One of my favorite things right now about my life, is getting to literally get in my car and go wherever I want and do whatever I feel, and see whoever I'd like...
It was my little sister Holli's birthday and so, while planning my trips recently, and needing to be in Cincinnati to sing the National Anthem for the Cincinnati Bengals game, it worked out PERFECT that I could be in town (Northern KY, right across the river from Cincinnati) for Holli's birthday!
I decided to give her a gift that I know would mean more than something to open and that's my gift of playing "Chef Haley" in the kitchen.
A "Haley" Cheese Plate
Mini Caprese Salad
Chicken Parmesan w/ angel hair pasta
Espresso Martinis (coffee, tequila, & dairy free)
Let's talk for a quick second about "cheese plates" and let me tell you that my rule for ALL cooking applies to this as well!
THERE ARE NO RULES: BE BRAVE, CREATIVE & TRY SOMETHING NEW
So this time, because it was Holli's birthday, I wanted to get a little more colorful with my choice on the spread.
So instead of getting the typical green or purple grape, I got the dark purple grapes. Not for any other reason, than "they look the prettiest".
The Kroger by her house is brand new, and has the most beautiful anti-pasta section in the deli and bakery with an olive bar, fresh breads, and a cheese selection that it literally out of this world!
RULE FOR CHEESE : Pick at least 2 and they need to be in contrast to each other: a sharp and a (I HATE this word) creamy or mild.
The "cheese" lady was showing me this line of cheese that was "infused" with stuff. I love anything "unfused"
One was crusted with espresso.
One was infused with merlot.
One was infused with a bourbon.
After trying all 3, it was a hard pick, but I went home with the bourbon cheddar.
NUTS... You ALWAYS have to have nuts on the board...
Instead of picking the typical cashew or almond,
I went with these rosemary marcona almonds.
The were SO good we used them on our salads the next day.
CRACKERS... Get a little funky and put something out there you've never used before. There is a new line of crackers in the deli section of Kroger and Publix that are these uber THIN crackers that are flavored with cracked black pepper, lemon herb and so on. These are fun because they are crispy, light and not so much "bread" to fill up on.
JAM... gotta have something sweet on the plate,
and a fig jam or orange marmalade is always proper. People will get creative with a few bits and this will be one of the best "details" on the plate.
Holli LOVES salami and pepperoni. Ever since she was a little girl. So naturally, I grabbed a package of both, cut slices and rolled and stacked.
Place all these beautiful pieces on a cool piece of wood or glass, and viola'!
You've got a gorgeous piece to bring to your next party~
Happy Birthday Holli!
Oh, and as promised... my adorable niece...