Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Well it took me long enough but here I am again. As promised I told you I would be delving into my South American roots so here we go. This is a super easy recipe that I concocted from watching my step aunt Lila and my mom make Argentinian style empanadas. I did not make the dough for the empanada exterior (I promise we will get into it at a later date). I just wanted to make sure that you knew that there is an easy way to make these tasty treats so that you can enjoy them rather than feeling spent after making them. Anywhoo here is my little tutorial for how to make these delicious treats:


2 Packs Goya(or insert your brand here) dough for Turnover Pastries (there are 10 in each pack - find them in the frozen food section)


1-2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Plum tomato (finely diced)
1/2 Large red pepper (finely diced)
3-4 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 Large white/sweet onion (finely diced)
1 Green onion (finely diced)
1 TBSP fresh cilantro/coriander (finely cut)
1 tsp Cumin
2 large chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 Large Yukon Gold potato(cooked and cubed)
1 Hard boiled egg (chopped into very small pieces) 
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pan heat your olive oil at medium high heat. Add in all your vegetables and coat them with the oil. Saute your veggies until they have started rendering juices and the onions are starting to become translucent. 

Add the cilantro and cumin and stir to distribute them evenly. 

Add the shredded chicken breasts and potato. Stir in to distribute them evenly and to allow the vegetables and their juices to coat them.

Add the hard boiled egg to the mixture and stir to distribute evenly.

Add Salt and Pepper to suit your taste. 

Once you are happy with the taste take the pan off the heat and let it rest while you get your pastry disks lined up and ready to receive the filling. Make sure that your filling is still moist but not drenched in liquid from the vegetables as this will make it difficult for you to keep the pastry together.

Now it is time for the step by step on how to put these lovelies together. 

Place your pastry disk on the counter and spoon about 
1 1/2 TBSP at the center of the disk
Gently fold your pastry disk in half making sure to 
press the edges firmly together.
Press firmly down on the edges with a fork, 
starting at the center and moving outward

 Once you have completed these steps with all your pastry disks you are ready to either fry or bake these. I chose frying because although I like a baked empanada, there is something about frying these that makes them taste the way I remember them from earlier years in my life (yes I am older than I care to remember). 

If you choose to fry them make sure to use peanut oil/ safflower oil, something with a high heating temperature in order to make sure your home does not turn into a smoky mess. Use about 2 cups of oil in a frying pan about 9 inches in diameter at medium heat or just a little bit above this (you do not want your oil to get too hot or you will have burnt empanadas in no time). Also you want enough oil to immerse the empanadas to allow them to cook and be turned over to get them to a nice golden brown so if 2 cups is not enough for your pan, add a little more.

If you choose to bake these make sure you line your baking sheets with parchment paper and give your empanadas a nice egg wash. Turn your oven on at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the empanadas until they are a golden brown. 

Here is the final result for the fried ones

Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, there are quite a lot of different styles of empanadas so we will be having a little more fun with these as the year progresses. For now I hope you try these and that you enjoy them as much as my husband and I did.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Something With Cuban Flair - Ropa Vieja

For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to experience Cuban food yet, the best description that I can give of this dish is this: ropa vieja is to beef what pulled pork is to pork. It is delicious and makes my mouth water to just think of it. I am not Cuban so I do not claim to have the best recipe for it, but this is my adaptation of this wonderful dish.

Ropa Vieja a la Nydia

2 1/2 pounds of flank steak (Cut into strips along the length of the cut of meat AKA along the grain of the meat)
2 plum tomatoes (seeded, pealed and finely chopped)
1/2 Large Sweet White Onion (finely chopped)
1/2 Large Green Pepper (finely chopped)
5-6 Garlic Cloves (minced)
3-4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Tomato Paste
5 TBSP Sherry Cooking Wine
4-5 Cups of water
3-4 Large Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, green pepper and garlic. Saute the vegetables until the onions become translucent and the green pepper and tomatoes are soft. 

Add the tomato paste and stir it in to distribute evenly. Slowly add in 1 cup of the water and let the vegetables simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and stir in the sherry. Add another cup of the water and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the flank steak strips along with another cup of water, and place the cover on the dutch oven. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Add 1 cup of water and lower the heat to medium low. Let the meat stew in the vegetable juices for another hour or so making sure to check in every 20 minutes or so to stir the pot and to make sure that the level of the liquid has not dropped too drastically (if it has then add the additional cup of water and lower your heat a little more). The goal of this dish is to make the beef very tender so that it can be pulled apart easily. The meat must have plenty of juices to sit in and more importantly, it must cook slowly (meat that is cooked in heat that is too high for too little time will always wind up chewy and inedible, the only exception to this is when you are searing a piece of meat. More on that when summer comes around).

Once your meat has cooked through and you can easily pull it apart into thin strands you will be good to go so you can turn off the heat or put it on extra low. Patiently and tenderly take that strips of meat out of the juice, pull them apart and put back in the dutch oven back into its beautiful juices and make sure that the shredded meat is drenched in them. 

Serve over rice and enjoy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Le Paddock - Great All Around

We (meaning my husband, my daughter and I) moved in August to the Windsor Terrace area of Brooklyn. About a month after we moved in we noticed that there was this very quaint little corner storefront that was going through some sort of transformation. We saw people painting, then the windows got covered and then the owners were seen working on refurbishing some great looking vintage wooden chairs. Little by little we could tell things were starting to shape up for a new restaurant and our curiosity was captivated by this new place that would open soon we hoped. It took them about a month and a half but Le Paddock finally opened and very fortunately so. The only description I can give of this place is that it is wonderful. They have something to appeal to a wide range of palates ranging from burgers and wood oven pizzas (some of the best in the area) to stews, a raw oyster bar one night a week, and their desserts make me want to forget that I should be concerned about my figure. We have eaten there about four times already and every time it has been great. I am only going to leave you with some pictures of the brunch we had along with my in-laws. All the dishes were executed perfectly except for a mishap with my daughter's pancakes (one of the pancakes was burnt at the bottom and it messed up the flavor of the rest), however they corrected the situation admirably and this is why I am recommending that anyone living near this area (or if you are feeling adventurous) should check them out. For the description of the dishes go to their website and check out their Brunch menu (and their dinner one as well).

 Eggs Norwegian

 Basque Pizza

 Sake Mary and Mimosa

 Omelette Of The Day

Baked Eggs

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Roast Sesame Chicken with Tangerine Ginger Glaze

OK I know another chicken recipe from me. I promise you that we will get away from this protein (not entirely, but we will look into the use of others) at some point. I made this because the hubby did the shopping this week and he had already defrosted the chicken thighs so I did not want them to go to waste. Great thing about cooking is that there are as many ways to make things as there are ingredients available in the world so you can have the same protein made a million different ways. Today I bring you a very simple but tasty recipe:

Roast Sesame Chicken with Tangerine Ginger Glaze
Makes 8-10 portions

1 Pack chicken thighs (with 8-10 pieces in it - totally recommend Whole Foods Family Packs)
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Soy Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP Sesame Seeds
Ginger Root (1 inch piece thinly sliced length wise)
1 Large Tangarine (Pealed, sliced in half and segments separated)
2 TBSP Honey 
1 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large, deep baking dish put in your olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper and sesame seeds and mix with a whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. 

Take your chicken thighs one by one and coat them with the mixture in the baking dish. Add in your thinly sliced ginger, 1TBSP of the honey and tangerine pieces and spread them out as evenly as possible in the baking dish. Once all the pieces are coated arrange them in the baking dish with the skin side up (if you are using skinless chicken put the meatier side up). 

Add the water using a measuring cup and making sure to add it in from the edge of the dish so that you do not remove the coating from the chicken pieces. Cover the dish with either a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until you can tell that the pieces are cooked through. 

Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle the last TBSP of honey on the chicken. Set your oven to broil and place the baking dish halfway away from the broiler surface and allow chicken skin to crisp up for about 5 minutes or until you see the skin is gold and crispy. 

Serve over rice or spinach with a generous amount of the juices from the baking dish for a little extra love and taste. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy 2012!!!! - Sorry For the Belated Wishes

Hi there. If you have been reading my blog I thank you kindly for doing so. It means a lot to me. I also owe you an apology for the late start in posting. Believe me there is a very good reason for my absence. My laptop has ceased to function and with it the drive I used to upload pictures to the blog, but thankfully enough my husband has been very resourceful and managed to revive our old computer so I will be able to upload at least some of the stuff I am making. 

This year will be a good challenge in many ways. I will try to get out of the chicken rut I seem to be stuck in, but not before I give a try to my mom's chicken souffle. I am also going to bring a little Colombian flavor to my recipe archive by showing you all not only how easy arepas are to make, but also how many variations of this authentic latin american dish there are (and those are only the ones I know of, I am sure there are more out there). We will do Empanadas and all sorts of Latin American recipes to expand your horizon and taste buds (I want to make sure that the facebook app that tests you on how many world foods you have tasted gets a run for its money). I am also going to do a bit more exploring of middle eastern cuisine because there really is a lot of wonderful food from that region that does not get enough love out there.  I will really give a try to going around the world with the recipes I choose, because life is definitely too short not to try as much wonderful cuisine as possible.

 Thank you so much for reading my blog. The food fun starts again tomorrow.