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Oh my gosh, Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I’m so excited because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’ll jump at any chance to get my family together all at once. I’m totally guilty of not putting enough effort into seeing my family throughout the year, even if they only live an hour away. I’ve been feeling really bad about it and have vowed to make more effort to see them more often! With plans of moving abroad again looming around I don’t want to lose my chance while I have it! That would definitely go down as a big regret for me. 🙁
My family is mixed. I’m married to an Egyptian, and while most things run smoothly between us one thing is very different. And that is food! The taste is just so different when you look at American and Egyptian food. I remember the first time I told him that I eat cranberry sauce on my turkey… he couldn’t believe it! Mixing fruit with meat was just so weird and foreign to him.
There is one thing we can agree on though – bread and cheese! Those two categories seem to fit into every culture in some way. We go through a lot of bread and cheese in my house, so I thought for this Thanksgiving I would make up a Middle Eastern inspired cheese board to bring the two cultures in my family together. I think it came out quite good and it’s hubby approved!
For the cheese it was a no brainer – I grabbed a package of Boursin® Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese because of it’s super creamy texture. There are a ton of other flavors as well like Boursin® Red Chili Pepper, Boursin® Cranberry & Spice, Boursin® Basic & Chive, Boursin® Cracked Black Pepper, Boursin® and Cranberry & Apple. I love Boursin cheese. It’s creamy and crumbly, and it just looks amazing right out of the package. I bought it at Walmart last year while it was on sale and I’ve been in love sense! It really pops out on the cheese plate and shines on its own without any further preparations needed. Just what I need when I’m in a time crunch. 😉
Now I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year so you can probably imagine how full my hands are. I really appreciate all of those family dinners when I was younger now. I didn’t realize how much work went into coordinating schedules, cooking and making sure everyone has a good time. It’s exhausting! I have a small living and kitchen space to work with, so I’ve been tackling how to maximize space. Don’t even get my started on the cooking that needs to be done! Thankfully my sister and I are splitting the duties this year.
I already have so many dishes to make that I kept this cheese plate as simple as possible. I love homemade bread as much as the next gal but on Thanksgiving… ain’t nobody got time for that! So for these manakeesh breads I used refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough so I could save time without really losing that much flavor!
Middle Eastern Cheese Plate
I combined several Middle Eastern flavor influences in this cheese plate with tangy pomegranate, sweet dates, tomatoes, olives and cucumbers. Typical middle eastern staple ingredients in any household. Not only do they taste good, but they actually have quite a bit of nutritional value too. Zaatar and olive oil is a very healthy combo, and both pomegranates and dates have many health benefits.
These manakeesh breads can’t get any simpler. Just three ingredients come together to really pack a flavor punch! Each dough round is topped with a zaatar and olive oil mixture for that Middle Eastern flavor. Zaatar is a mix of Middle Eastern spices that are a staple on many tables. Typically you can find thyme, oregano, sumac, salt and sesame seeds in this mix. It all comes together in a crunchy mix and fragrant aroma. A popular way to eat zaatar is to dip bread into olive oil and then zaatar for breakfast. So yummy!
Another thing that I love about this cheese plate is that there are options for my family members who are low carb or keto with olives, tomatoes and cucumbers as options. The cucumbers and tomatoes actually went AMAZINGLY with the cheese. I found myself dipping the cucumbers into the cheese like a cracker it was so good!
Q: What will you be making for the holidays?