The culinary team at The Gracious Gourmet does a classic tapenade of olives, capers and olive oil. But we enjoyed the versatility of a couple of their other savory, lightly garlicked spreads.
Lemon and thyme accent a mild, smooth Artichoke Parmesan Tapenade, while a chunkier Portobello Mushroom Tapenade gets its kick from cayenne and black pepper. Both will do double duty over the holidays as an appetizer spread on crisp toasts, tossed with pasta or served as a condiment with chicken or fish. Suggested retail price for a 7-ounce jar: $10. For a store locator or to buy: www.thegraciousgourmet.com.
Holiday spreads inevitably boast dishes varying in size and temperature. A simple solution to preserving table and buffet surfaces might be this trivet made from a silicone-nylon composite by Joseph Joseph.
Dubbed Stretch, this expandable trivet (in green, black or pink) can hold more than a single pot or pan, since it stretches to roughly 20 inches. Closed, it's a mere 7 1/2 by 2 inches. Suggested retail price: $16. To buy: www.josephjoseph.com.
No need to stress if a holiday guest follows a gluten-free diet, thanks to two refrigerated products from Pillsbury's line of Gluten Free Doughs in Chocolate Chip Cookie and Pie and Pastry.
For cookies, scoop dough from the tub and bake; tasters enjoyed the sweets, plus the option of baking as many as you want. Suggested retail prices start at $4.49. At supermarkets nationwide; a product locator is at www.generalmills.com.