Confession – I really love the 1990 film, Mermaids, staring Cher. I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched it but I can’t help myself when it’s on TV. Here’s a priceless summary – how can you beat it?
And, around this time of year, I feel like Cher in that movie – serving only hors d’oeuvres to my friends for meals. My house is full of snacks right now and I’m ready – at any moment -to feed a crowd small bites of meats and cheeses, olives and crackers – without the hint of a main course. The other night my friend Masha came over and we ate smoked trout dip, locatelli cheese, salami, crackers and carrot cake for dinner. And, I’ve been known to snack on these bites for breakfast too. It’s just that time of year. I have no other excuses.
In perfecting the perfect impromptu grazing platter for friends, I load a large white platter with an assortment of all things sweet and salty – with a garnish of something green. I highly recommend overflowing the platter with color – organized but flowing. Ina Garten always uses some metaphor about feng shui … I’ll just stick with Cher on this one.
Here are some tips and ideas for things to keep in your house for last minute guests and giant grazing platters!
- A mix of good quality olives… oil cured, marinated and salty!
- Cured meats – hard salami with black pepper, spicy salami, prosciutto, even smoked turkey…whatever is your liking…
- Good Quality Crackers – rice crackers, gluten-free, whole grain and I’m obsessed with Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crips with Fig and Olive right now. They are really the most amazing cracker on the shelves.
- Diversity of Cheeses! Hard cheeses (pecorino, locatelli), soft cheeses (camembert, brie), blue cheeses (saga, gorgonzola)… to your taste. Just skipped the cubed cheese, pretty please.
- Fruit! – dried fruits, cranberries, cherries, apricots – fresh fruits, grapes, apples and citrus.
- Something green to jazz up the plate – parley, lemon leaves or a bitter lettuce.