Entertaining as a Foreign Service Wife


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brownie recipes, easy desserts, dessert recipes, entertainingMy husband and I have received many generous engagement and wedding gifts. Like all newlyweds excited about finally having matching place settings, serveware and table linens, we are looking forward to hosting friends and family for dinner in the coming months.It’s good practice in the art of domesticity — not only for our own purposes as a married couple (who doesn’t like having a delicious, home-cooked meal?) but for expat life. I’ve heard that American expat communities — specifically Foreign Service/embassy communities — are very closely knit. Obviously this varies from country to country and city to city and depends on how large or small the expatriate population is, but it’s something multiple people who are either in the Foreign Service or grew up in Foreign Service households have told me. That means it’s basically the same thing as being on Wikipedia. Wikipedia = truth.Moving on …Something else I’ve heard (from my husband, and he is even smarter than Wikipedia so that means it’s even more true) is that back in the day, Foreign Service Officers used to be evaluated not only on their professional performance, but on how good of a hostess their wives were. (After my husband told me this, he immediately joked that “it’s a good thing FSOs aren’t judged on that anymore!” Guess who cooked dinner that night.)Even though this method of evaluation is no longer officially used for career advancement, entertaining guests in one’s home — whether you’re a married couple or a single person — is still an important bond-builder among friends and colleagues. This is true in the U.S., and I imagine even more so abroad.Given that we only have four to five months left living in the D.C. area, there’s precious little practice time to waste! Last weekend, we invited over one of my husband’s coworkers, also a foreign service officer, and his wife. This weekend we’re looking forward to having two of my best friends from college over along with their significant others.On the menu last weekend: steamed edamame, Chicken Curry in a Hurry (from “Slow Cooker Revolution” by The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen), steamed jasmine rice and green beans sautéed with garlic and hoisin sauce. But the main focus of this post, as you may have guessed based on the photo above, was dessert. Oh, dessert, my love. And salted fudge brownies, at that.salted fudge brownies, brownie recipes, easy desserts, dessert recipes, entertainingThe sweetness of the chocolate, the saltiness of the … salt. Eaten straight out of the pan Topped with a scoop of your favorite ice cream, and it’s the easiest dessert at a 9.99 on the delicious scale.Salted Fudge BrowniesRecipe from Bake or Break via Melissa at Baking Boy Bait salted fudge brownies, brownie recipes, dessery recipes, easy dessertsIngredients— 1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter– 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped– 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa– 2 cups granulated sugar– 3 large eggs– 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract– 1 cup all-purpose flour– 1/2 teaspoon sea saltsalted fudge brownies, brownie recipes, easy desserts, dessert recipes, entertainingDirectionsPreheat oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting the excess hang over the edges. Lightly butter the foil.Melt butter and chocolate on low heat on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Remove from heat or microwave. One at a time, whisk in cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter. Sprinkle salt over top of batter. Using a butter knife, swirl salt into brownie batter.Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are set and center is a bit soft. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a little batter coating it.Cool at room temperature for an hour. Then, cool in refrigerator for an hour or until firm. Remove from pan and foil. Serve at room temperature.**I have skipped the “cool in refrigerator for an hour or until firm” step. Also the “remove from pan and foil” step.They were a hit, even according to my husband’s colleague, who professes to “not like sweets very much.” I don’t understand these kinds of people. I did, however, send his wife home with a ziploc bag containing five brownies.

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

8 thoughts on “Entertaining as a Foreign Service Wife

  1. My advice: become an expert on several menu staples (like marinated grilled chicken and couscous salad) and just mix & match those things! Feel free to test any recipes on me at any time.

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    1. Couscous salad! A Cary staple. Don’t worry — I am testing a recipe on you this weekend. TWO actually. You’ve been warned.

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    1. Be warned: You will be tempted to eat the entire thing straight out of the pan. Not that I’ve done that or anything …

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  2. Hi Natasha, I tried these brownies and they are delicious. My family and I really enjoyed them, in fact they didn’t even wait until dinner was ready before digging in. I let it slide just this once because I couldn’t wait either. Also, I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You are an excellent writer and I feel like I am living vicariously through your exciting life. You are so brave, I can’t imagine being newly married and picking up your entire life and moving to a foreign/third world country. I look forward to reading more and I wish you and Kail the best of luck on your journey! I posted a picture of the brownies I made on my Facebook page and the link to your blog for the recipe.

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    1. You are too sweet! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe — it’s so good! They are dangerous though. I sometimes skip the cooling part because I just can’t wait. 🙂

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