purpose flour

Empanadas: A Mexican Tradition

An empanada is basically a turnover. They are a classic item in the Hispanic culture and can be sweet or savory. Fillings range from fruit to meat and are a part of the holidays as well as a regular menu item in many Hispanic kitchens. Our granddaughter Ava is fortunate to have both German and Mexican heritage and we spent an afternoon keeping her connected with her 'latina side' by preparing empanadas to leave for Santa. The original recipe came from my Aunt Mercy's kitchen and I adapted it to decrease the fat content. I'm giving you both recipes so you can choose the one that best suites your taste.

Ingredients:

All Purpose flour

cream cheese

butter

cinnamon, sugar mix

your choice of fruit filling

Mercy's Marvelous Empanadas

(makes about 6 dz. mini-empanadas)

4c flour

8 oz. cream cheese

4 sticks butter or margarine

 

Yvonne's Less Fatty Empanadas

(makes about 3 dz mini-empanadas)

2c flour

1/2 c reduced fat cream cheese

1 stick butter

In a bowl, blend room-temperature cream cheese and butter together until well mixed. Next, add flour, about 1/2c  at a time until you've used all the flour. Refrigerate for 2 hours. ( This is imperative with the original recipe. It will be sticky and hard to work with if you don't refrigerate.)

Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough out like a pie crust. The stem of a wine glass made it easy for little hands

to help with the work.

 Spoon the filling ( about 1 t for a 4-5in. circle) in the center then fold over and use a fork to seal edges.( We used pineapple filling.) I recommend  you brush the bottom edge with a little water to help the dough stick and prevent bursting open when heated.

 Place in the oven @  350 ˚for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle

with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a perfect place to get to know each other better or iron out differences. We can share family history, build memories and if we allow ourselves, in the midst of mouth-watering aromas, make ourselves vulnerable to one another, leaving a Fingerprint in each others lives.

Hotcakes for the 4th - Red, White and Blue Cupcakes!

  Happy 4th of July!!! If you're scrambling around trying to find a fun recipe to bring to the BBQ, this Fourth of July Cupcake recipe may be just the thing! Taken from Baking Bites these cupcakes are as cute as they are delicious! Enjoy :)

Fourth of July Cupcakes 2 large eggs 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam (optional) 1 tbsp blueberry preserves (optional) red food coloring blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vegetable oil, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk just until batter is smooth. Take out two small bowls and place 3/4 cup batter into each one. Add 1 tbsp jam and red food coloring to first bowl and whisk to incorporate. Add 1 tbsp blueberry preserves and blue food coloring to second bowl and whisk to combine. Add additional food coloring (batter should be very brightly colored, use at least 15 drops of each color minimum) as needed until desired color is reached. Divide red batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Divide blue batter evenly into muffin cups, centering it on top of the red batter (do not attempt to smooth it out!). Divide remaining white batter evenly (again, do not attempt to smooth it out!). Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 6-oz cream cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1 1/2-2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well-combined.  Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar until the mixture reaches a thick easy-to-spread consistency. If you prefer stiffer icing, add a little extra confectioners’ sugar. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

Vegan Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes

Spring is just around the corner and what better way to welcome it than a Vegan Lemon Macadamia Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream frosting from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World??? (my stomach is growling as I type this)

Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes

1/3 cup canola oil 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup yogurt 1/3 cup milk 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tbsp lemon zest 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup ground macadamia nuts 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, yogurt, & milk. Add juice, zest, & vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt in a separate bowl. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients in two batches.  Add in ground macadamia nuts, then fold in the chopped macadamias. Bake for 20-22 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup shortening (I like Earth Balance) 1/4 cup margarine 2 cups powdered sugar 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp lemon zest

Cream together and frost or pipe onto your cupcakes. Enjoy (preferably in the sun with a good book/Frank Sinatra)!

January Cupcake: Vanilla - something old, something new

This past Christmas I officially became a woman. Now, I know I'm already twenty-something, but while I was in Portland visiting my family something monumental happened. My mom passed down my great-grandma's cookbook to me. It had been passed from my great-grandma to my grandma to my mom and now to me. "The Modern Cook Book" published in 1947 by Pearl V. Metzelthin has seen many kitchens, cross-country moves, and oil-stains. Thinking about what this new year will hold and my list of goals and aspirations I never want to forget where I came from or the simple things that make life beautiful. As life's pace get faster and faster I want to be careful to not become too busy to cook!

So bring out your mixing bowl and try this Vanilla Cupcake and Soft Vanilla Icing recipe from The Modern Cook Book:

Cupcake Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 2/3 cup milk 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Cream together butter and sugar; add well-beaten eggs. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add alternately with milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Fill liners to 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cakes. Cool, frost (below), savor!

Icing Ingredients: 2 egg whites 1 cup confectioner's sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions: Beat egg whites stiff, adding sugar gradually while beating. When mixture is light and fluffy, add vanilla.

Looking forward to the day I get to pass this treasure on...but not until after I've tried all the recipes.

Tasty Mac and Cheese

Some say that macaroni and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. While I agree, this old-time favorite makes a special appearance  just a few times during the year in my household.  As well,  holiday meals are simply incomplete without this cheesy indulgence.  Just a few years ago, I remember making a special trip to the grocery store on Christmas morning because this all important dish was not included on the menu -- the family was in uproar!!

Try it out and you may never go back to the 'box'!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups organic whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ - ¾ cup Sautéed Onion & Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
  • ½ cup Asiago Cheese
  • Tex-Joy or season salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown.
  • Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add the salt, pepper, Tex-Joy or Season salt, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well.
  • Add the noodles and Asiago cheese and stir well.
  • Pour into the prepared dish.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Crabmeat Au Gratin

My family lived in New Orleans for several years, and we fell in love with Cajun food.  One dish we especially liked was Crabmeat Au Gratin.  The recipe that I use comes from  my favorite cookbook, Manna From Westwego Assembly of God Church.  It was written by the women of the church, some of the greatest cooks in all New Orleans.  Enjoy.

1 stalk of chopped celery

1/4 lb butter

1 large can evaporated milk.  (I use skim or 2%)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. red pepper  (I substitute Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning for desired spice)

1 lb. white crabmeat  (Imitation crabmeat may be substituted)

Saute' onions and celery in butter until wilted.  Blend flour in well with this mixture. Pour in the milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Add egg yolks, salt, black pepper and/or Creole Seasoning.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Place the crabmeat in a bowl and pour the cooked sauce over it.  Blend well and then transfer into a lightly greased casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and lightly browned.  Serves 6.

Note:  The secret to the sauce is adding enough milk to obtain the consistency that you prefer.  A little more milk added keeps it from being dry while it is being baked.

Serving suggestions:  Serve with a baked potato, steamed broccoli, and salad.