Get holiday tablescape ideas and a delicious appetizer recipe with designer and entertaining expert Athena Calderone

California Cooking

Jessica recently caught up with Athena Calderone, a designer, culinary storyteller and entertaining expert, who offered tips for entertaining during the holidays.

She and Jessica made Meyer lemon ricotta crostini with blistered grapes, and Athena shared some telescape ideas for the holidays. (Watch the video below for that!)

For more information about Athena, visit her website, Eyeswoon, or follow her on Instagram.

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 121.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Crostini with Blistered Grapes, serves 4 to 6


  • 12 ounces seedless red or black grapes
  • 4 sprigs of fresh tarragon, divided
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) fresh ricotta
  • ½ Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 slices crusty bread
  • 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
  • Saba or syrupy balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the grapes across a baking sheet and top them with two tarragon sprigs. Drizzle with oil and toss the grapes until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the grapes until they have just started to burst, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool slightly, discard the tarragon and squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the grapes.
  2. While the grapes are roasting, use a wire whisk to combine the ricotta and lemon zest.
  3. Just before you’re ready to serve the crostini, heat up the broiler. Place the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with oil on both sides. Broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side depending on the strength of your broiler. Let the toasts cool slightly. Pluck the leaves from the remaining tarragon sprigs. Spread the ricotta mixture over each slice of bread and top with the grapes and pine nuts. Finish with a sprinkle of tarragon and a drizzle of saba.

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