into triangles.
Crumbly or soft cheeses – These are cheeses you can typically spread on a cracker. Brie, Chèvre, feta, Camembert, fresh mozzarella. These cheeses are creamy, typically mild, and moist. (Don’t hate me for using that word, but they are kind of wet.) They are very distinct in flavor, fresh and milky. I like to add Chèvre to my cheese boards because I often will roll it in dried fruits or herbs for color to bring my palette together.
Blue cheeses – I put these in a category of their own. Blue cheeses are soft, but I find they are either something you like or don’t like. I happen to love blue cheese and Buttermilk Blue® is mild enough for even people that swear they don’t like blue cheese. This is a bold, distinctly-flavored cheese. I like to spread it on a piece of bread with a drizzle of honey.
Wild card – This is where you can really go crazy. A stinky cheese, holiday-flavored cheese, a new variety – something completely unique and different. Let your guests experience something FUN. This is also where I rely on the help of the person selling cheese. Ask them for a recommendation for a wild card and they will deliver.
How Much Cheese to Buy For A Holiday Cheese Board? //
When I am selecting cheeses for my cheese board, I choose 3 to 5 different types and varieties. I try to have different textures and flavors, but any more than 5 and it gets overwhelming (and could also be expensive).
If I am serving this strictly as an appetizer, I assume a person will eat 2 ounces of cheese. I buy a little more than that as a buffer, I always err on the side of having too much and not enough.
If I am only serving a cheese board or having a grazing table, I double that and assume each person will eat 5 to 6 ounces total. That 5 to 6 ounces include meats and cheese and everything on the board itself.
What I Keep Stocked In My Holiday Pantry //
I’m going to confess to something that I am both embarrassed and proud of: I have a cabinet in my laundry room that is strictly my cheese board-making pantry.
I keep my cheese board pantry stocked with nuts, pickles, olives, dried fruits, crackers, mustards, seasonal things, jams, jellies, honey, anything that I see when I am shopping that I think will look or taste great with cheese.
When we lived in Europe, I did not buy typical souvenirs. I would go to a local grocery store and buy fun and unique things that I couldn’t get anywhere else or that the region was known for. I have holiday jellies from France and preserved lemons from Morocco and Marcona almonds from Spain and honey from Slovenia. It makes me so happy to pull them off the shelf and use them and think about where they came from.
I loved coming home from our travels and continuing the adventure on my plate. I don’t live in Europe anymore, but I still get delighted to find fun things while shopping.
Being able to shop my well-stocked (ok, fine, OVERFLOWING) pantry allows me to create a cheese board whenever I am feeling inspired – whether that is to have a movie-watching couch date on a Wednesday or a full-blown holiday gathering. I can go to that cabinet and pick and choose things to make my board festive, inviting, and interesting.
Along with the idea that cheeses should be different textures and flavors, I think everything else on the board should be as well. Sweet with salty, crunchy with soft, you get the idea.
Savory Pantry Items //
Sweet Pantry Items
Delivery Vehicles/Crunchy Things
Festive and Seasonal
Seasonal garnishes (this doesn’t have to be food, think seasonal serving pieces like mini ornaments or glittery mini trees)
Seasonal Breads, like Pumpkin or Cranberry Orange
Fresh things to add
Spoons, picks, and forks
TIP //Line your boards or platters with parchment paper – this makes clean up so much easier.
You do not need to have everything on this list, but having one or two things from each category will allow you to make a beautiful, well-balanced, festive cheeseboard whenever the mood strikes.
Creating a holiday cheese board doesn’t have to be difficult. By having a well-stocked pantry and delicious Roth cheese, you will be able to serve your guests at a moment’s notice. If you need some help styling your board, check out this post. I share all of my best tips for making a board that tastes AND looks amazing.
Thank you to Roth Cheese for sponsoring this post. I am proud to partner with brands that I genuinely love and serve to my family and friends.
I wrote a cookbook, my first dessert cookbook with @penguinindia, and of course it’s CHOCOLATE! Thank you so much for all your support, for all the preorders, and for sharing posts and stories of my precious book as you receive the preorders. Publication Day is here and gone, and it was a moment of joy, relief, nervousness – pretty much all mixed up emotions!
Hi sweet people, I hope you are coping with everything that is going on around the world. All we can do is pray and have hope for better days ahead. Sending you all the biggest warmth felt hugs.Easter might not feel the same this year for a lot of people, but I know that baking […]