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A hack for your next cheese board.
Thank me later :)
How are you? How’s your kitchen? I’ve been taking full advantage of tomato season in mine. We’ve been eating tomato sandwiches, making lots of panzanella with leftover stale bread, and last night, I blended up the extremely illustrious—at least among cold soup enthusiasts—best gazpacho for dinner.
I’ve also made a couple batches of the Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce from our latest e-book, Meal Prep Made Simple. So good. If you’re new here or catching up on back issues of the Fresh Letter, last week, I shared that Meal Prep Made Simple is available for pre-order now! Yay! And Abigail and I have a few goodies for the folks who grab their copy before the October release date: a 15% discount on our next cooking class and two playlists (one for podcasts, one for tunes) to keep you company while you cook.
Okay, onto this week’s tip. Let’s talk about grazing boards. Maybe you call them charcuterie platters, cheese pates, or my personal favorite, big fancy snacks—you know what I’m talking about: a spread of cheese, dips, veggies, and various accoutrement and little nibbles set out in a (hopefully) aesthetically pleasing way, inviting guests to go ahead and help themselves to a little snack.
I’ve been known to make an entire meal of big fancy snacks and have talked extensively about the edible elements that go into building one that is beautiful and satisfying. But what about the surface upon which you place those lovely edible elements?
Today, I want to talk to you about incorporating a humble and in my personal opinion, completely underrated kitchen helper into your next cheese board: parchment paper.
I’m sure you’ve made use of it for one baking project or another, but a little scrap of parchment paper can do so much more—Use it as wrapping paper! Fashion it into a little envelope and cook some very satisfying white fish in it! Make chocolate bark on top of it!
And yes, you should absolutely incorporate it into your next grazing board. Here’s how:
Basically, you’re using parchment paper as the base for your board to make cleanup a true breeze, but there are a few ways to go about it.
Most obviously: start with a cutting board or perhaps a board or surface specifically made for charcuterie. Cut a piece of parchment to be about 1-2inches smaller than the dimensions of the board, place it on top, then build your grazing platter from there.
No board? No problem. I love to use parchment to pretty up a standard baking sheet and build my grazing board on top of this. This application is especially great if you need a medium-large portable surface to serve your charcuterie on top of, but you don’t have anything quite large enough. I used this exact method for a Friendsgiving appetizer situation a few years ago and it was perfect for snacks for a group of 10.
My favorite application: build your grazing board directly on top of the table with parchment paper laid down as a barrier to protect the table top. This allows for a lot of flexibility. You can cover your entire table in snacks for a really large gathering, or just a portion of it for your next micro dinner party. For whatever reason, a board built on parchment directly on top of the table makes things feel rustic, casual, warm, and welcoming.
No matter which method you choose, the most delightful thing about this little charcuterie hack comes at the end of the evening when everyone’s all grazed out. Crumple the parchment, toss it, and cleanup is pretty much complete!
Alright, I’m curious, would you try this? I hope so! I heard we’re all getting a little preemptively excited for fall, and to me, autumn is the perfect time to gather inside around a cozy grazing board!
Okay, we’ve covered it! As always, wishing you a lovely, well-fed week ahead.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,