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Holiday Appetizers

Posted December 4th, 2012

Holiday entertaining is both exciting and daunting, since making a strong first-food impression often sets the tone for the rest of the party. I've had my over-the-top moments where I've tried to create complicated appetizers (one resulted in a small fire), but I've found that keeping things simple is often best. Savory foods are such a winter staple and these three dishes require little effort and make a big impact.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Syrup

The sweetness of the dates pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon, and the cheese enhances both flavors. The syrup provides a special, extra tang. For a more complex flavor, try using blue cheese.

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs 

These are one of my favorite appetizers and the color alone makes these worthy of a holiday spread. While they take a couple of hours to finish, the process is very simple and the results outshine regular deviled eggs. I like mine to be a little spicy, but you can omit the Siracha if you prefer a mellower flavor.

 
The easiest of the three appetizers, crostini are so customizable that it was hard to choose just one version. The pesto in this recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes and Marcona almonds in place of traditional pine nuts, so you get a slightly different, smokey flavor. While the salami is not really necessary, I like how it pairs with the pesto. You could swap it for burratta, or simply eat it plain.

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