Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

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Making the Hors D'oeuvres Too Easy for Your Guests
Pregame snacks are expected, but the mistake many of us make is not thinking through how people will eat them. Shytsman likes to set up a "choose-your-own-adventure" crostini bar, and says it's a great Thanksgiving warm-up for several smart reasons. First, it keeps your visitors busy and out of the kitchen, allowing you to put final touches on things without distractions. Second, it's a good icebreaker if you have guests who are meeting each other for the first time. Have plenty of sliced, toasted bread; and, for toppings, think in terms of categories: something spreadable, such as sun-dried tomato tapenade or hummus; sliced fresh vegetables and fruits (radishes, cucumbers, pears, apples); a few cheeses and cured meats; and, a "wild card," which could be a flavor booster such as honey, caramelized onions or minced fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary or thyme).

Get the recipes: Caramelized Onions and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade