put on your sombrero and grab some queso

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I was about to apologize for not posting in such a long time, but I guess I should first apologize for my title…#sorryimnotsorry #fml #lol

OK, let’s get the fuck down to business. A few days ago I made some empanadas, using this recipe for guidance. Empanadas are baked/fried pastries filled with whatever-the-hell and found in Latin American, Southern European, and Southeast Asian cuisine. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread (all of this via Wikipedia. Ermahgerd, Werkerperderer!) I’m surprised the translation specifies wrapping something in bread…does that happen so often that it warrants its own verb?

Oh, I forgot about tacos. And burritos.

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Since I’m rapidly progressing in my culinary skills, and also because I couldn’t find any pre-made at the local Kill-Me-Now-Kroger, I made my own empanada dough. I don’t think I did it the authentic way, which I’ve heard involves using lard (I could have finally made use of Cat!), but I did do it the really freaking simple way.

Basically, you mix 3 c flour with a couple pinches of salt, 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter (this one’s for you, Paula Deen), an egg, and 4-5 tbsp. water. I kind of eyeballed everything and mixed it all together with my hands, but I’m guessing a food processor would have been helpful.

I had a couple of friends over to help me cook/eat the food. Stephanie acted as sous chef and took photos. Leanna rolled out the dough with an empty wine bottle (who has a rolling pin?) and, employing the use of her production design skills, grabbed a vase that I had totally forgotten about to cut out small circles.

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While she worked with the dough (which, shit, I forgot to mention—you need to chill it for, like, 30 minutes before handling it), I started the empanada filling.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1/4 of a large white onion, diced
• 1 c green peas (the original recipe calls for “fresh shelled,” as well as “twice peeled fava beans,” but I’m not a fucking trophy wife with enough time and money to prance around organic markets in 6-inch heels and buy esoteric beans for my personal chef to peel, not once, but twice, so I bought a can of green peas), for Christ’s sake
• 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
• 1 tbsp. chopped thyme (I didn’t have this…)
• 1/2 lb of asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces. We used a whole bunch, so I had leftover filling that I later used for pasta. Genius!
• 2 tbsp. butter
• Salt and pepper

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Melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the diced onions and cook for a few minutes, then add in the asparagus and, like, half a can of drained green peas. Or thrice shelled mystical fava beans, if you’re a princess. Add in some herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and then mix in the goat cheese. The filling will become creamy and delicious-smelling.

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To assemble, take your little circles of dough, place a spoonful of filling in the center, and then fold the circle in half. Make an egg wash with a whisked egg and some water and brush this around the edges to help seal the pastry. Score around the edge with a fork to finish the packaging process, and brush your egg wash over the tops of each empanada.

If you feel like it, you can also make an empanada-cat. Empanacat. Catpanada.

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until the tops and edges are golden brown. Naturally, my oven charred some of the edges and left the tops baby-bottom white.

Now for the important part. This sauce is crucial. Like, seriously. It’s a balsamic chimichurri sauce that I found on the same blog—super easy to make, fresh-tasting from the herbiness, and totally something that I want to pour over my face and naked body.

Hmm, scratch the last part.

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Here’s all the shit that you need to mix together for the sauce. Try to use it the same day you make it.

• 3 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (I didn’t have this but used dried instead)
• 2 tbsp. chopped parsley (yes! The parsley I’ve been growing finally came in handy!)
• 4 minced garlic cloves
• 5 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp. chili powder
• 3 tbsp. finely chopped green onions (or scallions…aren’t they the same thing? Or are scallions those little oniony-looking things?)

Mix all of these things together, and enjoy. We opted to drizzle it over the tops of the empanadas in a very chic way.

The dough was a little dry, so I would recommend looking for a more authentic recipe or simply buying pre-made dough. Enjoy!

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all hail the cookie queen

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…er, not really. But these did turn out pretty f*cking boss, if I do say so myself. Despite a few minor mishaps.

I found the recipe on this blog and followed it almost exactly. I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies that had a little something extra, like the sea salt and toffee found in this recipe.

I got the chocolate chips and Heath bar bits down, but I have no clue what the difference is between sea salt and Kosher salt, except that one comes from the ocean and the other sounds Jewish. So I ended up using Kosher, since that’s all my parents have at their house (I’m home for a few days).

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The recipe also recommends using a standing mixer, which my parents do own, thankfully, except I literally had to retrieve it from, like, a 17th century trunk in the adjoining den. Carrying it to the kitchen was a feat, as the machine weighs about 94 lbs.

Here’s what you’ll need for salted toffee choc chip cookies:

• 1 c unsalted butter (that’s two sticks), room temp.
• 1 1/3 c light brown sugar
• 1/2 c white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 3 c whole wheat flour (I used my parents’ “Enriched Whole Wheat White Flour Product,” which sounds like a load of bullshit, but it seemed to work OK)
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 12 oz. choc chips
• 8 oz. toffee bits

Attach a paddle…attachment…to the standing mixer and blend the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla (I always pronounce it “vanira” in my head, like an Asian stereotype…I promise I’m not racist, my brain just works in a way that might seem racist…I’m stopping now).

Add in the flour and baking soda, slow as fuck. Like, maybe a spoonful at a time. I poured all of the dry stuff in and watched, mesmerized, as white clouds poured out of the mixer and drifted around the kitchen, coating every surface in a fine film of flour. Mix in the toffee bits and chocolate, not by hand. Unless you’re super strong, which I am not.

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Scoop 1 tbsp.-sized pieces onto a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a shitload of oil. I am hesitant to use parchment paper ever since I confused it with wax paper and filled my kitchen with stinky smoke. Top each cookie with a healthy pinch of salt and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Boom! I nailed this one. Except for one tiny, inconsequential thing…some of the wrapper from the sticks of butter ended up in the dough. I pulled out a few scraps before baking, but there might be more lurking. I’ll just tell people it’s good luck if they find a piece of paper in their bite, kind of like a fortune cookie.

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If fortune cookies had blank, waxy fortunes.

ermergerd, fersh tercers

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Fish tacos are probably my favorite food, next to Thai takeout and pineapple pizza. Oh, and wine/chocolate. (My aspirational self loves celery and anything gluten/sugar-free!)

(She’s a dumb whorebitch!)

For good fish tacos, I think it’s all about the perfect balance of ingredients: tender, flaky white fish; crunch from raw cabbage or shredded lettuce; chunky, fresh salsa with mango, tomato and avocado; spicy, smooth chipotle mayo, etc. etc. (I’m such the gourmet! *pretentious fake laugh*)

With my brother David’s guidance (ex: “Don’t use a serrated knife on fish. That’s why it keeps catching.” On what? I asked. “On the meat” he casually replied. What? Why does it have strings?) and a little intentional sobriety, I was able to make fish tacos successfully. And I actually enjoyed the process.

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Speaking of sobriety, I’m on my second dark and stormy right now, so this might not be the most coherent post.

I’ve spent the week with my family at VA beach and opted to cook dinner one night because, you know, this blog content ain’t gonna generate itself. I used one recipe for guidance and also made a spicy mayo/sour cream sauce as an extra accompaniment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 2 lbs of any firm, white fish. I wanted to use Mahi, but ended up with cod, which worked fine.
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
• 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
• 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp. onion powder
• 1/2 tsp. oregano
• salt and pepper
• corn tortillas, to wrap up the shit.
• Shredded lettuce or cabbage

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Salsa:

• 1 1/2 mangos, cut into chunks
• 1 avocado, cut into chunks
• 1 roma tomato, chopped
• 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1/2 lime, juiced
• 1/4 c fresh chopped cilantro
• salt and pepper

Rub your fish in the olive oil and then coat it in a generous helping of the dry seasonings after blending them all together. Do this on both sides of each fish fillet. Stick all the fillets in a pan and broil the suckers for like 5-7 minutes, or until…cooked.

Mix everything together for the salsa (duh). Serve with the fish.

If you would like another creamy sauce to serve, mix equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream in a bowl. Add in 2 tbsp. of sauce from chipotle in adobo and a few of the peppers, roughly chopped. (At first, I forgot to chop the peppers, so I had to extract them from the sauce. Unfortunately my brother and his girlfriend caught me in the act and snapped a picture.) Squeeze half a lime in there, too, and mix well.

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Set out both sauces, lettuce, tortillas (I was encouraged to grill each one individually on a skillet, which, had I been cooking for one, I wouldn’t have done), fish, whatever, and allow people to serve themselves.

My brother boiled some corn on the cob and coated it in chile powder to serve with the fish. Arriba!