16 large slices rye bread or two-tone pumpernickel

Fresh chives and dill

For the butter, in a bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter, then gradually beat in sour cream and lemon juice. Beat until light and smooth, than beat in chives and dill. Add some pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away, bring to warm room temperature for spreading on toasts.

For the seafoods, in a bowl, combine marinated herring, sliced red onion and mushrooms. Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar and pepper to taste and stir well. Cover and let marinate a couple of hours.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

In another bowl, combine smoked salmon and chopped red onion. Chill.

Chill caviars.

For canapés, heat oven to 350 degrees. On a work surface, use cookie cutters to cut each bread slice into 3 decorative shapes. Place on baking sheet(s) and toast just until they're pale gold, about 4 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

To finish, spread each toast with some of the herb butter. Remove herring from marinate and pat very dry with paper towels. Arrange some herring, mushroom and onion on 16 of the toasts. Arrange the smoked salmon and chopped red onion on 16 more toasts. Spoon some black caviar on 16 toasts and top with some of the salmon roe. Arrange canapés on a pretty serving platter and garnish each with some chives and dill. Makes about 48 canapés.

Cornish hens, plus

What most of us like best about Thanksgiving turkey is the leftovers. Well, we build leftovers into this meal by providing a whole game hen per person. Use kitchen shears to cut each hen in half along the breast bone. Guests have the option of eating the whole thing or saving half for another time. If more than six accept your invitation, the hens can be halved before you serve them, and you can keep the remaining 4 halves for yourself.

Make the stuffing ahead; bring to room temperature before applying to the hens.

If you must have something green, do a spinach salad. Or some Brussels sprouts.

Stuffing

1 cup coarse bulgur (health food store if your supermarket doesn't have it)

2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium/fat chicken broth (or turkey broth)

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 pound bacon, cooked until crisp, fat reserved, bacon chopped fine

Two vidalia onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 large stalk celery, finely chopped

2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped