The easiest entertaining idea: Throw a crostini party!

Photo by: Sarah Shatz
Bruschetta with Ricotta Honey and Lemon Zest-
I should probably be embarrassed by the following admission, but I'm not: anyone who has been to my apartment for drinks or dinner ... more 
Photo by: Sarah Shatz
Bruschetta with Ricotta Honey and Lemon Zest-
I should probably be embarrassed by the following admission, but I'm not: anyone who has been to my apartment for drinks or dinner multiple times in the last few years has most likely had the same hors d'oeuvre more than once. The reason I'm not embarrassed? This particular hors d'oeuvre is, quite simply, good enough to eat every night. - Merrill

Bruschetta with Ricotta, Honey and Lemon Zest by Merrill

Serves 8 to 20 as a pre-dinner treat

1 medium loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch slices on the diagonal (halve the slices if they're big)
Good olive oil
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
2 cups high quality, smooth whole milk ricotta Ask a question about this ingredient.
Maldon sea salt or kosher salt
Honey
2 lemons

1. Once your guests have been adequately plied with drinks and roasted almonds, or whatever else will buy you time, steal a few minutes for yourself in the kitchen or out by the grill, which should already be going strong. If you don't have a grill, set a grill pan over medium-high heat or turn on your broiler. Brush both sides of each slice of bread lightly with olive oil. Put the bread to the grill or griddle, and cook until slightly charred on less 
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Tue, Nov 8, 2011 7:01 PM EST
October and its promise of crisp, cool fall days has arrived. And if you're anything like us, so is the itch to retreat indoors and fill your kitchen with good friends. A casual, impromptu dinner party is a quick fix for the weekday rut, and there's no reason you should have to wait until Saturday to impress your nearest and dearest with a meal they won't forget.



One of our favorite last minute gatherings is the do-it-yourself Crostini Party. Simply prep a selection of toppings ahead of time (see 10 of our favorites below), pick up a few good baguettes, set, slice and serve. Not only are finger foods everyone's not-so-guilty pleasure, the mere prospect of an interactive snack buffet will draw a crowd.



The best part of it all? You'll be calm, cool and collected -- not stuck in the kitchen, but building your own perfect bites, right alongside your happy guests.



Get all D.I.Y and make your own fresh ricotta or learn 2 ways to roast red peppers.



Have room for another course? Check out these dessert recipes from Food52.