LATE SUMMER CHEESE BOARD

LK_OHFox_August2015-29I don’t know about you, but it still feels a bit like summer around Chicago. The sun is still warm and it’s still totally acceptable to wear those cute peep toe heels you just don’t have the heart to put away yet. Thanks to Candice & Ashley, we are getting one last squeeze out of summer & celebrating the end of that beautiful season with this gorgeous cheese board! I feel like a cheese board is just about the best way to celebrate anything, so here’s to it! xo- LK


Labor Day weekend was the sweetest, last sip of summer with road trips, grill outs, and long nights (for us anyway!) But the weather hasn’t changed… I’m not quite ready to roast pumpkins or make a big pots of soup.  So recently, when we headed over to a movie night with friends and they served the perfectly seasonal cheese and snack boards, I was dying to share it with you all!  My sweet friend Ashley agreed to have me over and share all of her secrets…

First up, Ashley says it’s the perfect time to serve homemade Italian sodas!  They’re refreshing at a time when you’re over lemonade, but not ready for hot apple cider.

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BLUEBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

1. Boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Add 1.5 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice) and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

3. Strain. Keep the syrup, discard the berries and voila!

4. Pour over ice and top with sparkling water.

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Next, Ashley showed me the secret to preparing the most delicious artichokes.  These babies absolutely stole the show!

Artichokes totally intimidated me until Ashley demystified the whole process!

LK_OHFox_August2015-13LK_OHFox_August2015-14ASHLEY’S ARTICHOKES

1. Start with a super sharp knife – if you’ve been looking for an upgrade that won’t downgrade your wallet, I’ve got to recommend these.

2. Quarter the ‘chokes and steam them for about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Melt 1/4 stick butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan.

4. Then, pan fry the artichokes flesh side down for 5 minutes until brown and crispy.

5. Finish with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice!

LK_OHFox_August2015-33You’ve got your beverage, the ‘chokes are on the stove, now it’s time to prep the most main event – the cheese board!

Pick up late summer fruit – stone fruit like peaches and plums plus fresh figs are perfect.  Halve and quarter into bite sizes with a safe, good knife.  The Edge of Belgravia makes the most absolutely beautiful knives that are incredibly sharp and definitely affordable if you’re looking for a big – girl knife option! I use the precision series.OHFOX2

Add three various cheeses based on softness – buy what you love!  I adore sheep’s milk cheese so my picks were along the same flavor profile, but differed in softness, which allows guests to maximize their favorite combinations.

Include the classics like marcona almonds and a salty olive.

LK_OHFox_August2015-22 (1)Finish with sardines.  I’ve never seen anyone serve sardines like Ashley, soaked in oil and topped with parsley.  But with a dollop of dijon on a cracker, they couldn’t have been better.LK_OHFox_August2015-21 (1)

What do you think – are you inspired, feeling creative?  It’s amazing what simple snacks laid out can do to make company feel relaxed and at home.  Secrets and real life stories flow freely when folks are full and there’s something tasty to drink.  I hope this post gives you that little nudge to invite a few friends over to share real life!OHFOX3


Beautiful photos by Becca EwingCandice Button