Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Empanadas

Not too hard and so satisfyingly good. Adpated from this post on Bella Eats and this recipe from Gourmet.

2 cups diced (1/4 inch) butternut squash
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
6 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 (2 to 3 inch) fresh jalepeño chiles, seeded and ribs discarded, finely chopped
Optional: reconstituted dried chiptole pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound fresh exotic mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped (I used a mix of cremini and white)

Empanada Dough
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg
1/2 cup ice water (more if needed)
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Egg Wash
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

1. Make empanada dough. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or with a pastry blender until mixture resembles course meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
2. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated (the mixture should look shaggy).
3. 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 one hour.
4. Make the filling. Preheat oven to 400˚. Combine together the squash, onion, garlic, chile peppers, and mushrooms. Toss with olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. (The Gourmet recipe differs here, boiling and sauteing the vegetables - choose what you like best.) Roast for 25-35 minutes, until the squash is tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven and cool in pan on rack.
5. Assemble the empanadas! Keep the oven heated to 400˚. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a disk. On a floured surface, roll out one disk into a 6 to 7 inch round. Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling onto center and brush edge of pastry with egg wash. Fold dough in half to form a half-moon, enclosing filling, and press edges together to seal. Crimp edge decoratively and move empañada to a large baking sheet. Make the remaining empañadas using the same method.
6. Lightly brush empanadas with remaining egg wash and sprinkle tops with coarse sea salt. Bake on middle rack of oven until golden, 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A hearty, winter-y take on the classic basic pesto. Adapted from this 101Cookbooks post. Heidi suggests serving this as a side dish, but I added some lightly sauteed chicken and made it into a full meal.

1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 pound (8 ounces) dried whole wheat pasta

Bring two pots of water to a boil, one for the broccoli and one for the pasta.

To cook the broccoli, salt the boiling water and add about 3/4 of the broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds. Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking. Puree in a food processor along with the walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while still blending. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed and set aside. You can add more olive oil or some warm water to thin it out.

To cook the remaining broccoli florets, saute in a skillet with a bit of salt, olive oil, and water until cooked to your liking. Put aside.

To cook the pasta, salt the boiling water generously and add the pasta. Boil until just barely tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Gently stir in about half of the pesto. Taste, add more pesto to your liking. Served topped the broccoli florets and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 6 side servings or 3 main servings.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bittersweet Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

Since I often make this for a crowd, I've included 2 sets of quantities. This sauce & very good & fudgy. I sometimes add a pinch of salt.



Serving 18-24

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

½ cup sugar

1.5 cups sugar

¾ cup fat-free milk

2 ¼ cup fat free milk

2 T butter or margarine

6 T butter or margerine

1 t. vanilla

1 Tablespoon vanilla

¼ - ½ t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cinnamon


  1. Mix cocoa and sugar in small saucepan
  2. Stir in milk and add margarine/butter
  3. Heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
  6. Serve hot/warm or at room temperature.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Toasted Almond & Coconut Biscotti

A blend of a few different recipes and methods:

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract, more to taste
2 T oil
3/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1 C unsweetened coconut
1/2 C almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Combine eggs, extracts, oil, and sugar. Add dry ingredients and then stir in coconut and almonds. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Shape into 4" logs on a lightly floured surface. Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment lined cookie sheet and press logs to a 1"-thickness. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, or until light brown. Remove and cook slightly, 5-10 minutes. Then cut each log into slices, diagonally if you want to be fancy. Bake each side for 15 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tova's Potstickers

When I was visiting Tova in Carrboro a few weeks ago she made up a big patch of potstickers. I was surprised how easy they were and how authentic they tasted! As soon as I got back to Boston I replicated the recipe for a New Years Eve dinner party. Below is a simple vegetarian filling, but I also made a ground turkey version of this filling from the Gourmet cookbook.

1 package of "baked tofu", teriyaki or soy/sesame flavor, crumbled
bunch of green onions, chopped
small handful of cilantro, chopped
a few cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/4 C soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
package of wonton or potsticker wrappers

Stir all ingredients together, minus the egg and wonton wrappers. Taste for flavor, adjust and then stir in egg.
Mix 1 T cornstarch into 1/4 C water and brush this onto edges of wrappers.

For detailed on how to fill and fold potstickers, check out this blog post with directions and photos from Steamy Kitchen.

To fry the dumplings, heat a large pan over a medium heat. Add a bit of vegetable oil, then squeeze as many potstickers that will fit into the pan, trying not to have any touching, (or else they'll stick together). Fry for 60-90 seconds until golden brown on the bottom. Add 1/4-1/2 C water, put lid on immediately, lower heat a bit and cook about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, cook off any excess water, and then remove potstickers. Repeat until all potstickers are cooked.

Tova's special dipping sauce: mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, sriacha. Taste and adjust.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Fluffy Pancakes! (that happen to be lowfat and vegan)

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder (yes! its a lot!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of maple syrupy
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1.5 cup soy-milk (or whatever type of milk you have)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients. Combine with wet ingredients. Cook immediately (do not make in advance).