Saturday, June 28, 2008

Empanada time!

When in the "kitchen mode" most of us can replicate, duplicate, remake, remix & remember almost any recipe we are given & give it our own signature spin! This one has truly endless possibilities! I have seen it called Easy Empanadas, Gringo Empanadas, White Girl Empanadas, even Ensenada Empanadas...No matter what you call it, try it & give it your own flavor! I am generally happy about making a Quick & Easy version of anything in the Summer. Less time in the kitchen means more time with family & friends~ Enjoy this recipe & get a little creative!

Gringo Empanadas~
1/2 lb. lean ground beef** or turkey
1/2 cup Salsa or Rotel Tomatoes.
4 tablespoons celery, saute
20 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 c. onion, saute
1/4 c. Hatch Green chilis, roasted & diced
1/2 c. shredded low fat cheese
1 (1 lb. 1.3-oz.) can Grands Refrigerated Golden Corn Biscuits or 1 Grands Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.
2. Add Tomatoes or Salsa, reduce heat to medium; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
3. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. With serrated knife, cut each biscuit in half horizontally to make 16 rounds. Press or roll (with a rolling pin) each to form 4-inch round. Spoon 2 level measuring tablespoons beef mixture in center of each round, top with ingredients you want with your filling. We used the onion, green chilies, celery & cheese. Use egg wash around the edge of the inside of the dough round. Fold dough over filling; press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg wash & sprinkle with cheese if desired. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake at 350°F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.
**We used Shredded beef from a slow roasted brisket but there are so many possiblities for Empanada fillings. I love the Rajas con Queso(cheese & peppers)you can stuff your Empanadas with Spinach & Cheese, Peppers, Turkey, Tuna the variety is truly endless. Have fun with it & make it a family dinner project!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Patatas Bravas~A Brave Potato Dish!

A popular Spanish tapas dish, this potato dish is much replicated thoughout Spain. Much of the cuisine in Mexico is owed to the influence from Spain. Mediterranean countries have adopted the custom of taking a “tentempié”, a snack, an appetizer or the “tapita" with wine in the early evening. In Mexico this is considered a botana but we like it as a side dish to our meal. Buen Provecho!

Patatas Bravas
4 White or Russet Potatoes, about 1.5 lb.
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips

Parboil 4 med. potatoes with their skins still intact either on the stove. Once the potatoes are finished boiling *put a knife in them, and they are still slightly firm. Set the potatoes aside & cool.

In a small bowl, blend together the ingredients for the salsa brava; mix red wine vinegar, chili pepper, ground cumin & cayenne pepper until the sauce tastes tangy and spicy. Set the sauce aside.

Drain, peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. In hot skillet (med. heat), sauté with garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Remove the potatoes from the oil and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Saute red bell pepper strips.

Toss potatoes & pepper strips with the bravas sauce, place potatoes on a serving plate, sprinkle them with sea salt. This dish can also be served with an Aoli sauce.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The little shop of Repujado!

Picking up a few new skills!

This week in Torreon I went with Ro & Joan to the Repujado studio & worked on the Mexican metal craft called Repujado. This art form dates at least back to the 12th Century. Called repujado in Spanish and repoussé in French. Repujado is the craft of pushing, working or making a relief in metal. The metal elements differ but the process is exactly the same. We worked the metal images in a series of steps, then had the back of the relief filled with resin. Once it dried we glazed the pieces to give the luster & tone to the metal we desired. Once finished it is mounted on wood, framed, or often times on boxes of some type. I have a much larger project I am still working on...give me another day, week or month! Long range projects don't ever seem to be a problem here South of the Border, after all this is Mexico. So, I'm quite willing to take the "manana" approach to these long range projects. Somethings are okay to drag out, especially if enjoyable.

Ricardo & his wife Alejandra own the Ricale Arte Manual on La Rosita in Torreon. They are some of the most fabulous people I've had the pleasure to meet. They introduced me to what seemed like the whole family & made the whole experience an absolute joy!

Rosemary was quite busy with her hammer & punch. It's a great form of therapy! Think of the money we'd all save if we picked up a hammer or paintbrush to work those frustrations out~

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tomatoes have me seeing Red!

Tomatoes, Salmonella & the resulting health scares involving this standard Summer fare have me seeing red these days! In Mexico we have to wash, soak & scrub all fruits & veggies we eat. I think this might be a safe choice back home for all concerned with the frequent food born illnesses. With 16 states affected by the Raw Tomato scare the FDA better get a handle on the situation. Summer without Tomatoes is almost sinful!! For those of you not blessed with fresh from the garden tomatoes these are cooked & quite safe. I think this is an excellent time to start hitting the local farm stands & farmer's markets. I have been a tomato fan all of my life but fondly remember going on bicycle as a kid, one Summer with two friends to a hot house which grew fabulous tomatoes. All we took was a shaker of salt. Where are you now Heidi Peterkin & Van Grainge??? Those were the days, good times. Summertime means tomatoes. Enjoy the recipe & by all means santize & wash that produce.

Tomato Pie
1 c. crunched Cracker crumbs
*not finely crushed, saltines, wheat crackers or you choice.
4 Tbs. Butter melted
9 inch Tart or Quiche pan
3 or 4 Tomatoes, sliced in rounds
2 Tbs. Fresh Basil, sliced thinly
3 Tbs. Green Onion, reserve 1 for garnish
Salt, Ground Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
1 Med. Onion, diced
Olive Oil for sauteing
8 oz. grated Oaxaca, Monterrey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
1/2 c. Light Mayonnaise

Toss Cracker crumbles with butter in bottom of tart or quiche pan. Slice Tomatoes, drain slightly on paper towels if they are very juicy. Arrange over the cracker crust, sprinkle with salt, red & black peppers, basil, green onions. Saute the onion in a small amount of Olive Oil then spread evenly over the tomatoes. Mix grated cheese, mayonnaise & spread over the top of tomatoes. Bake at 35O* 25 to 3O minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown slightly. Garnish with extra green onions, serve warm or at room temp.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


An Asian friend years ago showed me how to make her version of a Rice Omlette. This is my Tex~Mex version which is a nice light dinner alternative. This is egg~zactly the lighter summer fare we need in the heat of the summer here in Mexico.

Tex~Mex Rice Omlette

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil or spray
1 cup brown or white rice
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup Soy Chorizo, or favorite chorizo or chicken, etc.
1 tablespoon soy sauce

*2 Large Egg for each Omlette, this filling makes enough for 2 Rice Omlettes, it can be stretched to make 3.

Saute all ingredients, seasoning with soy sauce & heat through, set aside. In large skillet sprayed with pam or cooking spray, fry one beaten egg in bottom of skillet, turning the skillet to cover the bottom of pan or skillet. Cook egg as you would crepe, turning over gently to cook on both sides. Gently slide onto serving plate & empty skillet of rice mixture onto this egg & wrap over the filling as shown above. Serve topped with Salsa & salt & pepper. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Just for fun, staying cool in this heat!

In the course of the last several weeks we have had furnace like heat here in Mexico. The Celsius degrees seem a little better or easier to look at, than the Fahrenheit which seem to melt even the strongest of temperaments. I can certainly take more heat than bitter cold but a week ago when it was 1O9*, I seriously envied the friends who get sad about long cold winters...
The Mosaic is just for kicks but thought it was an entertaining, clean, non habit forming activity! Enjoy~

What would your answers or Photos be for the Questions?

The Questions~

1. What is my first name blog wise or in the real world?
2. What is my favorite food?
3. What high school did I attend?
4. What is my favorite color?
5. Who is my celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do I want to be when I grow up?
10. What do I love most in life?
11. One Word to describe me.
12. My on line, blog or site name.

1. Texas
2. Mexican cuisine, go figure!
3. H.M. King High, Kingsville Texas, that is Henrietta King herself in that vintage Portrait, of the King Ranch dynasty fame.
4. Blue
5. I have not really had one since forever.... I might be dating myself with the Monkeys, David Cassidy & the likes...I was never really into that stuff too much anyway.
6. Sangria made the Mexican way
7. Somewhere I have not been, always dreamed about & is on my Bucket List!
8. Sacher Torte from Vienna at the Sacher Hotel.
9. A quiet Rancher woman with a few head of cattle & some fuzzy donkeys...yes donkeys. Being in Mexico has given me great adoration for these gentle, hardworking little creatures. *or I could do with a few Beach Cows & Donkeys! Only time will tell, I guess!
10. not what but family, can not imagine life without them.
11. Peaceful
12. Dee, I am a Texan living in Mexico, somewhere South of the Border...