If you’ve even dipped into Pinterest over the past few years, you know that grazing or willow planks are A Thing. Beautiful boards or platters are filled with all sorts of foods that can be tasted, nibbled, nibbled and, OK, grazed.
It’s a nice way to entertain or offer your family a meal at room temperature during the holiday games, movie nights or whatever. It’s also perfect for New Years Eve for serving a nice variety of nibbles before a late evening meal.
Pasture boards generally include a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, fresh or dried. Stowed on the side or in the board itself: sliced ââbread, crackers, french fries.
And this is where things get really interesting: spices.
Mustard, spread, pesto … but don’t just think of the hearty ones; sweet is really nice, especially when paired with cheese. Jams, jellies and honeys are the perfect complement to many offers. Olives, cucumbers and all kinds of marinated vegetables offer a spicy crunch and a salty taste between cheese and sausage bites.
Spreadable spices go well with sausage products such as prosciutto and salami or cheese, which ranges from hot cheddar to creamy triple-cream cheese.
Spread something on a cracker or a slice of bread, stack it on the meat and / or cheese and you’re good to go.
Mixing and matching is so much fun. Every bite is individual. It’s a great way to try new flavors and experiment with different flavor combinations.
A couple of side notes:
A jar with a favorite spice makes a great stocking or a small gift. And when you have a favorite seasoning and usage for it (maybe you layer it in grilled cheese?) Write it on a cute little label and stick it to the jar.
And if you are traveling, this is a great way to take home a taste of your trip. I always buy jams, pestos, chutneys, etc. to play with in my kitchen at home or to keep ready to give away. Everywhere you will find products that are locally made and use local ingredients and spices.
Living two years in a pandemic has caused many of us to rethink our priorities and spend our time. NBCLX Associate Michelle Park studied how people incorporate their new mindsets into their New Year’s resolutions. For some people, 2022 is about being their most authentic selves; for others, it’s about building their future or physically testing themselves.
Jams and jellies
Janie Q is a small-volume jam company run by the folks at Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, and their handcrafted flavors include cherry plum and peach-lavender. Coo Moo from California makes jams like Apricot Habanero (sweet plus spicy) and Peachy Mango Madness. Trade Street Jam Co. makes flavors like Smoked Yellow Peach, Strawberry Chipotle and Fig, and Sour Cherry Ginger. Fior di Frutta from Italy makes organic fruit spreads such as fig, blackberry and lingonberry (fun and seasonal).
In addition to sweet jams and jellies, look for caramelized onion jams, pepper jellies, and the like. Terrapin Ridge makes a Hot Pepper Bacon Jam, a Jalapeno Hatch Chili Jam, and other unique sweet and savory combinations. There are a number of caramelized onion jams that go well with anything on a pasture board: try the one from Divina,Williams-Sonoma and Jammy yummy.
The world of olives is worth highlighting, although technically it may not fall directly under “spices”. Divina has a large selection: Greek olives filled with spicy blue cheese, feta or garlic or pitted kalamata or green olives There are also tapenades, such as their olive bruschetta with capers and roasted peppers or their muffuletta olive salad with cauliflower and peperoncini. Also of note are their chopped Calabrian peppers and roasted tomatoes.
There are so many interesting spreads that are great to pan over a cracker or a toasted baguette slice.
Bellisaris in Ohio makes fun spreads like one with blue cheese, honey and shallots or a jalapeno fig spread in a blister pack. Koro, a manufacturer of sausage specialties from Seattle, has interesting offers such as plum mustard, giardiniera relish, and herb and caper spreads that go well with salumis.
The Tillen Farms collection from Stonewall Kitchens presents a line of crunchy, pickled vegetables such as classic asparagus, baby cucumber and Dilly Beans. This is a great way to add flavor and crispness to your assortment of cheeses, meats, etc. Kansas City Canner makes unusual pickled products such as pickled radishes, garlic and grapes pickled in balsamic vinegar.
Learn about the Lunar New Year, a celebration of the arrival of spring, and what foods are said to bring good luck and happiness in the coming year.
A touch of honey over a slice of bread with a little cheese, perhaps a wafer-thin slice of ham, is an absolute delight. based in Vermont run amok has a wide variety of honeys to play with: try the ones with hibiscus flowers, arbol chillies, or lemon verbena, to name a few.
Mustard is a must for me in all respects, and a slice of salami and cheese slice on top of a cracker is a perfect bite. Maille, founded in France in 1747, is a leading maker of Dijon mustard, and you can choose between a classic style like Rich Country Dijon or a style infused with horseradish. Stonewall makes many types of mustards such as Maine Maple Champagne Mustard or Caramelized Onion Mustard. Brooklyn Mustard makes a Delhi Curry Mustard that will add an unexpected twist to your board.