Smoked Salmon Canapés
Buttery and flaky, these hors d'oeuvres are like little tarts, only simpler to make. Follow our topping suggestions, or try your own: sautéed mushrooms and stilton cheese, caramelized onions and anchovies, gruyère and chopped toasted walnuts … let your imagination be your guide. Variation: Tapenade Goat-Cheese Canapés
Radicchio Salad with Citrus, Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan Cheese
Sweet citrus and dates, in season throughout the West all winter long, pair beautifully with bitter radicchio. Tangelos and blood oranges would also work well in this recipe.
Spiced Beef Tenderloin
Redolent of warm winter spices, this silky beef requires a bit of advance planning because you're essentially curing the meat ― but it's very easy to do. (If you cut the marinating time to 1 day, the results will be good but not quite as silky or flavorful.) You can roast the beef up to 2 days ahead and serve it warm or at room temperature, with crusty rolls for making little sandwiches if you like. It's also very good with a spicy-sweet chutney, such as Sukhi's Indian-style tomato chutney or WillaBay cranberry chutney.
Sweet-Potato Soup with Prosciutto Crisps
Served in demitasse cups, this sophisticated little soup makes an easy-to-handle big-party hors d'oeuvre. For a purely vegetarian soup, garnish with chopped chives.