Tag Archives: Cracker Barrel

A Treatise: How to Make the Perfect Cheese Plate

A comprehensive guide to making the perfect cheese plate.

Step one: Buy cheese.
This should seem obvious, as this is a lesson on cheese plate-makery. But some of you aren’t that bright.
No, no nooooo, not YOU. You’re GREAT. Have you done something different with your hair?! It looks so shiny.
Other “real” sources of food/entertaining media are going to give you some practical advice for how to tackle this subject. Go for different flavors, textures, types of cheese (cow/goat/other) (what the shit is the other?) (oh god, I hope it isn’t pig).
But I’m going to tell you a few things they’re not going to tell you.
A) Buy what you like. There ain’t no shame in simplicity. So get something that you crave. Need to work on the cheap? Kraft singles cut into quarters, Cracker Barrel block of extra sharp cheddar, Easy Cheese. Serve with Chicken in a Biskit crackers and bologna. Mic drop.
B) This is probably a really controversial move in the world fromage but I’m going to say it: test a new cheese on your plate.
I KNOW. This is basically the wildest idea since sliced cheese.
You’ll never know if you like it til you try something new. Now, this is risky. I once bought a cheese that sounded delicious in theory and tasted like cigarette butts, so I threw that shit out. Which was frustrating because it was a waste of money. But, now I know: Cigarette Butt Goat’s Cheese is not for me. I should’ve probably looked at the name before I bought it…
This is where it’s great to find samples wherever you can: at the local Farmer’s Market, your gro sto, wherever. At my local Kroger, there is a Murray’s Cheese Bar outpost and they have bins of cheeses for $5 and under. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to try new cheeses. You know, if you live in Richmond by the Carytown Kroger. #specific #rva
Step two: Pair that cheese with some stuff.
Eloquently said, Novak.
Bring some other players to the key party cheese plate. This is a way to bring some other textures, flavors, some more salt, some more sweet to the table. Olives are always a welcome sight on my cheese plate because their brininess typically hits my palate in a different way than the cheeses do. Throw in some meats, some grainy mustard, some tart jam and you’ve got yourself a stew going.
Cheese, please.

Cheese, please.

Step Three: Let your cheese sit on the counter for an hour before you serve.
This is really the only rule I live by.
Not, like, in my life.
I live by PLENTY of rules. Like, traffic rules. And a lot of social conventions. But this is my one hard and fast cheese plate rule. I really should’ve been more specific. I’ll add “be more specific” to the ole rule book.
When you pull cheese from the fridge, it has a completely different texture and taste than when it sits on the counter for an hour or so. This is one of those things that I heard and was like, “well, that is utter rubbish.”
And then I tried it and was like, “well, clearly I am utter rubbish.” The cheese is genuinely so much better after the chill has come off. You get all the nuances.
So there you have it. Three easy steps to make the perfect cheese plate. Which was always perfect because it was made by you. (Cue the Full House-style audience reaction: awwwwwwww).
Make yourself happy. Eat some cheese.
That’s a rule to live by if ever I’ve heard one.
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Mid-Week Weekend: Southern Food and a Southern Boy, JT

If you ever have a chance to take off two days in the middle of the week, you should do it.

Bonus points if you had the Monday off before and you leave for three hours on Friday for your friend’s wedding rehearsal/rehearsal lunch. Last week was a little bit nutso. By no means was it an easy work week. But when you have Justin Timberlake tickets, you take the day of the concert off and the day after off. And you RELISH HIM.

You relish him.

And you honor his southern heritage with fried chicken, biscuits and grits. Not necessarily in that order.

I bought these JT tickets for the 20/20 Experience tour at a silent auction a few months ago and I asked my friend Anna to come with me. (You can read her version of our adventure HERE. Also, just follow her blog in general. It’s rull good.)

We decided to make a mid-week weekend out of it. And nothing was bad about this decision. We shuffled off to Raleigh for a late lunch at Beasley’s Chicken + Honey.  Fried chicken and waffles, creamy collards, beets, and a chicken biscuit with pickled green tomatoes. Wash it down with a honey white beer named for the place and you’ve got yourself a stew going. Wait, I’m not Carl Weathers… Shaun and Scott, thank you for the recommendation! This place is epic and I want to go back right now.

OH DANG.

OH DANG.

After the concert, we primped at our hotel (HAMPTON INN, Y’ALL) and then we left (WE GOT A FREE COOKIE FOR THE ROAD, Y’ALL). And headed to drinks and apps with the gal who made the tickets happen.

Lady Date!

Lady Date!

Yes, I took this picture in the fancy bathroom at the hotel. What of it.

Yes, I took this picture in the fancy bathroom at the hotel. What of it.

Turns out, this was the hotel that JT stayed at. JT….and JB. That’s right. Jessica Biel was there too. So, guess what, David Olsen. Anna and I have basically slept with Jessica Biel. And you didn’t. (If you haven’t heard David’s Jessica Biel story…just ask him. He is not shy. WE LOVE YOU, DAVID!!!!!)

We got to the concert, completely missed the opening act (The Weeknd is a person? Who knew.), went to our seats and started playing my new favorite game to play at a JT concert: what kind of man is that? Angry Boyfriend. Trying To Be Cool Dad. Having TOO MUCH FUN Guy. Deaf Guy Signing Holding a Beer. (He was awesome.) Hot Guy Who Wore the JT White Dinner Jacket and his Super Hot Wife (My BFFs Mike and Danielle.) Dumb Guy Who Wore the JT White Dinner Jacket and a Weird Fucking Hat. (Not pictured. He did not deserve to have his picture taken.)

Mike was on his suit and tie. Danielle was just hot.

Mike was on his suit and tie. Danielle was just hot.

 

Listen, this is a fake food blog. Not a fake JT blog. But let’s be honest. JT is basically his own food group because he is so delicious. And I would eat him up with a spoon. (Sorry, Jess.) He was incredible. He sang and danced and played guitar and played piano for 3 hours with one ten-minute intermission. He was funny. And charming. And somehow made it seem like he was singing just to us. (CAUSE HE WAS.) Anna and I danced and sang all night long.

Which is why we needed to replenish our strength, and once again honor JT’s southern roots with some southern breakfast. Big Ed’s City Market is the jam. You know how Cracker Barrel has all those knick-knacks on the walls, but you know they just had them made at a factory? Well, Big Ed’s has a bunch of knick-knacks on the walls, windows and hanging from the ceiling but it just feels authentic. Anna and I split the fried catfish, eggs and home fries and a yummy veggie omelet and grits.  (Thank you to Shaun and Tony for the recco!)

Catfish. Not just for dinner anymore!

Catfish. Not just for dinner anymore!

 

Run, don’t walk to get tickets to the 20/20 Experience Tour near you. It’s an amazing show.

Run, don’t walk to Beasley’s and Big Ed’s next time you’re in Raleigh. You will not regret it.

Run, don’t walk to hang out with Anna. She’s a ridiculous amount of fun, an excellent travel buddy (at least, the way I travel: frequent stops and needing free cookies), and a very fun concert date.

Run, don’t walk to take a mid-week weekend. You work hard. You deserve a break. Get your sexy on. JT has spoken.

JT. In the FLESH.

JT. In the FLESH.

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