A cooking and baking journal

The Man with the Orange Clogs' Empanada

2/21/10: Empanadas and Easy Fruit Salad

Meal details: For the main course I made empanadas with a bacon, chorizo sausage, bell pepper, onion, and cheese filling. But these weren't your typical half moon shaped empanadas, these were of the full scale variety. And for a side dish I made a fruit salad that had pineapple, apple, oranges, bananas, and something a little different: stove-top pudding. Hmm. . . Interesting, huh?

Defining moments: It's kind of funny but this is my first time making stove-top pudding using a mix. :) I only helped stir the pot before! And this is the first time for empanadas.

Recipe sources: The empanada recipe is from Mario Batali, the host of Molto Mario and numerous other cooking shows. He is known for his exceptional knowledge of Italian cooking and of course everyone knows his scooter and orange clogs! You might remember him from the show, Mario Eats Italy. I haven't seen the show in years but that was one of the most interesting (and funny!) cooking related programs I've seen. I chose this recipe because I am part of the Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge that is being hosted by the writer of the I Thank My Mother blog. When I was searching for a Batali recipe I learned that Mario had (or does, not too sure) a show on PBS about his road trip in the great country of Spain. It is called Spain: On the Road Again. Boy, I would like to watch that!
The empanada recipe requires pizza dough and I made my own using a recipe from the 2500 Recipes from Everyday to Extraordinary cookbook. I discovered earlier while making my Le Hog Pizza that this is one great recipe!
The fruit salad recipe came from the October 2006 issue of Home Cooking Magazine. Here is the recipe for those whole are interested:

Easy Fruit Salad
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) package cook-and-serve vanilla pudding
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges
  • 3 bananas
Drain and reserve juice from canned fruits. Add 1 1/2 cups juice to vanilla pudding mix; cook until thick. Cool; add fruit. Serves 4 to 6.

What I learned: I learned what an empanada is. :) Yeah, that's always important. I sort of had a good idea of what it is but I get kind of confuse with all those calzone-type dishes. So what is it exactly? An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry and comes from the Spanish word empanar, which means to wrap. In Spain, an empanada is usually a large circle that is cut into wedges, but in Portugal and Mexico, the empanadas are made in semi-circular shapes like the one seen here.
Did I learn anything else? None of the recipes I did this week were really foreign to me. I mean, the empanada recipe was very close to the way I prepare my BBQ Chicken Pizza; the only difference was adding another crust on top of the filling. And the fruit salad was really easy to do. So not many new techniques or ingredients this week.

Any modifications? Yes, I made modifications to both recipes. For the empanadas, I didn't roll out the dough in a circle, I just stretched the dough out to the shape of a cookie sheet. And by the way, there is a typo in the recipe. Where it says to roll out into a thin round, they mean a 14" round, not a 1/4 round. Yeah, it kind of confused me a bit! And I also substituted bacon for the pancetta and added a Monterey Jack cheese mix to the filling because my family can't have pizza without the cheese!
And for the fruit salad. I used two Clementine oranges instead of the canned mandarin oranges. And to reach the necessary amount of juice, I added some orange juice from the carton.

How it tasted? Super! Everyone enjoyed the empanadas immensely. The fruit salad was loved by some and was "OK," for others. It mainly was caused by the addition of bananas. Some don't like bananas mixed with other flavors, but for some, like me, they love it that way. So it was a sort of hit and miss recipe for this family.

How about a 2nd time? Yes, I will do both recipes again but will take away the bananas from the salad and just add more apples or oranges.

1 comment:

  1. Both of these look lovely. I think I'm going to try out that fruit salad for a potluck next week!