CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Never get ‘board’ of impressing your guests

Published 11:34 am Monday, July 4, 2022

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Everybody is stressing on how to pronounce charcuterie.

Forget about it. Eat it.

Soiree and Vine in Nederland has been impressing locals with eye-popping spreads at various gatherings.

They’ve got some wonderful ideas.

Boards are trending, and here are some ideas to play with:

Notice that the “c word” is never mentioned on the cover of “Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings.” Inside this America’s Test Kitchen” book, food stylist Elle Simone Scott’s tips show you that boards are easier and more thoughtful than you may have imagined.

Their appeal is outright in the art of the spread, not just the flavor pairings within. This is for the Culinary Thrill Seeker at her best.

Do the lift, swirl, smear, trail, lift and herbal garnish for a beautiful balance. Go for themes such as DIY Bloody Mary, movie night breakfast parfait, etc. Boards are all the rage now, but I hope we never go back to a time where we aren’t excited to showcase our beautiful foods with friends.

In college I learned the secret of bringing a cheese spread to parties. I signed up quick for potlucks and a block of cream cheese was the basis of many highly favored and low-cost contributions.

Now spreads can be stars of charcuterie boards, still with the basic-but-flavorful combos of parsley, lemon juice, garlic, olives, scallions, salmon, honey-rosemary, basil, etc. Elle Simone Scott likes to include a homemade feature of every themed board.

Go ahead and get packaged veggies and crackers to arrange, but focus on that thing you did yourself and fans will go wild. Level Up with lobster, pulled pork or even mac and cheese. If people love it alone, they’ll love it on your beautiful board.

I love making every meal special. The only problem with creating a board for your own personal meal is your serving just can’t be as big as your platter every night.

Wait a minute… little hummus pot, big swath of celery, pepper and cucumber…. I can do this…

The Oils – What do you get when you go to

The story of Sciabica Olive Oil that’s been told since 1936. But I’ll bet they weren’t promoting their balsamic blend as a hot, sticky mess.

Times have changed, and those who just a few years ago never cooked with olive oil are going crazy for flavors such as lemon, garlic, basil and Mediterranean Medley. It’s soooo good to start your morning with a lemony fried egg. Play with your oils and discover this Italian-to-California story of sunshine in a bottle.

It’s Not Bacon? – I opened a jar of red pepper heaven with such a texture. Great garlic smell, mouth feel… it’s not bacon? I learned that Ronda’s Fine Foods has a thing they do in Spain. It’s Romesco sauce and that texture is ground almonds. Toss it into pasta or pour it over cheese.

It’s charcuterie board WORTHY. It’s for sandwiches, eggs, crackers… They are doing this correctly in Spain and with, you can do it at your house.

Make Food, Make Art – After discovering an amazing thing called Romesco sauce, flavorfully fashioned from nuts, I pick up a beautiful cookbook with an option for a nut-free Romesco sauce.

Some people can’t have that but Moriah Sawtelle, who wrote and photographed “Elevated Everyday Paleo,” lets them know they can make art. For dinner.

If your perfect fall day doesn’t already include butternut beef stew, if you never thought of combining blood orange with fennel or put grapefruit in your guac, please give this a read.

Sawtelle gives a great intro to all her concoctions and gives us all hope that we’ll reach for sesame seeds and mint or what have you when preparing our Atlantic char or carrots or whatever we find at market.

“60 Simple-Made-Special Recipes for Healthy Everyday Cooking” is what we have here. You don’t need to be Paleo, but you will be inspired to be creative.

Darragh Doiron is a Southeast Texas foodie who never gets “bored” of sharing new food ideas. Share yours with her at