Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Empanadas Mendocinas

Last week I went to a little shop in Old Town called La Cuisine. I was browsing and I found a cook book called Seven Fires by Francis Mallmann. I don't want to sound cheesy, but it made me feel like I was back in Argentina. It's a beautiful book.

The best part is that I finally found a recipe for empanada dough that I love. Which means... I am ready to do an empanada post!!! I've been waiting a long time for this people. Ready, set, go!

*You can find lard in the meat department of your grocery store. I know it sounds gross, but trust me.

Prepare a day in advance and refrigerate
3 T lard
1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 lb onions, chopped small
2 T paprika
1 T cumin
1 T salt
1 1/2 t sugar
1 1/2 T oregano
1 t white pepper
1 hard boiled egg
green pitted olives

In a large sauce pan melt lard, add meat and brown lightly. Add chopped onions and spices and mix well. Cook until onions are translucent. Place them in a flat pan. Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

2 cups water
1 1/2 T salt
3 1/2 T lard, cut into pieces
6 - 7 cups flour

Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the lard and stir until it melts, then transfer to a large wide bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Using your hand, gradually add 5 1/2 to 6 cups of the flour, about 1 cup at a time, until you can gather the dough into a ball. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour on a work surface to prevent sticking and knead the dough, adding more flour until it will not absorb any more; you want a stiff, dry dough. Divide the dough in half, shape into disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.

Assemble Empanadas
Split the disks of dough in half. roll out to 1/16 of an inch think (you can use a pasta maker to roll it out if you have one). Cut circles 3-5 inches in diameter.

Set out a cup of water. Place about 2 T of filling in middle of a circle of dough. Top with a slice of hard boiled egg and a green olive. Brush just a little water on the edge of the dough and fold in half pressing with fingers to seal edges. With a fork press gently around edge to have a nice design. Place on a greased (I use vegetable oil) cookie sheet. Before putting in oven give them a egg wash. Bake at 400 until golden brown (the ones in my picture are too light). Serve in a bread basket with cloth napkins to keep them warm at the table.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked Ziti

Another weeknight meal! And if you have a small family, you can divide the recipe into two pans and freeze one for another night.

I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while, and then I saw a similar one on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Score! that means I don't have to take a picture or type the recipe, just send you on over to Christy's blog for her Baked Ziti recipe. I'll just say that I only add one cup of sour cream as opposed to the cup and a half her recipe calls for. Enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

I'm not a fan of light recipes. If I'm trying to lose weight, I usually just try to eat less of what I'm already eating. I have to say though, Ellie Krieger is slowly making me think twice about that. I have really loved her recipes.

I'm particularly fond of her pumpkin muffin recipe. It is perfect because my kids will eat them and with yogurt and fruit, it gives me a hassle-free morning. You can find the recipe here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tangelo Juice

Have you ever had tangelos? They are a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. I happened upon them at the grocery store this winter. I like to pick up bags of oranges for juicing (I'm a bit of an OJ fiend) and there was a sign that said tangelos are ideal for juice. Are they ever! So juicy and so delicious. I dare say I like their juice more than I like orange juice.

Aviva has been especially pleased with this new find since she loves to use the juicer. When I got married I registered for one of those cute chrome manual juicers. It was pretty, and a pain in the neck. I have since upgraded to an electric juicer, which suits Aviva and I just fine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Birthday Dinner

I made my first grown up party favors. Making pretty things isn't really my forte, so I'm quite proud of myself. They were for my sister Shauri's birthday dinner (She loves my mom's carmel popcorn).

She also goes crazy over smoky beef tacos, so even though I knew my mom was making them for her surprise party on Saturday, I went for it. Including leftovers, she's been eating them for 5 straight days now, and she seemed happy as could be to have them again.

The best thing about this menu though, is the guacamole de frutas recipe I posted today. Please try it. And do yourself a favor, go ahead and double the recipe right off the bat, you'll be glad you did.

Smokey Beef Tacos with Spicy Pineapple Salad (we use this as a topping for the tacos)
Green Salad

Aw, isn't she lovely?

Guacamole de Frutas

All right Brandi. You want guac, I got your guac right here.

A couple of weeks ago Abram sent me an article from the NY Times about the best restaurant dishes of the year. The article included this recipe from the restaurant Toloache, and let me just say, it will blow your mind.

Guacamole de Frutas

1 tablespoon finely diced sweet onion, like Vidalia

1 teaspoon finely diced seeded jalapeño pepper

1 teaspoon lime juice

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely diced peeled Granny Smith apple

2 tablespoons finely diced peeled Asian pear

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 teaspoon thinly sliced basil, preferably Thai

2 ripe Haas avocados

1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds.

In a nonreactive mixing bowl, combine onion, jalapeño, lime juice and a pinch salt. Mix well, and add the apple, pear, cranberries and basil. Mix again.

Cut the avocados in half, scoop out the pulp and mash it with the ingredients in the bowl. Adjust salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pomegranate seeds. If desired, serve with warm corn tortillas or chips.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Brunch 2011

We have church this year at 3:00 in the afternoon. Insane, right? So look forward to lots of brunch menus in 2011! We had our first brunch last Sunday. Actually, the salad did not happen because I didn't realize we were out of cranberries, so we had something much more boring. But doesn't it look good?

The bread comes from a bakery I'm in love with in Michigan. We were there for Christmas and the day before we drove home I went and bought 5 loaves of different breads to bring back with me.

Did you know that if you freeze bread, once it thaws you can sprinkle it with water, put it in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes and it comes out just like new? Well, nothing is just like fresh bread, but it's as close as you can get, and I'll take it.

Breakfast Sausage
Zingerman's Sesame Semolina Bread

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mary's Tacos

It may not be fancy, but there is nothing better than a blog post with an easy, tasty, weeknight meal. Am I right? This recipe is from my friend Mary, who keeps mentioning that I really should keep posting... so here you go. And FYI, I'm totally guessing on measurements here. It's really a issue of personal taste, so if you want to add less or more of something, go for it. It will in no way ruin the meal.

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
4-6 oz. fresh spinach
1-2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. Put as much cheese as you like on each tortilla. Divide the filling between tortillas. Roll them up and lay them seam side down on a baking sheet. Spray tortillas with cooking spray and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baked Brie en Croûte with Apple Compote

For Christmas Eve we had appetizers and a sandwich bar. I've made this recipe from Williams-Sonoma a few times before, but it was the big hit of the night.