Friday, October 21, 2005

Empanada and Malta Polar

Empanada and Malta Polar
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic.

1/2 cup arepa flour (see note)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon oil, plus extra for cooking
Filling (see recipe below, or fill with your own recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix flours, sugar and salt. Add the water and mix with a spoon until the dough is incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 5 minutes, moistening your hands and the board with water as you work. The dough should be smooth and not crack around the edges; moist and not sticky.
Pinch off about half of the dough. Roll out, on a floured surface, to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles about 3 inches in diameter. Gather the scraps, add to the rest of the dough and roll out another batch. Repeat until you’ve used as much as you can.
Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle of pastry. Fold over the pastry and seal the edges. Let the empanadas rest for 30 minutes.
If baking: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. If deep frying, heat 3 inches of oil in a pot to 375 degrees and fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (If you are deep-frying, you want to be absolutely sure they sealed tightly!)

Meat Filling:
Skirt Steak-trimmed of fat
3-4 cloves garlic, divided
1/2 small onion, halved
Pinch salt
1/2 bell pepper, halved
1 rib celery-cut in half
Beef bouillon (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Place the steak in a large pot. Smash 2 cloves of the garlic and add to the pot with half the onion, salt, half the pepper, and the rib of celery. Add beef bouillon, if using. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the steak is cooked through. Remove the meat from the broth and shred with 2 forks. Reserve the broth.
Mince more onion, peppers and garlic until you have 1 1/2 cups minced veggies. Place the veggies and shredded meat into a non-stick skillet with oil. Stir together and add tomato paste. Add some of the cooking water from boiling the meat. Cook, stirring, until all ingredients are combined and vegetables are cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Cooks note: Arepa flour is a precooked corn flour. Do not confuse it with masa harina or cornmeal. Arepa flour is sold as masarepa, harina precocida or masa al instante. It can be found in Latin American groceries, such as the Food Bazaar on South Boulevard in Charlotte.
Recipe courtesy Zuleika Mendoza
For The Lancaster News

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Creole Eggplant Gratin

Originally uploaded by
Food Fanatic.

I found this by googling eggplant + gratin. It was on a website called "Foodfest" (see link at the end of this post). This fellow named Tom Fitzmorris had it on there. He tells about eating it at Delmonico in New Orleans before Emeril LaGasse took over the business.
I made this for the family and served it with a green salad. We thought it was pretty good, but I know we won't repeat it. It took longer to put together than it did to bake it. And the kids really aren't eggplant fans.

2 eggplant, peeled and cut into large dice
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup small peeled shrimp (I could not find small uncooked shrimp, so used 1/2 lb of medium)
1/2 lb claw crabmeat
1 chopped tomato (they are not in season now, so I used canned)
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 dash Wocestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used prepared ones)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blanch cut eggplant in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove and reserve.

Heat butter in a large skillet. Saute the onion, celery and shrimp just until the shrimp turns pink. Add all the other ingredients except the bread crumbs and eggplant and cook, stirring lightly, until everything is heated through.

Add the eggplant and gently blend with the other ingredients.

Pour mixture into a buttered 9 x13 pan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are toasty.
Serves four to eight.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Beef & Broccoli

Originally uploaded by
Food Fanatic.

I did this for The Lancaster News

2 stalks broccoli, cut into florets
1 package beef for stir fry –or 1/2 to 1 lb flank steak, cut into strips
1 can beef broth, divided
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon black bean paste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 medium onion, halved then sliced thin
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
Sesame oil
2 tablespoons Canola oil

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Pour the canola oil into the hot pan* and add the strips of beef. Cook, stirring constantly, until the beef has lost its pink color. Remove from pan.
Place the broccoli, onion and garlic into the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the broccoli starts to get crisp tender and the onion has begun to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add small amounts of water, if necessary, to keep it from sticking or burning. Add the ginger, chili-garlic sauce, black bean paste and the fish sauce, if using. Cook for another minute.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the beef broth. Pour the remainder into the broccoli mixture. Add the soy sauce. Turn the heat down until the mixture is simmering. Add the beef.
Combine the reserved 1/4 cup of beef broth with the cornstarch to make a slurry. Drizzle into the simmering beef and broccoli, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened.
Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve over hot rice.

*The late Jeff Smith, the “Frugal Gourmet,” once said on his television show, “Hot wok, cold oil, food don’t stick.” This tip has always come in handy for me when it comes to stir-frying.