3 Easy Appetizers for Playing Host

Happy New Year, people!

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Noah and I spent New Years with friends, soaking in some sweet, sweet country air. The weekend was spent reading (Zeitoun — fabulous book that I highly recommend), relaxing and yes, adult coloring … not naked adult pictures. Just cool, intricate images of lions and skulls and stuff.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend — other than late night dance parties — was playing host.

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As I mentioned last week, my brother-in-law gifted me an awesome vegetarian cookbook for Chanukah (The Forest Feast), and it provided some amazing inspiration for this year’s spread. Of course, I doctored a few of these up based on my own likes and dislikes; the simplicity of the recipes in The Forest Feast makes it easy to do so. I thought I’d share what I put together below.

  1. Apricot & Goat Cheese Bites
  2. Buratta Crostini
  3. Rosemary Gin Fizz

Apricot & Goat Cheese Bites

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What You Need

  • Dried apricots (unsulfured; your stomach will thank you)
  • Dried cherries (The Forest Feast calls for cranberries, but I love the additional burst of sweetness the cherries provide)
  • Goat cheese
  • Dried thyme

How to Make It

  • Lay your dried apricots out on a plate. These will be your base.
  • With your fingers, make little balls of goat cheese — about dime size.  Press firmly atop your apricot.
  • Top your goat cheese balls with 1-2 dried cherries (depending on how much space you have) and a small sprig of thyme.

Buratta Crostini

What You Need

  • Baguette
  • Buratta
  • Shallot
  • Capers
  • Butter
  • Balsamic Vinegar

How to Make It

  • In a pan, saute your shallots in a dollop of butter until they appear clear and slightly caramelized — about 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, toast 1/2-inch slices of your baguette until the crust is golden and crunchy.
  • Once these are ready … it’s time to assemble. On a plate, arrange your toasted baguette slices neatly.
  • Top each piece of bread with a slice of buratta (enough to cover the surface of your bread), and sprinkle with shallots, capers, and 1-3 drops of balsamic vinegar. (Pro tip: Try Rao’s balsamic vinegar. While expensive, it is worth every penny. Treat yourself — and your guests!)

Rosemary Gin Fizz

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What You Need

  • Hendrick’s Gin (this is my preference, but feel free to choose another)
  • Lemons
  • Honey
  • Dried rosemary
  • Club soda

How to Make It

  • In a glass, combine a shot of gin with the juice of 1/4 of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey. Stir well, making sure your honey is melted fully.
  • Top with club soda — about 1/2 a cup, or to your taste. I like my drinks slightly more diluted than others might.
  • Shake with crushed ice.
  • Add a sprig of dried rosemary, stir, and serve.

Your turn! What fun snacks and drinks did you serve over New Years that were both delicious yet wholesome?

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