Thursday, June 25, 2009

When I dip, you dip, we dip...

Here are a couple of great dips. They keep in the fridge for a good week, making them perfect for impromptu entertaining. Whip these up in advance and spoon out as needed. Serve with pita, crostini, crackers or crudite...I especially love a big dollop of the beet walnut puree atop a crunchy piece of cauliflower. They'd be fantastic as a sandwich spread, as well. Sky's the limit.

Beet and walnut puree
adapted from Spain...On The Road Again

1 cup walnuts
1 pound beets, trimmed, boiled or roasted, peeled, and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the beets and pulse until a rough paste forms.
  • Slowly add the olive oil, water, and tahini and pulse a few times, just until combined.
  • Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
Artichoke and white bean dip with rosemary

15-1/2 oz cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14-1/2 oz artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil, more for drizzling
3 T freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 t fresh rosemary, chopper
salt and pepper

  • In a food processor, pulse the beans, artichoke hearts, garlic, and lemon juice to a smooth paste.
  • Slowly add the 2 T oil. If necessary, add 1 to 2 T water to get a smooth consistency.
  • Blend in the cheese and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with oil.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Super Size It

Pictures of me rolling hundreds of empanadas...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Awesome Empanadas

I am a crazed woman this week (and last, as you can tell from my stunted little blog) and don't have much time to write. I'll spare you the whiny details and leave you more time to make these awesome empanadas. The dough is really pretty darn good. It's a rare thing, but even I won't change anything the next time I make them. The filling is super tasty, but go ahead and use anything you like...mushrooms and cheddar, chicken and green olives...whatever is in the fridge. Oh, and you can freeze these bad boys! Make and bake 'em, wrap well and freeze. When you have a hankering, heat your gratifying little treats straight out of the ice box for 12-15 minutes at 350. Nice!

Empanadas with Sausage, Kale, Pine Nuts and Raisins


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I like to cut butter into cubes and put it into the freezer while I get the rest of my ingredients together.)
2 eggs
1/3 cup ice water
1 T distilled white vinegar

  • Add flour and salt to bowl of food processor and pulse once. Add cold butter and pulse 4 times. Lightly whisk together the eggs, water and vinegar, add to processor and pulse 3-5 times or until the dough just comes together.
  • If you don't have a food processor, combine flour and salt in a large bowl and blend the butter in with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Lightly whisk together the eggs, water and vinegar, add to bowl and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together.
  • Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with the 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, for at least 1 hour.


1 onion, diced
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup dark raisins, covered with boiling water until plump, 10 minutes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup kale, stemmed, coarsely chopped and rinsed well (no need to dry)
1 lb. sausage, removed from casings. Alternatively, use ground pork and add a few cloves of minced garlic when you add kale to the onions.
  • Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium low heat. Add onions and cook until soft, 12 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium high, add pine nuts and cook until onions are caramelized, 10 minutes, adding tablespoonfuls of water as needed so the onions don't burn.
  • Add wet kale (and garlic, if using) and cook for a minute or two. Incorporate raisins and spoon mixture into a work bowl; set aside.
  • Heat the same saute pan over medium heat, add sausage and cook, using the back of a fork to break it up (should resemble ground meat), until it is no longer pink. Drain all but 1 T grease.
  • Add the onion mixture to the sausage and cool slightly. The filling can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove from fridge 20 minutes before filling empanadas.

Fill and bake empanadas

1 egg
1 T water
flour for rolling dough
  • Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  • Lightly whisk together egg and water
  • Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and form each one into a ball.
  • Roll out each piece (keeping remaining pieces covered) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).
  • Spoon 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the filling onto the center of each rolled piece and fold dough in half to enclose filling. Press edges together to seal and crimp with the tines of a fork or your fingers. Brush lightly with egg wash.
  • Transfer empanadas to baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

chocolaty + crunchy + gooey = happy

These bars are great for the summertime because you don't need to turn on your oven. And, they come together super fast so you can be in and out of the kitchen with a plateful of candy in no time. They are pretty darn tasty to boot. Though, ever a fiddler, next time I will add 1 1/2 cups peanuts and substitute a 1/2 cup of dehydrated banana chips for a 1/2 cup of the rice cereal for a some intrigue. They are a bit too messy for me (though it hasn't stopped me from eating them), but everyone else who's tried them has given a very chocolaty thumbs up.

Candy Bars

Adapted from Best Summer Weekends Cookbook
Makes about 24 squares

1/2 cup (120 grams) smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup (80 ml) light corn syrup
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1/2 cup (45 grams) cocoa powder, unsweetened or Dutch-processed
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
3 cups (180 grams) miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups (80 grams) crisp rice cereal
1 cup (120 grams) peanuts
8 ounces (230 grams) semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

  • Butter an 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, honey, cocoa powder, and light brown sugar. Place over medium high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the marshmallows, and stir constantly until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, rice cereal, and peanuts.
  • Press this mixture into the prepared pan and allow to set.
  • In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
  • Spread chocolate mixture over the squares and refrigerate until chocolate has set.
  • Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Serve cold or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Soba with Cilantro and Scallions

This is a quick, easy and super satisfying noodle dish. For supper, I like to serve it alongside simple roasted salmon. As a light lunch, I top it with a bunch of crunchy cucumber and creamy avocado and I'm as happy as can be.

Play with this recipe...add as much ginger, garlic and cilantro as you like. And throw in leftover shredded chicken, beef or whatever's in the fridge to make it more substantial. If you can't find soba noodles (though most grocery stores will have them) feel free to use any type of pasta.

Soba with Cilantro and Scallions

1 lb soba noodles, cooked according to directions on package
1/2 cup soy sauce
juice of 2 limes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T ginger, minced
1 T vegetable oil
2 t toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 scallions, sliced
garnish with diced cucumber or avocado
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy, lime juice, garlic, ginger and oils. Pour over cooked soba, add cilantro and scallions and toss to combine.
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Granola Bars

The plan was to make these granola bars to take on our Memorial Day camping trip, but that didn't happen. I tend to get excited and overextend myself in ways that I don't need to; like making granola bars on top of trail mix on top of... We had enough victuals to last a week in the woods let alone a weekend (we actually packed a fair bit out). So, it was probably a good move to
opt for a few extra hours of sleep before the trip instead of making these bars. I am, however, glad that I didn't file the recipe away and forget about it because it's definitely a keeper. My boyfriend (the primary granola bar eater around here) declared them a success and packed a bunch to take to work. Never is a dangerous word, but I'm going to throw caution to the wind and say that I might never buy granola bars again. These are easy to make and very close to the real deal. Done and done.

Homemade granola bars
adapted from Joy of Baking

makes 12 4 1/2 x 2 inch bars

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried prunes, diced *Use any fruit. Dice, if large, but dried cranberries etc. are fine as is.
1/4 t salt
3 T butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
1 t vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 350, place rack in middle position and butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl combine oats, coconut and almonds, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in the same large bowl, combine the sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and salt. Add the oat mixture when it's finished toasting and mix well.
  • In a small sauce pan, combine the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  • Pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir until well coated. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan. Using wet finger tips, press evenly into pan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until light golden. The longer you cook the bars, the crunchier they will become.
  • Remove bars from oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before cutting because they firm up as they cool. Bars will keep for several days at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!
Here are a couple of camping pictures just for fun. I love the Adirondacks!