I love weeknight date-nights in. So cozy and romantic. You get to pick the music, or maybe a movie, light some candles and just chill with your boo or friends. My favorite way to do an easy night in is, charcuterie and cheese, of course. Mike and I first discovered our love for charcuterie together. Way back in the day, a hot new restaurant opened in Vancouver, in a literal alley in a very sketchy part of town. It was hipster before being hipster was a thing. They offered flights of meat and cheese for an insane amount of money and we fell in love.
After our fourth visit there, in 2 weeks, we wised up to the fact that we were spending an absurd amount of money on something that we could easily do at home. After all, the restaurant literally told us where they sourced their charcuterie from – this was way before made-in-house was a thing. So, we went right to the source, bought a bunch of our favorites, which we handily already knew, and went to town. I had the best time coming up with fun little accoutrements.
That’s where your creativity can really shine! Pair cheeses and meats with jam, mustards, hot sauces, fruits, herbs, essentially anything you want. We like having a variety of breads and crunchy things too. I’m really into these rye crisps and these crispy crackers and Mike loves toasty bread.
We went a little crazy here, for fun, but you do you – you don’t have to go crazy. Sometimes the best thing to do is to stick to one kind of meat, a really good mustard, and some olives. Keep it simple, keep it crazy, keep it you.
I made some little flags, for fun, and plated the pate in a restaurant-like fashion. Sometimes when we hit up restaurants, we notice that they smear pate onto a plate, to the edge, to make it pretty, like this. Super easy to do at home and as a bonus it looks kinda sorta homemade 😉
Charcuterie Pairing Ideas:
• fancy salt: flaky sea salt, smoke sea salt, flavored salts
• finishing spices: shichimi togarashi, red pepper flakes,
• citrus fruit zest: orange is particularly nice, as are lemon and lime
• mustards: whole grain, dijon, English, Japanese
• herbs: Thai basil, mint, cilantro (this gives charcuterie a sort of deconstructed banh-mi feel, which we love)
• hot sauce: tabasco, sriracha, sambal oelek
Cheese Pairing Ideas:
• fruit: thinly sliced pears, apples, cherries, stone fruits
• jam: apricot, strawberry, fig, cherry, apple, raspberry, orange marmalade
• tomatoes: thinly sliced or cherry tomatoes
• seeds and nuts: poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, walnuts, macadamias, marcona almonds, pecans, pistachios
Of course, feel free to mix and match – go forth and meat and cheese with abandon!
Via Urbana, 93 Roma – Monti