hors deourve

Thanksgiving Appetizers in Santa Barbara

I’m always looking for easy, tasty holiday party hors d'oeuvres, and these Pesto Puffs were a hit last weekend at my family’s Thanksgiving celebration in Santa Barbara. 

Every year we head to my aunt and uncle’s beach house for a weekend of cooking, eating, and surfing. My job is always to prepare appetizers for everyone to sample as we cook all afternoon. These puffs were easy to make ahead and they work warm or at room temperature. The cheese has a tendency to ooze out a bit when they are baked, so use a baking sheet with a rim. A couple of my cousins were on cocktail duty: there was a big pitcher of spicy Bloody Marys in the morning, and at cocktail hour my cousin walked around with a tray of Manhattans and adorable Apple Cider cocktails garnished with cinnamon sticks. Before dinner, all the ladies take an annual walk to collect flowers, bark, leaves and vines to decorate the table, and then we eat at sunset. When I was in college, I lived just a couple blocks away…ever since then, I’ve decided it’s my favorite place on earth- can’t wait to go back!

View from the deck at my aunt & uncle's house

View from the deck at my aunt & uncle's house

I have no idea how to cook a turkey (just pretending here!!) I stick to the veggies. Bottom right: my cousin Vanessa passes out Apple Cider cocktails.

I have no idea how to cook a turkey (just pretending here!!) I stick to the veggies. Bottom right: my cousin Vanessa passes out Apple Cider cocktails.

Happy Thanksgiving!

* * *

Other holiday party appetizer ideas:

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Cucumber Caprese Bites

Radishes with Butter

Lemon Ricotta Crostini


We had a deck party last weekend and I made a batch of these Lemon Ricotta Crostini- they were a hit! And they were sooooo easy to make. Just slice and toast a baguette, and top the slices with ricotta, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest. Top with a pinch of coarse salt and serve!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

Bacon and Basil Wrapped Dates


Bacon & Basil Wrapped Dates! I have made these with real bacon, turkey bacon & veggie bacon. All are good (but real is the best!). Wrapping it in a fresh basil leaf after baking makes it feel a little less indulgent and a little more delish!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

Persimmon and Brie Mini Sandwiches


I know it’s been persimmon-palooza around here for a while, but this will likely be the last persimmon recipe until next Fall. I had some left over persimmon after making this salad for Thanksgiving, so I sliced them into wedges and made these little appetizer sandwiches, which people seemed to really like! You could use any kind of cheese, really…but do make sure you choose Fuyu persimmons (the squat tomato looking ones that are eaten when crunchy and don’t leave a pasty taste in your mouth like those soft oblong ones). If you can’t find persimmons, you could also use pears or apples. This is an easy cocktail hour snack to serve before dinner, and can easily be made ahead. Enjoy!

Caper Crostini


Crostini are great for entertaining, and this caper/shallot mixture can be made ahead of time. Burrata just makes everything better, so the combo of these ingredients is absolutely delish! Burrata is like a super soft fresh mozzarella that comes in water in a tub (you can get it at Trader Joe’s). If you can’t find it, use any soft cheese. You could simply use onion instead of shallots as well. I sliced the baguette and drizzled with a bit of olive oil (optional) on a cookie sheet before broiling in the oven. Yum!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast