Build a better spread

Mix and match these five components for quick and easy snacks



Lemon herb white bean dip with bread

Kate Melton

The realm of cooking has more food than one person could hope to taste—entrees, appetizers, lunch, brunch, dinner, and so on; salty, sweet, savory, and umami. Among the food contenders of course lay the small bites. An assortment of appetizers one might have as an entire meal if they so choose. If one hopes to come dressed to impress to a holiday gathering, an easy-to-make yet impressive small bite is a solid route to take.

Appetizers—if you have enough good ones, who needs dinner?

The app recipes in this article are simple, affordable, easy to put together ahead of a gathering, and will undoubtedly show that you can flex your “small plate” muscles. The masterminds behind the recipes are Caley Ferguson of Webster and Erin Gaertner of Martinsburg, West Virginia, the team who runs Resting Kitch Face, a long-distance cooking Instagram account that shows off great food made by two home-cook hobbyists and long-time friends.

With the following list, you will be able to make several staple ingredients—components, really—that can be combined and presented in a variety of ways. These little bites can be assembled right before a holiday party with ease—especially if the staple ingredients are prepared a day in advance. Using premade pesto also makes these small bites a breeze.

What you’ll need

4 oz. plain goat cheese

1 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans

1 head garlic

1 large lemon

2 medium Vidalia onions

16 oz. Roma tomatoes (about 4 medium)

3 T. butter

1 8 oz. jar pesto

1 package mini naan bread (if you can’t find that, cut large naan into bite-sized pieces)

1 French baguette (pre-sliced is easiest)

Fresh veggies for dipping—peppers, carrots, cucumber, celery (can purchase veggie tray)

Oregano, fresh or dried

Thyme, fresh or dried

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Parchment paper (optional)

Aluminum foil

 

The building blocks:

 

Roasted Tomatoes

16 oz. Roma tomatoes (about 4)

Olive oil

¼ t. kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375º F. Slice tomatoes lengthwise. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

 

Roasted Garlic

1 head garlic

1 t. olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 375º F. Cut off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Set the head, exposed clove side up, in a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and close up foil to cover the head entirely. Place the wrapped head of garlic in an oven safe dish or on a baking sheet. Roast for 45–60 min or until the cloves become soft and golden.

 

Caramelized Onions

The key is to cook the onions “low and slow” to bring out their natural sugars. Turn the heat down if you notice the onions starting to burn.

2 medium Vidalia onions sliced into rings

3 T. unsalted butter

1 T. olive oil

1 T. chopped fresh oregano and thyme (if using dried, reduce amount by half)

½ t. kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

 

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, over medium-low heat, melt butter with oil. When melted, add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for 35–40 minutes, or until browned but not burned, stirring occasionally with a spatula or pair of metal tongs.

 

Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese

4 oz. plain goat cheese

3 cloves roasted garlic

1 t. lemon zest

 

Combine ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

 

Lemon Herb White Bean Dip

1 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans

3 t. lemon juice

1 T. chopped fresh oregano & thyme (if using dried, reduce amount by half)

2 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup olive oil

Pinch of kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper (a few twists)

 

Rinse the beans well. Combine everything but salt and pepper to food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper.

 

Some appetizers you can make:

 

A. Toasted Bread with Lemon Herb White Bean Dip and Caramelized Onions

• Drizzle naan or baguette slices with olive oil and bake in 350º F oven for 5–8 minutes

• Spread bean dip on naan bread or bread slices

• Top with caramelized onions

 

B. Lemon Herb White Bean Dip with Vegetables

• Arrange sliced veggies on platter around a bowl of lemon bean dip

 

C. Lemon Herb White Bean Dip with Bread

• Arrange sliced bread on platter around a bowl of lemon herb bean dip

 

D. Toasted Bread with Whipped Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

• Drizzle naan or baguette slices with olive oil and bake in 350º F oven for 5–8 minutes

• Spread whipped goat bread

• Top with roasted tomatoes

 

E. Toasted Bread with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

• Drizzle naan or baguette slices with olive oil and bake in 350º F oven for 5–8 minutes

• Spread pesto on bread

• Top with roasted tomatoes

 

F. Toasted Bread with Pesto and Caramelized Onions

• Drizzle naan bread or baguette slices with olive oil and bake in 350º F oven for 5–8 minutes

• Spread pesto on bread

• Top with caramelized onion

 

Chris Stocking is a photographer and freelance writer who lives in the Rochester area with his wife and two kids.

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