Toss pecans with maple syrup and sea salt, and bake in a 400°F oven until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. (They will harden as they cool.)
Warm seeds and spices (such as sesame, coriander, and crushed peppercorns) in olive oil. Pour over a block of feta cheese and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve with crostini or crackers.
Dollop cucumber rounds with crème fraîche, and top with smoked salmon.
Make grilled cheese sandwiches using Gruyère cheese, cut off the crusts, and cut the sandwiches into long rectangles. Sprinkle on chopped parsley.
Stuff pitted Medjool dates with small chunks of Parmesan cheese, wrap in a half slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 450°F oven, turning once, until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Think ham is just for dinner? Well think again! Add biscuits and a jar of mustard so your guests can feast on DIY mini sandwiches.
In a small saucepan whisk together 1 cup applesauce, 1 cup pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and reserve.
Heat a bone-in, 7-lb. spiral-sliced ham according to instructions. Thirty minutes before the ham is ready, remove it from the oven and apply a generous amount of the glaze by dabbing it on with a brush. Repeat twice, every 10 minutes. When the ham is finished, apply a final coating of the glaze and serve the remaining glaze on the side. Makes 16 servings.
Recipe by Brooke Parkhurst and James Briscione