Holiday Tabletop: Easy Rustic Appetizers

Peter Dolkas
When it comes to holidays, the sudden onslaught of family, friends, pie, and the pressure of entertaining can give you a turkey-sized stomach ache. Enter Jeffrey Nimer: the owner of Haute Chefs has delivered our holiday gift a little early this season with some mouth-watering recipes and some inspiration for a gorgeous tablescape wrapped up in one pretty package. An advocate of keeping things simple and stunning, Nimer's dishes all allow for some advance prep and can be served right out of the oven or at room temp to give a little extra leeway. Check out the seasoned chef's best entertaining tips as well as everything you need, from chic plaid on plaid tableware to sleek serving dishes, to make your next holiday shindig a hit. GO WITH YOUR GUT "I love to use Grape Leaves for holidays because they have always been a huge success at all of my parties," says Nimer of the tried-and-true dish. Going with a dish that's not only easy, but a fan favourite takes some of the pressure off when it comes to serving. Bonus: you can prep these babies ahead of time, so there's no need to stress in the moment. "They hold up well and have a great shelf life to them so I am able to make them in advance. Very simple to prepare, always use the best ingredients and the food will speak for itself." LET THE FOOD DO THE TALKING When it comes to taste, Nimer says to keep things simple, "I want the food to speak for itself; I don't like to mask my foods with too many flavours." Instead of going crazy with the ingredients, choose a recipe that is just plain tasty. "Sweet onions with creamy goat cheese and the richness of the puff pastry. Boom!" the chef says of his Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets. BITE SIZE IS FUN SIZE When it comes party snacks, hors d'oeuvres that require two hands or big mouthfuls can be a deterrent, no matter how tasty they might look. Nimer's solution: The most delectable Braised Artichokes. "Who doesn't love baby artichokes? It's important to follow the recipe and the end result will be amazing. Farm to table ingredients at their very best." He recommends preparing them in advance and serving them with a complimentary dip, but a must? "I always finish the beauties with some amazing extra virgin olive oil." cookthelook
recipethumb1An instant crowd-pleaser, this tasty hors d'oeuvre is as tasty as it is simple to make. recipethumb2The perfect balance of sweet and savoury, each piece packs a flavour punch. recipethumb3These bite-size beauties put a new spin on a classic taste.


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Acacia Wedge Server, $20, Crate & Barrel

Manchester Cocktail Napkin Set, $53, Ralph Lauren

Leather Handled Tray, $495, Jayson Home

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Top Hat Nut Bowl, $137, Ralph Lauren Bentham Charger, $137, Ralph Lauren Dorset Stirrup Napkin Ring, $32, Ralph Lauren
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Notch Wood Cheese Server, $30, CB2 Mezza Cheese Cutter, $20, Crate & Barrel Large Rectangle Slate Board, $24, Crate & Barrel
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Maddox Flatware, $207, Ralph Lauren Liam Grey Stripe Napkin, $10, Crate & Barrel Manor Flatware, $22, Jayson Home
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Duke Dessert Plate, $60, Ralph Lauren Gents Cocktail Picks, $137, Ralph Lauren Devonshire Placemat, $53, Ralph Lauren
Photographs: August Dering

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