Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week 8 and Faux Empanadas

It all began with a recipe from a Sephardi cookbook that shall remain nameless. The recipe was sent to me upon request, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. I'd had empanadas at St. Anthony's Festa this year, and was curious to see what the Jewish version looked and tasted like. However, once I read the dough recipe, it became clear than the recipe could not be trusted.

With 3 cups of flour, the recipe called for only 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of oil. The dough would not come together. Indeed, the recipe stated that if the dough was too 'sticky,' additional white flour was to be added. With that little moisture, sticky was not going to be my issue. I added water until the dough came together, but by that time, the dough was over kneaded. This resulted in a chewy vs. flaky crust.

The filling was worthwhile. It used wheat bran to soak up the extra fat and flavor from the beef, and the spice mixture of paprika, ground allspice, salt, pepper and sugar was delicious. However, I do not trust that it was in any way authentic. The dough, after resting, was pulled into "egg sized pieces," and rolled to an 1/8 of an inch in thickness. Each square was filled with 4 or so tablespoons of filling and one strip of green pepper. Then, the recipe once again failed me, calling for the empanadas to be baked at 350 degrees for 10 minutes "or until golden brown."

I bake calzones at the highest temp I can get my oven, and for much longer than 10 minutes. I baked these for 25 minutes at 350, but was simply bored by the crust. The flavor was very good, but I've got to find a different dough. Does anyone have a parve (dairy free) recipe for empenadas/meat pie dough that they'd recommend?

At anyrate, I served them with a salad of Roasted Beets with a Mustard Lemon dressing and Boston Lettuce. It was a wonderful way to serve beets, though, as Dave put it, they still "tasted like beets." I would put forth that they tasted like good beets, with the acidity and spice of the dressing bringing out the natural sweetness.

For dessert, I sliced this week's beautiful cantaloupe and marinated it with lemon juice and lemon zest. It chilled in the refrigerator while we ate dinner. Then it was served with Lemon Sorbet from Lily and Cecile K. It was decadent, refreshing and a lovely way to end the day.

Roasted Beets with Mustard Lemon Dressing

1 bunch/1 lb beets
3 T mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 T olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon Zest

1. Preheat oven to 400. Scrub beets and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Place on rimmed sheet pan or baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from foil and allow to cool.

2. Once beets have cooled, remove skin. Cut into bite sized wedges.

3. Mix together dressing ingredients. Toss beets through. Serve alone, or on top of a bitter green.

Lemon Cantaloupe with Lemon Sorbet

1 cantaloupe
1 or 2 lemons
1 T sugar
1 bunch mint, sliced thinly (optional)
Lemon Sorbet

1. Slice cantaloupe into bite sized pieces. Place in large bowl. Juice and zest lemons into bowl. Add sugar and mint. Combine well, then chill.

When ready to serve, layer with sorbet. Share and enjoy.

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