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If you are looking to impress the most discriminating of foodies this holiday season, you should probably check out the Avocado Rose Party Platter. The instructional You Tube clip features capable hands expertly peeling and thinly slicing an avocado and then, before your eyes, proceed to shape the legume into a perfect rose. Fast forward and there are six perfectly formed avocado roses sitting beautifully on a platter. The hands reappear to garnish the plate with roasted tomatoes, sea salt and black pepper and then withdraw, leaving your eyes to feast on culinary perfection. While this platter certainly qualifies as a work of art, the less skilled among us may not be able to recreate it at the last minute without sacrificing a finger. If you are down to the wire making your party platter, you may want to try something less ambitious.
Traditional Cheese Platter
If you intend to make a traditional cheese platter, plan on buying about 3-4 oz. of cheese per person. As a general guideline, it is good to offer at least three different kinds of cheese: a soft cheese for spreading, a semi-hard cheese and a hard cheese. You may want to order some lighter options as well for the calorie conscious; Laughing Cow cheese is perfectly acceptable.
Extras: For your extras, you want to get a good mix of sweet and savory. Saltier options include raw nuts, marinated olives, smoked nuts, salami, artichoke hearts and bread sticks. Sweet extras include dried fruit, jam, honey, and fresh fruit. Any kind of fruit is acceptable, but the usual suspects are berries, grapes, apricots and figs.
For a simple Italian take on the traditional cheese platter, try making an antipasto. Toss tomatoes with oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast and drizzle with ricotta and serve with dry cured meats, such as sopressata, coppa, and dried sausage. Set out some sliced Italian bread and prepare to impress!
Smoked Trout Platter with Dill Sauce and Pickled Onions
Quick to prepare and sure to satisfy, start by combining onions, red wine vinegar, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix fresh dill, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Set out mixtures and serve with smoked trout fillet, rye bread and cucumber slices.
Ham Platter with Cajun Mayo and Pepper Jelly
For a taste of New Orleans, mix mayonnaise with cajun seasoning for a spicy dip. Serve ham with rolls, hot pepper jelly, pickled veggies and sliced pickles. Yeeha!
Cheese Platter with Dried Fruit Compote
This platter adds a little spin on the more conventional fruit and cheese platter. Combine dried fruit (cherries, apricots, raisins,) sugar and salt into a large saucepan. Simmer until the liquid thickens into a fruit compote. Let cool and serve with an assortment of three types of cheeses (creamy, nutty, and sharp,) cracker gingersnaps, grapes and kumquats. Your guests will be blown away.
If you make any of these platters, let us know how it went. Bon appetite!