Oh, hey! How’s your day?
Never mind. What if I were to tell you that it doesn’t really matter anymore? Because now, no matter what kind of day you’re having, there is a tried and true way to make it end well. Really well.
Hold onto your hats and follow me! The secret to making your day shine…
Cap it off with a cocktail and a cheese plate.
Try it. You’ll see.
First, the cheese plate. You’ll need a clean, crinkly paper bag and at least 3 cheeses, preferably of different colors, textures and varieties. The paper bag will be your makeshift cheese board. You can write the names of the cheeses on the bag and it looks very DIY cool. I wish I’d thought of this idea, but it’s all Joy. In addition to the stinky blue, I added a 4 year-old cheddar and a cave-aged gruyere. Stinky, old and aged. It’s the way I like my cheese. Did you know aged cheeses contain almost zero lactose? It’s glorious and true.
Side note: I recently found a website called Planet Lactose. It contains mind-boggling amounts of information on all things dairy. There’s a page titled Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse that lists the percentages of lactose found in dairy products. If you’re even slightly interested, I think it’s worth checking out. You will learn such things like yogurt, as a general rule, has more lactose than cheese…unless you’re eating Velveeta. Nice knowing you, queso dip of my dreams…
A good cheese plate is so much more than only cheese. This time, I added a bowl of my favorite Spanish nut mix, homemade smoky bacon jam – a decadent gift from my colleague Nikki, a dollop of honey and a dollop of fig puree, good crackers, and a bowl of quick pickles. If I’d had olives, I would have added them to the mix too. Really, anything nibbly that you like and happens to go well with cheese makes for an excellent addition. Just one unwritten rule: cheese plates are for sharing.
Adapted from Joy the Baker
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 smashed clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 english cucumber, sliced thin
In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt over high heat. Heat until sugar dissolves. Add garlic clove and bay leaf. Pour mixture over sliced cucumber and chill for at least 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve with cheese plate.
Now, for the cocktail. It’s gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, rosemary-infused simple syrup, and Prosecco. The rosemary lends subtle piney notes to the drink. I’m calling it, French 75 Goes Camping. I highly recommend you try it.
French 75 Goes Camping
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
For the Rosemary Simple Syrup:
Makes enough for 4 or so drinks. Feel free to double or triple if you’re serving more. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.
- 1/4 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 sprig of rosemary (about 1 heaping tablespoon of rosemary leaves)
For each cocktail:
- 3 tablespoons gin
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons rosemary syrup
- Prosecco (or other sparkling wine), to taste
To make the syrup, put the sugar, water and rosemary in a small pot. Simmer the mixture for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let it infuse about ten more minutes. Strain the mixture and set aside.
Garnish a tall glass with thin slices of lemon and rosemary sprigs, if you’d like. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then add the gin, fresh lemon juice, rosemary syrup and shake! Pour into prepared glass and top off with Prosecco.