This week we welcome guest blogger, Christina Lane. Christina is the founder of the popular blog DessertForTwo.com. Her food writing and photography have been featured on popular websites including The Kitchn, Tasty Kitchen, Babble, Fine Cooking, Serious Eats, and the Huffington Post. A Texan by birth, Lane’s desserts are a unique blend of Southern, Californian and Midwestern influences. She bakes and eats dessert daily.\
There’s a lot of pressure surrounding Valentine’s Day, isn’t there? It seems like all the little things mean big things on this day: does this restaurant choice mean he loves me? Does this dress say I love him? Wait, is he checking out that waitress?
You don’t need that kind of stress in your life.
I propose a date night at home, complete with a cheeseboard to start
A cheeseboard is “grate” I mean great (heh) for date night, because if you give someone something to eat while you’re cooking, they won’t notice you fumbling around in the kitchen while you cook. And if you happen to burn dinner, well, there’s always the cheese.
Let’s go over some cheeseboard basics.
First, start with the cheese. For just two people, two kinds of cheese is plenty. I like to include cheeses of different strengths and flavors.
My all-time favorite cheese is Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, so I always have that on my cheeseboard. Plus, I won’t date anyone who doesn’t like it, so it’s great to figure out this information before your relationship gets too serious.
One of my other favorites is Kerrygold Skellig Sweet Cheddar. Eat them side by side and discuss at great length the flavor differences between the two. This is great if the conversation is lacking. When in doubt, talk about CHEESE.
Ok, let’s round out the cheeseboard.
My rules are this: something crunchy, something salty, something rich and something sweet.
Warm spiced nuts are the best crunchy thing on a cheeseboard, and I included a quick recipe below for my favorite version.
As for something salty, it has to be green olives for me. I normally love the garlic-stuffed green olives, but I try to avoid them on date night (if you know what I mean). Lemon cured green olives are great here.
As for something rich, sun-dried tomatoes are my choice. Make sure you buy the ones packed in oil.
And finally, something sweet is dried fruit: figs, apricots, and raisins are great choices here.
Don’t forget the crackers!
And happy Valentine’s Day, cheese lovers!
2 servings for date night
1 7-ounce block Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
1 7-ounce block Kerrygold Skellig cheese
1 batch spiced almonds (recipe below)
1 handful green olives with preserved lemons
1 small jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 handful dried figs (or your favorite dried, chewy fruit)
1 type of crackers (plain water crackers)
Spiced Warm Almonds
This recipe is adapted from the Greens Restaurant Cookbook by Annie Somerville
1 cup raw whole almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pinch of cayenne (or two or three!)
1 teaspoon olive oil
First, chop some of the cheese into cubes, but leave the rest whole for the cheeseboard. Place them on the cheeseboard at opposite ends.
For the Spiced Warm Almonds, preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, spices and oil. Toss well. Toast for 10 minutes, and serve warm.
Arrange the rest of the accompaniments between the cheese, adding crackers to serve.