Archive | February, 2012

Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas

26 Feb

There is nothing better than an empanada.  A mixture of deliciousness, wrapped up in a flaky crust.  I have fond memories of this Chilean treat when Joe and I traveled to Chile 3 years ago.  I remember stopping at a rest stop on our bus ride from Puerto Montt to Bariloche and eating this mini meat pie while taking in the views of the Andes.  Traditionally filled with beef, one olive and half of a hard boiled egg, this chicken and chorizo version isn’t exactly “autentico”.  But the pisco sours that I blended to accompany this savory pie most definitely were.

Amber and Will came over for the feast (Will is Chileno, so his thumbs up was reassuring) and we ate and drank until our bellys popped.  Joe especially loved the pisco.

Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas

Recipe from

Makes roughly 15 empanadas

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

4 whole chicken legs, including thighs (about 3 lbs)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Turkish bay leaves
5 oz Spanish chorizo
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Make Dough: Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together.  Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

Make Filling: Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning over once, about 6 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it’s not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.) When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Form Empanadas: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Divide first dough and half of second dough into 18 equal pieces and form each into a disk. (The remaining dough can be stored in the freezer for future use.) Keeping remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).

Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center and fold dough in half, enclosing filling. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or tines of a fork. Transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Make 17 more empanadas in same manner, arranging on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Banana Bread

16 Feb

KitchenAid mixer, LeCreuset Stockpot, Le Creuset dutch oven, immersion blender, measuring spoons, Meatball Shop, Momofuku, How to Cook Everything and the Mad Hungry cookbooks.  All gifts I have received that are happily housed in my kitchen.  They truly are gifts that keep on giving.  You give me the cookbook, I’ll make 40 new and delicious meals out of it.  You give me a KitchenAid mixer, I will fondant the sh*t out of that cake.  Whenever I use a cookbook or a kitchen tool that someone has given me, I always think of that person as I am creating my meal, cupcake, etc.  And these people always make me smile.

When I first moved in with Joe (officially) just over a year ago, my mom gave me a cookbook called “Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys” by Lucinda Quinn.  Joe seems to be able to eat forever and never quite get full, so I knew this cookbook would be a winner.

Weekend mornings around our house look something like this:  Wake up earlier than most twenty-something year olds.  I beeline for the coffee pot, Joe heads straight for his bike or his surfboard.  While he’s out “running himself” for a few hours, I get the morning in our apartment all to myself .  If I don’t decide to go for a walk or take an exercise class, I generally end up using this time to bake something.  Last weekend, I saw that I had some bananas that were going bad and decided to whip up some banana bread to eat with my coffee.  So, I headed over to my most wonderful collection of cookbooks, found a perfect recipe from “Mad Hungry”, and started baking, accompanied by this view from my kitchen.

By the time the bread came out of the oven, I got a surprise visit from my Mom, just the person I was thinking about as I was baking out of the book she gave me. We caught up and enjoyed some hot coffee and warm banana bread together.  When Joe got back from his surf he was MAD HUNGRY and completely stuffed his face with delight.  Sharing delicious homemade food with those you love– isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

Recipe adapted from “Mad Hungry”
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t coarse salt
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 c buttermilk, mild, or a combination or plain yogurt and milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 c)
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract


  • 2 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 2 pinches of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 loaf pan. Cut out a rectangle of parchment to fit in the bottom of pan. Place parchment in bottom of pan and butter it.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 cup of flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Stir in the melted butter and the buttermilk. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute. Add the banana and vanilla. (If you like walnuts, add them at this point, tossed in some flour).  Stir until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Make the topping by mashing together the cold butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Rub between fingers to create small clumps. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife down sides of pan. Place doubled up paper towel over top of pan and then hand on top of paper towel. Invert pan into hand with paper towel and then place loaf crumble side up on serving dish.

I knew my mom would’ve hated if I took a picture of her mid-bike ride, so i snuck one!  Love you, mom!!

Italian Wedding Cookies

12 Feb

We danced, we drank, we did the can-can to New York New York.  Lexie Low married Brian McCarthy and it was one of the best weekends I can remember!  It will be hard to sum up the celebration in words, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

The weekend was absolute perfection.  Catching up with old highschool friends, meeting sweet Natalie (Melissa’s daughter), saluting Searg “Char Char” on the d-floor, and watching our beautiful Lexie tie the knot.  Brian and Lexie, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your big day!  We wish you nothing but happiness and much laughter in your lives together.

In honor of the bride and the Low clan, I made some Italian Wedding Cookies to be shared while getting ready for the big day.  They were quite a hit, especially when paired with a few glasses of champagne.

Italian Wedding Cookies

Recipe adapted from

1 1/2 Cups of Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup of Confectioners’ Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Ground Almonds (I used Trader Joe’s Almond Meal)
5 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 Cups of Sifted All Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
1/3 Cup of Confectioners’ Sugar for rolling

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. Cream the butter in a bowl and gradually add the powder sugar, and salt.
3. Beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add the almonds and vanilla extract and blend.
5. Next add the flour and mix all together.
6. Shape into balls or what ever design you need. I use a spoon scoop out the amount I need to keep it all the same size.
7. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Let them cool and then roll them in the powder sugar and they are done!