What to do with a cheese board

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It is 4:45 p.m., your guests are about to arrive any minute, and you realize you forgot to make an appetizer. Flinging yourself into the refrigerator you realize that all you have is a bunch of random cheeses from only God knows when and a hunk of salami. First of all, take a deep breath. Second of all, you're set. Make a cheese board! "A what?" you ask. Yes. A cheese board. The thing about cheese boards is that they are super simple to make, allowing for a huge range of creativity. They can be as simple or as intricate as you desire. They are a great appetizer, or can even stand in as a light meal.

How do you make a cheese board, though? It's actually quite simple. Go to the store (or the cheese drawer in your fridge) and collect all your favorite cheese. You can go for softer cheese like Brie or Cambozola, hard cheese such as Manchego or an Asiago, or anything in between. Many grocery stores have a section dedicated to "fancier" cheese, and many employees will have a suggestion on what types of cheese to select. Maybe you really like cheddar cheese? That's fine too. Cheese boards don't have to be fancy. You can mix and match your selections, create a theme (maybe it's an Italian cheese type of night?), or just grab a pile of your favorites.

The great part about cheese boards is you don't have to stop at just cheese. You can get honey, tapenade, olives, crackers, a baguette, or even some cold cuts or salamis. The possibilities are endless. You can even go so far as to pair your cheeses with a wine or beer that complements your cheese choices. If you're at your local grocery store there may not be a huge range of options if you're looking for super specialty cheeses and sides, however, there are many specialty grocery stores that offer options such a mole (for meats) or even a nice light truffle cheese. Where you're located can also influence the types of local cheese offered, allowing for a more diverse selection.

Great, now you have all of your ingredients, what do you do now? Grab a plate! That's right everyone, a cheese board doesn't have to be on a literal board. Just grab your favorite plate or platter and start placing those cheeses. You can place all the cheese on one side of your platter and the extra goodies on the other, have a different plate for every type of food (olives in a little bowl, cheese on one plate, meats on another), or you can place them all together cheese next to salami next to a little drizzle of honey. Throw a couple of knives and spoons down and dig in.

So next time it's 15 minutes before your dinner party, or you just want a light snack or meal that's easy to put together don't forget about the cheese board. It's quick, easy, and can be as simple or as fancy as you desire it to be.

Still need ideas? Here are three different takes on how to make a cheese board:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/all-american-cheese-board-recipe.html

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/perfect-cheese-platter

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_prepare_a_cheese_board/

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