The Joy of Empanadas (or, How to Make Leftovers Presentable!)

July 19, 2009

I’m convinced that the first empanadas were made by an enterprising Mexican cook who was faced with unexpected dinner guests and a pile of unappetizing leftovers with which to create a meal.   You can stuff almost anything into an empanada shell, deep fry it, and create something that tastes better than the sum of its parts.  That’s what I call cooking for real men!  Unidentifiable morsels of meat soaked in chiles and sauce, wrapped in a pastry shell, and deep fried in hot grease – heavenly!!

Here’s what I came up with tonight at the spur of the moment.  A sort of Hostess Pig Pie, if you will, created from the remnants of Alton Brown’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/grilled-pork-tenderloin-recipe/index.html), a can of salsa, and 10 Goya Empanada Discs.  Here are the specifics, though you can deviate to the max and still have a good meal:

Empanadas

Leftover Pork Empanadas

3/4 to 1 lb. leftover pork tenderloin (or pulled pork, or whatever’s handy)

1   7-3/4 oz. can El Pato Jalapeno Salsa (or about 1 cup of whatever you like)

1 pkg. Goya Empanada discs

Canola or other high temperature cooking oil

Shred and/or chop the pork.  Pour on the salsa.  Mix.

Use a serving spoon to deliver 1-1/2 to 2 Tbs. of the pork filling to the center of each empanada disc.  Using your finger dipped in icewater, wet the outside edge of the disc where you’ll be crimping the edges together.  Fold the empanada in half, join the two edges and crimp with a small fork.

In a large saucepan, place enough oil to submerge the empanadas, and heat to 360 degrees F.  Use a meat thermometer, and try to keep the oil temperature between 325 and 375 at all times.   Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to fry as few as two empanadas at a time.  When they float to the top, turn once or twice to brown them evenly.  If fully submerged, they will require about 2 minutes total cooking time to become golden brown.  Remove and drain on paper towels.   Serve with your favorite condiments and a side dish of vegetables, or whatever you like.

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The nice thing about empanadas is that the filling can be made from almost anything from savory to sweet, from meat to vegetables to fruit.   They make great lunch entrees, dessert items, or appetizers.  Have fun!!

  

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I’m Still Alive, Just Too Lazy to Write!

July 7, 2009

I’ve been very lax about catching up here since we returned from vacation.  The Wednesday after I started back to work, I had to fly to North Carolina, where I spent three days making sales calls with one of our distributors.  Normally this would be an opportunity to catch up on my indulgence in southern barbecue, but not this time!  The day before I left, I broke a back molar, which had to be extracted, leaving me on a liquid and jello diet for the entirety of the trip!   So, the hospitality was great, but the food was nonexistent..

 I suggest you look at Sally’s blog for the account of our day in Ashtabula for the Beach Glass Festival.  It was great fun, and the remainder of the day was equally nice.  We rode about ten miles on the bike trail in Austinburg, then had a picnic in the township park nearby.  All in all, just about a perfect day.

No trip to Ashtabula is complete without a trip to the overlook!

No trip to Ashtabula is complete without a trip to the overlook!

This weekend we took in the Mesopotamia Ox Roast, and annual benefit for the volunteer fire department.  It’s an annual affair, and the food and the flea market make the trip worthwhile.  Mesopotamia is in Amish country, so the horses and buggies are everywhere. 

The Hitchin' Post

The Hitchin' Post

It takes a lot of beef to serve up 15,000 sandwiches in three days!

The smell is amazing!!

The smell is amazing!!

The line for the food is very long, but it moves fast, and the conversation can be very amusing.

Great roast beef, but the sauce could use a little more spice!

Great roast beef, but the sauce could use a little more spice!

Hey, this guy's been to Paint Creek Lake

Hey, this guy's been to Paint Creek Lake!

I particularly enjoyed listening to an obvious city-dweller asking an Amish lady how they keep their horses from breaking loose when they’re tied to the hitching post.  She patiently explained that the reins are attached to a neck rope, and they can’t pull back without choking!  

Hey, cutie, whattaya say we bust outta this place and go sow a few wild oats?

Hey, cutie, whattaya say we bust outta this place and go sow a few wild oats?

The flea market had some cool items, including a few vintage bikes (my particular weakness), but nothing really that interesting.

Once again, check out Sally’s blog for more info and photos.  

 We headed out to Middlefield in search of dessert, and unfortunately found ourselves at a very tempting and well-known locale, Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen.  We ordered “Homemade pie” and were asked if we wanted ice cream on it.  We both said yes, and neither of us asked either the kind of ice cream or the price.  What we eventually got was a shot of soft-serve vanilla on top of the most obviously commercially-prepared pie I’ve ever eaten.   Then to make matters worse, the price of that ice cream was almost equal to the price of the pie!  I won’t rant any further about this place except to say this:  Don’t waste your time or your money coming here.  Most people coming to an Amish restaurant are expecting a little place where everything is made from scratch, or at least using minimal prepared ingredients.  This place is one step above the school cafeteria! 

On the 4th of July, I finally got back on the bike for another 10-mile jaunt.  This ride was at Headlands Beach, close to home.  The ride was a little more strenuous than the Austinburg trip, and I’m hoping to get back in shape before the summer is over.  More on that subject to come…..


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