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When your (lovely) friends throw one last potluck at the end of December, and you've had your fill of cakes, cookies, and planning in general? Retreat to the comfort of simple, unfussy party food marked by a couple of clean, fresh flavors (parsley and lemon, hello) so you can enjoy the night with your pals without tearing out a single hair. Plus, it'll be a surprisingly in-demand palette cleanser for the whole crowd.

White Bean Crostini

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1 baguette (as always, we prefer Flour Head), sliced, plus crackers, for serving (not pictured: we grabbed a box of Back to Nature's Stone Ground Wheat Crackers on the way to the party)

1 handful (about 1/2 bunch) parsley

3 TBSP olive oil, divided

juice of 1 lemon

2 TBSP water

1 clove garlic

2 TBSP pine nuts

1/2 tsp salt

2 15-oz cans navy beans, drained and rinsed

black pepper, to taste

Preheat the broiler and place the top rack a few inches from the heat source. Put the bread slices in to toast. Check every two to three minutes, and remove when golden.

Meanwhile, blend together the parsley, 2 TBSP of oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, pine nuts, and salt. Place the beans in a mixing bowl, add dressing, and mash loosely with a potato masher, fork, or wooden spoon until the mixture is creamy, but still very chunky with lots of visible beans. Pour on the remaining TBSP of oil, stir, and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.