I've learned that there is one thing in life you can always count on - and that is that a well-formed cheese plate is a delicious, seductive, delightful, healing culinary experience.
Cheese wins. Every. Time.
My husband has learned that the cheese section of the grocery store is a dangerous place for me. My only answer when asked, "Cheese?" is a resounding "YES". It's one of the oldest skilled trades in food, and each cheese maker has secrets they'll hold on to without divulging, as the tiniest details can produce surprising, and either delicious or disastrous results. I have the highest respect for this craft, and support it often with my frequent patronage.
Simply put - I believe. In cheese. Good days, bad days, in-between days.... the simplest and most exciting alternative to slaving over the stove for the Plately house is to select a few beauties from the cheese drawer (yes, we have a dedicated cheese drawer in our fridge). These crackers are the best. Light and neutral with a satisfying crunch.
There is a formula for making a great cheese plate for me.
1. Cheeses from the same region.
2. Different textures - hard, soft, semi-soft, and crumbly.
3. Balanced flavors - one sharp, one creamy, one salty and one stinky.
4. Fruit. Dried, fresh, or a combination.
5. Nuts. I love me some Marcona almonds, cashews, pistachios and candied pecans. Pick your favorites.
Today I chose a sharp cheddar, the cured goat cheese with the fern, a Cambezola from Trader Joe's, Marcona almonds, dried tart cherries, sliced apple and a creamy sheep's milk brie. It doesn't have to be perfect to be deliciousl
It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be local, imported, or even just your grocery store special. I haunt the cheese that's on sale often, knowing I can find a bargain just about every time I go. This fern-covered beauty I got from Beecher's in Seattle, and I was saving it for a special occasion. In this case, it was for a Monday, because MONDAY. I needed a little pick me up. Who doesn't?
This is another lovely one I'll save for next time - we found it at our local natural grocer. Truffles AND cheese? Pinch me.
I may even save it for a luxurious mac and cheese.
In our efforts to hack life, we also created a chocolate drawer just for the adults in our house. It's the ultimate easy dessert - just one piece is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. I'd rather have good chocolate than a piece of cake or pie any day. Find a great local purveyor of high quality chocolate, and stock your own.
Last but not least, champagne on a Monday feels almost illicit in its joyousness. Try it sometime.