Small plate recipes perfect for your holiday gathering

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Planning on entertaining this holiday season, but struggling to decide what to serve?

Chef Zak Groh from Whisk Culinary joined the WakeUp News team on Monday, December 9th with a few small plate recipes perfect for any gathering.

Garam Masala Spiced Cashews


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate or paste
  • 1 pound roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon ground garam masala
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Chopped fresh mint, for serving


Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium pot, melt butter, honey, brown sugar, tomato paste and tamarind. Add nuts, coconut, garam masala and salt and toss until coated. Spread on baking sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is toasted and sugars have begun to caramelize. Sprinkle nuts lightly with salt and let cool completely. Before serving, break up nuts and sprinkle with mint. (Nuts can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 weeks, but don’t add mint until serving.)

Roasted Eggplant Canape with Goat cheese, Tahini and Pine nuts


  • 2 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced crosswise ½" thick
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped oregano, for garnish


Heat oven to 425°. Place eggplant in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Combine oil and paprika in a bowl, brush about 2 tbsp. over eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, turning once, until golden, about 20 minutes; set aside.

Combine cheese, tahini, juice, honey, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup water in a bowl. Top each round with 1-2 tsp. cheese mixture and drizzle with remaining oil. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and oregano.

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