Indulgent Recipes for an Intimate Holiday Feast

The festive menu includes acorn squash agrodolce, beef tenderloin, white chocolate panna cotta and an espresso martini.

Charcuterie Board with Bacon-Wrapped Dates
and Spiced Nuts


Photography by Angel Tucker; styling by Nik Delfino of Easy Entertaining; place settings from Party Rental Ltd.


Bacon-Wrapped Dates
24 large dates, pitted
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
12 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Slice dates lengthwise on one side with a paring knife to create a pocket.
Stuff a small amount of blue cheese into the cavity of each date.
Wrap each date with a half of a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
We like a knotted 2–3 inch pick.

Spiced Nuts
1 large egg white
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
1 ¾ tsp cayenne pepper
2 ½ cups pecan halves or assorted nuts,
such as cashews, walnuts or almonds

Preheat oven to 300 F.
Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Combine remaining ingredients except pecans; whisk into egg white.
Stir in pecans until well coated; spread mixture in single layer onto an ungreased baking pan. Bake pecans for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, toss, stir and separate nuts.
Reduce oven to 250 F and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss and stir again.
Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any that stick together.

Entertaining tips:
You can either do a large charcuterie board for an immediate household or create mini appetizer boards for each guest. “Our tip is to make half, and buy half,” says Kaitlyn Roberts, owner of Easy Entertaining. “You can make the dates and nuts, then we recommend purchasing cheese and accoutrements to make it easier for people. There are so many great artisan items that you can purchase locally that would help.”
You can still have hors d’oeuvres if you re-imagine how to serve them. “We started thinking about how we could do them on a large scale and hand them out to people,” Roberts says. “We decided to package them up bento box-style so everyone gets their own box or plate.”