There are so many cocktail parties this time of year. Even if you don't host one, you may well be asked to bring a platter of finger foods to, say, an ugly sweater party or a New Year's Eve party. Try something new from this selection of perfect cocktail party dishes.
Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts: Start it off with some spicy nibbles -- these will get people headed over to the bar right on schedule.
Goat Cheese Guacamole: Not only does this twist on guacamole taste great, it also naturally contains Christmas colors. So thematic!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Dip: Sweet potatoes are an unexpected ingredient for classic dip, but it turns out they work beautifully for it. And, if you serve it as pictured, it too is a notably attractive dish.
Carrot Hummus: Another unexpected dip twist! Carrots, when roasted and mashed and fancied up with tahini, are a great substitute for chickpeas. You'll be surprised how quickly this snack goes.
Chestnut Hummus With Pita Chips: And as long as we're messing around with hummus, we might as well add a second variotion: chestnuts! There's a recipe for spiced pita here, too.
Baked Feta with Honey, Walnuts, and Thyme: This is easier, and more interesting, than the traditional baked Brie.
Sweet Pea Bruschetta: Peas aren't in season in the winter, but there are abundant in the freezer section. And it's perfectly green in color, which is, of course, seasonal.
Mascarpone, Gorgonzola, and Pear Finger Sandwiches: For something a little more substantial, try finger sandwiches. These incorporate winter fruit and cheese ... that's all you need to know.
Lobster Ceviche: If you'd like to class up the joint, do something with seafood. This time of year, you'll want to sub in mango and/or papaya for the melons -- serve with taro chips and you'll have a hit on your hands.
Poached Shrimp, Fennel, and Meyer Lemon Salad: Serve something light and a little more delicate (this salad is great without the shrimp, too) for a well-rounded buffet table.
Grilled Pork Meatballs with Snap Peas, Pecorino, and Bitter Greens: And for something that's the opposite of light, these meatballs with all kinds of garnish. Make a lot.
Hot Tropical Punch: This one's made with tequila.
Mulled Wine: There are plenty of variations on this classic (just don't turn it into an omelet).
Spiced Apple Cider: Another great freestyle recipe.
4 Holiday Cocktails: Here's a collection of our favorite winter beverages, in both hot and cold varieties.
3 Sparkling Wine Cocktails: This is the champagne season, after all.