For summer entertaining, create a beautiful appetizer spread
By Jennifer Cohen-Katz
If it’s just too hot to throw an elaborate dinner party consider a lighter, but just as fun, appetizer party instead. Fortunately summer is just the season to collect the local ingredients for an artfully arranged cheeseboard, charcuterie tray or antipasto spread.
Wander through the producer-only Howard County farmers markets to gather fresh items. For a colorful arrangement keep a rainbow in mind. Balance a white cheese with deep red and blue berries, orange melon, green herbs, yellow tomatoes and purple olives.
Pick out locally sourced honey and small batch jams to wedge in for a sweet touch. Did you know there are quite a few apiaries nearby? Beekeeping has become a popular addition to Maryland farms providing us with the health benefits of regional pollens.
Try to offer at least three cheeses. Whether you hit a Saturday market or go straight to a nearby dairy farm, you can give your tray a balance of flavors. Consider changing it up with a nice goat or sheep’s milk cheese. Balance a soft cheese like burrata with an aged cheese like smoked gouda.
You’ll want a few bottles of chilled wine on the table. Our local Maryland wines pair naturally with native produce so ask for a great recommendation at your favorite winery.
Many of the farms around us are raising quality animals to offer delicious charcuterie. Of course, a dish of fresh crabmeat or smoked oysters tucked into the display will really give your guests a hometown treat.
Our creative bakeries provide breads and crackers of varying shapes and grains to round out the arrangement. Each of these is a miniature work of art in itself.
You won’t have to travel too far in Maryland to pull together an attractive piece of edible art for delicious entertaining this summer.
Macerated Mixed Berries
Quick Pickled Okra
Jennifer Cohen-Katz RD LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Fresh Balance Nutrition, helps clients identify their personal nutrition style to become their healthiest self. In addition to nutrition for hormonal balance, she offers cooking sessions and VIP personal nutrition services. Find out more at FreshBalanceNutrition.com.