Charcuterie Boards

Nov. 30, 2021, noon

The following information is from an article in Better Homes and Gardens.

The Platter
First, choose a board, tray, or platter to be your foundation.  Wood and marble are popular charcuterie board material choices because they are sturdy and beautiful. The shape is simply a matter of preference, though you should take the elements of your board into account when making your selections. For example, a rectangular board may better accommodate long, leafy vegetable stems or cheese wedges than a square-shape one. Bear in mind: the larger the board, the more money you'll spend to fill it up. If you want to keep your budget in check, fill large boards out with more produce or opt for a smaller one.
The Dishes
Dishes create structure on the board. Use little bowls and cups to anchor the arrangement and help contain loose items like dips, nuts, and olives. Raid your kitchen cabinets for salt cellars, small candy dishes, and ramekins. What you have on hand is perfect—they don't need to match!
The Cheeses
If your budget and location allow it, go to a local cheese shop for unique, high-quality cheeses. I highly recommend Houston Dairymaids. They are a true cheesemonger. As a rule of thumb, include three to five cheeses in these basic categories: a hard cheese, a soft cheese, and a blue cheese. Contrasting flavors and textures diversify the board and give guests a broader range of options to sample. If you aren't sure what to buy, ask the store for pairing recommendations.
The Meats
Include a few varieties of thinly-sliced cured meats. Lay them flat or arrange them in loose rolls so they're easy for guests to pick up and nibble on. You can also include harder meats that guests can cut themselves, like smoked sausages and salamis, and a spreadable meat like pâté (chicken or duck liver). Some popular charcuterie meats include pancetta, hard salami, prosciutto, and mortadella.
The Crackers
Crackers, breadsticks, breads. You'll want to include a few starchy sidekicks, especially if your board includes soft, spreadable cheeses and jams. There's no hard-and-fast rule here, though we recommend offering two types of crackers or breads with different flavor profiles. Consider using a nut-based cracker option.
The Produce
Fruits and veggies add color and freshness to a charcuterie or meat and cheese board. They're also a tasty contrast to rich, salty meats and cheeses. When planning which items to include, consider foods that can be eaten whole or cut into slices. Buy in-season produce for the best flavors (and to trim down your grocery bill).

How to make meat roses:
Set up your board so the roses can be put into place as soon as created. Have the rest of your supplies and foods on hand so you can assemble everything right away.
Using a clean wine glass, place sliced meat over the rim of the glass so that it creates a layer that covers all of the rim and overlaps each other. This usually needs only 3 to 4 slices and will be the layer with the least amount of sliced meats.
Add a second row of sliced meat so that it overlaps the first layer of meat covering the "seams" with a fresh piece of meat.
Continue the same process for 4 to 6 layers until you are happy with the size of the rose.
On the clean prepared board, flip the wine glass over so the meat is on the platter. You will leave the glass in place until you have finished preparing the board.
Around the meat roses, you will add all other ingredients. Start with larger items first, then fill in any gaps with small pieces like grapes, chocolate, or nuts. Use small bowls or ramekins to hold sauces or jams.
Before serving, gently remove the wine glass to display the meat roses.

Step One: Add Structure -
Start by adding structure with little dishes, then place your ingredients on the board starting with the largest elements like the cheeses and meats, followed by smaller items like crackers and fresh produce.
Fill small vessels with dips, spreads, and items that can be piled onto the board. Try honey, mustard, cornichons, blue cheese-stuffed olives, or a mixed selection of salted nuts.
Step Two: Add the Cheeses and Meats -
First, place the cheeses. Arrange them evenly around the board and allow space for slicing and scooping. Next, add the meats. It's OK if items on the board touch; they're meant to be enjoyed together.
Step Three: Add Crackers -
Slip two or three small stacks of sliced bread or crackers among the bowls, meats, and cheeses. Let them topple over and get a bit messy—it's part of the board's beauty.
Step Four: Add Fruits, Veggies, and Herbs -
Fill in any gaps on the board with fruits, vegetables, and sprigs of herbs. If you don't have fresh items available to you, sub in dried fruits like apricots, cherries, and plums for something sweet and chewy. When your board is finished, set it out with a few cheese knives so guests can help themselves.
Most charcuterie meats and cheeses are tastiest when served at room temperature. Perishable items shouldn't sit out for more than two hours.  Consider keeping a small selection of "refill" items, like sliced meats and cheeses, in the refrigerator so they're ready to go when the board needs restocking.

You can also use this idea for dessert. Ideas:
S'mores board
Cookie board
Cookie decorating board
For beverages. Ideas:
Hot cocoa board
Bloody Mary board :)

They also make great dinners. Some ideas:
Baked potato board
Fajita board
Taco board
Clean out the refrigerator board

You can use them also for breakfast and brunch. Ideas:
Pancake board
Waffle board
Cereal board

You can also make holiday-themed boards. Ideas:
Thanksgiving board
Christmas board
New Year's board