holiday appetizers

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for new recipes to make for the holidays. Here are five of our favorites to help you easily entertain your family and friends.

pumpkin polenta with crispy shallots + sage

pumpkin polenta with crispy shallots + sage

A hint of pumpkin give this polenta an earthy, fall flavor. It’s a perfect bite-sized appetizer to get your holiday started.

  • Cooking spray, for greasing
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup polenta (yellow corn grits) 
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup prepared pumpkin purée
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Coat a loaf pan on all sides with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes until mixture is thickened, whisking constantly. Season with pepper. Stir in pumpkin purée and cream. Transfer polenta to prepared loaf pan and smooth out top so mixture is evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  3. Run a knife along inside of loaf pan to loosen polenta. Place a cutting board just large enough to cover loaf pan over its top and gently flip pan over to remove polenta. Cut polenta into as many 1-inch x 1-inch cubes as needed (reserving any remaining polenta for a later use).
  4. In a non-stick pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add sage and cook for another 1 minute. Add broth and simmer for about 2 minutes, until sauce cooks down a bit. 
  5. In another sauté pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry polenta pieces until golden brown, without touching, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn polenta over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Place polenta pieces on a serving plate and top with a little bit of shallot mixture. Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 18 pieces.


salted maple nuts

This is a perfect starter but also makes a thoughtful hostess gift, wrapped and tied with a pretty ribbon.

  • 2 cups walnuts, pecans or almonds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Kosher salt

Preheat a dry sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add nuts and maple syrup. Cook, stirring constantly, until syrup has thickened and worked its way into crevices of nuts and has nicely glazed their outsides, and nuts have slightly darkened in color, 2-3 minutes. (You can also begin to smell nuts toasting, just be sure to watch them really carefully as they can burn very quickly.) Remove from heat and transfer nuts to a large baking sheet. Spread out into an even layer (some of nuts will clump but that's ok). Sprinkle with salt allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Break nuts apart and transfer to a serving bowl. 

Serves 8.


roasted oysters with sage butter

Oysters are a perfect start to any meal and we love roasting them with a dab of flavored butter on top.

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oysters, shucked
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. 
  3. Place oysters on a bed of salt in a baking dish. Top each oyster with a dollop of butter. Roast until butter melts, 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12.


yogurt-dill dip

Using yogurt makes this dip healthier and perfect for crudité.

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley, dill, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for flavor and adjust as desired. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.


spinach balls

A classic recipe that never gets old.

  • Cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4-1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until spinach just wilts. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, squeeze out as much water from spinach mixture as possible. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add egg, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix until well combined. Add in more breadcrumbs if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into 12 equal-sized balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Makes 12.


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