Tomorrow is the big day.  Are you hosting?  Are you ready?  It seems that with a couple of years of hosting under my belt, I’m strangely calm about the whole thing.  All of the pies are made.  The menu is set, and almost everything will be prepped by tonight to keep tomorrow low key.  I’ve opted for simplicity in every way that I can, and one of those is appetizers.  As a kid, one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving was the leisurely snacking while reconnecting with family, waiting for the meal to be served.  This year I’m honoring that part of the day in one of the very best ways I know how – with a simple assortment of cheeses, meats, and various accoutrements.  Not only is a good cheese plate one of my favorite things to eat, well, anytime, it is one of the most low maintenance appetizer options, period.  (Side note: If you are near a Whole Foods and adventurous enough to brave day-before-Thanksgiving crowds, there is a black truffle gouda that has been on special this week.  To.die.for.)

Grapes often compose the “something sweet” portion of a cheese plate but my fruit basket was overflowing with pears and so, this pear compote was born.  It is easy as can be, made start to finish in 20 minutes at most, and brings that little extra somethin’ somethin’ that grapes just…don’t.  The pears simmer just until tender in a bit of Riesling and are finished off with a sprinkle of nutmeg.  It’s a good thing my meal prep will be done by tonight because I know exactly where I’ll be hanging out tomorrow.  Right next to the cheese plate.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family, friends, and fantastic food.

  • Yield about 1½ to 2 cups


3-4 medium pears, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 tbsp. Riesling
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg


  • 01

    In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the diced pears, Riesling, sugar, and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pears are just tender and softened, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nutmeg.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.