There’s always a lot going on during the holidays, so when planning your cocktail party, keep the apps simple and let quality ingredients do the work for you. I use bluefish for this easy crostini since the ocean is full of ‘em around here, but any smoked fish will do.

Ingredients

* Baguettes
* Stonehouse Roasted Garlic Oil
* Salt
* Freshly ground pepper
* Smoked bluefish
* Creme Fraiche
* Lemon juice
* Dill leaves

Procedure for the crostini

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut baguette into thin bit sized slices and lay on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
4. Drizzle the garlic oil on both sides.
5. Bake the sliced baguette in the oven for 4 minutes, or until lightly brown and crisp. Remove and set aside.

Procedure for the creme fraiche

1. Mix the creme fraiche, lemon juice and salt to taste until well blended.

For the assembly

1. Place a dollop of the creme fraiche mixture on a crostini.
2. Place some picked dill leaves on the dollop of the creme fraiche mixture.
3. Break the bluefish into bit size pieces and place a small chunk on each creme fraiche laden crostini.

Put the water on to boil the minute you come home. This will give you enough time to change, listen to messages, and feed the cat. When the water is ready, toss in the pasta and cook as you like. When pasta is done toss into drainer, shake our excess water, (you can save a little to toss back into the “sauce” as the starch from the pasta gives a bit of thickness) drizzle olive oil over pasta and shake. Olive oil keeps the pasta from sticking together if it’s done before the sauce.

Roughly chop the onion (and pepper if you have it)—the bigger pieces will give the appearance of food in the pasta— cover with water in a saucepan and place on medium heat. This is a cheater way to jump start the cooking. When the water has burned off douse with olive oil, toss in butter and a few generous grinds of sea salt and continue to cook. You can skip the butter but never the olive oil! Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the onions don’t burn. Keep a glass of water on hand to deglaze the pan if the onions stick. Adjust the heat so it’s as high as it can be without burning. If you have any stray vegetable—zucchini, asparagus, even sun dried tomatoes—toss in after 10 minutes and cook 10 minutes more. If veg-less, cook the onions 10-15 minutes, toss in the garlic, dried chili flakes, drizzle in a little garlic olive oil; if you have tomato paste in a tube, squirt a bit in here. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Toss in the pasta and mix. Plate and garnish with cheese and herbs if you have them, salt and pepper and viola! Welcome to your life.