Friday, January 28, 2011

Empanadas de Carne #2


Here I go again, trying another recipe for empanada dough. I searched the internet and finally decided that this recipe would afford me my next adventure, but as usual, I had to make small adjustments. Here are the ingredients I used for the dough... and by the way, the dough turned out really tasty and flaky.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water
1 egg yolk

1 egg for wash

Mix your dry ingredients with the butter and shortening using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, until fairly well blended. Form a well. Whisk the egg yolk with the water, and drop into the center of your flour mixture. Use a fork to first blend it together and then your hands to knead it into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.


Separate your dough to form about a ten small balls. Sprinkle a work station with flour and roll out the individual balls into a circular shape about the thickness of pie crust. (I left my shape ragged because I was lazy and I knew how to fold them to make them look like they were round, but if you want to make them perfect you can use an empty coffee can to form the circle).  Pour about a tablespoon of your filling in the center and fold the dough over. Pinch and fold the edge together (there are many videos on how to do this, search "how to fold an empanada") or just use a fork to press the edges together. Place your empanadas on  a cookie sheet (I put parchment paper on the sheet) and brush the tops with an egg wash. Bake at 350F until golden brown. (about 25 minutes).*


*Please note that this dough recipe turned out great for baking, but I did not test it for frying, so I cannot give an opinion on what the results would be.

I made a simple meat filling for these:


1 1/4 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
olive oil
1 cup water

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and Saute your onions, pepper and garlic. Add the browned ground beef, the water and spices and let simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat. Easy, huh?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gray Days




Yes, it's true.  I've been ignoring the blog.  My ennui has caught up with me.  I'm sure it's the weather: gray days and freezing temperatures with no change of scenery can definitely dull the imagination.  The image outside my window resembles a black and white photograph for most color is lacking, as is my desire to enter the kitchen.  But all hope is not lost.  The bird are chirping occasionally and there is a promise of a visit from family in the near future.  I realize I sound as if I lived miles from civilization which is not the case, at least not physically, but most definitely psychologically.

This week I have been improvising in the kitchen:  buying a roast chicken from the market, mashing potatoes, opening a can of green beans;  a simple soup and grilled cheese sandwich;  grabbing a container of frozen black beans from the freezer adding it to white rice; or just ordering a pizza. Not much to blog about is it?

So, I leave you with the promise that I will be back soon, and hopefully with a picture of something delicious!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Bread


Now zucchini bread is something relatively new to me, it's not like Cubans have any recipe that calls for zucchini, much less in a bread or cake. A few years ago a neighbor of mine brought us one of these breads and I thought it was really good, so I'm giving it a try for the first time. (I searched on-line for recipes and they are all pretty much standard). Here we go....

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (you can grate the whole zucchini, skin and all)
handful of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F. One one bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon. In another large bowl beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and raisins. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.


Note: No problem in freezing these for later consumption.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Instant Replay: Yucca Chips


I repeated my recipe for black bean dip and yucca chips this weekend. The yucca I bought this time was much larger and I ended up with an abundance of chips.  Click here for the recipe.
(I made the dip with canned beans this time.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Carne Asada: Cuban Pot Roast


2 lb beef roast
6 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut in big chunks
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
dash of oregano
4 cups beef stock*
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup Sherry

Rub salt on your roast. Mix the pressed garlic and lemon juice, and add to the roast. Marinate for at least half an hour.

Coat a large pot with your olive oil, heat to medium high and brown your meat on all sides. Add all remaining ingredients except for the Sherry. Lower heat to medium low and cover. Let the roast cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until tender.  Remove the meat from the sauce and let the sauce reduce 'til thickened. Stir in the 1/4 cup of Sherry.  Slice your roast and pour the sauce over it. Serve.


 *I prepared a stock with a package of Lipton Beef and Onion soup and a stalk of celery.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Yellow Rice with Vegetables


There are infinite variations of yellow rice. This time I had a package of frozen vegetables that had been sitting in the freezer for a while and were aching to be thawed. I'm no expert at making rice, which is embarrassing for a Cuban woman. This batch turned out well.

1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups thawed mixed vegetables
5 cups water
2 cups long grain white rice
1/2 tsp Bijol (annato)
1/2 tsp paprika

salt
olive oil

In a large pot sautee your onions, garlic and pepper in olive oil. Add your mixed vegetables, add the water and the spices. Add your rice. Stir. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cover your pot. In about 15 minutes check the rice, if the water has absorbed and the rice is hard add a little more water. Check for taste; I usually add more salt and olive oil at this point. Stir. Check back again in about 10 minutes. It should be done by then.