Grazing stations come in all different forms which is why there gets to be so much creativity. So what’s the difference between a grazing station and a buffet? Grazing is the new fad term. At least that’s my humble opinion. Not that it’s been a bad thing, the evolution of buffets to these beautiful spreads is definitely a good thing (not stealing anyone’s catch phrases here).
A ladies tea with finger sandwiches, lots of little sweets and scones with flavoured butters.
So what recipe and tips to dive into now?
First some more inspiration! This one is a combined baby shower (they had a boy) and anniversary party. Tomato Bruschetta with house made breads. Cheese trays with lots of fruit and nuts including red wine poached pears to pair with blue cheese. Sweets are petite fours, chocolate truffles, fruit and custard tarts. An example of recognizing when you might be in over your head, I have a fantastic baker who works with me and produces these things. Not that I can’t, she just does it -so- much better and she’s great with making farmer’s cheese, soups and some great sandwiches – not a one trick pony. Yup I admire her and her passion for good food.
Using different shapes and cuts along with props for your platters and tables can really add an extra dimension to the presentation. Fruit can be carved into simple shapes, teapots, baby carriages, swans or slices of fruit like watermelon or firm cheeses can be cut using cookie cutters.
Now onto my favorite recipe for bread. I have no idea where I picked this up at, I’ve been using it for years because it’s so simple but it produces a wonderful result and it is extremely versatile to boot.
No Knead Focaccia Bread
~4 cups all purpose flour
~2 teaspoons kosher salt
~2 teaspoons dry active yeast
~1 Tablespoon honey
~395ml warm water
~5 Tablespoons + 5 Tablespoons olive oil
~Choice of herbs or other flavorings (see instructions)
Combine salt and flour in a bowl with choice of herbs (basil, rosemary etc) or diced kalamata olives, julienne sun-dried tomatoes, crushed roasted garlic, julienne roasted red peppers.
In a small bowl combine the yeast, warm water and honey – mix together gently and leave for 10 minutes to come alive. It should be nice and foamy before moving onto the next step.
Add 5 Tablespoons of olive oil to the yeast and warm water mixture.
Simple, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Make sure all of the flour is hydrated, add water a very little at a time if needed.
Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about one hour.
Oil a baking sheet, knock down the dough and spread it out about half inch thick on the baking sheet, I just use my fingers to spread it; the dough is very soft and forgiving but don’t overwork it.
Spray plastic wrap with oil and cover the baking sheet. Let rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the plastic from the bread, using your finger tips to make little dimples in the dough and drizzle 5 Tablespoons of olive oil over the top. A nice addition here can be using roasted garlic oil or an herb oil instead of olive.
Bake for 5 minutes at 400°F then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake until golden on top.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before lifting from the pan and using as you want!
What might you want to use this for? Table bread, sandwich bread, pizza base, burger buns, cut into cubes toss with some roasted garlic oil and toast for croutons.
That’s the last for this little series. Check back or follow me on social media for the next post.