Halloween Cheese Board

One of the best parts of my job is the content creation I do for our clients who we manage social media accounts for. It’s a constant push to be creative and improve my photography skills, but it’s also really great motivation to do picture-perfect seasonal activities all the time because it’s good subject material for content!

One of our accounts needed a moody Halloween themed charcuterie board, so I stepped up to the plate. (Please be aware that I make & finalize the content concepts/calendars, so by “stepping up to the plate” I mean “I gave myself an excuse to do this.”) The result was so cute I just had to share!

Look, I’m not the cheese board expert in the family. But I know how to make whatever I’m working with look appropriately festive. So while I can’t be like, “I have it on full authority that you should pair the following three cheeses…” I can be like, “This is how you make it SpOoKy!”

To make a Halloween cheeseboard, start with the cheese: You need a bleu cheese. Not only is it freakin’ delicious (don’t @ me) but the mold looks appropriately creepy. Next go with a hard, orange cheese that you can slice or cube…because of the color, duh! I think rounding it out with a creamy cheese is best because I love a creamy/stinky cheese but honestly make your board however you want.

Next up you’ve got the cured meats: I think it’s hard to go wrong with prosciutto and salami because…it looks closest to something you might find in/on the body. Sorry about that last sentence.

Accoutrements: Cornichons, mixed olives, and nuts add to the dark and moody color palate. You can round this effect out with fruits like blackberries, grapes, and pomegranate seeds (think black/red). I like to add in fig spread, again because it’s a darker color for a moodier effect but also because figs taste like fall to me. And obviously, you need a vehicle. I used these mini toasts because I needed to add in a French component for the client and this was a French brand.

When you assemble your board, get extra Halloween vibes by adding in a mini pumpkin or two. Put plastic spiders strategically on the board to freak guests out. “Stab” a cheese knife into one of the cheeses for a murderous effect, and it never hurts to have a skeleton hand that looks like it wants in on the action.

So much fun, right? I swear that themed cheese/charcuterie boards just taste better. Hopefully this is good inspiration for next year!

Fig, Pear, & Pistachio Baked Brie

We welcomed fall this past weekend, and I couldn’t be happier to see my favorite season again!

Oddly enough, I still haven’t had a single pumpkin spice latte. This is actually really strange for me since last year I think I made it to the 3rd of September before I caved. I dunno guys, I just haven’t craved it as much this year! I’m sure I’ll make my healthier, at home version soon though.

So my weekend was a little nutty and a lot of fun. I had a sleepover with my bestie and her family on Friday night, and then on Saturday we loaded up early and made the voyage to Ikea all the way in Charlotte. I tried to not shop at Ikea too much during this move because I wanted actual character to my space, but I decided that some nightstands, a dresser, a shelf unit, and some cute little things wouldn’t do much harm in the way of style. That night I drove back to Raleigh, with my teeny sedan packed to the brim, and somehow managed to carry EVERYTHING into my apartment myself (a lot of the pieces were big and heavy, so I was drenched in sweat and exhausted by the end of it). Then I proceeded to stay up way too late assembling everything. So I didn’t totally get to celebrate fall like I would have wanted. I mostly spent Sunday studying, but every now and then I would take a break to pull out some fall decorations, so everything worked out. I’m so excited for how things are turning out in this apartment, so the chaos was worth the sacrifice!

IMG_9820-3.jpg

Around 3 p.m on Sunday I started to get haaangry so I made myself a cozy, fall-inspired snack to enjoy while I read about the gastrointestinal systems of ruminants (cows). Cue this baked brie cheese with pears, honey, figs, and pistachios on top! V extra, choc-full of flavor, and goes really well with a red wine (bonus fall festive points if the bottle is kinda spooky!)

IMG_9822-3.jpgIMG_9826-3.jpg

Do we even call this a recipe?

Fig, Pear, & Pistachio Baked Brie

ingredients:

1 brie cheese wheel (possibly incorrect terminology and my cheesemonger sister might be really disappointed here)

5-6 figs, halved

1 pear, sliced thin

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons pistachios

baguette slices to scoop cheese!

directions:

preheat oven to 350.

arrange the pear slices and fig halves on top of the brie wheel. bake on top of some aluminum foil for 10 minutes.

Remove cheese from oven and set onto serving dish. Drizzle honey and sprinkle pistachios on top.

Scoop cheese with baguette slices and enjoy with red wine.

IMG_9827-3.jpg

Green Chili Queso Blanca Dip

It feels so wild that this is one of the last recipes I’ll ever make in this kitchen!

Almost all of cooking tools are packed away in boxes (sobs). By the time Cinco de Mayo actually rolls around (I’m already daydreaming about different margarita recipes to make), it will all be en route to North Carolina. So I’m getting ahead of things and making this Green Chili Queso Blanca dip while I still can!

cheesedip2.jpg

I’m pretty excited about this stuff. It’s so good and a perfectly easy thing to make when you’re serving margs to friends or, ya know, enjoying one by yourself.

Incidentally, my love affair with white cheese dip started in North Carolina. There’s a restaurant there called La Fiesta that my sister used to take me to. We would order bowls of their cheese dip. So things are maybe coming full circle here, no?

Over the years, I’ve tried multiple times to replicate that cheese dip to no avail. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten! The green chilis are a new add-in, but they add a good flavor boost and some texture. V important!

DIP.jpg

chip close up.jpg

Green Chili Queso Blanca 

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4th yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp flour

1 cup whole milk

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

~ 4 oz of canned green chilis

1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Heat the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes until fragrant. Mix in the flour until a paste is formed. Slowly add the milk to the skillet and whisk well so that the paste is broken up. Let the sauce thicken just a bit, whisking constantly, and then remove from heat. Add the jalapeño, green chilis, and cheese to the sauce and whisk until will incorporated.

Top with some cilantro. Serve immediately with fresh tortilla chips.

cheeze.jpg

cheesedip.jpg

Thanks for reading, guys! What recipes are you making for Cinco de Mayo? I’m thinking watermelon or grapefruit margaritas need to be a thing this year. No?