Ashley Gretencord embodies Kansas’ hospitable spirit and penchant for home-cooked goodness, but the inspiration for her food isn’t held back by the borders of the sunflower state. A wife and mother of 3, she has taken her own approach to everything from healthy lunches, to athlete meal-prep, and campfire classics.
Charcuterie Board and Oysters
A charcuterie board is one of the simplest yet overlooked ways to feed your guests. They are completely customizable and after you make one, you’ll be hooked! Don’t let their perfectly placed deliciousness intimidate you, it’s literally just yummy finger food arranged on a board or serving platter. I promise, you can do this! Here are some easy to follow guidelines for creating a board everyone will love.
Fruits: Any berry, oranges, dried fruits, seasonal melon and grapes. Apples and pears are delicious too, just remember they can quickly brown.
Nuts: Any kind works great! They can be grouped together, scattered around the board, or in a dish placed on the board.
Meats: Salami, pastrami, prosciutto, pepperoni, deli turkey or ham, smoked sausage and even jerky! These can all be sliced, or you can roll them which looks nice on the board and makes them easy to grab!
Cheese: You can cube or slice the cheese or have the whole wedge/ball placed on the board. I like to have both, this way its easy to grab and nice to look at! Make sure you have a little cheese knife or a utensil that can be used to spread the softer cheeses. Listed below are my favorites in each category!
Soft- mozzarella, brie, goat
Hard- cheddar, parmesan, asiago
Semi -gouda, stilton, manchego
Breads: I prefer crusty breads that aren’t too soft. A French baguette or ciabatta work great! You can also have any kind of cracker, pretzel, or bagel crisp!
Antipasto: Marinated olives and tomatoes can be purchased at most large supermarkets. Simply place in a small dish (because of their marinating liquid) and put on your board!
Condiments and dips: Use small dishes for mustards, chutneys, jams, honey, hummus, olive oil, or any dip you would like to serve.
Vegetables: Any vegetable that will hold its shape and stay crisp will work! I like carrot sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, baby dill pickles, radishes, and raw asparagus.
Garnish: This category is optional, but an easy way to bring more curb appeal to your board! I like to use garlic cloves and fresh herbs. Think outside the box and coordinate it to the season, or occasion!
Placement: You can use a wood cheese board, your favorite serving tray, or any flat surface if you don’t have a board or tray! Start in the middle and work your way out and around. It can be a perfectly choreographed display, or chaos! Either way, is fine! I try to think of the board as a grid and have a little of each category in each section. I love texture and using different heights so I will keep some of the grapes on the vine and use little dishes to help group things together. There aren’t any rules, just go with it and develop your own style!
OYSTER SHUCKING 101
- Clean the oyster by running under water or using a damp cloth or brush to remove dirt.
- Run a knife between top and bottom shells, make sure to go all the way around the oyster.
- Twist the knife to pry open
- Cut and remove top shell, making sure you cut the muscle that attaches the two.
- Cut the meat entirely off the shell and enjoy!
Suggestion: Try with a squeeze of lemon juice or your favorite hot sauce!