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International Appetizers

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Asian Appetizers – Fried Wontons, Prawn Toast and Spring Rolls

Today I have three recipes in one they all just seem to go well together and if you are having an Asian themed dinner party this trio of shrimp appetizers would be a great big hit with guest. Shrimp as an appetizer item is always popular and I am sure this set of appetizers would be a wonderful hit with guest. Now a brief culinary word on prawns vs. shrimp form a culinary perspective almost no one would be able to tell you the difference in a blind taste test the difference between the two. Form factual bases they are two different species. Prawns are a fresh water shellfish and have three legs with claws while shrimp are a salt-water crustacean that only has claws on two legs also prawn is much more common in commonwealth countries while here in the states often the shrimp term wins out. Feel free to interchange in recipes all you want.

About the Fried Wontons

Many of us are familiar with crab Rangoon it is just one form of fried wontons that is a popular appetizer in Chinese restaurants. But fried wontons are not just limited to crab and cream cheese there are many different types a popular one is cranberry and brie cheese. Also is if you like the general cooking technique for these you can mix and match the fillings to your liking this is just one idea of a tasty filling that you can make and then fry as an Asian style wonton appetizer. Feel free to use whatever dipping sauce you like best. Also I fold these up into a money bag style but there are other folding styles for wontons you could choose just make sure to seal them really well so the contents don’t leak out in the frying process.

About the Prawn Toast

Prawn toast is a very simple yet tasty appetizer that is super simple to make and prepare. Use peanut oil for frying it has a much higher smoke point and will let you flash fry these so they soak up less oil at the higher temperature and also it adds a nice flavor to the food in my opinion and really is my deep frying oil of choice for most things. Use some caution in spreading the shrimp (prawn) mixture on the bread so you don’t tear it apart and try and keep it thin and consistent for more uniform taste when done. These are wicked fast and simple to make after a bit of practice. Continue reading

Buttery Garlic Breadsticks Stuffed with Cheese

Normally I would go into a food rant about this time in the recipe process believe it or not the last part of the post to be constructed is the intro. It may lead into the recipe but from a creation point of view it is the recipe which is my starting point. I mean I need to be able to deliver you a recipe that will downright have to wow you I can talk about it this or that but bottom-line is I need a killer recipe to make it all work.

Sure the intro gets you in the mood so that you hopeful end your search and want to head to the kitchen and give it a try but if the recipe fails then I have failed at delivering the many reason you came here in the first place which is for something great tasting to eat. Now I could go into a whole bunch of superlatives about how this recipe is one thing or another but with this one I think I am going to leave it at this and let that picture sell you on it.

I mean if you can honestly take a long look at those fresh hot breadsticks and walk away not even remotely a bit curious to see how good they actually taste then you are a better woman than I. I know when the team sent me this I was all there I mean breadsticks, melted butter, and garlic top it off there is cheese in them there breadsticks come on you must have super human will power if you are not at least the least bit interested in them. I know to me there is nothing better than fresh out of the oven bread I know my oldest son makes fresh bread every night before bed and we wake to the whole house with that fresh baked bread smell I must gain a few pound every night in my sleep. Continue reading

Garlic and Rosemary Italian Focaccia Bread Appetizer

Although bread is fairly simple sounding it is a very good choice for an appetizer. Think about it who doesn’t like a nice piece of warm bread fresh from the oven and what if we put herbs and olive oil in it or even garlic am I starting to open your eyes that this at first sounds like an oh you must be kidding thing to ah that does sound great kind of thing. I know I love fresh baked bread and in fact my husband’s favorite restaurant would serve these piping hot fresh from the oven breadsticks with melted butter and garlic that made you almost forget you had a meal coming kind of good.

I mean who can say they honestly don’t like a fresh hot chewy piece of artisan bread. Now when you stop to think about it this is sounding like a better appetizer idea by the minute. I mean you can smell it cooking in your mind already, can’t you? Tell me what your guest first response to walking into your house with the smell of fresh bread baking would be? Tell me they will not instantly be put in a mood you want at your party or dinner party.

I know one of the favorite times a day is when my oldest is making fresh bread like he does almost every day and in fact on off days something seems vacant in the house without that smell lofting through it. This is a great recipe if you are looking for a nice bread to serve to guest that will make them in the mood you want from the time they enter the house until the time they leave. I bet a few even ask for some after dinner. This recipe has all kinds of possibilities once you get the basic focaccia down you can really very up the toppings mine are only a traditional set of place to begin in fact try a few different ideas and see which one goes over best then make others that way and you’ll have a major crowd pleaser on your hands. Continue reading

Honey and Rosemary Baked Brie

This is a wonderful place to do some experimenting with new taste both sweet and savory and in different combinations. Almost any combination you can imagine is possible, here are just a few you could bake the brie with different herbs and spice for example pesto, garlic, maybe some caramelized onions and mushrooms on the savory side. You could try using different preserves or fruits such as berries, figs, and as we do in this one apple although I used red in this recipe you could use green apples for a nice tart taste. You could use different things in palace of honey like agave nectar or maple syrup. There are all kinds of possibilities experiment and you will discover different ways you hadn’t tried before. Also different kinds of nuts both candied and salty if you like are possible options.

While serving your freshly baked brie ask your guest if they have a favorite combination or way of baking brie they could be a huge wealth of information with direct feedback. Sometimes discovering what others like leads us to things we also like and then we have a common in with that person. Food can be such a good opening door to get to know family and friends better after all is there anything more basic to all of us then food. If you find you have some common food likes who knows what other things you may have in common.

Cheese is a perennial favorite in the appetizer world it comes in so many different styles and no two people have the same love of different cheese. It is great if you are having a party with wine and it is such a light starter that you don’t have to worry if you are having a dinner party of filling your guest up before the main course. It has so many wonderful pairings to go with it too from fruit to nuts and crackers and bread. The beauty of this recipe is we transfer the brie into something special when baking it and it takes on such a lovely sweet flavor from the honey and then is balanced out by the fresh rosemary. Continue reading

Spanish Seafood Stuffed Egg Appetizers

Deviled eggs are great for an appetizer but this recipe is slightly different because we are using seafood as well as the egg, mashing tuna with egg yolks, tomato sauce, mayonnaise and Spanish paprika along with salt and black pepper. You can use finely chopped cooked shrimp instead of the tuna if you prefer. Use canned tuna in oil, and drain off the oil before using the tuna in the recipe. Use your judgment as to the amount of paprika used.

These eggs are often served as a pre-lunch appetizer in Spain, but you can serve them as a snack whenever you wish. Because you can make these ahead, you might want to make them in the morning if you are having some friends over in the evening. Then you can simply put them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. It is your choice whether or not to peel the eggs. Leaving them half-unpeeled does give them a nice, rustic look though. If you are serving them with some of the shell on, things can get messy, so serve them in eggcups with teaspoons.

This recipe makes one egg per person while some devilled egg recipes serve half a stuffed egg per person. That means this one is slightly more filling but sometimes a hearty appetizer is ideal, especially if there is going to be some time between the appetizer and the entrée. This is also a nice snack for the kids coming home from school a few hours before dinner time. It is certainly filling enough to keep them satisfied until dinnertime anyway. Feel free to use homemade or canned tomato sauce, and the same applies to the mayonnaise. You might like to use less tomato sauce and a splash of Worcestershire sauce (or lemon juice) or make your own recipe for the filling. Anything that suits the seafood flavor would be wonderful. Continue reading

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