Happy 4th of July! By now all of your party prep should be done: Hamburgers are ready for the grill, the beers in chilling and the sparklers are ready to be lit. But if you’re looking for a cute and quick way to both decorateand entertain, look no further: DIY flag-inspired food platters!
You’re a Grand New Flag
Your holiday cheese plate is only as good as its pairings. Our five favorite fromages–each perfect on its own–become utterly sublime when put together and served with their best sidekicks.
Cheddar: Strong English-style cheddars can stand up to bold, salty meats, like salami (though garlicky ones will overtake the cheese’s complex flavor). Walnuts bring out cheddar’s earthiness.
Blue: When serving a blue, think sweet: honey (its classic match), bittersweet chocolate, dried dates and even that seasonal standby, fruitcake.
Triple-Créme: Truth is, you don’t want to muck up an already perfect triple-créme with anything fancy. For textural contrast, munch on a handful of hazelnuts.
Goat: Tart dried fruits like apricots or cranberries compliment the tang of goat cheese. Crumbly, buttery pine nuts are small enough to press right into the cheese.
Sheep’s-Milk: Take a cue from Spanish tapas bars and serve sheep’s-milk cheese with sweet, slightly tart membrillo (quince paste), available at cheese shops and many supermarkets. Roasted almonds bring out the cheese’s nutty, salty flavors.
Tip: Contrary to popular wisdom, not every cheese should be eaten with bread or crackers. Harder cheese don’t have much moisture, so the combination can be unappetizingly dry. Eat those on their own and save the carbs for creamier cheeses.
Petite Pad? Live large anyway with hosting tips form Jenna Mahoney, author of the new Small Apartment Hacks, 101 Ingenious DIY Solutions for Living, Organizing and Entertaining.
1. Turn your ironing board into a buffet.
Throw a pretty, floor-length cloth over that bad boy, push one side against a wall and you’ve got the world’s slimmest serving surface.
2. Use a rolling rack.
You can find cheapies at Target and Kmart and hang a few “starter jackets” to encourage guests to follow suit. (Even better if, as the rack fills up, it hides a workspace or cluttered corner.) Afterward, the rack folds up and slides easily under your bed.
3. Create small centerpieces with serious impact.
Turn juice glasses into vases (almost no surface area required)! The arrangements couldn’t be easier: Snip Gerbera daisies, peonies or other bold flowers just below the blossoms, and add one to three to each glass. P.S. The trick works just as well for mantelpieces.
By Abbie Kozolchyk