When my friend Shelly released her cookbook Vegetarian Heartland last year, I didn’t think there could be a more beautiful cookbook. Well, never say never – ’cause she’s done it again, folks. On March 20th Platters and Boards was released to the world and I’ve quite honestly never been more excited to thumb through a cookbook.
Not only do I LOVE platters and boards more than most things, but the photos are just stunning. Each page makes you stand in awe. But it’s not just beautiful photos, each platter or board comes with a simple but unique recipe or two to elevate your hosting game to the next level. And there is a board for EVERYTHING. Watching movies? YEP. Date? YEP. Breakfast? YEP. Brunch? YEP. Desserts? OF COURSE. Black tie events? SURE. Literally, everything.
Am I going to make her Red, Blue and Cinnamon Platter for the 4th of July? You bet your bottom dollar I am. My sister’s birthday is coming up in May and I’m already deciding which board to make her. This is a book I’m going to use over and over again. (Also, it’s just beautiful enough to be a coffee table book.)
A few more healthy boards and platters: Toasted Sesame & Pumpkin Dip with an Easy Holiday Crudités Platter + Summer Fruit & Cheese Board with Grilled Mango Chutney + A Healthyish Cheese Fondue Party
Recipe from Platters and Boards: Causal Spreads for Every Occasion ©Shelly Westerhausen, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books. Available here.
California Dreaming Cheese Board
This California Dreaming Cheese Board from the Platters and Boards Cookbook with tons of fresh Cali-based goods is perfect for your next beach day or party!
- 12 Miniature Cali Skewers
- 6 oz Humboldt Fog cheese or another iconic California cheese
- 6 oz hard or crumbled cheese from California
- 1/4 cup honey
- 8 oz assorted brine-cured olives
- 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
- 8 oz crackers
- 8 slices multigrain bread, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 cup California-grown grapes
- 12 fresh figs
Miniature Cali Skewers
- 4 slices multigrain bread, cut into 6 pieces each, toasted
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 avocado, flesh cut into 12 cubes
- 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
- 12 slices Colby or Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 4 squares
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Miniature Cali Skewers
To make the skewers, thread a piece of bread onto a wooden skewer, followed by a cherry tomato, avocado cube, sprouts, a folded cheese slice, and another piece of bread. Repeat with the rest of the bread, tomatoes, avocado, sprouts, and cheese to make 12 skewers.
Serve alongside the buttermilk dressing with a small spoon so guests can scoop the dressing over their skewer before enjoying. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
California Dreaming Board
Add the skewers and their dressing to one side of the serving board. Put the Humboldt Fog cheese on a small serving dish and add to the board. Place the other cheese on the opposite side of the board. Transfer the honey and olives to small dishes and place on the board with serving spoons. Fill in the remaining space with almonds, crackers, bread, grapes, and figs.
I picked this specific board because it’s been snowing in NYC and I’m missing my LA sunshine. So I decided to give myself a taste of Cali. It turned out to be just the ray of sunshine I needed.
Although Shelly’s recipe calls for multigrain bread, I ended up using my Sprouted Nut and Seed Loaf because I had a ton of it in my fridge. And it was DELICIOUS. So if you’re gluten-free, that could be a good option for you too!
If you aren’t sure where to find these kinds of cheeses, I wouldn’t worry too much – most grocery stores carry humbolt fog and the second cheese you can always improvise. If you want to pair the board with wine, Shelly suggests a dry white wine from California. (And I agree.)
If you aren’t sure what occasion to make this board for, let me provide a few suggestions…
- A poolside or beach picnic.
- A day where you binge watch The OC with friends. (Highly suggested.)
- A Real Housewives of The OC marathon.
- A springtime park picnic.
- A post-hike meal (it’s very California of you to do so.)
- An office party where you want everyone to think you’re very cool.
- On a snow day when you want to pretend that it’s sunny outside.
Those are just a few of the ways to enjoy this California Dreaming Cheese Board in a way that Californians can get behind. You’ll be very hip. And happy. Enjoy! xo.