The Raves: Top vote-getters were the black olive and thyme and the smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and salmon roe. "It's comfort food, but all glammed up," said senior copy editor Susanne Ruppert.
The How-tos: Mash up a batch of potatoes—or, better yet, hire a cook or a caterer to do it. Get recipes from any cookbook, or try the recipes we used. Lay in a supply of tiny throwaway spoons for tasting.
The Variation: A sushi feast. If you've never made your own maki, Sushi Made Easy by Nobuko Tsuda will help your party get rolling.