Friday, February 26, 2010

barry has one word for you: EMPANADAS!!!!!!!!!

say it with me now: "EMPANADAS!" this is not a food that comes out quiet and demure, waiting to be noticed. this is a party food, ready for a fiesta (or a fight), and ready to take centre stage at your next shindig.

one of my buds, carolina, took the time last weekend to show me how to make this south american treat. as it is with most food items, empanadas vary from region to region, so she showed me a popular choice from her home town of buenos aires. as you can imagine, there was a lot of beef, a lot of spice, and a lot of delicioso argentinian wine (which we thought would be way better to drink on the side then cook into the meat).

your first step is to caramelize an onion in olive oil. your onion to meat ratio should be 2:1, so remember: LOTS of onion.
once it begins to caramelize, add half each of a green and red pepper, finely diced.
keep stirring.....
when it starts to brown, add salt to draw out the moisture.

next add the beef. lean beef is fine, but don't do extra lean - you want the flavour! we did about a 1/2 kilo.

stir it to break up the meat, but then stop stirring - you don't want to toughen the beef.

once browned, it's time to season it. we did this all to taste, but you're going to add oregano, a bit of paprika, a bit more cumin, a lot of pepper and salt, and garlic salt. at this point, you can also add diced black olive and boiled egg, but we didn't.

cool off the meat outside or in the fridge until you can handle it. for exceptional tasting filling, leave it overnight to mellow.

take your empanada shell (we found ours at the italian centre) and wet the outside edges with some water. fill with about 1 tablespoon of filling (not TOO much or they'll explode).

pinch the edges closed starting from the corners, and working towards the middle. REALLY make sure that it's closed.

using two fingers, fold the edges over each other to "braid" them.

brush with an egg yolk (or two).

bake at 350F for ~45 minutes. this made 24 EMPANADAS! with some filling left over.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

barry shares a link.

photo courtesy: k! pizzacone

one of my buds just shared this with me, and i feel that it's my duty to share this delicious, wonderful concoction. pizza in a cone!! forget calzones or pizza pops, this one pays homage to the oh-so-fabulous ice-cream cone. i'm intrigued, but is edmonton ready for such a novel way to eat pizza?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

barry bakes beer bread.

and clearly loves alliteration.

so, i bought another plane ticket. this means three things to you. 1 - for about a month this summer you will not hear from me (i know, you're absolutely devasted). 2 - when you do hear from me again, i will be sharing stories of wild sangria concoctions, pretzels that melt in your mouth and hot chocolate thicker than pudding. pudding! and finally, 3 - currently, i am poor.

it's this third point that led me to my latest recipe trial. see, without money i can't go out to restaurants OR grocery stores, and so must make do with what's in my cupboards.

i'm going to be honest - it's pretty limited.

enter judy schultz and her AMAZING recipe for cheddar beer bread. i had beer (German white beer), i had cheese, and yes, i had flour. the result was a redonkulously easy recipe, and a moist and super tasty bread. highly recommend trying this guys - the hardest part is trying not to drink the beer first.

judy schultz's cheddar beer bread

1 3/4 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp sugar
(i added a pinch of chipolte chili powder)
1 medium onion minced and browned in 2 tbsp. butter
1 c. cheddar cheese grated

1. mix above ingredients. make a well in the middle.

355 ml. beer (any kind, but darker has more flavour) at room temperature

2. pour beer into the well, and mix until JUST combined.

3. spoon into a well greased loaf pan. top with an additional 3/4 c. grated cheddar.

4. bake in pre-heated oven at 350f for 45 - 50 minutes.

5. cool 10 minutes on wire rack. serve hot.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

barry: "why yes, i am obsessed with cheese - and you?"

i ate these two delectable crostini for dinner the other night. just thought i'd share. they were tasty; they were pretty; they were damn sexy; and yes, they were particularly cheesy.

using two halves of a whole wheat ciabatta bun i created two very different tastes. on one half, i combined garlic, apple slices, brie and cinnamon (out of the two, i would say this was my favourite) for a sweet, yet savoury taste, while on the opposite side i wilted spinach with olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomato feta (on sale at superstore), lemon juice and dill, to create a salty, pseudo-spanikopita topping.

all of this food manipulation came about due to a craving for some cheese. enjoy!

barry wonders what's going wrong.

what the hell am i doing wrong, guys? i keep trying to recapture the deliciousness of central america by recreating fried plantains (platanos maduros for those of the local tongue) as can be seen below, but keep getting some kind of wussy version that just doesn't do it for me (see above picture). oh-so-ripe plantains? check. a wee bit of veggie oil? check. salt and sugar? check.

hell - i've even brought in a dash of cinnamon for kicks!

and though this rendition IS tasty, it's not the same, and i want the same.

so i need your help, and recipe knowledge, to tell me what i'm doing wrong. pointers, links, recipes, WHATEVER - just help me recreate the taste sensation that i'm missing.