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charcuteries / cheese board

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I'm not a professional so bare with me.

I am making a dinner for a girl coming over and I wanted to do some sort of cheese and charcuteries board, (no sure if I am using that word in the right context).

I've had something at a restaurant and it was fantastic. They paired each cheese with something such as a fruit, or sauce.

So far I've thought of brie with roaster garlic
Melon with prosciutto
Gorgonzola with something?
I remember having a balsamic reduction with something, but I forget what it was. What cheese would be fitting for that?

Also I will have assorted vegies, olives, cured meat, bread and crackers.

Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 9
The charcuterie is my favorite part of dinner parties!!! You don't necessarily have to pair each cheese with something, but it's great to have an assortment of cheeses, fruits, nuts, etc that compliment eachother and let people choose their own pairings. Every so often my husband and I indulge in one of these for dinner. Here are the typical components of my cheese platter more or less:

Thomas Keller says that "a good cheese plate always includes a nice goat cheese." So I always start by choosing that!

Cheeses
-Blue cheese whether it's gorgonzola, rocquefort, or a mild Danish blue (my fave).
-A hard cheese such as parmiggiano reggiano, or a Spanish Manchego.
-A semi-soft cheese like smoked gouda, gruyere, or fresh Asiago:bounce:
-Soft cheese like brie or goat cheese, I prefer goat cheese but people love brie.

Meats
-Proscuitto is a must - it's silky, salty, and pairs beautifully with semi-soft cheeses.
-Dry salami or sopressatta- we can't do without.

Fruits, Nuts, & Nibbles
-Pear slices - a pear tastes nice, blue cheese tastes really nice, but pair them together and the flavor explodes in your mouth!
-Figs - whether they are fresh figs in season or fig jam made from dried figs you cannot beat the flavor combo of figs, proscuitto, and asiago. Trust me on this, if you need a fig jam recipe let me know it's very very simple to make ahead.
-Grapes - little bursts of sweetness.
-Nuts - I like all nut combinations, many people might suggest candied nuts or smoked nuts, they're all good.
-Olives - kalamata are great. To prepare them put them in a little bowl the day before, drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of red wine vinegar, stir in some oregano and a couple of bay leaves. They're ready to eat the next day.

Bread
- You should have at least 2 choices, one fresh sliced baguette, and something crunchy like melba toast or triscuits or any kind of cracker you prefer.

Wine
I'm no expert on wine, hubby usually chooses a nice red chianti for us. Hopefully you'll get good responses on this crucial component.

By the way, does anyone have a recipe for an onion jam or relish? I've been wanting to incorporate onions on my platter but don't know how to.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 9
Balsamic reductions are sweet, so I would suggest pairing it with a salty cheese like Parmiggiano. Often when pairing flavors opposites attract like sweet melon with salty proscuitto etc. It's all about opposite flavor sensations and textures.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Cheers! Thanks for your post it helped me a lot!

I went to the local store and got some fantastic looking foods for tonite! Wish me luck :p
post #5 of 9
Was just reading your post and watching a show doing onion jam!

Went roughly like this....

4-5 medium white onions, halved, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp soft brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce

heat pan to medium, olive oil in. Saute onions & garlic till starting to brown, add sugar, stir in well.
Add Worcestshire sauce, stir in well, add sweet soy, mix.

Heat down to low, lid on, simmer 15 mins.
Lid off, simmer 10 minutes, till most of the the liquid is gone.
Cool, refrigerate for up to 10/12 days.

Hope that helps :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #6 of 9
It sure does, thanks for posting. Do you think onion jam would be good for a cheese platter? I would imagine it'd be nice paired with goat cheese.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 9
"Wish me luck"

Ummm... Matt-

Just how lucky are you hoping to get? :blush:

Anyway, like you say,

Good Luck. ;)

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #8 of 9
This forum ought to have some sort of warning or disclaimer about how it could be bad for your health. I was reading this thread and had to stop to fix a snack. Some thin slices off what's left of my last block of parm, some pickled onions [ cipolline ] and a glass of white wine. Some may gag, but have you ever tried an anchovy filet between two thin slabs of parmesan?

Doing a cucumber and onion fresh pickle is one approach, the previously mentioned cipolline another. Here's something you might want to try. It is simple but takes a while to cook. I do it either as a soup or what I call a marmelade to garnish a roast. Throw in some apple pieces during the slow braise and it is really good on pork.

2 - 3 medium sweet onions, Vidalia, Mayan, etc.
1 red onion
3 - 4 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
1/2 cup or so dry white wine

Heat a large, heavy skillet (one with a lid) over low heat, add the butter. Trim and peel the onions, cut in half along the equator. French each half into thin slivers. I should take some pictures of this part, it is much easier to do than explain. Basically you want to end up with all the onion pieces being maybe an inch or so in length.

Put about one onion's worth of slivers into the skillet. Sprinkle with a few generous pinches of the kosher salt. Put in another layer of onions, sprinkle with salt, another layer of onions, more salt, repeat until the onions are all in. Cover the skillet and do something else for 15 - 20 minutes or so. The bottom layer of the onions should be nice and soft, and if the heat is correct not browned. But if any browning does occur, don't worry about it, you may even want to encourage some browing later on. Stir up the mix trying to get the soft onions on top and the raw ones on the bottom. Cover, go away for another 15 - 20 minutes. Stir again, cover, wait. Repeat as neccessary until all the onions are fully cooked and soft, and you have what basically looks like onion porridge in the skillet. Total cooking time so far should be on the order of an hour and a half or so.

Bring the heat up to medium high and pour in the wine. Simmer, stir and reduce until you get a nice, syrupy consistency. At this point the onions will be very soft and sweet, as the long slow braise coupled with the alkaline salt has negated all of the acidic sulpher compounds that give onions their eye watering bite. But they still taste like onions.

At this point you can cool it for an onion marmelade. Or pour in a quart or two of beef stock, some black pepper, perhaps a dash of tarragon, simmer for a bit and make a sweet onion soup out of it.

The wine and cheese is gone, must be time to shut up.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #9 of 9
I like the sound of onion marmelade. It's basically the start of a french onion soup I see.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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