Charcuterie boards are all the rage lately and people are putting ALL KINDS of food on their boards and calling it charcuterie. To me, charcuterie is classic antipasto, like meats and cheese, maybe some olives, and/or roasted veggies. However, all the rules are now broken. Literally everything is served up as a charcuterie board, even hot foods like breakfast and dinner. So, since all the rules are broken, here is my Yogurt Bar Charcuterie Board inspired by Ina Garten's tips and what I had on hand.
Now before I tell you how I put this together I have to tell you that I love the way a charcuterie board looks, but there are several things I DON'T LIKE about a charcuterie board.
1) Way too time consuming and artsy. I do not like spending tons of time artfully arranging anything in my life so this just feels like torture. I can appreciate a pretty board, but personally it feels way too pretentious to me! Sorry, Ina. I will NOT be going to my florist for some greenery.
2)People spend way too much money on boards, fancy dishes, serving utensils, and also fancy ingredients. According to Ina, we do NEED focal points, but I say we don't need to spend exorbitant amounts on fancy things.
3)People are now putting hot food on charcuterie boards and I'm sorry but I like my food hot. By the time you move all that around and decorate the board IT IS COLD! It literally makes me crazy when I see this.
So, now that I've discussed my issues with charcuterie boards let me tell you about my Yogurt Bar Charcuterie Board. First of all, it is not fancy whatsoever! I simply used what I had on hand and what was seasonal. I bet if you go look right now, you have all the ingredients to put something together. We do not have to reinvent the wheel here or go buy a bunch of out-of-season berries to be fancy. All we need is some seasonal fruit, some dried fruit, nuts, honey, maybe some chocolate chips, and granola. Let's be simple, folks.
Next, find a board that you have at home. Think outside of the box. The board doesn't have to be fancy because YOU ARE GOING TO COVER IT UP! Yes, I said it! According to Ina, all you need is a flat board! Next, you and I both know you have an array of mismatch dishes in your cabinets that you can use to create focal points and some height. I just used some ramekins I've had forever, a recycled yogurt glass that I washed out and kept, and an old wooden bowl that was cracked. I don't really do fancy.
Finally, I refuse to try and serve anything hot on a board and I also didn't have any typical charcuterie (antipasto) ingredients on hand, so I went with a yogurt board. As I mentioned earlier, I don't believe these boards have to cost tons of money to be pretty or pleasing.
My board came together with some Greek yogurt topped with honey, sliced almonds, candied walnuts and dried cranberries, granola, chocolate chips, dried mango, sliced banana, fresh slices of orange, and some dried dates. I resisted the urge to run out and buy a ton of beautifully colored berries because THEY ARE NOT SEASONAL, nor are they necessary.
Ina says that you should place down all the larger items first, leaving spaces, and then fill in those spaces with "large block of color." She says to group like things together and your board will look "simple and elegant."
Following Ina's rules I got out my cutting board and set the larger bowl of yogurt as the focal point. I put dried mango slices in an old recycled glass jar to create height. Then I put the sliced almonds, chocolate chips, candied walnuts and dried cranberries, and dried dates into the small ramekins. I sliced one orange to create a large block of color, added a banana to the board, spilled some granola down the middle, and filled in the empty spaces with sliced banana. Lastly, I drizzled the yogurt with some honey and stuck an old wooden spoon in the yogurt. It was easy peasy and I think it turned out well.
I made a yogurt parfait with candied walnuts and cranberries, sliced banana, a few chocolate chips, and a squeeze of orange over the top, then grabbed some dried mango to enjoy on the side. The kids made theirs with granola and chocolate chips with orange slices on the side. I made a few parfaits with the rest of it, stuffed some dates with yogurt and nuts, and stored it all in the fridge for a later time. Everyone was pleased.
Keep it simple. Life is hard enough!
If you'd like to read more about Ina's tips for building a charcuterie board, please click here.