03 September 2009

empanadas part deux.

***See previous post for empanada dough recipe creation...

Follow steps to create empanadas, but instead of filling with chicken mixture, fill with one tablespoon each nutella and cream cheese, fold dough in half, enclosing filling. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or tines of a fork. Transfer empanadas to a baking sheet.

Lightly brush empanadas with some egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm so the inside is a little gooey... maybe with some ice cream.

31 August 2009

empanadas part uno.

Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives
adapted from Gourmet, January 2005 and Smitten Kitchen

Makes 18-24 empanadas

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I swapped 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

about 2 lbs shredded chicken... get it however you want, we used grilled breasts, but a rotisserie chicken would be fine too.
black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup finely diced or ground chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage; 1 1/2 oz; casings discarded)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Make Dough: Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. (Deb note: If you use a large-ish bowl, you can do this step in-bowl.) Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

Make Filling: Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in oil in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Add chicken to skillet, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, covered, until headed through and thickened, about 25 minutes. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it’s not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.)

Discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Form Empanadas: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Divide first dough and half of second dough into 18 equal pieces and form each into a disk. (The remaining dough can be stored in the freezer for future use.) Keeping remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).

Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center and fold dough in half, enclosing filling. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or tines of a fork. Transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Make 17 more empanadas in same manner, arranging on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*** Save some dough for empanadas, part deux.

27 August 2009

a panzanella to prepare you for cooler weather.

Winter Panzanella
adapted from Michael Chiarello and Smitten Kitchen

For the croutons:
olive oil to coat
6 cups day-old bread, cubed (baguette works best)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
1 small red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
3 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar vinegar
Gray salt
4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (1/2-inch dice)
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, then quartered

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crispy. Allow to cool.

Soak the sliced onion in the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Toss the squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, about 15 to minutes. Add the quartered Brussels sprouts mid way through cooking the squash and cook until tender and caramelized but retain a touch of crispness. Let cool.

Into the reserved red onions and vinegar, whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with pepper.

In a large bowl combine the roasted squash, croutons, and Brussels sprouts. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

25 August 2009

arugula, arugula

Pasta with Arugula
adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound linguine or spaghetti
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups very finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped arugula
the zest of one lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat. While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, lemon zest and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the linguine to moisten. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt. Divide the pasta among 6 plates and serve.

25 May 2009

my love for pickles.

I have started making pickles. A lot of pickles. There is something about a cold, crisp pickle that just can't be beat. As a snack to hold you over until dinner. As the perfect addition to a sandwich. They are a great thing to have in your fridge. And it makes it even better if you have made them yourself.

I have been very happy with all the pickles that I have made. But these take the cake. I probably love them more than other pickles because of the memories they bring of the restaurant that they are from... a restaurant that I would gladly travel back to Minneapolis for any day. But until that next trip comes, at least I have some pickles to hold me over.


4 seedless english cucumbers, sliced very thin
2 cerano chilis, sliced thin
2 fresno chilis, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

4 cups rice wine vinegar
4 cups sugar

Boil the vinegar and sugar together until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers, chilis and garlic in a large bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into jars and refrigerate.

23 May 2009

the best sandwich. ever.

This sandwich. It is the bomb. I can honestly say that, as I was eating it, I was convinced that this was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. It may not be true... but I can sure tell you that it is good enough for me to think that it was. It is helped out by the great ham recipe that I got from my soon-to-be sister-in-law... but I don't have a photo of the ham... so you will have to wait for that recipe. But another key player was the pickles. Pickles that I made from a recipe given to me by a friend who is a chef at a restaurant that will remain nameless just in case I get in trouble for sharing the recipe with you. But you will have to wait for that recipe too... but just for a couple of days. For now, be happy with the sandwich.

Deviled Ham and Pickle Sandwiches
adapted from Gourmet, April 2009

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked ham (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Sliced cornichons or dill pickles
Thinly sliced sweet onion
8 slices sandwich bread (we used small baguettes from a mexican grocery down the street... it was a good call for us. use whatever bread you see fit)

Pulse ham with mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a food processor until finely chopped.

Make sandwiches with ham mixture, pickles, onion, and bread.

20 April 2009

brown a little more butter.

You have all heard about my love for brown butter. This recipe is a new and different twist for a bit of a fancier dinner... but still a quick one. It is really simple, but it is so good it deserved a post to honor its yummy-ness. It works really well for a quick dinner because cooking store-bought stuffed pasta takes no time at all and browning the butter is really quick. Plus, most things are probably already in your pantry (frozen cheese tortellini is a great thing to have on hand). So if you have surprise guests, you won't be caught with nothing to serve, and you will still be able to impress them.

When I made this, I completely forgot the walnuts. Duh. But it was still good. Make sure to cool the butter a bit because if you don't it splatters. A lot.

Stuffed Pasta with Balsamic Brown Butter
adapted from Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentis

8 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli or tortellini
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.