Appetizers Recipes

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Pesto Palmiers (Basil Pesto Elephant Ears) Recipe

Pesto palmiers are quick and easy appetizers for an elegant party. I made these pesto palmiers bite-sized so that they would work well at a dinner party we're hosting tonight. I have to thank Rianne from Art of Dessert for her post that reminded me of how to make them. As she said, palmiers look incredibly fancy, but in reality are quite easy to make. On top of that, the puff pastry "logs" of palmiers can be frozen for later use. If you're storing frozen pesto cubes as I've suggested in the past, this is a recipe that you can whip up whenever you're in a pinch, and no one will be the wiser!

Pesto Palmiers


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Vietnamese Tofu Stuffed Betel Leaves  Recipe

Tàu hũ cuốn lá lốt (betel leaf wrapped tofu in Vietnamese) is very similar looking to Greek dolmades. Instead of using grape leaves though, betel leaves serve as the packaging and delivery device for pan-fried tofu and vegetables. Betel leaves have a peppery taste, and when cooked they have the appearance, but not the texture of nori. The tofu mixture is similar to the filling I use for my vegetarian egg rolls.

The traditional way to prepare this dish is with extra lean ground beef (see tips), called thịt bò nướng lá lốt. However, Aunt Elise, who is a vegetarian, is visiting from Vietnam and taught me how to make the meatless version of the dish. Either way, it's an exotic and authentic taste of Vietnam.


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Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms

11.29.09 by Jackie

The possibilities for stuffed mushrooms are almost limitless. They are perfect as passed hors d'oeuvres and they're incredibly versatile and easy to make when you're pressed for time. We have a dinner party tonight, and I wanted to use the leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving. "Stuffing-stuffed Mushrooms" has a nice ring to it, no?

I boosted the flavor of the stuffing with parmesan cheese, sliced almonds and crème fraîche. To smooth out the texture, I incorporated some crème fraîche to the stuffing and brushed the mushrooms with tomato sauce and tomato paste as well. Once each button mushroom is filled with stuffing, sprinkle on some more parmesan, bake, and they're ready to serve!


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Vietnamese Sweet Potato and Shrimp Tempura Recipe

In Vietnam, there's a sweet potato and shrimp dish, khoai lan chiên tôm, that is served on many street corners. Three match-sticks of sweet potato are dipped in a tempura batter and then a whole shrimp is adhered to them. A little more tempura batter is drizzled on the sweet potato / shrimp combination and then the whole thing is deep fried.

This dish may not at first glance be considered Thanksgiving-friendly, but I think it's an excellent option. Tradition may have become synonymous with Thanksgiving, but the very first Thanksgiving was really a celebration of a fusion of cultures through food. So if you're searching for an alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving preparations of sweet potatoes, perhaps it's time to look east. To the Far East, that is.


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Homemade Biscuits with Sour Cream, Chives and Parmesan Recipe

Sunny and I woke up very early this morning to prepare a festive brunch for the whole family. We made some fresh juices, smoothies, crêpes, hashbrowns and sour cream biscuits. Making biscuits is a little messy but so worth it. Our family is very fond of buttermilk biscuits, but sour cream biscuits are even more decadent and delicious. The sour cream imparts a tangy flavor and richness that is hard to beat. We flavored the biscuits with parmesan cheese and garlic chives from the garden.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my Aunt Elise is visiting us from Vietnam. She's never had biscuits before, and so she looked at the little rounds of bread with curiosity. After she took her first bite, she was absolutely hooked. Biscuits truly are universal in their appeal.

garlic cheese biscuits


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