Charcutterie Boards

Hey thanks for dropping back into George’s Kitchen. Today is all about the boards! Charcuterie boards that is. I love making these because you can be as creative as you like without any limits at all. Making a board is very simple and easy. Nine times out of ten you’ll have most of the ingredients right at home. Another great thing about making boards is that you get a chance to play with colors, shapes, and textures. 
So, the board above consists of hot sopresatta, pancetta, Medjool dates, sweet gherkins, Kalamata olives, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, assorted crackers, cherry tomatoes and soft goat cheese. These ingredients give a wonderful combination of sweet sour, and spicy. This board is enough for two people. It makes a great appetizer or a nice treat while watching a movie or your favorite tv show. Like I was saying earlier you’re not limited to certain items.  Instead of crackers you could use toasted french baguette.  You could also swap out your walnuts for smoked almonds if that’s what you prefer. It’s really whatever works for you or whatever you have on hand. I like soft cheese with my boards because it is easier to spread and the one I used on today’s board was really good. Local honey is another great addition to your board very sweet and natural. 

When you go out to eat, charcuterie boards can become very expensive.  You can easily spend $40 on a board at a restaurant. Especially because you’re only given a few options for meats and cheeses.  If you want more meats or cheeses you generally pay an upcharge or have to order another board.  I normally make my own boards these days, especially on holidays. I go to the deli at our local market to purchase Boar’s Head deli meats and choose from the variety of cheeses they offer. Normally it comes in right around $40 and we have 5-6 people nibbling at it while dinner is being prepared. Needless to say it usually doesn’t last long!  
If you’re really not sure on how to put together your board please feel free to leave your email address in the comments and I can send you some ideas. As always thanks for checking in!

Cheers

Chef Aaron Keith

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Farm to Table

Hey happy hump day to everybody! Welcome back to George’s Kitchen.

I grew up in a small town named Whaleyville. It was a community full of close family and friends a real village. Whaleyville was filled with hard working folks who did whatever needed to be done to keep food on the table. Growing up my father and uncles raised their own animals and grew their own vegetables. During Harvest Time in the fall we dug up all the root vegetables, picked all the beans, tomatoes, corn, squash and peppers. We canned veggies and stored the root vegetables (turnips, potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes) in bushel baskets under the house to keep things dry and cool. Along with all the canning my dad would make the best sweet pepper relish, grape and strawberry jellies. Sometimes we would go to a place around the corner from our house and pick pears for pear preserves. I remember my Aunt Lizzy would even can bread and butter pickles that were so much better than any store brand!!

My dad and uncles also did all of their own meat processing. When it was time to process the meat everyone would pitch in to help. I remember a back yard full of people. Everyone who was helping knew their position and what had to be done. It always went smoothly. There were big buckets of scorching hot water to dip the chickens in. It helped with removing the feathers and I remember it also stunk really badly. But one thing for sure, you could guarantee that one of those fresh birds was gonna be on the table the next day for Sunday dinner. There would be fresh dumplings rolled from scratch, greens and relish. Oh and don’t forget the potato salad, candied yams and wet cornbread. That was how we did it on Sundays! There was also, Hog Killin’ which was the day we processed our own pigs. Again, everyone knew their positions. The hugest Cast iron pots (only used during hog killing) were set up over a fire. In them, scrapple and cracklin were cooked. You had ham that would be hung up to cure in my grandfather’s smokehouse, fresh pork chops, sage sausage from the family recipe and everything else you can think of that came from the pig was made that day. Nothing was wasted!

This era was definitely the true definition of Farm to Table. Everything was raised and grown NOT MANUFACTURED and it was all antibiotic and pesticide FREE! I love that I had a chance to experience living off the land and growing up in the time I did. It was definitely a blessing and has had a great impact on my life. My cooking definitely reflects my experience farming and processing my own food. I give credit to my great-grandmother Annie Armstrong who had a Native American mother and a father who was a freed slave. She was a very wise farmer and cook who is the reason my dad and uncles knew so much about farming, raising animals and preserving food. Grandmom made sure they all knew what taking care of family was all about. She also taught them how to shoot rifles and guns for hunting. My dad was known as Dead Eye Dick when it came to handling a gun.

I’m looking forward to continuing the Farm to Table tradition for years to come and teaching my children the benefits of raising our own food. It’s a lot of work but it comes with a lot of benefits like better health, saving money, and a new perspective on what it means to be a farmer.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog post. Cheers!

Chef Aaron Keith

Welcome to George’s Kitchen New Food Blog and Journey

Hello, I am Chef Aaron Keith welcome to George’s Kitchen my new Blog and food journey. The blog is a place where we will talk everything FOOD! We will explore restaurants that exceed expectations (sorry franchises). We’ll talk recipes, especially the ones handed down from generation to generation. We’ll talk sweet and savory, farm to table, entertaining, wine and anything pleasing to the palette. You’ll get a chance to see live cooking and hear all about the latest events happening around town. I’ll even do a few interviews with some chefs I’m inspired by. I love being transparent so I’ll also share a lot about myself and what inspires me to do what I do.

So, let’s start at the beginning. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and creating unforgettable dishes. Following in my father and uncles’ footsteps, I started cooking when I was 9 years old. They all learned from my grandmother so I learned all I could from hanging out with them. As I grew older I experimented (aka – messed up a lot LOL) in the kitchen until I became confident in my craft. Whenever I visited my buddies and we were going to be cooking over the weekend I always showed up with a bag full of different herbs and seasonings. They knew I was serious about cooking so of course they had jokes!

I am always on a mission to outdo and challenge myself to do something new and exciting. I love watching and learning from other chefs. YouTube, IG, Food Network and Cooking Channel are a few of the tools I use to help me become a better chef. I love to watch people enjoy the food I’ve prepared. It puts a huge smile on my face and warms my heart! I always cook with love and passion. Like my father I don’t play around with my craft. The kitchen is my place of refuge nothing on my mind but what I’m creating. So stay out the way! LOL

If you ever have a chance to experience my food I hope you not only enjoy the mouth bursting flavors in every bite but the love and passion I put into creating it. That’s all for now!

Cheers

Chef Aaron Keith