All posts tagged: appetizer

New City, New Friends, New Memories in Hanoi, Vietnam

About a week before our journey to Southeast Asia began, Jess overheard another nanny talking about how she was moving to Hanoi in a few days while waiting for school pickup. Jess couldn’t help but introduce herself to ask for some tips about the city. They ended up exchanging emails and after a few quick messages back and forth, planned to meet in Hanoi. As a pleasant surprise, Morgan and her husband Nick offered to show us around for the day, as it had been almost eight years since they first met while studying abroad in Vietnam and wanted to do some touristy things as well. We began our day meeting our new friends at Cafe Phố Cũ, a well hidden gem of a coffee shop located behind two souveneer shops. Had we not met Morgan and Nick out front, we never would have found the place! After a brief conversation on the sidewalk, Morgan drove her motor bike straight through the souveneer shop, down an alley in the back of the store and into …

Cheese Straws

There is no better way to impress your guests than with something they think they can only get at a fancy restaurant. These cheese straws are so incredibly easy that you could have your kids or the non-cook in the family help!! Another great aspect of them is that you can use your favorite cheeses, not just the ones that I used. Ingredients: 1/2 cup finely shredded Gruyere 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan 1 egg 1 tablespoon water 1 package of puff pastry Flour for dusting Yields about 24 cheese straws Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry using flour to ensure it does not stick to the rolling pin or working surface.  At the end, the pastry should be about 16 inches by 24 inches. Exact size is not critical, just make sure it is not super thin. Prepare your cheese mixture by combining the shredded 1/2 cup of gruyere and 1/4 cup of parmesan.  Also, prepare the egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush …

Baked Brie

If you are looking for an easy and delicious appetizer or snack, the baked brie is your answer.  With a crusty outside and melty inside, this dish will fulfill your cheesey cravings.  There is also a minimal amount of prep work and can be prepared in advance. Ingredients: 6-8 inch wheel of brie 4 tablespoons fig preserves 1/3 cup sliced almonds 2 eggs 1 package puff pastry Most importantly, make sure you defrost the puff pastry overnight the night before you want to prepare the brie.  You can not defrost it at room temperature as this will change the way the puff pastry will bake.  It is hard to find a good tasting brie that is inexpensive as a whole wheel.  I was able to find a 7 inch wheel of brie at Whole Foods for about $18, which worked very well for this recipe.  Most cheese sections in grocery stores will allow you to taste the cheeses, especially if you are buying a whole wheel.  Picking a brie on the mild side will work …

Salsa

After my Aunt Pilar taught me her famous salsa recipe, I went home and modified it a little bit. Now I don’t think I will buy another jar of salsa again. This is a very simple recipe for a great dip that you can bottle up and keep in the fridge. You can also use it to prepare fish such as salmon or mahi to give it a little twist.   Ingredients: 6 large beefsteak tomatoes, very red and firm 1 red onion 1 bunch of cilantro 1 jalapeño 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 3 large limes Instructions: Coarsly chop the tomatoes and onions and put in a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the cilantro. The best way to do this is to keep it as a bunch and begin cutting from the tops of the leaves. Continue to chop until you reach the end of the part with leaves. Do not put too much of the stems in. Add the cilantro to the bowl. Use a mallet to beat the …