Keep it simple and entertain well.
Sometimes for me, just keeping it easy can be even more enjoyable and rewarding as some of the multi course fancy dinner party’s I throw. Gathering one or two couples, cracking open a few nice bottles of vino and grazing on what I like to call a “nosh plate” can make for one great relaxing evening.
I find inventing and creating the plate is as enjoyable as it is to eat. It becomes fun and challenging to create a work of art with different textures, colors and sweet and salty treats. I find myself always on the hunt to find something unique and different to add to the plate. Ill visit local ethnic markets and I always keep my eyes open when I travel for that different flavor bite.
Recently I picked up some beautiful lean salamis, sausages, and Canadian bacon from a local Russian import market. While roaming the isles there I found a huge jar of sweet red peppers that were delicious.
On my frequent international travels I always stop at grocery stores and look for specialty items popular to each region. For example, I found amazing pates in Paris, Olive oils and olives from Spain, Chocolate from New Zealand, or my favorite flatbread from Austrailia’s grocery store Coles. Whatever catches your eye amnd looks interesting to you…go for it!!
I generally pick 2 to 3 specialty cheeses that differ from each other. Perhaps a soft and creamy triple cream brie, a pungent full-flavored blue, or a grainy/firm cave aged Gruyere. Seasonal fruits pair well with cheese, so experiment with sliced apples, pears or berries.
Get creative with your plate and smear some fig, cherry or jam on the plate to spread with the soft cheese or blue. Dried fruits are a favorite to munch on so toss a handful of apricots, cherries or prunes on too.
Add a bit of texture with a mini dish of my herb nuts, (that my guests always rave about) or toasted Marcona almonds will give that salt kick we all love.
For an extra kick, try pickled or sweet peppers, mini Cornichons, pickled asparagus, or hot spicy beans. Place a little dish of chocolates, sliced cucumbers, marinated shrimp, grilled veggies, or mini lamb meatballs. Your options are endless.
Displaying your delectable choices requires only a large surface. Find a cutting board or chunk of stone, that will not only hold all of your goodies, but will also fit the occasion and decor. Really think outside the box and re purpose a large framed mirror. Let your imagination go a little wild! I use little tiny dishes on the plate to hold some of the smaller goodies like blueberries, mini peppers, or chocolates. Don’t forget your crackers and breads. Try using the “cheater crackers” on my blog, they are a perfect pair.
The construction of your Nosh Plate may take a little effort, imagination and time, but you’ll master it quickly. Enjoy all the flavors, textures , friends and wine. Cheers, Becci