Every month to celebrate employees birthdays, we host a potluck of food from around the world. Each of our employees brings a dish to share that represents their heritage. This month, Bob Kinsella, our CEO, reminded us that sharing food isn’t simply a celebration of the birthdays in our company, but a celebration of our company as a family. Breaking bread is a symbol of sharing more than just our food and our heritage, but the gift of sharing a piece of ourselves with one another. It “affirms trust, confidence, and comfort with…a group of people.” Consider this at your next business meeting. Would it make more sense to meet over a meal?
Traditional Baklava – Medhat, Egypt
This traditional dish is often made on holidays or when visitors are coming to the house. It is very time consuming, performing various steps over two days, and a little complicated, but well worth the work. You can buy the syrup in the store, but often it is made with honey, which makes it too thick, so homemade is better. It only gets better with practice, so if it doesn’t turn out great the first few times, keep trying!
Day One: Syrup
- 4 cups of water
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 lemon
- Mix the water and sugar in a sauce pan, bring to a rapid boil, and boil for 15-20 minutes. Once the syrup has been boiling for a while, add the juice of one lemon, it is important to wait until the end to do this. Once the juice is added, keep boiling for another 10-15 minutes.
- Cool the syrup and place in refrigerator.
- After about 3-4 hours, take the syrup out and check the consistency, it should not be too thin, like water or too think, like honey. Take a spoon and if it flows smoothly, then its perfect. If it is too thin or thick, boil for a little while longer.
- Place back in the refrigerator for 24 hours – very important!
Day Two: Baklava
- 2 Packages of Baklava (Phyllo) Dough – Buy at the store, the thinner the better and defrost for 6-7 hours before attempting to make Baklava
- 3 sticks of butter
- 3 – 4 Cups of Sugar
- Abundance of Chopped Walnuts
- Syrup made the day before
- Preheat oven to 300°f or 325°f, at least 30 minutes before cooking (300° recommended)
- Melt butter.
- Brush a pan, size of your choosing, with butter.
- Lay one or two sheets of dough and brush with butter, lay another sheet or two of dough and brush with butter again. Continue this process until the first package of dough is gone.
- Sprinkle sugar and walnuts over the layers of dough you have laid. Dip a brush into the melted butter and sprinkle it over the sugar and walnuts.
- Repeat the layering and buttering of dough with the second package, being sure to use butter between each sheet.
- Cut into squares or whichever shape and size desired.
- After it is cut, take the syrup out of the refrigerator and ladle one ladle full of syrup onto the prepared baklava, using one ladle full for each length of the pan. If too much is used, it will become too saturated.
- Bake for at least one hour, resisting the temptation to open the oven at all in this time.
- After one hour, check the baklava, when it is very golden brown, then it is done.
- Take out of the oven and enjoy!
Cream Cheese Flan – David, Puerto Rico
This is a traditional Puerto Rican recipe which is made year round as a dessert or treat with coffee. For more traditional Puerto Rican recipes, click here.
- 1/2 Cup White Sugar
- 6-8 Eggs
- 1 – 12 Ounce Can of Evaporated Milk
- 1 – 14 Ounce Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 – 8 Ounce Package of Cream Cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F (190°C)
- Melt sugar in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes, being careful not to burn the sugar, about 3 to 4 minutes. Quickly pour into a small round metal cake dish.
- Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and add eggs and mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth but do not over mix. Poor custard into the dish with the caramelized sugar, cover with foil and set inside a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 1 inch of hot water.
- Bake about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife comes out clean.
Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Roll) – Emmy, Vietnam
- 1 Bag of Rice Noodles (Cook as instructed on bag)
- 1 Package of Rice Paper Wrappers
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Shredded Lettuce
- Julienned Carrots
- Choice of Herbs (Mint,
- Choice of Meat (Cured grilled pork, boiled pork belly, cooked shrimp)
Wet the rice paper wrappers, lay on clean surface, place rice noodle, vegetables and meat neatly on the wrapper and roll 2 inches, fold the flaps from both sides in and continue to roll until completely sealed.
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Tsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
- 1/4 Cups Hoisin Sauce
- Peanuts and Sriracha Sauce (Optional on top)
Heat oil until hot, add garlic and stir 10 seconds, add chicken broth, sugar, peanut butter and hoisin sauce. Heat until boiling then reduce heat and simmer for one minute. Remove from heat, serve with spring rolls and enjoy!