Holiday Tabletop: Sleek D


Whether you're hosting Christmas dinner or just having a small group of friends over to celebrate the season, it's great to make dishes that can be made and prepped ahead of time, says Jeffrey Nimer, owner of Haute Chefs LA and our culinary advisor. "Take advantage of your time and gather and prep all of your ingredients in advance," he says. "Visualize your appetizers and how you want to present them, gathering serving items ahead of time so you are not scrambling later." Read on for a few of Nimer's favorite make-ahead recipes.

LOBSTER SALAD SLIDERS "There's always room for lobster," says Nimer of his chilled lobster salad sliders which can sit in the fridge for a day, "allowing the favors to get even better acquainted." The chef recommends scooping his seafood salad onto some buttery mini brioche buns: "they're amazing with lobster."

SMOKED TOMATO SOUP Another easy recipe is Nimer's smoked tomato soup. "I love this soup because the smokiness adds another layer of depth," says Nimer. "I also love that I can make it a few days ahead, allowing me more time for cocktails." Nimer recommends serving his tomato soup in small shot glasses or espresso cups, which make a great conversation starter amongst friends. "A great garnish," he says, "is mini grilled cheese sandwiches that will elevate this soup even more."

QUINOA CAKES For carb-conscious guests, Nimer suggests his quinoa cakes with lemon, olive, and parsley. "They're hearty, filling, and you can top them with any sort of aioli and garnish with chives." Though this recipe has a few more ingredients, again, you can make the batter ahead of time and let it sit. "Form the patties and cook them just before your guests arrive. They will love these cakes and love you more for being so health-conscious!"

ARANCINI "A main attraction," of Nimer's repertoire for years, arrancini, or crispy cheese-filled rice balls, are "easy to make ahead, and filled with truffle cheese, they ooze lusicousness." Form the balls ahead and all you have to do is fry them to order and serve with some aioli.



A flavor-packed make-ahead recipe that is bound to impress.


A rich, aromatic soup that's elevated with a grilled-cheese garnish.


Carb-conscious, these mini cakes are hearty and filling.


Filled with truffle cheese, these fried balls ooze lusicousness.

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Yellow Dinner Napkins, $62, Furbish Studio French Kitchen Pastry Board, $50, Crate & Barrel Disco Gnome, $129, CB2
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Ceramic Flatware, from $1, CB2 Stainless Steel Shiny Bar Tray, $30, CB2 Rosa Sparkling Wine Glass, $9, Crate & Barrel
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Marble Server, $17, CB2 Seagate Handmade Dinner Plates, $21, Canvas Mid-Century Entertaining, Silver Metal + Wood, Salt + Pepper, $19, West Elm
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Dauville Handmade Nesting Bowls, $18, Canvas Bamboo Skewers, $4, World Market Tilt Medium Bowl, $12, Crate & Barrel
Photographs: August Dering