Goat cheese lollies: Roll goat cheese into balls the size of a golf ball. Roll in finely chopped pistachios to cover. Put a lollipop stick in each ball.
Black olive toasts: Puree black olives. Toast baguette slices and spread with ricotta cheese. Top with a dollop of olive puree.
Chef Walter Abrams:
Caviar and quick chive cakes: Add chopped chives to pancake mix, and prepare according to package instructions (omitting sugar, if called for). Griddle the cakes and top with a dollop of sour cream and your favorite caviar.
Bacony popcorn: Pop a bag of microwave popcorn. Meanwhile, sauté chopped bacon; drain and sprinkle with brown sugar. Toss with hot popcorn along with a dash of red wine vinegar and chopped, toasted cashews.
Chef Bart Pickens:
Balsamic raisins: Plump jumbo raisins in balsamic vinegar by simmering over low heat for 10 minutes. Serve on a cheese platter.
Cheese crisps: Blend 1 cup each flour and grated Cheddar cheese in a food processor with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 egg and 1/2 stick butter. On a piece of wax or parchment paper, roll out into a 1/4-inch-thick disc. Cut into crackers (use holiday cookie cutters for more fun). Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Cream cheese and pepper jelly: Unwrap a block of cream cheese, place in the center of a platter and top with a jar of hot pepper jelly. Serve with crackers.
Chef Chris Painter:
Stuffed figs: Wrap a whole toasted almond in a basil leaf. Using the pointed end, push the nut through the fat end of a fresh fig, tucking it inside. Repeat as many times as you like. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, place on a sheet pan, and roast for 5 to 8 minutes at 425 degrees.
J.M. Hirsch, AP food editor:
Brie with bourbon-balsamic glaze: Gently simmer 1 cup bourbon and 1 cup balsamic vinegar until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper. Drizzle while warm over a round of brie that has come to room temperature. Serve with baguette slices.
Spring pea guacamole: In a food processor, combine the flesh of 2 avocados, a 15-ounce can of peas (drained), 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, juice of 1 lime and a splash of hot sauce. Process until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature with crackers.
Feta cheese and honey: Arrange slices of feta cheese on a platter. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and fresh oregano over it, and season with pepper and smoked paprika. Drizzle with honey and serve with baguette slices.