Thursday, July 8, 2010


Do you have any friends that give you a culinary inferiority complex? Because as much as I consider myself a competent cook, I totally do. My internet friend Robin is incredible. Everything she makes for dinner sounds straight off a restaurant menu. I'm serious.

Gorgonzola-stuffed chicken breasts with fig-balsamic reduction and roasted asparagus,

Blue cheese-apple puff pastry tartlets, chicken roasted with olives and lemon, and quinoa with swiss chard and currants,

Pork roast with garlic, port, brown sugar, chile paste and five-spice powder,

Lamb chops with orange, rosemary and pistachio gremolata, honey-glazed root veggies (carrots, parsnips, turnips), and farro with fresh peas and radishes. Candied ginger shortbread for dessert

Intimidating and insanely mouth-watering right? The trick with friends like this is not to give up, or become discouraged because you will never cook as well as they do. Oh no. The trick to to get them to give you their recipes. I've been hoping she'll start a food blog, because then I could read about all her delicious meals in more detail, but no such luck. Although, today I can share one of her recipes with you! These empanaditas are incredibly addictive, and it's a pretty flexible recipe. I changed the filling based on what I had readily available, and you can too. Of course, you can also assume Robin's way is the way and I'm sure you can't go wrong.

Courtesy of Robin, who actually is a professional at this kind of thing. She has one cookbook out already and promises another one soon. But I'm not giving up hope on the food blog idea. Come on Robin! Do it!

first is my adaptation of the filling, followed by Robin's original

First you need a crust. Robin allows a store bought crust (you need the kind with both a top and bottom for enough dough). I make my own from my standard recipe, but empanaditas are a lot of work, so you may want to cheat.

My filling
1.5 pounds diced butternut squash (I dice it small, smaller than an inch)
olive oil
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 T Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa

Robin's Filling
1.5 pounds diced butternut squash
Olive oil spray
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
5 or 6 roasted, peeled, seeded pasilla chiles (I used canned this time), diced
3 (?) T hot salsa

If you'd like them to brown up nicely, like many pie adjacent items, they could do with an egg wash. - Clearly, I did not do this, my poor empanaditas in the photo suffered from lack of egg wash, and being cooked in a toaster oven, because as I may have mentioned before, IT'S HOT HERE and there was no way I was turning on the real oven.

Dipping Sauce (I made this up. Ryan likes to dip.)
1 C sour cream
2 T lime juice
2 t cumin
(mix well)

Preheat oven to 400. Spread squash on a baking pan, spray with olive oil spray, sprinkle with salt, roast for about 30 minutes until soft. Check it, and allow extra time. If you cut the squash bigger it will take longer to cook. Cool. Mix squash, chiles (if you're using Robin's filling), goat cheese and salsa together in a large bowl until well blended.

Roll out the pie crust until it's a bit thinner than for a regular pie. Then cut out 3" circles. Robin has a pastry cutter, but you know I just use a drinking glass turned upside down. You can roll up the excess dough, and roll it out to cut even more circles. Then roll out each circle a little bit more, and place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the top half. Fold over to form a little half moon shape and then use the tines of a fork to make the edges look nice (a step I neglected in the insane heat - don't skip it, it's pretty). If you're going to make them right away, you can baste the tops with a little egg thinned with a bit of water, then pop them in a 400 oven on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, until crisp and golden. You could also freeze them (before you do the egg wash). They cook up beautifully. This recipe will make about 40.

Serve with dipping sauce.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I totally know the feeling. Especially when my dinners are like - mapo tofu, again. Enchiladas. Pasta. Etc.

emmieween said...

Ooh, these sound delicious. And the possibly of a (tasty) dinner I can make in the toaster oven is giving me hope for the next 1.5 months.

Carrietracy said...

emmieween - are you using the toaster oven to avoid the heat or are you dealing with a kitchen remodel?

If it's the heat, I definitely know what you mean. My kitchen is one of the only places in my apartment that can't be air conditioned.

I'll be posting a recipe for gazpacho soon - no cooking involved and refreshing too!


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