Empanadas…

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.

Dough

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.

Fillings

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.

FRY:

  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.

BAKE:

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

Dollar Dish Duel Update and some Olive-Thyme Bread!!

April 23rd, 2008

First, an update regarding my Dollar Dish Duel. We have a logo thanks to my boyfriend. I was always joking that I needed to date a man who could help me with my blog. Well, the blogging gods answered my prayers with this one. We spent a very romantic evening designing a little logo for my event. So, if you would like, please put the logo on your entry to help publicize the event. Thank you!

You are entering, right? Why wouldn’t you? You have a chance winning this awesome cookbook…

Ok, enough about the Duel. Let’s talk about this delicious bread that I have already dangled in front of you. Lately, I have been in what I like to call my European mood. I start craving warm fresh breads, rich soft cheeses, large crisp salads and some really good red wine. Maybe it is the beautiful spring weather that puts me into this mood. I just want to sit on my balcony basking in the sunshine with my meal or maybe not…

Monday it rained a lot! As I was trudging home from the metro, the water seeping into my ballerina flats and splashing up my legs, I fixated on the thought of warm fresh bread smothered in brie. In fact, I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to use. Vegeyum from A Life (time) of Cooking recently made a no-knead bread that would be ready in a little over an hour. Walking into my apartment, feeling like a drowned rat, I went quickly to the kitchen and put it all together. I had some olives and thyme left over from the Fig and Walnut Tapanede I made last week so that also went in. While the bread was rising, I ran to the store to grab the brie and salad fixin’s. I forewent the glass of wine this time knowing that I would be driving over to my boyfriend’s later for our Logo Designing Date. When I got back from the store, the bread was all ready to go. I threw it in the oven and fifteen minutes later, I had to use a great deal of self control not to burn my mouth. Thankfully, I have found that by the time you take some photos, your food is normal cool enough to eat. My roommates and I devoured it with the brie. A fabulous dinner! And yes, I even has some salad to feel semi-healthy, I swear!


Olive and Thyme Focaccia
(adapted from vegeyum’s My Deliciously Fast No Knead Focaccia)

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups approx of tepid water
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
salt

1. Mix the sugar, 1/2 cup lukewarm water and the yeast with 1 Tablespoon of the flour, making a sponge, and let sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
2. Mix the flour, yeast sponge, olives, thyme and enough of the remaining water to make a sticky dough.
3. Add additional water if you need it. The dough should be a little wetter than you would normally make dough.
4. Leave the dough to rise for 1 – 1.5 hours.
5. Place the risen dough on a bench and divide into two. Shape each on a tray with well oiled fingertips.
6. Bake in the oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit around 10 – 15 minutes, or until cooked and lightly browned.
7. Eat while still warm.

P.S. Go to vegeyum’s post for more variations and tips. Her blog combines delicious food, exceptional photographs and cultural insights that I enjoy reading everyday. I would highly recommend checking it out.

A Dollar Dish Duel!!!

April 14th, 2008


In keeping with my motto of this blog, I decided to just go for it and start an event…So, I am announcing my DOLLAR DISH DUEL!!!!

As previously mentioned, inspired by an article in the New York Times entitled “5 Cooks, $40, 5 Dishes, 3 Desserts,” I want to challenge everyone to make a dish for $5 that must feed at least 2 people. So hit up a dollar store or be creative with what you can find at your local grocery store. Don’t live in the US? Convert to your currency here. In your post, please let us know the prices of your ingredients.

One exception: You may use 3 staples from your pantry (salt/pepper/oil or something like that).

Please email the entry to ginnygetsfloury AT gmail DOT com with “Dollar Dish Duel” in the subject line. Include the following information:

* Your name and location
* The name of your blog
* Your blog URL
* The URL for your post
* If you are not a blogger, please partcipate! Just email me the recipe, a description of how you came up with the dish and a picture if possible. (Mom, I think you should join in the fun!)

Deadline: May 5, 2008 (round-up soon afterwards)

UPDATE: The winner will receive The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider after my judges make their decision.

Ok, I refuse to never have a post without some food. I made this Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese last night for a dinner party. It was easy to make and a huge hit with my friends!

Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese
(adapted from epicurious.com)

1 cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

2 5.5-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese, each cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
Assorted breads and/or crackers

1. Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.
3. In a food processor, chop figs olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, walnuts and chopped thyme.
4. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
5. Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Serve with breads and/or crackers.

P.S. Please spread the word on my event. A cute logo will hopefully follow soon!