Holiday Dinner Thyme Part I of III: Finger Foods

It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year with Christmas trees & bright holiday lights lining up the sidewalks of NYC. But most of all, it’s a really great excuse to feast with friends and family!

Owliday Tablescape

Part I of this III part post will feature Pre-App Appetizers of the Dinner Menu, and what spells the Holidays better than Popcorn? Okay, maybe Buttered Rum Cranberry Popcorn and Kale Chips does.  Parts II and III will feature the rest of the recipes as well as the instructions on creating the menu, so please stay tuned this week!


Finger Foods:

Buttered Rum & Cranberry Popcorn

Baked Crispy Kale Chips


Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Figs with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze


Provencal Rack of Lamb with Roasted Tomatoes


Home-Made Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream with Ginger Snap Crumbles

I had to try this Buttered Rum & Cranberry Popcorn Recipe when I saw it on one of my Serious Eats browsings. This was my first time making stove-top popcorn, the nerves were there but it turned out to be SO EASY.  I doubled the recipe for 8 and followed it to the tee.  Not only was it a delicious, perfect combination of sweet & savory with the airy crunch of popcorn, it was also a crowd pleaser.

Buttered Rum & Cranberry Popcorn

Kale, at least to me, was an intimidating vegetable to work with at first. But once you make friends with it, it gives you so many wonderful dishes.  Kale chips are one of the tastiest and easiest ways to work with this ingredient.

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Ingredients – Finger Food for about 4 people:

– 1 Bunch of Kale – You can use Curly Kale or Black / Tuscan Kale 

– Liberal Drizzle of Olive Oil (to Coat Kale), About 2 Tablespoons

– Sprinkle of Sea Salt (to Taste)


  1. After rinsing the kale, cut out center rib of kale, then chop up into bite sizes.
  2. Use a salad spinner to remove as much moisture from the kale pieces as you can. If excess water remain, use paper towel to pat dry. This is a very IMPORTANT step! Wet kale = soggy chips!
  3. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt liberally over kale. Use your fingers (or tongs), rub (or toss) the leaves to make sure the kale gets coated well with oil. Don’t over oil your kale – see Branching Owl update below.
  4. Spread oiled kale evenly on a large microwavable dish – try your best not to “stack” the kale, that way each piece of kale gets its chance to dehydrate properly
  5. Place in oven for about 2 – 3 minutes
  6. Remove from dish once the chips are done.

TIP: You can store chips in an airtight container for several days, however, DON’T store or serve chips before they completely cool down, they can get soggy quickly!


Overly oiled Kale = Soggy chips. Beware!

I previously posted an “oven based” kale chip recipe, it works and you can make it in larger batches than the microwave method. BUT (as much as I don’t like using microwaves) the magical waves dehydrate the kale much better than the oven.

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