by the editors of Fine Cooking

Taunton Press, $19.95, 252 pages

The editors of Fine Cooking Magazine have pooled their culinary expertise to bring you, Fine Cooking Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor. Whether you’re a novice or a natural, these recipes are sure to inspire your inner host/hostess.

The recipes are impressive, but not intimidating, with many of the ingredients likely to be on-hand in your kitchen. Potentially unfamiliar ingredients are explained for those of us who have yet to discover phyllo, tahini, and garam masala. Beautifully illustrated, the recipes are accompanied by time-saving and storage tips, keeping stress at bay and allowing you to enjoy your company. The collection takes you from garlic roasted shrimp cocktail to gravlax; tiny twice-baked potatoes to grilled figs with goat cheese and mint. So go ahead, conquer the classics, and tackle those tartlets. Your guests will be sipping, scooping, stuffing themselves and singing your praises.

Reviewed by Alicea Swett