Appetizers for Evening Entertaining

Three appetizers inspired by my husband’s family, my grandmother and our local favorite dish, all with a personal twist



450g ground beef

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

10 green olives, coarsely chopped

28g capers

45g raisins

2 boiled eggs, chopped

1 jalapeño minced

Salt/pepper to taste

450g dough

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare the filling: heat the vegetable oil, add the tomatoes, onions and sauté until the onions are soft. Add garlic, meats, olives, capers, raisins, jalapeño and salt/pepper to taste. Continue cooking the filling over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add the egg and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make your life easy and purchase the dough, rolling thin and cutting out small 6 cm rounds. Fill each circle of dough with the mixture, fold over like a half moon, pinch the edges with a fork to seal them, place on a cookie sheet and bake till golden brown.

Serve with a chipotle mayo, parsley chimichurri or creamy avocado sauce. These are half the regular size. Just enough for two bites.




2 cups of walnut halves (or use pecans, almonds or cashews)

½ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine sugar, nuts and butter in a non-stick pan and heat over low temperature for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly so all nuts get coated. Don’t take your eyes off the pan or you will end up with a hot, sticky mess. Place nuts on parchment paper and separate so they don’t stick. Use two wooden spoons. Work fast. My grandmother used to add a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger. Be creative and add some tajin. Be authentic and serve in small paper cones.



225g boneless pork loin diced (pre-cooked)

½ large onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ pineapple, diced

¼ cup orange juice

1 small chipotle minced



Bunch chives

450g milhoja (puff pastry) in refrigerated bakery case

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small skillet, cook onion till translucent, add garlic, oregano, cumin, pineapple, orange juice and chipotle. Add the pork and a squeeze of lime. Roll out the puff pastry dough thinly and cut into triangles (each side 8 cm). Scoop two tablespoons of meat mix into the center, top with a few leaves of cilantro and pull all three corners up like a purse, nipping the top and lightly tying with a chive. Place on a baking sheet. Put into the oven for 8-10 minutes till puffed and brown. Garnish with another slice of lime and cilantro sprig.   

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