This weekend was GREAT. I was able to craft, hang out with my sweet fiance and make good food. I appreciate any time that I can get to cook a great meal. Daniel got me subscriptions to Rachael Ray and Real Simple magazine and I have been eye balling many recipes for the past month. There are just too many dishes to make and not enough time. As time seems to fly by, I find myself resorting to the easy to make dinners (like grilled chicken and rice) instead of making elaborate meals. Although I didn’t make anything too elaborate this weekend, I’m glad I used three recipes I found in my food magazines and book.
The pocket full of goodness that I made this weekend was the empanada. Real Simple magazine features an area where they focus on one ingredient that you can use in ten recipes. Two months ago, they featured turkey as one of the main ingredients. We tend not to cook with turkey because it’s ground meat but the recipe looked easy and good. After going to Trader Joe’s, I found out that they didn’t have any pie crusts for the empanadas. I ended up making dough from scratch! So because of all the hard work I put into the dough, I found this was worth blogging about.
Ingredients (makes about six large empanadas. I cut the recipe in half and ended up with three big enough to share empanadas)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water (measure 1/3 cup of water and then throw an ice cube to chill in it for a bit to get ice water)
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
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 brittle and break apart easily.)
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. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. As you are waiting for the dough, you can start prepping the stuffing.
Empanada Filling Recipe (by me with some inspiration from Real Simple)
2 carrots (diced)
2 celery sticks (diced)
Half an onion (diced)
Dash of cumin (or as much as you’d like)
1 pound of ground turkey
Saute all of the vegetables together on low heat for about three minutes. Once the vegetables start to look soft, add the turkey and cumin powder. Cook the turkey thoroughly and then allow the meat to cool down.
Preheat the over to 325 degrees.
Once the dough is ready, pull it apart to create small spheres of dough. You can then roll it out into circles. Place a handful of meat stuffing on one half of the circle, add cheese if you’d like and then fold the circle over and seal the empanada with a fork (to create the crinkles in the closed area).
Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet and spray them with some olive oil or canola oil. Bake for about 20 minutes then enjoy.
Now it’s time for some dessert. I’ve never been a fan of carrot cake (usually because it is ruined by raisins!). However, after reading Gesine Bullock’s book and drooling over her recipes, I decided that since it’s Easter, I should make a cake. Here’s the recipe for Gesine’s delish carrot cake. I didn’t put the effort into decorating it because I feel like the characteristic of carrot cake is to be more rustic looking with frosting slathered on it in a non-uniform manner. Someone at the pot luck I attended on Saturday decided to Easter it up a bit by adding a chocolate bunny.
People at work were afraid to decapitate the bunny so they cut around it. I was left with the large chocolate bunny and the cake that was left beneath it. Time to whip out fondue kit to make chocolate fondue :D.