Posted in Blog Posts, Feed Me, Seymour!, LOTR

Stores Boards

(aka charcuterie boards…or adult lunchables)

All throughout the series there are moments where the characters (be it on film or in the books) are in and out of people’s stores.

For those of you who don’t know what Stores are in a historical context here you go:

Stores are where food and items needed to feed/take care of a family or group for long periods of time are stored, particularly through times or war, drought or even the change in seasons.

Pretty simple. 

Often these are full of vegetables that can be saved for extended periods of time like carrots, potatoes and other roots, apples, cabbages and squashes/gourds.  Canned or jarred goods are also usually present and feature foods that will not keep in their natural state.  This is common for tomatoes, fresh fruits like peaches and berries that go bad quickly, and pickled veggies for long term storage.  Sugar, flours and other ingredient as well as dried, salted, smoked and preserved meats and fish, even cheeses, are also stored.

The variety of stores that are available depend on who is filling the store, the area in which the food is grown, if greenhouses are able to be erected, or even the traditions of the area.

What I love about Stores Boards is they can be eaten in a variety ways.  Here I’m going to build out a full fancy board as well as several variations I eat on a regular basis but I’ve also been known to just grab a few items and toss the into a bag for a hike or even to take to a convention.  You don’t have to be super fancy to enjoy food from your stores…especially if you pair the items with fresh foods made from other stores items like breads or sweets.

Ingredients and How to Make the THING!

  1. Make up your menu… here I’m going to feature a few cheeses (some which do require basic refrigeration and may not have been seen in ancient stores in this small of a quantity… these cheeses usually would be stored and fermented in caves and other cool spots), some preserved meats (again that we as modern humans tend to keep in the fridge though would be stored whole), nuts, root vegetables, pickles and sauteed mushrooms.  I’ll be doing three different boards to feature different items and styles.  But first I’ll make up a menu.
  2. Board 1:
    • This is my pretty typical over the top fancy board I’ll serve at events like Yule or Thanksgiving as a snack board before the meal or for myself to snack on as I prepare the larger meal.  This will feature a lot of different items, some of which are better fresh and others that can be made fresh…
    • Ingredients:
      • A nice triple crème brie
      • An Irish or English Cheddar (I prefer strong, sharp or mature cheddars)
      • A gruyere cheese (or other strong swiss style cheese)
      • An exotic cheese (this will vary on what I find in the store…cheese with truffles or wine, a cheddar with honey and sea salt, or even an goat cheese with cinnamon and cranberries)
      • A goat cheese or other soft and crumbly type of cheese (I choose this flavor based off the other flavors on the board…if I need sweet I’ll do honey, if I need savory I’ll do herb and garlic…)
        1. Preserved meats: pancetta, Prosciutto, speck, salami, peperoni
      • “Fresh” meats: turkey or chicken is really nice
      • Carrots (I like rainbow if I can find them or get them from my garden) or other root vegetables that can be eaten raw like jicama
      • Fresh cucumber, tomatoes, strawberries or other berries, apple slices, grapes, etc.
      • Small dill pickles
      • Honey to drizzle on honey goat cheese…if you don’t have this then you don’t need the honey
      • Jam (raspberry or strawberry)
      • Crackers or mini pitas
      • Mushrooms (sauteed in butter, garlic and onion, or marinated in oil, veggie broth, Worcestershire sauce then sauteed)
      • Guacamole and hummus
    • Additional items needed:
      • A display board of some sort
      • A few small containers for things like the mushrooms and the hummus
      • Small forks, cheese knives and small spoons
      • Small display cards (if you want to label the cheese!)
    • Put the board together!  I like to start with the large cheeses (making sure to cut a slice of the brie out) first and figure out how they should be placed.  Then I deal with the small bowls, then the crackers and veggies and fruits.  Then fill in the gaps with the smaller items… making sure to cut the cheeses into different shapes and leaving some whole so that there is a variety of textures, colors, flavors and other things.  This display takes some times to figure out how to make everything look beautiful
  3. Board 2:
    • This is a smaller board….something that I will make on a weekday just to eat as a lunch or even as “Adult Lunchable” dinner night…. If you can’t tell I love small bites and meals with a variety of textures and flavors
    • Ingredients:
      • 2-3 cheeses in smaller quantities…I like to buy a larger block or piece and then just cut off what I need for the board. Examples of what I use:
        • Cheddar
        • Brie
        • Cheeseballs
        • Goat cheese
        • Exotic or strange cheeses I want to try but am not sure about and can get in smaller quantities
      • 1-2 varieties of some sort of preserved meat that is easy to get ahold of at most grocery stores:
        • Turkey meat cut thick at the deli
        • Prosciutto
        • Salamis
        • Peperoni
      • 2-4 fresh vegetables and fruits
        • Strawberries or other berries
        • Apple or banana slices
        • Carrots
        • Cucumbers
        • Grapes
      • 1-2 preserved vegetables
        • Pickled onions
        • Marinated mushrooms
        • Dill pickles
        • Gherkins
      • 2-3 types of crackers (or just one…whatever you like but I like variety)
      • Some sort of dip:
        • Caramel or cream cheese fruit dip
        • Italian dressing
        • Ranch dip
        • Hummus
    • Additional items needed:
      • A plate or small display board depending on how fancy you are feeling
      • A small fork or spoon and a cheese knife… or whatever you have around for spreading soft cheeses and putting other ingredients on crackers that you don’t want to have on your fingers
      • A small bowl for each dip you choose to use
    • When setting up this board follow the steps of the board above.  This is all about your personal aesthetic…or you can be a heathen (no judgment here because I’ve definitely done this) and just eat everything out of the package
  4. Board 3:
    • This is the board on the go…think similar to the protein boxes you can get in the grocery or at a coffee house like Starbucks.  In my life this is what I toss into an airtight storage container, full fruits and then put in my bag for eating on the go be it hiking or in the car as I run errands or go to an event or convention where I need snacks but don’t want to spend money on mediocre food…or if I’m feeling Hobbitish and need to escape on an adventure
    • Ingredients:
      • If you have a way to keep things cold:
        • Hard boiled eggs
        • Hard or medium hard cheeses like cheddar or swiss
        • Packaged cheeses like small cheddar pieces or string cheese
        • Preserved or deli meats
      • If you can’t keep things cold
        • Shelf stable cheeses or cheese spreads
        • Jerky
      • For everything:
        • Full sized fruits that can end up slightly battered (remember this is getting tossed in a bag)
          • Cuties or other small citrus fruits
          • Apples
          • Bananas
          • Grapes
        • Vegetables that do well whole
          • Baby carrots (I prefer rainbow if possible)
          • Celery
          • Whole mini cucumbers
        • Nuts and other dried items:
          • Raisins
          • Craisins
          • Peanuts, cashews
          • Sunflower seeds
      • Additional items that you need:
        • An airtight container with or without dividers
        • Smaller containers for things like sunflower seeds or nuts if you are adding them in and the main container you are using doesn’t have dividers
        • A ziplock bag to store fruit/veggies if they don’t fit in the container OR to throw away any rinds, fruit skins, shells from nuts or seeds, etc.
      • Put everything together!! Toss in your bag and you’re off on an adventure!!!!

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