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Assembling Your Own Charcuterie Work of Art

Kelly Burton Uses Meats, Veggies and More to Create Her Palette

Kelly Burton

A self-described stay-at-home mom, Kelly Burton previously worked as a registered nurse in women’s health.

Kelly says she has “always loved celebrating people” and enjoys planning “all details and touches that go into a beautiful gathering.”

"What a rewarding journey it has been!" she says about an interest that started as a hobby and turned into a business: Boards By Kelly.

Today, Kelly turns food—meats, cheeses, crackers, dips/jams and more—into her artist's palette. The charcuterie board is the resulting work of art.

"We were created to gather, so let’s gather often and celebrate well!” 

Social media:

BoardsByKelly.com

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Boards By Kelly, LLC (@boardsbykelly.okc) | Instagram

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1. SELECT YOUR MAIN FOODS

Spicy foods are a common request. I love to include hot capocollo, spiced or seasoned salami, and hot capocollo into the mix. There are also some delicious spicy cheeses such as pepper gouda, jalapeno pepper cheddar, spicy Colby jack and goat cheese stuffed sweet peppers, which I season with “everything but the bagel” seasoning. Brie cheese is a popular favorite that’s delicious accompanied with crackers.

“When creating a charcuterie board, I always think of whom I am serving,” she says. “If it is a gathering with both men and women, I tend to make sure I have more meat options, such as salami, prosciutto and calabrese.”

2. STYLE YOUR CHEESES & MEATS

To cut brie cheese perfectly to make a decorative wheel effect, slice when cold. As it reaches room temperature (which is when it's ideal to eat) the creaminess of the cheese will make the cuts less clean and will smear on your knife as well on the outer layer of the cheese.

The elegant part of charcuterie is folding meat decoratively. When folding salami, you have two main options: a salami rose or accordion style, to make a “salami river.” For the former, you’ll need seven salami pieces, which you will assemble in a line, placing one-half on top of the other half, then folding in half and rolling. Use toothpicks or place in a 2-ounce dip cup to maintain its shape. For the salami river, fold the salami in half, then in half again, so it forms a triangle. Place all the triangles together, and you’ve got a beautiful presentation!

3. STYLE YOUR OTHER CHARCUTERIE CHOICES

Dips and jam are essential to any successful charcuterie board. The fan favorite? Fig jam! Spread on crackers and top with cheese—and you’ve got a sweet-and-savory bite! Hummus is a great option to the board when cucumber, baby carrots, sugar snap peas and/or cherry tomatoes are featured. Honey also is an excellent sweet touch. I also like to have a bowl of whipped cream cheese with a drizzle of honey on top. It sounds so simple, but dipped with pretzels or crackers, it’s amazing! 

Speaking of sweet, adding sweet items to the board is a must, whether it’s chocolate-covered pretzels or sea salt chocolate caramels. I also love to weave in desserts such as cookies, cupcakes or macaroons.  

Showcase the changing seasons by adding special seasonal foods. For example, fall is great for pumpkin dips and pomegranate seeds. 

When including fruits and vegetables, make sure they are completely dry; otherwise, you will end up with soggy crackers and breads.

To really elevate your board, add florals, such as carnations, hydrangeas and/or daisies.

4. GENERAL ASSEMBLY TIPS

During assembly, do each element at one time. Sprinkle these items around your board one at a time. So, place all the breads/crackers first, then layer on the cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruits and bowls for dips/jams. To fill in the gaps, I always add blueberries last.  

The most important tip is to make the board your own! Piece your favorite foods together to create a board that is unique to you!  Don't be afraid to try something new! Believe me, it will still get eaten if it isn't perfect. Gathering around the table to enjoy charcuterie with those you love being around is the best part! 

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