Taco empanadas with taco dipping sauce


An empanada is a delicious thing. There are many variations on filling all over the world. The originated from the Ilberian peninsula in the middle ages during the time of the Moor invasion. I have a favorite, and that’s Taco Empanadas.

30 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 3/4 lb of unsalted butter cut into 120 pieces, fresh out of the fridge
20 eggs (reserve half for the egg wash)
2 1/2 to 3 cups of water
Egg wash: 10 egg whisked with 10 tablespoon milk

Add flour and salt into a bowl and mix by hand. Add eggs, butter, and water and if you wish it some seasoning, I add cayenne or dried pablano pepper powder and begin mixing until a ball of dough forms. You don’t need to knead. Roll this spiced dough out flat and cut into 200 (yes 200) small circles using a small plate. I refrigerate these stacking them with wax paper between them. Now we make the filling.

5 pounds shredded lettuce
7 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 1/2 pounds chorizo sausage
4 cans of refried beans
10 white onions diced
20 tablespoons paprika
10 tablespoons cumin
5 tablespoons black pepper
10 tablespoons hot sauce (I use this stuff Red Lightning Hot Sauce)
10 tablespoons olive oil

To make the filling get a 20 inch campfire skillet screaming hot and add the oil, ground beef, chorizo, onions, paprika, cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, and let cook 10 minutes stirring, then add in the refried beans and lettuce and stir another 10 minutes until well blended. Remove from heat and let’s fill our empanadas.

Once the mix is cooled we’re ready to start. Spoon some of the mix in the middle of the dough, and fold over pressing out air pockets and brush the edges with the egg wash. Crimp the edges with a fork, I find 1-2 tablespoons of mixture works. Repeat this until you got 200 filled empanadas and no more mixture left over, it’s fine if you do reward yourself. Then we make our dipping sauce before we fry them.

To make our dipping sauce we need: 2 tubs of sour cream, and 4 jars of salsa. The salsa I use can be found here Smoky salsa. Just mix the sour cream into the salsa until well blended with a spoon, leave the spoon on a plate next to the dip, it’s usually a bit too thick for dipping so it’s more of a topping but yummy none the less, it should be deep pinkish red in color.

Now we fry our empanadas. Fry in oil until brown in batches of 5 at a time. Remove once golden with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Absolutely delicious.

An ode to homer


Cover of "The Simpsons Movie (Widescreen ...

Cover of The Simpsons Movie (Widescreen Edition)

No not the greek poet. Watch the simpson’s movie and chief wiggam almost shot himself while eating donuts. Something homer and I share is a love of donuts. So I’m thinkin of that I’ve never had is fried cake donut. Not sure if they’d fry up right, but I figure the idea’s there always room to experiment.  The dough will probably be a bit sticky so flour whatever you use to cut the donuts. So here we go homer’s donut.

 

Homer‘s donut

Mix oil and egg in a bowl until combined, add in baking powder, sugar, salt, and flours and fold together unitl it forms a crumbly mix. Slowly stir in brandy, moonshine and milk. Flour your hands and turn out onto floured board and let sit in the oven for 2 hours. Roll dough out to desired thickness (I’m thinking 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, anything thicker might leave the center raw and uncooked.) and either cut out with a cookie cutter or a tin can, or a cup. Cut out as many donuts as you can get, might be some left over, can twist it together and you can make donut sticks! Heat oil in a pan until you can stick in a bamboo skewer and it bubbles vigorously, or a cube of bread browns in a minute. Lay your donuts a few at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown flipping with a spider half way through cooking. (Probably 3-4 minutes, maybe more depending on thickness) Once cooked, remove from pan of oil and roll in cinnamon sugar. (My cinnamon sugar is 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice) Knowing homer like I do from watching the show, I think a glaze would be required, a simple glaze of 1/4 cup milk, 2 cups cinnamon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of apple pie moonshine be awesome. Definetly not healthy, but sounds like something homer would enjoy.

Enlightenment on sumac


Any time you mention sumac you think of poison sumac also known as poison oak. Sumac while related to poison oak is related to the sumac spice. Sumac is the berry from a shrubby little plant growing in the middle east and parts of Italy. The spice looks black, but the berries when fresh are a brick red. You can buy them ground or whole dried berries. The leaves and bark of the plant was used for tanning leather. It is tart rather astringent and has been used as a souring agent. The spice is rather delicious on grilled meats, fish, ligumes, veggies and even rice. If you’d like to try using it, it can be found in any well stocked middle eastern market place.

Middle eastern grilled monkfish with flat bread dip

2 monkfish filet (about 2 pounds)
4 Tablespoons ground sumac
8 Teaspoons toasted sesame seed
8 Tablespoons thyme
2 Teaspoon fine pink himilayan salt
olive oil to coat fish filets

Wash the monkfish filets under cold water. Find and trim off the blue membrain as it’s inedible. Coat monkfish in olive oil and dredge in the remaining spices. Place on grill of a medium heat (it is ready when you hold your hand 1 inch off the grate and count 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi, ouch). Allow to cook 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Flat bread dip

1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sumac

whisk together and enjoy with a bread of your choosing.

sugarless pumpkin oat bread


Well with the latest smear campaign against me, I decided to finally put things to bed. So here’s my recipe which inspired my sugarless pumpkin oatmeal cookies with pecans. The ones that are the subject of the smear campaign. My bread calls for some unusual things, apple and banana flour. What is apple and banana flour? It is dried apple and banana chips that have been ground into flour using a blender or mill. This recipe makes 12 loaves and generally is only made by me during the holidays. If you’d like to see the recipe that’s gotten me the smear campaign which I believe is nothing more then a publicity stunt on their part, you can view that here. My recipe target of a vindictive smear campaign.  Before I get smeared for this bread recipe, I’ll take the liberty of explaining why I used the ingredients in this bread. The apple flour is a natural sugarless sweetener providing your using unsweetened apple chips. Olive oil is rich in antioxidents and other goodies believed to fight off cancer, as well as heart disease. It’s also got a pleasing flavor. The egg whites is mainly cause again, my doctor wants me away from egg yolks. The pumpkin is cause usually around fall I have a bumper crop of pumpkin. The spelt is easy to digest, and the older relatives some of which have a gluten allergy can’t have regular flour. The mashed banana helps bind everything even the flour version helps. Though if you are using banana flour I recommend adding a bit of water, or apple juice or apple jack until the dough feels right to you. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, all spices contained in pumpkin pie spice and I tend to like pumpkin pie spice with pumpkin, think any and every American likes these spices in their pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread. Coconut is delicious with pumpkin, and unfortunately since I’m allergic to nuts yet not allergic to coconut, I just simply can’t get enough, expecially toasted. It adds a crunch without the nasty allergic side effects, like death. I prefere to add steel cut oats or even swap out half oats for an equal amount of chocolate cause well oats, chocolate and pumpkin just taste good. The pink and red sea salts add a great flavor, and are filled with good healthy minerals. I’ll use red or pink salt or just omit. At one point I had chest pains up until a few years ago and have done my best to completely eliminate salt from my diet, and the high blood pressure and chest pains stopped. Baking powder and baking soda are required to make this quick bread rise, otherwise it be just too dense to enjoy.

Further more, and I hate to do this, but since I do like the offending parties vanilla extract I’ve been kind enough to link you to her recipe. Just click vanilla extract in the recipe list below.

Sugarless pumpkin oat bread

7 1/2 quarts ground apple flour (see commentary above)
2 1/2 cup olive oil
30 egg whites
10 lb pure pumpkin puree (fresh is best, but canned works too)
7 1/2 cups spelt plus extra for kneading
5 quarts mashed banana or banana flour (see notes)
2 1/2 cups cinnamon
1 1/4 cups allspice
3 1/3 tablespoons freshly ground nutmeg
3 1/3 tablespoons ground clove
5 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/2 cups fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons pink himilayan or red alaea hawaiian salt
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
3 1/3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 quarts coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
2 1/2 quarts shredded coconut unsweetened (toasted)
2 1/2 quarts chocolate chips or steel cut oats (optional, steel cut oats is healthier)

Preheat oven to 350F.Add coconut in single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until lightly toasted (5 minues) Turn heat to 375F With extra olive oil in a cheap spray bottle spray 12 bread pans that measure 9 by 5 by 3 inches. In a large bowl add in all dry ingredients, apple flour, spelt, allspice, freshly ground nutmeg, clove, salt, grated ginger, cinnamon, and banana flour if using. Add olive oil and ground apple flour in a bowl until blended. Mix in egg whites and pumpkin and banana and beat until it looks frothy like yeast. Add vanilla extract. Fold delicately with baking spatula and then whisk until well incorporated. Turn out onto clean work space dusted with spelt flour and knead for no more then 4 minutes or the delicate gluten will fall apart. Place dough in each bread pan, bake roughly 1 hour in batches of 4. It is ready when it is poked in the center with a skewer and it comes out clean. Let cool until easily handled. Using a sharp knife cut around the edges of each pan and turn out onto cooling racks. Slice and serve once cool. I doubt you can stop at just 1 slice.

Crab and Avocado Quesadilla with avocado salsa


Avocado Sandwich

Avocado Sandwich (Photo credit: J. Chris Vaughan)

I love crab and Avocados, so here’s a recipe I love to have when I got the fixing.  I do sometimes use garlic instead of shallots on occation and do sometimes add corn to the salsa and of course I do sometimes add mint butter/oil. Just simmer some mint in some butter until fried, or olive oil instead of butter.  The crab I recommend most is New England Blue crab if you can get it. The crabs here are nice and sweet, so is maryland blue crab but generally more expensive. A trick to remove those tough slippery round seeds in the avocado is to use your knife and thwack it with the edge hard so it bites into the seed and then you can turn it and twist it out.

Crab and Avocado Quesadilla with avocado salsa

  • 6 ripe Hass avocados, cut in small chunks, divided
  • 2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, divided
  • 4 Jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 8 teaspoons lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 12 ounces picked crab meat
  • 4 tablespoons chopped scallions, light green parts only
  • 8 (10-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a serving bowl, combine 2/3 rds of avocado, 2/3 rds of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 of jalapeno, cilantro, shallots, and lime juice. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine remaining avocado, tomato, jalapeno, cheese, crab meat, and scallions in a medium bowl and toss to mix. Divide mixture evenly between tortillas, covering half of each tortilla and leaving a 1/2-inch gap around the edge. Fold tortillas to close quesadillas. Heat 1 of oil in 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium heat until scortching. Carefully add two folded tortillas to skillet and cook, shaking pan gently until first side is golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully fip tortillas with a flexible slotted spatula, sprinkle with salt, and cook on second side until golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Cut into wedges and serve with the avocado salsa.

 

Kulebyaka with meat


What is Kulebyaka? It is a russian tradition among the yamal. It is also called Kulebiaka. Kulebiaka is a rich flaky pastry usually filled with a mixture of salmon, cabbage, and mushrooms, but many other fillings are possible, then rolled up and baked. It is served hot or cold in thick slices, with the addition of extra butter and the inevitable sour cream. My recipe here uses musk ox tendon, mushrooms, cabbage, onions and of course musk ox meat.

Why am I tossing this recipe out? Someone searched for a pastry shaped like a pig with meat. I make my kulebyaka shaped like a pig and it is sometimes done by others. Where this came from I have no idea, probably the French.

Well here we go. Many people have never cooked tendon. Tendon is very tough. Expecially musk ox tendon and or beef tendon. Tendon has a unique flavor all it’s own. I cook my tendons with onions, garlic, and apple juice.

To do this one needs a pressure cooker.

2 lb tendon (beef or musk ox tendon visit your local butcher/slaughter house)
1/2 cup apple juice
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
10 cups waters
1/4 cup apple vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a pressure cooker, bring to high pressure (15 pound psi) and cook for 2 hours! (make sure there’s enough water to prevent the bottom of the pan from drying out. They will be tender rather then tough and easy to chop when done.

Now we make the kulebyaka.

2 lb tendon
2 lb ground musk ox (or beef)
4 onions
1 cup chopped mushroom
1 cup chopped cabbage
4 lbs flour (white)

Roll and shape the dough into an oval piece 1/4-inch thick. Brown the beef and crumble, slice tendon into thin slivers, cool and add cabbage, slightly browned onions, salt, pepper and minced parsley. Pour melted butter and meat broth into the filling. Then pile it up on each piece, pinch the opposite edges of the dough and place on the buttered baking sheet, with its seam down, shaping it as a suckling-pig. To make the kulebyaka keep its shape, thicken the dough with flour on the table. To give a natural look to the pig’s ears, nose and tail and to make them safely pass through a baking process, rub flour on the table into a lump of dough intended for these purposes. Attach all details made of dough to the pie by egg, and brush the surface with egg yolk – this helps get the deep amber color. Use large black raisins or large peppercorns to imitate the pig’s eyes. I’m sorry I don’t know how much liquid to make the dough, I never measure it’s all done by feel. The dough is ready when it won’t stick to your fingers like a bread dough.

Prick the surface and sides with a fork and brush them up with the beaten yolk of egg. Bake at 410° to 426° F until it has the deep amber color.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

To the dads, grilled mac and cheese


Well father’s day is upon us. With this in mind I thought of a simple yet delicious recipe that dads would love. I’m thinking  grilled mac and cheese with chorizo, fire roasted onions, chiles and corn, maybe some left over on some grilled bread for a great sandwich!
Father’s day grilled mac and cheese

Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
2 cups (about 8 ounces) elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 ears sweet corn, shucked
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 New Mexican green chiles or Anaheim or California peppers, or
2 to 4 poblano peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated smoked cheese, preferably smoked Cheddar, smoked pepperjack, or equal amounts of both
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
6 ounces crumbled spanish chorizo

A cast iron skillet, aluminum foil roasting pan or drip pan, or grill-proof baking dish (about 9 by 12 inches), sprayed or brushed with oil; 2 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory); soaked for 1 hour in mock burbon/water to cover (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon vanilla makes 1 cup mock burbon), then drained

Bring 8 quarts of lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a large colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and drain again. Toss the macaroni with the oil to prevent sticking.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

When ready to cook, lightly brush the corn and onion with half of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place chorizo in a small metal pan and brown after putting the corn and onion on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all) for the corn, and 3 to 4 minutes per side (9 to 12 minutes in all) for the onion, turning with tongs as needed. Add the chiles and peppers to the hot grate and grill until the skins are charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side (6 to 10 minutes in all) for the New Mexican chiles, or 3 to 5 minutes per side (12 to 20 minutes in all) for the poblano peppers, and 4 to 6 minutes per side (16 to 24 minutes in all) for the bell peppers. Transfer the corn, chorizo and onion to a cutting board and let cool.

Transfer the grilled chiles and bell peppers to a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes (the steam trapped by the plastic wrap helps loosen the skin from the peppers). Scrape the skin off the cooled peppers, then core and seed them.

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs using lengthwise strokes of a sharp butcher knife. Thinly slice the onion quarters crosswise. Cut the chiles and peppers into 1/4-inch dice.

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until soft but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the corn kernels and grilled onion, chorizo, chiles, and bell peppers. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the half-and-half and increase the heat to high. Let the mixture boil for 3 minutes, stirring well; it should thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard and cooked macaroni, followed by the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the cast iron skillet or oiled aluminum foil pan. Sprinkle the top of the macaroni with the bread crumbs and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over the bread crumbs.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium-high, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks, if desired, on the coals.

When ready to cook, place the macaroni and cheese in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Cook the macaroni and cheese until the sauce is bubbly and the top is crusty and brown, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with dad’s favorite beer, a grilled meat that he likes, and some grilled potatoes with gravy. What better way to say we love you dad then a whole meal made on the grill for him?

Maybe slap some on some nice toasted garlic bread for a sandwich.