Last month, I hosted a virtual zakuski (Russian-style smorgasbord) party. After picking up a bag of red beets, damson plums, and Asian pears from a local farm stand, I came up with a few recipes to celebrate small plates of seasonal foods. Thanks to Meeta (What's For Lunch Honey?) for hosting and to everyone who joined the monthly mingle. I only wish the party hadn't ended so soon... The zakuski roundup: Sara Clevering from Three Clever Sisters: Chicken Liver Pate R & R from Tadka Pasta: Groovy Golden Beets Kalinda Piper from Wheat-Free Meat-Free: Mushroom Caviar with Buckwheat Blini Sally Prosser from My Custard Pie: Russian Aubergine and Green Pepper Dip (plus Pear Vodka) plus a few dishes I came up with... Roasted Beet Dip Plum and Walnut Tart D.I.Y. Ginger Pear Vodka For anyone who likes rich custard, Sally (My Custard Pie) breaks down the alchemy of cooking egg yolks with milk, vanilla, and sugar to make a simple cream on her blog for this month's mingle.