Cheese Board: Autumn Edition

When hosting events, there is nothing we love more than putting together a cheese board. It can be assembled ahead of time and is a great distraction for your guests if you are still doing some preparation in the kitchen. It is the perfect vessel for putting many different foods together and looks spectacular when people walk in the door. We made the Autumn edition of our cheese board for Thanksgiving using ingredients that were seasonally fall – apples, Autumn Cheese, Pumpkin and Ginger Crackers. The options are endless when it comes to make these boards and the best part is that you don’t have to do much with combining flavors. With other dishes we would tell you that less is more, but when it comes to a cheese board, more is more. We love to dig through the aisles of Trader Joe’s to find items to mix and match. 

Our Cheese Board Tips:

  1. Use small ramekins and bowls to help separate foods that might run together, like marinated olives. This allows you to prepare the board a little more in advance and keeps all of the items on the board fresh for longer. 
  2. Stick to the rule of 3: three types of cheese, three types of charcuterie, and three types of crackers. This is a great base for a board for a party of 10-12 people. There will be enough variety that everyone will find something they like.
  3. Buy cheeses with a variety in taste, texture and type of milk they are made from. If a cheese is really hard (like a Parmesan) cut it into bite sized pieces for the board. The same goes for brie in a large wheel. Cutting the cheese up helps your guests have an easier time digging into the good stuff. 

Cheese Board: Autumn Edition
Serving Size: 8-10 servings 

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients On This Board (all from Trader Joe’s unless homemade):

  • 1 wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1 wedge of Rosemary Asiago 
  • 1 wedge of Chimay Autumn Cheese 
  • 1 package assorted charcuterie meats
  • 2 apples, thinly sliced 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 bell peppers, medium chop 
  • 1 cup+ marinated olives 
  • 1 cup+ honey roasted sesame cashews 
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash dip 
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Cranberry Crisp crackers 
  • 2 cups Trisket crackers 

Directions:  

  1. Start to assemble by placing the cheese on the board. Keep it spread to various corners. Next add the items that will go in bowls on the board. These should be for dips and more liquid items like the olives so that they don’t spread into the other ingredients. 
  2. Now add the charcuterie, folding it into different sizes to create different textures on your board. We like to fold the circular cuts into quarters and roll other larger pieces to give each item a different look. 
  3. Follow Step 2 with the vegetables and fruits, making sure to give the apples a squeeze of lemon juice before placing them on the board so that they do not brown before serving. If you are making the board in advance, stop at this point and refrigerate. 
  4. Complete the board by filling the the various holes with crackers, nuts, and other dry items. You may need to shuffle items on the board around, but the more the merrier! Serve at room temperature. 

Fall Fest 2019

Fall is one of our favorite seasons, and like most people, we get swept up in the activities that come with the cooler weather. To celebrate, we planned a little fall get together with a few of our friends. While our party was adults only, everything we planned can easily be include children (with some adult supervision).

The Theme All things fall! The menu, decor, and activities all went with this theme including orange table cloths (plastic for pumpkin carving and paint), festive napkins and plates, and of course a fall themed menu. Due to the activities, we kept the decor minimal and spent more time on the menu and entertainment.

The Menu


The Activities

Pumpkin carving and skull painting! We provided each couple with a pumpkin and skull (skulls and paint from Michaels) so that there was something to do for everyone. We purchased pumpkin carving kits so that everyone had the right tools and some design inspiration.


Butternut Squash Dip

Over at Tuck & Tate, we love ourselves a good dip. We set out to create a dip that resembled the best of fall and are excited to share this one with you. We’ve taken all the best elements of baked potato dip and brought them to the table for fall with butternut squash. The results are creamy, hearty, and the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  You can serve it with crackers, veggies, a spoon – really anything – it is that good. It’s great as a stand alone appetizer, or can be used in a cheese board as shown below.  

Butternut Squash Dip
Makes: 2 cups of dip
Prep Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 3 tbs whole milk or water
  • 2 green onions

Directions:  

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) Cut the butternut squash in half and place face up on a cooking sheet. On a separate cooking sheet, lay out the bacon strips. Place both the butternut squash and bacon in the oven for 25 minutes and let it do its thing.

3) While the squash and bacon are baking, slice the onion into 1/4 strips. Put the olive oil in a pan and turn the heat on LOW. Sautee the onions low and slow for at least 25 minutes union the onion are golden and almost jam-like. 

4) Remove the bacon from the oven and set the timer for an additional 20 minutes to finish cooking the squash. You want the squash to be able to be mashed by a fork before removing it from the oven

5) Chop the bacon and green onions.

6) Remove the squash from the oven. Once cooled, scoop out the seeds and discard. 

7) Remove the skin from the squash and place squash in a blender with the cream cheese. Blend until creamy and smooth. You may need to add the milk or water if the puree is too thick.

8) Remove the puree and mix together with the sauteed onions, bacon and green onions. No seasoning needed – the ingredients all blend together to give the right taste! 

9) Serve hot or room temperature.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a staple at Tuck & Tate. Our dad is the baker in the family, and for many years we all anxiously await the arrival of his famous Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. We would love these cookies year round, but find that waiting until fall makes them taste that much better. This recipe feeds a crowd and makes a boat load of cookies- it’s a great recipe for fall sporting events, weekday school lunches, and a great treat to bring to friends! These cookies certainly stand up on their own, but if you’re feeling especially festive, are best paired with a crisp cider or pumpkin beer.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes: 36 cookies 

  • 1 stick butter 
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar 
  • ½ cup canola oil 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs 
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 

Directions: 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two cookie sheets with silpat 
  • Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice) in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  • In a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and oil until well combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary so that the ingredients are creamy and fully combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between, until fully combined. 
  • Add the bowl of dry ingredients ⅓ at a time to the wet and mix until just combined, do not over mix! Scrape the bowl with a spatula as necessary as you add the dry ingredients if the batter is not combining well. 
  • Add the pumpkin puree and chocolate chips to the batter. Stir until just combined. The batter will be very light and fluffy, similar to a cake batter as compared to a dense cookie batter. 
  • Scoop the batter with a 1 ½ tbs scoop and put onto the cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. 
  • Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, or until the center is just cooked through. 
  • Cool completely before serving (if you can resist the temptation!).