March 11th, 2009

One night, I was out with my friends and all of a sudden we lost a friend of ours.  We stop on the sidewalk, trying to figure out where he went and all of sudden, he appeared with a bag in his hand.  He had found some empanadas!  I had never tried one but that night I had my first taste of a chicken empanada.  It was delicious!

This summer, J’s mom taught us (J, his sister and her boyfriend) how to make different types of empanadas: beef, corn and ham, spinach and cheese.  The making of empanadas is fun… Standing around in the kitchen, we made fun of each other as we attempted to fold them… J’s mom is excellent at folding but the rest of us need a bit of practice.  All the types were really good.  I think I liked the corn and ham the best.

While in Argentina, J introduced me to the beautiful thing that is delivery empanadas… yes, that is right!  They deliver delicious, hot empanadas right to your door.  We tried about every type possible.  Overall, my favorite is onion and cheese… can’t get enough of them!

Argentine Empanadas

(from J’s Mom)

To make an empanada you need to make a dough and a filling. After they are put together, you can bake or fry them.


1 cup shortening, melted

2 eggs

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water

  1. Mix all together with hands.
  2. Leave for an hour at room temp.

In order to prepare the dough into empanadas, you need to make circles with 5 ½ in diameter. In the middle of the circles, you will place a tablespoon of filling.  There are two methods to make the circles.

Method #1:

  1. Divide into little balls
  2. Roll out with rolling pin into circles

Method #2:

  1. Roll out into one big piece
  2. Cut into circles (Diameter 5 ½ in). Use a bowl to be a guide
  3. Keep rolling out the dough and cutting circles until the dough is all used up.


You can fill the empanadas with the same type of fillings or play with a few variations. Each filling recipe will make about 15 empanadas. After the preparation of the filling, you must let it cool. You can prepare the filling the day before and put it in the fridge.  You can even freeze it and thaw it when you want to make it.  

Beef Empanadas

  1. Fry 2 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add 1 chopped red sweet bell pepper
  3. Mix in 1 lb ground beef
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Add 2-3 chopped hard boiled eggs, ½ cup olives, ½ cup raisins and 1 teaspoon cumin.

Tuna or Chicken Empanadas:

  1. Fry 2 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add 1 chopped red sweet bell pepper
  3. Mix in 1 lb ground chicken or canned tuna (2 10oz cans)
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Add 2 fresh chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Basil, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

Ham and Cheese Empanadas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in 1 lb ham (cut into little pieces or strips), 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 lb Ricotta cheese and 1 cup shredded provolone/mozzarella.

Corn Empanadas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add ½ lb ham (cut into pieces or strips) and 1 lb corn
  3. Season with Salt and pepper
  4. Mix in 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. In 1 ½ cups milk dissolve 2-3 tablespoons flour.
  6. Mix in with the corn mixture.

Spinach Emapandas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in 1 lb mushrooms or 1 lb spinach and 1 cup of cheese.
  3. Add 1/2 lb ham and/or hardboiled egg, if you want.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Onion Empanadas:

  1. Fry 2 chopped onions and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in ½ lb ham and ½ lb of shredded cheese
  3. Add two eggs to pull it together
  4. Season with salt and pepper

Putting them together

  1. Lay each pastry on a flat surface
  2. Place 1 tablespoon in the center of the circular dough
  3. Fold dough over in half, wetting the edges a little with water and make edges meet in a semi-circle over the filling
  4. Press edge with fork or fold over with fingers.

To see how to fold properly check out here.

In Argentina, they fold the empanadas by folding over with their fingers.  This is called Repulgue.  The empanadas come with a guide so that you know what type you are trying.  If you make different fillings of empanadas, then you can differentiate them by a different fold or design.  What we did was poke holes in the empanadas with a toothpick in order to differentiate the types.  For example, 2 for spinach, 3 for corn, and 4 for beef.


  1. Heat 3 cups of oil in medium high heat. Be careful with frying because it is very hot and you can burn yourself.
  2. Put empanadas in hot oil until gold.
  3. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb the oil.


  1. Spray with vegetable spray
  2. Bake at 350° for 20 min until golden.

Feta-Shallot-Tomato-Rosemary Quick and Easy Focaccia!!!

November 24th, 2008

Yesterday morning, when I saw Rebecca’s Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Rosemary, I knew exactly what I wanted. I really didn’t have the time to knead bread dough but I found this no-knead recipe over at Amber’s Delectable Delights. A few short hours later, I was pacing back and forth in front of the oven waiting for my focaccia to be ready. I topped it with feta, shallots and grape tomatoes. It is excellent!

Feta-Shallot-Tomato-Rosemary Quick and Easy Focaccia
(adapted from here)

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 cup feta, crumbled

1. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2. Dissolve the yeast into the water until it is bubbly.
3. Add the salt, olive oil and flour and beat until sticky but incorporated.
4. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy. (I let it rise for about 3 hours and it worked well).
5. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
6. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.
7. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients.
8. Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
9. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Waste not…

October 5th, 2008

A challenge to living alone is the inevitable problem of leftovers. It seems that no matter how hard I try to half, third, or fourth recipes, I always end up with too much food. Not wanting to waste any food, I find that I am eating the same thing for the next couple days. It gets so boring! This quiche was born out of this problem…

Last week, I had some italian parsely going bad in the fridge so I made some pesto. For those “How I Met Your Mother” fans out there, you will notice that I added peanuts just like Ted did a few episodes ago. It is a really different and interesting twist. I liked it alot. After having pasta and pesto for three days, I still had so much pesto left. What was I going to do?

I decided upon this Italian inspired quiche using more leftovers from my fridge…onions, cheese and tomatoes. Overall, I liked it. The pesto and cheese worked well together without being too over powering. Next time, I would add more vegetables. Of course, now I have an entire quiche to eat…and I still have more pesto! Ah, so this is why freezers were invented?

Ginny’s Pesto Quiche
(based on a recipe from Joy of Cooking)

1 pie crust
3 tablespoon pesto (see below for a recipe)
8 oz. of cherry tomatoes, sliced in fourths
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup Five Italian Cheese mix, Shredded (or you cheese of choice)
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In a prepared pie crust, spread the pesto on the bottom of the crust.
3. Sprinkle with the tomatoes, onions and cheese.
4. In bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.
5. Pour over the other ingredients in the pie pan.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the center is set.

Italian Parsley Pesto
1 bunch of Italian Parsley (about 3 cups)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 cup Parmesan
3 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Place all ingredients in the food processor and mix until smooth.
2. Add more olive oil as needed.