Herbed puff pastry sticks: Thaw frozen puff pastry, butter one side and top with chopped fresh herbs. Use a pizza cutter to slice into thin strips, twist them and bake at 375 degrees until puffed and golden.
Frico: Grease a parchment-lined baking sheet with a little olive oil. Spread finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano into small flat rounds and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is golden brown. Loosen the frico and cool on a wire rack.
Poached pear slices on toast: Peel and poach pears in spiced red wine until tender; cool, then core and thinly slice. Top toasted baguette slices with the pear, then spread over a layer of goat cheese. Top with micro or coarsely chopped bitter greens and sprinkle over crumbled bacon bits.
Harissa with flatbread: Rehydrate a few ounces of dried red chiles in hot water until softened. Drain, seed and stem the chiles and grind them in a food processor with a few cloves of garlic, a generous teaspoon of salt and ground caraway, cumin and/or coriander to taste. Thin the paste as desired with olive oil and serve with flatbread.
Baked brie: Sauté thinly sliced apple in butter with a little cinnamon and sugar. Cool the slices, then fan them over a small wheel of brie. Cover the cheese with a sheet of puff pastry (cut a hole in the center, and decorate with the puff pastry trimmings). Brush with beaten egg, then bake at 400 degrees until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.
Stuffed dried stone fruits: Fill pitted dried apricots or prunes with marzipan or almond paste.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce: Thinly slice boneless breasts of chicken crosswise into strips, thread onto skewers and bake at 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine a cup of peanut butter with a little coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and chile paste (optional), tasting and adjusting as desired. Thin the sauce with hot water and serve while the chicken is warm.
Fingerlings with anchovies: Steam fingerling potatoes. When cool, halve them lengthwise and top with salted anchovy fillets that have been rinsed and patted dry. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and fresh-cracked black pepper.
Spiced candied walnuts: Simmer whole walnuts in simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the nuts and toss in sugar spiced with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Shake off the excess sugar, then spread them out on a sheet pan and place in a 250-degree oven until dried and toasted, 20 to 30 minutes.
Prosciutto and Fuyu persimmons: Quarter persimmons and remove the core if woody. Cut in thin wedges and wrap with prosciutto or Serrano ham. Spear with a toothpick to hold in place and make serving easier.