I’m so excited to introduce one of my sisters, Nicole, as a contributor to my blog  from time to time.  Nicole is a busy mom to three kids in Minneapolis, MN, and recently gave birth to twin boys.  In all of her spare time, she hosts family dinners, and drums up a variety of fun dishes that delight anyone who joins her table.  Nicole has a lot of talents and I am excited for you to get to know her.


Hi! My name is Nicole.  One of my favorite things to do for my family is to bring everyone together for a good meal.  Let’s talk holidays.  My absolute favorite appetizer to pull together for any occasion is a cheese board. It’s versatile and everyone can find something they like. I have one out anytime we have guests over, and intend on putting one together for Christmas Eve. Here is my basic, fool-proof formula for putting together a beautiful spread, that you can use for your Christmas or New Years festivities!



Holiday Platter

1) Choose three different varieties of cheese. I like to do one soft (brie, goat or Boursin is my favorite), one sharp (blue, smoked gouda, gruyere) and one mild (mild cheddar, mozzerella).

2) Pair cheeses with correct “carrier”. For instance, if you have blue cheese, a water cracker is best, as it doesn’t add extra flavors that would overpower or compete with the cheese. If you have a soft goat cheese, a stiff, crunchy cracker creates a good platform and texture balance.
3) Fill in with a combination of olives, fruit, nuts, and meats. I usually like to choose two varieties of whatever I’m adding; two fruits, two varieties of olives, etc.
4) Think about color and texture variety. As mentioned in #2, find complimentary crackers or breads for the cheeses, but also think about color and texture in other components. Don’t choose green olives, green grapes, pistachios and green apples for example. I like to fill in with dried flowers once my board is assembled, as it adds pops of color.
Pair with a good wine or beer, and you could skip the Christmas ham all together. Merry Christmas!

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